Trust and success

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

The paths to growth may vary, but growth is a must for solution providers with any hope of success.

As far as Dadian is concerned, trust goes hand in hand with success, and a company’s culture is the key to building that trust.

"I build trust in everyone and delegate to everyone," he said. "If someone lets me down once, so what? It happens. We fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Mistakes happen. Where I believe we excel, is that when we make them, we correct them faster than most. And 99.9 percent of the time, they are made in our facility, so they are not client-facing."

Remembering to have fun and being flexible also helps, he said. One factor that requires special attention, he added, is how to reward top performers, which can vary. "My idea and practice is not to give ownership percentages, but to provide profit sharing.
It seems to work."

Maynard uses a different approach. "Touchbase has always offered exceptional people the chance to own part of the organization that they are building. We call this our 'Partner Program,’ and it was loosely copied from Goldman Sachs," he said. Every year, a number of people get nominated for election by the company as a whole and are then voted on by the company as a whole."

Based on that process, some employees are made equity partners and have the chance to own part of Touchbase, Maynard said. "This approach is fundamental to keeping talent, not in the good times, as it is easy to be exciting at these times, but more importantly, during the inevitable, difficult times."

Avoiding complacency with many solution providers, as is the case with any company, the biggest enemy can be comfort or complacency. Either is an antithesis to growth, and successful businesses have their own tricks to avoid that trap.

"IT is a constantly changing market and industry, and that’s a key factor to remember," said Mehta. "If you don’t ebb and flow with the demands of the market, you’ll drown and disappear. Remember where you came from, and by that I mean remember that you didn’t get to where you are today overnight. It took a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication."

Mehta likes to think of it as a relationship with a spouse or friend, he said. "Just because you are comfortable with the relationship doesn’t mean that it is static. There is growth and change that occurs, and if you want those relationships to last, you need to grow and change with them."

Maynard likes the practical approach to fighting complacency. "What is referred to as the 'comfort trap’ can only be avoided if the driver of the business, and those that own it, are prepared to gamble everything every day to develop and grow. This is easy at startup but becomes much more difficult as the business grows and the risks get bigger," he said.

Driven by the fear that comfort drives mediocrity, Maynard said he has set up the business for constant growth so that people remain interested.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com