Updated June 2018
So you need a new software tool or app for your business? But where do you start?
Today’s business environment is littered with applications that promise to streamline business processes or boost efficiency.
But finding the right software product that is the best fit for your business needs can be challenging.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup investment platform Angellist, lists over 3 million companies on its database. That’s a lot of choice!
You need a way to cut through the noise.
Here’s our simple 6 step guide to finding the right software for your business.
1. Identify Your Needs
It can be quite daunting when beginning your search for a new tool. Which is why we recommend to start with getting really clear on what problem(s) you are trying to solve.
Choosing a software product that directly addresses the core problem can make a real difference to your business, but select the wrong tool and it can often amplify the problem and waste time and money. Two resources that are precious for any business.
So before turning to the search engines, you need to analyse your needs. Ask (and answer) these questions:
- What are your pain points with the current process or software?
- What do you, your team, or your customers require the new application to do?
- What is your budget?
- What features are essential, important, or nice to have?
- What do you need now vs 1/2/3 years down the track?
By understanding what problems you need to solve, and aligning it to your business plan, you can focus on selecting a tool that delivers immediate and long term return on your investment.
2. Do Your Research
It’s one thing to pop a search term into Google, but this can often return millions of results.
For example, the search term “best CRM” returns 36 million results! That’s just too much information to digest.
Just because a tool may be ranking well on Google or have a large advertising budget, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for you.
To this end, software comparison sites can be really valuable.
By offering independent information, detailed analysis and a breakdown of what each application can do, these sites help users to find applications that meet their exact needs.
Some of the biggest players in the software comparison industry are:
- Capterra – A site with one of the most comprehensive lists of software solutions online, that helps B2B buyers to select the right software solution for their business.
- G2Crowd – A software review site that uses data from peer reviews and social signals to compare the best business software and services.
- GetApp – A comparison site that focuses on finding business software for Small-Medium Businesses (SMBs).
- TrustRadius – With in-depth reviews written by other business owners and curated on the site, they aim to help users make smart business software selections.
Each site has its own spin on helping consumers find the right software products. For example Capterra, a subsidiary of Gartner, provides buyer’s guides to help users make well-informed software choices.
3. Get Recommendations
With the essential features identified and a handful of options in your pocket, the next way to find the right software for you is to simply ask around.
Reach out to your network for recommendations. What are your peers in the same or similar industries using?
Business forums, such as flying solo for micro-business owners and business communities on social media platforms can be a great for having two-way discussions on your options.
This allows you to gather first hand feedback on what has worked or not worked for others. Forum members love to share their war stories as well as success stories.
Take the time to sift through recommendations from trusted sources, and compare them to the features you require. Having this information will help you find a solution that your business can use without headaches.
4. The Integration Test
One question we always ask when evaluating a new software product is, does it integrate with other applications?
While our entire ethos is built around building integrated and automated technology solutions for clients, you should pay attention to this too.
Simply adding a new application into you business can solve a problem, but it can also introduce additional administrative burden such as if you need to transfer information from one app to another.
For example, you introduce a new accounting system because you require payroll capabilities. But the new system doesn’t integrate with your payment gateway, let’s say PayPal. Now you need to manually import transactions and invoices into the new system.
So you solved your weekly payroll problem, but you reduced efficiency in your daily accounting process.
That’s where software integration tools, such as Zapier, become a must-have tool in your business toolkit.
Zapier allows more than 1,000 business applications to ‘talk’ to one another. Think of it as the glue that binds your business software together.
The zapbook is a repository of all apps that work with Zapier, along with the specific triggers and actions that each can perform.
If you want to maximise efficiency and productivity within your business, then a key question you should always ask is, does the app integrate with Zapier?
5. Take it For a Spin
So you think you have found the perfect app, but are still a little uncertain? Then take it for a test drive. Every app worth its salt, allows first time users to try before you buy.
Use the trial period to test its ease of use and to determine the amount of time and effort required for setup, configuration and training.
Most companies will also offer free 1-on-1 demo sessions to demonstrate the features and benefits that their tool delivers. Be prepared with your specific use case and you can usually guide the software representative to tailor the demo to how the product can solve your problem.
6. Let the Software Come to You
Software costs for a business can really stack up over time, especially when there is a tool to solve almost any problem. That’s where deal sites like AppSumo can be a valuable source of software products – at unbelievable prices!
AppSumo is a daily deals site that offers deals on on premium software and web services. Software vendors use it to gain visibility and engagement, and to quickly grow or expand their customer base and grab market share.
The benefit to business owners is that it allows you to score premium software for a low one-time fee (typically US$49/~AUD$65), and avoid those ongoing monthly charges.
I have personally scored lifetime software deals on proposal software, chatbot development platforms, social media analysis tools, and stock photos packages to name but a few.
These software deals are usually limited by time or number of deals available, so you need to get in quick. We’re constantly monitoring deal sites like AppSumo for the best tools for your business, so follow us on Facebook to get notified about deals when they drop.
So in this article we have shared some of the ways to avoid analysis paralysis, and prevent the headaches that often come with selecting and implementing a new software product for your business.
Still not sure where to start?
Automately can help you find more time to grow your business and keep customers happy.
Contact us today.