As an entrepreneur, deciding which software to buy can feel overwhelming for more than one reason. Not only are there literally hundreds of options to choose from (oh, hello analysis paralysis) but they all come with never ending features lists, dull contract agreements and user reviews that seem to offer conflicting opinions.
Software is not a one-size-fits-all game and you need to choose one that makes you feel the most comfortable and confident. That said, you need to think about what matters and make sure you don’t make some of the most common mistakes buyers make when choosing a software.
Keep reading if want to know which mistakes to avoid to stay ahead of the curve!
Mistake 1: Prioritizing features instead of outcomes
People who want to buy software are trying to solve a problem. And while there's nothing wrong with that, it's important to solve for today while keeping one eye on the horizon. The key is to understand the ins and outs of the journey your clients go through when interacting with you and identifying the areas that need to improve.
Next, and this is a fun exercise, visualize your best case scenario i.e. what would the future of your business look like if everything went your way? Figuring out what you want to change is a lot more effective if you work back from your best case scenario instead of focusing on what’s wrong now.
While you’re at it, be sure you:
- Understand where your current system and/or processes fall short.
- Review features to be sure the product does what you need but don’t stop there!
- Look at the software company’s vision and culture – do their values align with yours?
- Will they support your team as it learns how to use the new software? Don’t let ‘em leave you high and dry once you buy!
- Know which problems you are trying to overcome – if you have a laundry list, know which ones are top priority.
- Once you have all that, create a list of any questions left unanswered and be ready for your conversation with the team.
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Mistake 2: Buying without trying
When you buy a new software, you invest your time and money adopting a new product and learning how to use it. Risking a poor choice means you risk wasting all those resources. Knowing that, trial runs before you commit is key.
- Make a shortlist of the ones you are most interested in and conduct a comparative analysis of benefits, prices, implementation & support info and anything else that is deciding criteria for you – don’t let information overload throw you off!
- Ask different people who will use the software to try it out – yourself and maybe a staff member – use the collective feedback & insights to guide your choice!
Mistake 3: Choosing a software that doesn’t integrate with your tools & processes
Yes new purchases can feel bright and shiny but don’t get seduced by the allure of a new solution and forget to ensure it will integrate with the other tools you use. Forgetting only ensures one thing: you either spend more money down the line replacing those tools or you replace your new software with one that integrates with your tools. Both paths lead to more frustration, more time spent training and learning something from scratch and more money spent. Trust us. It’s not worth the trouble.
Instead, look for software that offers a host of integrations and tools and has an infrastructure that can support the tools you use.
Mistake 4: Only thinking of today
As a business owner, you want your business to succeed and grow. That means your software requirements will evolve with your processes. Investing in a software that cannot support your growth can become an expensive roadblock down the line.
Buying software is like buying a house in that it is a mid to long-term investment. You need to find one that can support your needs as you continue to grow and evolve. For instance, maybe you’re looking to start offering private lessons in the next year or two but the software you’re considering doesn’t have that feature… Is private lessons on their radar? Will they develop it by the time you need it? When choosing a software, ask questions about how they respond to changing market needs. You want a software partner who not only keeps refining and improving their product but also takes your feedback seriously.
Armed with these tips, we are confident that you will make smart choices. Remember – think long-term and don’t decide in a hurry.