With Nextup in its 10th year
, I have looked back at our efforts to always improve or enhance our product and processes internally. As business owners, we are continually looking for ways to improve efficiency and grow our business. That means, every so often we must go in search of a new vendor or service and the task can be daunting.
There are so many resources out there, how do you get started? More importantly, when you do finally make the switch, how do you guarantee company-wide adoption?
Identify the Problem
Before attending any trade shows or doing research online, I try to know exactly what I am looking for while keeping an open mind on how it gets done. Knowing what isn’t working with the current process helps me to ensure that the new provider doesn’t have the same issues. I don't want to be out doing this process again in six months.
We have all heard the saying “People, Process, and Product.” We have found any of the changes we look at making always fall into one of these three categories.
If we are looking to make a change within a process we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the current process, discuss the options for the improvement, document the new process, and then make the change.
The same goes with purchasing a product/service. We identify a need, look at all options, and document the how the product/service will fit in with our people and processes.
Does the Technology Exist?
When we first decided to build our product on the Cloud we decided not to just move our technology over, but to rebuild it from ground up for future benefits.
Although the technology was incredible, resources were not readily available making the new build take longer than expected.. Fast-forward a couple years and now there are Cloud services and features that are common that, at the time, were not.
Because of that experience, we now look at how long the technology has been available and what the current resources are when we look to make a change.
Research, Research, Research
After determining the top two priorities, I go in search of the top vendors that meet those needs. Learning as much about each vendor in advance of the any trade shows, meetings, or demos will allow me to use my time more wisely.
Additionally, a real-world use case
is worth way more than a great sales pitch. So, I make sure to spend time and have the vendors walk me through my own personal scenarios, not a canned presentation.
Don't Forget to Set Appointments
Setting appointments is your own one-on-one time with a vendor. With no distractions, you have the chance to really dive in to the solution and any questions you have.
If you're doing your research at a trade show, it can get overwhelming. I always try to set appointment times with my top vendors in advance. This guarantees I have an opportunity to see exactly what I want and not get wrapped up in the chaos. If there is time left over, I see those that didn’t make the initial short list just to make sure I don’t miss anything.