Systems vs. Software – Where, What & How

I’m going to go ahead and date myself right now by telling you that when I first joined the family painting business, there was very little software for the industry, and nothing at all for those of us who have always been Mac users. I know a fellow contractor that purchased ACT and tweaked it to the best of his ability, and there were plenty of us who made due with Microsoft Word and Excel for years until a few dynamic Excel platforms were launched specifically for painters. Fast forward to the present, and the problem seems to have almost been over-corrected. So much so that APC magazine is now hosting Virtual Tech Fests to help us all evaluate and choose what’s best for our businesses within the world of contracting.

Which brings me to the point of this post…. the difference between systems and software. For clarity, please note that while I am a systems specialist, I am not a software specialist. What I can tell you about software, however, is that it’s the WHERE in your business. Tie it back to the name – software – and it’s easy to remember. Whatever software you’re currently using or considering, it’s WHERE you store all of your information.

Systems, on the other hand are the WHAT and HOW of your business, and are critical in setting up a streamlined and successful path for growth (with minimized growing pains). Systems answer the questions of HOW you do WHAT you do, and HOW you gather information and WHAT you do with it. Of course, you need somewhere to store and easily access all of this information, but without clarity in your processes for the WHAT and HOW, the WHERE doesn’t stand as well on it’s own.

Here are some quick examples:

  • HOW do you reply to a new lead?
  • WHAT do you do with that information once you have it?
  • HOW do you prepare for a meeting with a potential client?
  • WHAT do you do with the information once you’ve discussed the scope of work?
  • HOW do you plan internally for each project?
  • HOW do you communicate with the customer throughout?

I think you get the idea, and the list goes on from that very first marketing piece that caught their attention to the successful completion of the job. Which leads me back to what started it all… the Customer Experience Circle. I’m thrilled to announce that my comprehensive course is now available, in which I’ll “walk” you around the circle and assist you in setting up systems for each “stop” along the way. You can learn more here and sign up for my launch party for a sneak peek at everything that’s included.

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