The lack of time to get everything done is a challenge for entrepreneurs. An IT system can support daily operations, make your business more effective than the competition, and increase productivity. How can one determine the right IT system to invest in?
Software is only a good investment if it improves your business in some way – improve decision making, customer service, time management, or productivity. To determine the right IT system to invest in, work through the following steps:
- Determine your business needs.
- Prioritize business needs as “nice-to-have” and “need-to-have.”
- Research potential software solutions.
- Test various software via a free trial or sign-up for a demo.
- Evaluate the functionality and price.
- Determine the potential ROI of the software.
It is far easier to navigate the myriad of options if you evaluate and know your business needs. The entrepreneur must identify their current challenges before identifing the IT system to solve those challenges. For idea generation, consider the following types of software programs from the GrowthWheel framework:
- Business Concept - Software that can help define and refine your business concept includes: surveys, idea development software, competitor surveillance, lead identification, graphic design, and product design.
- Custom Relations - Other types of software can help reach new customers and improve customer relations such as: customer relationship management (CRM), website platform (CMS), blog, electronic newsletter, presentation software, networking software, and lead generation software.
- Organization - Software that can help improve the organization and employee management may include: intranet, server software, training or e-learning software, payroll administration, task management software, or calendar and meeting coordination software.
- Operations - Other types of software can help improve productivity and the overall business operations such as: account management, debit and credit management, time tracking, inventory management, budgets and account statements, project management, telecommunication, or information management.
Once you identify the area of need and the necessity, then evaluate the options and adopt the solution that best fits your business. A few key factors can be used to narrow your search. Access and customizability are great starting points. Will the software only be accessed at the office from an installable application or will the software be accessed from various locations via a web-based application? How much customization will the software need? Most of the time an off-the-shelf solution can be adapted to fit your needs for far cheaper than a custom-built software. Other times it is necessary to custom build the software to fit your business.
With so many options, the process of finding the right IT system can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask an expert or a knowledgeable employee for help. In the long run, it is better to find the right IT system than adopt software that decreases productivity and serves as a distraction. When searching for software, always keep the business need in the forefront of your mind.
If you would like help finding the right IT system to fit your business needs, contact us to coordinate your GrowthWheel one-on-one consultation.