What’s Holding You Back?

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Whether you’re working on improving yourself personally or professionally, it’s essential to have the ability to be introspective and analytical, in order to identify what you need to work on. That’s also true when you’re coaching others. In that, self-improvement has a lot in common with troubleshooting systems and equipment at work: diagnose, analyze, repair, […]

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The Joys of Cable

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Some topics, when you review them every couple of years, you come to realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I remember all the prognostication ten years ago about cable cutters and the death of TV. Being me, I always took a more pragmatic, some might even say cynical, view. […]

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The Joy of Change Orders

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It’s a truism that the first casualty of every battle is the plan. One of the realities of building things is that sometimes the plan gets changed. While ideally every eventuality gets considered and decided upon during the design and planning stages, we don’t live in an ideal world we live in this one. Consequently, […]

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Go Big Or Go Home

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One of the most crucial pieces of advice I’ve ever received was, “Don’t decide for the client how much is too much. It’s not your job to say ‘no’ on their behalf.” Put another way, don’t be afraid of overselling the job; be afraid of underselling the job. This is a separate issue entirely from […]

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Three Simple Things

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Since I know that I have a reputation for aphorisms, let’s start off with this one: How you do one thing is how you do everything. Best practices are a drum that I beat on a regular basis. But that’s only because they’re important. When discussing anything, it’s often helpful to frame it differently, to […]

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Holdbacks

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It’s not a particularly glamorous topic to write about, let alone read, but anyone whose work falls within the bounds of the construction industry needs to have a grasp of liens and holdbacks, since they affect all parties, including suppliers, subcontractors, general contractors and owners. The definition of a holdback is related to its context, […]

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Filtering Out Bad Clients

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Previously, I’d gone into depth about the basics of managing your relationships with your clients which, when you drill down, is about how you manage your communication with them. Early on, while talking about initial interviews and needs assessment, I’d alluded to the using the initial needs assessment as a filter, not just to identify […]

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Going to Get Myself Connected

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It doesn’t feel like that long ago that network connectivity in AV hardware was an idea more noted in the breach than in the observance. But times have changed. What started with lighting control and other automation hardware eventually migrated into mainstream AV products. Honestly, once you’ve got those features, there’s no going back. Luxuries […]

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Partnering With A Buying Group

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Owners, general managers and inventory managers of AV companies routinely need to consider the pros and cons of buying products either from the manufacturer or a distributor. In addition to those options, there are also buying groups: an organizing of dealers who negotiate terms with their suppliers collectively. The primary rationale for buying groups is […]

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Subcontracting, Part 2.5

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View parts 1 and 2 of this series here and here. There’s the old saying that sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. In order to stretch the analogy to its limit, I wanted to digress from my topic of addressing the pros and cons of hiring and using subcontractors to […]

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Subcontracting, Part 2

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Previously, I began an exploration of the relationship between AV pros and subcontractors, and examined ways in which the relationship can work. Now it’s time to consider the converse: when it doesn’t. We all know that not everything pans out. Silicon Valley old-timer James Altucher famously said, “90 percent of everything doesn’t work out.” One […]

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Subcontracting: Part 1

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It’s not lost on veteran AV pros that even as they need to make the best use of their client’s budget, in order to do that they need to make the best use of their own. That means allocating your firm’s funds, resources and expertise in a way that maximizes everything from effectiveness to profitability. […]

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The Joys Of Troubleshooting

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Everyone who knows me knows that I have an aphorism for every occasion. (I have sports metaphors too, but that’s not the topic at hand today.) One of my favorite aphorisms (although really, I have so many, it’s hard to choose a favorite) is that “Professionalism isn’t about not having problems: Everyone has problems. Professionalism […]

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Adapt or Perish

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Everything changes and the pace of that change can be dizzying. Change for its own sake, however, isn’t always advisable. It needs to be carefully considered. A recurring trend in my discussions with consumer electronics dealers is their efforts in exploring avenues by which they can both differentiate themselves and seek new margin-building categories. Over […]

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Should You Pay Co-op Dollars for Placement?

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This can be a sensitive subject to both suppliers and resellers, so I will endeavor to tread lightly. In CE retail, co-op promotional costs are largely the norm. That’s where the supplier supports their dealers’ sales efforts with measures that can range from subsidizing advertising costs, to sell-through credits, to paying for product placement in-store. […]

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Handling Legacy Systems

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Previously, I had written an editorial that addressed deciding what to do with long-term clients in the context of applying the analogy of legacy systems to them: Do you upgrade them or do you get rid of them? Of course, that got me thinking back to legacy systems themselves and again: Do you upgrade them […]

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Sunk Costs: Part 2

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In the first installment, I flew over what sunk costs are and how they differ from the other kinds of costs you face in your business. To recap briefly, economists and business courses make the point that sunk costs should not be taken into account when making decisions about new expenditures. The money is spent, […]

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