Saturday, August 29, 2009

SMBA Keynote - Community is Important

Ingram’s SMB Alliance group just ended their annual event in Charlotte. It was a very well executed and valuable event for the couple hundred partners who attended, and in that mix were a number of HTG members who took advantage of the membership they have in SMBA because of the HTG-Ingram relationship and partnership. I was honored to deliver a keynote on Friday morning as part of the event, and would like to share a bit of the content I shared since many were not in attendance. I would encourage you now to put a hold on August 29-31, 2010 for the next event to be held in Orlando.

The first topic is the value of community.

HTS (our VAR reseller company) has grown to our present state because of our participation in community. We have been active in Ingram’s VTN, HTG, Exchange, CompTIA and others. Community gives us a lot of value and has been key to our growth. So what kinds of things do we get from spending time with our peers?

Community has provided perspective. Without it you don’t know what “good” is. So many partners operate their organizations in a vacuum and have no way to know if they are doing well or not. Both SMBA and HTG offer benchmarking opportunities provided by Service Leadership for members to be able to compare how they are doing with their peers. That information is critical to be able to make adjustments in how you run your business. Without it, you are guessing at best. The opportunity goes further in a peer group when you really “get naked” with each other and openly disclose and discuss those numbers and benchmarks in complete and total detail.

Community has provided relationships. Because of our participation in channel communities, we have been able to build deep and valuable relationships with key executives and staff at our distributors, vendors, peer organizations, subject matter experts and media folks. We would never have had the opportunity to even meet many of these people if it weren’t for the opportunity to connect through community.

Community has provided guidance. Without it the ability to stay relevant is more difficult. Through community we have been able to share and receive many best practices from companies that have already figured out the problems we were facing. There is no reason for anyone to figure out every mistake on their own. We need to learn from one another. In HTG we talk about the go giver version of SWIPE – share with intent and purpose every day.

Community has provided growth for us at HTS. We have completed 5 M&A’s as a result of relationships in communities we participate in. Good things happen when you spend time with others. It allows for sharing of values and life, and provides the opportunity to get acquainted with other business owners and find those compatible and interested in working together or even joining forces. The risk goes way down because there is a great trust level and deeper understanding of each other.

Community has provided success. That is the bottom line. Our company would be nowhere close to where it is today if we had not got involved in community. It takes work. It requires time. It costs money. But all things that matter do. And the more you invest, the more you will receive. Community is where the Go Giver mentality really works best. But thinking about getting involved, wishing you would take the step, pondering what it might do for your company – none of that matters. You have to take the time and be part of community to gain the benefits. Thinking about it doesn’t count.

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