We live in a digital world.
Having access to the right apps and programs is crucial when it comes to managing the different operations of a business. From more complex things like shopping carts to the simple to-do list, having the right tool makes all the difference. When searching for the perfect tool, there are primary things to consider before clicking that “download now” button.
1. Functionality and Features
The first and most important thing to consider about a program is its functionality and its features. Ask yourself if the program does everything you need it to do right now but also ask yourself if it is something you can grow with. You don’t want to have a program that stops working for you in a short time frame.
2. Ease of use
Complicated programs don’t get used to their potential and even if that program has all of the features you need, if it’s too complicated and you don’t use it, then it’s not doing you any good.
3. Cost or investment
When you review the cost of a program, be sure to factor in the savings you will incur by using this program vs. others and think about the return on investment. Never look at just the dollar figure and never make a decision about a program purely based on pricing.
Will this program actually work with your equipment? Is it compatible with your operating system? Does it integrate with other programs if that’s needed? If it will impact your client or customer experience, is it compatible to their needs as well? Don’t waste your money on something that isn’t a compatible match.
When looking at tools, you generally want to look at cloud-based applications rather than something that has to be installed on a local machine. If you’re locked into something on a particular machine, then you’re stuck if something happens to it or if you aren’t in the same location to access it.
This is one that is often overlooked by business owners because they think: I don’t want to be responsible for it because I’m not a tech person. Be sure that you maintain ownership and primary access of whatever program you buy. You don’t want to have someone hold the keys to your kingdom and then something happens where you aren’t able to get your information.
7. Data access and exporting
You need to make sure that you have easy access to all of your data and the ability to export it, which can even serve as a form of backup if needed. This way if you need to move on to another program for some reason, you won’t be starting at square one.
You want to make sure that no matter what program you choose, you are looking at something that will be serving you whenever you need it, not just when it’s convenient. If a system has a history of downtime or outages, then you need to steer clear. Be sure to ask colleagues for recommendations and experiences too so you can get a full picture of what you’ll be getting into and check for other customer reviews. Valuable insights can be gained by looking through the eyes of others.
Those are all 8: functionality, ease of use, cost, compatibility, portability, ownership, data access & export, and reliability. Be sure you look at each one of these for any tools you consider, and you’ll be well on your way to making the right choice. It may take a bit more time to research prior to making the decision but it will be worth it not to be sorry for making the wrong choice. Choosing the right tool for the job the first time around always works out better in the end.
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Holly Kile – Marketing Assistant