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No Muffin Top! Shop for Tech Like You Shop for Jeans!

The right technology can make all the difference when you’re running a business. Accounting, marketing, and sales (CRM – customer relationship management) systems come in many shapes and sizes so they can be matched with your needs and those of your customers! However, these systems can be very complex, and there may be more at stake than you realize, so consider your approach very carefully. Use my friendly “jeans shopping” approach.

Where are the Fitting Rooms?

When you do-it-yourself it’s like shopping for jeans at a department store, even a high-end store. Jeans have different designs, boot cut, skinny, low waist, 5-pocket, etc. You try them on for only a few minutes and make a judgement.

You’ll experience three possible outcomes: they don’t fit, they almost fit, or they fit right. However, you may not find a “they fit right” in this department store. Depending on how many jeans you have already tried on, you may go with the “they almost fit” and call it a day.

You wear them and you’re mostly happy, but you wish they fit better. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great. Eventually, you wear them less and less, until one day you put them in the donate pile, since they are only a little bit worn.

Sound familiar? You think you know what you want, you sign-up for several free trials, and they almost fit. The real issue here is that you may not be sure what a “they do fit” looks or feels like. Have you ever used an accounting, marketing, or CRM system before? Do you know what they are capable of doing? Do you know what you really need it to be able to do for you?

Without answering “Yes” to all the questions above, you will never get the right fit.

Come Right This Way

When you reach out for help, it should be like shopping for a tailored suit. There is nothing to try on until lots of questions are answered. What design do you like? What is the suit for – business casual, business as usual, special business event, keynote speaker engagement, etc. What fabric do you like? In other words, how are you going to use it?

Next comes the measurements. They need to know how to make it fit right in order for you to use it the way you want to. There are lots of measurements, not just the big ones like leg length and waist size, but also cuff or no cuff, arm length, chest, back, etc. There’s also all the details such as the number of buttons and the design of the lapel.

Once you concluded the sometimes exhaustive questions and requirements, it takes time to create the suit, the special, one-of-a-kind suit, just for you.

Take a Look in the Mirror

If you’ve never been through this experience then you’ve never gotten the right fit. Running a business with systems that almost fit can be done, and in fact, is done countless times a day. Unfortunately, they may be causing more problems than they solve. Missing information, incomplete reports, limited logins, lack of cross-department access, and the list goes on.

And this is not just for small businesses. I’ve seen several large businesses, publicly traded businesses, install systems that don’t fit right. It slows down progress and growth, and requires alterations, sometimes a lot of them, just to get to it “almost fits”.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Some people will say having any system is better than having no system, and I believe there is some truth to that. The ability to get your hands on data is always good, however, if you rely on the data in an “almost fits” system, and don’t continue to be diligent in getting the “right fit” system, your business decisions will be based on incomplete information. This could cause disaster for the future.

Jeans are great, as long as they fit right. However, consider everything that goes with a custom tailored suit. It’s an investment of both time and money, many people are involved, there’s lots of planning to get the right fit, and the final presentation is unmatched and seamless!

It’s worth the effort to find the right system that suits your business!

 

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For more than 20 years Ellen Williams has been helping businesses grow. She consulted, sold, and implemented systems and strategies involving accounting, sales, and marketing, automating repetitive tasks and integrating important information. She proudly wears her “geek.”

One of the original WAHM (work at home moms) or Mompreneurs back in the 1980s, Ellen has been an entrepreneur, corporate employee, writer, speaker, and teacher. Currently an instructor and curriculum developer at Hofstra University School of Continuing Education, she teaches courses in digital marketing, marketing automation, and business development.

 

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