Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vlad Dropped Me!

Please read His Blog.

Business is about . . . business. Who would have guessed?

Well, truth be told, a lot of people never learn that.

I am in the middle of the SMBTN SMB Summit (which is kicking butt, by the way).

It is interesting to see the swirl of business people, business philosophies, and business personalities. Many communities are represented here. Vendors, resellers, coders, pimps like Erick, etc.

And each person has a different approach to dealing with the other personality types.

We all know business people who, when things go wrong, get pissed off, break relationships, call lawyers, and generally make everyone miserable (including themselves).

Life is too short for that.

It is far better, personally and professionally, to take a positive attitude.

There are times when your company just can't work with another company, for whatever reason.

When that happens, the best you can do is focus on the future, work together to move on, and make the transition as smooth as possible.

Any other approach causes unnecessary disruption and costs more money.

Think about it this way: If a client called you today and said "We've been thinking about this a long time and we've decided to drop your service . . .."

Are you going to argue?
Would that get the client back?
Are you going to beg?
Are you going to get mad, yell, scream and sue them?

Think it through. The only thing to do is to be gracious and help create a smooth transition.

That's what's best for your mind, your heart, your wallet, your ulcer . . . and a possible future relationship with this client.

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Own Web Now has an amazing product called Exchange Defender. We use it and love it. They have a great resale model. We make money with Exchange Defender.

But OWN and KPEnterprises share a client who is . . . shall we say . . . difficult.

That client pressures us and we pressure OWN.

As a result, the relationship between Vlad's company and my company has had some stress.

So yesterday, Vlad called me. And we agreed that our friendship is worth far more than the small amount of money that flows between our companies.

We didn't argue and debate. The decision was fairly obvious (in hindsight).

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If you read this blog, you know my company regularly weeds our client garden. We help clients transition to other technical consultants for many reasons.

Making these transitions while maintaining the personal relationships is extremely important.

So Vlad fired us. We're over it. Our companies are focused on our future success.

Most importantly: Vlad handled this completely professionally and made sure that the personal and professional are two different things.

There's no drama here. There's no behind-the-scenes scoop. Business is business. Personal is personal.

I will continue to encourage partners to use Exchange Defender because it kicks ass.

And on the personal side, I will expect Vlad to buy me the first beer at every Microsoft party we attend.

The traditions continue.

Thank you, Vlad, for being a friend and a business associate with integrity.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:43 AM

    Karl,

    This doesn't make sense, KP Enterpises, a very well known business and figure in the SMB space who puts Vlad, OWN and ED on a pedestal is just fired?

    If you had a troublesome client putting a strain on your relationship with OWN, then I'd imagine that client is difficult for you too, why not just let that client go and maintain the relationship with OWN? That's assuming OWN products are integral in your business process as publicly stated.

    More concerning is in Vlad's 90/10 rule is that I'd imaginge KP Enterprises consulting volume falls in the 10% of Vlad's good business accounts. There's a lot of us who are very small and probably don't come anywhere near your volume, so even though we're not high maintenance are we going to on the chopping block next?

    I guess I'll wait to see if we get the chopping email next.

    Brian Williams

    ReplyDelete
  2. The details are between me and Vlad.

    The point of my post is: Put the important stuff first.

    The important stuff for me and Vlad is to maintain our relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brian,

    Thanks for saving me an email and an awkward phone call. :)

    Just kidding, the house cleaning at OWN is complete. The details of what happened, the client details, and percentages are of course confidential and you're not going to see me bashing Karl or his clients. I am sure they are wonderful to his balance sheet.

    What I wrote today, and what Karl writes all the time, is that you should focus on your business and run your business, not let your business run you. Part of growth is part of evaluation of your client base, of your service standards, of your SLA failures, uptime/downtime, profit/loss, it's a game of measurement and optimization.

    While each case is unique and handled in a special way, some matters are black and white: Is the account profitable? Is the business growing or shrinking? Is the investment in a product line worth it or not.

    Just like OWN picks up and drops clients, so do IT Solution providers pick up and drop solutions that may or may not suit their direction.

    The more connected you become in this business and the larger (more reputable you get) partnerships make more money and they mean more. But they have to make more sense for both parties. When they don't you can stay unhappy/unprofitable or you can make a business decision to improve.

    All that Karl puts into his blog and company, all that I put into my blog and company, is about helping people grow and improve. You should know that KP Enterprises and OWN do not have two employees that didn't get along - I love Karl like a brother. There are more people, clients, transactions and communications that you have to look at as a businessman and decide whether they make sense. Life goes on, we learn, we grow, and the only important thing is that while we do so we don't lose sight of what is important and how our actions reflect on ourselves, our partners, the businesses we run, employees we manage and clients we all serve.

    -Vlad

    ReplyDelete

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