People often tell me, “You’re lucky – you’re in the technology industry with so many opportunities.” Sure, luck plays a part – in any business. But any good leader will agree that success includes an element of good timing.
In my last blog, I talked about the three questions we ask ourselves to determine the right time to launch a new product or service. Being in the right place at the right time can certainly accelerate a company’s growth. So how can you influence timing? Here are a few ways we do it:
- Intentionally put the cart before the horse.
Marco started as a typewriter shop in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and then transitioned to an office products company with a focus on office supplies and furniture. Today we’re recognized nationally as a leading technology services company. This was very intentional. We invested in the expertise and infrastructure to execute on this business strategy to make the transformation possible. The first step in influencing timing is organizing yourself so you’re operationally ready before you go to market. For example, we recently began to offer cloud services. Although it may seem like we’re coming late to the game, actually we have been preparing for several years. In 2007 we began to invest in our client service center (people, systems, facilities and processes) to position ourselves for offering cloud services - which today is part of our fastest growing business unit. The resources were put in place far before we realized an effective return on our investment. Often times you have to put the cart (investment) before the horse (revenue).
- Pay close attention to trends in your industry.
Study and really understand where your industry is headed. Listen closely to industry experts, customers and employees. Recognize the valuable input these sources can provide to your business. Pay attention to trends and projections for what your industry could look like in the future. The opportunities as well as potential red flags should become more evident. I think our industry intelligence has helped us be prepared for our future. How well do you know your industry and are you ready for what’s coming?
- Be prepared to execute.
As leaders we hear about opportunities all the time, but how often do we actually execute them? The ability to turn an idea into action in short order is key to influencing timing. Marco has had to transition time and time again to adapt and take advantage of opportunities. In the 80’s it was office products; in the 90’s it was voice and data networking; it was audio/video systems in the early 2000’s; and most recently it is managed and cloud services. The pace of change certainly has accelerated and it has become even more important to recognize opportunities and act quickly.