As a small business owner, you need to be mindful of tapping into the tools and resources that will help push your business in a forward-moving direction. The right software should help you save time and money, and give you a clearer picture of your business’ strengths and weaknesses – which is essential to strategic planning.
However, there is a glut of software available on the market these days aimed solely at the small business owner, which can make it difficult to ascertain the right one for you. If you’re having trouble determining which software or app to invest in, then the following primer should help make things clearer.
First, off you should start by asking yourself if there is a distinct problem your office needs to solve. Start by identifying the problem, which will then help you narrow down the type of software you need – which should always start with a specific, goal-driven issue for your business.
If you’re not sure whether or not you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, don’t let yourself off the hook. Ask your team if they can help you identify certain issues they deal with, and dig deep to find the underlying concern rather than keeping things superficial. Also, don’t be shy about reaching out to other business owners in your field to gauge their opinion about the various challenges they face to help you better assess your situation.
Pinpoint Software Criteria
Once you have assessed the goal that you want your software to achieve, you should make a list of the criteria needed to meet this demand. Understanding what you want to get out of the software will help you get one step closer to making the right choice for the nature of your business. For example, go through a rundown of its features, the number of users one software suite allows, user-friendliness, how it will meet future needs, whether it integrates with the other software your office uses, and finally, pricing. It has to meet your budgetary demands, of course.
If you need bookkeeping software, then this is the criteria you should look into to help weed out all the unnecessary bells and whistles. You can also visit this page for a better idea of how best to keep finances in check. Since this tends to be most businesses’ concern, it pays to be hyper-vigilant about the sort of software you choose.
Another thing that will help you assess the best software to purchase is to further fine-tune the work you’ve done in point two, and prioritize the criteria list. Not everything is within your reach financially, and not every software will be able to solve all your problems. With that in mind, try to prioritize the features you need by assessing what you have to solve. Divvy up the list according to essential features, the ones that would be great to have but are not vital, and then the bells and whistles category of nice but ultimately unnecessary features.
Once you have this list, do your research for software accordingly and also reach out to developers with your criteria so that they can help point you in the right direction.
Once you have a shortlist of potential contenders detailing software vendors that can help meet your needs, contact them directly. Make sure that the customer service rep or the developer can speak to you and help you thoroughly understand the peculiarities behind the software. You can even ask for a demonstration of how they would use the software to solve one common problem you face in your office on a daily basis. This will help you to narrow down the list and you can follow-up by only contacting those who answered your questions generously and whose technical solutions impressed you.
Before buying the software, you will need to take the time to validate a few more details. For one, look into the kind of support offered by the company, be it built-in tools and resources that can readily train you and your staff on how to use it, or round the clock customer service. Also, don’t forget to ask about software updates and the frequency with which you will need to do this, and ask about whether it is licensed or not.
Finally, if all the answers feel reassuring, then you can go ahead and purchase the software. Just make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck – it is normal to negotiate, by the way – and look into training possibilities. You will soon be on your way to providing your business with an excellent problem-solving tool.
If you’re unsure about which software to choose for your business, reach out to Ecodelogic today. Our software developers can help you determine what software will maximize your business’s potential.