Time is Money: Finding the Best Software for your Startup
Though this blog is about technology and organizations, I rarely make comments about one tool being better than another - that's just not my expertise. Instead, I tend to talk about how we make choices around a set of tools and how we mix our use of the tool, the people we are working with, and our organizational process. Today I'm shuffling that a bit. Sean Ryan is providing me a guest post very much focused on which tools are better than others. Sean works with FindTheBest a unique, data-driven comparison engine, founded by the former DoubleClick founder Kevin O'Connor. I am interested in the results their comparison engine provides, and I hope you are too. Click through the links to see FindTheBest at work.
Navigating the world of business software can be quite daunting, especially for a startup. Vendors make lofty claims about what their products can do for your business, and as an entrepreneur you’re faced with the task of parsing through the marketing angles to get to the bottom line: what will save me the most time, money, and energy?
The most important thing to remember is that bigger and more complicated doesn’t necessarily mean better. Especially when it comes to software.
Make lists of your business’s specific needs for each type of software and find the product that meets them the best. Forget about glitzy features that go above and beyond what you need, even if you think they will be useful in the future. Your business could very well evolve in ways you can’t foresee right now, and there’s a chance that all those bells and whistles might not be necessary in the long run.
That said, the right software can work wonders for your business. Finding the right cloud computing providers for your business, for example, can offer your office seamless access to your business-related data from any computer or mobile device. In most cases, finding the right cloud computing provider could be a huge boost to your bottom line.
Finding the best project management software can also be a wonderful tool for unifying your workforce and maximizing productivity. The services these programs offer run the gamut from sophisticated risk/benefit analysis to simple scheduling features. Again, it’s essential to know your needs. Remember that above all, the core function of project management software is to enhance communication within your business, so pay close attention to the quality of collaboration features like email integration, messaging options, and team calendars/timelines.
Using accounting software is a great way to organize transactions and keep all the financial operations within your business running smoothly. A good accounting program can provide a convenient way to keep a general ledger, make an auditing process run smoothly, manage your payroll, and perform tax preparation, among many other things.
Nearly all businesses can stand to benefit from some form of Customer Relationship Management software, which can provide powerful tools for creating analytic reports, sophisticated sales forecasting features, and enhance fluidity between your departments. Like in each of these cases, however, one size certainly does not fit all. Choosing CRM software that can grow with your needs is paramount. If you see your business expanding in the near future, consider a web hosted program instead of a locally installed one, which makes it easier to integrate more features when the time calls for them.
Finally, antivirus software is a perpetual necessity. When buying an antivirus program, less is definitely more. Identify the features you need protected, which might require input from an IT professional, and choose a program that protects them superbly. The right program can potentially save your databases from the ravages of a cyber plague, so consider your needs carefully. The last thing you want is a digital version of 14th century Europe on your hands.
These tools can help streamline your business, no matter the size. Take care in choosing your software options for your company: pick software that meets your needs, but will allow your company to grow.