Dollars and sense: Make 2016 a year for real change
So often in business we come up with a great idea and launch right into it. We are enthusiastic and naïve, which often creates a more open and receptive mindset to possibilities. We rarely think through the systems and tools needed to ensure that the idea, expectations and results are closely aligned. Once launched, without good systems and tools, we narrow our vision and limit our possibilities as we begin to work “out of tolerance.” We don’t realize that we are creating dysfunctional habits within our companies that keep us from achieving our goals.
Having more than 20 years in this industry, I have seen this pattern play out repeatedly, and I have certainly been guilty of it myself. However, when I push through the inertia that comes from getting stuck in a repeated pattern, I have always been rewarded. Things improve.
One way we hold ourselves and our organizations back is in the belief that we don’t have the time, capital or expertise to make the changes needed. Sometimes we simply don’t know what changes are needed. Today there is a wide landscape of business knowledge, services and tools available to help integrators work on their companies. The level of sophistication for many of today’s growing firms is much higher, as are the expectations, and because resources are more accessible, the bar is rising. Systems, processes and business tools have become today’s table stakes and can’t be ignored, especially for owners who are serious about their businesses.
Gone are the days when a system integration business can operate out of a shoebox. Internal processes and systems are essential to help track business metrics and ensure a predictable and profitable customer experience from the first handshake to the final signoff.
If this seems too big or the first step isn’t clear, start to break it down into smaller pieces. Play with process flow and/or find an advisor. An experienced business advisor can help shift paradigms, bringing experience and fresh eyes to the issues at hand.
Marilyn is a Registered Professional Accountant and a CEDIA Fellow. Marilyn was attracted to the Custom Electronics field in 1992 when she cofounded a firm in Vancouver, Canada. Marilyn merged this business in 2000 with La Scala in Vancouver and sold the firm in 2013. She is a founding member of CEDIA Canada, and President from 1996 through 1999. From 2000 through 2007 she sat on the International CEDIA Board and was an Executive member in the latter half of her term. Marilyn is currently involved with two startup firms offering services to the Custom Installation Market: LincEdge, offering online labor sharing software, and b3pro, linking service providers and business advisors to CI firms.