After a year of shutdowns, layoffs, and business closings, the economic output of America, and many other nations looked bleak. But in 2021, things shifted dramatically. Rather than continuing a downward trend in business and employment, economic activity shot back up.
In 2021, over five million new business applications were filed in the US alone. From healthcare companies to floral shops and everything in between, business is booming.
And what do all of these new businesses have in common? Though they cross every possible industry, they will all need to use small business software solutions to run their business.
It’s no longer possible to manage business operations in the 21st century without proper small business software. But choosing the right software can be a challenge.
Need some help? Read on below to learn how to select the perfect business tools.
1. Just Get Started
As a new business, it’s tempting to put your operations on hold until you have all your ducks in a row. While it’s good to be prepared, you can’t expect perfection right out of the gate.
You need to get started, selling products and providing services, before you actually know what tools you are going to need. As you go about your business tasks, you’ll quickly discover the inefficiencies in your day-to-day operations.
Make note of these inconveniences. When choosing software to implement, you’ll want to keep these real-life business experiences in mind.
After all, business software is meant to solve a problem. First, you need to identify the problems in your business. Only then will you be able to pick effective software.
2. Freelancer Friendly
There are many tools available that cater to all types of businesses. Examples include bookkeeping software. Most small businesses can choose from any of the available options and be totally fine, as most businesses have the same bookkeeping needs.
But what if you’re solo? As a freelancer, there is a specific bookkeeping tool designed for your lean operation. Freshbooks was crafted with smaller operations in mind. Their tools allow sending quick, professional invoices. And their affordable monthly pricing works with any budget.
3. Choose Industry-Specific Tools
Often, the most effective tools for the job are the ones designed specifically for the job. If you run an auto shop, for example, you can purchase shop management software that was crafted exclusively for auto shops.
It will help you manage every area of your business, all from one dashboard. This eliminates the need to string together multiple pieces of software.
You can handle customer communication, balance your books, track and order inventory, handle scheduling and payroll, create custom work orders, and much more.
The right piece of software can transform how you run your business. Is there an industry-specific option available for you?
4. Choose Software that Grows With You
Most software these days operates on a monthly subscription model. And the good options offer tiered pricing structures.
This allows new businesses to start using the software on the cheapest plan available, helping you manage your cash flow. As your business grows, along with your monthly revenue, you can seamlessly upgrade your plan to unlock additional features.
5. Try a Free Trial
Sometimes you just don’t know if a particular piece of software is right for you until you try it. Most companies offer free or cheap trials. Use these trials.
Take your time to see if a particular option is right for you. If it is, it can make a big difference to your bottom line, as it helps you save time and make more money.
6. Pick Versatile Small Business Software Solutions
There are many small business software tools that specialize in one type of task. Graphic design software fits that description, as do things like HR software, or payroll software.
Depending on your business model, you will likely need specialized tools like this. But you don’t have to have a dozen different software subscriptions that are draining your business funds each month.
Instead, for tasks that you only complete a few times per month, choose a versatile like Setapp that gives you access to dozens and dozens of specialized tools, all through one platform.
Setapp is a database of tools, all built by professionals to help you complete specific tasks. For example, you can use the PDF Squeezer app to reduce size of PDF files, allowing you to send them through email or upload them to your website.
Then, use the Clean My Mac X app to clear off your Mac and improve its performance. Then install the Daily tool to track time spent on specific projects.
You get access to all these business apps, and much, much more for one low monthly price, which makes your bookkeeping a lot easier.
7. Link Software Together
There are many different software tools that play well with others. This can happen either through an API connection, where one piece of software reads data directly from another.
Or you use a third-party tool, like Zapier, to connect two or three different programs together. Zapier can automate tasks between various platforms to save tremendous amounts of time.
8. Let Your Team Try It
Software only works if your whole team uses it. When trying out software, invite some of your team members to try it out. They’re likely the ones who are likely to be using the software on a daily basis anyway. Their feedback will be invaluable.
9. Implement SOPs
Standard operating procedures are vital to your business. You need to have them in place to ensure everyone is completing tasks in the same way. The same is true for software. The tools will be much more effective if you can get your team to use them in the right way.
10. Test Customer Support
When it comes to software subscriptions, the level of customer support offered is a huge factor. At some point, you will need help diagnosing an issue with the software.
If it’s email only, you might wait days for a response, and weeks for a solution. Try choosing a platform that offers live chat support for faster results.
Take Your Time
Business owners are faced with thousands of small business software solutions to choose from. It can be daunting to try to pick the right option. That’s why it’s important to take your time and really evaluate your needs before going all in.
You don’t want to spend weeks or months on a particular program, only to realize there’s a better option available.
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