Tag Archive for paragon software

Some Thoughts on Philanthropy

Tom Running.high res

Start-ups aren’t all the romantic fun that Hollywood makes them out to be.  We tend to see the drama and the excitement long after the company in question has succeeded.  We see Google or Apple or Microsoft with dramatic increases in shareholder value and we forget that the founders spent long sleepless nights wondering if they’d make payroll on Friday or if the money for the lease would come in.  We picture those wonderful “aha!” moments when everything falls into place and tend to forget that, for the most part, getting a business off the ground is just hard work, plain and simple hard work.

Once you launch the business and your shingle is on the front door, you’re going to get hit with requests for help from worthwhile and deserving causes.  That’s fine by me.  I think we all ought to do our best to contribute in any way we can.  Here are some thoughts on the subject.

Stay in Business

The first and most honorable thing you can do to help society is to stay in business!  How many employees rely on you to pay their bills and feed their families?  You’re obligated first to keep your business running, to avoid layoffs, and to provide an income for the employees relying on you.  You can directly benefit a great many people by providing training and opportunity to those working for you.

Help Others Stay in Business

What works for you works for other companies as well.  One of the clients who uses a product we developed was able to save three hours of work every single day by implementing our solutions.  The entire IT department at Purdue University saw their workload reduced by using the Adaptive Restore product.  What does that mean?  It means the department was able to save resources and provide better services.  The efficiency of the entire organization benefited.  Create and deliver products that do the same for your customers.

Encourage Participation

When possible, don’t just write checks.  Even if you have a few thousand dollars earmarked for a charity, it may be better to get your employees more involved.  Causes need more than money.  They also need engaged advocates.  Write a check and you’ve definitely helped, sure.  Encourage participation, and you’ve helped create advocates.  One of my favorite causes is Free Wheelchair Mission. In 2015 we set a goal to raise enough money to buy 200 wheel chairs and ran in the Surf City half marathon race in Huntington Beach California to collect donations to meet our objective. In this process we got some of our people very excited about the cause and were able to exceed our plan and provide 217 chairs to disadvantaged folks around the world.  The experience was great and provided more to all involved than could have possibly been expected from simply writing a check.

Look for Philanthropic Routines

There are a number of ways to help that will easily fit with what you do already.  What happens to your recyclables?  There are organizations that will pick them up on a regular basis.  The same goes for your empty ink cartridges.  What do you do with your obsolete technology?  Remember, to a tech company, obsolete means something entirely different than it does to a non-profit that really only needs to handle word processing and communications.  Actions that seem insignificant to you can be remarkably important to others.

Have a Heart

Remember that causes are important to those who champion them.  Do your best to help when you can.  When you can’t, make sure you treat the folks asking for help with respect.  Trying to be a part of something bigger than any individual ought to be respected.  If you send people on their way empty-handed, don’t send on their way empty-hearted.

Business Continuity in the Wake of Sandy

Tom FedroOctober 29, 2012 will live in the history of the North East United States as an epic disaster. Two days after Sandy, the superstorm, there were still millions of people and businesses without power. Homes and commercial property were flooded, communities devastated. The loss of human life and the emotional toll on all the survivors has been almost unprecedented. For the average company in the area, Sandy put business continuity and disaster recovery plans to the test.  Statistics point to the prospect of many of the effected businesses may never recover.  How did your plan hold up?

If you were fortunate enough to miss the megastorm, then consider it a wake up call. If you were one of the victims and you are conducting a post-disaster audit, then there are some points to evaluate while doing so.

  • Did your communications procedures and processes perform as planned?
  • Was everyone trained and prepared to conduct their responsibilities before and after the storm?
  • How long did it take to get the business up and running and how does it compare to your estimates?
  • Did gaps in your recovery plan appear?
  • Did the business recovery plans integrate well among all departments?

At Paragon Software, we are experts in the processes and technology required to prepare for and, when necessary, rapidly recover from disasters like Sandy.  With our consulting services our resellers and their customers are able to evaluate and design disaster recovery procedures and processes uniquely tuned to their needs. More information on this service can be found at http://paragon-downloads.com/disaster-recovery-planning.

Retaining Employees during Tough Times

Best Place to Work in Orange County, CAAt Paragon, we strive to ensure our employees know they are valued. With so much negativity in the economy, employees can become nervous about their own income…they see their neighbors losing their homes, friends being laid off and losing their jobs, stores closing, and the like. It is vitally important to keep morale up.

To that end, we hold quarterly outings, we volunteer in our community as a group, we seek out and reward those individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty. Working at a software development company can be stressful. Day in and day out, the sales team is cranking out the phone calls and holding webinars. The channel managers are reaching out and developing relationships with new VARs and OEMs. The support staff is fielding techical questions from internal users, helping customers, testing new software versions and troubleshooting among other things. Everyone is driving hard toward the stretch goals we have established as a company.

To recognize their exceptional efforts, the operations and marketing teams help us plan relaxing events where we can all “let our hair down” so to speak…lunches at ocean front restaurants, bowling competitions, target shooting, and volleyball on the beach for example. These types of events are important to build relationships among team members and help us get to know each other as individuals.

We must be doing something right. The Orange County Business Journal named Paragon Software as One of the Best Places to Work in 2012.  We are very proud of what we have built here over the past several years and are very excited about our trajectory as we continue our record breaking climb up and to the right with our revenues, profits and most importantly employee moral and enthusiasm!

Identifying Competitive Advantage in the Software Industry

In the feasibility analysis of any new business venture, one of the first tasks is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses compared to competitors in the marketplace. A useful tool for this task is the S.W.O.T. analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Laid out like a four-square grid (see below), it helps to identify and clarify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as threats and opportunities, compared to those of your competitors.

As an example, let’s look at backup and disaster recovery developer, Paragon Software. In the SWOT matrix below, Paragon is compared with its larger, investor-funded competitors. The matrix shows that while we cannot compete in building brand awareness quickly utilizing resources such as advertising due to a lack of outside funding, we can compete by winning new customers from the competition via better customer service, a higher-quality product, and competitive pricing. By examining the strengths and opportunities squares a clear picture of how to position ourselves in the marketplace is revealed.

Tom Fedro SWOT analysis for software companies

When defining your competitive advantage, think from the perspective of your target audience: Why should it matter to me? What’s in it for me, should I decide to engage your firm?  Answer these questions from the perspective of your prospects and discover a concise competitive advantage. Clearly differentiate yourself and demonstrate clear value, then go out and win regardless of circumstances.