Milestones & Accomplishments

Those who know me well or have seen me recently know that I've lost a lot of weight in the past year.  I'm down just over 100 lbs in fact.  While it's a great accomplishment it underscores a few things for me:

1) I probably shouldn't have put myself in a position to have 100 lbs to lose.  I don't intend to ever be in that position again!

2) 100 was just a milestone on the way to the accomplishment.  I still have another 20-30 lbs to go on my journey.

3) There is no trick or gimmick.  If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight.  If you burn more than you eat you will lose weight.  If you want to lose a LOT of weight then you're going to have to eat sparsely (but not starve yourself) and workout a lot.

4) It's a whole lot easier to maintain a weight than it is to get back down to where you want to be.  Watch what you're doing carefully and make sure you get on a scale often to keep yourself in check.  I have a friend that I'm using for accountability which has made this possible.

I didn't do much on a treadmill during the past year as I was having issue the arches of my feet.  That seems to be better now so walking on the treadmill and running is now an option again.  Of course it's hard to pickup running if you're over weight and haven't done it in awhile.  This morning I ran a mile for the first time in a decade.  Feels pretty good!


New Year's Resolution

It's about this time of year that people start to forget their new year's resolutions.  Wanting to be different I've decided to set mine today.  Note that I normally don't bother to set one at all.  Those that have seen me recently know that I've lost a lot of weight in the past 4 months so it would be easy to set a resolution around that.  I'm not.  My wife would probably like a resolution that has something to do with me being home for dinner five nights a week and watching the kids by myself all day on Saturday while she sleeps in.  No need to make a promise that I know I'll break.  My resolution for this year is to pray more before I act out of instinct in difficult situations.  True to my type A personality I like to rush into action when presented with a problem.  Sometimes this is great and has positive results;  sometimes this results in actions and decisions that I regret later.  I'm pretty sure that everyone can relate to that on some level.  If you're a close friend I welcome you to hold me accountable as to how I'm doing against this resolution throughout the year.


Making things right...how do you measure up?

Earlier this week we sent a note to a vendor letting them know that we would not be using their product or reselling it to our customers.  We had been using the product in our own network as part of an evaluation before we would consider selling the product to our clients.  That's a standard practice for us so that we can avoid using our clients as test cases.  In this case we were reminded why we put that practice in place.  If the product isn't going to work as designed then the time and money wasted needs to be ours, not the client's.  In this case that certainly seemed to be true.  No matter what we did we simply could not get the product to live up to its marketing hype.  This was after several of our peers had recommended the product.  I'm not doubting that it works great for them, but it certainly didn't for us.  After having to send the product back to the manufacturer twice for repairs and about 6+ months of trying to get things working we finally threw in the towel and said "we've spent enough time on this and we're never going to be able to recommend this product to a client". 

We expected a sales rep to call us back and try to talk us out of the decision.  Maybe a sales manager.  I did not expect the CEO to both call and send an email in an all out attempt to make things right.  In the email he says:

"My father always told me that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.  My goal with you is that regardless where you will take your business, I want to make sure I have done everything to make you feel good and make it right.  This is how I would want to be treated.   First of all I would like to personally apologize to you on the bad experience you have had with <snip>.  This is very distressing to me.  I am also owner of a VAR here in <snip> and I know what it is like to have a vendor let me down.  While we have over <snip> happy end users throughout the country, the fact that we have you as an unhappy customer is not acceptable to me and our company.  <snip> was built by VARs and is owned by VARs.   I would like to at least make you feel good at the end of day knowing that <snip> went out of its way to make you whole."

The CEO goes on to provide an offer to ship us a new unit, provide free service for a year and send out an engineer to make sure the product is working as advertised.  We're not sure if we will take him up on the offer or just cut our losses and move on, but he succeeded in turning this from a bad experience in our minds to one where we'll have a different story to tell when his product name comes up in discussions with other VAR's.

What would you have done in his situation?  Would the results have been the same?


WingSwept to offer Financial Peace University

Beginning next Tuesday we'll be offering Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University to staff members and their families.  We're thrilled to have nearly everyone in the company participating in this series.  To view the first part of the preview see the video below.

FPU Preview


Why do some commit when others don't?

This week I was talking with one of our staff members in our vertical markets division.  She's been with us now for more than a year and has her name on the sales leader board 12 of the last 13 months.  By all accounts she's very good at her role in the company which is sales in our vertical markets division.  In the time that she's been at WingSwept she's seen a lot of people come and go in our sales division.  When I asked her why she thought that turnover was so high she said that she's put a lot of thought into the subject.  In her words what it comes down to is whether the folks committed themselves to the job from the start.

Too many people have taken the job in order to "have a job" while they looked for something else or waited for the economy to recover.  The job has a base that's less than some, but a very steep commission system that most good sales people can hit if they're putting themselves into the task at hand.  She's making more than most of the folks who have come and gone because they needed to make more money.  It all boils down to whether or not you're willing to commit yourself and make things happen!


Signs of Economic Recovery

Last week I got to spend time in Dallas, Texas for our quarterly HTG peer group meetings.  This particular meeting was the annual HTG Summit where all of the partners (approximately 240 companies) get together.  In our separate HTG groups (of approximately 10-12 companies) we share financials, what's working, what's not working and overall best practices regarding their businesses.  This is a great way to fine tune your business and make better decisions by leveraging the experience, wisdom, successes, and  most importantly the mistakes of other technology business owners.  

I got to attend a number of breakout sessions and listen to speakers with varied expertise in the information technology field.  One of the key take aways that I brought home is that the economy for IT solution providers is starting to show signs of recovery across the nation.  Small businesses are once again making investments in technology for their businesses.  The decisions aren't be made the way that they were a in the past though.  Having survived the recession business owners are less concerned with getting "something cool" and now want to get something that's going to make their business stable and will have a specific lifespan and provide a return on investment.  We've always felt that way so we're in good shape!

There is also a move for some businesses to adopt cloud models where they offload portions (or all) of their core infrastructure to application service providers over the Internet.  While it's a virtual certainty that many businesses will eventually do business this way, it's not clear how fast the transition will take.  At WingSwept we are advising our clients on the pros and cons of cloud based models for their specific technology needs.  In some cases it may be the right time and in others it may never be advisable.  Each situation is difference and business owners shouldn't just jump on the latest "fad" in technology without a full understanding of the underlying risk and rewards.


Do you "really" want to get a job?

We recently listed a position at WingSwept for a customer service representative in our Vertical Markets division.  In a 30 day period we received nearly 700 applications.  As part of the process of applying on-line candidates were asked to acknowledge that they understood that they would get an email that would provide information on taking an on-line assessment test.  In order to submit the application they had to indicate that they understood that completion of the test was a requirement for further consideration.  Approximately HALF of the nearly 700 applicants failed to take the on-line test.  I can only guess that the individuals who didn't even bother to take the test probably aren't that concerned with finding a job.  We did have some really great folks apply though and have already hired one of them for the position.


WingSwept's 2nd Annual Technology Spring Clean a Huge Success

WingSwept's 2nd Annual Technology Spring Clean was a huge success with approximately 150 individuals and businesses dropping off equipment totaling up to over 22,000 lbs.  If you missed the event and would like to drop off items you can contact www.trianglerecycling.com, our partner for the event.  They can provide you with options to either drop off the equipment or their services for picking up equipment.


WingSwept's Technology Spring Clean

This coming Saturday WingSwept will hold our second annual Technology Spring Clean.  The event is a community service event where businesses and individuals can drop off computer and other technology equipment to be recycled.  For more details please check out http://www.wingswept.com/recycle/


Ever stop to question what you're doing?

Video:  Canadian Police Chase

Watch the video.  It's funny, but are you doing something equally as stupid in your business?