You know the difference between a jungle and a garden. There’s design and structure, a clear pathway to help you navigate, and, of course, a gardener. Does your business have a technology jungle or garden?
Your industry’s best practice contains helpful and, possibly, necessary advice, but don’t let it dictate the whole of your business operations. You must take what works best, use it, and disregard the rest. Your business is not the same as others in your industry. If it is, you aren’t doing anything new and you can’t have a unique value proposition. Your profits are in a race to the bottom.
Yet, more often than not, this is what we find businesses first attempt when it comes to technology. The business buys cookie-cutter Cloud services, VoIP systems, CRMs and ERPs because the product name contains their industry and touts, “Best Practice.” The business tries to adapt their processes to fit the product. And, worse, it is all done in an effort to reduce costs in order to keep up with the competition.
This is what the race to the bottom looks like and it’s easy to see how it came to be this way.
Technology is often misunderstood. What is best equates to whatever is Best Practice. But Best Practice isn’t about doing something new; it’s about reducing costs. The industry leader of a technology demands a premium, but the potential return is limited. The technology is already late and it’s greatest value lost to the competition years ago. This creates an opportunity for the cheaper, cookie-cutter products. The savings never materializes, because the implementations grow too costly as one process after another must be changed to fit the business.
Best practice is the practice that works best for your business. Technology is no different. But we are. We help businesses in the construction, legal, and financial industries to adapt and adopt technologies to produce new results. Our responsibility is to position your business as a leader and innovator. Let others learn what is Best Practice from you.
Beyond the service rendered or the money paid, you want a vendor or client who creates opportunities. When you hire a vendor or take on a new client, you make an investment. Traditionally, you spend dollars or time in exchange for dollars and time. A good investment strategy involves diversification and selecting companies with multiple revenue streams. The same holds true of your vendors and clients.
A client or vendor who actively introduces you to opportunities or shares a connection offers more than one product and market. The chances of their long-term survival and a better return on investment is greater. This helps you to see the value a small business may bring over a large corporation and facilitates the creation of lifetime clients, no matter to what company the person may relocate.
When you interview a new vendor or client, ask who they work with and if they’re willing to make an introduction. This should not surprise nor offend them. If you’re doing business with a small business that isn’t creating opportunities for you, then you’ve accepted additional risk without a return. Get out. Select a large corporation or, better yet, move on to a small business that performs.
Sherwood Chamberlain helps businesses in the construction, legal, and financial sectors. We’re more than happy to help our clients and vendors to become acquainted.