How much do we let the desire to be unique guide our decisions?
Are you as a business owner or manager continually trying to improve processes, boost productivity and save money? One way you may consider doing so is by not inventing the wheel again and really starting to question in what way you are unique as a business.
Most of you have probably heard others say, “We are so unique.” You have probably said that yourself a couple of times as well. That is an expression that is both true and false. As human beings we are totally unique, but at the same time we are so like everybody else.
That’s because we are social animals, and our genetics and heritage affect us. It is exactly the same in business. We work according to more or less the same processes and methods, use the same kind of tools to do the same kind of things etc. The list can go on and on. You get the picture, right? So in what sense are we unique and in what sense are we not unique? Based on our and others’ experiences, the unique thing about a business is most often not WHAT you are doing or even why or how, but we will come back to that later.
You will probably not find a single company in the world that is alone in what it delivers. Not even in a state monopoly will you find a single source delivering a unique product or service. In that case some options might not be legal, but still there are always several providers delivering the same thing i.e. the WHAT. So how about WHY? We all have our reasons for doing what we are doing, but not even those drivers are unique, because most people have the same drivers. There is a reason why Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs exists, and most of our drivers are based on that hierarchy.
So let’s take a look at the HOW. Could that be the source of why we as businesses perceive ourselves as unique? Yes, of course to some extent we are unique, but not to the extent that it should force us to spend thousands or sometimes millions of dollars to build our own tools. We would be surprised if any company started to manufacture its own furniture, pens, cars etc. – tools that the company needs to perform and deliver. So why are we not questioning the reasons behind buying tailor-made software? Why is that different from what we do with cars? Is it because business software is more complex? No, it’s not.
Do we want to be special when we buy a car or clothes? Yes, of course. Again, does that mean we build our own car or even sew our own clothes? No, we don’t need to do that to be unique. It is the combining of standardised products that creates the blend that is unique. Some cars even adapt the way they behave depending on who drives the car. Why do we put on the clothes that we do or pick that particular colour for our car? Because we want to be unique. That is part of being human. We are not machines.
How can we translate that to business software? The thing that most likely is unique for you and your business is the combination of HOW you perform, HOW your processes are adapted, HOW you behave, WHO you do business with, WHAT you sell and WHERE you sell it. The funny thing is that for intelligent software that combination should not be a problem. Modern and intelligent software should adapt to you automatically, exactly as some cars adapt automatically to the driver.
Do you still believe that a unique technical solution is the only way to support your way of working?
Some of you would probably say anyway, “Hey, we need a system that fits our needs and our business, because we are unique, for real!” Yes, that’s true, so you are. But does that mean you need to become your own software provider and build your own solution on top of platforms that are designed for technical people more than business people?
Again, would you buy a hand-built car just to become unique, or would you specify your future car with your preferred colour, wheels, equipment etc.? I think the latter, because that’s much more affordable. If we move back to software and CRM in particular, what is it that makes you and your organisation unique?
Isn’t it the way you work, your processes, your performance, how you sell, what targets you have and what kind of deals you make? If you agree on that, you don’t need to build your own CRM or buy a heavily configured standard CRM. You need a standardised, off-the-shelf CRM. One that is ready to use and, most importantly, a CRM that automatically ADAPTS to you and your organisation on its own.
A modern CRM, with no legacy to consider, that adapts to your unique situation?