The AA for business or advisor?

I have not blogged for a while, with my focus on getting everything together for the new business.

  • Registering the company
  • Networking
  • Marketing
  • Financials
  • Sales Process, including unfortunately cold calling.
  • Systems - CRM, email, website etc... mostly free or very low cost.

End of the first month... Anyone who has setup a business will know what I am going through and the whole gamut of emotions, elation one minute, anxiety and doubt the next. You really cannot take anything for granted.

The biggest cost for me has been the networking and the sales process, with most of the time spent trying to explain what I do. That is the most frustrating thing, you give up a stable position and throw your whole life up in the air, then find that people don't understand what you do. The ones that do tend to be large firms who have employed an IT Director or an Operations Director to help drive the changes required to grow the business.

If I mention technology strategy, most people only hear the word technology and immediately start shaking their head stating they already have systems in place or have a relationship with an IT support company. If I mention IT Director they state they are not ready for one of those, I can't mention interim director as many don't one of those either. So the challenge has been to explain my service.

I have to be honest I started with all the flowery ambiguous terms and phrases like "create your technology strategy to help improve your gross profit", used words such as "solutionist" then I had to sit back and stop. What is it I do? Here were some of my thoughts.

"I think that businesses find technology confusing, and are not sure how to get the most out of it or are not aware of the opportunities that newer systems and technologies can bring, thus stunting their potential." Well I can fix that.

"Businesses that have grown organically up to a point, begin to realise they need to start implementing more robust processes and policies but don't have the time." Well I can fix that as well.

"Start ups or businesses investing in new technologies do so partially blind if they do not have someone with the skills to help them capture requirements and ensure that system fits. Then have the challenge of making sure the processes work with it." I can fix that also.

"Some businesses want to invest more in their technology but aren't sure where to start, who to employ and find the risk too great." I can fix that one too.

"Many businesses think that having an experienced technology executive is only for large companies, and too expensive to contemplate. They aren't of sufficient size to merit one or accrue the benefits." I wanted to disprove that by starting this business.

So what is it I do? I started thinking of myself as being akin to the AA. The AA comes along when your car breaks down, tries to fix or takes you to your destination. The AA comes out to help inspect a car when you are thinking or purchasing said vehicle - why? because most of us don't know what is good or bad, so we trust the AA to let us know and help clarify before we make the decision. The AA is a shoulder to lean on when we need assistance but that is only one facet of my business.

So thinking about it a bit more and started to see similarities with advisory businesses. I started Scryla with the express aim of helping businesses take the next step; putting them back in control of technology. How they can use it and what they can do with it. To help as many businesses as possible and provide access to the knowledge and skills I have built over my career to augment the skills they may have in house - help take off some of the pressure. The focus was to help businesses understand by advising on technology and operational practises much the same way they would advise clients on investments and wealth. What needs to happen and what investments need to occur to get from A to B.

So am I closer to the AA or an advisor?