About 4 years ago, we were looking into starting a new business, online. As an accomplished businessman we started thinking about what we were going to need to be successful. A website was the obvious starting point. It had to be easy enough to add and change content - because websites live or die on the basis of fresh, useful content.
Next - we needed a way to manage leads and customers. You need to be able to react quickly to new leads and follow up on old ones. Then, marketing. Email marketing to be precise. A permission based list of people who are receptive to hear your message is priceless. And don't forget - online shopping. Selling online is the most important function we needed to do. We wanted to process orders 24 hours a day.
That's a basic list. There's more, like community forums, affiliate programs, blogs and so forth. But let's keep it simple, ok?
So, checklist in hand (we are pretty organized kinda guys) we went looking for something to do all this and we found Content Management Systems, and Customer Relationship Management systems, and Shopping carts, and Email Marketing Solutions, and Site Analytics. So we signed up to all these services and downloaded what we needed to download.
OK great, we thought, let's get started!....Or not.
We got frustrated. Because running any business is a little like racing a car. You've got to push hard, stay ahead of the pack and be smart about how you race. But our problem wasn't that we couldn't race. We were wasting our time trying to build the nice, fast car.
The other problem was we found ourselves spending a lot of time trying to keep all his separate systems in sync. And more than once we forgot one of the five or six log in details we were supposed to remember.