I’ve been running businesses for twenty-three years, all of them in the areas of business software development, software reselling, software implementation and support.
If you’re building a business, and assuming you’re ambitious and want your company to grow, you always have to ask yourself where is the bottleneck, or what is holding back growth?
Candidates might be:
- Cash to invest (sometimes you need to buy assets, goods, staff and services, even acquire companies, in order to grow)
- Market demand (sometimes there just isn’t enough demand for what you’ve got to sell)
- The law (sometimes you can’t sell without breaking the law – such as by bribing decision makers)
- Management time (you just don’t have the bandwidth to do everything that needs to be done, and there’s no one who can do it for you)
- Shortages of marketing and sales staff (in the early days in Central and Eastern Europe it was hard to find people who understood these disciplines)
- Poor communications (sometimes, literally, bandwidth limits your ability to talk to potential customers, or poor roads, rail links or air links)
- The bureaucracy of the state (think, here, of Russia)
- Shortages of consultants and developers
In our case, since we’re not asset-intensive businesses, cash was never a problem, and acquisition was never very attractive because the risk of losing what you’re buying (people and customers rather than assets) is too high. Management time, market demand, never limited us. Communications are good enough, and in most of Central and Eastern Europe the state doesn’t really impede business. Our insistence on legal correctness prevented us from entering the public sector, but the private sector has been large enough. Sales and marketing staff can now be found.
So what limits us?
Well, we never had problems in finding consultants and developers UNTIL NOW. The universities in our parts of the world churn out thousands of excellent programmers and consultants, multilingual and eager to travel. We would train them, and they would quickly grow in consulting stature.
BUT NOW the growth of one of our most promising divisions – LLP CRM – which implements mainly Microsoft CRM in the Czech Republic, and is one of the jewels in our company crown, can’t take advantage of all the commercial opportunities that exist, simply because we can’t find the staff.
This is an unfamiliar problem, and we don’t know what to do. Recruitment companies, word of mouth, ads on our websites, they just don’t seem to be enough.
So, if anyone can help us, let us know.
We need CRM consultants!!