I got a call from a potential client the other day who wanted help in converting his existing databases into the latest version of ACT; he was a long-time ACT user and had accumulated over 20 databases.  He then went on to explain that unless I could match the $15/hour price quoted to him by the kid down the street he wasn’t interested in my services.  Shortly after that I received a call from another prospect that was looking to purchase cheap copies of ACT 2000 (circa 1998) for his sales staff because he didn’t want to pay to upgrade to a newer version.

Maybe it was a full moon, or maybe it’s the economy that prompted those calls.  However, I’m always amazed that many companies are so unwilling to invest in their software solutions.

For those of you not familiar with the term, an investment is a commitment of money or capital in order to gain a financial return.  If you really want to succeed in today’s business environment you’re going to have to invest some time – and money – into your technology.  And that investment now will result in profitable returns in the future.

Let’s take a look at the first caller.  Aside from the fact that he has created a maintenance nightmare, having so many databases is just plain inefficient.  For one thing, he has to access over 20 Task Lists and Calendars when scheduling appointments and follow-up activities.  He can’t obtain company-wide feedback on his marketing efforts.  He wastes time opening and closing databases.  Worst of all, he runs a huge risk of accidentally stumbling into the wrong database – or deleting it entirely.  And I doubt very seriously if that “kid down the street” is going to be able to help him out of his mess.

His investment in a bit of specialized training and support will result in a huge increase in productivity – and ultimately profitability.

The second caller is obviously quite happy with the status quo.  He certainly isn’t using social networking to expand his client base or e-marketing to promote his products.  His computers are probably 7-8 years old; when they eventually die he’ll have to scramble around at the last minute to replace them as well as all of his outdated software which is no longer compatible with the newer Operating Systems.

His investment in a software upgrade now will result in an increase in sales and business later.  His investment will also prevent the chaos and down time that he’ll experience when he’s forced to replace his infrastructure at a moment’s notice.

Your parents probably taught you as a child to invest in your future.  Shouldn’t you also be investing in your business?