Last week I was in Boston for the 2013 ASCII Success Summit, wearing my blue pants and proudly representing ModernOffice Suite. It was a great show with tons of networking opportunities and of course lots of collaboration. I had the chance to chat with various ASCII members and learn more about their businesses.
During the welcome reception a couple of members and I were trying to come up with ideas on how an IT business can tackle the market and improve their ‘stickiness.' We bounced a couple of ideas around. Eventually we came up with some great suggestions and then I left them with some food for thought: What would you suggest to small IT businesses so they can compete on a larger scale?
Here is what I came up with:
1. Stay Fresh
Be ready to answer this question: Who are your clients? Dedicate time to understand what it is your clients are after and how you can provide it for them. Just like in a relationship, make them love you for life. Be committed to provide them with fresh content and ideas. Keep in mind that if you don’t spice it up then they may dump you for someone who will.
2. Get a handle on your marketing efforts
Where are you spending your time? Identify which markets provide you with bigger profits. Once you have identified this go after that market. Stick to what people are responding to. Don’t be afraid to test out new horizons which may lead you to what you’ve been looking for. This goes along with Jim Collins’ approach: Fire bullets then cannonballs. Test out your ideas with small commitments and once you find a method that works. Then go after it with the big guns.
As a longtime supporter of the IT Nation, we at ExchangeDefender value the ConnectWise IT Nation for much more than potential business sales: For us it is about product and solution development. Every year we sit down with our partners and lay out our roadmap and let our partners help us prioritize our agenda. Is a feature nice to have, completely critical or irrelevant? Would the clients pay for it, would it save management and deployment time or help upsell other solutions? More importantly, how many of your peers feel the same way? Majority of feature requests sound good on paper but can be biased by how well the request is sold – what really matters in a solution is how well it fits overall and how many people can make it a success. Last year, we asked these questions and the two most demanded items were affordable email archiving and hosting.
It is no secret that the IT Solution Providers are being challenged by large vendors who are giving away consumer email solutions marketed for business. Positioning a high end enterprise solution in small business is going to fail, particularly when the prospect doesn’t understand or appreciate all the features. We knew how to build an affordable archiving product, all we needed to know is which features would be appreciated and which ones could be used as an upsell.
Any Partner who attended IT Nation 2011 will tell you it was a huge hit, but how big was it really? Successful projects can and should be measured, so to help us all understand the sheer size of the event we’ve crunched the numbers!
Take a look at the list below to get a unique view at what it took to make this year’s conference a success. There is a clear focus on providing plenty of opportunities to grow and of course having a great time:
1,000 pairs of owly sunglasses
512 photos shared
500 mardi gras beads worn
475 ice cream bars eaten
427 gallons of coffee consumed
148 flashmob volunteer dancers
144 tournament golfers
92 breakout sessions
62 event sponsors
8 partner’s choice awards
5 town hall meetings
4 pickup trucks
2 T-shirt cannons
1 unforgettable experience!
Check out the slideshow above and see the best moments of IT Nation 2011. Love photos? Want to see more? Visit our dedicated IT Nation 2011 album, no registration or login required!
This year 40% of the IT Nation attendees were there for the first time, making this event bigger and better than ever! If you were unable to attend, you missed an amazing conference, but thankfully it all happens again in 2012: November 8th, 9th, and 10th. As a newer member of the ConnectWise team, I was also an IT Nation Newbie, so for any of you who have not attended yet, here are my three biggest surprises at IT Nation:
The Sheer Size of the Event
I was immediately amazed as I walked into the Floridian Ballroom for Thursday morning’s Keynote! The room was enormous, the backdrop was certainly attention grabbing, and almost every single chair was filled. I knew there was going to be about 1,600 people in attendance, but seeing everyone in the same room was so exciting.
It wasn’t just the keynote – the schedule itself was big. There were so many sessions, guest speakers and hands-on labs it was impossible to see and experience it all. If next year is your first year, as soon as the schedule is live on the IT Nation website, start planning, because you’ll want to do it all!
How Much I Learned
My job at this year’s IT Nation was to be a breakout room monitor. Thursday and Friday from 1pm - 6pm I was stationed in one room for all the sessions. At first I thought it would be a little much sitting through back to back breakouts, but I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed them. Each speaker did an excellent job presenting important material, engaging the partners and doing plenty of Q&A . It was great chance for me to learn more about your business practices, as well as a few things I didn’t yet know about ConnectWise. If next year is your first year, I know it may be tempting to go relax by the pool, but be sure to fill your day with breakout sessions.
Our players enjoyed a day on the Waldorf Astoria golf course, with lunch and an awards ceremony following. As you can see from this video, it was a great day for the whole team!
At IT Nation 2011, attendees were surprised with a flash mob at the start of the day Thursday. ConnectWise staff and volunteers had a blast jump-starting the day with a fun dance. See all the purple shirts? Those are ConnectWise staff, including me!
Arnie Bellini, ConnectWise CEO, discusses the new native iPhone and iPad apps and Mobility as an opportunity for the IT Nation. Other partners reflect on mobility as well.
Watch the ConnectWise CEO keynote address from this year's IT Nation conference in Orlando, Florida.
ConnectWise Channel YouTube Link: http://ow.ly/7vrii
Congratulations to the winners of our first IT Nation Partner's Choice Awards! Voted on by our attendees in Orlando, the winners in eight categories were announced at the Off the Grid wrap party Friday night.
Here are the results:
• Outstanding Software Solution – LabTech Software
• Outstanding Hardware Solution - SonicWALL
• Biggest Buzz - Quosal
• Most Compelling Channel Program - Axcient