10 tips for solution provider success

By Jennifer Bosavage, on Sep 3, 2012 7:07 AM
Filed under Services

Rewards without anxiety.

Starting something new is scary - especially if you're counting on it generating a profit to pay the bills. Creating a business can be nerve-wracking, but it also can be rewarding, both financially and emotionally.

Here are 10 tips on how to reap more of the rewards, and less of the anxiety.

1. Have a customer base to start. Often, that means working on the side to build business while you have a full-time job. 

2. Not all money is created equal. Your choice of capital partner needs to be just as strategic as any other decision. That can be a tough piece of advice to follow, because when a company is just starting, especially when it's in the concept stage, it's hard to turn down money. However, many entrepreneurs find themselves regretting their early partners as they grow.

3. Look for ways to get as much work as possible done with as few resources as possible. That doesn't mean being lazy; just the opposite. Starting a business means wearing many different hats for quite some time. 

4. Hire carefully. Rock stars rarely pan out. As entrepreneurs reach a certain size, they need to bring in talent to get their business to the next level.

Instead, build a team. Employees should complement one another. And don't be afraid of unproven talent, a mistake large, established companies often make. Consider competence, capability and an ability to fit in with the team, and then look at the resume.

5. Lead. No one wants to work for or do business with someone who seems lost. However, not all entrepreneurs are born leaders. It may be a skill you have to learn.

6. Focus first on systems. Technology is the foundation of a solution provider's business. A successful company must ensure it has a strong, stable technology infrastructure early on. Not having to worry about whether things will actually work saves headaches and money later on, and that's a big advantage.

Often, startups will have one large partner that is critical to the fledgling firm's success. If the IT infrastructure can't meet the big customer's needs, it could lead to the end of the solution provider. VARs should find partners that will sell their services, and then be certain the solution can be implemented reliably and economically.

7. Make sure clients' needs are met. Regardless of what is built or sold, you are a solution provider. That means your business is built first and foremost on personal relationships. When customers are made to feel important to their solution providers, they are more apt to engage that VAR for future projects.

8. Understand the fine line between bleeding edge and cutting edge. Invest in new technology. Forge relationships in the venture capital arena, find bleeding-edge technology, and research it from a finance and management standpoint. By the time the company is vetted and brought on board, it has moved from "bleeding-edge" to "cutting-edge."

9. Leverage the cloud. The cloud levels the playing field for startup companies.

10. Understand finances. Either have a good grasp of accounting, or bring in someone that does. It's a good idea that this person, while fitting into the team, also looks at the business differently than you. A different perspective can help identify issues that could turn into major difficulties down the road. 

It's important to know your strengths--and not forget your weaknesses.


This article originally appeared at crn.com

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10 tips for solution provider success
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