Anatomy 101: What Do You Do?

Since founding Sol Minion Development, I've been to dozens of networking events. Each time, the same question came up: "So, what do you do?" There's plenty of ways to answer this question and plenty of techniques. I've tried several of them, but it's hard to define what we do succinctly. After a little over two years and using the "Twitter Approach", I whittled it down: We solve business challenges using software. The challenges could be just about anything, from marketing to operations to customer service, but it's all solved in some way by software. So, what do you do?

Here are three examples of challenges faced by many businesses that we can help overcome.

1. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS

When it comes right down to it, customer relationship is everything. Without it, we really don't have a business. There are a lot of CRM (customer relationship management) applications out there, such as Nimble and Insightly (we use Insightly). Sometimes, there are some very specialized criteria for your industry, so the usual channels aren't useful to you. We can help by creating a custom CRM solution for your business - such was done with Nestablish. It's a customized CRM for mortgage loan originators and real estate agents and focuses on helping them manage past clients, prequalifications, and the loan application process.

2. MARKETING ON ALL PLATFORMS

The core of our business has always been Web sites, but we focus on ensuring the site looks amazing, regardless of the viewer's medium or form factor. To that end, every site we build, from the basic brochure site for an independent consultant to a marketing site for an online analytics software platform, is responsive and mobile-ready. It's important your message is heard loud and clear and doesn't get scrambled by a customer (or potential customer) struggling to navigate your site. Sites that were finished more than two or three years ago likely need a facelift so they work well on the many mobile devices people carry around.

3. PUTTING TOGETHER A PLAN

Sometimes, it's not obvious what you're actually looking for and you just need to talk with an expert about options. I've had many conversations with business owners looking to create a mobile app, but they didn't have a solid foundation in place already. We assist small businesses in creating their roadmap for a technology platform, one which grows as they grow. Mobile apps can be expensive, but aren't that useful if there's no mobile-optimized site already in place. It's less expensive to update the Web site now and plan for implementing a mobile app around it in the future. Slow and steady wins the race, not jumping at every new buzzword that crops up (and lets face it, there's new ones every day).

When it comes to answering the question "what do you do", people want easily digestable information, especially when we're talking about a business that creates custom Web sites and applications. Once you get past that initial inquiry (which shouldn't be answered with more than 1-2 sentences), you can go into more detail, but coming up with just the right combination of words that accurately describes your business is a challenge on it's own - and not one that can be solved with software.

When in doubt, try the Twitter Approach and get your answer down to 140 characters or less. You can say a lot in 140 characters with a little work.

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