I’m in the process of considering going out on my own again, after almost two years with a small “boutique” firm. The exercise in trying to help them grow had its pluses and minuses. One of the insights I already knew, but this experience provided a more current data point: Without an ongoing effort every day to identify opportunities, move those through a sales pipeline to eventual close your destiny is bleak. A lot like sitting on the wrong end of a tree branch and sawing away. You may feel you’re making progress but you’re actually undercutting your future.
With that said, I wonder why the message at the executive level didn’t take on a sense of urgency until it became a crisis. In the past when I consulted to Senior Executives they were well aware of this insight, they just didn’t know how to go about it, so it was easy to lay out a simple structure each could grow with. I happen to like Keith Eades book, The New Solution Selling. He refined Bosworth’s principles down to a implementable process for large organizations. Corporations such as IBM and Microsoft have created and deployed customized versions of such, I had assisted in those efforts.
However, for small businesses the approach was not scalable down. Over the past few years I’ve taken the core concepts and reengineer these into a family of tools which I’ve posted onto Microsoft Office Templates Online under my corporate logo Intellectual Arbitrage Group. These are available for free for a limited time, as I’ve been informed the site will be taken down in October. While distribution for free from Microsoft will not be available I will still freely distribute in the future.
But with the advent of the Cloud; Azure, Office365, etc. I am in the process of designing a service that will integrate these core functions into a system that will enable small businesses to manage the Marketing and Sales function at or beyond the level that corporations struggle to attain or maintain. While it will not be as sophisticated as systems I’ve done for these larger corporations effectiveness should raise for these firms an order of magnitude. Originally I had planned to release a SharePoint version, and I still might, but a Cloud Service makes more sense to address the small businesses I’m so fond of