SCALING UP: Time to Change Technology?
I was once at a trade show standing near an impressive display of some of the finest zero-turn mowers on the market. The Sales Representative was talking with a landscape business owner whose business had grown. The owner was taking on larger properties, with the goal to move from residential into commercial maintenance, but was having difficulty with the price of the mowers. The Sales Rep simply said, “At some point you simply have to scale up; you don’t mow five-acre lots with a 21-inch push mower.”
Owners find that the same is true with business management software: at some point you simply have to scale up. That software package which was perfect for a small business – with limited features but a low entry cost – may not be able to hold up as you begin taking on seven-figure maintenance volume or six-figure commercial construction jobs, nor be suitable for specialties like snow and ice management or pest control. And yes, just like changing from a 21-inch mower to a large zero-turn that rides so smooth you may think you’re sitting on a cloud, it will have an increased upfront cost.
The great news is the ROI also scales up; after all, that’s why landscapers purchase the larger mowers! The key is to look at the whole picture to see your ROI. With mowers, your field employees find improved productivity per labor hour, and you eliminate negatives like lost opportunity cost in not taking on new business due to the wrong equipment for the types of properties you wanted to target. With software, you improve productivity in managers not dealing with paper systems or disconnected solutions. You also find savings that are more difficult to quantify: saved material costs on purchasing or inventory errors; improved profits from reporting that catches problems early; and better employee retention due to a sense of opportunity to grow/advance, no longer feeling underutilized, and finding solutions to long-standing job function difficulties.
If your current software is contributing to any of these, taking action by scaling up might be the right decision. It’s a good situation to be in! Whether you need to purchase better equipment because your company is growing or you need to scale up your software for the same reason, success is one of the best problems to have.