Everyone’s watching the numbers, predictions continue to say the recovery is on, and shoppers did spend over 4 million this past weekend…however, don’t be fooled. No one knows what the economy looks like in the coming year, and shopper’s spending has nothing to do with a consulting company’s success in 2010. In past years, you may have coasted through December, figuring hard work will continue and you’ll likely make your numbers or continue to some level of growth. This year I’d recommend taking some time to plan. Companies that plan outperform those that don’t. Sitting around worrying is not the answer, and continuing down your current path may not be either. Take time to reflect on what really did work, what contributed to growth, and what was a waste of time. Chances are you’ll discover things to cut, and new things to build. Creativity, determination, and persistence will go a long way as we move into the new year.
Archive for November, 2009
Enjoy your holiday, but don’t forget the year’s not over. We have an important teleseminar coming up in December on Demand Generation Techniques that will absolutely grow your business in 2010 regardless of the economy! Here is a sample of our November program – the complete recording is available for purchase at http://www.stelzl.us simply by signing up for the November program.
Thanksgiving is upon us and I’m looking forward to a few days off with family members and especially my children and extended family member’s I’ve not seen – but what is this holiday for? The fact is, I went through most of grade school drawing pictures of pilgrims, but without any concept of what they were doing standing around eating wild turkeys. I find the people around me are doing the same…it’s a time to over-eat and watch games and movies on TV. So a break from work and a little history might be just the thing for today’s blog entry…
Thanksgiving starts in Delfshaven, Holland in 1620 for most people (who have heard of the Mayflower), but for some, it starts years earlier in Scrooby, England. There, a small group of devote Christians, led by William Brewster and John Robinson were under pressure from the Church of England, mainly King James. He wanted people in the state Church, not out doing their own things. The state run Church teaching state approved doctrine was unacceptable to this group called Separatists. Looking for freedom, these families, mostly of substance, moved on to another country to gain their freedom. That country was Holland. There they took on the name Pilgrims, or strangers in a foreign land. This was in the year 1608, long before the Mayflower set sail.
Leaving their wealth and land behind, they gave it all up to have freedom of worship and the ability to raise their children according to their beliefs. But after 12 years in Holland, they began to see negative affects of the society they lived in. It was free, but their families were surrounded by influences they felt were harmful. Believing God was directing them to move on, they set sail for Southhampton England, with hopes of heading from there to America.
After several attempts to launch two ships, they finally set sail on one ship, the Mayflower, transporting 102 people on September 6, 1620. Along the way, 2 men died and one child born (Oceanus). The ship finally reached the new land on November 9 of that same year, however it did not land in an established settlement, but rather north of any settlement and outside the bounds of England control. Again, the Pilgrims believed God would have them stay, rather than make their way south, so they agreed to set up their town right there.
Not having planned to build, they did not have tools, and being from wealthy families, they were not equipped to build and farm – but now this was a requirement to stay alive. They began by building a common-house, a building that would serve as housing as they continued building the town. And a Church for weekly worship meetings. Weak from their voyage, they worked long days in cold weather, working together to have shelter for the coming winter.
That winter they sustained great hardships. Their common-house nearly burned down, half of the 101 voyagers died from illness, and much effort was spent keeping unfriendly Indians away from the establishment. In all 47 Pilgrims dies includine 31 men, 13 woman, and 3 sons. Through every hardship they sought protection from God and continued in their worship and thanksgiving for the new land. In fact, even one of the sailors known for mocking them, eventually joined them in their worship after seeing them endure such hardship with courage and thanksgiving.
At last the winter thaw came and spring was here. There was an alert as Indians approached, but to their surprise, these Indians were friendly. And to their amazement, one Indian began to speak in English as they met face to face. The pilgrims welcomed Samoset, chief of the Algonquins into their village, believing that God has sent him to help them. Through Samoset, the Pilgrims were then introduced to Squanto, a man who also spoke English and who would then stay on with them, teaching what they needed to know to survive in this new land. He taught them to fish, hunt, harvest maple syrup, and use local herbs as medicine. Even how to grow corn, using fish as fertilizer, the very thing that would take them through the winter to come.
That fall, their first harvest provided more than enough food to last them the winter. With grateful hearts, the Pilgrims put on a feast to honor God and their new friends who would help survive and establish their community. They ate deer and wild turkey, fruit pies, vegetables, and all kinds of treats provide by all that attended. This was the first Thankgiving – one that lasted three days, and one never to be forgotten. It was a time of worship and celebration as they set out to establish freedom in their new land.
Enjoy your thanksgiving and be grateful for all that you have…I know I am.
How easy is it to buy from you? I just received my HP 50g calculator in the mail – their high end graphing calculator. While I don’t do a lot function plots in my business, I do teach algebra II in my spare time, thus the calculator. I was thinking about the 41C I purchased while in college when I ordered this. The documentation was exceptional. With zero computer skills at the time, I was able to read it, understand it, and use it within a matter of days. I bought add-ons for it, bought an upgrade eventually, but kept the old one, and had my kids using both of them (20 years later) in their school work. But alas, both of them recently died.
The replacement is another example of engineers wanting to cram as much as possible into a box that fits in the palm of your hand, without concern for usability. Every key does about 5 things, with an additional 150 commands that can be typed in. The documentation is meaningless, and no one seems to have written the “Missing Manual” yet. So with a college degree in computer science, years of technical work prior to my roles in management and selling, I can’t figure out how to do simple functions on it.
I’m sure the technology is excellent, but if it’s unusable, what good is it. I see this frequently in proposals, assessment reports, project documentation, and event sales “one-sheets”. How easy is it for your clients to navigate through your company sales process? Is it iPhone or is it the HP 50g…I’ll take a few icons over hundreds of multi-funtion microscopic buttons any day.
If you did attend today’s session on “Lessons Learned while Making Money with Security”, there is a recording and it will be sent out shortly – probably over the weekend. Thanks for attending – initial feedback is that this was a very worthwhile session with updates to material you may have heard in earlier workshops as well as updates to the material printed in the book, The House & the Cloud.
They’re all headed that way – EMR. Is it safe? Of course not. What makes this data at risk? There are two things; first people want it and they know where it is…with the doctor and with the insurance company. Second, the people creating it, using it, and responsible for it are generally clueless as to the importance of what they have and how easily it will be lost.
Case in point, 1.5 Million Health Net customers exposed through a misplaced hard drive. The funny thing about this report is that the people responsible for the data did not report it at first, because they didn’t know what was on the hard drive. How can that be? Well it can’t, but who wants to admit they exposed 1.5 million social security records in a for profit business?
Health care is a great vertical right now if you understand security. I just completed an educational marketing event and had the privilege of sitting with several doctors over dinner. They didn’t want to talk about buying products – no surprise there, however they did want to learn about their liability and how to protect their reputation!
Following the event, most of them were open to having my client come in to review their risk levels. Read about Health Net – it’s just one more example of Data@Risk due to uneducated users. http://www.courant.com/health/hc-healthbreach1119.artnov19,0,1798384.story
Having just completed another Profit Program Workshop in the mid-atlantic – some thoughts…
- Market Strategy – what is it you are marketing? Look at your collateral, your website, your events, webinars…is there a focus or are you just putting stuff out there? Focus! Focus on who you are targeting (your buyer), focus using media they’ll receive, and know what they’ll want to see and how often.
- Marketing is building a brand. Seth Goden talks about permission – gaining permission to market first, then providing content they care about and will agree to receive. From there you increase permission levels as you provide more value. Dan and Chip Heath add the need to “Make it Stick”. One idea they offer is to target through success stories. People like stories; can you tell the story in a compelling manner?
- Pricing is always an issue. Profit or non-profit – your projects go either way depending on how you price it. If you’re losing money fixed pricing, you don’t know how to price. If you offer T&M your selling like an amateur (You’re leaving money on the table or taking a loss on the project). You take all the risk.
- Sales people don’t call high, mostly because they lack self esteem. This isn’t uncommon…and executives will keep you in your place as long as you allow them to. “Power buys from Power”, comments Michael Bosworth. Present a powerful (knowledgeable) presence and you’ll gain the relationships you need to sell.
- You can’t advise if you don’t know what business leaders need you to know. Read, study, get passionate about helping and consulting with clients. Product sellers are yesterday’s breed – you can’t make it in this world (this economy) with another widget that promises faster throughputs or higher processing speeds. Who cares? Someone else’s widget will beat yours tomorrow.
9 million dollars in 12 hours, not a bad hourly wage, especially in this economy. This was a sophisticated attack, and I expect to see it happen again. Putting a few people in jail won’t stop others from copying this type of strategy – the question is, will your customers be able to detect it before it’s too late, and stop it before it becomes world news like the World Pay attack?
According to SC Magazine, “The gang evaded encryption on the network of RBS’ U.S. payment processing division,… raised the limits on the accounts, created 44 counterfeit cards and hired a group of “cashers” to use the cards to withdraw more than $9 million in less than 12 hours from 2,100 cash machines across 280 cities worldwide.” Not bad for a bunch of 20 something year olds – now headed to prison.
If your clients think they’re secure, don’t believe them. Encryption, passwords, firewalls, etc. They’re no match for the creative hacker. Companies must move toward faster detection mechanisms, better monitoring, and fast response plans. In many cases your clients won’t be able to afford all of this – that’s where managed services come in. Build or OEM this program and provide it to your clients. It’s a Win/Win as Stephen Covey would say.