As a teenager, I really wanted to work at a bike shop, but I was running into dead ends. Over and over, I would travel to my favorite shops and apply, only to receive no callbacks. I was just another job applicant with minimal experience. I was frustrated.
But then I read the book How to Get the Job You Really Want by Joe Sabah. Joe encouraged the job seeker not just to fill out applications and send resumes, but to send an alternative: the Gold Form.
The Gold Form flipped a job search on its head. Printed on goldenrod colored paper for its high contrast to black and also to differentiate it from all the other white paper in the world, it started with the words WANTED: at the top and then described what the job seeker was hunting. Mine said something like WANTED: Professional Bike Shop Seeking a Repair Tech.
It listed, in short bullet point phrases, all of the attributes of a great bike shop. About halfway down the page were the words, YOU WILL GAIN.
Below that, I listed all the great attributes I had: customer service oriented, hard worker, diligent repair tech, etc. These were attributes that were known to be an asset to the bike shop owner. Of course, they would want an employee like me.
At the bottom of the Gold Form, I finished with, “Easily solve your Bike Repair Tech needs and call Ken today” and listed my phone number.
I sent them out to all of the bike shops in Denver within the radius of where I was willing to commute. Within a week I had the job I wanted. I think stamps cost a quarter then, and the total cost of the paper and copies were less than 15 bucks – a great return on investment.
So what does all this have to do with technology services? If you think about the words on the Gold Form, YOU WILL GAIN, and have an answer for every project you work on; you will be much more effective. This will help you keep in mind what is most important. The only reason to do these projects is for gain, so take the time to define what the benefit is before you start. Just as the only reason for a bike shop owner to hire me was for the gain they would get from me working there, the only reason to do IT projects is for the gains they bring our customers.
If you don’t know how your customers will gain from your efforts, you are heading into the dangerous territory of spinning your wheels for no reason. Make your work more meaningful and impactful by having an answer to YOU WILL GAIN on every project you work.