This isn’t my usual kind of business book to select, I think because I feared it would be telling me too much that I already knew, having been in business for almost 30 years. The reason I ended up reading this book, is that David Shaw is now working with the team at Business Computer Solutions helping to build our inbound marketing profile and he thrust a copy into my hand. Don’t shout that this review is biased or the value compromised quite yet.
Back in 2006 we were happily running a ‘break-fix’ computer support business. Essentially, if a customer had a computer issue they called us and one of our team would fix their issues and we would then submit an invoice for time and materials as used. The reason I mention 2006 is that was when a South African chap called George Flanagan joined our team. He spent the next two years trying to convince me that the future was Managed Services. I pretty much said “We don’t do it like that at BCS”. In 2008 I attended an event at Microsoft where the speaker said “Who in the room still runs a break-fix business”. Wow! That was us. The key word was ‘still’. I felt like a dinosaur. The world had moved on and BCS clearly hadn’t. Our business was still based on the misfortune rather than success of our customers. This had to change. This story is relevant as it changed my personal view of business evolution. I habitually bring smarter people into BCS than I ever was, but I no longer ignore their advice.
Right, to David’s book. The first half is a history lesson but a quick enough read, its worth getting through as it will bring you up to date with the story so far. Consider it as the ‘previously…’ at the start of the next episode of a long running drama. The language used makes easy reading for even the most novice of this field.
The book then starts to get interesting as David explains in detail ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) and how this now drives the buying process. Essentially by the time somebody is at your door to talk to you about your product, they have already done their research so they are educated about you, your product, your customer service and your pricing policy. If it is not you they found during their research, it won’t be your door they arrive at. So be in front of your prospect wherever they are looking and provide the answers to the questions your prospect is asking.
David continues by defining what ‘digital’ means to him and his concerns about some experts and their obsessions with counting how many followers they may have. I think his quote “Measure depth of relationships you make and not amount of followers you accumulate.” will be cited in lessons on this topic for years to come. In fact, this was good timing for me as I was concerned about how we can increase our Facebook likes and Twitter followers. I now understand the vanity of this type of metric.
Finally, the best advice I got from the book was about who you should listen to regarding the changes that are happening in the industry. Since my mistake in 2006 I have tried to listen to everyone and read everything. Given how this strategy is not really viable, David’s advice is to pick some of the movers and shakers of the industry and follow them. Read what they have to say as typically they will give you an insight into the wider landscape. I will now be following David Shaw and if he says jump, we will jump. Sorry again George.
Not all business owners are ready to embrace evolution. Are you?