THE IT BETWEENERS IS A COLLECTIVE OF EXPERTS, EXPERIENCED IN THE IT INDUSTRY AND SPECIALISED IN SUPPORTING MANAGED IT SERVICES PROVIDERS (MSPs).
Our group comprises experts in numerous fields, including.
✔ Leadership Coaching
✔ Business Growth
✔ Admin Assistants
✔ IT Recruitment
✔ Sales Training and much more
Different Mindset is absolutely delighted to become the newest member of the ITBetweeners expert community.
Find the right expert for your MSP business here - https://lnkd.in/dDkXaY8
IT Support and Managed IT Services Providers (MSPs) have been largely overlooked when it comes to recognition for their frontline work during the pandemic.
On the eve of the first lockdown, businesses all over the world were in panic mode.
Suddenly, the advice they had been given by MSPs, for more than a decade, about adopting the flexibility of cloud computing tools, became a reality.
Now, immediately and overnight, they wanted to accept that advice and adopt a flexible working infrastructure.
And how they clambered for their IT “paramedics”, their frontline staff, to help them adopt quickly, safely and securely to a geographically disparate working practice.
And yet these unsung IT heroes, did it all, for every single company and client that needed it, almost as if by magic, and in record time.
Yet we were not asked by our leaders in Government to stand out in our gardens, every Thursday at 8:00pm to clap in celebration of these heroes.
Businesses were simply not prepared for the pandemic. To enable their teams to quickly work from home, many insisted their people use their own, domestic PCs and laptops, always against the better advice of the IT experts, who strongly recommended against it, due to the serious cyber security implications.
Did they heed the experts’ advice? Well, some did, but a great many, ignored it. And so again, our heroes were forced to take as many precautionary measures as practicable, to protect clients, not only from the bad guys out there, but more importantly, from themselves.
And those same clients are the ones to shout loudest when wee Jeanie’s Windows 7 PC has been hacked or has “caught” a virus. They’re the same clients who expect MSPs to jump through hoops.
If a lawyer advised a business to remove a specific clause from a partnership agreement, or if an accountant offered advice on how to reduce tax liabilities, these businesses would not question it. It’s professional advice after all.
So, why is it, when they receive equally professional advice from their IT advisers, they feel the urge, the need, to ignore it or question it?
MAJOR ATTITUDE SHIFT
Businesses large and small, all over the world need to stop seeing IT Support companies and MSPs as an expense on the P&L, on the same level as office cleaners, window cleaners or parcel delivery companies etc (as important as each of those are) and instead include them in their annual budgeting, exactly the same as their lawyers and accountants.
Only then will they begin to recognise the value of these expert professionals, these trained and experienced, unsung heroes.
But IT companies and MSPs have also been guilty of not recognising their own value.
To them I ask this question, “if you don’t recognise the value you deliver, then why should your clients?”
It’s nothing to do with cost, it’s all to do with value.
If we learned anything from this pandemic, it is the fact that without fully operational and secure IT systems, businesses cease trading.
That does not happen if you leave a clause on a partnership agreement or if you have to pay a little extra tax.
IT companies and MSPs are your other emergency service and it’s time all businesses woke up to that fact.
When your systems fail, it’s not you lawyer you call, it’s your MSP!
Here at Different Mindset, our mission is to help IT companies and MSPs change this perspective, to help them win more business, retain better clients’ and sustainably grow MRR.
If you’re an IT Support company or MSP and you’d like to find out more, book a free 15 minute call: https://calendly.com/different-mindset/one-2-one
#DifferentMindset #TheBlackKnight #MSPsYourOtherEmergencyService
Business Consultants and Management Consultants have often been considered as “temporary advisers”!
Bringing expertise, with an outsider’s viewpoint, building strategies and even implementing them, and when they’re done, they leave!
In 2020 though, the global pandemic has coincided with a global recession and this has forced businesses into a major rethink.
Clients’ are now embracing change in 2020, they are, to use the new parlance, “PIVOTING”.
But now, they need much more from their Business Consultants. They need greater insights to help direct any change or transformation and because of this, they need their Consultants to be on hand, with them on their journey, sharing their concerns, stresses, and successes.
This means Consultants have had to pivot their business models too, away from project-based quick wins and instead, committing to long-term, value oriented services, with client relationships at their core.
DIFFERENT MINDSET is committed to long-term client relationships!
Different Mindset, brings together more than 35 years of business management, strategy, and business growth experience under a single service offering for IT Support and Managed Service Providers in Scotland.
I work with business owners, with typically 5 to 25 employees (T/O from around £400k to £1.2m) and who are ambitious to grow, pivot or improve, and I coach them through or around the obstacles preventing that growth. I use tried and tested tools and techniques to achieve this.
During 2018/19 I underwent 18 months of intensive, EOS Inplementor led training into The Entrepreneurial Operating System, which transformed my way of thinking.
It trained me to think differently and I now want to use my training to help others.
I believe that every client is different, so I employ an individually tailored approach every time.
I’ve worked as a senior manager/director for many years and have built a deep understanding of business management, marketing, business development and sales processes.
I am also skilled in managing the operational impact of rapid growth.
I believe, clear direction, well-defined processes, Core Values and and effective communication are key to success.
I am a fan of the late, great Bruce Lee and as a former professional martial artist and competitive fighter, I watched his movies dozens of times. One of his biggest movies; Enter the Dragon, which I’m sure most of you will have seen, focuses on a martial arts competition on a secret island run by the evil Mr Han.
My favourite scene from that movie sees a group of martial artists on board a Chinese Junk, sailing towards Han's Island for a fighting tournament. One of the artists, Parsons, a New Zealander, starts bullying the young boys tending the fighters. The bully approaches our hero, and asks arrogantly, “what is your style?”. Lee ponders the question and then responds with the famous line, “my style is the art of fighting without fighting”.
Today, with many years in business management and business growth behind me in the IT Services and Software industry, I know better than most what it's like selling to both new and existing clients and it’s a role I have always taken a great deal of pride in.
I have often been shocked or embarrassed and on occasion downright infuriated by some of the sales styles and techniques I have witnessed in business over the years and not to put too fine a point on it, I don’t like them.
I want to feel confident when I bump into my clients in the supermarket and not feel the need to hide. I want them to see me as a knowledgeable professional, as a friend and to know they can contact me with questions or to seek advice, without having to worry about a sales pitch…. And I'm very proud to say, they do contact me!
It's many years since I first modeled my structured-selling style on the words of Bruce Lee and today, my style, “The Art of Selling Without Selling”, is as natural to me as breathing. At its core, is the simple practice of listening and asking questions. Questions about the clients' business, about their plans for growth, how they use their IT systems to interact with their customers to supply their goods and/or services. It's all about their business and their personal goals and targets.
I firmly believe that any sales process should be imperceptible, invisible even.
Before I moved into the IT industry in 1987, I worked in the private healthcare sector and it was one of my mentors there who indoctrinated me into what he called “five bums and a rugby goal”. This turned out to be a golden reminder about the use of questioning techniques when gathering information from customers, i.e. who, what, why, where, when and how (WWWWWH).
I always remember his words, "if you're genuinely interested in what your client has to say, listen to them!"
My belief is that most customers know what their pain points are with their IT systems and what they want to achieve. In general they need me to listen, to advise and to help them achieve their goals. They are reassured by the fact that if I don't know the answer to their questions, I have a large team of technical and business experts behind me and they always know the answers.
They also know that anytime I call them, the purpose is to make sure all is well and not an excuse to sell them something and as a result, they are always happy to take my call. This is important to me.
Selling, at least in my opinion, has moved on from the hard-edged, “never take no for an answer” salespeople of the past and instead has become a far more collaborative and consultative process, one that is altogether more professional and where the client knows their views and opinions are valued.
Does “The Art of Selling Without Selling” suit every client? Probably not, but in an age when every piece of information we supply, can be checked and verified at the click of a button, sales people need to adapt their style to move with the times.
The evil Mr Han remarked to Williams, another character from Enter the Dragon, saying “your style is most unusual Mr Williams” and Williams replied, “but effective”.
I couldn't have said it better!
In a world where we all seek to be unique, my style is both “most unusual” and “effective”.
#DifferentMindset #TheBlackKnight #EthicalSelling
We all have mobile phones these days and when, during the course of the day their battery runs down, we simply plug them in and recharge them. But what do we do after a busy week at work, when our own batteries need a recharge? Me, I love to get into the woods, back to nature and I’d like to tell you why this works for me.
It’s amazing the number of people I meet who walk in the same countryside, the same woods I do and yet who miss all the stunning beauty these microclimates, on the edges of our towns and cities contain. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me, “how did you ever notice that?”, but the short answer is, I notice because I continually look for “that”, whether it’s a bird, a tree or plant, or even an unusual insect, that’s the very reason I’m there, that’s my passion.
Scotland is blessed with one of the most beautifully diverse natural landscapes on earth and the sheer variety of flora and fauna to be found is really quite astonishing. Our natural scenery is truly awe inspiring, from the rolling hills of the borders, to the high mountain tops of the Cairngorms and they are all utterly crammed with wildlife.
I live, within a 5 minutes’ walk from a golf course, which is skirted by dense woodland on all sides. I walk the 5 miles’ perimeter twice daily on weekdays with my constant companion, Marvin, my dog.
Part of this woodland was created as the grounds of a semi-stately home, now a hotel and because of this, the variety of healthy tree specimens, both indigenous and alien is fantastic. Ash, alder, elm, hazel, elder, rowan, poplar, a huge array of conifers and the usual smattering hawthorn, amongst many others, some that I have not yet been able to identify.
One thing you cannot help but notice in Scottish woodlands, is the stunning scents and smells, from the wild garlic (Ramsons – the flowers are great as a garnish, deep fried in a light batter) to the weeping resin blisters of the Douglas Fir. I think of this as nature’s aromatherapy.
There are two giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron Giganteum), often referred to as the California Redwood, but known locally as “the punching trees”. This is because the tree has a thick (3 to 4 inches depending on age) spongey bark, that is intended to protect the heartwood of the tree from the frequent fires that plague its natural home. I wish you could have seen the excitement on my 8-year-old grandsons’ face when I showed him he could punch a giant tree without hurting his hand, such is the power of nature to excite and inspire our youngsters.
Another tree, closer to the hotel, is frequently used as a backdrop for wedding photographs. It is a Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), and as it grows, its branches form large flat “plates” and it really is quite stunning. I’ve only ever seen it covered in heavy snow once since I moved to the area; the snow floated as if by magic, in huge horizontal slices with little or no tree visible, it was like the biggest wedding caked I’d ever seen. The fact that this species is becoming increasingly rare makes this excellent example all the more special.
It was on one of my regular adventures around these woods that I saw something that caused me to kneel down to take a closer look. Nothing too exciting, just a common or garden broad-leafed dock, but what was remarkable about one of the leaves was the fact that two, needle-like blades of grass had grown up through it. I’d never seen anything like it and it could have been so easily missed.
Think about all of the factors that would have needed to conspire to allow this to happen? The blades of grass themselves, needed to have sufficient strength to be able to pierce the thick leathery texture of the dock leaf. The dock leaf would have needed to remain still enough and long enough for the growth of the grass to pierce it, as even the slightest breeze might have caused the leaf to bend the grass, weakening its stem and removing the strength it needed to complete its feat.
At this time of year (mid-June) the local roe deer population is preparing for the rutting season at the end of July, beginning of August. The stags are now chestnut red, in full antler (small antlers compared to their cousins, the red deer) and confidently strut through the woods, gathering their harem of females, which in the roe deer’s case might only be a single female, but the bucks will mate with many does. The females have also become redder in colour, almost as if to attract the males.
Following the successful rut, the females then give birth, usually to two fawns, in late May/early June, but this is no ordinary 11month gestation period. What few people realise about the ever-present roe deer is that the females employ a strategy called “embryonic diapause” (delayed implantation).
The embryo remains in a state of diapause (almost like suspended animation) until late December or early January at which time it reactivates and then starts to grow rapidly. So, the “real” gestation period is only 6 months and while other mammals, including kangaroos, employ embryonic diapause, the roe deer’s process is really quite unique and they show none of the hormonal signs that other mammals display at the time of reactivation of the embryo.
It is believed that the birth of the fawns is delayed in this way to coincide with the start of the British summer, meaning grasses, trees and plants are longer, bigger and fuller, providing the necessary cover for the female to hide her fawns, usually separately, which enhances the possibility if survival for at least one.
During the month of June, the fawns lay hidden in the long grass, and the mother conducts frequent visits to allow them to feed and grow, until they are strong enough to keep up with her.
It is for this reason I am always concerned when I see dog owners allowing their dogs to frantically run through the brush and long grass at this time of year, as the slightest scare will cause a female to desert her young, with obvious consequences.
It was only last week, when walking on the main path around the woods that I noticed a robin standing on the ledge of a hole in a tree. I stopped about 20 yards or so away and watched through my binoculars as the robin made frequent trips over the next 10 minutes, obviously feeding, what I presumed was young chicks.
As quietly and as slowly as I could, I walked to a position where I could peek into the hole and there, sitting on, a clutch of eggs, was a stunning female robin. They have to be one of our most endearing birds.
I had read some years ago, about how the female loses up to 90% of her bodyweight after laying her eggs and that while she incubates them, the male forages and feeds her, but this was the first time I had ever seen it actually happen. I can’t tell you how excited I was.
The robins tend to mate around late march early April and the females will usually incubate the eggs until they hatch, after which she takes less and less involvement, leaving the feeding and raising of the chicks to the male. You see, she has her eyes on another male and she will do the same with him. Robins lay two clutches and occasionally three each year, so based on the timing, it is likely my little robin was on her second clutch.
This is a necessary practice by the females, as the mortality rate in robins is fairly high, so having multiple batches of eggs, increases the chance of more birds surviving into adulthood.
I’ll keep a distant eye on my little robin and hopefully she’ll make a success of it.
My weekend of exploration is now nearly over, but like my iPhone, my battery is now showing full again and I‘m ready for another busy week ahead at work, can’t help but look forward to next weekend though…..
#DifferentMindset #TheBlackKnight #NatureNerd
I have never played golf in my life, but recently I borrowed a set of clubs, met up with a friend and gave it a go.
First Hole: I remove a tee from my bag, stick it in the ground and then carefully balance the ball on top of the tee.
I’ve watched many good golfers drive their first shot for miles, straight up the fairway, it looked really easy. So, I position myself to address the ball; feet shoulder width apart, I even did one of those “trial swings”, like the pros do.
I breathe in, holding my breath and draw my swing back, just like I’d seen the good players do. I kept my eye on the ball and then released my almighty swing and heard the satisfying “ping” as club struck ball perfectly.
Well, I say perfectly, but truth be told, neither me nor my playing buddy had any idea where the damn ball had gone; certainly not up the fairway!
Now it was my friends shot and he did exactly as I had done, same stance, same practice swing, same “ping”. The difference was that he’s a 2 handicap player and his ball disappeared perfectly into the distance.
This story was repeated for the remainder of the 9-hole course.
So, here’s my question. Am I now a golfer?
Don’t answer that! Of course, I’m not. I know that.
But my when my friend started out, he had hired a golf professional, who analysed his swing, his stance, his head movement etc and then set about creating short and long-term strategies for him to practice. I have to say, the results were clear, he was great!
So why, when it comes to business, are owners reluctant to hire a professional business consultant?
The principles are identical.
And great business leaders recognise that seeking advice from a professional consultant is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs admit to the values of consultants they have hired in the past. They know that investing in business consulting delivers real and measurable ROI.
"I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities."
CEO, Home Depot
#DifferentMindset #TheBlackKnight #BusinessAdvisor