One of the projects for my Sales Action Plan is to identify my business' niche. What we are specifically here to do, and who we are specifically here to serve. I'm tired of answering the question, "What do you do" with the generic answer of "I do IT work," or, "I do anything computer related." While deep down I think I know my passions in the industry and what our company is uniquely positioned to do, I have never put that down into words. Now is the time. In this post, I want to do some writing to answer the question, "What do you do?" I want to describe our Ideal Customer. I want to crystallize our unique place in the land of business, IT, and solutions.
What Do You Do?
I'm going to start general, and move to specific. For several years, my business card has described our business' offerings as "Data Driven Software and Web Development, Networking, and IT Support." While that's very true, and possibly even appropriate for a business card, it hardly answers the question I'm seeking to answer. Those may be the end products and services we provide, but I want to be able to tell someone what we have to offer them: what problems we can solve, what ideas we can transform into reality, and what efficiencies we can turn into profit. So here goes...
I help organizations transform ideas into reality by harnessing the power of the information and technology to create unique solutions.
Too Vague and too wordy.
I want something that is more specific than ideas/reality and "unique solutions." While there are a variety of technologies and industries we have worked with in the past, I don't think specifically naming them is appropriate, but perhaps listing them here is:
- Corporate / Franchise relationships through reporting, data transfers, and remote access to information via the web.
- Map-based information that incorporates geographic information unique to the organization, such as a route.
- Integrating 3rd party products including Microsoft applications via software hooks and customized programming.
- Creating and implementing networks that provide anyone-who-needs-it access to whatever-they-need, including VPNs, Remote Access, etc.
- Maintaining secure and up-to-date computer systems across an office network connected to the internet.
- Harnessing the power of available information such as public info on the internet, data available through third party applications, downloads from private sources, or even data stored in other applications / documents that can be linked / read into another application.
- Facilitating communication between computer systems in a sometimes-connected environment (unreliable internet, employees with cellular access roaming the state, etc.).
I take an organization's ideas that seem roadblocked by technology and develop a unique solution incorporating data-driven software, unique network designs, and already-available hardware and software.
That seems a little more specific. It's kind of long-winded, though... also a little negative - a lot of people aren't roadblocked by the technology; in fact, they may not even see it's full potential. That's where I like to step in and say "yes, that's a great idea... and we could make that work. It would look like this." I like to discover their ideas, how they want the system to function within the realm of their way of doing things, and then provide a solution that is efficient, fast, useful in the scenarios in which my customers find themselves, and better than other solutions out there, especially solutions that can be bought off a shelf for a lower price.
I help organizations reach their full potential by harnessing the power of technology and information available to them. I provide unique solutions to unique problems that integrate the complete technology system: The network, servers, PC's, existing applications, and ultimately, unique software solutions.
That's getting somewhere. Some things I like in that are:
- I like the word help. I am not someone you throw a problem and money at and out pops a solution. We work with our customers, discovering the real problem / need / want and then working with them to provide a solution that not only solves the problems and meets the needs, but that also fits into the way they do business.
- "Reach their full potential". I like that because I also enjoy helping people reach their full potential in my personal life. I like seeing those who think they don't have what it takes step into what they long to be - teachers, leaders, fathers.
- I also like the word harness. I don't feel that my company invents everything we do. We don't do everything from scratch. We take much of what is already there and put it to work. In fact, that's a catch phrase I'm thinking of... "We put your information to work."
- I like the phrase "provide unique solutions to unique problems." It's kind of vague, but emphasizes the way we treat each customer as its own entity, not as something we need to fit into a box WE define.
- I like the word "integrate." I think we do a lot of that - putting things together, finding puzzle pieces that will make a solution work without reinventing the wheel ten times over.
I see a few problems, too.
- I think I may be over-using the word unique.
- I think the list at the end is a little long. Perhaps useful as additional explanation, but probably would draw the focus away from everything else if someone had to keep track of all that.
Well, that's a lot further than I was earlier today, or even earlier in the past six years. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this, but this has been good. I'd welcome your thoughts, criticisms, or ideas.