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2014: The Journey Begins


Vic LevinsonBy Vic Levinson

For some people, New Year’s is a time for going out and reveling painting the town red, partying and celebrating the end of one year. For others, it is a time of reflection and setting goals. I dont mean to be a killjoy, but while my staff enjoyed the hiatus between Christmas and New Years Day, I spent time in the office trying to develop a 2014 strategy.

Strategy” is a one of those cool words that gets (way) over used. Basically, it means an accurate assessment of where you are, where you want to go to and how you are going to do that. Think of it much in the same way that you would think of an airplane taking off from Chicago OHare and landing at Los Angeles LAX. Beginning and end points are certain, a flight plan is decided upon and the plane takes off. Wind, weather and other factors will determine the exact route and dictate what adjustments need to be made to that plan.

Being a typical voice VAR (interconnect and agent) and knowing that we need to develop our business to embrace the cloud, strategy means taking a look objectively at our strengths and weaknesses.

Point A: Where are we taking off from?

  • What do we do well?
  • Who is our typical client?
  • What verticals are we well placed in?
  • What are the commonalities across our clients?
  • Who are our best clients? Why are they our best clients?
  • Who do we develop our relationships with at clients?
  • What skills do we have that will translate well as we move into cloud?
  • How do we perfect those areas in which we are weak?
  • What is the best way to train our staff?
  • Do our marketing efforts reflect the change in focus?
  • Who is our competition? Why?

Point B: Where do we want to go?

  • What cloud applications are out there that we can easily introduce to our clients?
  • What cloud applications play to our strengths?
  • Who are the vendors that we want to work with?
  • How do we want to work with them do we want to work directly or through our existing master agent?
  • What do we plan to earn from the solutions? What is the average lead time for decision, implementation and compensation?

Strategy: How are we going to get there?

Stress” can be defined as being accountable for something that you are not in control of. Making the transition to the cloud a success means minimizing stress for my staff. I know that they work poorly when they are stressed. One of the issues that came up repeatedly in the past was that they were unclear of the onboarding process for getting clients onto specific cloud applications.

We also recognized that whereas we are experts in one area, we need to seek expertise in other areas. This involves seeking out the best vendors and professional organizations to help us successfully develop into the kind of organization we want to become. I reached out to both the professional associations and to colleagues that exemplify that for me. If you want to be a great company, find other great companies that are out there and investigate what makes them great.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” We selected the vendors we are going to work with, and we are in the process of onboarding and training our staff.  The training calendar is full and everyone knows what to expect. Our vendors have been instrumental in providing us with the tools to make this a success!

As is flashed on the screen in the best series cliff-hangers: ”To Be Continued.”

Founder and president of

Prime Telecommunications

, Vic Levinson has more than 20 years of industry experience as an interconnect and authorized reseller for Avaya and Allworx, hosted IP telephony solutions connectivity and cloud applications. He has been instrumental in setting up the channel marketing program for SNET Communications, a Chicago-based hosted IP telephony provider. He is also a member of the

2013-14 Channel Partners Advisory Board

.


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