Despite all the changes the IT channel has seen over the past three decades, basic principles that govern business practices still prevail. The ASCII Group is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and founder, chairman, and CEO Alan Weinberger says throughout the group’s history, he has seen that conducting business ethically, forming partnerships within the channel community, and achieving a work-life balance have continued to be keys to success.
Weinberger says as solutions providers strive to attain a trusted advisor role, they must be honest, truthful, and ethical. Referring to Albert Einstein’s quote, “Relativity applies to physics, not ethics,” he comments, “Einstein said ethics and truth in the personal sphere are not relative. They’re absolute. That was his concept and that, I think, is a perennial concept.” He adds, “Solutions providers have an ethical obligation to do what’s best for their customers.” Weinberger points out that this doesn’t apply only to management. Adopting the idea of “slow to hire, quick to fire” can help ensure that you have a team who also conducts themselves with character, trustworthiness, and honesty.
As an organization, Weinberger says The ASCII Group members aspire to these principles, and the group has “helped smaller businesses owners over the years to better educate themselves, learn together, grow together, and grow as a team.” Weinberger gives an example of one business owner who joined the group 20 years ago. He ran a one-man shop and felt he had no one he could trust. “He felt he was an island.”
After joining The ASCII Group, Weinberger says, “He found out he had hundreds of people around the country that he could trust and at any second could help out on a customer need. Because of that, he actually didn’t feel like an island anymore. He could take a vacation. He expanded his business and he felt the power of the community helped him in a way he could never do himself.”
Weinberger comments, “You should have a work-life balance where you can leave the office, be able to be with your family and friends — but not working 90 hours a week … You won’t get the most out of your work day.” As an ethic of business ownership, he adds, “Make sure the staff understands that there’s more to life than just work.”