Barbara looked over at Steve, her husband of 25 years. He was fast asleep on the couch his wine hardly touched. It had been a long time since they went out on the town for New Year’s Eve. Lately, they just stayed up late together, watched the fire in the fireplace, and reviewed the year they just had and what they expected in the next year.
But this year Steve fell asleep.
No matter. It was nice to have some quiet time for herself. She cradled her wine in her hand, took a sip, and thought of all the things that had happened over the year. Last New Year’s Eve she was not nearly so calm and optimistic. She was exhausted. She was the one who had fallen asleep. Steve teased her about it for the whole year. She smiled to herself thinking how this coming year would be her revenge.
Last year her business was out of control. She had become a victim of her own success. She had finally got some traction, and it just took off, but her systems and processes weren’t ready for the growth. She had felt like a circus performer spinning plates - frantically going from one plate to the next desperate to avert disaster.
Billing was a constant problem. It seemed like the invoices were wrong more than they were right. Sometimes her customers noticed, sometimes they didn’t. But when they did, it was embarrassing. Sometimes when they didn’t, she would eat the under bill just to avoid the embarrassment. She also had this gnawing uncertainty about how her business actually worked. It was easy to keep track of what was going on when the company was smaller, but now at this size, she just couldn’t keep track of it. She wanted reports, but every time she tried to make one it was just too hard and took too long. Her data wasn’t consistent and she didn’t have time to fix it.
To deliver these substandard results she had been working 60, then 70, then 80 hours a week. She wasn’t happy. Neither were her employees. Steve wasn’t either. “Did we get divorced and you just forgot to tell me?” he would say, half joking and half complaining.
She had to do something. But she didn’t know what. It just seemed like an insurmountable problem. There were so many things to fix; she didn’t know where to start.
Early one morning before anyone else was in the office, Barbara was staring at her backlog of emails trying to get the courage to open one and start working. Then the phone rang. She picked it up hoping that it was someone bringing her something other than more problems. It was from a woman named Jenae who said she worked for a software company named Bizinta that could solve her operational overwhelm. Curious, Barbara stayed on the phone. Yes, Jenae was in sales, but she seemed more concerned about Barbara and her business than she was in closing a deal. She said Bizinta was all focused on solving problems and building long-term relationships. That was refreshing! After Jenae asked some questions and told her more about the software, Barbara decided to take Jenae’s invitation to do an online demo with the CEO, Matt. Even though she was super busy, Bizinta sounded like exactly what she needed to help run her business.
Like Jenae, Matt was very curious about her business and started by asking a lot of questions. After he listened to Barbara summarize her challenges with the business, he took her through all the features of the product. There was just so much Bizinta could do. Matt showed her how she would be able to click a button and generate all her invoices. Sophisticated reports that would have to take her days to put together were available in minutes as well.
Her head was buzzing with all the possibilities this software gave her to run her business more efficiently, understand where her revenue and profits came from, and, most importantly, grow her company and increase its value. But she was nervous. It would be a big step to switch to Bizinta. It was a move away from the uncomfortable familiar to an unknown, yet promising, future.
After talking to a number of satisfied Bizinta clients, she decided to make the move. She realized that things were only going to get worse the longer she waited. “I’ll take it,” she had told Matt on a follow-up call, feeling glimmers of hope and relief she hadn’t felt in a long time.
As it turned out, switching to Bizinta had been the best decision she had made. Even Steve was impressed. “Gosh, I wish they made a program like that for my construction company,” he said when she showed it to him.
The software implementation had been a few months, but she found the process far from onerous. It made her really look at her business. And Matt had given her lots of good advice since he had already done these implementations with several other companies similar to hers.
Last year, she was dreading the upcoming year. There just wasn’t anywhere to go. There were only so many hours she could work and she was tapped out. She was sure the company was going to come crashing down around her head.
This year, she couldn’t wait for January 1st to get the next year started with her company. Things were fun again. The managers she had hired had hit the ground running and she was already working less. She wasn’t at the 20-30 that was her long-term goal, but it was something she could manage. The company was poised for more growth and she could see the way forward!
She talked so much about Bizinta that Steve got a little jealous. “Sometimes I think you like Bizinta more than you like me” he had said. “At least Bizinta gets you home at a reasonable hour though - so I guess it worked out!” They had both laughed.
She walked over to the couch and gently shook Steve awake. He blinked and looked at her groggily. “It’s almost midnight. Are you going to wish me a happy new year or what?”