From supporting business growth and boosting competitive edge to reducing risk by providing all the latest security features, there is a lot to be said for investing in new software. Whether you’re looking for the best invoice software for a small business, or seeking out an efficient new CRM or HR platform, you are bound to come up against an array of options. Here we offer advice on choosing the best software for your small business so that you are ready to make the right choices.
Keep an open mind
Just because you’ve always used the same software doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. If you keep an open mind when looking at your options, it could be that you find something that considerably improves efficiency and transforms productivity.
Think about the future
Things move fast in the world of technology, so be mindful when considering the best software for your small business and make sure that you are not buying into something that has already been superseded by new developments, or that is likely to become defunct in the near future.
Also think about how your needs might change as time goes on. Will the new software be able to scale up as your demands increase? What you don’t want to do is outgrow your software too soon and find yourself having to make even more investment.
It is important when looking at your options for the best software for your small business to involve everyone who will be impacted by it. The staff who will be using the likes of tracking software, invoice software, business server software and employee scheduling software will have valuable input, as they will know first-hand the challenges that are faced in the various areas of the business, that could be streamlined with the right software.
You’ll also need to involve your IT partners, because they will want to ensure the new software can be easily supported, that it will work in harmony with other technologies throughout the business, and that it will have strong cybersecurity features.
Finally, keep your customers’ needs in mind too when choosing new software for your business. How will it impact them, and will it deliver an improved experience?
Prioritise your needs
When choosing the best software for your small business, it is important to work out what is most important to you. You should make a list of what the new software will need to do, marking each feature up as a must-have and a nice-to-have.
Your aim is to choose software that fits with the way you run your business and that will improve operational efficiency and make things easier for staff and customers. What you don’t want to do is make your choice based on shiny features that may look good in theory, but may not actually provide you with any real benefits.
Do plenty of research
Start the process of exploring your options for new software well before any current licences expire, otherwise you could find yourself making snap decisions that you will later regret.
Read plenty of reviews and make sure you are clear on how the software works, and the benefits it will offer your business. Don’t limit yourself to one or two alternatives; look at a good range and compare the features of each.
Once you have your shortlist, sign up for free trials or demos. There is no substitute for trying new software for yourself. Again, involve staff in the process so that you can get feedback from the actual users.
Take professional advice
When looking at the best software for your small business, it is wise to seek the advice of an IT expert. You can of course speak to the software providers themselves, although you will need to consider that their opinions could be biased.
It’s generally best to take advice from a third party who will be impartial. If you don’t have an IT department or IT partner, you can engage an IT consultant to help you on an ad-hoc basis.
An IT consultant will have wide ranging experience and will know the pitfalls as well as the advantages of each software option, as well as being aware of future developments that you could take advantage of. They’ll also take time to get to know your business so that they understand precisely what you need and what your objectives are, so that they can make recommendations that are in your best interests.
When choosing the best software for your small business, you’ll want to make sure it has the ability to boost productivity, streamline customer relations and reduce staff frustration. It is not necessarily all about saving money, although in some cases, that may be an added benefit. It’s all about prioritising value rather than cutting costs.
Need help choosing the best software for your small business? Talk to PC Docs.
If you could use some help choosing the best software for your small business, our friendly experts here at PC Docs are on hand with all the advice and guidance you need. To discuss your needs with an experienced IT consultant, you are welcome to get in touch.