When your business is just getting started, every penny counts, so choosing the right software for your business the first time is important.

The last thing you want to do is waste money on the wrong tools but, with such a wide variety of features and promises swirling around the internet, finding the right combination for your business’s unique usecase isn’t always easy. If your business is currently up and running, you might already have a jumble of software tools that don’t play as nicely together as you’d like and/or are more expensive together than they looked apart.

Selecting the Right Software Is a Big Challenge for Small Businesses

It’s no wonder that selecting the right software is challenging for entrepreneurs. There’s an overwhelming number of possibilities out there. Softwareadvice.com lists 516 systems in the CRM category alone — and, because some platforms show up in multiple categories, the task of sifting through these options to compare, contrast and identify tools that will fit your business is even more difficult.

Although most entrepreneurs know intuitively that they need to invest time and effort into adopting new technologies for their business, according to Insight, it’s easier said than done. In fact, they found that while 66% of small businesses would fail without technology, only 27% have technology support, 53% have websites, and 80% are still using a manual integration tool.  

The small business technology landscape is a complex and ever-changing scene, and small business owners need more information and support to approach it confidently.

Start With a Solid Understanding of Your Business Needs.

Instead of sifting through hundreds of tools to try and find what you need to efficiently run and grow your business, you need to focus your research more narrowly. There’s not much point evaluating software tools that are designed for much larger businesses or that don’t provide the critical features you need to attract new leads and grow them into loyal customers, which is the most important growth function that marketing software for small businesses needs to focus on.

Instead of sifting through hundreds of tools to try and find what you need to efficiently run and grow your business, you need to focus your research more narrowly.

By just focusing your search on software providers that offer a long-term solution with all the tools you will need as your business grows in one comprehensive platform, you can save time and frustration on your software search and gain confidence that you are selecting the right tool for your needs.

Find What Works for Your Unique Business

Keeping the focus on the long-term is the best possible way to select a software solution that is the right fit. Finding a platform that is scalable and will continue to serve your business’s needs even as you grow is the only way to avoid the issues caused by running your business on an inadequate platform.

Inc. agrees, suggesting that another good place to start is looking at your business’s pain points. “The key to choosing the right technology for your business is to understand what you’re already doing well and what you need to do better.”

Instead of focusing on areas of your business that software companies say you need, focus on the areas that your unique business needs. By narrowing the pain points and goals of your business, you can more adeptly choose the best software to tackle them.

The WalkMe team says choosing software can be a daunting task, but the key is finding the right fit for your business. “A platform that is a goldmine for one company might not be effective in serving another.” So before purchasing B2B software, be sure to compare the features offered with the needs of your business. If you need to send a lot of emails but also need a lot of reporting options, for example, you need to find a software that can do both. Instead of investing time and money into a collection of niche solutions that won’t support your business now or in the future, look for a platform that can be the “core” of your business over time.

The Benefits of Choosing a Platform That Can Grow With Your Business

By doing the research to find a core platform that will grow with your business from the beginning, your business will benefit in the following ways:

  • You’ll be able to invest time and money into a software platform with confidence, knowing that you’ll earn that money back many times over as your business grows quickly upon a solid foundation.
  • You’ll save time searching for the right combination of niche tools so you can spend more time and resources growing your business.
  • You’ll be free from the obstacles blocking your business’s growth when you don’t have the right tools to support your expansion so you’ll be able to grow your business faster.
  • You’ll avoid the frustration that results when you implement the wrong software tool in your business so you can spend time advancing your strategy rather than dealing with tech nightmares.
  • With a platform that includes all the tools your business will need at later stages of growth, you won’t have to search for new software again when it’s time to expand so you’ll never miss out on an opportunity to grow quickly.
  • By selecting a solid platform that integrates with a huge collection of extra add-ons, you’ll be able to customize your tactics as you grow without having to compromise by moving all your data into another platform.

So, how should you go about choosing a tool that will unlock all this potential in your business? Don’t go into it blind — get tips for identifying your needs, researching options and assessing the real costs and benefits of the industry leading tools for small businesses in our comprehensive guide The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Small Business Software: 2018 Edition.

About Megan Monroe
Associate Editor Megan Monroe is a graduate of Santa Barbara’s Westmont College where she studied Philosophy and Communications. After working for several local small businesses (where she gained firsthand experience with the frustration of manual segmentation and follow-up), Megan joined the Ontraport Growth Team. When she isn’t writing marketing copy, social media posts or educational guides for entrepreneurs, she enjoys taking advantage of the Central Coast's amazing wineries and cooking without following a recipe.