How to Get the Maximum Benefits From Your Next Business Software Purchase
As an entrepreneur, you probably recognize the value of utilizing technology to help your business function more efficiently and maximize your profit margin. That said, the high stakes involved — both to the potential impact on your business operations and the often-high initial cost of a new software purchase — can make choosing the right software for your company a daunting task. After all, you don’t want to make a sizable investment only to end up with software that doesn’t get used or doesn’t improve your bottom line.
If you’re struggling with the software-buying process, you’re not alone. Capterra notes that one survey revealed that choosing and purchasing new software takes the average small-to-midsize business around 24 months. That’s two years you could have spent on other aspects of running your company. To avoid this, here are some tips on selecting the right software for your needs.
Key Considerations for Choosing the Right Software
The first step in the software selection process should always be assessing your company’s needs. What areas need improvement? What sorts of problems would your ideal software be able to solve? Be honest and seek input from anyone who would potentially be using the new software.
Once you have a good idea of your needs, review available software packages and narrow the choices down to a handful of options. Research each option thoroughly, including information published by the manufacturer as well as independent customer reviews. A few items to consider include:
- What kind of customer service or technical support is available?
- How well will this software integrate with other technology you’re already using?
- What sort of costs are involved beyond the initial purchase price?
- Is there a demo or trial period available, and if so, what are the details?
Effective Training for Successful Software Implementation
Even the most amazing software package won’t help your business grow if you and your employees don’t take advantage of what the program has to offer. Smartsheet points out that one of the best ways to ensure that your software gets used effectively is to invest adequate time and effort into upfront training. Don’t try to just wing it as you go along with frequent references to the user manual.
Practical Strategies for Evaluating Your Software’s Impact
Ideally, your new software will have a noticeable positive effect on your business that’s obvious to everyone involved. However, it often takes time before the benefits are easily observable. A good way to measure the software’s impact is to revisit your initial research about your company’s needs and assess how the software is beginning to meet those needs.
Top Suggestions for Smart Software Investments
If you’re still not sure where to start, there are certain types of software and technology that benefit nearly all types of businesses. For example, a good payment processing solution allows you to integrate customer payments seamlessly and automatically into your accounting software. A quality inventory management program can reduce understocking or aged inventory, automate manual tracking, and provide an easy way to watch trends in costs and product demand. The right project management software is indispensable for keeping business tasks organized and on track.
Selecting the right software package for your business is a substantial undertaking. By understanding your company’s needs, carefully researching your options, and investing in solid user training, you can avoid being left with buyer’s remorse.
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