GeoMetrick Enterprises’ Anniversary


This roughly marks the start of GeoMetrick Enterprises. I started working on the company March 1st, 1996 and gotten all the insurance, registrations and such not long afterward. It’s strange to me to think that, this time last year, I had begun a W-2 job thinking I was starting a new phase in my life but, at this point, already knowing the job probably wasn’t going to last and that I would likely return, here. Here are some thoughts and observations based on these years in business.

Technology and Getting Our Work Done

The work isn’t that much different than it ever was. We talk about new technology, new methodologies, and other new ideas but, at the bottom of it all, project work isn’t that much different. Even the tools haven’t changed, much. For example, today, I sometimes use my cloud database or network drive but it’s no different than anything else I use.

One thing that is a true change is the concept of the software vendor hosting a customer’s implementation for them. If it had ever been done in years gone by, it was definitely not something you could just go out and ask for. These days, customers sometimes have specific reasons why they want me to include that as we search for software for them. But whether I do my work on a local installation on my own machine (cloud or otherwise) or on the customer’s machines (cloud or otherwise) or the software vendor’s machines (cloud or otherwise), unless the connection speeds are bad, it all looks about the same as I do my work.

Business Development

For the most part, getting customer work and getting involved with software vendors or the larger consulting groups is still a matter of being in the right place at the right time – the whole “who you know is more important than what you know” is still much the same. However, over the years, the preferred vendor lists have changed that, to an extent. Now, there are times when you could be the best company with the best track record knowing the right people and talking to them at the right time and you still wouldn’t get past the preferred vendors list.

On the other hand, it’s much easier to make connections with potential customers as, these days, almost all of them are in tools such as LinkedIn. With that said, with every contact I make, I’m sure my competitors are working just as hard to make those connections and connect with people. So, these tools might it easier to make the connection with potential customers but they also make it harder to stand out as potential customers get contacted by so many people, now.

People

People are still people. There are consulting companies that have people with strong skills who can make plans, get work done within those plans, that work will be strong, and the customer will have what they paid for. There are also consulting companies that don’t have the right resources but still sell as if they do, couldn’t come up with a plan that matches what they can really do and, in the end, will go back to the customer, time after time, making the case for yet more money for the failing project. And the customer almost always pays it because they’ve paid so much, already, that they don’t think they can afford to pull the plug.

The same goes for the customers: some of them have access to the right decision-makers for their projects and, whether or not they know exactly what they want and need, they can work with you to find ways to determine that. In other cases, customers don’t have the right resources needed to make the project happen and it won’t come to a finish unless they find a way to change that. Or, they have such extreme politics and in-fighting that there’s just not a way to get past that.

The Coming Year(s)

At about this point, I should be talking about the plans I have for my business for the coming year. At this point, after coming out of that W-2 job, I’m still working to rebuild what I’d had and I suspect I’ll continue to do that.

With that said, there are some things I’d like to accomplish, but still on my list are issues such as improving the web-site, for example. Or, more pressing, handling all my tax documents to finalize everything for tax season.

Recently, someone asked if I see myself keeping this business running until I retire. That’s hard to say. That’s so many years away I have no idea what will happen between now and then. For the moment, my thoughts remain with issues such as business development and the usual struggles of maintaining one’s business.

Thank you to all of you who have send me congratulations!

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises
http://www.GeoMetrick.com/


5 responses on “GeoMetrick Enterprises’ Anniversary

  1. Gloria, in all of your years in business, what would you say have been the greatest challenges faced and how have you overcome those challenges? What are the greatest challenges moving forward and how do plan to deal with those?

    • The greatest challenge is to keep doing business development while also doing chargeable work. Many consultants struggle with this. It’s not just a small company issue, either, because the people who are developing business for the larger companies sometimes have to do the actual work while they are building the group (and if they’re successful, they become the group manager, hopefully). The bottom line is that there are some times where you are just so busy with customer commitments that you can’t do all the business development you should be doing but that you shouldn’t make that your easy out for yourself. You have to find the time, at some point, or you could end up with big gaps in your schedule.

      Also, new tools come out, all the time. If you learn something, successfully, so has everyone else. If you’re the first and best, you’re only ahead for a little while before others are doing the same things that you are. So, learning new tools is a never-ending issue.

      Knowing when to say “no” is a problem. When you’re first starting your business or when business is slow, it’s too easy to feel a bit desperate and say “yes” to things you know you shouldn’t get involved in. Often, these will turn into money-losing prospects or present other types of problems. From another standpoint, as I just said, there are new tools coming out all the time. You can’t learn every one of them. You can’t accept every invitation sent to you for every new social media platform and expect to work with them all. The goal is to think strategically about these things. Ask yourself these questions:
      1. For my company, my own style and what is already being done, what fits?
      2. What seems to hold the most promise?
      3. What do I think I can commit time to and truly do it on a regular basis?

      Of the things above, this our past, present and future. These issues will never leave us.

      John, what about you? How would you answer these questions?

  2. Gloria, the challenges you outline are very universal. In my own company, we have built up enough momentum over the years that we are able to now put things into compartments. I find that there is an inherent conflict of interest between the sales function and the operations function. The two functions simply do not mix but they are dependent on each other. We do not co-mingle the people between departments. My function is as the chief promoter for the company, the legal and financial face and head of product development. Those all go together nicely. I am not good at all at project management or implementation. We have great people for that but there is much improvement still needed.

    Developing new business has not been our main struggle. It is keeping up with the work and getting things done in a timely manner. I am not sharing any secrets when I say this because everyone knows that is our weakness. That being said, we are adding staff and now have a dedicated QA officer that comes from the implementation group and he was our strongest developer in the company so he knows all aspects of the company and is using that knowledge to improve overall quality. We have a road ahead of us obviously.

    When it comes to developing new business, we have found that having an ecosystem of users, competitors, partners, clients and many others is key to building the client base. We have spent years developing our ecosystem and it continues to grow at around 1,000 new members per month. Eventually, we plan to stitch in our Lab Informatics products to be an integral part of the ecosystem with collaboration tools being at the core. We can only scale if we open our software to the ecosystem so that other developers and consultants can implement and extend our products within that whole ecosystem. The ecosystem approach has been the single tool that has made getting new clients possible without the need for a marketing and sales department. We have no such concepts here. We rely on the ecosystem and it has delivered without fail. So our focus is on improving quality of service. Without being part of an ecosystem, you will be stuck in the perpetual sine wave of ups and downs when it comes to business development.

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