I am sure that you have heard the adage; Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. Yet too many businesses don't have practical working business plans. Most have a fanciful fairy tale they use for the bank, filled with rosy projections.
The plans businesses need will guide their response to the ever-changing business environment. These are real plans with actions to take for the entire company. These plans will serve as a real roadmap to the success you want to achieve for your company.
There are seven subjects we will discuss in this series. This article gives a brief description of each, and we will take a deep dive into each in later chapters.
The disaster plan is the one you hope you never need, but I am placing it first on the list because your company's survival will probably be at risk if you need it. Failure to have a good plan, when something happens, can...
For many dealers, the prospect of adding managed IT to their company is a logical next step. For the sales department, it means adding a new talk track and developing some specialists to help close the business.
It does give a dealer the ability to better position themselves to manage and retain their current customers. It may also provide a competitive advantage in the sales process. However, a typical copier and printer service department will face significant challenges in supporting managed IT.
Separate or Integrated… or Partnered
The first step in moving into managed IT is to decide how you are going to handle IT support. Is it something that will be managed and operated through the service department, or will it be a separate department? Will you handle all customer support internally, or will you outsource some or all of the support?
This is a decision that will vary by dealership. If you currently have a help desk operation, provide all of your own internal network...
Light production print can be a stepping stone to new customers and it offers the opportunity to grow your business. When managed properly, it can position a dealership for growth and continued success. When managed poorly, it can spell problems that may haunt the dealership for years.
This is not an arena you want to dip your toe in and see how it goes. To do it effectively, a significant investment in parts and training is required. If you only have a couple of devices in the field, your ability to properly support the equipment will be nonexistent.
The Market Assessment
The first phase of making the light production print decision needs to be a market assessment to see how many potential units you can reasonably expect to place. If that number is less than 10, this is probably not a market you want to tackle. Additionally, these need to be in a geographic area that one team can support.
If your territory covers a wide area and you expect to have equipment scattered throughout the...
I remember talking to a dealer principal several years back and asked him for his e-mail address. He responded that he didn’t like computers, and told me to just send it to one of his admins.
I knew his business was in serious jeopardy, and in fact, it failed a few years later.
The point of that story is to emphasize that we are in an ever-changing business environment. And in many cases today, dealers and service departments are reluctant to get into the solutions business. Some have tried dipping their toes in and gotten burned; others just want to be old-school dealerships. But we must remember that we can’t afford to get trapped in the current way we do business, or we will soon be out of business.
Office equipment today is designed to be part of a network’s infrastructure. Devices are no longer output-only or scan/fax/print devices, but now can—and often do—serve as portals for access to applications. If your company is not currently...
Over my 30-plus years in various roles within our industry, one common issue I’ve seen is the need for service managers to share knowledge. In my travels, working with two different manufacturers, I saw dealers constantly struggling to re-invent the wheel.
I became convinced that individual service managers, and our industry as a whole, had the opportunity to get better if there was a way for them to share ideas.
In most cases, the opportunities are not open to service managers. I attend BTA events regularly and there are two things I notice: there isn’t much content for service managers, and there are not many service managers attending even when there is content available. I do see owners and sales managers all the time, yet service generates the majority of the profit in a dealership. So it makes me wonder why these events aren’t more geared toward service.
Most Service Managers Don’t Share
I believe that several factors create this situation. Service...
Last month, we discussed the current environment of our industry and the challenges facing it. In this issue, our next step is to examine the opportunities that exist within the service department and how you can leverage them to remain relevant going forward.
When we look at the leading players in the acquisition market, what do we see in common? They get deep and wide with the customer. Marco is a very good example of that process—if it touches a Cat 5 cable, it sells, supports and services the products. Recently, it became the IT department for a hospital. Who is going to sell the hospital anything, other than Marco?
The more you can provide clients with all the devices and services they need or want, the more secure your relationship with that client becomes. Anyone who wants to take the client away from you will need to service and support all the equipment you provide.
One of the presentations at the BTA national meeting in Orlando...
There are a couple of adages that highlight the need to keep changing. One that comes to mind is “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you have always gotten.” Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” In my last post, I highlighted the need to keep learning as an individual and as a business. For the learning to be really valuable, we must apply it to our lives and our businesses.
In many cases, our businesses exist in a rut. We keep doing the same things over and over because that is the easy and safe course. The problem with a rut is that dug deeply enough it can become a grave. The corporate landscape is littered with the decaying hulks of business that thought it was enough to keep doing what they had been doing.
We will discuss how companies can avoid this result and some of the necessary...