You’re at a party, and if you’re an introvert like me, you’re already feeling a little tight anxiety. A new face appears and asks that go-to get-to-know-you question, “What do you do?” You know what you do, and the people in your industry know what you do. You could easily and quickly explain it through technical industry shorthand. But you know using technical phrases won’t translate in this setting.
How do you communicate your work and value in a way non-experts understand?
It’s a challenging question to answer and takes years of refinement. NextPoint IT struggled early in our life to communicate this to others. Any business owner knows the trial of effectively communicating the value of their service to customers.
In the IT industry, we’re considered a Managed Service Provider or MSP. But few people outside IT understand this acronym. We could be stringing together any random 3 letters and get the same glazed-eyed, nodding-head look. (Just Google MSP, and the first few results don’t even relate to IT…Minneapolis St. Paul airport or some game called MovieStar Planet come up.) To boil this term down, MSPs run the techie stuff behind the scenes of your business that keep your people up and running. We manage your network, security, servers, firewalls, the cloud, IoT, computers, and many other things that you don’t want to handle because you’re not the expert. Small and medium sized business (SMBs) often utilize MSPs because they don’t need a full-time IT employee or want to limit the size of their IT staff.
We’re basically the crew at a play. We make sure that the actors and actresses, your people, shine in front of the audience, your customers.
Our biggest lesson about communicating business value is: “Your best friend is trial and error.”
Try out a phrase with customers, take their feedback, verbal and nonverbal, and figure out if it’s working. If it’s not, refine the phrase and try again. When you finally see things click with customers, you know you have a winner.
We’ve currently settled on telling people that we’re “computer support.” It quickly and effectively communicates that we support the business and do so by making sure computers work, one of the most valuable business tools. But we’re still experimenting with this phrase and refining it. That’s the fun thing about business, everyday can be a new experiment to find a way to do something better.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about communication in business? Fishers Carmel Indianapolis Westfield Indiana
Credit: Tim Ludden