As many small business owners know, good management starts with the right tools and processes – one of which is how you manage your business operations. With the vast number of business management applications available today, choosing the right product for your business operations is no easy task. Because of this, many small business professionals would rather stick with what they know instead of migrating to newer, more efficient ways of working, for fear of adopting a product that might not be 100% right for them.
If this is something you can relate to, you’re not alone. The good news is that the trends that drive the sales and distribution of these applications are actually giving the customer more tools to make an informed decision.
Learn from others’ experience
The past couple of years has seen evolutions in many online marketplaces that sell SMB management services. Some of them, like the Intuit App Center, deal exclusively in these applications. The majority of these marketplaces feature peer reviews and ratings with their products, so each user gets a sense of what people like or dislike about the product, the problems they’ve encountered, and what features are missing from the product. By taking a few minutes to read these reviews, you can quickly assess a product’s pros and cons and find an application that fits your business needs.
Go for products with built-in migration support
One of biggest hurdles in adopting a new business management application is migration – moving all your existing business data (your customer list, for example) to the new application. Luckily, some products eliminate this hassle with built-in support for migration, meaning that the application automatically imports your data. By choosing a product with this kind of feature, you can save yourself a lot of time and avoid potential mistakes down the road.
Take advantage of free trial periods
Nobody wants to find out that their expensive business management software doesn’t fully address their business’s needs, or costs more time than it saves. To actively avoid this situation, look for products that have a free trial, and test software that you can try for several weeks or months before actually paying. This has two distinct advantages: the first is that you can “test drive” the product to see how it fits your needs. The second is that such products boast a customer base of people who made the conscious choice to pay for the product after working with it for a while – a great vote of confidence.
Often, choosing business management applications requires commitment – either monetary or with changes in routines and workflow. While this kind of change usually requires little effort in the long-run, the process of getting started can be time consuming and overwhelming. By following these tips, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying about which application to use, and more time doing what you do best.