What A New CEO Is Doing To Drive Growth

Welcome to the Rialto Marketing podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Karen Novotny for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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What A New CEO Is Doing To Drive Growth

Tim Fitzpatrick
Welcome to the Rialto Marketing podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth. And marketing shouldn't be difficult. So thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am super excited to have Karen Novotny, who is the CEO of California Computer Options, with me today. Karen, welcome and thanks for taking the time to be here.

Karen Novotny
Thanks for having me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, I have been looking forward to this conversation. As I touched on before we hit record here, you have a very interesting viewpoint that I think people are going to learn a lot from. You're not the original founder of California Computer Options. You've been brought in as the CEO to really drive growth. So this is going to be a very different interview than normal, but I think you're going to be able to shed just a lot of fantastic insight. I can't wait to dig into this with you. But before we do that, I want to ask you a few rapid fire questions. You ready to jump in with both feet?

Karen Novotny
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. So very quickly, what do you do and how long have you been doing it?

Karen Novotny
Sure. So technically, I guess my title is CEO of California Computer Options, but really I just enable my team to be able to do their jobs so that they can make our partners happy and get the IT headaches out of their way. I have been here whopping three months, so very new to California Computer Options, but I've been enabling Teams probably now for about 15 years.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So you're a chief enablement officer?

Karen Novotny
I'm a chief enablement officer, exactly.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. What's the most important lesson you've learned? For you, I would normally say, what's the most important lesson you've learned in running your business. But for you, what's the most important lesson you've learned just in your professional experience?

Karen Novotny
Yeah, I think there are probably two. The first is just that the smartest people in the room always ask the most questions, hands down. And the second is that communication is absolutely everything.

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of my mentors always said the person asking the questions in the conversation is the one that's controlling it. That always stuck with me. I love how you talk about the smartest person in the room is the one asking the questions. Growing a business is hard. Do you have any mantra, something motivational that you tell yourself when you hit those tough points or share with your team to enable them to help pushing through those times?

Karen Novotny
I don't know if it's necessarily a mantra, but there's always opportunity. It's always an opportunity and it's not a failure if you learn from it. And so I think it's continuing push through it and to really prioritize what you're looking at. It's impossible to do everything at once. If you prioritize nothing or if you prioritize everything, you prioritize nothing. And so I always push my teams to pick a few things, really invest, move it forward, get it accomplished, even if it's not perfect, at least you've moved it forward. And that's how you start seeing change. I've done a lot of transformations in my career, and a lot of that has to do with there's a lot of problems, but pick a few and solve those one at a time. And it's amazing how quickly you start seeing results.

Cleaning Up Your Offering and Your Pricing to Scale

Tim Fitzpatrick
It seems like... Man, I love those because it seems like if you're a growth minded person, you're going to approach things in ways that you just shared. You're always going to look for opportunity no matter what's going on in the market. With a growth mindset, failure is not a problem. It's part of the process. We learn from it and we can start again with more experience and wisdom, right? Man, I absolutely love that. Let's dig into this. You mentioned, Karen, it's been about three months since you started. You were brought in as the CEO to drive growth, California Computer Options. Private equity funded?

Karen Novotny
Private equity owned.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Owned. Okay. So private equity owned. What are the top three things you're focusing on right now to accomplish this?

Karen Novotny
Yeah. So I think the first is really a cleanup of our line card and a real pricing strategy behind it. I think as many small businesses start out, it's all about finding that product market there. And so there's a lot of trial and error in what's the right pricing, what's the right product, how do you bring those together, how does that work? California computer options have actually been around for about 25 years. So it's a small, recently very rapidly growing business. But because of that, it had a lot of trial and error that went into it. And so now we're really cleaning up that line card because we know what works, we know what's needed for the market, and now we can really ensure that what we're offering really delivers the business solutions that we want. So that's the first one. The second is really setting up for scalability. So we grew 30 % plus last year. We are looking to continue to grow. When you grow at any rate, really beyond about 10 percent 10 % a year, things break. And that's good. It's good because it means that you're moving forward and what worked yesterday doesn't work today. It also means you have to constantly reevaluate how your internal operations are working and you have to make sure that what you're selling can actually be fulfilled or you're spending a lot of work selling to disappoint people. And so we're really working on solidifying those core components of our business so that as new business comes in, as we grow with our customers, as our customers grow and need more in the managed service space, we are ready and we are giving them that headache free solution versus something that's clunky or not quite built for where we are today. So that's the second big priority. And then the third one, honestly, is as a new CEO coming in and making sure that the team itself feels safe and comfortable and able to continue to grow because with any leadership change, there's a little bit of a culture shift that happens as well. And it's not good or bad, it just is. And so it's really one of those things that for me, I'm not fixing anyone's computer. I'm not the text solve. We've got brilliant people who are doing amazing things with our different partners, and they're going to do their best work if they feel safe in their work environment and they feel like they understand what's going on. And so it's really bringing transparency throughout the organization.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I want to break some of these things down because the first two definitely seem... The first cleaning up your offering and your pricing definitely seems to support the scalability side of things. I'm assuming as you dig into what you're currently offering, there may be redundancies, there may be vendors that you're just like, they're on your line card, but there's no volume there. As you dig into that, what are you finding?

Karen Novotny
It's a good question. I think a lot of what we're finding is that over time... Well, let me start with, this is the tech space, so everything is constantly changing. We have a lot of customers who have been with us 10 plus years. In fact, 40 % of our customers have been with us 10 plus years. And so a lot of times what they have as part of their package doesn't even exist in technology anymore. It's moved on in some way, shape, or form. And quite frankly, what we make today probably won't even be 100 % relevant 6, 7, 10 months down the line. And so we're finding a few things. The first is that what we're actually providing and what we say we're providing aren't necessarily 100 % in line with one another. Not because we're actively lying in any way, shape or form, but because that technology has changed and it's better now. And so part of being an MSP is keeping your customers safe in the security space and making sure they have the right technology and all those things. But if you're doing it really well, sometimes it looks like you aren't needed. And so it's also showcasing the value you really are providing. Making sure that those two align. We're making sure that those two align. So we're making sure that that stacks up. I think the other thing is that it is critically important for any account manager as they continue to grow with the business and that they know how to solve problems that their customer is bringing to them. What can happen is when too many little tweaks are made to customize too many little pieces, it becomes very hard to see what that is. It clouds the landscape. What I found is in 90 % of what we offer, it really doesn't need to be customized. It really can be standardized, depending on whatever service level you want and what your needs are as a business, as a size, all those things, but it can be put into the standard buckets. And then there's 10 % that really needs that more in-depth knowledge. And for what we do, I mean, we deal with medical offices that have HIPAA regulations. We deal with financial service companies and they have their own regulations. And so when you're dealing with Starvings Oxley or you're dealing with HIPAA, there are customer organizations that are required. And we are well suited to do so as long as everything isn't confusing. It's not special if everything is special. And so really going through and being able to say, hey, internally, as well as externally, you should understand what we're doing. But just like when I watch the Olympics, I understand what the gymnasts are doing. It is not complicated to understand that they're flipping through the air. I get it. I can't do it, but I get it. Same thing is that I think, particularly in the MSP space, there's this tendency to be like, Well, it's really complicated, and so you don't really understand it. And that's not true. It is technically difficult to solve for. It is not hard to understand. And so it is our job to be clear on what we are offering, clear on what those services are, clear on what those benefits are, but also clear that just because you understand all those things doesn't mean you can actually do the technical work to ensure that that is actually right. And so I think that's a lot of what we're finding is it got so complicated that we weren't able to pull back and say, actually, not that hard. It's really pretty simple, except for the fact that the technical... To solve these problems does take someone who really knows what they're talking about.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Do you find that as you're going through this process, are you making the decision to put more eggs in fewer vendor baskets?

Karen Novotny
A little bit is the answer there. There's a gazillion vendors out there. We were not already putting a single egg in every vendor basket. We had already concentrated a little bit. I think where we are investing time now is what do those partnerships really look like with those vendors? Whereas historically, it's been what are the services that they offer? What are the services they offer and what is the price that they offer it at full stop compared to taking one more step and being like, Does the difference of five cents really mean that I want to give up with someone who's also a thought partner? And strategically, how we're going to grow our security line or how we're going to better service different types of computers or how we're going to handle more complicated security or business models. And generally speaking, I think really early in the business, the answer is probably yes. You're not getting that complicated in that specific. So yes, the difference of five cents really does make a difference because it's how you're going to be able to go out and show any credibility to begin with. Also, the smaller you are, the higher your pricing generally is. And so that's what it looks like. We are now, luckily, at a size, while hardly being a massive organization, we have been in market long enough to showcase that, one, we're not going out of business in this next year. But two, that we can hold customers for an extended period of time because we can give a good service offering. And therefore, it's becoming more important to have partners that are now not only thinking, yes, I still need good pricing. I'm not going to be like, I'll pay anything, whatever. We still need good pricing. However, the difference of two or three cents one way or another on a specific license may not be worth it if we can get a better partnership overall with a vendor that enables either us to do thought partnership and strategic planning or us to consolidate work because all the systems talk to each other. And both of those add a lot of value to us because we are a people industry. And if my team is spending their time trying to tie data from one place to another versus being able to come spend their brain power on solutions. There's only so many brain cells that one can use in a day. There's only so many hours in a day. And I would rather them spend that on solutions than I would on them being like, Wait, why doesn't that tie to this? Did we try this over here? And also, this isn't quite the solution we need. So we're going to try to Jerry rig it to make it work. That doesn't help us. And what's really going to separate us from the pack going forward is just a cleaner understanding of what we offer, where it is, and, oh, wait, this is the issue you're having. It's actually this solution, not that solution that's best for you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Got it. So you're still going to do some custom stuff, but it's not... It's standardizing the majority of the things that are driving the majority of the revenue and saying, hey, this is the foundation. Now, if we need to put some tweaks on top of it, we can. But we're always starting with these foundations to standardize things, which then again supports this scalability effort that you have, right?

Karen Novotny
100 %. It's like building a house. Everyone has a foundation on a house and that's not the most... It is technically the most important thing. If you don't have it, your entire house collapses, but it's not the sexy part of the house. It's not something you're probably ever going to look at again. But where you put the bathroom or where you put the bedroom, how many of those you have, those can vary. I think that is very true in what we do, too. There's a basic security stack you just have to have. Otherwise, no matter what we do, you are going to get attacked. There's a basic level of updating of your systems and things like that you have to have. Because if you're working with a system from 1998, you're too vulnerable and you actually put everyone at risk along the way, including your own business. And we are hired to protect you in some way, shape or form. I can't do that if you're like, I want you to protect me, but we're going to go stand out on the firing range and let everyone shoot at me. Like, how dare you not protect me. It's very much, I mean, we call our customers partners. It is a partnership that we are designing, and that means giving on both sides. We are giving the advice that we think is really best to make your business run as smoothly as possible. But in return, it has to be, Okay, I understand that some of these things have to be put into place.

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The Concept of Partner Centricity

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of the things you talked about in the pre interview was this concept of partner centricity, being a really top value for the organization. Can you break that down a little bit? What do you mean by that? And why is it so important?

Karen Novotny
Absolutely. So it is probably our number one value. We have five and I march around the building probably all too frequently to my team's dismay, shouting them. But at the end of the day, our job and the reason we are paid is to ensure that our partners, who are our customers, can run their businesses and do them really well and not think about IT because our partners aren't a bunch of IT companies. Our partners are manufacturers and medical offices and government agencies and pick an industry basically. And they have important work to do that isn't, I can't get my computer to connect to the printer, or my entire business is down due to a ransomware attack, or no one can work today for insert reason here. And I think IT in general is not the area for most businesses that people are like, I get to deal with this today. It's not where they want their employees spending time. It's not how they're going to grow their company. Even in a tech company, that's not usually what they're looking at. But it is our job and it is what we do and it is what we go in and say, Today we get to deal with these problems. Every time someone calls us, whether that is a new customer looking for work, whether that is one of our current customers because they're having an issue, whether that is just an alert, they may never contact us. We manage their system so we see the alerts coming in. Even if we know internally it's really not that big a deal and it's under control, for them, it's a problem that is stopping them from doing their business. And so everything we do has a mindset on it of like, whether or not this problem is of a, Oh, my gosh, this can be the end of the world, or a, Yeah, we just got to restart and go forward. It all has to be taken with that care and consideration and understanding that for them, it doesn't matter what it is. It is stopping them from doing what they do. Every time a problem comes in, the question is, Okay, how does this affect their business? What is the problem that's actually coming in? And sometimes it's something that doesn't need to be dealt with right away. Sometimes it's like, Hey, we're just planning to replace a bunch of computers sometimes over the next six months. Obviously, this is not an urgent situation. It's just something that has to be thought through and worked with. But most of the time, it's something that's just beyond irritating, if nothing else. And we've all been there. We've all been there where we're like, I just want to print, or I keep getting the blue screen of death and this is really irritating. I'm trying to get a presentation completed, what is going on? And just understanding that and having that empathy and then being able to work with the urgency, which is another one of our values that's required to get that done with the transparency, which is another one of our values to really be able to say, if you know the solution, here's what to expect and here's where we are. And if you don't to say, that's a great question, we need to figure out what that is. It is a top priority. This is what this looks like at this moment in time. And so what we're finding, particularly as we really explain this to our partners and explain this across the organization is all of a sudden people are like, Oh, okay. I understand. Unless we're the ones who actually go in and break something, most of the time it's just some fluke of technology gone wrong. And it's pretty rare that we go in and actively break something. But if you don't approach it with empathy, if you don't approach it with where they are as far as frustration and at least being able to understand that, it's very hard for anyone to take you seriously or believe you're trying to help them. And that's our job.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love this because keeping that value top of mind puts your whole team in the right mindset to be able to help the client as best as possible. And you touched on this, Karen, it puts them in this empathetic state. No matter how small the problem is. And so it really keeps that mindset that your team needs to have all the time to serve clients at the highest level.

Karen Novotny
Absolutely. And honestly, I think IT can sometimes get a bad rep, right? Not necessarily known as the most extraverted group of people, not necessarily known as the best at communicating what is going on. But that's really how we're going to separate ourselves is to really showcase that we are part of the team here. We are outsourced, but we are part of your team and we have the same concerns that your team would if they were an internal team member. It is all about moving your business forward. We're just an enablement mechanism to get there.

Marketing Challenge: Lead Sourcing and Finding The Right People

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. One of the marketing challenges you touched on when we initially spoke was lead sourcing and finding the right people in the right mindset at the right time. What are you focusing on to push through that?

Karen Novotny
Yeah, I think we're seeing some really interesting changes in the business space right now. In the year or two immediately post pandemic, you had companies that were fairly flush with cash, if they had survived, they were fairly flush with cash because they hadn't invested in anything for very good reason in fear, largely remote and a little bit with time. There was just this element of we slowed down the project pace a little bit. We slowed down a lot of our decision making because there was so much uncertainty that we didn't want to be making a fund. And so you ended up in this '21, '22 time period with a lot of companies then leaving like, Well, I am money. I haven't touched my tech. Sure, have it. Which I'm happy to take. Happy to work with you. Or you had people who had been with you for a very long time who were like, I'm not making a new decision right now. If I know you and I trust you, you're good. Stay there. Great. What we're really seeing this year as a change is one, there's no longer those cash reserves. People spent it over the last years. And two, I think a lot of people got burned in that space. And so there's a lot more trepidation on just like taking a leap of faith and going with it. So what before was like, we'll send out 50 emails and we'll get some good responses and that will be in the end. It doesn't really work anymore. The webinars that I think worked pretty well, probably for a lot of people during the pandemic when everyone was home and there was time to watch the webinar and participate in it, don't seem to be working as well. And so what we're starting to do is look a lot more at where do they trust already innately? And that seems to be a lot in trade organizations. In that live event that's really coming back and being able to meet people, we are not a cheap investment. This is not, That's a really cool pair of shoes. There are 100 minutes. I'll take the risk, whatever. No, it's a lot of money to hire outsourced help. It's recurring money out your door. And that requires a level of trust, understandably. It requires a level of trust that if I'm going to hand over this much money to you, you better be providing a level of service that I can justify that money going out the door for. And I have a lot of places that are asking for money right now. I have a mentor of mine who I worked with for years who recently... He works for another company. They do a lot of articles and stuff on what they're seeing in business. And one of the things that he most recently had sent over to me was just how their customers had been solely focused on investing in growth for years and years and years and years. And they didn't invest therefore in anything else for the most part. So none of the back office, none of the support on their business, none of these different things. And now this year, there's some of this financial uncertainty back. And all of a sudden, the growth numbers are looking a little harder because everyone's in a similar boat and they don't have the infrastructure underpinning what they've done before. And I was talking to my team. I was like, we are the infrastructure. We do actually have the opportunity. We just have to find those people and help them get there because we can help support a business. And we actually, I mean, versus hiring internally, you get six for the price of less than 1. It's financially a very good decision once you understand what that underpinning gives you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You're starting to look at some marketing tactics that you weren't looking at before.

Karen Novotny
Absolutely, 100 %. My head of sales has been doing this probably close to my entire lifetime and is all of a sudden like, none of the tactics I use to date are working. We have to go some other routes. And as I said, we're owned by a larger private equity. We have a lot of sister companies and every one of them that I've spoken to has said something very similar, which is we have to go to the source of where these people are getting their source of truth from right now. And that's where we have to start. And so it's about finding those, which is also its own challenge. But it's at least an exciting one because it's not necessarily we're just blaring it out to the world and hoping someone's going to find us. We know that they're ready and willing once they understand what the value proposition.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Well, look, this is the age old issue of marketing. It's like, how do I get in front of the right people who have a problem or a need that I can help solve and catch them at the right time? And that's why I think it's so important from a marketing standpoint that there's consistency there.

Karen Novotny
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Because in any given market, the number of people that have a problem right now that you can solve is in the single digits. So how do you stay in front of that audience so that you are there when that need arises? If you're relying on that one time and not staying in front of people, it's never going to happen effectively.

Karen Novotny
100 %.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love the fact that you're talking about, look, in B2B professional services, it is all about trust. They have to trust us inherently before they're going to make that decision to buy. You guys are starting to look at the ideal clients that we want to work with, where are these places? When we do this for clients, I call it an ideal client GPS. All it is is a list of where your ideal clients are. And that can be trade associations, events, online social groups, forums, and things like that. Everything and once you have that list, then it's not we're going to be in all these places because that's impossible. But at least you know that when you pick something off this list, you're going to be fishing where the fish are. Then you go out and you start testing. You're going to start testing some of these trade organizations. Where a lot of people go wrong with trade organizations is they're like, Yeah, I went to an event and nothing happened. Well, yeah, it's like, you got to be consistent.

Karen Novotny
Well, you have to have the message for that place. What you advertise in the trade organization's broch or whatever versus what is at the event and who's that person at the event versus who's the person who's listening to the podcast versus who's the person who's just getting the monthly newsletter. Sometimes they're not even the same person. And as I said, we're not cheap. And so we do tend to deal with high level decision makers because they have to be the final approver to approve us in any way. But we're also not a one touch end turn thing. I spent a lot of my career in consumer products. And consumer products, sometimes one or two touches, you sold them. As long as it's the cool thing that they're interested in, you've built that desire in them, the barrier to entry is pretty low. And so they'll try it. I spent a lot of time in toy, no child is sitting in the aisle pondering for the next six months what they want. No, they see it. They want it. End of story. You did your job. Congratulations. Move on. Services is very different just in general. B2B is very different in general. It's a lot of touch points. But if you're showing consistently and if you're showing the right message in the right places, it's also much stickier. And that is, at the end of the day, the more important part. The number of times that we've signed someone on where it's been a two year conversation and little pieces of stuff potentially along the way where we did just a server replacement for them or a little project here or there. And all of a sudden, a year and a half down the line, they're like, hey, you know that thing you've been mentioning constantly in a variety of different forms for the last two years? Have you ever considered offering that to us? And we're thinking, Well, yes. Why we spent this time, effort, and energy? But it is. It's developing the entire relationship to get to that point. And that's honestly, it's the fun part, too, because the right relationship really is a two way relationship. And it really is one where we can really benefit the customer. And obviously, we earn money and benefit from that as well. And so their value out on both sides.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I also think that's another reason why, like your whole focus on partner centricity, right? Your clients are going to be much stickier if they see you as a partner, not a vendor. So you guys see them as partners, but I think part of the flip side to that is you're also looking for clients that see you as a partner as well.

Karen Novotny
100 %. And one of the areas we're investing in really heavily right now is more of that strategic planning side of what we do. While I don't come from an IT background, I did spend 10 years in the strategic planning world. And it's something that I think for a lot of companies, they're like, Why are we doing this exercise? And what's the point? But when done well and when really thinking through like, Well, if this is my goal, how am I going to get there? We become a critical part of that. Rarely do I think one of our manufacturing actuating companies, for example, is going to sit down and be like, One of my goals is to really improve my IT over the next year. That's not going to be their goal. But it might be, We want to open five new facilities and we want to be able to bring online three new lines of product that we manufacture or something like that. That is our goal. There is a lot of IT that has to be planned for and thought about and put into place to enable that to happen. And if we're not part of that conversation when they're having that goal setting, they're not going to meet their goal. It's just not possible to be able to do it. Not because we're going to try to stand there as a roadblock, but because there's a lot of planning that we have to do on our side, a lot of prioritization on like, hey, if you open this facility, instead of this facility first, we can get it up and running faster. We make checklists. We're going through it, making sure that everyone can actually get into the building. All those things that seem to be such little decorations on the cake, but are actually the foundation of people being able to go to work and do what they need to do. And that's one of the reasons I've been pushing partnerships so incredibly much is that I want all of our partners to be able to do that. Go forth, do amazing things. But let us be part of the conversation, not because we're here to sell you a bunch of additional things, but because we have to be able to enable you to do those things. And if we only know on the Friday before the Monday that you're opening the facility.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a problem.

Karen Novotny
We can't even get the stuff. We can't serve you the way you need to be served, not because we're bad at what we do, but because it takes a lot of time, effort, energy, and planning to get there. And honestly, it's going to be more expensive because now we're rushing and we're super fast ordering versus really being thoughtful about the dollars that go into it and planning for it so that if we know, for example, Dell is going to raise their prices or something, we're going to order all your equipment now, not three months down the line to ensure that that happens. I'm not going to be asking for some money upfront. We're just going to do that for you because we could plan for that and we're your partner. I am going to ask for the money upfront when I have to overnight ship a bunch of stuff to get it on site. Or where we have to pay all of our people over time because now they're working crazy hours that we didn't anticipate or whatever it is. And so it's never a money grab for us. It's 100 % our job is to enable your business, but we have to be a partner to be able to do that, just like your internal team would be.

Tim Fitzpatrick
If you don't have the proper information, you can't do your job. A lot of people have roadblocks when it comes to strategy because they feel like, I'm not taking action. I'm not getting where I want to go. But the reality with strategy is strategy is slowing down so that you can get where you want to go faster in the long run. And that's where I think a lot of people just miss it and jump into action. And then they're like, Oh, crap.

Karen Novotny
And it's about choice. It's about what you're not going to do. That is just as important as what you are going to do. But it is something, and it's something that we're even seeing internally as we're making changes right now on some of our own internal functions. It feels like you're doing more work up front, but you just save 12, 15 hours on the back end for an extra hour up front and that is freeing once you understand that, right? It's so much more time. It's so much harder up front to be proactive, but less stressful. And so much more stressful, and you see more turn and more money when you're reactive to everything you do.

Conclusion

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, I totally agree. Any last minute thoughts you want to leave us with, Karen? You've shared a ton of values, so I appreciate it.

Karen Novotny
Yeah. I think it's just with any business, no business is ever stagnant. Even businesses that are doing the most amazing they've ever done are growing super fast or highly profitable. One, bravo. Congratulations. Amazing. Two, you better be planning for the next thing because that's not going to work probably tomorrow. And that's what makes it really exciting and fun and challenging. But it's something that you can sustain over a long period of time if you look at it as a constant evolution versus as a true end point. I think that makes it a lot easier to make change, too, because you're never looking for, well, this is the perfect end point and we aren't there yet. No, it's always an evolution. I'm excited to see where we're going to go as California's computer options. But I'm always excited when I talk to other people in business who are like, Oh, we're making this change, or, We're going this new route because it's like, Wow, what are you going to discover and explore? The example I often tell my team is I'm like, If Apple had waited for everyone to tell them they needed an iPhone, none of us would be holding something like that today. Sometimes you just have to take the leap of faith.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I interviewed somebody a while back on my podcast, forgive me because I can't remember his name, but he talked about how complacency is the biggest killer of success because people get to this end point that you touch on. They're like, I finally done it. I'm successful. And then they get complacent and look at Blockbuster versus Netflix. Man, if they would have been open minded to where the market was going, who knows? I saw something on LinkedIn. Netflix actually had a meeting with Blockbuster early on to try and buy them and they got laughed out of the freaking office. I think they wanted $50 million or something at the time. And it was like, Well, we know who got the last laugh there.

Karen Novotny
It always helps to have humility, and it always helps to know that you have no idea what's coming next, but that's okay. With the knowledge you have today, what's the best decision you can make? What can you try? Where can you push? And then also don't try to change everything in your organization on day one because that's probably not going to work.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Karen, this has been fantastic. Where can people learn more about you?

Karen Novotny
California Computer Options, we're at computeroptions.net. That will give a little bit of an overview of our services. But obviously, we are more than happy to talk to anyone. And then I believe my LinkedIn is also on the screen, and I'm always happy to talk to people there as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. We will make sure that is in the show notes as well. Karen, thank you so much for taking the time. I really appreciate it. It's been a great conversation. Those of you that are watching, listening, I appreciate you as well. We've been talking all about what Karen's focused on to accelerate growth and grow California computer options. If you want to know which of the nine revenue roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that over revenueroadblockscorecard.com, or you can always connect with us over Rialto Marketing, which is rialtomarketing.com. Thank you so much. Until next time, take care.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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