One of my favorite authors is Jim Collins. One of his many iconic business books is “Built to Last. “
In it, he and his team investigate what causes some companies to be a flash in the pan while others last more than 50 years and span multiple generations of leadership. Among other traits, he learned that nearly all great companies have one thing in common. They embrace technology and are early adopters.
It is part of their culture that if they can be among the first to leverage an investment in technology, it gives them a competitive advantage. It doesn’t come without pain of course, some investments prove to be a bust and are huge mistakes.
However, if the same pattern of early adoption is continually followed, over time these companies are in a much better position to capitalize on opportunities. The examples Collins used were from companies that are staples in our economy and names we know well. 3M, Otis Elevator, American Express and General Electric are some.
It’s not easy to stay ahead of the pack. Just when things are going well and you start to reap the rewards of your labor, it’s time to reinvest again. The path to success is not a linear growth curve, but one that is filled with setbacks and hurdles.
Imagine making a $30 million investment in technology. That’s just what Dr. Scot Ackerman did when he commissioned construction to begin on his new Proton Therapy Center. Along the way came interruptions, technical issues and sometimes strained relationships, but in the end, they are open for business and seeing patients.
Partly because of the eye-watering price tag, usually only large hospital systems have such equipment, but due to Dr. Ackerman’s persistence, vision and financial risk taking, he was able to make it happen for his private practice.
In the pages ahead, Dr. Ackerman shares the reasons for the decision and how you go about financing such an undertaking. Sufficed to say it, refinancing, negotiation and leveraging no less than four different banks is what it took to get going. What would he have done differently? Turn the page to find out his advice to others.
Embracing technology can certainly be expensive, but compared with the option of fading into obsolescence; the decision might just be easy to make.