Posts Tagged 'Peer Group'

Building a Community – Lessons from GFI Max

One of the ways you can tell if a good product or company is gathering momentum and becoming popular is by how much of a community is building up around that product or company. When people are passionate about something they want to talk to other likeminded people about it.

GFI Max LogoOver the past couple of years, GFI Max is one such company where I’ve observed a growing community of people who want to spend time together talking about the Max RMM tool.

Whilst this isn’t something that has happened entirely by design, it’s not something that happened by accident either.

GFI have helped facilitate their community by providing the GFI Max LinkedIn Forums – a place where Max users can chat, exchange ideas and give feedback to the GFI team – good or bad. Whilst these forums are monitored and members of the Max team participate in discussion themselves, they aren’t moderated in the sense that if a Max client has a gripe about the product or the company that they air with their peers – the GFI team don’t delete the message or shy away from it, they respond to it directly. This attitude towards being open and transparent hasn’t gone un-noticed by the SMB Community.

Members of the GFI Max LinkedIn forums are usually the first people that get to hear about new features and the forthcoming Max Roadmap too, further building a sense that the community is valued.

Earlier this year, GFI responded to a request from the Thames Valley Small Business Specialist User Group led by Chris Timm. The group, which has a high proportion of GFI Max users within it, was looking for a new sponsor, and GFI agreed to step in and help that group continue to grow.

All of these things on their own aren’t enough to persuade people to use GFI Max products. You still need a really good product and service delivery (which I believe GFI Max has). But if all things are equal, and an IT company is faced with choosing between two or more really good products – as is the case in the RMM market populated by GFI Max, Labtech, Kaseya and others – people tend to choose the product that their peers have recommended to them.

You can’t fake this stuff. Building a community of raving fans isn’t something you can acquire. People can tell the difference between a paid endorsement and genuine goodwill towards a company or product. It takes time and it’s not easy. Most IT vendors give up because it’s too hard. They want immediate returns. Those vendors will still sell stuff, because generally their product is good, but retaining clients and as importantly, having clients who will talk about their product to others? That takes commitment.

GFI Max Global Conferences 2011Over the next few weeks, GFI Max will be taking another step towards supporting their community and will be hosting their first GFI Max Global Conferences at four locations across the globe.

The UK Conference takes place in Oxford on October 20th.

The USA Conference takes place in Florida on November 8th and 9th.

Not forgotten, Australia gets it’s Conference in Sydney on December 1st, and Europe has a Conference on November 23rd in the Netherlands.

I’ll be attending the UK Conference on October 20th, and will be looking forward to getting together with a whole load of GFI Max users.

Are you a GFI Max user and attending too? Let me know!

 

Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at richard@tubblog.co.uk or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

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CompTIA UK Channel Community Meeting – 25th August, Birmingham

CompTIA UK Channel Community LogoThe next CompTIA UK Channel Community meeting is scheduled for the 25th of August, 2011 and will be held at the ICC venue in Birmingham, a fabulous location slap-bang in the centre of Brum.

The event, which is open to both members and non-members, kicks off at 11am and runs through to 4pm.

The day will include:-

  • A member presentation, Q’n’A and round-table discussion
  • Updates on the UK-specific CompTIA initiatives
  • Details of the launch of the new CompTIA legal resource centre, including some awesome contract templates for IT companies and MSP’s
  • Voting on research CompTIA will undertake for the UK Channel Community in the coming months
  • 30 Second Best Practice Challenge – the hidden gem of these meetings. Head back with 30+ great ideas for your business!

… plus plenty of networking time to meet your peers face to face.

After the meeting, all attendees are invited to join CompTIA for dinner and drinks. As the meeting is taking place in my hometown of Birmingham, I guarantee to show you a few of the best bars and beers. Smile

You can register at http://www.cvent.com/d/hcqn7r/1Q – and with only 35 seats available, I’d suggest you get in quick!

For more details, feel free to drop me a line or contact William Linard of CompTIA directly.

Look forward to seeing you there!

 

Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at richard@tubblog.co.uk or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Live Meeting – Four Plans That Can Change Everything

One of (if not the) biggest influences on me as a business owner in the past 2 years has been HTG – the Heartlands Technology Group. I’ve spoken about HTG before, but in a nutshell it is a peer group that helps raise the bar for all members by helping them form goals and holding them accountable for those goals.

One of the interesting things is, planning for these goals is not purely business related – very often the plans deal with your Life/Work Balance, your personal goals, your goals and aspirations for your family, and even planning for after you are no longer able to read this blog – and by that I don’t mean you’ve got no 3G signal on your iPhone… 🙂

Making these plans has been one of the key drivers in helping me grow as an individual and in turn, helping my business grow.

If you’re wondering where to start with all this planning, then you’ll be interested in the Live Meeting being held by HTG’s founder and CEO, Arlin Sorensen, tomorrow (24th March 2010) at 1600 GMT (9AM Pacific):-

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Arlin Sorensen, CEO and founder of Heartland Technology Solutions and HTG peer groups, will be hosting a live meeting on March 24th for Microsoft as part of the 5W25 series on four plans to provide a well rounded look at life and business. The plans we will discuss are:
– Business plan
– Leadership plan
– Life plan
– Legacy plan
Joining for the live meeting will be Jamison West from JWCS and Brad Schow from Compudyne.  The event is code WES36PAL and it will be held at 9:00 AM Pacific that day. The session is titled Four Plans That Can Change Everythingand that is exactly the potential outcome from the session.

If you learn to use these plans, you can change the result of your life and business. Without planning, you leave things up to chance and quite honestly have far less opportunity to achieve your dreams or succeed.  We often spend a lot of time focused on our business plan but neglect the things that may be more important.  Never forget your life will leave a record, a history and a legacy.  Planning can help make sure those turn out as you would like.

Invest an hour and join me for this webcast. To register go to www.mssmallbiz.com/trainingand select the appropriate session. There are many other great sessions available as well. Hope to meet with you online that day!

Arlin Sorensen

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I’d highly encourage you to take an hour out of your busy day and join this Live Meeting – the content had a profound effect on me as I planned both my business and personal life, and I know you’ll find it useful too.

Additionally, if you haven’t already, you can check out Arlin’s blog at peerpower.blogspot.com – it’s simply one of the most useful blogs you can read.

Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at richard@tubblog.co.uk or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.


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