The oxygen mask rule on the airplane – put your mask on first so you can help others – applies in business as well. Even to digital solutions companies like ours. You have to take care of internal communication and project management so you can better serve your customers.
This article is about the lessons we have learned over the last year as we dedicated ourselves to better providing for our customers by attending to our own oxygen first.
If you are a small business, glean insights from our hard-earned lessons so your organization soars faster and stronger. And if your customer or a prospective customer, know that we always put the mask on first.We won’t debate, fumble around, be indecisive.
As a digital solutions company specializing in Microsoft products, it’s imperative we use those products to their fullest inside our own business so we can better serve and inform our clients inside their businesses. And we embarked on that journey recently and are sharing below. Perhaps some of our lessons will resonate with you.
Small business leaders get busy. We run around putting out fires and serving our customers the best we can. We’re experts at what we do.
But eventually, most of us come to this nagging realization that our expertise in some areas doesn’t serve us well in other aspects of our business. Because we’re busy, we often let this awareness linger for a while.We at Nexinite did at least. For about a year actually.
For us, nothing catastrophic happened to push this nagging feeling into the we’ve-got-to-do-something-about-this category. Instead, we realized one day just how many conversations about project management we had had as a team.
We got tired of talking about it and started doing something about it.
That day, we started making small changes in our own digital transformation.
At the beginning of 2020, we were inspired by an article written by Deb Cupp. It was about Microsoft’s dedication in the coming decade to tech intensity for its partners and its customers. (We’ve linked to it at the bottom in case you want a gander too.)
Tech intensity, or the dedication to fully adopting products and collaborating with other companies, and specifically ones outside of the“tech” industry, to create needed solutions, has been a topic discussed often by Microsoft and its CEO Sataya Nadella.
So for us, digital transformation became our destination, and tech intensity became our vehicle to get there.
We first did for ourselves what we do for our customers. We began looking at our licenses for underused products. And Dynamics 365 was a blaring choice. For much of the previous year, we had dabbled with the capabilities of Dynamics 365 for our own business, but our digital transformation demanded we get serious about its functionalities.
Remember the tech intensity thing…committing ourselves to fully adopting a product?! Well, it was time!
And this realization also led us to lesson 3.
Money, for a small business, is always a point of discussion– how to make more, when to spend some to make some, what is a fair price, etc.
No small business relishes spending money. It’s goes against our instinct of buttoning down the hatches and just waiting out the storm.
But, at this point, we at Nexinite were committed to our own digital transformation and to fully embracing the products we had at our fingertips.
And what we had been doing before (i.e., dabbling) was not working. Time for a new strategy. Time to put some money where our intentions were.
We hired a technical project manager. Her role was, and still is, to become the expert at our business– to learn Dynamics 365 for how it applies to our own needs at Nexinite and to organize client projects and communication.
This situation was a “put your mask on first” dilemma. We offer technical solutions to our customers on a daily basis, and it was time for us to do the same for ourselves. We made a commitment to fully embracing products + hired someone to hold us accountable so to better serve our customers.
At first, we were a little ashamed at how we had ignored our own digital transformation, at how we were doing things inefficiently simply because we had not taken time to get organized.
But, we made a conscious decision to cut ourselves some slack. Change…outgrowing old ways…attention to clients’ needs over our own…all of those are a natural part of being a small business and can be expected along the journey.
We quickly forgave ourselves, made an action plan and wrote this article as therapy.
Perhaps, small business leaders can learn something from our experience. Hopefully, customers and prospective ones realize our willingness to work – to work on ourselves and to approach each project with due diligence and a critical eye.
If we can help you create a tech stack to work smarter, not harder, please reach out. And in the meantime, we’ll be working to improve ourselves – to put our masks on first.