One of the most important decisions that entrepreneurs have to make is which software solution to purchase. Whether it’s financial, customer relations or product inventory software, there are literally hundreds of options to choose from. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all best solution, but rather it is up to you to find the solution that properly fits your unique business needs.
Who gets to choose?
When weighing the pros and cons of various software solutions, make sure to involve all those that will use the new software in the process. For example, as an entrepreneur you may not know much about financial modeling or marketing. Therefore, you may not know which questions to ask when analyzing financial or marketing software. While the final purchasing decision may be yours, new software has a huge impact on the daily lives of those using it, so their input is crucial.
What am I looking for?
In essence, you’re looking for technology that will make your employees and the processes they go through more efficient. The idea is to increase simplicity and revenue while decreasing the amount of resources used, whether that’s money, time, or both.
With new software solutions launching daily making big claims and plentiful promises, you want to make sure to not buy into fads or get swayed by buzzwords.
To help find the software that will work best for you and your business, here are three things to keep in mind:
1. Long-term financial returns
The first thing to consider is the financial costs and benefits over time. The way to access whether certain software makes sense financially is to look at how much you will spend in the short-term compared with how much you will make (or save) in the long term. Software can be a large financial investment, but if it will help you do business more efficiently and effectively to help you grow faster, it may be worth it.
2. Cost of change
The second aspect to analyze is the cost of change. This can mean a few things. First, does the time saved using the software outweigh the time spent integrating the software into your company? Make sure to consider how much time it will take employees to set up and work with the new program and assess whether the benefits are worth the cost accordingly.
Another consideration here is speed of adaptation. When a new version of the software comes out, how long will it take your business and employees to adapt? If your business model changes or you need to tweak the software for whatever reason, can you easily build additional apps or widgets? Will the software company build custom features for you? If one thing is certain in business, it’s change. Choosing software that is easily adaptable to change will save you from countless headaches and lost hours.
3. Quality of software features
It can be tempting as an entrepreneur to jump onto every new technology bandwagon that comes along. The truth is that not every company needs every type of software, and not every technology advancement is going to help your specific business goals. Make sure that you are investing in quality software that will help your company in the long term, not one that will be a quick fix for an immediate problem.
Some common traits that quality software solutions have in common include being cloud-based for easy accessibility, having a simple, intuitive user-interface, and being easily adaptable as discussed above. Also, always inquire about the quality of a software solution’s security features. Chances are you’ll be storing or analyzing important data in whatever software you choose, so the need for top-quality security can’t be overemphasized.
The most important thing to remember when choosing software is to not rush into a decision. Just because a competitor or a big-name brand that you respect is using certain software, doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for you and your business.
By taking the time to find the right solutions, you will better ensure longevity and positive results for your company and its employees.