Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why am I dreading this trip so much?

Dreading is not really the word. I usually is some way look forward to trips, especially with the HTG3 guys. (HTG3 its not you). I am enjoying summer at the house, want to go to the lake house, the boys are lots of fun watching them discover things, golf and lots of stuff going on at the office.

There are positives to this trip.

1. I have never been to Vancouver BC before.
2. Jenifer is going with me. (MAN 5 in a row)
3. Highs in the 60's
4. Really looking forward to Guemes (See with Aaron and family (They have a house there we are spending the weekend)
5. A little get away from work (Even though it is work)
6. Seeing the HTG3 guys

OK I am convienced I am going to have a great time next week! Thanks everyone for helping me through this. Is there a lesson here? Maybe that blogging isn't just a business tool, but also a mental health tool? Does that make Stuart a shrink?

The Garage Sale.

So Jenifer (4 days in a row now she has made the blog) had the garage sale yesterday. This was an unbelieveable event. Jenifer's sale started at 2. People began parking outside at 1:10! By 1:30 there were 5. By quarter till there were over a dozen cars!

So what advertising campaign causes this kind of frenzy? A newspaper add and a insert in the free online advertising. I have advertised events including million dollar technical displays giving away things like laptops and cameras. I should have called it a garage sale?

Back to the story. Jenifer had more things than would fit in the garage. Once she opened the door, I was to move these extra items to the driveway. Good luck with that. I couldn't get through the people. I would say within the first 10 minutes there were over 30 people in the garage. There was almost a fight over one item.

Anyway, I would not want to do this more than once every couple of years. As for the margins, you can't argue. They are pretty much 100%, on over $1k of business!

So the sales tip of the day. If you want to drive attendance to an event, call it a garage sale!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Joddey, Mike and the Hair

On Wednesday, Joddey Hicks from Heartland Technology Group and Mike Fafinski from Syand in MN came to visit. We had an extensive agenda covering a wide range of topics. We worked hard for 24 hours and when they left I had a headache. No, the headache was not from the sales energy, rather I was mentally wore out!

We had a chance to visit our Network Operations Center in Victoria with Justin McClung. (See and toured our main facility. More than that we dug real deep in topics ranging from Terminal Services versus Citrix, SSLVPN Concentrators and why to developing some unique things for our HTG meeting next week. I want to also thank Mike Doerfler for helping us through some of the more technical aspects of this.

The Hair;
Does anyone remember Zach Morris? A character from Saved By The Bell on TV? Well Mike Fafinski was sporting this hair for two days. He rented a convertible for the trip and drove most of that time with the top down. The result was the "Zach" as I will now refer to it as. I will have to add that it was a good thing he wasn't here in Hays today. Highs will be over 103. For a Minnesotan this is melting point.

I cannot stress the value of giving and sharing with other companies. We dived real deep on topics that I would have never thought about looking into. I have come up with at least 5 action items that are going to increase the bottom line. So you can put up fences and build a fort looking out. Or you can engage other learn more and extend your reach.

PS my wife makes the blog 3 days in a row. Thank you Jen for all the work you did on dinner and putting up with us three guys for a couple of days.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Update and the garage sale

I have had a chance to read Stuart's ebook. This is definitely a good read for any VAR or vendor in the IT business. Stuart does a great job of laying out the road map of the future for our business.

One thing that continues to bother me is this transition to MSP 2.0. Have most VAR's mastered 1.0? I know I have not. I am struggling between maximizing everything that we have with balancing the look to the future. I think I am preparing for 2.0 but clearly not close to being there.

Ok that was a little professorish. IE theory.

Garage sale. My wife (Two days in a row for her making this blog. Penalty will be big for me) is having a garage sale this Friday (It has come to my attention that this is not a global thing. Simply the garage sale is kinda like an open market but in your garage where you sell all your stuff you don't want anymore for ridiculously low prices and have lots of strangers in your garage.) Lots of kids stuff for sure. Anyway she has advertised in the newspaper and the free local on line tools. It is amazing the response she has had. I am sure I am going to learn lots about negotiating, customers and Jenifer. Should be painful. I will keep everyone updated.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My wife is no salesperson.

I am sure I will pay for this later. Anyway, here it goes. I am told we are done having kids. So Jenifer has spent the last 6 months preparing for a garage sale (Friday). We had several large items we put in the local on line advertisements. First was a battery operated Hummer, second was our crib.

Yesterday we sold the crib, (The Hummer sold first day) the folks came to pick it up at our house around 8:30 last night. Mind you, they have already committed to purchase. This is when my wife tells them the story how it has been listed twice and they are the only ones who have contacted us. I could almost read the expressions in the gal's face saying, "Did I pay too much?" She went ahead and paid us anyway.

Lesson continues to be, once you make the sale, keep quiet. Don't give the opportunity for buyers remorse to step in, you may talk the client out of the sale. I continue to see this happen quite a bit.

Stuart ask me to review his recent publication
I will be doing that Wednesday. So look forward to this.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I can't diagram a sentence, can you?

Not sure why this continues to bother me. My 8th grade teacher told me that I could not write. In fact, I almost didn't pass 8th grade English because I could not diagram a sentence. Still can't. (Ha, there is a sentence that fails). So here I sit still with the thought that I shouldn't be writing this blog, simply because a teacher 20 years ago said I shouldn't?

So what is the lesson behind this? Don't tell people they can't do things. Teach, mold and encourage everyone around you to grow. Not to hinder. This applies to every one. My kids, wife and friends to those I work with.

I can now diagram some of the most advanced communications systems on the planet but cannot diagram a sentence. Does it matter? You are still reading this mess I call writing!

The same teacher that said I could not write, told me I would never be able to spell. Guess what, I am about to press the spell check button. She was wrong!