Start Here October '20

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87 nose problems and seek out sources of improvement. Getting the most out of a business management software platform also means being prepared to update with any future changes. As discussed earlier, the cloud-based model that many companies are moving to means that updates can be applied relatively quickly and easily, and parties recommend shops stay on top of those updates to avoid bottlenecks. Hunt also recommends decorators plan on investing in their long-term soft- ware like they would a piece of physical equipment. "Monthly operating budgets should consider any necessary software investments," he says. This means bud- geting for recurring costs, whether that's an annual fee, monthly subscription, or a license fee. FORWARD THE FUTURE As shops implement new systems and find ways to tweak it to their business model and goals, Ackerman cautions decorators not to look at their setup as concrete. "One thing to understand is (that) there isn't a one size fits all solu- tion for shop management software," he adds. "Each solution will have quirks as every shop runs a bit different." Additionally, making sure the entire shop is onboard for ongoing imple- mentations helps ensure that the busi- ness continues to grow and refine its processes. "To survive, your business will have to continue to push forward," says Ackerman, adding that anyone who pushes back on that goal may not be a fit for long-term staff. And before diving in on a new pur- chase, McCauley advises that decorators take a hard look at general operations flow if the shop is already dealing with procedural problems in any department. "Software does not make you are bet- ter company, people do," he stresses. "If you want to invest in management software, you have to train the staff and create processes and procedures to run the software." With the right fit, shops can use busi- ness management software as another tool to refine their production tech- niques and customer service model. In the best-case scenario, that software can also become a part of a solid foundation for a shop with a hard-working team that's fully connected, in sync, and ready to tackle the next job that comes through the door. S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0

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