Succeed With Determination, Perseverance, and a Better Process
Have you ever failed in business? You’re not the first, and you definitely won’t be the last. In fact, as you can see, you’re in pretty good company.
As a software company, we constantly receive inquiries from companies who purchased a competitor’s application that, for whatever reason, did not work out. Most of the time these purchase decisions involved thousands of dollars and were intended to solve a very real and pressing need. Not only have these companies spent a significant amount of money, but now they have nothing to show for it. The original problems still exist.
What is the next step?
First, don’t dwell on your mistake. Putting the bad feelings from this experience behind you will allow you to think logically and rationally as you move forward.
Okay, now that we’re thinking clearly, let’s examine what went wrong. For software, the problems generally boil down to a couple of things: 1) the application did not increase efficiency or productivity, or 2) it produced incorrect or inappropriate data. The big question is, why?
- Did I have sufficient expertise on my decision making unit – did I receive enough input from the right people in my company to make the best decision?
- Did I exercise proper due diligence? Most companies will invest at least some time in viewing a web presentation. But, seeing a product demonstration is just the first step of the process. After you narrow down the selection choices to a list of finalists, you should have at least one more demo and include all the invested participants from your company. Additionally, you should ALWAYS obtain a list of vendor references and actually CALL them. Then you’ll want to ind out several things – how long they have been using the product? Is the product meeting their needs? Most importantly, how satisfied are they with the level of technical support received? You want to make absolutely sure that once you write the check, you’re not going to be abandoned. Lastly, it is always a good thing to check any other resources available like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, or online forums.
What can I do now?
When you first recognize a problem with your software vendor, the obvious step is to meet with their management to share your unhappiness and discuss a resolution. If you do this and things do not get resolved or do not significantly improve, ask for your money back. With software companies, unless you secure a warranty or money-back guarantee in your purchase contract, chances are, this is not going to happen.
So now we are at that really awkward stage where the money is gone, but the problems are not. You made a mistake, you’ve admitted it, but now you have to go back to your boss and recommend another solution (and more money to be spent)!
Let’s Get It Right This Time
First, let’s get everybody who has a stake in this decision involved. Make sure that you get plenty of input from anyone who will be a potential user of the proposed system. Then, let’s really do our due diligence by viewing product demos, asking plenty of questions, calling references, and checking out the vendor using any available resources. Finally, when you find the “right” solution, get a warranty clause or money-back guarantee provision written into your purchase contract. Following these steps, you’ll turn failure into success, and in the process, become a hero.