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Bluestar and its partners embracing change

Since the theme of this event was about change, I thought I would first give you my two-cents on “to change or not to change”…

Most everyone in the IT channel has experienced some significant changes and challenges. Unless some crazy thing happens in the World (which is quite possible), change seems highly likely to continue for the foreseeable future. As such in business, we must all adapt and adjust to the new ways the customers are thinking and buying. Failure to do so may simply marginalize your business.

Change is a choice!

The big question is how to actually change. To answer that, you need to first ask yourself “why is change necessary?” If you can answer the “why”, then everything else is not so difficult. Maybe this is the basic hurdle preventing many from changing their ways in business.

“I have been doing it this way for so long and it worked” or “I am looking to exit so I do not want to make the investment and effort to change” or “I am unique and my customers love me so bring on the competition”, and the biggie “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Believe it or not, these might be all fair reasons against change.

Regardless if you are for or against change, you must have a good enough reason. People have to validate their “why” by themselves. Stubborn people are constantly convincing themselves of their position so unless you’re an evangelist, why bother. The World was once flat and yet none of these flat-world believers ever fell off the earth. There were no grave consequences to their belief. To the contrary, the round-earth believers were persecuted. That said, the round-world believers went on to have great adventures as they explored the planet and gained more riches.

Fear of change and fear of the unknown has a way of stopping you from being all you can be in your one-life-to-live persona. Some of those who venture out into the unknown will fail. The no-change camp likes to point to these failures for reassurance and in defense of their position. Nothing is really wrong with that except to do something amazing with your life may require a good dose of adventure, dreaming and the unknown. For those who live this way, you know the feeling and surly you would never live any other way. In some ways, this is what makes you feel alive!

If you can finally get over the hurdle of “Why” change, there is a lot of support available to help you do it right and prevent making costly mistakes. We know exactly how to help VARs and MSPs change and transition into the next generation of IT solution providers. We have been busy studying their DNA for many years. Like all humans, their DNA are the same but with subtle differences. In some ways, we approach the challenge like a doctor. We do a series of lab tests and we analyze the results, then we prescribe a remedy – can be as simple as some lifestyle changes or taking some medicine, but in other cases it requires invasive surgery.

If you are ready to take the very first step (even if you have not yet figured out your “Why”) then take a FREE best business practice assessment test at www.bestmanageditcompanies.com. You will at least understand your weaknesses in your business. You may even discover a few strengths that you did not realize that you had. Unless you are afraid to know the truth about your own business, why not roll up your sleeves and answer the 200 questions. Just by seeing the right questions it may start to spark a few ideas of change.

Bluestar Canada’s new president Michel Sirois urges his VARs to embark on a business journey of transformation and change with him. He acknowledges that his distribution company also needs to evolve with the changing market. It is a very smart move and one that will test his leadership. Michel’s “Let’s do it together” approach is a great way to lead the charge! The payoff can be huge for everyone.

Michel also challenged his customers to dig deeper and advise their clients about best practices to help them excel in business. Become the very best advisors to your customers by proactively recommending ways for them to improve instead of just following. When you truly understand your customer’s business as much as or better than they do, then you are ahead of the curve and competition.

Michael also outlined how his company and team can actually support their VARs to better understand best practices and solutions within their target industries. Between their experience and that of their vendors, they can help find solutions and uncover new opportunities. It is not something that you need to do by yourself.

Stop talking the talk and start walking the walk…. Already Bluestar is introducing more cutting edge Cloud solutions in POS and a host of related technologies including automated ordering and IoT. The retail and hospitality industry are seeing a lot of dramatic changes as consumers’ buying habits are morphing, especially with the younger generation.

The digital social marketplace is redefining the relationships between all parties. Big competitors are exploiting the digital landscape and reeking havoc with traditional players. In essence, they are changing the rules of the game. It would be wise to understand your competition as well the needs of your customers so you can adapt your thinking and way of doing business. Failure to do this may spell “KODAK”.

I was happy to be part of the panel discussion (Julian Lee, Jim Roddy, Róisín Bonner, Lindsay Notwell and Jared Bernatt, hosted by Dean Reverman) as we talked about a variety of things including disruption and the future of the channel, trends, digital marketing, digital transformation and what G5 will mean for the World with its 1,000 times faster than current speeds. In 5 words “I cannot wait for G5!”

The panelists shared some great insights – too many to list here. I suggested that while we all understand the future is changing, that you must also find out how you fit into that future. I also suggested that your digital strategy is a lot more than your web site, but if your website is not up to par, then you are not ready to exploit the benefits of digital marketing. Remember your web site is your digital destination. What will people see and do when they get there?

Unfortunately, if you missed this event then you missed all of its valuable content. Now, you will never know what you could have learned to help you. You have to make time to work ON your business instead of just IN your business. There are always reasons not to do something, but if you can find a way, attend more conferences, as I believe that they are the workplaces of the future. It’s where you can learn and discover things that you never knew. The good news? You can have another opportunity to learn at the upcoming ChannelNEXT Central on June 5-6 in Ontario! Try not to miss it!

Here three cool things from three Canadian companies that I saw at the Bluestar event. I never knew these companies before so its more proof that events is where you discover new things!

  1. Atom Technology – They make the hardware kiosks and software that restaurants use to allow their customers to order food, without speaking to a human. It reduces lineups and saves the restaurant money from not hiring people. Not sure if this is good for society as it replaces jobs, but I can see this tool being used more in the future. Have you ever been to The Netherlands and bought “real” food from a vending machine without ever interacting with a human? This was happening decades ago! Did you know that when you speak to the “person” at the drive thru of your favorite fast food joint, that it is an automated voice recognition system that is actually taking and entering your order? This stuff is already all round us and it will get more pervasive. Atom Tech is a Markham-based company.

2. Smartpixel – They make a fantastic application that drives touch screen displays. They help customers to navigate every aspect of a real estate purchase without the help of an agent. I saw a demo and honestly, it was amazing. Even showed the impact of the sunshine on the suite. Allowed you to roam the neighborhood! The applications beyond real estate are mind-boggling. Smartpixel is a Montreal-based company

3. Cozumo – They make a big data analytical solution that automatically generates personalized offers for consumers to buy, in real time. This can be a game changer of retailers looking to get a competitive advantage by practically using data to influence the buying decisions of customers. Squeeze more up-sell purchases from every buyer. I really do not know how this works, but it seems to be something that will only get smarter over time. For all the talk about big data, this seems to be one real-world usage of the technology that can impact sales today. Cozumo is a Toronto-based company.

If you wish to meet and carry on this discussion in person, come to our ChannelNEXT event on June 5-6!