Who could have imagined a year-and-a-half like we’ve just had? For many of us in the CEDIA channel, the dramatic drop of market activity during spring of 2020 was as unanticipated as the dramatic uptick in business about three months later. For many, this upward jolt in business resurgence became a very real-time test of how well integration companies were prepared for sudden growth.
Within weeks of the rebound in business, growth in new business was outpacing previous pre-pandemic business levels for many integrators who became backlogged with home networking, home theater, videoconferencing/WFH, outdoor AV projects and much more.
This became a way of testing how well existing systems, personnel and supply chains could handle rapid growth with many adjustments needed. Some principals reported that they were losing track of some orders, project planning details and client payments.
Being based in the Washington, D.C., area, in my third year with software provider MaxaWare and recently also with an Internet-based organization called BoB Earth, have brought with it new insights regarding the gaps we have within our market. Also, whether it’s being noticed or not, this pandemic period has provided many integration companies with new opportunities, including:
- Assessing company processes and people, improving profits and efficiencies with better systems
- Maybe for the first time, creating plans for better company valuations and future exit plans.
The logistics and the complexity of CEDIA organizations and projects has complicated growth and profitability plans. Some, fortunately, are discovering running a better business translates into a better brand, with better sales, profits, efficiencies, and happier clients.
Plus, there’s been a decade-long whiplash of growth in product categories – such as lighting fixtures, wellness technology, intelligent energy monitoring, resimericial areas, water monitoring and more – that’s led to multiple disconnected software applications and processes.
My experiences in working with MaxaWare have afforded us to see principals and key integration company personnel restore their original dream; by revitalizing, energizing, and refreshing their systems. Moving operational systems from disconnected and separate processes and software into one fluid process is yielding new profits and sales. However, that’s just one side of the coin.
‘Find Your Formula’ for Improving Business Efficiencies at CEDIA Expo
While a new operations platform by itself is significant, ramping up our business education is critical for knowing which steps to take next. Through the CEDIA Leadership Series, I discovered and then completed a six-month Business DNA course, which merges the benefits of operational efficiencies together with the key signpost of having a stated purpose and well-stated Brand.
Through an Internet-based organization called BoB Earth, they provide not only assessment tools for your company, but they will also show how your Brand needs to be expressed as a complete business revenue model. They have demonstrated that growth, without restructuring people, knowledge and systems can literally “break” an organization experiencing too much growth all at once. In fact, many of you have tasted this when the business last year started coming back like a rocket after the initial slow down.
Whether it’s MaxaWare or a competitive platform, combining your systems into a single platform will provide previously unimagined growth and new profitability. And, fortunately, for this soon-to-arrive CEDIA Expo, new CEDIA members will have an opportunity to obtain a token within their new membership packet for BoB Earth’s online Find Your Formula assessment tool.
Bottom line, it’s time to finish the job. Building better systems is what our industry does for customers. Building better and more profitable businesses is what we do for ourselves. Enjoying more of what we’re doing now, becoming more profitable while we’re doing it, and maximizing the value of our company when it’s time to exit is what everyone of us expects and values.
We’ve built an industry. Let’s make sure the dream and the industry we started provides the return we all hoped for.
Andrew Ard is the chief marketing officer at Maxaware LLC. If you have any questions about any of this or want to jump into the conversation, feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org