Your Choice: Seize the Future or Stay Stuck

RSPA Channel Leaders Report

By: Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA

My favorite books growing up were the “Choose Your Own Adventure” format where the story paused, and the reader had two options for which action the character took next. Whatever path you selected, the main character followed and achieved a unique outcome – one resulting in prosperity, the other not so much.

Let’s play the retail IT channel version of Choose Your Own Adventure where you’re the main character:

  • Option A: “I’m definitely attending RetailNOW 2023! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
  • Option B: “I’m not sure I’ll attend RetailNOW. This might be an OK year to skip it. I’m already super busy.”

Option A: “I’m definitely attending RetailNOW 2023!”
Great! The RSPA team is looking forward to seeing you at the show, July 30-Aug. 1 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando. Let’s talk logistics first. If you haven’t already, register for the event and reserve your hotel room today at Advanced registration rates, which can save you up to 35% on your full conference pass, end June 16, and the hotel room block is filling up fast (last year’s sold out weeks before the event).

Now let’s talk strategy. At the show, you’re going to hear new ideas you want to implement, but when you return home you’ll realize where the rub lies: doing something new creates a resource conflict with your current activities.

In his book Escape Velocity, author Geoffrey Moore refers to that concept as attempting to “free your company’s future from the pull of the past.” What could your core business and day-to-day duties overshadow when you’re back home from the show in early August?

Perhaps it’s more recurring revenue generated through managed services and cloud-based products. Or it could be morphing from a pure reseller to an ISV/VAR hybrid who offers their own intellectual property through niche software. Perhaps it’s new products like Electric Vehicle Charging Stations as-a-Service (EVCSaaS), Programmatic Digital Out of House Advertising (pDOOH), IoT (Internet of Things), or telecommunications and the many professional services wrapped around them. Or it could be expanding into a new vertical market like grocery (very stable) or cannabis (high growth potential).

Start making plans with your leadership team now for how you will execute on the profitable new ideas you’re exposed to at RetailNOW. Don’t look back five or 10 years from now and bemoan, “I should have done more!” Do more this year.

Option B: “I’m not sure I’ll attend RetailNOW.”
I know some VARs and ISVs attend RetailNOW every other year or every three years because historically that’s been enough for them to keep up to date on new trends and products. That practice might have worked five, 10, or 20 years ago, but it doesn’t apply in 2023. The industry landscape, merchant needs, and technology advances since COVID have accelerated so fast that you can’t afford to turn your head to look away for a few months let alone a few years.

The 2023 RSPA Retail IT Channel KPI Study we published in March showed that many VARs and ISVs had their best year in 2022, and the RSPA team knows from conversations with our members that the top-performing solution providers are also the ones most engaged in our industry. RetailNOW is a re-investment in your business, perhaps the best investment you’ll make this year.

Please take some time now to browse the RetailNOW 2023 website and then jump back to Option A to read how your story could turn out. I hope you choose wisely where your business goes next.

See you in Orlando!

Jim Roddy is the President and CEO of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the retail IT channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim has been recognized as one of the world’s Top Retail Influencers by RETHINK Retail, a Leading CannaTech Influencer by The CannaTech Group, and is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences on SMB best practices. He is author of two books – The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success and Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer – and is host of the award-winning RSPA Trusted Advisor podcast. For more information, contact