The continuation of Brian’s post from last week.
Bonus is a task entry in several of your projects, but the heavy lifting in bonus is done with the software vendor. It is a technology project. Technology is as big, or even bigger than product development but in my experience it is more manageable. If you make good decisions and make them early (like: picking good providers, having technical people and marketing people available, and staying on top of your projects), 90 days will work for you. You will also need to have operational staff available at day 75 or 80. People like your call center and bonus staff.
Technology decisions are life or death decisions. If you want a successful launch—and a long and prosperous business for that matter—the decisions you make concerning technology are as important as any other decision you will make.
Know what you are getting into with your providers! In addition to the technical and product offering questions, ask questions about experience, history, clients, philosophy and industry involvement. Ask about what you will control and what you will need them to help with. Make sure you know their capability to support you through hyper growth and international expansion.
As important as knowing what they can do for you is making sure you know what they cannot do for you. How deep is their support team? For example if you have a question about a VAT tax in a country, do they have a taxation person or group that has the experience with not only technical obstacles but also the tax issue itself? I have experienced legally questionable functionality in software just because the vendor didn't understand the issue. That being said, it is ultimately your responsibility to get with a lawyer and make sure you are operating legally; it helps if you know the software vendor has the expertise.
I guess I would say the projects that give me the most sleepless nights are the ones that require outsiders to perform. Marketing, of course, is full of them—especially printed or manufactured pieces. Of course everything depends on your team, but just like product development, marketing has lots of potential "Oh Shi.....zzling chicken fajita platter" moments.
If I had a dime for every time we had to go ahead and use a brochure that had a typo because we couldn't get it reprinted before.... whatever. If I had a nickel for every time we had to scrap something and make excuses. The fault for missed deadlines doesn't always fall on the vendor side of the table. They depend on us to keep our commitments and deadline and to give them the time they need to do the job right. That being said, sometimes it is their fault and you need a backup plan.
God forbid they misplace the bald spot and the comb-over on the CFO's bobble head doll! Which brings me back to the store in the overflow, and the visions of sugarplums…;
You turned off the vision tube and went to sleep. You wake up on day 0 of the 90 day count down, go downstairs to an average breakfast buffet and head to the event center. It is just as you envisioned it, and in fact the fire marshal is there! It is because he wants to be one of your founding distributors, not as the fire marshal, however! You climb up on stage and you see your family beaming with pride on the front row and you look out over a room full of the coolest people you've ever met and realize these are the people you are going to spend the next 20 years growing with. You find yourself asking the question you asked 90 days ago... "What did I ever do to deserve this?"