It seems nearly everyday I receive an email from a marketing company of some variety that has the secret to success. It might be a new marketing plan, a new service option or new software. There always seems to be something. I review some of the material when I have time. Rarely does it include some new ground shaking breakthrough. Typically, the underlying theme is the same. Get to work.
I don't want to assume I know all there is to know about my industry or business in general. Nothing could be further from the truth. I consider myself a student of business and my industry. But I can say with some certainty, most problems can be overcome with hard work and some critical thinking. Critical thinking can take many forms. It could mean some brain storming with co-workers; it could be consulting with a subject matter expert or simply brushing up on some reading. However you choose to get there, your destination is to come up with a solution based on information.
And that is were the work comes in. I tell my people, the results are all that counts. How you get there really doesn't matter in the long run. Hopefully it isn't a long trip but sometimes it is. Lets face it, business problems can take a long time to figure out. Particularly if it is something very specific to your industry. Working long and hard toward a solution by gaining knowledge not previously known to you and putting in the time to implement a solution or new process should always end with a result that counts.
And maybe that is the next big thing. Maybe it isn't a new widget that will solve all your problems or a process by which money will now actually fall from trees, rather it is a series of tips and new information to make the path to good results less bumpy. Nobody said it was anything new.
This may come as a shock, I really do want to help. I want to help businesses use technology to better their business. It seems as I talk to people, everyone is frustrated with computers and network systems. They don't understand them nor do they want to. They just want things to work so they can get home and do something fun. Who wants to spend all afternoon figuring out how to setup software or install a new hard drive or cure a computer virus??? Nobody! Including me!! We all just want to get on with our day and hope our technology helps us or at least stays out of our way. There must be a way to have all of this stuff work all the time...
You want to know the secret? It doesn't. It doesn't work all the time. All of the technology, cell phones, computers, networks, wireless devices, etc. don't work all the time. They are machines that function as tools. Complicated ones at that! As with all machines, they need to be serviced. The key to lowering the frustration is choosing the time and place for service rather than letting the machine choose it for you.
Preventative maintenance can make a great deal of the problems go away but it won't solve all the problems. You also need to have someone standing by to answer the questions you can't answer and perform the miracles with the mouse you can only dream of. But can one person do that?
Again, the answer is no. We all have lives and so does your tech guru. They can't be all places at once. So what can you do?? Get a team. A team is better than the sum of its parts. It can do things the individuals could never do on their own. It can come up with answers to problems, anticipate needs and perform the miracles. The real answer to all of the questions is to have a team of professionals there to make it all happen.
But don't stop with technology, do this for every part of your business. Find a team to manage your accounting, your fleet vehicles, your sales calls, etc. The concept works for nearly any problem. Try it out. You will be surprised much less frustration you have and how much more time you will find.
David Kramer has been working with technology of all kinds since 1991 while attending the University of Illinois. He has installed computer networks large and small, managed networks over 700 seats, and worked as a network consultant to many institutions. Also, for the last 12 years he has been on the cutting edge of home automation technology including home theaters, distributed audio, lighting control and structured wiring.