These days, small businesses that have a strong handle on their tech have a considerable edge over those that don’t. No matter how big or small your operation is, or what your future prospects look like right now, you’re going to be dependent on various pieces of software to make everything tick. Obviously you want the best tools within your budget, but how do you define what’s “best” for your business? Here’s a some advice to help…
Think About your Needs
A new piece of software isn’t some kind of magic relic that will turn your fledgling start-up into an overnight success. In fact, when it comes to issues in your management and communication, throwing a new tool into the mix will only exacerbate the underlying issues. When you do come to purchase tech tools for your business, tread very carefully. It’s usually a good idea to make do with cheap and lightweight solutions like Google Docs, slowly discover your pain points, and then buy further tools based on what you find. Even if you’re planning to develop your own software, you should never invest in a new tech tool before you know exactly what you want to do.
Don’t Be a Cheapskate!
For many small business owners, cost is going to be a big factor in any kind of purchasing decision, including software. Fortunately, there are various cheap and free options which small businesses can use to get started. It’s great if you can find a low-cost solution that covers all your needs, but it’s a huge mistake to acquire a new tech tool for its affordability and nothing else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple piece of accounting software, or more complex products like hotel booking systems. While basic functions like document sharing and email are pretty universal, when it comes to fulfilling any of your more complex tech needs, you generally get what you pay for. As the saying goes, time is money, so don’t compare prices and then leave it at that. When your business grows, and expands into new areas, you’ll probably upgrade to a more expensive product anyway. Penny-pinch now, and you’ll only wind up regretting it later.
When you integrate a new tech tool, any new tech tool, you’re certain to have at least a few questions and worries. Rather than suffering in silence, ask for help! Just like you, the business owner running this company will want their product to work for you. You’ll be amazed at the lengths some companies will go to in order to make sure their software is meshing well with a client’s business. If you feel like it, go ahead and suggest new features as well. Obviously, the company you bought from won’t always be able to accommodate for your requests, and you should never invest in a new piece of tech thinking that you’ll be able to manipulate it. However, a lot of software companies – notably start-ups, lean towards rapid product development, and will take your suggestions seriously.