I’m in the middle of a new implementation of Microsoft NAV (formerly Navision). The company we are working with has been a client for about eight years. We have worked on a number of projects to improve the productivity of the company. Now it’s time to replace their old ERP software with a new one (Microsoft NAV). I was reminded again of the difference in the way people view their business systems. Some companies feel it is a collection of software. Others view it as an integral part of their business plan and competitiveness. I happen to be of the latter school. It’s really fun watching this company because they are seriously invested in the process of changing their business processes to accomplish their business objectives. They have tripled in size since we started working together and what worked back then, no longer works very well. It is not an inexpensive process, taking your staff away from daily business production, to sit around a conference table to discuss how your business can change. However, it is extremely exciting and interesting to see the new ideas and the collaborative effort that comes about when you make the investment.

I recently completed a two year stint of writing a book (an e-book) about how to have a successful ERP implementation. I’ve been helping companies do this for nearly 30 years. In fact, I began doing this before the IBM PC was released. While many things have changed during that time, there are several constants. One constant is that people don’t like to change. Another constant is that people are very protective of their own territory or position. A third constant, is that people tend to think no one else can do it as well as they can. I have to plead guilty on all of these counts myself. While I know that change can be good for me and my company, I also know that it’s very uncomfortable and exposes me to risk.

One curious thing I’ve noticed over the past 30 years, is that people, more often than not, will do far more to avoid risk and protect themselves and their business then they will to secure new opportunities. In other words, fear of loss is a greater motivator than the pull of success. One of the risks of this strategy is that when we don’t change, we generally start falling behind. Yesterday, I was speaking with our Microsoft representative about his background and the family business he came from. The business was started by his grandfather and operation was passed to his children. Grandpa knew how to run a business, but his children didn’t want to make a change for fear of being wrong. Our rep worked there and saw them sell business asset after business asset to keep the business afloat. After the birth of his first child, he decided that unless they were to make some changes, he would need to leave and find a new career. They weren’t going to change, so he left. That was a wise decision, because the company is no longer in business.

As you think about your business, consider what is it that is keeping you from changing your business? Are you willing to test your current assumptions? Are you willing to dump old products? Are you willing to take on new products? Are there new processes that you should be considering in your business? Do you have a young employee who keeps pestering you for new products or processes? And, more importantly, are you ignoring him or her? Have you seen others in your business downsize or perhaps go out of business? Are your profit margins being eroded? IE facing increased competition from online business? Are your customers or vendors demanding new and different processes that are challenging your way of doing business and your profitability?

The list of questions could go on a long time, but what I’d like to do is challenge you. As we come up to the New Year, think about what’s important in your business, and what you’re doing to pursue that importance. I know it’s a little early to think about New Year’s resolutions; however, there is no time in the year that is not the right time to re-evaluate your business. Find just three ways in which you could improve your business in the next six months. Frankly, the best way to do that is to involve your employees in the conversation; because among the other things I’ve noticed over the last 30 years in this business; is that most employees, in most businesses, really do understand that business cannot exist without profit. I’ve also noticed that given a chance, most employees are anxious to give good advice about the business. So, you really don’t have to do it alone. You probably have the most important help sitting at your desks, walking around your warehouse, or running the machines on your factory floor.

I’d love to hear your story about how you help your business change and improve. Give me a call, send me an Email, or, respond to this blog. Have a great day – and great success in your business!

If you’d like to read about one of our many successful Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementations, read our success story here.