The Courage to Ask "Can we do better?"
Newsflash: I am past the age that anyone would ever mistake me for 29. I am reminded quite regularly of that reality whenever I attempt an aerobics class or try to wear skinny jeans. But no time is the fact more in my face than when I contemplate how business has changed during my decades (yes, plural) in the workforce.
Sometimes it makes me cranky. Because after twenty-five years of creating brochures, ads, and flyers, I’d like to just sit back, phone it in, and do what is comfortable. Instead, these enormous, constantly morphing giants called Websites, Social Media, Internet Advertising, and SEO Analytics plopped themselves at the top of my already overflowing To Do list. And they won’t go away. I have been on a very steep learning curve, and it’s one that shape shifts faster than a superhero. Just when I think I have the rules down, google changes them. It requires a lot of time. (Hence the grumpiness.) But I have seen the value. After years of just going with the gut on what will or won’t work in advertising, we can track. And track. And Track. As we have consistently evaluated the performance of our advertising, our website, and our internet presence, we have been able to identify what is and isn’t working, and how to improve. The results have been exciting and very rewarding.
So I empathize with the fact that Change is Hard. It is difficult to step out of that well-worn track we are running in, especially when we already feel busy and overwhelmed. Change is risky. Change requires courage, leadership, and vision. But, as George Bernard Shaw said, "Progress is impossible without change."
And that is something I have learned from you – QFloors customers. As I rub shoulders and interact with you, I am consistently inspired by your powerful examples.
I have noticed that the most successful businesses typically are led by individuals who are not afraid of change. They aren’t too tired, too afraid, or too stubborn to look around and ask, "Can we do this better?"
WFCA CEO Scott Humphrey, a giant in the industry, often talks about the courage to embrace change. In a recent article in Premier Flooring Retailer, Scott says, "Last year, our staff spent over 500 days on the road interacting with current and potential members and industry leaders. Through this interaction, one thing has become apparent, the more willing a retailer is to change, the more likely they are to succeed." My observations have also aligned with this.
Purchasing and utilizing QFloors is a great example. It takes some risk – an investment of time and money. Sometimes employees kick hard against that change. It isn’t comfortable at first. It’s not how they are used to doing things.
I remember talking with Denny Taylor years ago, an early QFloors customer who later was part of our sales team. He and his wife Ingerlise are still our dear friends. Denny was explaining to me that he had never used a computer, never even controlled a mouse, before jumping into QFloors. I asked him if it was hard. He said, "No. We just decided that was the way to go, and made it happen." I asked him about his employees’ resistance to the change. He looked at me like I was an idiot, and said, "I just told them, this is what we’re doing, and then expected them to follow. It’s called leadership." I’ve never forgotten that conversation because while Denny acted like it was a no brainer, we all know that leading others to new paths, even if those paths lead to higher ground, requires grit and persistence.
QFloors customer Waylon Reeves is another example. From the time he started on QFloors, he has grown his business from $600,000 in gross sales to $7 million while maintaining one store location. While there are many factors that contributed to this impressive success story, he says "QFloors and our commitment to using it to its fullest capabilities are the number one reason for this growth."
The interesting thing is that Waylon is always very quick to stress it isn’t the purchase of the software that made the difference… it was using it. He says, "Purchasing…software is not going to automatically do the trick for any store. You have to buy in wholeheartedly and make a commitment to the software and use it within your business structure. Use the software’s capabilities to the fullest extent. Don’t just buy QFloors; use QFloors."
Mike Reynolds is another QFloors customer who has experienced great growth in his business. His employees and family accuse him of being "addicted" to QFloors. Mike credits his success to the importance of never giving up. He likens QFloors to a valuable employee, and says "’Hiring’ QFloors was the best ‘employee’ decision I have ever made." He emphasized that it is essential to invest in cool people, and laughs that – who knew - "there are some pretty cool people in Utah!"
Part of being a technology company is that change is always part of the deal, or else you blink and you’re a dinosaur. Nothing is ever looked on and given a "complete" stamp. New features and new tools are continually being added. The new QPro cloud software will bring even more changes.
QPro was a courageous decision by Chad and Trent. Our software is great; things work like a well-oiled machine. We could have easily just added some front end changes to sort of give it an updated, fresh look, and call it good. That would have been quicker, easier, and required much less of an investment on our part. Instead, Chad looked closely at the giants in technology – Microsoft, Apple, Google, Adobe, etc. He saw the trends going to cloud based everything. And not just connecting via the traditional route of a terminal emulation program (a technical term for the way QCloud and almost every other cloud product currently works), but truly being browser based. Which is different. Completely different. As in, "hey, let’s rewrite 1.5 million lines of code! Won’t that be fun!!??"
We’ve been talking about QPro for a year because that’s how long it takes to rewrite software from the ground up. Tony Fabrizio, the Director of Software Development at QFloors, is heading it up, but he has four additional programmers on his team. It’s a huge investment of resources and time, but we genuinely believe this is the way of the future. It will bring a lot of benefits to our dealers – greater flexibility, customization, and a significant cost savings in IT expenses, to name a few.
From what we see, no one else in the flooring industry currently offers this type of cloud technology. QFloors is blazing the trail.
We start with the soon-to-be-released QPro POS+ software, but will be continually building on to that to create QPro Essentials, Premium, and Enterprise versions. This process will take several years.
Before some of you panic and say "But I only just got everyone trained!" and run for the paper bags to breathe into, please don’t worry. You won’t be forced to switch to QPro. It’s just we think this is a change that will be really beneficial to you. And the software will work in basically the same way as our current QFloors.
At QFloors’ upcoming Users Conference, which will be held Sept 13-16 in Park City Utah (alert: look for an email with details), attendees can not only see demos of the new software but will also be given login codes so they can go in, play around, see how things work, and give feedback and suggestions. It is an ideal chance to be a part of creating something truly great.
We’d love to have you be a part of this journey of change with us. I can’t wait to see where it leads us all.