As a person or business owner, you may often find yourself asking difficult questions and often coming up with little to know answers. Does this sound like you? If so, how do you know who to trust or how to evaluate a company and/or their credentials in order to decide if they can actually serve you and/or your business needs?
Regardless of the industry and/or business professional, that you may be dealing with most industries have standards that you can use to evaluate not only the staff but the entire business and industry, which may be as easy as performing a Google search. However, the fact is most people and businesses do not actually have the required time to invest and/or research a particular industry (even so called Googling), so they often call on third party facilitators to oversee a particular business or personal purchase decision. These people whom you rely on and often referred to as consultants, brokers, advisers, etc maybe the solution that you are looking for or are they? The question still remains… and that is how do you really know whom you are dealing with?
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding on the right professional or company to help facilitate any buying decision. Can anyone be a doctor? The answer to this question is simply no, as there is schooling and there are requirements that all doctors must go through before they can actually advise you or prescribe a remedy. And yes, this includes doctors, other than those doctors you go to see for medical illnesses. Can anyone be an attorney? Again, the answer to this question is no and again there are many years of schooling and tests that a person must go through in order to represent you in court, help you start a business, or help you fight for justice. Can anyone be banker? Well, this is a tricky one. There are many good bankers out there that can help facilitate a loan or advise you on a good investment. However, if you want a well-respected and reputable banker (Financial Consultant) then more times then not you would be looking to deal with someone who yet again has had extensive training and/or education; otherwise, their advisements may end up costing you your life or business savings, just ask all those who trusted Bernie Madoff or ENRON with their money.
All too often, even after asking yourself or evaluating a business or professionals credentials or answering the aforementioned questions many people and/or organizations will still move forward with a purchase or outsourcing decision without understanding the real danger that these decisions may pose over the long-term. Much too often these decisions maybe influenced by price, friends, and/or other companies that have done business with these people or organizations in the past. However, rest assured that in this new age of digital communication, well respected businesses and people are here to help advise you on almost any personal or business purchase decision.
For instance, here at Seven Times Seven, we advise people, organizations, and communities on some of the difficult decisions facing you and/or your business in regards to workers compensation, payroll, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), wireless devices, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies, website development, and social media. Since we believe in helping our clients make sound buying decisions, we thought we would provide a few insights to our readers and followers, as to what you should be asking yourself before making any purchase decision in these respected segments.
Workers Compensation, Payroll, and Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs)
- Is the carrier regional, national, or worldwide?
- Is the device(s) locked or unlocked? Can the device be unlocked if currently locked?
- Is the device compatible with your other personal or business devices (i.e. computer, tablet, landline, etc?)
- Will you be locked into a long-term agreement and if so what are the terms if you cannot honor the agreement?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Is the CRM solution (HOSTED) external to the company such as SalesForce, NetSuite, or Oracle, etc?
- Is the CRM solution (ON-PREMISE) and runs at your home or place of business such as SugarCRM, Microsoft, Seibel, ACT, etc?
- Is the CRM solution (HYBRID), which is a combination of hosted and on-premise solutions?
- How will the CRM company or you protect your confidential data?
- What are the back-up systems used and where are they located in case of an emergency?
- Does or will the CRM solution you choose provide customer support?
Website Development and Social Media
- Is the company and/or person reputable and how long have they been in the business?
- How compatible is the platform you will be developing with other developmental mediums?
- What are the true costs associated with maintenance, upgrades, new designs, etc?
- Are the mediums that you want geared towards your personal or business goals and/or target markets?
- How do you get questions answered (i.e. are there charges for tech support and if so are they hourly, weekly, or monthly fees?)
- Will the chosen mediums increase your Google search rankings and if so how will this be measured?
As with any service offering there are a lot of questions that go into deciding what service you may ultimately decide on but if not asked prior more times than not you may find yourself using people, systems, or companies that are not part of your long-term goals. Albeit, many time we as consumers make purchasing decisions based on emotion, if you take the emotions out and ask yourself a few simple questions, in the long-run you will be glad you did even if it turned out to be the wrong decision. The thing to remember is consider a person or businesses experience, credentials, education, and take the extra time needed to look under the hood before making any irrational purchase decision, as we are sure you will be glad that you did. Obviously, the questions stated are only a start, so if we can help you or your company come up with answers that you may have in regards to one of our consulting segments please do not hesitate to reach out or contact us via Phone, Email, Social Media, or connect with David Dandaneaudirectly. After all and as our motto goes, we help you manage your life and business, so you don’t have to manage your processes!
David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.