It doesn’t matter whether you own a remote, globally distributed tech company or a bakery, your business relies on software in order to run. Without software, you can’t balance your books, accept credit card payments, send emails, or market your business.
While the use of software may or may not have anything to do with your actual product or service, choosing the right business software options is essential for allowing you to focus on creating your products and services.
Wondering how to select software for businesses the easy way, so you aren’t overpaying for features you don’t need, or paying for software that doesn’t optimize your business? You can find seven tips for finding the perfect business software provider below.
1. Choose Software With Pricing Tiers
In the past, software wasn’t very flexible. You often had to make a huge payment upfront in order to download a software program, that you weren’t even sure was going to work for your business.
But today, many new software providers offer monthly software subscriptions. To access the software, all you need to do is pay a low monthly fee, making it more accessible to get started, testing out the software without a huge commitment.
By comparing software prices that use tiered pricing, you can select the perfect package for your business and your budget. Tiered pricing is usually designed to grow with your business.
For example, as a new business, you might not need all the fancy features of your bookkeeping software. Nor do you want to spend too much money, since you aren’t making that much. So you select the lowest cost, basic software option.
But a year later, business is booming and you find that you do need more advanced features. You can easily bump your software subscription to the next tier. Modern business software can grow with your business, without having to go find a new software provider and start all over.
2. Specific to Your Industry
By choosing software that is specific to your industry, you can save tons of time and money. For example, many construction contractors will quote projects the old-fashioned way. They’ll use generalized software like Excel to create spreadsheets, trying to determine the materials needed for a project.
But because Excel isn’t built for contractors, it wastes a lot of time and is prone to errors and omissions. Instead, contractors can use estimating software to accurately and quickly spin up quotes, helping them to secure more jobs.
Saving time isn’t the only benefit. Check out these bathroom estimating software benefits to see how the right software can make you a more efficient contractor.
3. Choose Multifunctional Software
Most businesses need a handful of different software options to run all of their operations. They might have one software to receive and manage payments, and another software to balance the books. And they might use separate inventory management software, and marketing software to help track leads down the customer pipeline.
But that’s a lot of different things your employees need to learn how to use, and a lot of different payments you need to make. Instead, try choosing multifunctional software, that keeps everything you need in one simple dashboard.
For example, auto shops can use newly designed auto shop management software to run their entire shop from one platform. Various companies produce software like this, helping to handle customer communication, appointments, payments, inventory, and much more all from one platform.
4. Free Trials
Any modern software provider will offer a free trial. It might be a few days, or it might be a whole month. Either way, it helps to utilize a free trial to see how effective a piece of software is.
Obviously, you won’t have the opportunity to put the software through a complete test using a trial, as you can only do that over time, as you use the software for your business.
But any good software provider is confident in their product to offer a free trial, so be sure to take it.
5. Test Support Teams
Software providers live and die by the support they offer to their users. Research what level of support is offered by the company you are considering.
Do they offer live chat, or are they an email-only software company? Is there a phone number you can call, for instant help? Do they offer a help desk, with detailed articles and answers to common questions?
You’re going to need help at some point or another, so make sure help is available before you get too far.
And make sure the company provides regular software updates. Some companies have produced good software, but have essentially walked away from the product, and don’t provide crucial security updates. Stay away from free or cheap software that could put your business at risk.
6. Check Reviews
Always read online customer reviews of any software company you are considering. But not just the reviews on the homepage, that have been cherry-picked as part of their marketing strategy. Find the actual reviews section on their website.
Then, cross-reference these reviews with those found on third-party sites like Google or the BBB. Read reviews with a grain of salt. There will always be bad reviews. But you want to see how the software provider handles those negative reviews, and if they make an effort to correct the situation.
7. Ask Around
You don’t have to choose software on your own. You likely know people who work in the same industry as you. Ask them what software they use for various tasks.
It’s usually not a secret, nor a competitive advantage. When people in business find cool, helpful tools, they are usually happy to share that with others. Word of mouth marketing often comes from people you know and trust.
Select Software for Businesses the Easy Way
It’s not hard to select software for businesses these days. Since most software operates on a monthly subscription model, getting started is low-commitment. If you find a particular piece of software isn’t for you, you can cancel and choose something else with ease.
Looking for more business or software tips? Head over to the rest of our blog to find other helpful articles.