2014 – Lessons Learned – knowing when you’re beaten!

If there’s one thing you learn in business, and get better at as you get older, it’s recognising failure and abandoning your mistakes (albeit as humanely as possible). Certainly in my business we’ve made our fair share of mistakes since 1992, when LLP got started, but we go on growing and generally we succeed more often than not, so we’re also getting things right. (I can’t imagine the anguish of failing everywhere in a business.)

2014 began with the abandonment of one of our biggest mistakes – LLP Dynamics – after ten years (too many years) of failure. In December 2013 we sold our Microsoft Dynamics division to Xapt, our competitor in Hungary. We’d been losing money pretty consistently since we started the division, and had been persuaded time and time again that there was just one more problem to solve to make it profitable.

At first we were learning the product, so of course we shouldn’t expect profitability, then we weren’t big enough, then it was Microsoft’s mistake, because the software didn’t do what it said it would, then the recession came, then we were just unlucky. There was always a reason to hang on, always sunshine just around the corner. But the losses kept accumulating until they reached more than 2 million EUR over ten years. the situation was so awful that we kept our eyes averted if possible.

Well, all that’s over, and 2014 was the year when there was no longer anything to be ashamed of in business terms. Our three remaining divisions grew profitably, and our management team could concentrate on what they do well.

I daresay our competitor, Xapt, will do much better with the Dynamics business than we ever did. I hope so. Perhaps they will be big enough, or just luckier!

Lesson learned – don’t fool yourself into thinking that a business that isn’t sound will just get better when you really don’t know what you should do. Averting your eyes, with fingers crossed rarely works.

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