Posts Tagged publicity

Social Networking – Does It Replace Real Networking?

Dummies-handshake_01 Are you a user of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other method of social networking for your business?  Does it add real value to your business relationships or is it a distraction?  Can you point to an instance where a contact on a social network helped you land new business, or provide better service? We certainly can.

Most businesses opened up their firewall so that employees could begin to use these social networking sites with the intent of encouraging the exchange of ideas and knowledge about the business.  But, is that communicated correctly to the employees?  Should there be an addendum to the Employee Handbook acceptable use policy that states the reasons for allowing employees to access these sites while at work?

Distractions Exist Everywhere 

We need to start at a common point that will help form the basis for a discussion about this issue:  distractions exist everywhere.  Those who are prone to, and are engulfed in distractions that prevent them from doing their jobs need to be reminded of the damage that this can cause to their productivity -  with the alternative being to show them the door.

A California university professor described the method that he uses to handle these distractions.  At first, he thought it was wise to instruct all of his students to turn off any form of electronic communication while class was in session.  After a period of time, he realized that he was cutting these students off from their world, and it was affecting their attention span in a negative way.  So he made a new rule:  use your devices in a responsible manner during the lectures or be forced to come to the front of the class and give a summary of what was just spoken.  Incredibly, he had not one student with a problem the rest of the year.

Networking with Purpose

It is no longer enough just to give an incoming employee an email address and a copy of your email policy.  There needs to be instruction offered that teaches how to use all forms of communications and the requirement to use them responsibly.  Guidelines need to be communicated as to what is and is not appropriate.  This is especially true for those who use social networking in the work place to foster business relationships which result in new business or excellent customer service.

But, it should not stop there.  This needs to be followed up with a proactive approach on how to use social networking to benefit the business.  Making these tools available and teaching how to use them for the advancement of the business is good for business.  Adding this to the already tried and true methods of interacting from a business standpoint provides avenues for contact that might not otherwise exist naturally.

The bottom line:  it is all about using tools that are at your disposal to create and cultivate relationships which go beyond “water cooler” discussions.  Social networking can have an impact that is positive and lasting for your business when used correctly.

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Erick Simpson 
MSP University
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Posted in: General Business, Industry Trends, Marketing, Sales & Marketing

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Tips For Expanding Your IT Business To Additional Locations

California Map If your IT or Managed Services business is growing and it seems that expanding by adding additional locations is a feasible option, take note of the following tips to help manage your organization across multiple locations. The growth process is always a learning experience but with some preparation and planning, you will find that you can handle the transition and management of multiple locations. 

Here are some tips to help you manage your business in multiple places:

Find Structure

Once out of the main office, some employees may feel a bit more freedom - which can be both a positive and a negative. The documented processes, rules and procedures of the main office should be duplicated and put into practice at alternate locations. When just beginning to expand, many secondary locations leave key employees temporarily in charge with no real full time management onsite. This can be a positive in that in a more relaxed environment, employees may feel more empowered to take charge and be productive. On the negative side, some employees with too much freedom can negatively impact the productivity of the secondary location. In preparation for expansion, meet with and present both new and existing employees a handbook or guide that outlines the company structure, operations, chain of command and communication and contact information for all resources that covers all locations of the business.  What is working in the main office will likely work in any secondary locations.

Be Specific About the Chain of Command and Communication

This is a primary factor in the success or failure of a secondary location. If there is not proper communication at all times between the company's home base and the other locations, costly problems can develop quickly.  You've probably already experienced this when sending some of your IT staff out to client locations from time to time. Be sure that all staff at all office location are aware of the chain of command and the order of communication to keep things running smoothly at all times. Those in the lead should always be in the know. 

Be Open About Expectations

Some IT and Managed Services Providers operate their offices under a more relaxed atmosphere than others. Regardless of how “at-home” employees feel, they still need to be aware of and meet the expectations for productivity and the overall success of the operation, as well as the level of professionalism each of your clients receive. Your goals for the main office, as well as secondary locations should be made clear to all employees, resulting in company-wide goals and consistency across your various locations.

Maintain High Visibility At Secondary Locations

As the business owner it is imperative, especially during the start-up phase of a new location, that you maintain high visibility onsite and stay on top of the new venture. You can also regularly schedule phone/video conferences to touch base with your new operational locations to insure that your goals are being understood and achieved and if not, discuss what could be improved upon to make these goals a reality.  You can't be in more than one location at a time, so having quality  management staff in all locations is imperative to the success of your expanding IT and Managed Services business.

Bring A Team Together

For smaller startups that have been a close knit group from the first day, it can be a challenge to integrate new people into the fold, especially ones that do not work in the next cubicle each day. Brainstorm ideas with staff and management to discover ways to keep the team spirit going regardless of who works where. Host get-togethers, mail newsletters, hold company-wide meetings and celebrate successes together as an entire organization and not just at one of your office locations. When employees feel like they are part of one big team regardless of their location, you will find that morale is increased and communication, cooperation, and productivity levels will be more effective and consistent across locations.

Attend MSP University's next Boot Camp for FREE!

Erick Simpson 
MSP University
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Posted in: General Business

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