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Choosing the right software solutions for your business can be a grueling task. With so many options available it’s incredibly overwhelming when it comes to narrowing down your options. If you choose the wrong tool you’ll lose precious time and money spent implementing your selection. There’s no secret formula to making the right choice every time. However, there are definitely ways to improve your success rate.

Here are five key questions you should ask yourself before choosing software solutions for your business:

What does your business need and what does it want?

It’s imperative that you have a constant understanding of what your needs are and what your ‘nice to have(s)’ are. Think about what your minimum viable product (MVP) is and what you need to achieve it. Anything extra will cost you precious time and money.

For example, you may get an email promising a great deal on a lead generation service. It may seem enticing but your top priority may be a new online invoicing solution to streamline your finances. It’s common for business owners to jump at every deal they get, so stay grounded and identify what you truly need first.

What specific metrics are you looking to improve by using this software?

It’s very important to try and quantify the benefits you’re expecting to gain from your new tool. The more specific you are the more accurate you can be when researching prospective software solutions.

Here are a few examples of metrics you may look to improve:

  • Conversion rate – how well do inquiries, sales calls, and other prospecting methods convert into paying customers. Conversion rate(s) can also be applied to other areas besides sales.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost – how much are you spending to acquire new customers?
  • Customer Retention (Churn rate) – the rate at which customers stop subscribing or purchasing your product or service.

The metrics listed above are very basic but they give you an idea of how important it is to use metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success.

Will the new solution be easily adopted by the team?

As a business owner it’s your responsibility to make decisions that are best for the team. Depending on the size of your organization, you’ll want to include some of your core team members in on the decision making. That said, there’s a balance to how many you include on your final decision. A strong leader understands the needs of their team to the point where they don’t need to consult and appease everyone. Once you get the green light from your core members, it’s time to pull the trigger.

What does the future hold for this particular software? Is this the right time?

In business timing is everything. Technology is changing every single day. What’s “state of the art” now may be obsolete in a few years. Make sure you have a good understanding of the market and your industry. If trends are pointing towards new innovations in your space, then it may be a good idea to wait it out.

This is especially important if your software provider is asking for some form of a contract. The last thing you want is to be contracted into a five year deal and miss out on new technologies.

Does your business and team have the resources necessary to integrate the software?

Even if the software is a perfect fit, it’s very important that you scope out the resources required to implement the software. Some solutions can take months to integrate so you want to make sure you’re 100% squared away before locking your technical resources into a month long project.

For example if you’re an e-commerce store looking for a new online payments solution, you’ll want to immediately inquire about implementation. There are lots of specifications required for a payments solution to integrate properly with an online store. That said, if the integration is a no-go you’ve just saved yourself valuable time and money.

Final Thoughts

When choosing new software solutions for your business you’ll rarely find a perfect match. It’s always a good idea to shop around as much as possible so you can get a good lay of the land. Additionally, you should always ask yourself these five questions before making the final call.

 

Renzo Costarella is an entrepreneur, avid learner, and startup enthusiast currently living in Silicon Valley. He consults for several startups in the Bay Area and is pursuing a few ideas of his own.

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