3 things to consider when pivoting from a pure business professional to a hybrid business and technology professional

So you want to become a technology professional?

tech professional

More and more, companies are becoming primary technology companies first and then product or services companies secondary. This is a big shift from companies marrying a technology solution around their business processes to companies intertwining both their enterprise business processes such as sales, product development, engineering, finance, legal and technology together into an overall enterprise strategy. What does this mean? It means that technology is no longer an after-thought but at the forefront of a business’s mission and professionals will all need to become more tech savvy to carry out their day to day functions. Gone are the days when technology is considered after everything else. Technology is driving companies’ ecosystems and I anticipate that the demand for hybrid business and technology professionals will continue to increase. The 4th industrial revolution is here.

1. Identify Transferable Skills

Business analyst

As a business professional, you have invaluable insight into your enterprise’s role on how specific business processes work. You know the step by step processes to carry out your day to day activities. You are also in a very good place to become a functional technology professional because of this insight, as these are perfect transferable skills to pivot your career into the information technology arena.  Generally, functional or solution technology professionals spend their time identifying what the impacted business processes are to a technology tool or solution and vice versa. The Business Analyst’s core functions are to identify and document the current step by step processes and identify inefficiencies or gaps to get to a future state. This means that as a business professional, you already have a priori business analysis knowledge.

2. What is a Business Analyst?

Here is a video that you can review to reference, what a business analyst is as well.

The International Institute of Business Analysis defines Business Analyst to …identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders. Business analysts work across all levels of an organization and may be involved in everything from defining strategy, to creating the enterprise architecture, to taking a leadership role by defining the goals and requirements for programs and projects or supporting continuous improvement in its technology and processes.

3. Make the Switch from a Pure Business Professional into a Hybrid Technology Professional

ba

There is a great chance that your current company has a digital transformation or technology modernization project happening. Make yourself available to this project as a volunteer or a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for your current role. If there are no current projects, you may have ideas on ways to make your current day to day processes more efficient and you should recommend special projects. By recommending a special project, this is a chance for you to volunteer your services to document step by step processes to be reviewed for automation. Now, there is a chance that you may work yourself out of a job, but that’s okay.  The objective of business systems technology, at its core level, is to automate standard business processes and if your overall goal is to build your skills as a technology professional, then you’ll need to get comfortable with architecting business processes or solutions to automate. If you are successful with documenting your processes there may be an opportunity to take your new skill set to another area of the business to help them document as well. You may even find yourself ready for a job change within your company as a pure Business Analyst where you can help your company:

Increase Business Process Efficiency (since)

  1. You are keenly aware of how you were trained to do your job and the gaps
  2. You know where the pain parts are to cumbersome manual processes
  3. You know where to cut the slack around outdated activities and tasks

Other roles for business professionals to consider are those of a Systems Analyst, Solution Architect, Project Manager and Product Manager. I encourage you to research job descriptions for these roles within your current company to determine if you are ready to jump right into Technology or wait until you’ve done a few successful Business Analysis projects.

May the Force Be With You,

Zeanique

Zeanique works with public, non-profit, and private entities since 2000, where she has stood up large scale ERP implementations. She has been a Salesforce Consultant since 2010 and is based in Washington, DC. She’s also served as a Professor for small business marketing, value proposition and business plan development at Trinity Washington University

3 types of Personal Assistants to Hire For Your Start-Up as a Solo Entrepreneur

By Zeanique L. Barber

4/12/2018

multi

The last thing that you want to do as a budding entrepreneur who has learned how to turn a profit on your start-up, is pay someone else to do something that you can do yourself. There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing exactly what, how, when, why and where something needs to get done but you just simply don’t have the capacity to take the time to structure yourself because you’re too busy meeting your client’s needs and you’re moving 1000 miles an hour like this sentence!!!!! Breathe…Your business is booming, this a blessing, but you’ll need to make sure you continue to nail the basics as you get some steam under your little engine.

sex in the city.PNG

Sex and the City (still waiting on the 3rd movie) if it did nothing else, gave all entrepreneurs insight into what it means to be an entrepreneur and a one woman show. The women of Sex and the City were all entrepreneurs in their own right and I particularly enjoyed the introduction of “Louise from St. Louis,” who helped Carrie organize her one woman empire so that it could go to the next level. Louise helped Carrie get organized while ensuring that the lights were kept on and Carrie paid her bills on time. There are some considerations you must make when you’re deciding if you are at the point where you need a personal assistant (PA). Sure, you can get a PA at any time but as an Entrepreneur of a start-up your resources may be limited and your time, money and ability to produce quality work product are paramount to your success. A PA may become a very necessary asset and below are tips on the types of PA’s you may need and what you should consider.

1.) The Novice Personal Assistant – No Experience

novice.png

Novice Personal Assistants are good if your budget is $0. You can typically find a novice intern at your local high school or university and these two places are particularly great for finding untapped talent who want to be exposed to a field but don’t have any experience.  Here is a good litmus test to determine if you should hire a novice PA: Are you at a point where you have standard tasks for your PA? If the answer is yes, then you may want to go with a novice resource. Do you have a huge bulk of mail that needs to be sorted by predefined categories? Do you have the need to help unpack office deliveries and then itemize those deliveries to a predefined process? Tasks that you have already established standard processes around may be the best to have an intern to assist. This Novice PA with is looking to learn how a business works and wants to gain insight into operational logistics from an Entrepreneur and depending on what your needs are this may be a perfect fit.

2. The Experienced Personal Assistant – Some Experience

prada.PNG

However, if you have standard tasks as well as tasks you would like them to help you innovate around like vlogging, social media strategy etc. then your budget may start at the industry average for Personal Assistants $14.74 and may increase, depending on your job description.

3.) The Professional Personal Assistant – Proven Track Record of Success

mimosa

Considering when to get a Professional Personal Assistants is similar to how you consider where to live. If you have access to resources such as money and privilege such as choice, then you are able to choose where you want to live based on your resources and what’s important to you. This is the same case with determining what type of Personal Assistant to hire, once you’ve reached a certain level. Of course, you can get skilled interns that will provide you with a certain level of assistance, but if you want a personal assistant that has some experience and a certain level of existing professional skill set, then you will want to be very explicit in your job description and get the experience that you need to take your business to the next level.

Remember, being busy is a blessing when you are adding to your start-up’s bottom line. You may want to hire different types of Personal Assistants depending on your budget, your needs and the time you have to find this resource. You’ll have to consider your pay structure for your personal assistant before you consider anything else and after that determine how much time you have to train your new PA for them to be effective. Congrats Entrepreneur on getting to the point where you need a Personal Assistant for your Start Up and the best is yet to come!

cropped-23231483_10214642045463352_3758900236926291716_n.jpg

May the Force Be With You,

Zeanique

Zeanique works with public, non-profit, and private entities since 2000, where she has architected large scale ERP and CRM implementations. She has been a Salesforce Consultant since 2010 and is based in Washington, DC. She’s also served as a Professor for small business marketing, value proposition and business plan development at Trinity Washington University

 

Four ways to market your App or Idea  

I really enjoy helping people find ways to be successful in their career. Whether someone is starting out in their career, in the process of transitioning to a new career in technology, or even people who are looking to launch their start-ups, I get a special joy at sharing every bit of information that I’ve learned along the way. From time to time, people reach out to me on my Instagram page, LinkedIn page, or Twitter account about career or business plan ideas and I am always happy to oblige.  I had the pleasure of speaking to @Shab_04 this week, an up and coming entrepreneur and student at Moscow State Linguistic University about ways to market his product to venture capitalist, so that he can get funding for his ideas. With his permission, here are some key points that I shared with him about how to market his business plan and ideas: 

bloomberg

“I have some business plans and am looking for some investors” 

First things first – show a profit If you can 

The best way to get an investor is to show that your idea has already made money. Investors rarely invest in ideas without knowing they will get a return on their investment. One of the best positions to be in when pitching to an investor is to show a profit. Investors want to know that you are able to turn a profit and they also want to know a reasonable projection of when they can recoup their investment, with interest. Before you pitch, here are some step you should consider: 

1st Review your business plan 

2nd Determine what part of it you can make a profit 

3rd Start small with a portion of your idea 

4th Make money from that small idea 

5th Then get investors to invest in your other ideas from the small portion idea that you’ve made a profit from 

“How do I meet investors in Silicon Valley?” : 4 Ways to Meet Investors Anywhere 

meetup.PNG

1.) Meetup

Meetups are local meetings put on by professionals. There is literally a meetup for everything under the sun. People go to these meetings, they are usually free, and discuss ideas and opportunities in their field. I’ve been to Salesforce meetups in the local DC area and I’ve met everyone from students who want to explore a career path, experienced professionals, entrepreneurs who have ideas and even investors who are open to being pitched to at these meetings. Meetups are fantastic because they are a wealth of resource about an area of interest. Check out the local meetups in your area and start networking!  

2.) Hackathons

A hackathon is an event that is organized by an entity. Hackathons allow almost anyone under the sun to submit their ideas or prototypes, if it related or addresses the theme of the hackathon. For example, an entity may have a business problem that they want to solve like, “Build the most amazing mobile application using Salesforce platform. ” Hackathons are great because they put you in front of key decision makers in a field, who are looking to award money for a successful pitch and possibly partner with you to make your idea successful. Companies like Salesforce even award as much as $1 million dollars for successful pitches. Get on google today and find a hackathon! You can even find virtual hackathons, so you won’t even have to leave your city. 

3.) LinkedIn

Gone are the days where retired professionals, remain retired. Just about everyone that I know that has retired, went on to work or partner with businesses, for at least a decade after retirement. LinkedIn is an awesome resource to identify retired executives in industries your idea or product is in. There are executives on LinkedIn that are looking for the opportunity to partner with a start-up. With a little analysis of people on LinkedIn, you can quickly find professionals that you may want to reach out to, to share your idea. If you’ve got an idea that you’re not sure about, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to give you my honest opinion. 

4.) Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

You can find all types of industry influencers and professionals on social media, who monitor, post to and manage their own accounts. You can get direct access to some of the most powerful people in the world through social media. Be mindful that there are an enumerate amount of people who reach out to people on social media though, so you’ll need to be diligent,  but you never know if you don’t try. Strategically, you’ll want to set up alerts for when these resources are active on their accounts. Remember, make your touch point meaningful and align yourself with investors and resources who may be working on something similar to what you have to offer.  

Bonus: Here is a great resource for a listing of angel investors and their locations: http://www.angelcapitaleducation.org/listing-of-groups 

On a personal note, I want each and every entrepreneur to know that getting your ideas, products and services out there can be a labor of love. Remember, the world needs your ideas and services. Don’t give up, ever. 

cropped-23231483_10214642045463352_3758900236926291716_n.jpg

May the Force Be With You,

Zeanique

Zeanique works with public, non-profit, and private entities since 2000, where she has stood up large scale ERP implementations. She has been a Salesforce Consultant since 2010 and is based in Washington, DC. She’s also served as a Professor for small business marketing, value proposition and business plan development at Trinity Washington University

To Inbound Market or Outbound Market? That, is the Question: 3 Options To Consider For Your Digital Marketing Strategy to Land Your Next Salesforce Project

By: Zeanique L. Barber                                                                         February 15, 2018

To Inbound Market or Outbound Market? That, is the Question: 3 Options To Consider For Your Salesforce Digital Marketing

Your outreach and marketing journey approach can make all the difference when landing your next consulting role. What’s best for you may not work for the next consultant but below are 3 surefire, tried and true approaches to utilizing digital marketing to capture your leads.  There are 3 basic ways to market your Salesforce skillset in this digital marketing era: inbound marketing, outbound marketing or the classic do nothing approach. Salesforce has really picked up steam over the last decade as the go to customer relationship management (CRM) tool and as a consultant, you will want to be easy to find.

Before we jump into the 3 Options to consider, let’s start with some basic definitions from the American Marketing Association,  HubSpot and Marketing-Skills.org

What is Marketing?

Marketing
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing
“Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.

Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.”

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing tries to reach consumers through general media advertising as well as through in-person contact. Depending on the venue, the approach can be extremely broad (TV advertising), thoroughly personal (face-to-face meetings), or “impersonally personal” (cold-calling or blanket emails). Through each outbound methods, sales leads are generated and then followed by internal sales representatives.

26850032_10215225439087828_2254091430206843507_o

3 Options to Consider: How to Market Your Salesforce Skills as a Salesforce Consultant

1.)  To Inbound Market?

Driving prospective clients IN through inbound marketing is an ideal approach to generate new clients. Here are some popular inbound marketing approaches that you should consider:

  • Ebooks: You could definitely write a book about your experience but this can be time consuming and costly.
  • Go Viral: This is one of the most popular ways that people get noticed by the masses but rarely do these viral videos turn into business opportunities without a strategic effort of planning out your content.
  • Use Youtube and create webinars: This will take some planning on your part but it can be done for minimum cost and time, depending on what you discuss.
  • Blogs: This is a free source and through the use of SEO optimization tools and creative tags, you could really attract your target market.

2.) To Outbound Market?

Many companies who are looking for Salesforce Resources receive lots of outbound marketing material from prospective Salesforce Consultants. Consultants provide materials or their outbound marketing material to prospective clients in a variety of ways. Some of those ways include the following:

  • Billboard advertisements (Silicon Valley has a ton): This is costly
  • Putting out a television or radio ad: This is costly but if positioned during the right programming, can really return a good ROI. Also, you could create your own podcast and make your own commercials for your services. Now THAT’S the way to promote yourself!
  • Email marketing campaigns: This approach can be free if you utilize free email sources but can be very time consuming.
  • Salesforce Conferences or Trade Shows like Dreamforce: This is costly. The last Dreamforce had hotel rooms starting at $600 – YIKES! You would also need to factor travel, to and from the conference, transportation while at the conference and the list can go on and on. NOTE: This is an EXCELLENT opportunity to meet all of your prospective clients but be mindful that there can be a significant cost impact here.
  • Ads in magazines or newspapers: This can be costly but targeting industry journals, magazines and other periodicals puts you at the fingertips (pun intended) of your prospective target market.
  • Press releases: This has the potential to be free but you should be mindful that this can be time consuming.
  • Direct mail (brochures, postcards, catalogues): This is absolutely costly and very time consuming and doesn’t have a huge ROI. With the decline of snail mail for information dissemination, you’ll want to make sure you’ve thoughtfully developed a strategy for direct mail. Direct mail DOES have a great personal touch and could help you stand out from the crowd,
  • Branded marketing (newsletters, key chains, pens, even flash drives): Don’t do this if you are just starting out and you have limited funds. You’ll want to leverage as many free resources as you can. Remember don’t spend money that you don’t have. Once you become successful, then you can think about buying chotskies. Emphasis on the THINK about…

3.) Do Nothing Approach – Set It And Forget It

My personal favorite (and my undergraduate Professor would be very proud of me that I’ve included this as an option) is the “do nothing” approach. Don’t you just love when you can put information about yourself on the internet on sites like LinkedIn and then monitor your inbox for prospective opportunities?  A well crafted LinkedIn page that highlights a Salesforce Consultant’s past experiences and skillset is an excellent way to “set it and forget it.” Once you’ve created your LinkedIn page, then prospective clients have the ability to search that site for YOU. Headhunters and recruiters look for candidates on LinkedIn and can quickly find out about where you’ve been, what you’ve worked on and have an easy entry point to engage in dialogue with you to determine if you would be of an asset to their project or role.

So, there you have it. I recommend that you scale your marketing approach as you are able to accept new clients. As you are starting out, or even if you are seasoned in your career, your marketing efforts should be scalable so that you can nurture each potential lead with diligence and care.

Be mindful of your resources and constraints: time and money. Like most Consultants, you may have limited time (because you are focused on delivering to your clients) to market your Salesforce skills.   You can also set up other free social media sites like Instagram, Twitter or even a Blog. These are all free tools that you can utilize for both inbound and outbound marketing but remember – your social media sites are only as good as the content you produce. We’ll talk about content marketing next time. Using sites like LinkedIn can definitely allow you to load balance your opportunities and keep a steady stream of opportunities coming your way. New to LinkedIn? Connect with me, below and I’d be happy to help you in any way that I can.

May the Force Be With You,

ZL

Zeanique has been working with public, non-profit, and private entities since 2000, where she has stood up large scale ERP implementations. She has been a Salesforce Consultant since 2010 and is based in Washington, DC. She’s also served as a Professor for small business marketing, value proposition and business plan development at Trinity Washington University