Productivity, Start Up / New to Business, Technology, Xero

How to Select Apps for Your Business

We love cloud computing (not just accounting) and the rise of SaaS means that you can build solutions for your business as the need arises.  If you’re still not sure what The Cloud is check out last week’s blog here.

Selecting applications can be a never-ending task, ask your friends in business what they use and you will likely get a myriad of recommendations, all coming with free trial periods.  It can be tempting to try out all of them.  Here are our tips to get on with the job and get the most out of your apps

  • Don’t let building your Ecosystem get in the way of your business: You need to keep your business moving, start with simply getting sales on the board and implement app solutions one at a time.
  • Know your needs: It can be tempting to go for an app with all the bells and whistles, even if you don’t currently need or perhaps will never need one.  Most importantly, put off searching for a solution until you have a clear idea of the problem you’re wanting to solve.  Focus on workflows over features – then you can better compare options in the marketplace
  • Ask your peers:Whether they be people in similar business with similar needs or entrepreneurs in a completely different industry, you can gain a lot by asking people how they’ve solved a common problem.

We do this often with a group of likeminded accountants and bookkeepers – it’s amazing what you can learn from each other so don’t be afraid to ask or share how you’ve overcome a problem

  • Sometimes you have to pay:Whilst many apps offer free plans (often with limited features) don’t make a decision based purely on price.  Consider the cost but also the value and ensure that the app will adequately solve your problem.  Cheaper can mean more work (and money) down the track.
  • Don’t be scared to give feedback: Many of the developers of apps are start-ups too, so they love hearing from customers about bottlenecks or features that they wish were available.  You might need to wait a while for changes to be developed but remember feedback from customers is always gold.  Smaller companies can also be easier to get hold of too.

We use a Brisbane start-ups document management software and love that we’re able to have conversations with the founders and developers about our ‘wish list’.  We then get regular updates with where they’re at with developing new features.

  • Integrate where possible: This is where an Ecosystem truly brings value.  By integrating apps they work together to bring more efficiency to your business.  When deciding between apps if some options will integrate with existing apps you use then you’ll likely get greater value from them.
  • Communicate: Implement one app at a time and ensure everyone is not only is using the app but is also using it the same way.  If your team is having difficulty adopting an app tell them the reasons that its in your business.  What problem does it solve?  Why did you pick this one out of all the other options? How can it help them in their work and have you provided any training?

We hope that got you thinking and gave you some ways to think about how to select apps for your business.  Next week we’re taking a look at some of our favourite apps and what we use everyday in our business.

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