I drafted this blog posting a day ago, then put it on “hold”. See my decision below.
The business plan calls for growth, and the planning/review meeting is in two weeks. The question, naturally, arises as the deadline approaches: “How are we doing?”
The answer: “Behind schedule.” Delays, lower-than-expected projections, cash flow cautions, the ideas we thought would work, didn’t quite fly . . . on and on the story goes.
Then we discover a new service that offers a solution. The service provider has a well-designed sales message, with a decent (though not opulent) website. The sales message is compelling. The sales rep for the service organization explains the concept to someone ready to hear a solution to a very real challenge (yes, a likely prospect). She says in areas where the system works (and she explains where it won’t work so well), while no one can guarantee results, the service has an 80 to 90 per cent success rate in meeting the objectives. The fee is less than $500 and there are no long-term contracts.
Should we jump at the offer?
A quick risk/reward evaluation indicates yes . . . then, wait.
The service provider is quite clear in promotional materials in recommending that we should have at least two people qualified and ready to take the calls when they happen, and we should have a clear strategy to answer/respond to the inquiries as they arrive. In other words, we should be prepared.
Now, on one level, not being perfectly prepared isn’t such a big deal. We’ll learn from experience, and we can repeat the show for an additional $400 or so anytime we like. On the other hand, half-doing things is probably not a great idea, as well. It never hurts and is always wise to be prepared.
We constantly experience start-and-stop, go/no go, act or delay choices in our businesses. Some deadlines and priorities are set by others (we cannot really “move” the RFP deadline, after all. Some are set by our own internal business decisions, deadlines and dynamics (and maybe budgets and budget-setting processes.)
On the other hand, these conflicting deadlines and priorities can cause good ideas to be delayed, tests put off, and competitive advantages lost.
How do you handle these contradictory circumstances in your own business or practice?
(I am evaluating a recruiting tool for commission sales representatives, timetohire.com. Here is the questionnaire the organization asks prospective employers to complete before setting the system in place.)
Decision: During the day I checked with our leading salesperson/lead-hand/and sales guider (we don’t have a formal sales training system) about his availability on Monday, April 29 and Tuesday, April 30, to handle calls from the timetohire.com system. He said he is available then. So we’ll wait one week and have everything in order — not rushing, nor procrastinating. I will provide a report on the experience here within a week after we test it out.