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To get the book “Lessons Learned – 35+ years” go to Amazon and search for Ingvar Grimsmo.

Recognizing Opportunities

At a Chamber of Commerce meeting in the small town we lived in at the time, we mingled, and a guy asked me what I did. Note, when you are asked that – think fast. I am not sure how I knew what to say, intuition, I guess. I said: “I help companies solve data processing problems using custom software” or something like that. Then he said: “what industries do you work in?” Here I winged it – I had recently installed a program in a machine shop – I said, “manufacturing”. Turns out he was the owner of a manufacturing plant in town. I got invited in and went to work. As of 2022 I am still working with this client after they merged with a much larger company.

This was a case where the opportunity was to help solve a problem they had. This is important, especially if you are a personal service provider. I immediately saw the problem they had. And I knew I could solve it with custom software. More on this later.

Lesson learned: if an opportunity presents itself as someone’s problem you can solve – jump on it.


Solving Problems

This has been one of my best developed skills. I have always had the knack for recognizing problems that needed fixing. And it is very important to understand the significance of recognizing a client’s problem.

In my early days of programming, I did everything myself. Back to the manufacturing programming project 22 years ago – I asked the client to show me around the factory. Because I am so keen to learn all that I can about things I find interesting, I went all out and kept the guy busy for hours showing me around and answering my inquiries. I went back on my own and had staff show me in detail what they did. This was well before we even talked about what needed done. Of course, he was just as passionate about the factory he started so this went well.

This concept can be used in ANY personal service business in my opinion.

Say you are a landscaper, instead of asking what needs done, take the tour, see what is there and proceed from there. You will be better armed to solve problems the client might not even know they have!

When we finally sat down, I knew a lot about his operation. I had already detected a problem with keeping a record of how long a part takes to make. So, when we talked, I confidently stated I can create a software solution to solve this problem. This software has been updated many times and now processes over a million records a month. They have all the stats they need to make decisions.

Lesson learned: Don’t assume the client knows what he wants. Get to know your client’s situation so you understand the problems you can solve.


Financial and Accounting Management.

This will be the toughest to write about because I have not done a good job. It is my hope you will take a few of these issues to heart and not do as I have done. I am not going to dwell on it too much.

Being independent and having control of all your own affairs is great. If you have some system and control. From the very beginning I spent 99.9% of my time getting and doing projects. And having a great time doing it. It was, and is, what I do. Sure, I invoiced the client and kept basic records for taxes. What I didn’t do was to plan and manage income/profit and expenses. I have run for over 30 years from the seat of my pants. Which now, is catching up to me.

Lessons learned: Absolutely save for the future. You will need it. Trust me on this.

To get the book “Lessons Learned” go to Amazon and search for Ingvar Grimsmo.