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Identifying the Right Software for Your Small Business | Webinar Recap

Identifying the Right Software for Your Small

Thanks to all the attendees of our February webinar, Identifying the Right Software for Your Small Business, featuring Marc Prosser, from Fit Small Business.

If you missed the webinar, you can view the video playback on our Kabbage KamWebinars YouTube Channel and view the slides on our SlideShare. Both the slides and video are also embedded at the bottom of this article for you. 

 

How Do You Define Which Software is Right for Your Small Business?

There are tons of small business software on the market – so how do you pick the best for your business? You have to consider these 4 things: features, pricing, ease of use, reliability and customer support.

Now, before you dive into specific products, take a step back and pin down what you’re really looking for. Write it down!

Define the main problem you’re trying to fix. Ask yourself these 7 questions;

  1. Are you trying to save money?
  2. What is the core functionality you need from the software?
  3. What peripheral features are and aren’t important?
  4. Do you need a specific feature to work better?
  5. Are you looking for better customer support?
  6. Once you buy the software, which features will you actually use?
  7. Cost aside, what is the software worth to your business?

 

Ease-of-use: Whenever Possible, Try it Out

Figure out if you can use it right away, or whether it’ll take time to get it working. Whenever possible, try a demo or monthly trial. Make sure to read customer reviews as these can be very helpful. However, keep in mind that it’s easier to find for reviews for established products. Too many features can often make things difficult. Remember: bells and whistles often come with a steep learning curve!

 

Support: How Much Do You Need?

For something your business relies on, you’ll want to be able to talk to someone and quickly resolve issues. Phone support is one of the most common areas that get skimped on. Make sure that you can get the support you’re looking for.

 

Pricing: When to Prioritize

Don’t skimp on the features you need. Price should not be your top priority when it gets in the way of having a reliable, functional product you can use. Look beyond the sticker price: it’s common to charge more for ‘bonus’ features or add-ons, even when those features are essential to your business.

 

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) Phone Systems

VoIP

Traditional landlines are much more expensive than VoIP systems and typically include fewer features. Just make sure your internet can handle VoIP calls before you make the jump.

 

Recommended VoIP Systems

Nextiva

 

RingCentral

 

Phone.com

Other VoIP Providers You Should Check Out

  • 8×8, Inc
  • Ooma
  • Jive
  • Grasshopper

 

Recommended CRM Software

Best CRM for Small Business

Don’t get overwhelmed by features! Know what you’re looking for. The purpose of CRM is to manage your sales process, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

Insightly: #1 Recommendation

This is the top recommendation and Fit Small Business even uses it for its own business. This CRM system is easy to use, inexpensive at $12/month per user, and great for managing the sales process. The only drawback is that it’s not as customizable or specialized as some of the alternatives.

Insightly

 

Zoho: A Salesforce Alternative

This CRM is customizable and feature-rich. It’s more expensive than Insightly but much cheaper than Salesforce. However, it’s not as easy-to-use as Insightly.

Zoho

 

Other CRM Providers You Should Check Out

  • Salesforce: Expensive, but customizable
  • Nimble: Strong social media integrations
  • Base: Great mobile app
  • Hatchbuck: Good for online stores

 

Recommended Website Builders

A lot of small business owners find running a website intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. In 2016, it’s easier than ever to set up a website using a website builder. More tech-savvy business owners can also consider using a platform such as WordPress. Price estimate usually range from $10-$15/year (don’t include domain costs).

 

Weebly: #1 Recommendation

Weebly is easy-to-use, it has a drag & drop interface, it’s inexpensive as you can get the $10/month pro plan, and their customer support is very responsive. The only drawback is that it’s not quite as customizable as WordPress.

 

Weebly

 

Wix: Another Easy Website Builder

Wix is easy-to-use and flexible. It’s very similar to Weebly in price and functionality, however, it has some issues with SEO and load times.

Wix

 

WordPress: Using a Web Platform

WordPress is more customizable but requires a more tech-savvy person to manage. WordPress is free but hosting runs at about $7-8/month. Fit Small Business recommends building a theme with Themify for $49.

WordPress

 

Recommended eCommerce Sites

Website builders can handle online sales, but if eCommerce is your main business, Fit Small Business recommend using Shopify or BigCommerce. Keep in mind that these platforms aren’t quite as easy to use as a basic site builder. Plans range from $29/month to $179/month. You can learn more in Fit Small Business’ Best eCommerce Platform Buyer’s Guide.

 

Recommended Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems

POS systems have come a long way in the past few years. Modern systems offer a complete package to retailers, including tools for managing inventory, employees, and customers. Don’t let these distract from the core POS feature: handling payments.

Ask yourself this question: Do you want a basic POS or one with more robust features beyond just handling payments?

 

Lightspeed: #1 Recommendation

Lightspeed is feature-rich, but it’s easy-to-use. It’s reasonably priced, starting at $89/month and their registers range from $1100-$1700. They offer excellent inventory and purchase management tools.

Lightspeed

Square Register: An Entry POS System

Square is inexpensive, easy-to-use, and reliable. No monthly charge, but 3% processing fee. Their registers run from $1000-$1400. A great basic POS system for small retailers.

Square

Takeaways

  • Buying decisions are rarely straightforward. Software providers will woo you with fancy features and charge extra for essentials.
  • For key functions for your business, prioritize reliability and customer support.
  • Ease-of-use – if you don’t have the technical skills and the time to commit to learning a software, you’re not going to take full advantage of it.
  • Lower prices are always a plus, but not at the expense of key features or reliability.

 

Fit Small Business Do the Research. So You Don’t Have To.

  • Fit Small Business vets dozens of software options for you. Their writers often spend 2-3 weeks researching buyer’s guides.
  • The company’s website offers small businesses research on everything from CRM software to which job boards to use.

 

Want to Learn More? Check Out These Great Guides:

  • Best VoIP Provider
  • Best CRM Software
  • Best Website Builder
  • Best POS System
  • Best eCommerce Platform

 

We hope you found the information that Marc provided usefully, and that you now have a better idea on how to identify the software solutions that are right for your business. To learn more about Fit Small Business, visit their website.

Have questions about how Kabbage small business working capital can help grow your small business? Leave us a comment on Twitter: @KabbageInc, or email us at webinars@kabbage.com. You can also sign-up for our free small business newsletter to get access to more webinars and business tips by entering your email in the form at the top of the sidebar of this blog.

Thanks for listening in, we hope to see you next time!

 

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.