Changing Your Perspective On CHANGE
VARs and integrators - don't run from changes in your business and industry. Actively seek out change and look for the hidden opportunity for profits.
Have you ever seen a hurricane? A hurricane approaches fast and furiously and leaves a path of destruction everywhere it touches. Its victims are forced to start all over again and rebuild their communities. Yet, even with advances in technology, a hurricane is still hard to predict far in advance.
At a recent reseller conference for Cougar Mountain Software I attended, a motivational speaker, named Doug Stevenson, used the hurricane as an analogy for change. There are a lot of similarities between a hurricane and change. People fear and often run from change. Change alters the shape of things and requires individuals to start over. And, change is often very hard to see coming.
Thriving In An Industry Filled With Changes
Change isn't foreign to VARs and integrators. In fact, changes occur in our industry daily. So, how do VARs and integrators protect themselves from possible destruction? Stevenson advised them to "be proactive - not reactive."
Our cover feature VAR, Radiant Systems, Inc., is a good example of a company that sought out and conquered change. With origins in developing point of sale (POS) software for video stores, Radiant Systems saw that retail technology was expanding beyond traditional markets and technologies.
The Atlanta VAR jumped into specialty vertical markets like quick change oil locations, automotive service stations, car washes and convenience stores. Radiant Systems also added wireless, bar code, and Internet technologies to its product offerings.
The result? Radiant Systems achieved a compounded annual growth rate of 120% in the last five years and $78 million in 1997 gross sales. Few could argue that change wasn't a good thing for that business.
Change Will Require You To Leave Your Comfort Zone
Now, I'm not naive enough to think that every VAR that transforms its business will achieve this level of success. And, even Radiant Systems encountered setbacks and made some bad choices along the way.
However, change does require VARs and integrators to leave their comfort zone - something not every business is willing to do. Many of the VARs I met at the Cougar Mountain reseller conference were well established, selling a set product line to set markets. Straying outside these areas would be scary - if not risky to some of them. But, in the end, new, bold directions could lead to greater opportunities.
Change Leads To New Directions
I met one Alaskan VAR at the reseller conference who regularly dares to enter uncharted areas. Mark Weisman of Altman, Rogers & Co. continually conquers new technology, installations, and markets - whatever the customer requires.
His product offerings have expanded from accounting and point of sale systems to include kiosks, wireless, bar code, electronic commerce, networking, and the Internet. Weisman has installations in retail, grocery, hotels, convenience and general businesses.
Look For Change, Don't React To It
Doug Stevenson challenged us to re-think our attitude toward change. Look at it as an opportunity - not a problem. Author Geoffery Moore in his sequel to Crossing The Chasm, appropriately titled, Inside The Tornado, claims that a company's continued success is built on its ability to identify and meet the needs of hypergrowth markets and profit niches.
So, instead of running from change, why not step into the eye of this hurricane? That way, you can meet change head on.