The Technology Reseller’s Hidden Problem: Out of Ideas

Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune  |  Tribue file photoIt All Started With Novell, High Margins, and Big Opportunity

It’s Channel Sales, But What’s The Next Big Thing?

Seth Godin, our key note speaker at last weeks Ingram One event, once wrote, “People don’t have great ideas, but the problem is, they don’t have any ideas.”

I’m quoting from memory, but it’s close. We’re all too busy to take time to THINK.

Remember when everything as all about Novell? Resellers nationwide were selling Novell software, installation, and LAN setup at high margins. The business was endless…until it ended.

The reseller industry is changing. Ray Noorda is no longer with us, along with the high margin, endless demand for Novell. It’s been gone for years…It’s 2017, Are you ready?

Expect less product business, longer sales cycles, and fewer qualified appointments. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this. Looking back over the years the channel reseller business has been good. Strong growth with a few dips that some didn’t survive. If you’re reading this now you are to be congratulated. That probably means you survived Y2K and the 2008 slump.

What About 2017? Will Your Business Survive?

Do you have ideas? Do you know what to try next?

Two insights were passed on to me this quarter that deserve to be passed on.


Greg McKeown in his book Essentialism observes that people no longer take time to think. They stare at phones and email all day doing mindless work. It’s become an addiction for most. And it leads to failure at some point. Thinking just doesn’t happen while staring into a black hole of technology.

Greg sets aside time each week just to think. No computers, no phones, no people. It’s hard at first. I’ve started doing this 2 or 3 times a week since reading the book. Sitting quietly, note book and pen in hand ready for idea.

But what then? Ideas start to come.

So I jot them down. I plan an hour – sometimes less. But it’s s fixed amount of time that has a start and end. Greg says, when you run out of ideas just doodle and think. More ideas are sure to come. Just don’t give up. And sure enough the more I do this the more the ideas come.

It’s pretty cool. In fact, I find it’s theraputic.


Then I heard Craig Ballantyne, author of The Perfect Day Formula, speak at the GKIC Marketing Info Summit in November. Craig added something new to this THINKING IDEA.

He challenged us to think through our biggest problem – just 15 minutes every day. Five day work weeks suddenly turn into just over an hour of THINK TIME focused on solving that one big problem.

That’s 5 hours per month dedicated to fixing something I really need fixed.  Another great idea.

Seth Godin was right. People don’t have great ideas simply because they’re not really thinking. So Craig and Greg (hey that rhymes sort of) have given us a place and time to start brainstorming – coming up with ideas.

Some of that time might be on the BIG problem while some of the time might be more open ended. Both are essential…

If you sell technology or MSP / IT services one of your biggest problems is commoditization. Novell as a primary money maker for the reseller is over. The channel business is changing (so let’s not ignore it). And you need something new.

If you get struck, check out the House & the Cloud and see where the fastest growing opportunity is in the technology business right now. We’ve already thought about this.

©2016 David Stelzl


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