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3Pointer: How We Increased Revenues By 60% and Lived to Talk About it

August, 2015

Business consultant Don Schlueter wore wire-framed glasses, a sporty polo and a huge smile the day he walked into our 3Points leadership team meeting at the Mid America Club in 2011. He came to educate us on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (otherwise known as the EOS Process). The mood was upbeat, with a perfect view of the blue skies over Lake Michigan and the Loop’s mammoth skyscrapers.  Positive energy was passed around, right along with the coffee — until midway through the meeting when Don looked at us and said: “Be prepared. This is not going to be the same company in a year from now.”

What???!!?? Thinking back, we thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. That year our company got clear on where we here heading.  We figured out who were, and who we wanted to be.  After that, we found out quickly who was on board with our vision and our values.

Not the Typical Mission Statement on the Wall

The EOS Process made all of this possible. (see this cool video featuring Gino Wickman), EOS doesn’t produce the typical mission statement you might see hanging in the lobby. Instead, it’s a whole cultural shift. We explored tough questions like: What set us apart? What values defined us? Where did we want to take the business? What really mattered to us as a company?

As people adopted our core values, our vision, and a strict focus on our target market, we began to operate as a well-oiled machine. The collective team became stronger, more capable, and more efficient than the individuals had previously been.  We held group meetings with the entire staff, celebrated milestones, and recognized individual accomplishments.

Year two was smoother as our employees became empowered. Things were changing. We were changing. 

Core Values Tops the Bucket List

A major gamechanger for us was understanding how to live our core values. It’s an area I think a lot of small business owners struggle with. Our team’s daily decisions became guided by statements like “do the right thing,” “practice personal accountability,” “be a lifelong learner,” and “be client-centric.”

We began hiring, promoting and rewarding using these values, and our team transformed.  They believed the same things, creating an environment where everyone could succeed and advance.

It’s easy to be complacent when it comes to living your core values.  It takes real work to hire, promote and reward around them.  Trust me, I know. Think about it though: Recruiting people based on strong values, one that you live every day, attracts the best of the best, so it really pays off.

When you focus on your values, and rally people around them, you gain traction. All that led to growth, which has allowed us to hire even more people.

Where Are We Now?

Four years later, our leadership team is rock solid. Our business model is aligned with our values, making us responsive, competitive and client-focused. 3Points has increased revenues by 60 percent over the last four years, and has a professional staff of 40. 

This year, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce ranked 3Points one of the 2015 Best Places to Work in Illinois, in the small company category. I really think our approach to hiring, promoting and rewarding around core values has a lot to do with earning that recognition. We’ve got the right people on the bus, we are focused on our core values, and we are heading in the right direction.  In simpler terms, we have Traction.

What You Can Do Today:
 

1. Consider your company’s core values. Gather your leadership team and get their input. Then, identify the most important values that define your organization – the way it is now, and the way you want it to be in the future.

2. Consider your vision. Where do you want to be in one-year, three-years and five-years?

3. Define your marketing strategy (in 100 words or less!)?

4. Determine the three or four big things you will do each quarter this year to achieve your vision.

5. Read the book Traction by Gino Wickman. It will take you through the entire process. You’ll love it!


Kevin Doyle is president and cofounder of 3Points, LLC (www.3points.com), a full service technology provider for Chicago small businesses with 10 to 50 computers. He invites readers to contact him at (708) 491-0300 to chat about the EOS Process.


3Pointer: Why the Apple Watch Really is the Next Big Thing

July, 2015

Only Apple can still make me feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. It was April 10 of this year when all through the house there arose such a clatter. Actually, after staring at the ceiling for what seemed like hours on end, the clatter was the loud buzzing of my alarm jarring me awake at 1:55 a.m. I had six minutes to get my wits about me and shop.

At 2:01 a.m. I placed my order for the Apple Watch (this is the techno giant’s first product sold exclusively online) and paid with a thumbprint through Apple Pay. As a self-proclaimed geekologist and 3Points’ Director of Operations, it is important for me to be an early adopter of cool gadgets. The Apple Watch is all that and more. In fact, I decided to go for seconds, placing another order shortly after the first. By the time Apple received my additional mobile payment, the ship date was already pushed out four weeks. That gives you an idea of how many people around the globe raced to buy an Apple Watch the moment it debuted.

After strapping this sleek conversation piece on my wrist for the last couple weeks, here are seven reasons the Apple Watch is the next big thing for all of us.

1.    Email and texts. My cell phone stays in my pocket. When I receive an email or text alert, I turn my wrist and quickly reply. It’s discreet and comes in handy when I’m in meetings. Nothing says “impolite” quite like whipping out a phone in a group of cohorts. When a text or email comes in, a light, quick vibration is felt on the wrist. The Apple Watch symbolizes an important trend: Technology is becoming more a part of us. It is moving to the rhythm of our day as opposed to being disruptive.

2.    Personal data trend and the fitness app. There’s a hunger out there for self-knowledge – from measuring how deeply you sleep to how many steps you take when you’re awake. The fitness tracking app on the Apple Watch may alone be worth the price. You personalize your goals, and the Watch not only monitors them but will also remind you to move around, exercise or stand. I’ve set different rings for each goal. The app also measures my heartbeat, pulse and other personal statistics.

3.    Battery life. I’m always charging my cell phone as the battery drains easily. Not so with the Apple Watch. No more being tethered to an outlet. The Apple Watch goes 18 hours, handling a variety of tasks throughout your day. The theory behind this, according to the company, is that you sleep at night so … just charge the Watch while you recharge (unless, of course, you are waiting to buy Apple’s latest product or if you have a newborn in the house). The Apple Watch charges to 80 percent in 1.5 hours.

4.    Group photos. The Apple Watch allows you to take group photos simply by tapping the screen in the camera app without having to set a timer or holding a phone. It’s so much more convenient on the wrist.

5.    Apple Pay. This is awesome. I don’t need a phone or an app. I double click a side button and hold the face of my watch to the contactless reader. Voila. A beep signals that the payment has been made. I store digital receipts in a file folder in the cloud.

6.    Customized watch face color. Come on, even a guy like me likes to look put together. If I’m wearing a purple shirt, I can change the Apple Watch face background to purple. I like that style bonus. Wrist straps also are interchangeable and super comfortable. I ordered the black sport band originally. A white one is on order now (for summer, of course).

For all of us, the Apple Watch has the ability to improve our work/life balance.  It’s more convenient than using a phone, from sports and news alerts, to Google Hangouts, to sending emojis or heartbeats. And it looks awesome and can be a real conversation starter, too.

Now, I did say there were seven compelling reasons that the Apple Watch earns the-next-big-thing status. On that note, I have to go. I just received an invitation alert to play Trivia Crack. Wearable, on-the-go gaming. You guessed it … that’s number seven.

Learn cool stuff you can do with the Apple Watch from 3Points’ Mike Magnesen...



Mike Magnesen is the Director of Operations at 3Points, LLC (www.3points.com), a full service technology provider for Chicago small businesses with 10 to 50 computers. He invites readers to contact him at (708) 491-0300 to chat about the EOS Process.


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