Open (Minds) For Business

While at a networking breakfast this morning, I heard a gentleman explain his company’s offerings.

Think of it as providing fractional Database Administrator services for smaller companies (that can’t afford a full time DBA) and you’ll be pretty close.

Pretty geeky stuff for most people, right? Especially when the value proposition is avoiding downtime, and working on the database “plumbing” to scrub data and make it consistent.

Scintillating picnic table conversation. “Umm, hey, how about those Red Sox??

Not to worry – all is not lost for those in highly technical fields. There is a way to get into people’s minds.

So how do you take that DBA offering, and make it “human-ready” so that non-technical people can:

  1. Understand it;
  2. Create and maintain a mental picture;
  3. “Feel” the need being met; and
  4. Tell others?

Here’s what I came up with on the car ride back. See if this resonates with you.

You’ve just leased a high-tech storefront on a busy city street. Your goods (let’s say, jewelry) are on display in the windows and in the lit-up shop, your open hours are posted, and it’s all about the foot traffic. C’mon in and hand over the dollars!

But, there’s a problem. Two problems, actually.

  • The automatic doors keep locking at odd hours during the day, triggering the “CLOSED” sign and shutting off all the lights. Sometimes for 15 minutes, sometimes for 3 hours or an entire day. All that potential revenue….just walks on by.
  • The new fancy computerized POS (point-of-sale – think cash register) system unpredictably makes random errors – ringing up the wrong price, charging the wrong credit card, not finding the computerized listing for the item being purchased by an eager (but now impatient) customer.

That’s what it’s like when a database that supports a business (e-commerce, or anything else) experiences downtime and/or data errors. It’s supposed to just WORK – but unless some expert makes sure it’s working properly, you may be handing a customer a diamond-encrusted bracelet for $74.99. Or losing a big transaction at 1 pm because no-one can get in the store.

Uptime and clean data – now it makes sense.┬áNow an average human can understand the business value, and “feel” the need through a relatable metaphor.

And that’s what opens the door (and the mind) to understanding. And, hopefully, referrals.

That’s clarity. We want to open minds. Not close them.

Make sense?


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