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Thanks to NetGain, Cisco, HP, and VMWare for sponsoring yesterday’s business leader event in Cincinnati.  We had over 40 business leaders for this educational event…

Eye Opening, Compelling, and Scary…

Eye opening, compelling, and scary.  These are the comments I heard after sharing some of the growing threats I see coming our way in the coming year.  Our material on cyber crime trends was well received and much-needed by many of the executives I spoke with during the seminar. Small businesses are being affected by security breaches every day, yet many are unaware of what is really going on inside their servers and mobile devices…According to the Wall Street Journal, most business leaders (over 75%) believe they are fine, yet Visa tells us that 90% of their business fraud cases are SMB related!

Individual Conversations

I spoke with one CEO of a Cincinnati based law firm after my session.  His business deals with highly sensitive legal information – the kind of information that, “Can’t get out!”  He was concerned that, while his company uses passwords and firewalls, he has no way to monitor who is accessing what, or to see if systems are being compromised, or to know if internal people are emailing sensitive information in an insecure way.  We talked about the cost of implementing technology that does this type of monitoring – “It’s out of reach for the small business.” he said.  This is led into a discussion on the value of using a managed solution through a third party provider…

In another conversation, I spoke with a man running a healthcare company.  He was concerned that his staff didn’t really understand how to assess their current security posture.  This is the case with most small business. They don’t have the tools or the expertise to do this in house.  Here again is an opportunity to engage an outside provider of assessment services, which NetGain, our hosting company has, to help ensure their applications are unaffected by today’s malware threats.

In the afternoon we heard from representatives of Cisco Systems and VMWare, as well as Microsoft, sharing how their companies are working to provide more secure products to protect these companies from growing threats in the coming year.  NetGain concluded the meeting by offering to meet with these businesses one-on-one to review their security needs, something every business should be doing on a regular basis.

© 2012, David Stelzl

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Notes, comments, and reminders from our partner security workshop in New York City…keep these things in mind.

  • Most deals are lost when you fail to communicate value before providing price
  • Budgets are lost part way through the deal when the focus is on product, or even data value.  There must be a measurement of likelihood, applied to high-value data, in order to justify a security sale.
  • Managed services deals dry up or get unseated when the deal is not based on maintaining an acceptable level of risk.  ROI may work short term, but will be replaced at some point by a cheaper alternative.  After all, if there is no perceived risk, the client can choose a cheaper solution and get the same perceived value.  Perception is reality.
  • Waiting on security disasters is a risky way to make quota.
  • Use assessments to drive sales – download my “Creating Sales” booklet, now available on my LinkedIn Profile. If you are not linked to me – please do…
  • Use sound bites to sell – I will be sending out more sound bites through twitter, so make sure you subscribe to dstelzl… these should come from sources such as the Wall Street Journal.  This strategy works.  IT will not be able to challenge you.
  • Refuse to propose to influencers.  Instead, connect them with your technical people, provide them with the things they really need to be successful (technical wisdom and direction), and make your move to the asset owners.

© David Stelzl, 2010

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We’re back from a week of home school training – but along with great ideas for schooling comes some great thought provoking business concepts from the sessions I attended:

  • We need to be writers – writing forces you to think precisely.  This in turn enables you to speak persuasively.  Whether selling or running a business we all need this.  One speaker said, “What book are you writing?”  We should all be writing a book on the lessons we’ve learned and how to succeed.
  • Clutter creates confusion, slows down learning, leads to irritability and stress.  Take a look at your desk.  Perhaps post it on You Tube!
  • 4% of new businesses make the first 10 years.  What are you doing to be on the list of successful companies?  Not all of them will be profitable – this requires extra thinking.  So what are you doing to stay alive that the other 96% just won’t do?
  • Everyone needs a coach, wise counselors, and great books to read.  Success doesn’t just happen.
  • Whether in sales or running a company, you need a clear vision – one that makes sense.  If your vision is to make a certain amount of money, it probably won’t happen.  Making money is the result of a well constructed plan and vision, not the core of it.  It’s just one of the gauges of success.
  • Fire your team every year – mentally.  Picture everyone gone, then figure out who you will rehire for the coming year.  Those that don’t make the cut have been on staff too long.
  • Hire the right people.  Things you don’t like in the interview will be even more annoying once they start.  Once hired – invest in them.  Everyone needs training in order to keep growing.  This is expensive, yet if costs less than having untrained people, or people who over time, lose their edge.
  • Stay out of debt.  Companies that take on big debt to grow are making a mistake.  Interest will eat at your profits for years to come.  Remember, top line revenue is a poor measure of success.
  • Avoid 50/50 partnerships – they rarely work.
  • Charge the right amount.  Companies tend to charge too little for their consulting services.  This requires a solid value proposition, but is necessary to grow.
  • If you want to make a million dollars, then you had better have million dollar people, million dollar coaching, million dollar training, and million dollar abilities.

© David Stelzl, 2010

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