Conference keynote speakers should make you pause from the day-to-day of your business and think about your org’s strategies through a different lens. That’s exactly what Michael Mazzeo, Paul Oyer, and Scott Schaefer (pictured above), authors of the book The Roadside MBA, did across three mornings at INSPIRE 2017. Held Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at the gorgeous St. Kitts Marriott Resort, INSPIRE is the annual winter conference hosted by the RSPA (Retail Solutions Providers Association).
Let me share with you some of the key learnings from The Roadside MBA guys, but I’ll add a lens of my own. I’ve developed a list of “Guiding Principles for Growing the Value of a POS Reseller” which are based upon a framework developed by Peterson Bros. Holdings combined with analysis of POS reseller organizations by Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services.
I’ll share what The Roadside MBA authors said at INSPIRE and show how they align with the Guiding Principles for POS Resellers. As you read this, think about which areas your business could use some shoring up.
Roadside MBA says: The only thing that matters about how good your product is is customer willingness to pay. Always think about the relationship between the cost I’m spending and the value the customer is willing to pay for my product. They will be willing to pay for better knowledge, better information, or a better perception about your product.
Guiding Principles say: Vertical market expertise enables resellers to charge more. Focus only on the areas where you can charge more.
Roadside MBA says: Delegation is an important part of scaling your business. You can’t scale if you can’t teach someone else to do your job.
Guiding Principles say: Delegate so you can do timely and well all the things that only you can do. A top manager delegating too slowly harms company growth and profit.
Roadside MBA says: Small businesses often add more people as they add more customers, but economies of scale can go away when you have to add a management layer.
Guiding Principles say: Outwork our competition – do more work, and better work, with fewer employees. Hire high-capacity employees who produce far more work than an average employee. Lowest possible employee head count. Maintain average revenue per employee of $200k.
Roadside MBA says: Costs and Strategy Principles:
1. It is crucial for businesses to understand their costs.
2. Taking advantage of Economies-of-Scale can generate profits and growth.
3. BUT, many businesses hit DISeconomies of scale quickly.
4. Recognize which activities are not scalable and resist the temptation to grow in such areas.
Guiding Principles say: Force our operating-cost-per-dollar-of-sales lower than our competitors; and lower this year than last year. Keep maneuvering the business into growing, non-cyclical markets. “Many a fortune has slipped through a man’s fingers because he was engaged in too many occupations at a time.” – P.T. Barnum circa 1888
Roadside MBA says: Financing is a problem for your customers. Talk with them to solve not just their technology problems but their financing problems. It pays to think broadly about your customers’ problems. Any problem that you can solve, it’s a good idea to do.
Guiding Principles say: Know our clients’ goals and problems well enough to build a business model that provides indispensable products and services to them. Conduct QBRs (quarterly business reviews) with as many clients as reasonable.
Roadside MBA says: You have to ask: Why do customers choose you? Where does the willingness to pay come from? If you can’t answer those questions, then you don’t have a very good understanding of what’s going on in your customer’s minds.
Guiding Principles say: Focus our business on superior client value. Pursue sales opportunities that tolerate higher margin; build a revenue stack with high margins.
Roadside MBA says: Make the outside of the hardware look good – shine, buff, and polish. Signal to your customers “this is a well-made machine on the inside.” That’s hard to do because you can’t see on the inside. But that’s something the customers care about.
Guiding Principles say: Ensure employees exude professionalism. This goes beyond attire to include grooming, posture, grammar, a sparkle in the eye, enthusiasm, and a sense of substance.
Roadside MBA says: Competitive advantage definition: resources or capabilities that enable a firm to create or capture value better than existing or potential competitors. It’s not as important to identify “what you do well” as opposed to “what you do better” than the competition.
Guiding Principles say: Aggressively invest in those things that allow us to deliver higher value to our clients than our competitors do.
Roadside MBA says: Make your company not just seem like a great place to work. Actually make it a great place to work.
Guiding Principles say: Establish a “world-class” organization. Attract, hire, and retain top quality employees who can build the business better than our current best. Create a learning culture that piques and satisfies curiosity. Employee training and mentoring is an investment that yields high dividends.
You’ve read this far, so you should be rewarded for being a student of your channel business. If you contact me (Jim.Roddy@vantiv.com or 814-520-6342), I’ll email you a copy of the latest version of the Guiding Principles for Growing the Value of a POS Reseller which includes dozens of examples from leading resellers in our channel.
I’ll also set up a time for us to talk through the principles so we can learn from each other. I know you’re busy, but as we said at the outset of this post, sometimes we need to take time to pause from the day-to-day of our businesses and think about our strategies differently.
INSPIRE 2017, the annual executive-level conference hosted by the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), is being held Jan. 29-Feb. 1, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino. To see Jim Roddy’s column “Hot Takes From INSPIRE 2017,” click here. For more information on the RSPA, go to www.gorspa.org.