Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reviewing 2007

As a business owner I rarely get to live in the moment. I'm constantly looking ahead to try to figure out where this market is going. I'm looking behind to see if my staff is keeping up with the ever flowing stream of change. I felt like 2007 was a paddle harder year, lest we get swept away in the current. It especially hit home when at the last partner meeting Microsoft did their year end review and said "if your business didn't grow by 100% this year, you did something wrong. Because the market for tech service grew by that amount as did Microsoft's sales in the State." This means that we paddled hard and just barely kept up with the flow. Just when you think you're doing great, you find out that you're just average. I'm still proud of our accomplishments but I was a little bit bummed at that moment.

For the new year, we need to look back and see what we did right and what we need to work on. We'll never be perfect. No one is. But we can continue to get better and in the end, that's what makes a great company and a great place to work.

Good to Great

  • Maintenance services. I spend a lot of time with other consultants in the area. Our maintenance services are second to none and the stability of your networks are outstanding. In fact, there's a whole market out there for software to help consultants do maintenance. We tried it out for 3 months at 7 locations. It didn't do a thing for us. We're good at this.
  • Break-Fix and Speed to Resolution. When something breaks we can fix it fast and we can do it right. Our level of training and experience is high and our worldwide contacts mean that we can get the best result fast. The LogMeIn Rescue is the best investment we've ever made. Response time and time to resolution dropped by nearly 80% this year.

Things to Work On in 2008

  • Project Management. We can do the project. We're not so good at managing the project. Dedicating a block of time is difficult.
    • Proposed Solution: We've hired an Operations Manager. He starts January 1. Among his duties, is project management. He will have the authority to free up our techs for larger blocks of time and will make sure that projects get completed, on schedule and with the expected result.
  • Meeting with Our Clients. Our business is structured such that we have lots of small clients, rather than a few large ones. This is what gives us such a wide range of experience and what makes us recognized small business specialists. However, having lots of clients makes it easy to loose touch with individual clients.
    • Proposed Solution: Amy and the new Operations Manager will be meeting with clients constantly. We'll meet with those on fixed fee quarterly. We'll meet with those on our monthly maintenance program quarterly or twice annually.

So there's the short list of our goals for the coming year. Some might be surprised that we're so open about what we're doing and why. But I believe in openness and I listen to you. That's how we get better. Hidden in that short list is a quagmire of details. But we'll get through it and we'll be better than ever. Your continued support of Harbor Computer Services is very much appreciated and we wish you a happy, healthy and profitable holiday season and new year.



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