Swimming in a Sea of Sharks

Swimming in a Sea of Sharks

staying competitive in a dangerous economy

Written by Isaac Saft, CEO VATBox


In today’s fast-paced, ever changing world, you need shark-like instincts to thrive. Surrounding yourself with only the best and keep swimming with “The Market Sharks” will help you keep your “Shark skills” sharp and let you trust your instincts.

How can you ensure that your organization is swimming with the fiercest sharks?

Not as easy as it sounds. In an ocean filled with “fake news”, where the lines between fact and fantasy are constantly blurred, it is difficult to spot the true sharks. With fierce competition and slick salespeople, distinguishing between industry experts and shark-like imposters is harder than ever. Impressive packaging or cut-throat pricing can turn make “shark bait” out of any organization.

As the old saying goes, it takes one to know one. You need to think like a shark in order to recognize the other sharks out there.  When looking to engage with a new service provider, here are some tips to help you distinguish the real sharks from the pretenders.

Don’t fall for empty promises. Beware of savvy marketers or smooth sales pitches that don’t match your requirements. Carry out due diligence and run a credit check to ensure the vendor can fulfill the agreement. Be thorough in your investigation, and seek input from all stakeholders involved in the project.

Don’t be swayed by the cheapest price. A low price is no indication of value for money. Consider other factors such as delivery times, payment terms, quality of the goods and after-sales service. Check the vendor’s reputation: if there is no track record of success, his low price does not mean much.

Demand a strong commitment. A strategic vendor should understand the vision of your business, as well as the goals of the specific project he’s bidding for, and offer insights on best practices for successful collaboration. Depth of engagement is a strong indicator of a successful partnership.

Ask for a proof-of-concept (POC) exercise and key performance indicators (KPIs). The POC should be wide enough in scope to verify the feasibility of their technology or the effectiveness of their product or service. KPIs are critical to benchmark and monitor the vendor’s progress towards meeting its deliverables.

Commit and test. Once you select your preferred vendor, determine a future short-term date (often 90 days), where you will review the data and test that your objectives are being met. At this point, the way forward should be clear, and you will know whether you have picked a winner.

Investing in a rigorous vendor selection process is always worthwhile in the long-term. Instead of drowning in shark-infested waters, you’ll find yourself leading the pack.

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