How to Choose Right Software for Business

Have you ever competed against other people in a (running) race?

If so, have you ever competed against cars in a race?

Regardless of your answer, you and I would agree that, no matter how fast we can run, our two feet will never be faster than any 4-wheel cars.

In the business world, it’s the same. If you choose wrong software for business, no matter how effectively you can use them, it will be difficult for you to compete against people who have right and better software (assuming that they know how to use them).

In life, I have tried hundreds of software (saying that I’m addicted to trying software wouldn’t be too much 🙂) so in this article, I’m going to share with you 7 factors to consider when choosing software for business.

I guarantee that these 7 factors will definitely help you choose any software for any kind of use better.

7 Factors to consider when choosing software for business

1. features (or solutions) 

One of the most important factors when choosing software for business is whether they have features or solutions you are looking for.

When you browse on homepage, most sites normally have an elevator pitch that provides you quick details about what can be done with that software. 

However, you won’t always get answers you want like details of each feature, or software use cases.

So what I recommend you to do is that you should look at the menu and search for pages like features or solutions. These pages will give you in-depth details about what that software has to offer.

This factor is the most crucial because if features (or solutions) it has are not what you or your business are looking for, it’s a waste of time considering the rest.

The above image shows a good example from GSuite. As you can see, features tab is shown clearly and next to it is a solutions tab. 

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If feature or solution pages don’t have what you are looking for. Alternatively, you can look at its pricing page. Most of the time, there will be a comparison table showing features for each tier.

2. User Experience (UX) 

Regardless of its features, I think software isn’t considered a good one if it has bad user experience; in other words, difficult to use.

My advice is that, when considering about user experience, it should not be based on just you. 

What I mean is that you should not use your habit to judge whether it’s easy to use because when you work, you don’t work alone but with other people as a team. 

So if that software is difficult to use, when you invite your colleagues to use or when you have to onboard new employees, it would rather cause you troubles than helping you.

One of my favorite examples is Todoist which is a GTD (getting things done) software. It doesn’t have a lot of features but its user experience is great so that it integrates easily with my every day workflow.

After all, people don’t want to use software with loads of features (that they never use) but ones that are easy to use and fit with their workflows.

3. User Interface (UI) 

Apart from User Experience, User Interface is also important.

Software with bad user interface would give you a bad first impression. As often said, the first impression is the last impression; you wouldn’t want to use software that gives you a bad impression, right?

User Interface (UI) is actually part of User Experience (UX) that will keep users wanting to come back again and again.

The example I really like is a work chat application called Slack. Its sleeky interface gives a user like me good experience and it encourages me to use the software often.

4. Business Models

My advice is that you should avoid using free software that doesn’t have business models or you don’t know how they generate income.

Frankly, I like free stuff… but not always.

For example, if I’m using a software that costs me 20 USD/month and I happen to be introduced to another software that has similar features and is free (or a lot cheaper than 20 USD/month), I won’t use it.

If something is too good to exist, it normally doesn’t exist. And if you use a software that you don’t really understand its business model, it’s highly likely that you are not its customer but a product.

It’s very important for you to study business models that software you want to use to see whether its business models are acceptable for you. If you think it’s fine, then use it. If you think it’s not, then avoid it.

A good example is Unroll.me (software that combines promotional emails, updates and notifications and send just one email to me daily) which I’m currently using. Unroll.me is free to use but its business model is that they will send non-personally identifiable information to research companies.

As for me, this is fine because they clearly address this in the home page and the data they sold are non-personally identifiable.

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If you can’t find a pricing page, I recommend you to take a look at terms and privacy. If they use your data to gain some benefits further, they will tell you in those pages.

It’s recommended to avoid software that doesn’t have terms and privacy page.

5. Support & Knowledge Base

Where’s there a software, there are definitely bug(s).

Support and Knowledge base are important factors that are often overlooked. The main reason why they are important is that you will have questions or need helps from the developers while you are using the software.

If their knowledgebase is not good enough, you will have to contact their support team often (and their support isn’t supposed to be good either)

So apart from features, prices and other factors, support and knowledge base are as equally important.

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If you can’t find these items on the website’s main menu, they are probably in the footer like in the example above from asana.

6. Integration & Ecosystem

“One size doesn’t fit all” There’s no software that can do everything.

If one claims that they can do everything, they are probably not good at anything.

You should check whether the software you are going to use plays well with others (or at least, you should check whether it has API so that your developers can easily integrate that software with others); for example, a contact form you use should integrate with CRM or Email Marketing software you are currently using.

The best way to check integration & ecosystem is to look for a tab integration or app. The example above is MailChimp, which has tons of integration. It even has a dedicated page that shows its integration directory.

7. Reputation

Is that software trustworthy?

Apart from taking a look at features, business models or other factors, I would check that 1. who made this software? 2. is their team big enough? 3. Who are their investors?

These kinds of information are quite important because, in most cases, you won’t use the software you purchased for a few days or a few months but could be years.

If their team isn’t strong enough, what they made may not be good. If their team isn’t big enough, their development process could be slow. and if no one invests in them, they may run out of money soon.

It’s just to make sure that you won’t be left in the middle out the sea.

The example I like is the story page of Canva. It says that they have more than 10 million users around the globe with more than 100 team members and 3 offices. These numbers are the proof that Canva can somehow be trusted.

Summary

These are 7 key factors that I consider when choosing software for business. Choose it wisely so that you won’t lose money & time. 

Over to you

Did I cover all the aspects? If you have any other factors that you consider when choosing software for your business, feel free to recommend me and other readers below!

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