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19 Posts authored by: jim_roddy

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.

 

I just finished one of the best leadership and management books I’ve ever read – Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. I heard about the book while listening to the Read To Lead podcast, and I’m thrilled I purchased a copy. Author Liz Wiseman articulates one of the core reasons Vantiv launched PaymentsEdge Advisory Services last summer: The biggest leadership challenge of our times isn’t insufficient resources per se, but rather our inability to access the most valuable resources at our disposal. People are often ‘overworked and underutilized.’ This book is about leaders who access and revitalize the intelligence in the people around them.

 

When I look inside POS reseller and ISV organizations, they each have people, plans, problems, and paperwork. But what distinguishes the winners from the also-rans are those companies who take intentional steps to maximize the abilities of their employees. Multipliers provides specific guidance on how you as a business leader can get the most out of your staff and create a thriving organization – and how to avoid diminishing your team’s capabilities.

 

I’ll share some of my favorite quotes and concepts from Multipliers below, but I strongly encourage you to buy the book and use it as a guide to create a winning culture.

 

  1. This book began with a simple observation: There is more intelligence inside our organizations than we are using. It led to the idea that there was a type of leader — Multipliers — who saw, used, and grew the intelligence of others, while other leaders — Diminishers — shut down the smarts of those around them.
  2. Multipliers get more from their people because they are leaders who look beyond their own genius and focus their energy on extracting and extending the genius of others.
  3. When people work with Multipliers, they hold nothing back. They offer the very best of their thinking, creativity, and ideas.
  4. Multipliers not only access people’s current capability, they stretch it. They get more from people than they knew they had to give.
  5. Here is the logic behind multiplication: Most people in organizations are underutilized. All capability can be leveraged with the right kind of leadership. Therefore, intelligence and capability can be multiplied without requiring a bigger investment.
  6. Resource leverage is a far richer concept then merely “accomplishing more with less.” Multipliers don't get more with less; they get more by using more. More of people's intelligence and capability, enthusiasm and trust. “80 people can either operate with the productivity or 50 or they can operate as though they were 500.”
  7. Diminishers and Multipliers hold radically different assumptions about the intelligence of the people they work with. Diminishers’ two-step logic appears to be that people who don't “get it” now never will; therefore, I'll need to keep doing the thinking for everyone. Multipliers look at the complex opportunities and challenges swirling around them and think, “There are smart people everywhere who will figure this out and get even smarter in the process.” They see that their job is to bring the right people together in an environment that liberates everyone's best thinking.
  8. Multipliers have a hard edge: They expect great things from their people and drive them to achieve extraordinary results.
  9. Multipliers don't play small: It's not that these Multipliers shrink so that others can be big. It's that they play in a way that invites others to play big, too.
  10. Multipliers have a great sense of humor: Multipliers can laugh at themselves and see comedy in error and in life’s foibles, and their sense of humor has a liberating effect on others.
  11. This book is not a prescription for a nice-guy, feel-good model of leadership. Rather, this book discusses a hard-edge approach to management that allows people to contribute more of their abilities.
  12. The Ameba Model: Don't box people into jobs and limit their contribution. Let people work where they have ideas and energy and where they can best contribute.
  13. Are there people on your team who could lead a revolution if they were unleashed on the right opportunity?
  14. Leaders most often know who the blockers are. The most common mistake they make is waiting too long to remove them. If you want to unleash the talent that is latent in your organization, find the weeds and pull them out. Don't to do it quietly.
  15. When you become the leader, the center of gravity is no longer yourself.
  16. Be direct without being destructive.
  17. Liberators hold two ostensibly opposing positions with equal fervor: “I give you space; you give me back your best work. I give you permission to make mistakes; you have an obligation to learn from the mistakes and not repeat them.”
  18. Tyrants and Liberators both expect mistakes. Tyrants stand ready to pounce on the people who make them. Liberators stand ready to learn as much from the mistake as possible.
  19. Liberators get the best thinking from people by creating a rapid cycle between thinking, learning, and making and recovering from mistakes in order to generate the best ideas and create an agile organization.
  20. Tyrants impose an “anxiety tax” wherever they go, because a percentage of people's mental energy is consumed trying to avoid upsetting the Tyrant.
  21. A manager may be able to insist on certain levels of productivity and output, but someone's full effort must be given voluntarily.
  22. If a leader holds the assumption that it is their role to provide the answers, subordinates wait for the directives they've come to expect. The subordinates act on the leader’s answers; then the leader concludes “they would never have figured this out without me.”
  23. Once a leader accepts that he or she doesn't have all the answers, he or she is free to ask much bigger, more provocative, and, frankly, more interesting questions.
  24. Diminishers ask questions that make a point rather than to access greater insight or to generate collective learning. 
  25. Helicopter Down: It is irresponsible to ask your team to do something if the CEO exposure is only at the 30,000 foot level. You have to take it down and show that it can be done.
  26. The collective intent built within the organization enables the whole group to break through challenges no single leader, however intelligent, could have done alone.
  27. Multipliers aren’t overly swayed by opinion and emotional arguments; they continue to ask for evidence, including evidence that might suggest new or alternative points of view.
  28. Multipliers invest by infusing others with the resources and ownership they need to produce results independent of the leader. They invest, and they expect results.
  29. When we let nature take its course and allow people to experience the natural consequences of their actions, they learn most rapidly and profoundly. When we protect people from experiencing the natural ramifications of their actions, we stunt their learning. Real intelligence gets developed through experimentation and by trial and error.
  30. Letting nature teach is hard. Find the “smaller waves” that will provide natural teaching moments without catastrophic outcomes.
  31. When Diminishers delegate, they dole out piecemeal tasks but not real responsibility.
  32. Micromanagers hand over work to others, but they take it back the moment problems arise.
  33. Leaders do not need to be good at everything. They need to have mastery of a small number of skills and be free of show-stopping weaknesses.
  34. It wasn’t a blind faith that I trust you to get it right; it was a more deeply held confidence that I trust you to learn how to get it right.
  35. When new ideas become new norms, you have cultivated a sustainable culture.

 

 

If you’d like to talk more about Multipliers and how to improve your ISV business, 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 with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving 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.

I don’t like to start arguments, but I'll go toe-to-toe when I feel it's necessary. I did that recently during a discussion about resellers and software developers in the POS channel. “They have to change,” my colleague said, to which I quickly responded, “No, they don't. You're allowed to become irrelevant. You're allowed to lose money and close your doors. They don’t have to do anything.”

 

Obviously, I want all Vantiv’s partners in the point of sale channel to adapt and thrive. For them I strongly recommend Dual Transformation, one of the most powerful business strategy books I’ve ever read. I heard about the book while listening to a Harvard Business Review podcast recently and bought it immediately because it addresses what I think is the biggest challenge facing our channel and our individual businesses.

 

Dual Transformation talks about disruption and how to reposition your company for the future. Being part of the IT and publishing industries since 1993, I’ve seen my share of transformations, and the authors are spot-on about how to identify disruption and how to lead the transformation of your business. When you read “The 7 Warning Signs of Industry Disruption” with the POS channel in mind, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement – guaranteed.

 

I’ll share some of my favorite quotes and concepts below, but I strongly encourage you to buy the book and use it as a guide to transform your ISV business.

 

  1. The series Game of Thrones has a saying: winter is coming. It isn't winter that's coming to your boardroom. It is disruption. Disruption is coming. And it is coming at an unprecedented pace and scale.
  2. Creating a new business from scratch is hard, but executives of incumbents have the dual challenge of creating new businesses while simultaneously staving off never-ending attacks on existing operations.
  3. The time when leaders need to be most prepared for a change is right at the moment when they feel they're at the very top of their game.
  4. We call the process a dual transformation because it requires two transformations and not one. In response to a disruptive shock, executives must simultaneously reposition their traditional core organization while leading a separate and focused team on a separate and distinct march up a new hill. It's the greatest opportunity a leadership team will ever face.
  5. Four key leadership mindsets you need to succeed:
    1. The courage to choose before your platform burns.
    2. The clarity to focus on a select few moonshots.
    3. The curiosity to explore even if the probable outcome is failure.
    4. The conviction to persevere in the face of predictable crises.
  6. Companies that successfully execute dual transformation can own the future instead of being disrupted by it.
  7. Answer these five questions:
    1. Why have people historically bought from us?
    2. What do we provide that they really care about?
    3. What is the disruptive shift in our market?
    4. What used to matter to them but doesn't really anymore?
    5. What do they wish we could do that we don’t?
  8. As the world changes, what is critical to the customer also changes.
  9. In a quickly changing world, playing an old game better is insufficient.
  10. The simplest way to understand whether you're truly transforming your core business is to ask, “How have our metrics changed?”
  11. History teaches us, again and again, that disruption is the greatest growth opportunity a company will ever see.
  12. It is critical to discover this path by action and not by analysis. Every idea to create new growth is partially right and partially wrong. The problem is that you don't know which part is which.
  13. No business plan survives first contact with the marketplace.
  14. Successful innovators smartly manage risk through disciplined experimentation. Before the Wright Brothers built a plane, they flew a kite.
  15. DEFT: Document, Evaluate, Focus, and Test.
  16. Seek a stepping-stone strategy: look for a starting point where you can keep a foot in today's world as you venture into a new space.
  17. “Running a start-up is like being punched in the face repeatedly, but working for a large company is like being waterboarded.”
  18. It's never been easier to start a business, but that means it also has never been easier to replicate one.
  19. The more significant the new project and the shift is, the more the CEO should be driving it.
  20. The fundamental challenge for leaders is that the data showing disruption underway is always opaque. By the time it is crystal clear, it is too late to do anything about the disruption.
  21. Decisions can't be guided purely by historical data, because if data drives you, you can only go backwards.
  22. The 7 Warning Signs of Industry Disruption
    1. Decreases in customer loyalty, driven by overshooting. Overshooting: Providing a given market tier performance it can't use. An entrant can gain traction with a simpler, cheaper solution.
    2. Significant and lasting investments by venture capitalists.
    3. Policy changes open the door to new entrants. When governments change the rules, it can accelerate the pace of industry change.
    4. Entrants emerge at the low end or market fringes with inferior-seeming solutions. The innovator uses this foothold to improve the product and service so that it meets the needs of broader customer groups. When upstarts following this game-changing strategy begin to emerge, it's time to stand up and take notice.
    5. Customer habits and preferences show signs of shifting.
    6. A viable competitor fine-tunes a disruptive business model.
    7. Slowing revenue growth is coupled with increased profit margins as leaders exit volume tiers and cut costs. When incumbents begin to feel the pain from disruption, it doesn't always feel very painful. The slowing growth feels like the natural result of an industry maturing. Emerging disruptors grow in a seemingly disconnected market, and, if they pick off customers, often they are ones the incumbent doesn't care much about anyway.
  23. Anything that is growing rapidly bears attention.
  24. Involve outsiders. It can be hard to identify your own problems.
  25. Most companies do a fairly good job of monitoring their direct competitors, but they underinvest in monitoring and interpreting telltale signs of future threats from substitutes and existing or yet-to-be-born disruptors.
  26. You are under no legal requirement to hold to your initial goals and boundaries. As the world changes and you see what works and what doesn't work, you can and should go back and revise the rules of the game.
  27. Adopt a “future-back” mindset. Companies tend to follow “present-forward” approaches to strategy. They start by detailing today's business, then project what next year will look like, then look at the year after that, and so on.
  28. Be willing to wave goodbye to the past.
  29. Your strategy isn't what you say you do; it is what you actually do.
  30. “What is possible?” can't be answered purely by gathering data and building intricate spreadsheets. Instead, it requires intuition and judgment.
  31. If you demand that every idea succeed, you will be consigned to work on incremental improvements within the confines of your current business.
  32. Exposing half-baked ideas early generates useful, usable feedback. It also has positive spillover effects as people in other corners of the organization can take fragments of an idea in new directions.
  33. Whenever you innovate, two good things can happen. Of course, you can create value. But you also can learn something that opens future avenues to create value.
  34. “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John le Carre
  35. The great sucking sounds of yesterday can subtly but importantly pull an organization back to what it was trying to get away from.
  36. Failing to build systems around the new organization creates dependency on a small number of individuals, which doesn't scale and creates conditions for failure.
  37. Defining and reinforcing a shared sense of mission become central functions for senior leaders driving a dual transformation.
  38. Transforming a company is indeed a journey, one that is both unpredictable and perpetual.
  39. Leaders who catch the disruptive changes early and respond appropriately will have the ability to thrive in the years to come. Those who don't, well, Darwin has a way of taking care of them.

 

If you’d like to talk more about Dual Transformation and how to improve your ISV business, 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 with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving 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.

 

One of my takeaways from this year’s Retail IT VAR of the Future Conference was to read The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz. The book was recommended to me by Erick Wilson, the President/CEO of TEC Works, a growing managed services provider in Florida. When I asked Erick what was the key to the success of his business, he said this book turned everything around for him.

 

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is one half inspirational, one half practical on how to build and grow your business on a shoestring budget. It’s also filled with all sorts of cringe-worthy bathroom humor, but I’ve spared you of that in my notes below. 

 

Following are 21 insightful quotes from the book that can be applied to ISV organizations:

 

  1. Have you ever been doing your business with your pants hugging your ankles and, when you are ready to wrap things up, noticed that you are extremely low on toilet paper? The best option is to manage with what you've got.
  2. When we literally have no option to just get up and walk away, we find a way to get the job done.
  3. It's awe-inspiring how careful, thoughtful, and innovative we are when our supplies are scarce.
  4. The real deal of successful entrepreneurship is bloated with failures, drenched with progress, marred with mistakes, and peppered with major achievements.
  5. Always bet on the individual who is serving his calling, not the guy who is doing it for the money.
  6. Passion begets persistence.
  7. Excuses are a great mechanism to apply logic to our fears.
  8. Early entrepreneurial success is defined by surviving, not thriving.
  9. Once you define your values, document them in a way that sings with your soul.
  10. Starting a company is all about serving your needs, your beliefs, and your values first.
  11. Know your prospects better than any of your competitors and you will have an easier time finding them. Recognize that by knowing one group so well, you will not know other groups at all.
  12. You have a “super strength” that no one else will ever match: you care more about your business than anyone else.
  13. Area of innovation: What is the area where you just can't be touched? What specifically do customers rave about when they talk about you? This is your area of innovation, and you must commit to leading in this area for the life of your business.
  14. The familiarity of repeating past actions, albeit unsuccessful ones, can seem much safer than moving decisively down an unexplored path.
  15. Entrepreneurs who adhere to life principles and constantly adapt to elusive business dynamics experience enormous, lasting success.
  16. Properly executing a process is all about doing it first, then planning for it. The first time through is often best served with less planning and more doing.
  17. The devil is in the details, but you will have a devil of a time getting anything done the first go around if you fixate on them.
  18. The more mistakes you make, the more progress you're making. Just don't repeat the same mistakes.
  19. Mistakes are good, successes are great, and idleness is a sin.
  20. A lack of resources forces you to use ingenuity, a skill that will help you stay ahead of the pack for your entire run.
  21. Ideas don't make money; effort does.

 

If you’d like to talk more about The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and how to improve your ISV business, 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 with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving 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.

 

I just returned from RetailNOW 2017, held Aug. 6-9 at Paris Las Vegas, and one of the words being thrown around the expo floor was “disruption.” Traditional point of sale resellers and ISVs are concerned about cloud POS, payment security requirements, and new entrants disrupting their current business model. With that as a background, I think it’s timely to review the lessons shared by author/serial entrepreneur Jay Samit in his book Disrupt You!

 

Before we dive into specific quotes, let’s look at the book’s subtitle: “Seize Opportunity and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation.” Disrupt You! turns around the concept of disruption, imploring business leaders to play offense and use disruption to reshape their business before the world morphs into a place where your value proposition is irrelevant.

 

I mentioned Disrupt You! during my RetailNOW presentation “18 Ways Leading POS Resellers Provide Superior Value To Their Merchants” because endless innovation is the key to offering superior value. Following are 36 insightful quotes from the book that can be applied to ISV organizations:

 

  1. To stay relevant, you must keep your career in permanent beta. That means committing to a lifetime of learning and professional growth, a lifetime of strategic adaptation.
  2. Every successful disruptor must be willing to destroy their concepts and pivot their energies before the market can render their business obsolete.
  3. A technology or product is disruptive when it creates an entirely new market, consumer base, or user and destroys or displaces the market for the technology it replaced. Email disrupted postal mail, Wikipedia disrupted the traditional multivolume bound encyclopedia.
  4. Being successful as a disruptor is about applying your unique experience and viewpoint to find opportunity.
  5. This success was not the result of my having invented a new technology. Instead, I used an existing technology to disrupt a different business.
  6. An “intrapreneur” disrupts from within the corporation, rather than waiting for the company to be attacked by external forces.
  7. Incremental innovation is like walking on quicksand: it will keep you very busy but won’t get you very far.
  8. Self-disruption is akin to undergoing major surgery, but you are the one holding the scalpel.
  9. By visualizing each step of your journey, you’re actually getting your mind prepared to handle the opportunity.
  10. Our lives and careers are determined by our acceptance or rejection of our perceived limitations.
  11. The most successful people have the same 24 hours in a day that you do. The only difference is that they take control of their time. What daily indulgences might you be willing to give up in pursuit of your dreams? 
  12. So much of self-disruption is making deliberate choices in your life instead of running on autopilot.
  13. “It’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change.”
  14. “Map out your future – but do it in pencil.”
  15. You can’t achieve dreams you don’t have.
  16. The adage that the master appears when the student is ready to learn is true only if you make the effort to seek out advice.
  17. Great big dinosaurs will always be too busy competing against other big dinosaurs to pay attention to the disruptor.
  18. You don’t have to know where the road ends to start on your journey. You just have to know the direction in which you want to travel.
  19. The customer will always find a way to get what he wants, even if the traditional supplier won’t comply.
  20. Be fearless when you know survival is at stake. Anything less is corporate suicide. Disrupt or be disrupted. There is no middle ground.
  21. It is not incumbent on the world to conform to your vision of change. It is up to you to explain the future in terms that those living in the past and present can follow.
  22. The faster you can kill the bad ideas, the quicker you can pivot to the successful one. When you finally find the one idea that can’t be killed, go with it.
  23. Disruptors are simply problem solvers.
  24. Problems are just businesses waiting for the right entrepreneur to unlock the value.
  25. Test, verify, and adjust is the only way to stay on course. Data has no ego and makes an excellent copilot.
  26. Pivoting before going broke is the cardinal rule for startup survival.
  27. Data is the most rational and productive member of any startup team. Invite data to as many planning meetings as you can. Data may disappoint, but it never lies.
  28. Just as Jesus had his apostles, you need to find a dozen consumers who are in your target demographic and bounce your ideas off them.
  29. Most startup failures result from entrepreneurs who are better at making excuses than products.
  30. Disruptors don’t have to discover something new; they just have to discover a practical use for new discoveries.
  31. No amount of capital can buy a long-term competitive advantage. “The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”
  32. Customer service should be thought of as marketing, because it influences how customers feel about your company.
  33. My theory was that by having all of our team in the position of speaking directly with our customers, we would build better software.
  34. “True disruption means threatening your existing product line and your past investments. Breakthrough products disrupt current lines of businesses.”
  35. History doesn’t remember those who maintained the status quo.
  36. No obstacle is so big that one person with determination can’t make a difference.

 

If you’d like to talk more about Disrupt You! and how to improve your ISV business, 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 with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving 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.

I first heard about The Ideal Team Player during a podcast interview with author Patrick Lencioni and thought to myself, “Hmmm … maybe I should add that to my reading list.” Then I discovered that two of the most respected VAR/ISV hybrid companies in our industry highly recommend The Ideal Team Player – one owner said it’s required reading for his management team – so I bought a copy right away.

 

The book includes valuable concepts and simple-to-apply techniques for identifying, hiring, and managing people to become better teammates. It’s divided into two parts – a fable about a small business followed by details about the Ideal Team Player model.

 

Following are 29 insightful quotes from The Ideal Team Player that apply to ISV organizations:

 

  1. Some people are better at being team players. They're not born that way, but either through life experiences, work history, or a real commitment to personal development, they come to possess the three underlying virtues that enable them to be ideal team players: they are humble, hungry, and smart.
  2. Defining the three virtues. Humble: Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player. Hungry: Hungry people are always looking for more. More things to do. More to learn. More responsibility to take on. Smart: Smart refers to a person’s common sense about people.
  3. When a team member lacks one or more of these three virtues, the process of building a cohesive team is much more difficult than it should be, and in some cases, impossible.
  4. These three qualities are to teamwork what speed, strength, and coordination are to athletics — they make everything else easier.
  5. A real team player is the kind of person who can easily build trust, engage in healthy conflict, make real commitments, hold people accountable, and focus on the team's results.
  6. Hire people who are hungry, people who go beyond what is required, who are passionate about the work they're doing.
  7. If even one of the qualities is missing in a big way, you've got yourself a jackass.
  8. We want to be an odd company, in a good kind of way. People who don't fit should think we're a little strange.
  9. Most training and development comes down to how much a person wants to change.
  10. I refer to these as “virtues” because the word virtue is a synonym for the nouns quality and asset, but it also connotes the idea of integrity and morality.
  11. In some people, hunger can be directed in a selfish way that is not for the good of the team but for the individual.
  12. Healthy hunger is a manageable and sustainable commitment to doing a job well and going above and beyond when it is truly required.
  13. Smart people just have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.
  14. Humble, hungry, and smart weren't necessarily core values, but they were critical hiring and developmental criteria for any organization that wanted teamwork to be central to its operations.
  15. Could a person fully practice the five behaviors at the heart of teamwork (trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results) if he or she didn't buy into the idea of being humble, hungry, and smart? The answer was a resounding no.
  16. By doing thorough interviewing and selective reference checking, a manager can hire people with a high degree of confidence that they'll be ideal team players.
  17. Hiring best practices: Don't be generic: Too many interviews are so generic that they provide little or no insight into specific attributes.
  18. Debrief each interview as a team: Interviews should debrief quickly after each interview, specifically around observations related to humility, hunger, and people smarts.
  19. Make interviews nontraditional: I like to get out of the office with the candidate and see him deal with people in an unstructured environment.
  20. Ask questions more than once: If you're not sold on the response, ask in a more specific way, and you will often get a more honest answer.
  21. Ask candidates to do some real work: Give a simulated work project. See how people perform in real-world situations so you can discern whether they are humble, hungry, and smart.
  22. Don't ignore hunches: If you have a doubt, don't ignore it. Keep probing. Assuming that a person has the virtues of a team player is a bad idea.
  23. Scare people with sincerity: One of my favorite ways to ensure that I'm hiring people who are humble, hungry, and smart is to come right out and tell them that these are requirements for the job.
  24. Knowing whether a person has people smarts is difficult to discern by asking a specific question. What is more important is observing her general behavior during an interview process and the way she answers questions.
  25. Perhaps the most important question that interviewers can ask to ascertain whether a candidate is smart is one that they should ask themselves: Would I want to work with this person every day?
  26. While this tool is quantitative, the real value will be found in the qualitative, developmental conversations among team-members and their managers.
  27. The most important part of the development process, and the part that is so often missing, is the leader’s commitment to constantly reminding an employee if she is not yet doing what is needed.
  28. Ideal, in the context of this book, does not mean perfect.
  29. Great cultures tend to be appropriately intolerant of certain behaviors, and great teams should be quick and tactful in addressing any lack of humility, hunger, and people smarts.

 

In addition to the wisdom in the book, Lencioni provides free assessment tools and other supporting information through his company’s website: www.tablegroup.com/idealteamplayer.

 

If you’d like to talk more about The Ideal Team Player and how to improve your ISV business, 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 with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving customer service, and more. Just drop me a line at Jim.Roddy@vantiv.com and we can set up a time to talk.

 

 

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.

"One man with courage makes a majority."

 

You weren’t alive in the 1800s when U.S. President Andrew Jackson is supposed to have made that statement, but his words apply to software developer executives and staff members in 2017. Whatever your title is at your ISV organization, you have the ability to ensure important initiatives move forward no matter what the world throws in your path.

 

You have the ability to be a juggernaut – a sustained unstoppable force that crushes whatever obstacles are in its path. Imagine a massive rock. You have to push it hard to get it started and, at first push, it barely moves. You keep pushing, and each time it moves a little more. Eventually, after intense effort, you can keep the rock moving without pushing as hard. Eventually, it’s rolling on its own and can’t be stopped. The problem is that if you stop pushing before it rolls on its own, it comes to a stop.

 

You must be a juggernaut to achieve important goals and initiatives for your organization. You become a juggernaut by understanding company best practices and being consistent in your desire for continual improvement.

 

Sustaining a juggernaut’s momentum long-term takes a combination of passion and systems. The passion comes from high-energy team members aligned with company objectives. Best practice systems integrated into the organization will ensure that the momentum of the initiative never wanes.

 

Here are some quotes about being a juggernaut (a former co-worker of mine called it “juggernautiness”) from some excellent business and leadership books that I’ve read. I think President Jackson would have agreed with these:

 

  • “One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.” – Napoleon Hill, Think And Grow Rich
  • “Companies are pretty good at starting things, but not very good at following through with them.” – Brad Hams, Ownership Thinking
  • “The reality that deliberate practice is hard can even be seen as good news. It means that most people won’t do it. So your willingness to do it will distinguish you all the more.” – Geoff Colvin, Talent Is Overrated
  • 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.” – Jim Collins, How The Mighty Fall

 

 

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.

 

 

Other business books have sold more copies worldwide, but the title I hear mentioned in our channel as having the biggest impact is Ownership Thinking by Brad Hams. Multiple software developers and resellers have mentioned to me that the book has improved accountability and profitability at their organizations.

 

I first learned about Ownership Thinking four-and-a-half years ago through keynote speaker Tom Bouwer at the 2013 RSPA INSPIRE Conference in Curacao. After a workshop Bouwer coordinated on the final day of the event, I was inspired to write an article for Business Solutions Magazine titled “Yes, KPIs Can Be Fun,” and then I read the book.

 

Following are 26 insightful quotes from Ownership Thinking that apply to ISV organizations:

 

  1. Ownership Thinking is about moving employees away from only the “me” way of thinking and toward the concerns of the business and its financial performance.
  2. What we want to achieve: The creation of organizations whose employees think and act like owners toward creating wealth (which, in turn, creates opportunity). We want to create great cultures that are fun and rewarding to work in.
  3. The 4 components of Ownership Thinking: the Right Incentives, the Right Education, the Right Measures, and the Right People.
  4. Create a culture where (1) Everyone is challenged and must take responsibility for their company’s destiny and their role within it; (2) workers know what the heck is going on and how they contribute; (3) everyone is a “part of”; and (4) people have fun.
  5. Entitlement destroys motivation. It lowers productivity. In the long run it crushes self-esteem.
  6. For an organization to achieve excellence, it must engage all of its organization members.
  7. The question is not if we give but what and how.
  8. Skills can usually be taught, but my experience tells me that attitudes and behaviors are pretty tough to change.
  9. An incentive plan must be self-funding.
  10. The absolute worst scenario I have encountered is a salesperson who is commissioned on revenue and has the ability to negotiate or manipulate pricing. The company is just asking for reduced margins.
  11. Everyone can contribute to the financial performance of the company, and everyone can sabotage it.
  12. In absence of information, people make stuff up.
  13. When employees assume their company is making wheelbarrows of money, they become wasteful.
  14. I don’t believe that full disclosure is necessary. I believe that employees simply need to receive the information necessary for them to do the best job they can.
  15. If you have too many measures, it’s quite likely that none of them will get measured very well. Or, people will become overwhelmed and then paralyzed.
  16. Industry standards = “this is what mediocrity looks like”
  17. The objective of a Rapid Improvement Plan (RIP) is to attack and improve one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) at a time with a high-involvement, detailed plan.
  18. The 6 steps to creating RIPs: (1) Identify a KPI that needs improvement. (2) Identify a quantifiable goal and a time frame for the RIP (typically 90 days). (3) Quantify the financial benefit of reaching the goal. (4) Determine the actions and people required to achieve the goal. (5) Name the RIP and create a theme (have some fun). (6) Identify a celebration for reaching the goal.
  19. 90 days is long enough for organization members to significantly affect a KPI, but not so long that they lose interest.
  20. A celebration should be identified at the beginning of the RIP that will be carried out if the goal is met.
  21. The biggest problem with creating RIPs is that people overthink them. They turn them into something very ominous and complicated.
  22. Companies are pretty good at starting things, but not very good at following through with them.
  23. People become advocates of what they understand, appreciate, and take ownership of.
  24. As a business leader, you have many things on your mind every day, so the resistance will typically win out and the initiative will go away.
  25. Adults address reality and deal with it. Adults don’t argue with reality. Adults remain calm in the face of adversity or failure – and they simply try again.
  26. Regardless of the economic conditions (or any other circumstances for that matter), some companies will win, and some companies will lose. The winning companies (and people) will be those that accept reality for what it is and make the decisions and take the actions that will get them through successfully.

 

If you’d like to talk more about Ownership Thinking and how to improve your ISV business, 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 with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving customer service, and more. Just drop me a line at Jim.Roddy@vantiv.com and we can set up a time to talk.

 

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.