If we had a nickel for every time we sat down with a customer who had recently taken on an innovation project that was already outdated by the time they talked to us… we’d have a lot of nickels. The most common misconceptions among business owners or decision makers (especially in the startup and small business arena) is that innovation is a spur of the moment thing and they need to jump on every available opportunity to have the technology that is on that day’s newspaper. The message is clear: get on board with innovation, but the right kind of innovation.
Businesses of all sizes always want to claim to have the latest and greatest technologies, as that is a key factor in attracting new customers. We don’t blame them for that, but what we do think businesses need to take into account more frequently is that the technology that they are hearing about today, might not be the newest toy in the block tomorrow, and now they’re left with a hefty investment, a long implementation project, and technology that no longer serves them the purpose. There are lots of software companies today that are making promises they cannot keep, and that are lacking the right tools to help companies grow and do so sustainably. In order to avoid this for yourself, here are some tips to help you figure out how to choose the right innovations for your company.
- Background check: do your homework on the company that you’re partnering up for the innovation project, and on the solutions that they’re offering you. New companies are great and have a lot of ambition, but track records are usually a solid sign that you’re in good hands. Don’t fall for the sales tactics of new or old, take your time to ask around and make sure you’re not being sold on a temporary fix.
- Audit yourself: what areas of improvement can you recognize in your company? How much time do you think you can afford to invest in an innovation project? What are the projected numbers for the next 5-10 years? Even though those figures might seem hard to predict, the problem with many technology solutions that are implemented these days is that the companies quickly outgrow the systems that were put in place to – ironically – help them grow. Whether you focus on your site, an application, an entire backend, etc. make sure that you gauge properly the expected reaction and use for the short and long terms, as you might be able to survive the sprint, but if you fall behind in the marathon, then you lost the race.
- Have a plan, and a backup plan: make sure you sit down with your software partner and concoct a plan for launch with checkpoints after the go-live. Choose a partner that will be there after the project is done and can ensure the growth of the platform if needed (not to mention the benefits of having a platform that is custom-built for your business and that is made to grow with you, by default). And when you’re ready to have your big live moment with the customers, be sure to have the whole software team on call to take care of any issues on the spot (should they arise) and talk about contingency plans should any part of the system go down unexpectedly.
- Bonus – have a test/beta phase: not all companies do this, but if you find one that offers a beta testing phase for your implementation, that’s a sign that they are serious and will protect you in the long-run.
At Lagash, we pride ourselves on checking off each of these boxes, and more, because our over 20 years of experience in the business have taught us what the right way to do business is when it comes to innovation and software. Don’t fall for the gimmicks and offerings that anyone makes without seeing what they can do. We’re happy to share our experience (as are our customers) and we can talk through the plan with you to do more for and with you. Contact us now for an assessment.