By Jenna Puckett
We've all heard the phrase "ignorance is bliss." But when it comes to buying technology for your business, nothing could be further from the truth. Finding the right software, platform, or tool can be an exhausting process, and several common misconceptions can make getting that process started much harder. Remember: what you don't know actually can hurt you—or in this case, your business.
Let's examine some of the common myths and fallacies that prevent business owners from choosing or implementing the best software solution, as well as some tips that'll help you navigate the software market with ease.
Business Software: 5 Common Myths
Myth 1: Only big enterprise companies need business software
No matter the size of your business, there are great tools available to help any organization streamline processes, build a customer base, and increase revenue. Every company needs to manage finances, projects, and customers—whether it's a team of two, twenty, or two thousand.
You don't have to wait until your business has a certain number of employees or amount of revenue to use business software. There is no magic number that qualifies you to start using tools that make your processes easier. If you have a business problem— from accounting to project management to customer relationship management—there's likely a software solution for you.
Myth 2: Business software is too complex
Many business owners assume that you have to be a "tech guru" to use software. Or that it requires a full IT staff and days of training. Though this may have been true at one point, the barrier to entry associated with business software is much lower these days.
The complexity misconception partially stems from myth number one—that only large corporations use business software. Complex enterprise systems are necessary in certain cases, but they're by no means the only option. Thanks to the emergence of cloud computing and the proliferation of mobile technology, software is increasingly accessible for small and medium sized businesses—both in terms of usability and price.
Myth 3: The best business software is the most expensive
Software with a high price tag won't necessarily provide the best value to your business. Again, thanks to cloud computing, many new applications don't require an upfront license purchase or an investment in servers and equipment. Sometimes called Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), this type of solution requires only an Internet connection and a monthly or annual subscription fee.
Additionally, many powerful free and open source tools work just as well, if not better, than their higher-priced counterparts. For example, Trello is a Kanban-style project management platform that is completely free and helps businesses keep track of and organize projects. Insightly is CRM tool for small businesses; it's free for up to three people, but if you need to add more it's just $7 per month per person. The best software certainly does not have to be the most expensive.
Myth 4: Cloud-based business software is not secure
One of the biggest fears that keep businesses from using affordable SaaS is that it's not secure. Wherever you find data, you will always find privacy and security threats. But when managed correctly, cloud storage can facilitate and achieve at least the same levels of data protection that an on-premises set up allows—in many cases more. It behooves vendors to invest in powerful security measures in order to gain their customers' trust, so SaaS security resources often exceed those of the typical small business.
If you're still concerned about security, apply due diligence and verify security certifications and evaluations before selecting a vendor.
Myth 5: You won't know if the software is right until you buy it
Most software vendors now offer free trials of their programs, often with no credit card or other commitment required. If you have trouble deciding on a solution, be sure to take advantage of free trials and software demos. These services let you get in the system and test features to see if they suit your needs.
Aside from free trials, customer reviews are also a helpful way to narrow down your choices. Hearing from other people that have used the technology you're considering will help confirm or refute any concerns you have about a vendor. Additionally, unbiased product analysis from a third party is useful when distinguishing marketing jargon from actual capabilities.
The Bottom Line on Business Software
Finding the right technology for your business is complicated enough, but it can be even more difficult with so much misinformation floating around. The selection process entails a lot of research and analysis and, ultimately, the solution you choose will depend on the problem you're experiencing and the software features you need to solve it.
Sorting out the most common business software misconceptions is a great place to start. But if you find yourself pulling hair while sifting through dozens of vendors, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Thinking you’re alone when it comes to buying business software might just be the biggest myth of all.
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