Like many small business owners Dewey was the business. When asked how he planned to compete with bigger stores and “stay alive,” he answered, “Don’t know. Work harder I guess. Nothing else I really can do.”
I suggested shop management software and he replied with five common and potentially fatal excuses.
I decided to try to convince him that these “excuses” were killing his business and if he didn’t do something different soon, he’d be out of business.
1. “I’m too busy.” When you are bailing water out of a sinking boat with your hands, you are busy, but at some point you have to look for a better way. Working harder or working more hours isn’t the answer. Finding the right tool to make your job easier is. Software is that tool
2. “I don’t know anything about software.” When you started in your field, you didn’t know much, but you learned how to use the tools of the trade. And they made a huge difference in your effectiveness and efficiency. Software is another essential tool that you can learn to master.
3. “It costs too much.” If you’re in warehousing and distribution, the warehouse, shelving, and vehicles are expensive too, but its part of the business. It’s the price you pay to be in the business. You view it as an investment. Software is no different. It is an investment, not an expense. It may save you a few dollars not to invest in software but likely it will cost you your business. You simply can’t compete today without it.
4. “I don’t know where to start.” Start by defining your business needs and requirements. You’re the expert here. For the rest, get some help from the software selection experts. Starting at Capterra is a great first step.
5. “I don’t need it. I’ve been successful this long without it.” Famous last words of plenty of successful businessmen just before they went out of business. The only thing changing faster than business today is technology. In order to keep up, you will have to speed up and become more flexible and focused. Software enables you to do that. Software is not the whole answer, but it is required if you want to stay alive.
Dewey eventually saw the light and found a shop management system that he bought and implemented with the help of a local consulting company. It was hard work that took a lot of time, but it was an investment in his future.
Today, Dewey still works hard but he works a lot smarter too. His customer files are organized and accessible. His books are accurate and up to date. His inventory is readily available and his order reports are generated for him.
He’s grown the business because he’s spending more time on the business rather than in the business. In fact, he’s enjoying work and remembers why he started the business in the first place.
With the help of the right software he has exactly what he wanted. He now has a small business that is growing steadily in which he can work hard and be proud…and not kill himself while doing it. Isn’t that what you want too?
We’d love to hear your excuses and how you’ve overcome them to grow your business. Share you story.
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