I had the good fortune to visit a prospective client recently at their campus, and I started off the meeting by expressing my excitement that we had found in them an organization whose vision for how enterprises should manage their communications coincided with ours.
It’s no secret what having an “ideal” customer does for a company — in addition to the revenues that are generated, a relationship like this can give you the freedom to invest in R&D knowing there is a taker on the other side, and knowing that they have peers who might also soon become customers.
In short, it moves everything forward.
What makes for an ideal client?
- They’re aggressive: They are aggressive about managing their business risks and aren’t squeamish about the consequences that could have on employee “comfort” on the job. To put it simply: If employees can take an action that advances their business and is within the realm of legality, ethics and proper rules of conduct, then they are encouraged (almost required!) to do so, without unnecessary hand wringing over extraneous implications. (One prospective client of ours mentioned that their chief concern was around employees sending data outside of the company, but were not comfortable putting rules in place that could potentially infringe upon employee privacy. While this is noble, it is a bit akin to sitting aboard a sinking ship and being afraid to jump into the lifeboat because it doesn’t look seaworthy. Sometimes you just have to go for it.)
- They’re open: They don’t have any irrational fears about working with younger companies. There’s nothing in this world without risk, and working with younger companies is just a different type of risk. If fear of a company “not making it” impedes your willingness to invest in innovation you might also want to see the earlier “sinking ship” reference. The tag line from one of my favorite diners also applies here: “Please eat here or we’ll both starve.”
- They’re willing to try: They know that there are no silver bullets, but that proactivity and best efforts are the best defense against substantial business risks. No person and no company is perfect, and perfection is not a reasonable expectation, but doing your best absolutely is.
- They aren’t scared of tech: Technology has always ultimately led us to a better future, and the current trends in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are no exception. Some jobs will be automated by AI and others will be created to manage and use AI-based software, but over time software will continue to help us build more efficient businesses by giving us additional reach and additional insight. Ignoring this reality is no way to do business.
- They are comfortable with the cloud: The cloud is not the way of the future, it is the way of the present. There are risks, of course, but again plug in the sinking ship/ground crumbling beneath your feet reference of choice for business that don’t embrace the possibilities of remote computing.