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10 years of TRADITION SOFTWARE

According to BLOOMBERG, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. On April 1st of this year, TRADITION SOFTWARE, INC. celebrated a critical business milestone with its 10th year anniversary.

Eric T. Wagner of FORBES MAGAZINE wrote in 2013 five (5) reasons that businesses fail. Here are my thoughts as to why TRADITION SOFTWARE and its great team of employees bucked the trend and succeeded for ten (10) years.

Reason #1: Not really in touch with customers through deep dialogue.

Within the first thirty (30) days of purchasing SIERRA PHOENIX, I traveled to Phoenix, AZ (no joke) to meet with customers. Subsequent customer trips occured in the Midwest, Texas, Florida, and much of both Southern and Northern California. I heard loud and clear the previous owner provided poor technical support, a buggy software product, and notices that rarely were legal. With the help of several current and past employees, huge strides were taken at a great expense to greatly improve all three of these areas.

Reason #2: No real differentiation in the market (read: lack of unique value propositions)

PreLien2Lien’s main competitor is Lien Writer, formerly of PASE SOFTWARE and now owned by GOLDENOMEGA.NET. Since Lien Writer and PreLien2Lien were part of the same company in late 90’s, their GUI (Graphical User Interface) looked remarkably similar. Miriam Liskin, Software Development Manager and I went about clearing a lot of clutter off the main data entry screen. We made the print menu state specific by document titles. We religiously made sure technical support at our 800 number was available first thing at 8AM PST when we opened, and was available until 4PM. I personally re-wrote sixteen hundred (1600) legal notices in the software. And we licensed German software technology that made it easy for notice customization. Finally, we decided the total cost of ownership for PreLien2Lien should be at least 50 percent less than our competitors.

Reason #3: Failure to communicate value propositions in clear, concise and compelling fashion.

The first day TRADITION SOFTWARE, INC., a California S-corporation was open for business was April 1, 2005 (no joke again). I wanted our verbal communication, website messages, and marketing collateral to communicate three (3) things:

1) PreLien2Lien is easy to use.
2) PreLien2Lien is legally compiant.
3) PreLien2Lien is reliable, with overall uptime across all customers at 99.99%.

Since we continue to acquire new customers nationally while keeping each year an overwhelming majority of our customers, we feel we have succeeded with our unique value propositions.

Reason #4: Leadership breakdown at the top (yes — founder dysfunction).

TRADITION SOFTWARE has been led by myself since our inception. The technical backbone of the company is headed up by a nine (9) year employee, Miriam Liskin. Together we have made several good hires. We priced our products and services correctly from the start, with only one (1) price increase in 10 years. The company has never been taken to court, never bounced a paycheck and navigated through both the difficult housing downturn in 2007 and my personal divorce in 2013.

Reason #5: Inability to nail a profitable business model with proven revenue streams.

Within two months of purchasing PreLien2Lien, we added a time-bomb lease feature to the software, requring an Annual Subscription to be current. This represents 60% of the company’s annual revenue, with new software sales representing 20% of the of the company revenue. In 2009, our TRADITION LIEN SERVICE division was started. Five years later three hundred and thirty (330) companies are under contract. This represents the remaining 20% of the revenue.

Along the way, not every decision has been perfect or easy. TRADITIONINK.COM was launched in 2005 as a national ink and toner online retailer division. Consolidation in buying behavior with behemoths like AMAZON.COM have severely impacted that business unit. Marketing initiative with trade show participation at NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association), World Of Concrete and CFMA (Construction Financial Management Association) and youth sports sponsorships produced poor marketing returns. And the software world is moving towards “Software as a Service” (SaaS). I shudder to think what my day will be like when a website for PreLien2Lien goes down on a business day.

As we go forward, our commitment to improving our easy to use software solution that is legally compliant and reliable will continue. As Andy Dufresne says in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION “….hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” That quote, along with one I gave to my Batavia High School (Batavia, IL) 1982 graduating class as Farewell Address Speaker on June 3, 1982 “… “then give to the world the best that you have, and the best will come back to you” sums up my focus going forward. Hope, and giving my best will enable TRADITION SOFTWARE as a market leader to keep helping its highly valued customers with products, services and solutions for construction lien management.

New HQ for TRADITION SOFTWARE

TRADITION SOFTWARE has moved it’s HQ to a larger location in nearby Rocklin, CA in order to accomodate anticipated future growth.

Our former space in Roseville was an excellent home for four years. But we felt that with the growth of our TRADITION NOTICE SERVICES division, we needed a new location that would give us the flexibility to allow those employees to work together as a self contained team. The PreLien2Lien and TraditionInk.com sales and support employees will continue to work within the HQ office.

Additionally, we wanted to be a leader here in Placer County for upstart new companies, so we have formed the SIERRA TECHNOLOGY INCUBATOR. All divisions under TRADITION SOFTWARE will be members of the newly formed SIERRA TECHNOLOGY INCUBATOR. Prospective entrepreneurs will have free access onsite to the conference room and startup experience that I have accumulated over my twenty five (25) year career, mostly with startups.

Six Year Anniversary For TRADITION SOFTWARE

TRADITION SOFTWARE celebrates its six year anniversary today, April 1st. With the complete overhaul of PreLien2Lien finished along with two new divisions being successfully launched – TraditionInk.com and Tradition Notice Services, much has been accomplished since 2005 by a relatively small group of people.

Our first employees – Valerie Bekefy, Mark Barber, Justin Hussey and Mike Emmons, took giant strides in transitioning the PreLien2Lien customer base from its former owner, SIERRA PHOENIX, to TRADITION SOFTWARE. We moved our Headquarters twice in the first nine (9) months. TraditionInk.com was formed just four (4) months after we incorporated.

A very key addition occurred in 2006 when Miriam Liskin was hired as Software Development Manager. A HARVARD UNIVERSITY graduate with a Master’s Degree from the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, she is the author of fifteen (15) books on database programming, along with being a part-time professor, computer magazine contributor and consultant. Miriam’s programming experience has produced major user enhancements for PreLien2Lien, including editable notice templates, Dymo label printing, Tradition forms and online integration with www.MyLienCenter.com.

Current customer support comes from seven hundred (700) plus companies relying on either PreLien2Lien’s lien software solution or TRADITION NOTICE SERVICES’ lien document preparation service. Additionally, our TraditionInk.com division has an online storefront with over fifteen hundred (1,500) ink, toner and postage products available for sale.

Customer Service Managers Alex Canada (TRADITION SOFTWARE), Michael Walker (TRADITION NOTICE SERVICES) Michael Walsh (TraditionInk.com) along with Software Development Manager Miriam Liskin do great work for all our customers on a daily basis. Very few organizations our size have a team that can match their respective educational, personal and professional accomplishments.

Going forward, new challenges remain that we will address with passion. A new online version of PreLien2Lien is being planned. TRADITION NOTICE SERVICES will be launching an automobile lien recording division, www.USAutoLiens.com. A new website, www.USConstructionLawyers.com, will be created as an online directory for attorneys who specialize in construction law.

As for myself, I still create some personal time to coach boys and girls teams in a local youth basketball league. When I can turn the laptop off and the smartphone to vibrate, I enjoy time on the golf course, jogging and camping in the nearby Sierras.

Like most entrepreneuers, TRADITION SOFTWARE is my life. I come to work to every day to make our products and services better. We will continue to aggressively go after new business and our competitors because we offer customers better solutions at a lower cost with superior service. There is no other country in the world that offers the business environment we enjoy for business success.

Experience the Tradition.

DYMO label printing a new feature for PreLien2Lien

Over the Thanksgiving holiday break I got on my computer more than I would have liked to. I tasked Miriam Liskin, Software Development Manager for TRADITION SOFTWARE, the project of adding the capability of PreLien2Lien to print to DYMO desktop label printers. I drafted a goal of January 2009 for this new feature to be both developed and implemented successfully.

To my pleasant surprise she got done in two days a fully functioning DYMO print button on each of the legal party tabs to print a individual label. She also designed a DYMO mass print option from the LABELS drop down menu, and a DYMO print menu in the CURRENT JOBS view that prints labels for only those legal parties entered for the current PROJECT being viewed.

DYMO’s printers can be purchased from most office supply retailers for around $200. TraditionInk.com, a Division of TRADITION SOFTWARE, has the LabelWriter Twin Turbo available for online purchase for only $184.99. Easy postage and mailing label print capability is included via a USB connection to your PC.

I can’t say enough good things about Miriam and what she has meant for the development and subsequent improvement of PreLien2Lien. Smart people like her can be tough to find sometimes, but if you surround yourself with as many of them as you can find, success will often result.

KANSAS gets new notices, custom template technology (CTT)

Ten years ago I attended what might be the largest family reunion ever for my wife’s family in Wichita, KS on hot 4th of July weeked. This weekend I just finished entirely re-wrote for PreLien2Lien thirty-seven (37) new notices for the state of KANSAS.  They also have (CTT) Custom Template Technology, enabling each template notice to be customized for a one-time $50 fee. 

All contractors and suppliers must identify themselves in advance to the Owner on a new residential construction project by delivering to them a Notice Of Intent To Perform. On existing residential projects where a improvement is being made, Subcontractors must send a Warning Statement to the Owner prior to a Lien Statment being recoded.

General/Prime Contractors (Private Projects): KANSAS Statutes Annotated § 60-1102 mandate that a General/Prime Contractor on a commercial or residential project must record a Lien Statement with the Clerk of the District Court in the county where a project you provided construction related equipment, labor, materials or services is located. It must be recorded within four (4) months after the last day of supplying equipment, labor, materials, labor or services to a project.

Subcontractors (Private Projects): KANSAS Statutes Annotated § 60-1103 mandate that a Subcontractor on a commercial or residential project must record a Lien Statement with the Clerk of the District Court in the county where a project you provided construction related equipment, labor, materials or services is located. It must be recorded within three (3) months after the last day of supplying equipment, labor, materials, labor or services to a project.

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