The #1 Question You Need To Ask Before You Buy Infusionsoft

Okay, first things first. I am an Infusionsoft consultant. But I don't sell software for a living. I sell education and advice related to business development, sales, marketing and most of the tech stuff that compels many in business to lose their minds.

In reality, I use Infusionsoft and a ton of other software solutions that make my job and my life much easier. I am grateful. Yet, as an adviser, it's essential to do what is best for a client given their goals, strategy, plan, etc. I remain agnostic on software solutions. If you use and like the software solution you have now, let's keep it and maximize the heck out of it. If and when we need to evaluate some other solution, we'll put it on the action plan at that time and attack then. More than anything else, software here serves as the metaphor for any investment you make in your business. Anything. Software is an investment.

Just so you have a bit of background, I've been a certified Infusionsoft consultant and partner since 2008. In 2007 I bought the software then decided I liked it enough to share it with a few business development coaching clients I had at the time. They seemed to like it as long as I or someone on my team ran it for them. This created a trigger for a whole new realm of service offerings for me as a teacher, coach and adviser. I thought at the time I could build a big agency around my coaching and consulting. I did so until late 2014 when I downsized my business and dramatically simplified my life. Now I refer all my clients to the people I know and trust the most in the realm of expertise. Life is good.

This article is about more than software. It's about drastically improving your odds for success in your business life. What I am sharing here is one of the most important insights I have ever had jump off my computer monitor at me. (I have to admit the title of this article reflects my desire to see how this article will rank in the search engines. I stopped writing with Infusionsoft in my keywords many moons ago and dropped my past search engine results targeting Infusionsoft customers. Yes, I am a marketer. I hope you get it. If not, let's talk. Full disclosure.)

I digress. The #1 question you need to ask before you buy Infusionsoft (no it's not my affiliate link there) is true for every other software solution you consider investing in, even if you already pulled the trigger and bought that new software package a seminar. This question is the same question you need to ask before you invest in anything. Anything.

It's hard enough to be in business. We all know the fatality numbers. Most of us reading this article know the "agony and defeat" of life in the small business world. Some of us have been run over and lived to talk about it, rebound, get back in the game. A few us break through and make it big time. (We see them on stage.) Either way, regardless of your walk as a business, marketing, or sales person, we as entrepreneurs must never rest on our laurels. No. Sure, we rely on the luck of right timing, as Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, so profoundly reveals in his research and TED Talk. We also count on being smart, tireless, able to wear ten hats and perform at superhuman levels. But we all know there's more to it than this. None of us can go it alone. It never works that way.

I won't pretend to be smart enough to tell you I came up with the answer here. I learned this again watching Bill Gross on TED. My real strengths lie in knowing what questions to ask. This is huge for the process of building a team and business. They are synonymous, like bees to the hive. No bees, no hive, no honey. Once we know what questions to ask we can focus on what counts the most for our success in business, with or without consideration for a software solution on the table.

Here are the five drivers for start up success according to Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, which he reveals during his viral TED Talk. These are weighted in terms of importance to success for start ups and I believe this is true for the longer term success of any organization. Because of what you see at #2, Team/Execution is what I put at the top of the list for our purposes here, now.

If you can't see the image clearly, #1 is Timing. Put timing aside for our purposes. Look at #2. It's Team/Execution. It's people. Put people at #1.

The bottom line is most of the mayhem I see is tied to the decisions we make about execution with software, automation, CRM, search engine, social media, data, training, and more. Execution is all about the people on the team. This is what we need to focus on more than anything else once we get past timing. Why blow timing off as number one? Because I don't see timing of being in small business as anything we can control qualitatively. Here's why.

What is the importance of timing for a marketing adviser, an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor, a carpet cleaner, the florist, or any of the near 30 million people like me who own and operate a small service business, as one, massive example? Not much. Timing is about how much time it takes me every day to build a great business so I can enjoy my freaking life. Screw timing as in, "Gee. I'm trying to knock off Google here with the next, best thing in search engine marketing. What's the timing for that like?" Duh. It sucks. I don't even ask that question most of the time. And it's completely not a relevant question to what most people like me and you have to deal with every day.

The single biggest risk for any of us is we lose our minds enough to give up or blow up because we made enough crappy decisions and investments in all the wrong things, like people. We take far too many shortcuts here. We seek unpaid consulting as we shop for the right person to solve the problem at hand. As if that's any good. We get so frustrated we take it out on software consultants, the guy who sold it to us, and our dogs. When we analyze what was missing in all the mayhem it usually amounts to a single person or small team of people. Whomever was supposed to own that action item, and had the talent and desire to get the work done on time and budget dropped the ball. They let the team down. When this happens enough we're all screwed. That's why people is #1.

Not only do we as small business sluggers not have the right people on our buses, we don't even have seats on the bus. This is because we take short cuts. We buy an empty bus - try starting with a blank slate in that new software application. Yeah, it sucks which is why I have an advisory business that's been booming for a decade. We're simply not brave or smart enough to know we absolutely have to invest in outsourced and direct hire talent in order to make it through any stage of business successfully. There are no exceptions. It's people who execute. There aren't enough great people in EVERY business. There is a veritable war for talent taking place in my business. (Ever hire a website guy or programmer that drove you nuts?)

Therefore, here's the single most important question we must all ask before we make any decision in business, especially with software applications that propose to double our sales outcomes ...

Ask every time, "Who owns this?"

What this means is who, if not you, is going to fully own and be accountable to someone or something bigger than yourself for the investment you are about to make in anything for your business. Software. New building. Bad ass new truck. Shiny new conference room furniture. $50,000 trade show. Condo at Manhattan Beach. The ROI in any one of these investments and your ability to execute successfully boils down to the person or people who collectively own the outcome of that investment. It's that simple. It's people who execute. All people work in some semblance of a team. Or they live a van down by the river.

This is critical because in the more than 60,000 hours I've worked in sales and marketing (30 years x 2,000 hours per year) I've seen people be the biggest variable for success or failure. With all the hype around software solutions, social media, automation, web 5.0 or whatever, we're missing the bigger, crucial question. If we know intuitively that people (Team) are the single biggest driver for success (Execution) in business, how come we forget this all the time? How come so many of us focus on that new software that will turn everything around? Except we took short cuts, forgot to get the right people involved and then were pissed that it didn't work out. (You don't want to be the next guy this person calls. Trust me!)

We forget how crucial people are when we focus on anything other than the people involved in any process. That's why Marcus Lemonis, the business guru and sage with a killer TV show (T-shirts too!), pounds us with, "People, product, process." He synthesizes business success into these tidy, three categories, each massive in its own right when it comes to making it in the business world. Again, it's a jungle of abundance out there. But he puts people first for a reason.

What's your take on my point here?

Are you asking the right question when it comes to investing in anything for your business?

I always appreciate your comments, questions and suggestions here on the Conversion Marketing Experts blog.

To your success and happiness.

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