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VICTORIAN VOICE: Two out of three ain’t bad

VICTORIAN VOICE: Two out of three ain’t bad

Having survived the challenging times of late, there has never been a better opportunity for channel players to revisit, review and revise the fundamentals of what they are trying to achieve within their own operations.

Analysts are increasingly optimistic that technology demand is at — or is bouncing off — the bottom of its cycle. “It’s all up from here,” they like to tell us. With that in mind if you’re still standing now there’s every chance that you’ll be here for the long term.

It is time to get back to basics. Motives for going into business are many and varied. A deep desire to work for themself and thereby not have to cow-tow to the whims of a boss and/or a big corporate machine is enough for some. It is a lifestyle choice to fossick and prosper with control of one’s own destiny, engaging in a passion and reaping the benefits of hard work.

Others were originally frustrated by the sight of existing players making profits where they feel they could do the same thing only better. There has and always will be a clear opportunity for successful enterprise by improving the price, availability or quality customers receive on a product or service that is in demand.

Yet another group of entrepreneurs has an opportunity to present a whole new solution altogether. Having the latest and greatest to sell has been the backbone of the technology era.

Each of these different types of motivations can form the foundation of sustained growth and profitability. The common key between most successful businesses is that they are able to be unique and innovative in all aspects of their operation. The only other way to succeed is to engage in the ever-tougher routine of “meeting the market” as Tech Pacific’s supremo, Kerry Baillie, prefers to call it. That works too but you need a very large volume to survive on the slim margins.

There used to be a sign on a local assembly shop I frequented during the boom days. Separate to the retail shopfront, the guy ran a fledgling services business installing, networking and maintaining the PCs and LANs he assembled.

The sign was in the form of a triangular flow chart. Three words were displayed — “Fast”, “Good” and “Cheap” — one at each point of the triangle. Underneath the triangle was written, “Pick any two”. Perfectionists may consider it to be a bit of cop out but I think it is a simple rule which applies to all sorts of business. It is the minimum (and perhaps maximum) standards which an enterprise should hope to achieve. Long-term stability relies upon it.

You can’t deliver a good solution very quickly without it being expensive. You can build a quality, low-cost solution but it will take some time. If you require a solution very quickly but want it delivered without a great deal of cost, you cannot expect to be all that good.

Of course, you should always strive to deliver the highest possible levels of quality, availability and affordability. That is Business 101 stuff. However, customers often need to have their expectations managed so that they understand that getting two out of three ain’t bad when it comes to having their buying motives satisfied.

If you can effectively develop a marketing strategy offering such expectations and a customer base which is happy to deal with the accompanying customer service, then you are on the road to sustained success.

Gerard Norsa, ARN’s Melbourne based editor at large, can be contacted at (03) 96902859 or gerard_norsa@idg.com.au.


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