Do you push the button? Are you ready for growing pains?

by | Business Strategy, Infusionsoft

Do you push the button? Are you ready for growing pains?

by | Mar 14, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about success in Infusionsoft lately. Yesterday I was interviewed about successful adoption for the email success summit, and today I’ve had an email from a potential customer sitting on the fence about pushing the button on Infusionsoft. What makes Infusionsoft adoption successful seems to be in the breeze.

To me, there are two big reasons to adopt a platform like Infusionsoft (and a 3rd sexy one). But these don’t mean you should.

  1. Infusionsoft lets you systemise processes otherwise handled by humans, which means you can run the same volume of business with a reduced headcount, or a higher volume of business with the same headcount.  That improves your margins and makes you more profitable.
  2. Infusionsoft lets you take the ‘mindless’ admin load off your staff creating a more enjoyable place to work, gives customers the impression that you’re ‘on top of things’ which goes miles in protecting you from bad customers and capitalising on the good ones, and gives you (the business owner) a much clearer picture of the health and future of your business, which improves your ability to sleep at night.
  3. (This is the sexy one) Infusionsoft lets you pursue business models that up until a few years ago were impossible without massive funding. For example, creating online training portals and education programs.

Often I’m asked about “Is Infusionsoft right for me” in the context of business size, headcount, turnover, business model.

But the bigger question is ‘are you ready for Infusionsoft?’.  The reason is that the real question isn’t the fit – I’ve seen micro-businesses adopt it and thrive, and I’ve seen textbook candidates fail to execute, only fall flat on their proverbial.

The real questions are:

Is adopting Infusionsoft less painful than the business failing in 5 years?
Is adopting Infusionsoft less painful than you not getting ahead with your business?
Is adopting Infusionsoft less painful than you being totally hands-on about the way you manage your business?

If you’re the educator, is the pain of adopting Infusionsoft, the pain of learning Infusionsoft, iMember360, lead pages, wordpress, LESS than the pain of getting up on Saturday morning to start driving a 2 week roadshow of training events at workplaces around the countryside?

Because if adopting Infusionsoft isn’t less painful, then your chances of success are very low.  You need the pain in your business, or rather, for the desire to succeed to be greater than the pain of adoption.

I love the concept of Google Apps – and we’re on Google Apps at Benelds.  But for 15 months I drove Jake (Captain Process) nuts creating documents on Pages on my laptop, saving them to my desktop, and then attaching them to emails. It wasn’t easier, it wasn’t quicker: it was my routine. I wanted to change, but I’ve created documents on a computer and attached them to emails for over 15 years!  Google Apps makes sense, but when I needed to ‘quickly throw a quote together’, I went about it the slowest possible way.  My pain of dealing with documents wasn’t greater than the pain of adopting Google Apps.  Now I have a team around me, staff that need documents that live in other cities, and I’m offline a lot of the time travelling with work.  My team needs those documents when I can’t quickly email them.  So pain goes up, and the desire to adopt a new tool gets higher and *bang*, I’ve adopted Google Apps.

A good question is “Are you ready for the pain?”.  Like anything, adopting a new system, tool, habit, is difficult.  To be successful you need to be sure that you’re ready to make the transition. You need to be OK that processes you’ve lived with for years are going to change, and that when you’re under the sword you’re still going to stick to the ‘new’ way of doing things, instead of fall back to the ‘familiar’ way of doing things. You may have started your business writing contact details and credit card numbers on scraps of paper, but it’s 2016… are you still ok with doing that?

I’ve met hundreds of businesses that aren’t ready for the pain.  Sometimes they buy Infusionsoft because it’s what the cool kids are doing, but they’re not really ready to adopt it.  Sometimes they buy it thinking they can pay someone else to deal with the pain, and that adoption is going to be a breeze.  Years later they’re still not sure how to use it, and their staff hate it.  We’ve had a number of good prospects stay in touch, and 2 years later when they’re ready to push the button, come back to life.  I prefer that; they’re much better customers to work with.  In fact, one of the first things I’m listening for when speaking to someone new is for the cues that they’re ready for the pain, and they’re not looking for someone else to handle the pain for them, whether that’s me and my team, or someone on their staff: because neither ends up working.

For me though, I haven’t seen a time in the Australian economy where the pain is greater.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  Firstly, more and more businesses are adopting these tools.  4 years ago if you were using a CRM properly, even without automation, you were ahead of your industry.  Now that everyone’s doing it, there is a real risk that there are going to be players in your space that simply have better margins than you.  Once your competitors have better margins they have the ability to out do you on everything.  They can out-spend you on marketing, out-hire you with the best talent, and reinvest in more processes to improve margins again.  And, they’re living with the reward of successful adoption, which means they’re more likely to adopt the next tool properly.  You’re shafted.

The second reason I see is the Australian economy cooling.  We were fortunate to survive the GFC without a formal recession, but there are indicators that we might be heading for one now.  In my mind, creating systems and processes now, while we’re still in the land of milk and honey, protects us against lean times.

Call me an opportunist, but I’m looking forward to a recession, because I know that the bitsy businesses will be mopped up, and the strong businesses will be able to absorb their work. Recessions are boom times for businesses that are prepared for them, so while you’re ok maintaining your income/headcount now, if times get lean can you protect your staff?  More importantly, if times get tight will you be able to lean-in and capitalise on the opportunities that a recession creates for small business?

So, if you’re looking at Infusionsoft for the first time, or if you’re at that stage of “I can’t get the Ferrari out of the garage” and you’re wondering whether you want to invest a certified partner or attending training, the first thing you actually need to do is work out if the pain is great enough. It’s ok if it isn’t, be aware of it, and shelve Infusionsoft for a time when you’re really ready. Pretending to adopt these tools is simply a waste of everyone’s time, including your own.

Want a reality check?  You can have a chat with me, Christie Hamilton, about Infusionsoft and technology adoption in general, and whether or not you’re ready for the pain.  Book a call with me here and I’ll tell it to you straight.

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