Magazine Article | July 1, 2003

Do You Have Dead Weight Business Partners?

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

If your technology partners aren't keeping you in the race, perhaps it's time for fresh legs.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, July 2003
Matt Pillar

Many years ago when I was a wiry junior high school runner, I remember being paired with a pokey friend of mine for a gym class relay race. When the race was over and we stood defeated, my phys ed instructor walked over to me and asked, "Just like carrying dead weight around, huh Pillar?" I remember taking offense at the comment; he was talking about my friend. But I have to admit, as I contemplated the disappointment of losing the race, I acknowledged the truth in his observation. I secretly hoped for a faster teammate the next time around. Using my ongoing conversations with retailers of all sizes as a gauge, I would bet this scenario rings familiar with many. Fortunately, you get to choose who will be your race partner.

Status Quo Won't Help You Grow
Take a minute to ponder your business partners, and ask yourself how much dead weight you're carrying. When you do this, be honest with yourself. I've talked to enough of you to know that you're all carrying around some dead weight. Time and again I hear you say: We've been running XYZ software at the POS for seven years, and I'd hate to say anything negative about those guys. They've been a heck of a good business partner, but their product just isn't scaling with our growth. That's a classic. Or consider the answer I often get when I ask a retailer what solution was in place prior to an upgrade: Let's just focus on the positive, Matt. It really doesn't matter what we were doing before, and the solution provider we had then is still a business partner. We wouldn't want to burn any bridges with them. I have to bite my tongue sometimes. Is there any room for that kind of thinking in today's retail climate? Can you recognize when it's time to lose the dead weight? How will you do it when you won't admit there's a problem with your partners in the first place? How will you do it if you're not willing to have the hard talk and make some changes?

Make it a point this summer to analyze all of your technology partners, from your POS provider on down. Take a look at the technology you've purchased from them and their commitment to helping you use it. Do you see a nag you'd like to replace with a thoroughbred? Are you ready to be the next Integrated Solutions For Retailers cover story? If so, look carefully through the pages of this guide, and check out the Integrated Solutions For Retailers Solutions Locator on our Web site. In both places, you'll find vendors with fresh legs who are ready to help you lose the dead weight and take your business to the next level.