I’ve been to my share of industry conferences and have sat through my share of keynote speakers. So, when I saw that Herm Edwards, ESPN analyst and former NFL coach and player, was speaking, I expected a speech filled with touching and humorous NFL stories tied to life lessons and motivational wisdom. Edwards delivered all that, but in a way that exceeded my expectations.
I’m not going to list all his nuggets of sage advice and quips here, but I did notice that some of his points were very germane to break/fix VARs not yet moving to the as-a-Service model.
“The starting point of all achievement is passion.” When I speak with many old school VARs who are dragging their feet with the move to the as-a-Service model, I sense a lack of passion with what they do. Maybe they feel too old to learn new tricks or know that the journey won’t be easy. If you don’t have the passion for your business, the industry, and helping your customers, the transition might never happen for you or it might take longer than it should.
“You must have a game plan that includes where you currently are in your business, as well as where you want to be now and in the future.” Many VARs are in a break/fix mode because they didn’t take the time to look into the future. Many are stuck because, despite my best efforts to educate, they aren’t making the time to come up with a plan. “A goal without a plan is a wish.”
“Focus on the objectives, not the obstacles.” I can’t tell you how many times I hear excuses why a VAR isn’t adopting a services-based model. It’s really easy to simply focus on obstacles and bemoan all the challenges you face rather than spend the time and energy to figure out how to make it work for you.
“Have realistic expectations.” While I firmly believe that a services-based model is the most sustainable and profitable business model now and in the future, making the transition isn’t easy for most and might take some time. Talk with others who’ve made the switch to learn about the pitfalls and challenges you might have to overcome, but realize that your journey will be different from theirs. “People resist chance because it takes energy to do something different. Change is called growth.”
“Have energy, you must set the tone.” This goes back to your passion. If your employees don’t see a good attitude and feel like you’re fully invested in the adoption of services, you can create an unsteady team. To improve buy-in and take advantage of everyone’s talents, “create a culture where everyone feels like they have ownership.” This will allow you to get the most from your team.
Edwards concluded by talking about legacy. He was specifically referring to being a good human and good employee. However, I couldn’t help but realize that the as-a-Service model also brings with it a legacy in the book of recurring revenue you can build. That book will be quite valuable when it’s time to sell your company or pass it on to a family member. Conversely, your legacy could be a dried up business no one wants to buy or a month-to-month business passed on to your kids.