When your business is just starting up, lightweight software solutions, such as Gmail, Google Docs or Excel can sometimes answer your business needs perfectly. But as your business starts growing, you’ll need to make the workflow more efficient, and you’ll need some useful tools to make such changes possible.
Naturally, you’ll want what is best for your business, but how will you know which software to choose?
We’ve gathered a few important factors you need to take into consideration when making your purchasing decision.
Access your business needs
If you want to make a difference with your new business software, you have to assess your workflow and business processes and identify all the pain points your team is having while working on their tasks. What you need is a tool that will be able to solve these pain points and make your business processes easier for your employees, boosting their productivity and your business efficiency at the same time.
Your choice of the software will consequently influence your customers too, so apart from your employees, this is another group whose needs you have to address – if your service requires a lot of personalization to fit the needs of your customers, the software should be able to meet this requirement too.
Only when you have taken all these issues into account, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
Do your research
When you know what you need from business software, you can start making your selection. As you will still have a wide range of choices left, you’ll need to narrow it down.
The best way to begin is by finding out which software similar companies use and check out those solutions first. If you find a tool that seems to address the needs of your company, see if you can get some valuable first-hand experience from its direct users. You can get a lot of useful information from those who’ve already experienced the switch, such as how long the implementation process lasts and whether the employees can be easily trained to use it. Such information may prove to be crucial when making your final purchasing decision.
Then, check out online recommendations and reviews, and if the app still seems beneficial, consider trying out a trial version.
Ask for support
When trying out new business software, it’s important to keep in mind that you can count on the support of its developers. Even if you are an average PC user, don’t just presume you’ll know how to find and use every option you need, as there are many features you can hardly uncover by yourself, at the first or the second glance.
Many entrepreneurs give up on a tool before they’ve even started using it, not bothering to read the instructions or to contact those who could easily provide them with answers and solutions. Still, expert support is crucial when considering a purchase, so feel free to ask about the software’s functionality, and state all your concerns about the implementation process.
Furthermore, current business software solutions are great in anticipating the needs of the clients, so use this opportunity to learn more about all the features the software offers, such as automation of certain processes, and how to best put this knowledge into practice for best performance.
During these contacts with their staff, you’ll get a peek at their customer service and support, which is important when making your buying decision.
Customization and integrations
During the trial phase, you and your team may notice that some of the functionalities should be customized in order to better meet your company’s needs. Find out whether the software allows such customizations. If they are not possible, evaluate the negative effects it can have on your workload and your processes, and whether the software still meets your goals and requirements.
If you’re using some other software, check whether there is a possibility of integration, ensuring efficient data flow from one application to another, and easier access to data for all application users. Such simplified processing will make the work of your organization much easier.
Another important factor to consider when choosing your business software is how accessible it is. According to a relevant report, 80% of the enterprise workload will move to Cloud by 2025, as more and more companies want instant access to their data, anytime and anyplace.
Find out whether the software of your choice has a cloud option, as well as if it can be accessed easily by anyone who needs to use it, or the access is limited to a certain number of users. This can make a huge difference when it comes to your business performance, so seriously think it through.
It’s important to keep data your company uses safe from any harm, so ask how to ensure data safety. You should know whether there are any backups that your company needs to make, and where those back-ups should be stored. If you’re considering a cloud solution, you’ll have less to worry about as your data will be stored on external servers, where it’s safer than on your own.
When considering the best software for your startup, try not to skimp. The price is what matters the most, but only in regard to the value, it brings.
There are several factors you need to take into this equation, so think about the software functionality – how often will it be used, in which processes and for how long. Think about how suitable it is for handling your employees’ tasks, and how much time and energy wasted on menial tasks will it save. Will your employees be more satisfied with their work and more productive? This is the true value that comes with the price tag, so acknowledge it when making your decision.
And once you’ve settled with a solution you’re satisfied with, don’t forget to share your story. Other startup owners will appreciate it, and the company that provided you with a perfect match will keep on doing the good work.