In my career before RingCentral, growth was a wonderful thing to experience, but it was also terrible. We were a small education company focused on green architecture and education. Working on a shoestring budget, we were forced to operate with inventive systems and free services/software that we could find in order to stay organized and conduct normal business on a daily basis. Every time we found a new free program that could closely meet our needs I was ecstatic. It almost felt heroic.
This behavior continued until a patchwork system of free services was providing all of our core business functionality. This was fine at the beginning, but after the first year, demand started to increase, and the business started to grow, which was exactly our goal. Unfortunately, in our search for cheap solutions, we had sacrificed the future for a few dollars. The more business we did, the more complex functionality we needed out of our systems—functionality that we did not have. Every tool we used needed to be completely replaced, along with all of our data and the information redesigned and put onto new systems that would allow us to perform business. It was terribly difficult, time consuming, and costly.
We had drastically undervalued becoming future-proof. We learned the hard way how important it is to have systems and solutions that are equipped for the needs of the present, and will also be able to accommodate the needs of the future. Ripping and replacing all of our business systems proved taxing, and wound up costing the company a significant amount of money. We thought we were being clever. We were actually being foolish.
Next time you’re considering new solutions for you business, keep these three points in mind:
- Consider the long term impact of the software or hardware being purchased.
- Purchase for where you are going, not where you are today.
- Calculate the cost of changing later vs. building a firmer infrastructure today.
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Originally published Apr 21, 2015, updated Jan 30, 2023