When you are the owner of a small business, you have to wear several hats in managing your business. You have to play the role of a marketer, accountant, and operations manager for your business. Ultimately, you are the chief decision-maker of your business.
As an entrepreneur, you are faced with challenging decisions in every facet of your business. You have to make decisions on where to source funding for your business. It’s your responsibility to look for clientele. When it comes to employee management, you have to deal with hiring, retaining, and firing.
As your firm grows, you will find yourself having to make another difficult decision of choosing the software to automate your business functions. You could say that unlike big corporations, small businesses don’t face the challenge of bureaucracy and red-tape. However, the reality is that small businesses are likely to face the below problems when selecting software:
- Limitation of time
- Budget restriction
- Limitation in scalability
Failing to factor in the above hindrances in your decision making can result in significant blunders that are too much for your business to withstand.
How to Choose the Best Software for your Business
As your business increases in complexity, you might find yourself shopping for software. It could be you are looking to install new software or replacing existing software. Whatever the reason, consider the below steps to boost your confidence when searching.
Evaluate your business needs
Pinpointing your business needs helps you narrow down to the software that fits your business. It would be best if your needs align with your business goals. If you are unsure of your software needs, below are some of the steps you can take:
- Talk to your employees to conduct a needs analysis
- Evaluate the shortfalls of existing software
- Talk to your peers in the industry for guidance
Make a list of things you currently like and those you think software can address. It’s also helpful to think about your future business needs, as you don’t want to have to rehaul your software stack down the road as your business grows and evolves.
For example, businesses that use SAP could consider using an SLES for SAP solution like this. In the short run, SLES for SAP reduces the risk of server downtime and critical services outages, protects data on remote storage volumes, and reduces SAP HANA recovery time. In the long run, it makes it easier to transition to SAP S/4HANA when you’re ready to upgrade your system.
Define your Software Requirements
Thanks to innovation, there are tons of software options available to address the challenges you are facing. It would help if you had software that addresses your unique business goals.
Draft a checklist of benefits you would like to derive from the software. Here are some requirements to look out for:
- Ease of use
- Security features
- Number of users
- Ease of integration among business functions
Narrow down to the must-have features. Also, make a comparison with other software options to gain additional insights.
Where to Source your Software
Depending on the software you are looking for, locating vendors can either be an easy or daunting task. For some software, vendors pop out immediately in your mind. However, for other software, you have to dig deeper.
You could consider the following sources to help you choose the right vendor:
- Google search (obviously)
- Use software comparison sites like Capterra
- Consider what other similar businesses are using
If a solution interests you, write down its interesting and differentiating features. At the end of the exercise, you will have an incredible checklist of vendors to consider.
Consider a Demo
With your vendors’ list at hand, it’s time to contact vendors that made the cutoff. Give priority to those vendors that offer a demo. Many people want to dive straight into the product itself, but it’s not advisable. A demo allows you to learn the ins and outs of the software. You also get to learn firsthand information from someone with adequate experience with the software.
Careful Selection of Software/Vendor
Selecting a software vendor shouldn’t be a nerve-wracking task having followed the above tips. Consider the following additional tips to make an informed decision:
- Consider the pros, cons, features, price, and compatibility of the software
- Ensure you sign a contract, get warranties, and product manual
- Discuss payment plans. Ask if discounts and installment payments are available
Once you purchase the software, congratulate yourself for the hard work, and believe you have made the right decision for your business. The next step is to enjoy efficiency, precision, and other benefits that come with your new software.