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26 Posts authored by: jim_roddy

Want to raise my blood pressure? Waste my time. My nervous system reacts negatively to inefficiency in part because I can never get back the time that I’ve lost. If waste gives you the heebie-jeebies, then you’ll love 2 Second Lean – How to Grow People and Build a Lean Culture by business owner Paul Akers. 2 Second Lean was recommended to me by a highly efficient Worldpay software developer, and the book delivered on its promise to offer guidance to leaders of any size organization.

 

Below are what I found to be the most insightful excerpts from the book. For time-saving tips in video format, go to www.fastcap.com, click on the “Video” tab, and then click on “Lean Videos.”

 

  1. Two foundational principles of Lean thinking: eliminating waste and continuous improvement.
  2. Lean thinking presumes that everything can be improved continuously, without end.
  3. Finding the waste component is not a burden, it’s a game — a giant scavenger hunt.
  4. It’s not just about making everything faster, but about improving the quality of everything you do.
  5. Lean is the art of subtraction, not addition.
  6. Lean is about fixing what bugs you.
  7. Toyota was obsessed with building a culture through teaching and training its people.
  8. My goal was to create a culture of the best problem-solvers in the world. So we incorporated into our morning meeting a bit of reading out loud from great books. We are introducing our employees to world-class ideas and innovative leaders in the business world.
  9. The number one way people learn is by making mistakes. If you rob your culture of this experience, you will rob yourself of the boundless innovations that could await you.
  10. Chase waste like your dog chases a cat.
  11. Money suffocates creativity. When money is no object, we abdicate our most powerful resource: our ideas. It just gets too easy to throw money at problems.
  12. Lean is about planning, doing, checking, reevaluating, and improving everything endlessly.
  13. Lean is not an austerity program. Lean is eliminating non-value-added activity.
  14. Pointing fingers at someone else is not a kind thing to do and is definitely not as productive as solving your own problems.
  15. We are very deliberate in the way we hire people. We look for two characteristics – people who are humble and curious.
  16. Lean is hard work that makes everything easy.
  17. We do millions of dollars more in business with a similar size crew and we never work overtime. That is the difference between making continuous improvement a priority and doing it when it is convenient. Improving first not only gives you the improvement, it lightens the load and allows you to keep up with accelerating demand.
  18. Any time you train an individual intensely, you dramatically enhance their ability to perform a job consistently — significantly more so than those people who are only moderately or occasionally trained.
  19. You should not just focus on removing a small amount of waste from a particular step, because that step, in and of itself, might be waste.
  20. Our goal is for everything to be struggle-free – or to have zero struggle in every activity.
  21. The sign of a mature culture is being comfortable asking the questions, “What is it that I need to improve? Where is my waste? What do you see?”

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Worldpay Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer and On The Edge with Jim Roddy.

Sick of hearing about New Year’s resolutions you know you won’t keep because they’re too darn hard? Here’s an easy one for you: make your bed.

 

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life ... and Maybe the World

 

If you want to know why I make that recommendation, read my notes from Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven. The book is an expansion of the commencement speech Adm. McRaven gave at the University of Texas in 2014. (You might have seen it on YouTube; it has over 7 million views.)

 

Below are insightful excerpts from Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World that I hope will steer you and your team towards a more productive and rewarding future.

 

The 10 lessons I learned from Navy SEAL training

 

  1. Start your day with a task completed. Making my bed correctly was not going to be an opportunity for praise. It was expected of me. It was my first task of the day and doing it right was important. It demonstrated my discipline. It showed my attention to detail.
  2. You can’t go it alone. It takes a team of good people to get you to your destination in life. You cannot paddle the boat alone.
  3. Only the size of your heart matters. SEAL training was always about proving something. Proving that size doesn’t matter. Proving that the color of your skin wasn’t important. Proving that money didn’t make you better. Proving that determination and grit were always more important than talent.
  4. Life’s not fair — drive on! Life isn’t fair and the sooner you learn that the better off you will be.
  5. Failure can make you stronger. In life you’ll face a lot of failures. But, if you persevere, if you let those failures teach you and strengthen you, then you will be prepared to handle life’s toughest moments.
  6. You must dare greatly. The British Special Air Service’s motto was “Who Dares Wins.” To me the motto was more than about how the special forces operated as a unit; it was about how each of us should approach our lives.
  7. Stand up to the bullies. Courage is a remarkable quality. Without it, others will define your path forward. Without it, you are at the mercy of life’s temptations.
  8. Rise to the occasion. “No matter how dark it gets, you must complete the mission. This is what separates you from everyone else.” Somehow those words stayed with me for the next 30 years.
  9. Give people hope. If that one person could sing while neck deep in mud, then so could we. If that one person could endure the freezing cold, then so could we. If that one person could hold on, then so could we.
  10. Never, ever quit! If you quit, you will regret it for the rest of your life. Quitting never makes anything easier.

 

If you do these things, then you can change your life for the better … and maybe the world!

 

For more On the Edgecontent, please visit the Worldpay Partner Advantagewebsite.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancerand On The Edge with Jim Roddy.

The New Year is just around the corner – hooray! Before we douse ourselves in optimism and egg nog, allow me to share with you insights from a book that’s bound to make you temporarily less cheery. Acclaimed business author Jim Collins wrote How The Mighty Fall “to offer a research-grounded perspective of how decline can happen, even to those that appear invincible, so that leaders might have a better chance of avoiding their tragic fate.” He continued, “It’s a bit like studying train wrecks — interesting, in a morbid sort of way, but not inspiring.”

 

Clearly this isn’t the subject you’d raise at a New Year’s Eve party, but it’s something every ISV management team should contemplate, even if 2018 was your best year ever. Wait – let me rephrase. You should contemplate these lessons especially if 2018 was your best year ever. Collins writes, “There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do.”

 

Here are 20 additional insightful excerpts from How The Mighty Fall that I hope motivate you to appropriately adapt your business for next year and beyond:

 

Never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.

 

  1. I’ve come to see institutional decline like a staged disease: harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages, easier to detect but harder to cure in the later stages.
  2. Stage 1: Hubris born of success. Stage 1 kicks in when people become arrogant, regarding success virtually as an entitlement, and they lose sight of the true underlying factors that created success in the first place.
  3. Stage 2: Undisciplined pursuit of more. When an organization grows beyond its ability to fill its key seats with the right people, it has set itself up for a fall.
  4. Stage 3: Denial of risk and peril. Internal warning signs begin to mount, yet external results remain strong enough to explain away disturbing data.
  5. Stage 4: Grasping for salvation. How does its leadership respond? By lurching for a quick salvation or by getting back to the disciplines that brought about greatness in the first place?
  6. Stage 5: Capitulation to irrelevance or death.
  7. Organizational decline is largely self-inflicted, and recovery largely within our own control.
  8. Circuit City left itself exposed by not revitalizing its electronic superstores with as much passion and intensity as when it first began building that business two decades earlier.
  9. Great companies foster a productive tension between continuity and change.
  10. There’s nothing inherently wrong with adhering to specific practices and strategies but only if you comprehend the underlying why behind those practices, and thereby see when to keep them and when to change them.
  11. The best corporate leaders have an incurable compulsion to vacuum the brains of people they meet.
  12. From 1994 to 1998, Rubbermaid raced through the stages of decline so rapidly that it should terrify anyone who has enjoyed a burst of success.
  13. Packard’s Law states that no company can consistently grow revenues faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth and still become a great company.
  14. Any exceptional enterprise depends first and foremost upon having self-managed and self-motivated people — the number one ingredient for a culture of discipline.
  15. Whether a company sustains exceptional performance depends first and foremost on whether you continue to have the right people in power.
  16. Reorganizations and restructurings can create a false sense that you’re actually doing something productive.
  17. The very moment when we need to take calm, deliberate action, we run the risk of doing the exact opposite and bringing about the very outcomes we most fear.
  18. If you want to reverse decline, be rigorous about what not to do.
  19. Not all companies deserve to last.
  20. Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Be willing to change tactics, but never give up your core purpose.

 

Be willing to change tactics, but never give up your core purpose.

  

For more On the Edgecontent, please visit the Worldpay Partner Advantagewebsite.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancerand On The Edge with Jim Roddy.

I usually let book titles stand on their own, but I had to include the subtitle “Resolving the Heart of Conflict” along with The Anatomy of Peace or you might have just scrolled right past this article. I mean you’re an executive/software developer, not an army general, so what does “peace” have to do with you, right? But resolving conflict involving employees, customers, and vendors – well, that’s something you encounter most every day.

 

If you are the mess, you can clean it. Improvement doesn't depend on others.

 

The Anatomy of Peace doesn’t outline communication tactics for resolving conflicts as you might expect. Instead, the book digs below the surface and addresses our attitudes and misconceptions which cause disharmony in the first place, hence the “Heart of Conflict” subtitle. If you’re still thinking this book isn’t for you because your company culture is hunky dory because nobody yells or throws staplers, this passage from the book might change your mind: “Most wars between individuals are of the ‘cold’ rather than the ‘hot’ variety – lingering resentment, for example, grudges long-held, resources clutched to rather than shared, help not offered. These are the acts of war that most threaten our homes and workplaces.”

 

heart of peace vs heart of war

 

Here are 26 excerpts from The Anatomy of Peace that I hope bring harmony to you and everyone you engage with:

 

  1. Parties in conflict all wait on the same solution: they wait for the other party to change. Should we be surprised, then, when conflicts linger and problems remain?
  2. When they spoke, it was a kind of a verbal wrestling match, each of them trying to anticipate the other’s moves, searching for weaknesses they could exploit to force the other into submission. With no actual mat into which to press the other’s flesh, these verbal matches always ended in a draw: each of them claimed hollow victory while living with ongoing defeat.
  3. In the way we regard our children, our spouses, neighbors, colleagues, and strangers, we choose to see others either as people like ourselves or as objects.
  4. Lumping everyone of a particular race or culture or faith into a single stereotype is a way of failing to see them as people.
  5. Heart at Peace – Others are People: Hopes, needs, cares, and fears as real to me as my own.
  6. Heart at War – Others are Objects: Obstacles, vehicles, irrelevancies.
  7. Seeing an equal person as an inferior object is an act of violence. It hurts as much as a punch to the face.
  8. No conflict can be solved so long as all parties are convinced they are right. Solution is possible only when at least one party begins to consider how he might be wrong.
  9. If we are going to find lasting solutions to difficult conflicts we first need to find our way out of the internal wars that are poisoning our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward others. If we can't put an end to the violence within us, there is no hope for putting an end to the violence without.
  10. As painful as it is to receive contempt from another, it is more debilitating by far to be filled with contempt for another.
  11. When I see others as objects, I dwell on the injustices I have suffered in order to justify myself, keeping my mistreatments and suffering alive within me.
  12. If I think I am superior, I can excuse a lot of sins.
  13. I may not be responsible for the things he's done. But I am responsible for what I've done.
  14. Whenever I dehumanize another, I necessarily dehumanize all that is human – including myself.
  15. The question for you as the leader is whether you are going to create an environment that is as enjoyable for your people as it is for you – a place that they are as excited about and devoted to as you are.
  16. If you are the mess, you can clean it. Improvement doesn't depend on others.
  17. Five questions that will help you to ponder your situation anew:
    1. What are this person's or people’s challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?
    2. How am I, or some group of which I am a part, adding to these challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?
    3. In what other ways have I or my group neglected or mistreated this person or group?
    4. In what ways are my better-than, I-deserved, worse-than, and need-to-be-seen-as boxes obscuring the truth about others and myself and interfering with potential solutions?
    5. What am I feeling I should do for this person or group? What can I do to help?
  18. When we have recovered those sensibilities towards others, we must then act on them. We need to honor the senses we have rather than betray them.
  19. What would be a problem is to insist that others need to change while being unwilling to consider how we ourselves might need to change too.
  20. Correction alone rarely gets others to change.
  21. Correction is by nature provocational.
  22. When our correction isn't working, we normally bear down harder and correct more.
  23. Teach and communicate: It is no good trying to teach if I myself am not listening and learning.
  24. Learning keeps reminding us that we might be mistaken in our views and opinions.
  25. Peace is invited only when an intelligent outward strategy is married to a peaceful inward one. If we don't get our hearts right, our strategies won't much matter.
  26. May you have the honesty and courage to do what our homes, our workplaces, and our communities most need: to see all as people — even, and perhaps especially, when others are giving you a reason not to.

  

For more On the Edgecontent, please visit the Worldpay Partner Advantagewebsite.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancerand On The Edge with Jim Roddy.

Naysayers never built a great enterprise.

 

A conversation I had with the owner of a Worldpay ISV partner three months ago went something like this:

  • ISV: “There’s this great salesperson I’ve known for years – he’s the kind of guy who could open lots of doors for us. I’ve been trying to convince him to join our team for six or seven weeks now, but he’s still not sure.”
  • Me: “Wouldn’t you prefer to have someone who might have less relevant experience but really wants to work for you? Wouldn’t you prefer to have someone who’s excited about the job and your company? If you’re begging someone to join you, you’re probably going to have to beg them to stay.”
  • ISV: “I hadn’t thought of it that way. I’ll have to think about that.”

 

I reconnected with that same ISV executive just a few weeks ago, and our chat went something like this:

  • ISV: “I hired a salesperson. I’ve known her for a while and she always spoke highly of our company, but I hadn’t considered her because her experience wasn’t in our industry. But when I mentioned the job, she jumped at the opportunity. She said, ‘I would love to sell software. I would love to work with you guys.’ What was supposed to be a dinner turned into a four-hour conversation about strategy and growing my business.”

 

Because passion can’t be found on a resume, many hiring managers don’t go looking for it. But if you hire someone without a passion for your company, your values, your culture, your product, your industry, etc. you’re likely going to be disappointed in their performance and will be looking for their replacement soon.

 

Instead of me haranguing you more about passion, let’s hear from former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in excerpts from his book Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time:

 

(Note: These 36 excerpts have been whittled down from the original list of 120 quotes I highlighted in the book when I first read it in 2010. In other words, the summary below is a Tall, not a Venti.)

 

  1. Care more than others think wise. Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible.
  2. If people relate to the company they work for, if they form an emotional tie to it and buy into its dreams, they will pour their heart into making it better.
  3. My story is as much one of perseverance and drive as it is of talent and luck. I willed it to happen. I took my life in my hands, learned from anyone I could, grabbed what opportunity I could, and molded my success step by step.
  4. I’d encourage everyone to dream big, lay your foundations well, absorb information like a sponge, and not be afraid to defy conventional wisdom.
  5. Every company must stand for something. Starbucks stood not only for good coffee, but specifically for the dark-roasted flavor profile that the founders were passionate about. That’s what differentiated it and made it authentic.
  6. You don’t just give the customers what they ask for. If you offer them something they’re not accustomed to, something so far superior that it takes a while to develop their palates, you can create a sense of discovery and excitement and loyalty that will bond them to you.
  7. As boss, if you close your ears to new ideas, you may end up closing off great opportunities for your company.
  8. Naysayers never built a great enterprise.
  9. If you stop being the scrappy underdog, fighting against the odds, you risk the worst fate of all: mediocrity.
  10. Even the world’s best business plan won’t produce any return if it is not backed with passion and integrity.
  11. Whether you are the CEO or a lower level employee, the single most important thing you do at work each day is communicate your values to others.
  12. If you share your mission with like-minded souls, it will have a far greater impact.
  13. If I sense that a person lacks integrity or principles, I cut off any dealings with him.
  14. A business plan is only a piece of paper, and even the greatest business plan of all will prove worthless unless the people of a company buy into it. It cannot be sustainable, or even implemented properly, unless the people are committed to it with the same heartfelt urgency as their leader.
  15. Who wants a dream that’s near-fetched?
  16. People are not a line item.
  17. When companies fail, or fail to grow, it’s almost always because they don’t invest in the people, the systems, and the processes they need.
  18. What I tried to do was honor the individuals around me, let them paint colors and make mistakes without telling them they were wrong.
  19. Whenever I’m hiring a key executive, I look for integrity and passion. To me, that’s just as important as experience and abilities.
  20. Wall Street cannot place a value on values.
  21. The same pace and passion that made us great also at times burned people out.
  22. Sometimes what’s hardest – for me and strong-minded leaders like me – is restraining myself, allowing other people’s ideas to germinate and blossom before passing judgment.
  23. Many entrepreneurs fall into a trap: They are so captivated by their own vision that when an employee comes up with an idea, especially one that doesn’t seem to fit the original vision, they are tempted to quash it.
  24. It’s demoralizing, I know from experience, to get fired up about a great new idea only to have it dismissed by higher-ups.
  25. When things are going well, why change a winning formula? The simple answer is this: Because the world is changing.
  26. At Starbucks, we discovered along the way that sustainability is directly linked to self-renewal. Even when life seems perfect, you have to take risks and jump to the next level, or you’ll start spiraling downhill into complacency without even realizing it.
  27. Any product-oriented company has to keep reinventing its core product if it expects to prosper, let alone survive.
  28. We believed the best way to meet and exceed the expectations of customers was to hire and train great people.
  29. So much of the retailing experience in America is mediocre.
  30. When you meet with an experience at a higher level, where you are treated positively, where someone goes out of her way to make you feel special, where you’re welcomed with a smile and assumed to be intelligent, the experience stands out.
  31. Authentic brands do not emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything the company does.
  32. I left the top marketing position empty for 18 months while we searched for the right person.
  33. We set out to win, no doubt about that, but our goal is to win with integrity.
  34. Even more than their stock options, baristas told us they cared about the emotional benefits they got from their jobs.
  35. The more heartfelt our commitment, the more these setbacks will hurt, but the more we’ll be capable of devising solutions that reflect our values.
  36. In the ethical vacuum of this era, people long to be inspired.

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Worldpay Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer and On The Edge with Jim Roddy.

If you don't grow, you go.

 

Why don’t more executives and their employees invest in self-education? One reason is a time constraint. Another reason: it’s boring. If you carve out time to read a book but you keep falling asleep before you finish chapter one, you won’t learn anything. (Except how to cure your insomnia.)

 

One tactic I’ve implemented to keep my self-improvement quest lively is to periodically (a.k.a. whenever I feel like it) add a sports-related book to my reading pile. I’m sharing with you today one of those books – Everyone’s A Coach: Five Business Secrets for High-Performance Coaching by Ken Blanchard and Hall of Fame football coach Don Shula. Shula is a bonafide sage and has a dry wit that keeps you turning the pages. Blanchard is wise and entertaining as well; quote #29 below is guaranteed to make you smile.

 

Let’s dive into my favorite passages from Everyone’s A Coach … just in time to kickoff the 2018 NFL season!

 

  1. Secret #1 for high-performance coaching: Conviction-driven. Effective leaders stand for something. Never compromise your beliefs.
  2. Secret #2: Overlearning. Effective leaders help their teams achieve “practice perfection.” Practice until it’s perfect.
  3. Secret #3: Audible-ready. Effective leaders, and the people and teams they coach, are ready to change their game plan when the situation demands it.
  4. Secret #4: Consistency. Respond predictably to performance.
  5. Secret #5: Honesty-based. Effective leaders have high integrity and are clear and straightforward in their interactions with others. Walk your talk.
  6. Everything I do is to prepare people to perform to the best of their ability. And you do that one day at a time. – Shula
  7. Blanchard to his employees: If you don’t grow, you go. We all have to strive to continually get better.
  8. A river without banks is a puddle. Like those riverbanks, a good coach provides the direction and concentration for performers’ energies, helping channel all their efforts toward a single desired outcome. – Shula
  9. Great coaches want to win, but they don’t fall apart when they lose. – Blanchard
  10. As long as you have credibility, you have leadership. Credibility is your people believing that what you say is something they can hang their hat on. – Shula
  11. Usually we’re so busy with our tasks, we forget that above all else, what our people get from us is us – our values, our attitudes, our perceptions. – Blanchard
  12. If you find you like coaching, give it all you’ve got. If not, let someone else do it. – Shula
  13. Overlearning: the players are so prepared for a game that they have the skill and confidence needed to make that big play. Constant practice, constant attention to getting the details right every time. – Shula
  14. Overlearning system: Limit the number of goals; make people master of their assignments; reduce players’ practice errors; strive for continuous improvements.
  15. Most organizations overemphasize the goal-setting process and don’t pay enough attention to what needs to be done to accomplish goals. – Shula
  16. Failure is successfully finding out what you don’t want to repeat. – Blanchard
  17. As a coach, if you let errors go unnoticed, you’ll ensure that more of them will occur. – Blanchard
  18. The important thing is not just being intense but focusing that intensity on the things that matter. – Blanchard
  19. It’s not the mood he’s in but people’s performance that dictates his response. – Blanchard
  20. One thing I never want to be accused of is not noticing. – Shula
  21. A significant gap exists between what managers believe motivates employees most and what employees say motivates them. – Blanchard
  22. When a learner makes a mistake, be sure the person knows that the behavior was incorrect, but take the blame upon yourself (“Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough”) and then patiently go back to the beginning and give redirection. – Blanchard
  23. Effective leaders are clear and straightforward in their interactions with others. If people can’t have job security today, they want honesty. – Blanchard
  24. Softening a blow is not one of my gifts. I approach things in a straightforward way – sit down and look the guy in the eye and say, “This is what I think. You may not agree with it. But this is the way I feel, and this is why I am doing it. I know it’s tough to swallow, but I just want you to try to understand what I’m thinking and what my purpose is.” – Shula
  25. Astute business managers know there is no right way to do a wrong thing. – Blanchard
  26. Effective coaches confront their people, praise them sincerely, redirect or reprimand them without apology, and above all are honest with them. – Shula
  27. No matter what situation you are in, coaching others will require new things of you. Dealing with others in a leadership capacity will test your character, especially if your role is a highly visible one. – Shula
  28. A sense of humor permits you to accept criticism without  getting consumed by it. – Shula
  29. I think people in organizations today take themselves too seriously. They all seem to have tight underwear on. – Blanchard
  30. It’s hard to be honest and forthright with folks whose egos and pride are always up for grabs. – Blanchard
  31. You haven’t learned a thing until you can take action and use it. – Shula & Blanchard

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Worldpay Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Sorry to be the one to break this to you, but someone has to say it: You’re not that great of a speaker. Sorry, but it’s just not your natural gift to wow a prospect, your employees, or an audience of colleagues.

 

public speakers are made, not born.

 

I’ll also share this good news with you: Public speakers are made, not born. Public speaking is a skill you can improve with study and practice, and I’ve got two resources that will help you in your quest to inform, entertain, and delight.

 

The books Do You Talk Funny? and Speak As Well As You Think offer practical guidance for speakers at any skill level. Do You Talk Funny? author David Nihill shares techniques from standup comics who – you might not have realized – are public speakers who keep your attention through storytelling and smooth delivery. I received Speak As Well As You Think as part of a course I took with John Vautier, a speaking coach at Vautier Communications, whose book details excellent fundamentals for public presentations.

 

The authors have different backgrounds and angles for their books, and their blend of perspectives will put you on the path to speaking excellence … or, at the very least, on the path to not boring your audience to death. Here are some of my favorite passages from both books.

 

Do You Talk Funny?

  1. Almost every book ever written on public speaking says humor is a key part of successful talks. Yet none of them explain well how to employ it, which is about as useful as handing a MacBook Pro to a goat.
  2. Simply reading these principles won’t make you instantly funnier, more successful, or more attractive. Add a little practice, however, and it just might.
  3. Stories are told, not read. The storyteller connects with the audience when there is no page between them. Know your story “by heart” but not by rote memorization. Know your story well enough so you can have fun.
  4. Make an outline, memorize your bullet points, and play with the details. Imagine you are at a dinner party, not a deposition.
  5. A good leader needs to know how to create a connection, and the fastest way of doing that is by making someone laugh. Employees are humans, and humans respond to humor.
  6. You want to use words like weird, amazing, scary, hard, stupid, crazy, or nuts. “It’s crazy how soft modern-day workers have become.” The use of an attitude word (crazy) in the setup helps people focus and pay attention quickly.
  7. The first thirty seconds of your presentation can determine the rest of your talk. Rehearse this thirty seconds the most. Include your second-best joke at the start and leave your best until the end to go out with the strongest impression possible.
  8. Self-deprecating humor is a great tool to have in your back pocket, but be sure not to undermine your own credibility with too many wisecracks or humorous comments at your own expense.
  9. People like stories, but they tend to love funny stories.
  10. You don’t need all of the audience on your side to be a good speaker; 30 percent is plenty. Laughter is contagious.
  11. End your talk on an applause line that underscores a clear call to action.

 

 

Speak As Well As You Think

  1. A presentation — one human being speaking to a group — is the engine that drives almost all decisions in which money changes hands, actions are authorized, or power is deployed.
  2. The only way to judge a talk is by its effect on the listener.
  3. What does it mean to “speak as well as you think?” It means that when you get up to present you’re described with words like: credible, confident, interesting, genuine, natural, compelling, organized, professional, passionate, clear, concise, and charismatic.
  4. Make eye contact with your audience — one person at a time. Don’t dart your eyes restlessly from one audience member to another.
  5. Don’t stand in one spot throughout your speech or presentation. Limit your movements; you don’t want to move constantly. End up with two feet solidly on the floor — not in an incomplete half-stepping position. The person who is visually balanced appears strong, confident, and in command.
  6. People who speak at a higher volume project confidence. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a whisper and 10 a shout, your speaker’s voice — the voice you use when giving a speech or presentation — should be your voice at a 7-to-8 level.
  7. An uninflected voice is heard as a drone, a soft buzz. More than anything else, it induces sleep.
  8. 95% of all speakers need to project more energy.
  9. It doesn’t matter if you’re comfortable; you only need to look and sound comfortable.
  10. When you begin to construct a speech, ask yourself: “When I’m done speaking, what do I want listeners to do, to know, and/or to believe?” The answer to this question is your thesis.
  11. Introduce your speech with a bold, interesting statement. Share a startling fact or statistic, a killer quote, or an analogy.
  12. Don’t let your speech die an ugly little quiet death at the end. Your last sentence needs to sound like your last sentence. Convey that intentionality.
  13. Charismatic leaders project genuine likability because they have a mindset of genuinely liking their constituents.

 

I hope these tips are useful to you – they’ve certainly helped me communicate more effectively. Here’s a speech I gave on the main stage at the RSPA RetailNOW Conference in Dallas in which I try my best to integrate the lessons I’ve learned. I certainly (and unfortunately) didn’t execute on every one of Nihill’s and Vautier’s techniques … but I didn’t put anyone to sleep either.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Worldpay Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Lately, most of my consultations with software developer executives have focused on marketing – at their request, not mine. We discuss best practices in website content, SEO, content marketing, blogging, list building, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, and email marketing. To help spread the word on that last topic, I made email marketing the subject of my latest blog post on the Vantiv, now Worldpay Partner Advantage website: 8 great email marketing building blocks for the POS channel.

 

Today, we'll pull back from tactics and take a broader view of marketing thanks to the classic book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. The 22 laws were published in 1993 – before most of the tactics I listed above were conceived – but they’ve held up for 25 years now. That figures because the word immutable means “unchanging over time.” An illustration of that is seen in Law #13 which says narrowly focused specialists are stronger than generalists. Ries and Trout wrote back in ’93: For example, White Castle has never changed its position. A White Castle today sells the same “frozen sliders” at unbelievably low prices. Fast forward to 2018, and White Castle is still going strong slinging sliders.

 

Here is the complete list of the laws plus some of my favorite passages from the book:

 

  1. The Law of Leadership: It’s better to be first than it is to be better. People tend to stick with what they’ve got. If you meet someone a little better than your wife or husband, it’s really not worth making the switch, what with attorneys’ fees and dividing up the house and kids.
  2. The Law of the Category: If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in. If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in. It’s not as difficult as you might think. 
  3. The Law of Mind: It’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. If you want to make a big impression on another person, you cannot worm your way into their mind and then slowly build up a favorable opinion over a period of time. The mind doesn’t work that way. You have to blast your way into the mind. The reason you blast instead of worm is that people don’t like to change their minds.
  4. The Law of Perception: Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.
  5. The Law of Focus: The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind. The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You become stronger when you reduce the scope of your operations. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.
  6. The Law of Exclusivity: Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.
  7. The Law of the Ladder: The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder. While being first into the prospect’s mind ought to be your primary marketing objective, the battle isn’t lost if you fail in this endeavor. There are strategies to use for No. 2 and No. 3 brands.
  8. The Law of Duality: In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race. The customer believes that marketing is a battle of products. It’s this kind of thinking that keeps the two brands on top: “They must be the best, they’re the leaders.”
  9. The Law of Opposite: If you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader. A good No. 2 can’t afford to be timid. When you give up focusing on No. 1, you make yourself vulnerable not only to the leader but to the rest of the pack.
  10. The Law of Division: Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.
  11. The Law of Perspective: Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.
  12. The Law of Line Extension: There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand. One day a company is tightly focused on a single product that is highly profitable. The next day the same company is thinly spread over many products and is losing money. When you try to be all things to all people, you inevitably wind up in trouble.
  13. The Law of Sacrifice: You have to give up something in order to get something. The world of business is populated by big, highly diversified generalists and small, narrowly focused specialists. Typically, the generalist is weak.
  14. The Law of Attributes: For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute. If you are to succeed, you must have an idea or attribute of your own to focus your efforts around.
  15. The Law of Candor: When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive. This law only proves the old maxim: Honesty is the best policy.
  16. The Law of Singularity: In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results. Most often there is only one place where a competitor is vulnerable. And that place should be the focus of the entire invading force. It’s hard to find that single move if you’re hanging around headquarters and not involved in the process.
  17. The Law of Unpredictability: Unless you write your competitors’ plans, you can’t predict the future. As changes come sweeping through your category, you have to be willing to change and change quickly if you are to survive in the long term.
  18. The Law of Success: Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure. Ego is the enemy of successful marketing. Objectivity is what’s needed.
  19. The Law of Failure: Failure is to be expected and accepted. Too many companies try to fix things rather than drop things. If a company is going to operate in an ideal way, it will take teamwork and a self-sacrificing leader.
  20. The Law of Hype: The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press. Real revolutions don’t arrive at high noon with marching bands and coverage on the 6 o’clock news. Real revolutions arrive unannounced in the middle of the night and kind of sneak up on you.
  21. The Law of Acceleration: Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends. Forget fads. The best, most profitable thing to ride in marketing is a long-term trend. Fad = Ninja Turtle. Trend = Barbie Doll.
  22. The Law of Resources: Without adequate funding, an idea won’t get off the ground. You’ll get further with a mediocre idea and a million dollars than a great idea alone. Spend enough; you can’t save your way to success.

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is the author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Whenever the founder a thriving software company tells me that a book lifted his business, I make sure to add that title to my reading list. This happened to me again recently when a Vantiv, now Worldpay, software developer partner said Built To Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You was key to his success. He’s not sure if he’s going to sell his ISV business in the near future, but he’s going to be ready if opportunity knocks.

 

The lessons from Built To Sell can be applied to most SMBs, but the advice is especially germane for software companies. Here are some of my favorite passages and concepts from the book:

 

  1. Smart businesspeople believe that you should build a company to be sold even if you have no intention of cashing out or stepping back anytime soon. This approach is having an “options strategy” as opposed to an “exit strategy.”             Have an options strategy instead of an exit strategy.
  2. There are approximately 23,000,000 businesses in the United States, and yet only a few hundred thousand are able to be sold each year.
  3. Don’t generalize; specialize. If you focus on doing one thing well and hire specialists in that area, the quality of your work will improve and you will stand out among your competitors.         Specialize; don't generalize.
  4. “In each business I’ve sold, we created a standard service offering, a consistent process for delivering our product or service. We made sure the product or service was something clients would need on a regular basis so we could count on recurring revenue.”
  5. Owning a process makes it easier to pitch and puts you in control. Be clear about what you’re selling, and potential customers will be more likely to buy your product. You need to train people to handle all the steps of your process so you don’t have to be the guy piecing every project together from scratch.
  6. Don’t become synonymous with your company. If buyers aren’t confident that your business can run without you in charge, they won’t make their best offer.
  7. Once you’ve standardized your service, charge up front or use progress billing to create a positive cash flow cycle.
  8. To sell your business, you need to demonstrate to a buyer that you have the sales engine that will produce predictable, recurring revenue.
  9. Take some time to figure out how many pipeline prospects will likely lead to sales. This number will become essential when you go to sell because it allows the buyer to estimate the size of the market opportunity.
  10. Two sales reps are always better than one. Often competitive types, sales reps will try to outdo each other. And having two on staff will prove to a buyer that you have a scalable sales model, not just one good sales rep.
  11. Ignore your profit-and-loss statement in the year you make the switch to a standardized offering even if it means you and your employees will have to forgo a bonus that year. As long as your cash flow remains consistent and strong, you’ll be back in the black in no time.
  12. You need at least two years of financial statements reflecting your use of the standardized offering model before you sell your company.
  13. Build a management team and offer them a long-term incentive plan that rewards their personal performance and loyalty.
  14. Think big. Write a three-year business plan that paints a picture of what is possible for your business. Remember, the company that acquires you will have more resources for you to accelerate your growth.
  15. If you want to be a sellable, product-oriented business, you need to use the language of one. Change words like “clients” to “customers” and “firm” to “business.” Rid your website and customer-facing communications of any references that reveal you used to be a generic service business.
  16. A business reliant on its owner is unsellable, so the owner becomes trapped in the business.
  17. Before you start this process, engage a good accountant experienced in helping business owners with succession planning.
  18. Six forms of recurring revenue, presented from least to most valuable:       recurring revenue forms from most to least valuable The only thing more valuable than an automatic renewal subscription is a hard contract for a defined term.    
  19. As you ascend the recurring revenue hierarchy, expect the value of your business to go up in lockstep.
  20. Hire a sales team. Once you have created and packaged your offering and started to charge up front, you need to remove yourself from selling it.
  21. Stop selling everything else. Stopping yourself from accepting projects outside of your scalable product or service is the toughest part of creating a business that can thrive without you.
  22. Launch a long-term incentive plan for managers. You need to prove to a buyer you have a management team who can run the business after you’re gone. You need to show that the management team is locked into staying with your company after acquisition.

 

There’s plenty more great advice in the book and on author John Warrillow’s Built To Sell website. The resources page includes links to white papers, videos, cheat sheets, and webinars that can help you create a business that’s built to sell.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Mark Fraker, the Vice President of Marketing at POS distributor BlueStar and the current Chairman of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), told me his father shared this pearl of wisdom with him way-back-when: “God gave you two ears and one mouth, and you should use them in that proportion.”

 

I’m glad I was listening to Mark when he said that because I picked up a valuable tip last fall at BlueStar’s VARTECH Conference in Orlando. I was participating as a panelist for a discussion on recurring revenue when an audience member mentioned the book The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow. The book proved to be full of specific details about subscription model best practices you can apply to your business. Warrillow calls out software companies in particular and provides them with resources that will help ISVs generate more recurring revenue.

 

Here are 18 of my favorite passages and concepts from the book plus those software-focused resources that I mentioned:

 

  1. This book will show you how to apply the subscription business model to your own business no matter what your size or industry.
  2. The very act of sinking money into a subscription triggers the desire for the consumer to want to “get his money’s worth.”
  3. Data has become an asset, and nobody has more customer information than a subscription business.          Data has become an asset and nobody has more customer information than a subscription business.
  4. Whether you like it or not, you are now competing in the new subscription economy, and it’s up to you to decide if you’re playing defense or offense.                                                                                                   Whether you like it or not, you are now competing in the new subscription economy, and it’s up to you to decide if you’re playing defense or offense.
  5. Subscribers are better than customers.
  6. The challenges of adopting the subscription model: The biggest risk is spreading the cash you receive from a customer over the life of the subscription. The second-biggest challenge is getting your employees on board.                                                                                                                                                 The second-biggest challenge to the subscription model is getting your employees on board.
  7. In a subscription business, understanding your financial performance requires a new set of operating statistics: monthly recurring revenue (MRR), lifetime value of a subscriber (LTV), customer acquisition cost (CAC), churn rate, and more.
  8. Sales approaches ranked from most expensive to least: Field sales people, telesales, self-serve.
  9. Most successful subscription businesses also need to invest heavily in systems and branding up front, which is why a lot of them go outside to raise capital.
  10. “Outside capital is risk capital, and it’s a great opportunity to become misaligned.”
  11. After studying 50 deals, they found only one case in which the founders got more than their venture backers. In more than half of the venture-backed exits, the founders got nothing.  
  12. Shifting from selling a one-shot product or service to selling a subscription is like the difference between a one-night stand and getting married.
  13. Convincing your own staff to build a recurring revenue stream can be one of the hardest sales of all.
  14. Your first step to reducing churn is to understand why people leave and to do what you can to improve your offering.                                                                                                                                                           Your first step to reducing churn is to understand why people leave and to do what you can to improve your offering.
  15. One of the biggest reasons people stop subscribing to any service is the perception that they are paying for something they are not using. Therefore, your biggest competitor for your subscription business is your customer’s inertia in not using your service.
  16. Charging up front actually reduces churn at the one-year point. The customer invests more time to get to know your service, which makes them stickier in the long term.
  17. Using data about your subscribers to surprise them from time to time can go a long way to keeping the relationship alive and well.
  18. No matter the size, product, or service, subscribers are better for your business than customers.
  19. Recommended resources

 

If you’d like to talk more about how to transition your ISV organization to the recurring revenue business model, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s (now Worldpay's) PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with our partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Even before I met him at the RSPA Inspire Conference in 2015, I was a huge fan of Chip Heath, his brother Dan, and their excellent writing. When I heard earlier this year the Heath brothers published a new book – The Power of Moments – I was quick to order it. The lessons in this book should be valuable to ISVs who want to generate positive, memorable (dare I say “glorious”?) experiences for both their customers and their staff. The Power of Moments helped me better understand several important concepts that I plan to implement into my work going forward.

 

Here are 26 of my favorite passages and concepts from the book:

 

  1. Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen. We can be the authors of them.
  2. This is a book about the power of moments and the wisdom of shaping them.
  3. When we assess our experiences, we don’t average our minute-by-minute sensations. Rather, we tend to remember flagship moments: the peaks, the pits, and the transitions.
  4. A defining moment is a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful. Defining moments are created from one or more of the following four elements:
    • Elevation: Rise above the everyday, boost sensory pleasures, add an element of surprise (e.g. a love letter, a ticket stub)
    • Insight: We realize something that might influence our lives for decades (e.g. quotes or articles that moved you, books that changed your view of the world)
    • Pride: Us at our best — moments of achievement, moments of courage (e.g. notes of recognition, certificates, thanks-yous, awards)
    • Connection: These moments are strengthened because we share them with others (e.g. wedding photos, family photos)
  5. We must learn to think in moments, to spot the occasions that are worthy of investment, to recognize where the prose of life needs punctuation.
  6. Every great service company is a master of service recovery. They transform a negative moment to a positive one. Every great service company is a master of service recovery
  7. “Mostly forgettable” is actually a desirable state in many businesses. It means nothing went wrong. You got what you expected. Think of “mostly forgettable” as only the first stage of a successful customer experience.
  8. There’s nine times more to gain by elevating positive customers than by eliminating negative ones. There's 9 times more to gain by elevating positive customers than by eliminating negative ones.
  9. To create fans, you need the remarkable, and that requires peaks. Peaks don’t emerge naturally. They must be built.
  10. Breaking the Script: Defying people’s expectations of how an experience will unfold. Breaking the script isn’t just surprise, it’s strategic surprise.
  11. In the service business, a good surprise is one that delights employees as well as customers.
  12. We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.
  13. Dramatize the problems. Once the problems become vivid in the minds of the audience members, their thoughts will immediately turn to … solutions.
  14. Stretch for Insight: Place ourselves in situations that expose us to the risk of failure.
  15. Reflecting or ruminating on our thoughts and feelings is an ineffective way to achieve true understanding. Studying our own behavior is more fruitful. Action leads to insight more often than insight leads to action.
  16. Most employee recognition should be personal, not programmatic. What’s important is authenticity. And frequency: closer to weekly than yearly. And of course what’s most important is the message: “I saw what you did and I appreciate it.”
  17. Success comes from pushing to the finish line. Milestones compel us to make that push, because [a] they’re within our grasp, and [b] we’ve chosen them precisely because they’re worth reaching for.
  18. You can’t deliver a great customer experience without first delivering a great employee experience.
  19. Remote contact is perfectly suitable for day-to-day communication and collaboration. But a big moment needs to be shared in person.
  20. If you want to be part of a group that bonds like cement, take on a really demanding task that’s deeply meaningful.                         Be part of a bonded group.
  21. When you understand the ultimate contribution you’re making, it allows you to transcend the task list. Who is the beneficiary of your work, and how are you contributing to them? Understanding the purpose of the work allows for innovation and improvisation.
  22. Relationships don’t proceed in steady, predictable increments.
  23. If we can create the right kind of moment, relationships can change in an instant.
  24. Relationships don’t deepen naturally. In the absence of action, they will stall.
  25. This is what we hope you take away from this book: Stay alert to the promise that moments hold.
  26. The charge for all of us: To defy the forgettable flatness of everyday work and life by creating a few precious moments.

 

If you’d like to talk about how you can enhance your customer experience and your workplace culture, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv, now Worldpay partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

You have dreams of increasing your recurring revenue, but you can’t find time to investigate new products and services. I’m going to give you a shortcut to recurring revenue riches with a pair of quick-read bulleted lists that will jumpstart your progress.

 

Are you offering these six products/services on a recurring revenue basis?

  • Data analytics: Provide your merchants with statistics about their competition and enable them to receive alerts about their social media mentions.
  • Gift/loyalty: A rewards program will help your merchants increase traffic, awareness, and consumer loyalty.
  • Online ordering: What used to be a “nice-to-have” feature for merchants is becoming a “must-have” as consumers use their phones to make more purchases.
  • Managed services: Charge a monthly fee to monitor each merchant’s network. Keep them secure while also avoiding downtime.
  • Wi-Fi: Enhance the customer experience by ensuring your merchants have reliable and secure Wi-Fi.
  • Payment processing: A full-service payments provider (as opposed to a bare-bones one) will reduce your overhead so you can pursue more recurring revenue initiatives.

 

You can't be a trusted advisor if you offer only reactive service.  

 

If you’re not embracing all six of these products and services, you’re missing out on opportunities to increase your recurring revenue and make your relationship with your merchants stickier. You can’t be a trusted advisor if you offer only reactive service. Guide your merchants into new technologies that will increase their sales and lift their bottom line.

 

Because I engage with leading POS resellers and ISVs every week, I’ve learned some key principles and tactics related to recurring revenue:

  • If you aren’t offering all six of the products/services listed above, pick one or two to investigate and then test them with clients with whom you have a strong relationship. Implement the new offering, scale it (market to all your merchants), and then investigate one or two more products/services to add to your linecard.
  • Offer a 90-day trial period for new services to current customers. Prove to them that it works and they tend to buy-in.
  • The break/fix business model was a sprint: sell as much hardware, software, and peripherals as you could in the initial sale. The recurring revenue business model is a marathon: how much technology and services can you sell to the customer in the long run?
  • White-label products whenever possible so if you switch vendors you can make a change that is less disruptive to the client.
  • Aim for monthly recurring revenue to exceed monthly expenses. Additional project work that month will fall to the bottom line.

 

As I said at the outset of this piece, this is a 400-word shortcut to start you down the path to recurring revenue riches. For more information on this important topic, watch my hour-long webinar on recurring revenue or read my nearly 40-item list of recurring revenue products and services for POS solution providers.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

My favorite story about one of my favorite topics (execution) comes from my favorite NFL team (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) during my least-favorite era of theirs (a 26-game losing streak from 1976-77). Bucs head coach John McKay, who used his dry sense of humor as a coping mechanism, was asked after yet another loss what he thought of his team’s execution. He replied, “I’m in favor of it.”

 

 

That’s funny, but let me now give you a serious execution-related quote that I’ve repeated dozens of times since reading the book Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done: “Execution is the missing link between aspirations and results.” When I talk with software developer executives, they all have plans and ideas, but the ones who are actually winning are the ones who are actually executing.

 

developer meeting hack

 

Execution addresses this important topic on both macro and micro levels. Since reading this book in 2006, I’ve tried to follow the best practice Execution shares about former Chrysler, Home Depot, and GE executive Robert Nardelli. The book says, “Nardelli never finishes a conversation without summarizing the actions to be taken. He made his vision credible by breaking it down into bite-size successes. … Never finish a meeting without clarifying what the follow-through will be, who will do it, when and how they will do it, what resources they will use, and how and when the next review will take place with and with whom.” I figured if that tactic worked for a guy with a net worth measured in the hundreds of millions, it could work for little old me.

 

Here are 30 more of my favorite passages and concepts from the book:

 

  1. Putting an execution environment in place is hard, but losing it is easy.
  2. Execution is not just tactics – it is a discipline and a system. It has to be built into a company’s strategy, its goals, and its culture. And the leader of the organization must be deeply engaged in it.
  3. Leading for execution is not rocket science. The main requirement is that you as a leader have to be deeply and passionately engaged in your organization and honest about its realities with others and yourself.
  4. The problem with many so-called strategies is that they’re too abstract and shallow, or else they’re really operations plans, not strategies.
  5. No strategy delivers results unless it’s converted into specific actions.
  6. To understand execution, you have to keep three key points in mind: (1) execution is discipline, and integral to strategy; (2) execution is the major job of the business leader; (3) execution must be a core element of an organization’s culture.
  7. Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, questioning, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.
  8. Execution is a systematic way of exposing reality and acting on it.
  9. People leave with no commitments to the action plans they’ve helped create. This is a formula for failure.
  10. Shaping a plan: (1) involve all the people responsible for the plan’s outcome in shaping the plan; (2) ask specific hows of execution; (3) set milestones for the progress of the plan.
  11. If you’re really executing, and you have the resources, you are listening to tomorrow’s customers as well as today’s and planning for their needs.
  12. The Building Blocks of Execution – 7 Essential Behaviors
    1. Know your people and your business
    2. Insist on realism
    3. Set clear goals and priorities
    4. Follow through
    5. Reward the doers
    6. Expand people’s capabilities
    7. Know yourself
  13. Cultural change gets real when your aim is execution.
  14. We don’t think ourselves into a new way of acting. We act ourselves into a new way of thinking.
  15. You get what you measure for.
  16. A good motto to observe is “truth over harmony.” Candor helps wipe out the silent lies and pocket vetoes, and it prevents the stalled initiatives and rework that drain energy.
  17. An organization’s human beings are its most reliable resource for generating excellent results year after year.
  18. Why people aren’t in the right jobs: The leaders aren’t personally committed to the people processes and deeply engaged in it.
  19. The foundation of a great company is the way it develops people.
  20. Ask this important question in the hiring process: How good is this person at getting things done?
  21. If a strategy does not address the hows, it is a candidate for failure.
  22. A good strategic plan is a set of directions you want to take. It’s a roadmap, lightly filled in, so that it gives you plenty of room to maneuver. You get specific when you’re deciding the action part of the plan, where you link it with people and operations.
  23. Milestones bring reality to a strategic plan.
  24. A good strategic plan is adaptable. Once-a-year planning can be dangerous.
  25. A strategic plan contains ideas that are specific and clear. Numbers are obviously needed, but those that are detailed line by line and are mechanically extrapolated over five years offer little in the way of insight.
  26. Watch out for taking on too many projects.
  27. One powerful technique is to send each person a memo outlining the details of the agreements.
  28. Quarterly reviews help keep plans up to date and reinforce synchronization.
  29. A stretch goal has basically two purposes: (1) it can force you to think about doing things in a radically different way; (2) it can help you to execute exceptionally well.
  30. The heart of a business is how the three processes of people, strategy, and operations link together. Leaders need to master the individual processes and the way they work together as a whole. They are the differentiation between you and your competitors.

 

If you’d like to talk more about how to instill more discipline in your ISV organization, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Tom Bronson, the President and CEO of software developer Granbury Solutions, strongly recommended The Oz Principle to me, and I’m thrilled he did. The book presents important and easy-to-recall principles about accountability that can be applied at your organization faster than you can say “yellow brick road.”

 

Coincidentally, the week I finished typing my notes on the book, a Vantiv reseller partner asked me to create an Accountability Workshop for his team. The Oz Principle will serve as a great foundation for that. Here are 28 of my favorite quotes and concepts from the book:

 

[Editor's note: I am not associated with Partners in Leadership, the organization behind The Oz Principle. The quotes below are sourced directly from the book which you can purchase here.]

 

  1. While greater accountability may not cure all of the world’s ills, it does provide a sturdy foundation on which you can build long-lasting solutions.
  2. The Wizard Of Oz’s main characters gradually learn that they possess the power within themselves to get the results they want.
  3. Cultures of failed accountability have weakened business character, stressed ease over difficulty, feeling good over being good, appearance over substance, saving face over solving problems, and illusion over reality.
  4. The latest, most up-to-date management concepts and techniques won’t help if you’ve neglected the basic principles that empower people and organizations to turn in exceptional performances.
  5. How many industries will fall victim to their own denial by continuing to pretend not to know what will one day appear obvious?
  6. Shift from “tell me what to do” to “here is what I’m going to do, what do you think?” — a truly profound and empowering approach to getting results.
  7. Most people view accountability as something that happens to them when performance wanes, problems develop, or results fail to materialize.
  8. New definition of accountability: A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results. This definition includes a mindset or attitude of continually asking, “What else can I do to rise above my circumstances and achieve the results I desire?”
  9. In addition to representing his or her function, each team member accepts responsibility for overall team results. “We got focused, rather than frustrated, and we made it happen, despite the odds stacked against us.”
  10. If you find yourself continually surprised by your performance appraisals, we suggest you seek more feedback about your performance, not just from your superiors, but from others who you respect and trust.
  11. All too often people view unhappy circumstances as accidents of chance; yet when they find themselves in more pleasant circumstances, they automatically take credit for a job well done.
  12. Truly owning the circumstances that you face requires you to make a link between what has happened and all the factors contributing to the problem, however much that linkage may implicate you.
  13. The benefits of owning your circumstances more than compensate for the heart-wrenching effort involved.
  14. Focus your efforts on removing the obstacles standing between you and the outcomes you desire. Unhappy consequences await those who fail to do so.
  15. Ezra 10:4 – “Arise, for this matter belongeth unto thee … be of good courage, and do it!”
  16. “Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” – W.E. Henley
  17. Identify the uncontrollable issues you face, separating them from the controllable ones. This way, you can avoid complaining or worrying about what you cannot affect.
  18. As the world endlessly changes, so must we.
  19. Accounting for progress: an after-the-fact discussion to measure progress towards results.
  20. Below The Line people: Report only when asked to do so; justify or explain their activities; run and hide when it’s time to report; blame others for lack of results; react defensively to suggestions for improvement
  21. Above The Line people: Report regularly and thoroughly; analyze their activities in an effort to determine what more they can do to get results; stand and deliver when it’s time to report on their circumstances; welcome feedback
  22. Regardless of your current position in your organization, you can encourage people to climb out of the victim cycle and ascend the steps to accountability.
  23. Train everyone from the boardroom to the mail room to understand the crucial relationship between accountability and results.
  24. By taking accountability for our own success, success will follow. “Only if we can look at ourselves first will we have any chance of turning around these poor sales numbers.”
  25. It’s surprising how much talk and how little action surrounds a communication problem.
  26. Joint accountability for people development should exist between employees and their organizations. Individuals at all levels of an organization should take charge of their own development.
  27. By failing to confront poor performance, organizations unwittingly foster feelings among people who do perform poorly, but don’t know it and thus can’t affect improvements, as well as among people who must pick up the slack because of the poor performance of others.
  28. Make confronting performance a daily habit.

 

If you’d like to talk more about how to improve accountability at your ISV organization, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

The year is drawing to a close, so be on the lookout for a deluge of articles, videos, and opinion pieces recapping 2017. As a software developer executive, it’s fine to look back but it’s more important for you to look ahead this time of year. With that in mind, let’s learn together from the book Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by the legendary Jim Collins and Jerry Porris. The book provides guidance on how to build and innovate your business to adapt for the future.

 

Here are 37 of my favorite quotes and concepts from Built To Last:

 

  1. Visionary companies display a remarkable resiliency, an ability to bounce back from adversity.
  2. Visionary companies do not ask, “What should we value?” They ask, “What do we actually value deep down to our toes?”
  3. Visionary companies make some of their best moves by experimentation, trial and error, opportunism, and — quite literally — accident. “Let's just try a lot of stuff and keep what works.”
  4. Creating a visionary statement can be a helpful step in building a visionary company, but it is only one of thousands of steps in a never-ending process of expressing the fundamental characteristics we identified across the visionary companies.
  5. Concentrate primarily on building an organization rather than on hitting a market just right with a visionary product idea and riding the growth curve.
  6. Be prepared to kill, revise, or evolve of an idea, but never give up on the company.
  7. All products, services, and great ideas, no matter how visionary, eventually become obsolete. But a visionary company does not necessarily become obsolete, not if it has the organizational ability to continually change and evolve beyond existing product lifecycles.
  8. The “Genius of the AND”: The ability to embrace both extremes of a number of dimensions at the same time. Instead of choosing between “A” OR “B,” they figure out a way to have both “A” AND “B.”
  9. A visionary company doesn’t simply balance between persevering a tightly held ideology and stimulating vigorous change and movement; it does both to an extreme.
  10. We found evidence of a core ideology that existed not merely as words but as a vital shaping force.
  11. Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.
  12. Visionary companies don’t merely declare an ideology; they also take steps to make the ideology pervasive throughout the organization and transcend any individual leader.
  13. Beliefs must always come before policies, practices, and goals. The latter must always be altered if they are seen to violate fundamental beliefs.
  14. A visionary company continually pursues but never fully achieves or completes its purpose.
  15. A visionary company can, and usually does, evolve into exciting new business areas yet remain guided by its core purpose.
  16. An effective way to get at purpose is to pose the question, “Why not just shut this organization down, cash out, and sell off the assets?”
  17. Preserve the core and stimulate progress: that's the essence of a visionary company.
  18. In a visionary company, the drive to go further, to do better, to create new possibilities needs no external justification.
  19. Through the drive for progress, a highly visionary company displays a powerful mix of self-confidence combined with self-criticism.
  20. Organizations often have great intentions and inspiring vision for themselves, but they don't take the crucial step of translating their intentions into concrete items.
  21. You don’t need to create a “soft” or “comfortable” environment to build a visionary company. The visionary companies tend to be more demanding of their people than other companies, both in terms of performance and congruence with the ideology.
  22. Because visionary companies have such clarity about who they are, what they’re all about, and what they’re trying to achieve, they tend to not have much room for people unwilling or unsuited to their demanding standards.
  23. Evolutionary progress is unplanned progress.
  24. Detailed plans usually fail because circumstances inevitably change.
  25. If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.
  26. The best and hardest work is done in the spirit of adventure and challenge.
  27. If you're involved with an organization that feels it must go outside for a top manager, then look for candidates who are highly compatible with the core ideology. They can be different in managerial style, but they should share the core values level.
  28. Critical question: “How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?” Institutionalize this question as a way of life — a habit of mind and action.
  29. Visionary companies attain their extraordinary position because they are so terribly demanding of themselves.
  30. If you want to innovate, you must bootstrap. It is one of the most powerful, least understood influences that pervades the company.
  31. Visionary companies habitually invest, build, and manage for the long term to a greater degree than the comparison companies in our study. Yet, at the same time, they do not let themselves off the hook in the short term.
  32. A visionary company creates a total environment that envelops employees, bombarding them with a set of signals so consistent and mutually reinforcing that it’s virtually impossible to misunderstand the company’s ideology and ambitions.
  33. Visionary companies don’t put in place any random set of mechanisms or processes. They put in place pieces that reinforce each other, clustered together to deliver a powerful combined punch.
  34. You should be working to implement as many methods as you can think of to preserve a cherished core ideology that guides and inspires people at all levels. And you should be working to invent mechanisms that create dissatisfaction with the status quo and stimulate change, improvement, innovation, and renewal – mechanisms that infect people with the spirit of progress.
  35. The builders of visionary companies tend to be simple – some might even say simplistic – in their approaches to business.
  36. No matter who you are, you can be a major contributor in building visionary companies.
  37. Don’t buy into the belief that building a visionary company is something mysterious that only other people do.

 

If you’d like to talk more about Built To Last and how to adapt your ISV organization for the future, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.