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When the buzzer goes off, the game is over, time has run out, and there’s a winner and a loser. Which side are you going to be on?

This week more than most, the concept of time becomes headline news.  As March Madness falls upon us, time is usually explained to us in a disparaging way — from the amount of time “bracketologists” spend selecting their picks to the overall loss in productivity the typical office experiences as the spring basketball tournament begin.

But there are moments of beauty as well. We will witness teams standing shell shocked as opposing players swarm together celebrating the miraculous basket that was made just as time expired.  Just as impressive are the teams who desperately trail behind for the majority of the game but finally edge out their opponents almost by sheer will.  This is where the concept of time is celebrated.  However, these outcomes are no accident.

In business, your performance in managing time and resources effectively is crucial to ensure your team has the opportunity to win before time runs out.

Overtime does not happen in business

Regardless of how the market changes, from managed services to cloud computing, how you play the game matters. Your ability to capitalize on market opportunities is often based on timing.  The most proactive solution providers have the vision to take advantage of revenue opportunities before the hype and before mainstream acceptance. The successfully mentors of managed services today have already proven that model years ago even as many solution providers are still trying to catch up.

The same holds true for the cloud.  Forward-thinking providers have already latched onto cloud services and are pushing the market. They are actively playing the game now. Opportunities exist in the moment. We cannot assume that a market opportunity will wait for us or that our customers will either. You have more influence over the success of your business than any outside entity has. The leadership position you hold with your customers needs to be solidified by pushing them to be more than they are today and helping them to perform for tomorrow.

Is your bench deep enough to play?

Are you paying attention to market opportunities? Do you have the resources to research them, or are you too busy? One of responsibilities ASCII maintains with our community is to research market opportunities that would fit the small to medium business audience they serve.  The collective stream of information available to us provides a constant ticker tape of what is working and not working in the market.  The end result is selecting and educating the community on a particular opportunity that is worth exploring.  From this vantage point we see how adoption takes shape, from deeper discussions with peers in real time whom are at similar points in evaluating the technology to others that are looking to partner with peers whom are already in the game.

Your ability to serve new markets and push adoption is about resources and which player you can pull from your bench and put into the game. What we need to recognize is that game our industry plays today is faster and harder than in years past. Your ability to effectively jump in the game and recognize opportunity can only help your company to grow and ultimately serve your customers.  Don’t wait to play the game or time will run out.

Jerry Koutavas is president of The ASCII Group. ASCII provides services to SMB IT Practices in areas of operations, sales and marketing and vendor management including evaluating market opportunities.