Oh my, Tom, you hit my nail right on the head.
This is an awesome wakeup call, if no one's read it, take time to read it all the way through and let it soak in.
I'm actually going to PRINT this email and hang it on my wall as a reminder.
I've been outsourcing installs at $100 each and it just soaked in that we really need to be doing the installs in-house.
Read Tom's rambling very carefully !
Well written, Tom, thanks.
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Tom DeReggi
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2005 12:18 AM
To: WISPA General List
Subject: Re: [WISPA] Taking on an investor?
No. You must do the sales. Trust that to someone else, and you will fail. It means that you may not be able to do the fun stuff like you thought you'd be doing, but its the reality of a successful business. UNtil you set the stage of how the sales process will go, and set the example of success in selling, it'll be hard to find a sales guy willing to work on commission or that will be worth a darn. I found that you can't run a WISP with only three people, although many have proven me wrong. It takes one to sell. It takes one to install. It takes one tech in the office to assist the installer with testing and router provisioning. ( a tech can't get to APs and routers, when the link isn't up yet. A lot of things will come up, like which sector do you connect to when its near both of them? You don't always know how to configure it until you are onsite. Then what happens whem the installer needs help, such as someone to hold the ladder for a steep pitched roof? Then whose gonna answer the phone when the insude tech goes onsite to help the installer? You need that 4th person! Then whose gonna do you book keeping? You learn that why should you be doing it, when you time is best spent selling? You surely aren't going to have the techs do your book keeping? When you start to go after the bigger clients, if there isn't someone to answer the phone for every sales request and tech support issue, they get scared and go with the higher staffed more professional competitor. At first you start by using your cell phone. But then you learn that you can never get a darn thing done when you are answering your cell phone the whole day. So you stop answering it while on sales meetings. Then the callers have outages, amnd have already signed up with the competitor by the time tyou call them back hours later because they thought you went out of business. So before you know it you need 6 people minimum. Then you look at your payroll that just jumped to $20,000 a month. Then it takes you a few months to get things togeather like marketing material. Then everyone is waiting on you. Then you have a burn rate. You learn that the $20,000 capitol that you had wasn't going to last the first month. Then you start getting subscribers, but theirs no money left to buy radios. By the time you get the radios three weeks later, the customers got tired of waiting and went with the competitor, so your staff has nothing to do, and you just burn through another $20,000 the next month. Etc. Thats the point most businesses fail.
So my advise is... Start out with two people. And use your cell phone for all correspondance. Avoid every technical detail that the tech mentality is enticing you to get involved with, that will just kill your time, no matter how much its tempting you. Go sell today. Go like that as long as you can, until you have no other choice but to hire. Then hire ALL the people you need and play to win. IF you under hire, you will just spin your wheel's never getting anything done but managing everyone, and sales stop, but salaries don't, and you go out of business.
Outsource every technical detail upfront, EXPECIALLY MAIL. Your only job can be sales and management. What will determine wether you will succeed is wether you can keep your time allocated more towards sales than management. Management duties will tend to monopolize your time, because they have to be done, and you will continue to loose money until you go out of business. You will learn there are four things you can't outsource in your early years, sales, management,managing your finances (accounting), and lending you money. Take every opportunity t oearn an extra couple buck on an install like hourly wages to set upo there PCs, and don't get suckered into giving that away for free, you will need every one of thosse dollars to carry you on. Ifyou leave management to someone else, they will turn your employees against you, and they will make the wrong decissions, and you will have to pick up the peices later, hopefully before its not to late. If you don't do your finances, you won't know you are in trouble financially until its to late, you need to be one with your budget and daily cash intake goals, and there is no way you can do it unless you are intimate with your accounting on a daily basis. You must do the sales because it the #1 most important thing in your business, and at all costs, it is the one thing that MUST be done for you t osurvice, you just can't take a change that it wont be done right. You must make it your business to make sure its done. and lastly finances, no one will lend you money but your self and your mother. So earn your money to fund your business, its the only way you are going to get it. And its going to cost you money. The small dollar business only last for a little while, the time that you have a few customers and you can do everything your self, without a pay roll, when you are willing to make sacrifices, and its fun to do so. But employees don't work for free, nor do they or there wives share that vison of unconditional loyalty without the montey coming in for long hours worked, they don't have the same high standard as you, because its not their business its yours. When you get to the stage of employing all the rules change. And thats when businesses start to realize the difficulties in running a business. Staying a one man shop no longer is an option because support of your client base is already more than one person can handle. But because ou undersold your services, there isn;t enough money to pay the salaries to hire the people to support the clients. and you go out of business.
The most important stage of your business is the business plan and that starts way before yuor first hire. And then once you start growing you learn that everything in your business plan was hog wash. The model of 100 new subs a month ends up being 2 new subs a month because there were sales barriers you weren't aware of. You learn the huge flock of customers you got on the first month, was because they were the few needy customers that were easy to access. But then you learn that you need to market to get custeomrs, you learn that the marketing ends up costing more than your equipment. And once again you go out of business.
Your mission when you start out, before you make all your hires, is to prove every detail of your business plan valid. Design a formula that guarantees you can make a certain number of sales within a time period. You need constants in your model. If you can only consistently sell 5 subs a month, that s OK, its a constant, you can make guaranteed business plans with constants.
Sorry for the rant, but the biggest mistake I see in this business is when the operator doesn't realize the importance of sales. If your name is not on the job description, its a problem.
RapidDSL & Wireless, Inc
IntAirNet- Fixed Wireless Broadband
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