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Buying software is an essential step of any entrepreneur’s journey. And with the software market constantly evolving, small business owners have to thoroughly understand the software purchasing process. Thankfully, three factors have made the process of buying software easier in recent years.
First, the evolution of software as a service (SaaS) has improved the buying process in many ways, including by normalizing free trials. Second, the software market has become increasingly buyer-centric. Users can easily connect with a community of other users on review sites and compare multiple software products. Third, the consumer software market has shifted consumer expectations and conditioned business software buyers to expect high-quality software products across the board.
However, even though these factors improve the software buying experience for business owners and managers, the process still needs to be meticulous. Presented by NCrypted Technology, the following six steps can help ensure you get the most out of your next business software purchase.
Define Your Needs
With your business objectives in mind, define the needs the software should address. Doing so helps you determine the specific type of software to buy.
Some examples of business needs include:
- Effective collaboration
- Inventory management
- Customer relationship management
You can identify these needs by having a conversation with your employees and asking other small business owners in your network about their experiences. Alternatively, you can discuss with your employees how well your current software meets your needs.
Specify Your Software Requirements
Once you define your needs, you’ll likely find that many software products are designed to address them. The next step is to further narrow down the options by determining what you want from the software. Some considerations include:
- Number of users
- Ease of use
- Scaling capability
Fine-tune your software requirements by visiting software review sites and reading reviews from other small business owners with comparable businesses.
Create a Shortlist
Create an initial list containing all the solutions that meet your software requirements. You can start by searching the appropriate category on a software review site. Next, compare each program on the initial list with the others to narrow down the options to five or so products. Shortlisting makes the selection process more manageable.
Select Your Preferred Software
Make your selection. As a final consideration, assess the vendor’s reputation and reliability by reading reviews from customers with business needs that mirror yours. Note any concerns that arise from the reviews. Then, reach out to the vendors to have them address those concerns. Among the legitimate concerns many small business owners have is the extent of the changes in processes, habits, and hardware the software will require. Ask the vendor these and other important questions before you seal the deal.
Get Stakeholder Buy-In
Get stakeholder buy-in before you purchase the software. These stakeholders include employees who will use or maintain the software, managers, and the IT team. Share with them the findings from your software research, and show them what informed your choice. Identify anyone else the purchase will affect and seek their input throughout the process.
Buy the Software
If you do the previous steps correctly, the final one should be straightforward: contact the vendor and initiate the process of buying the software. Review the contract, discuss payment plans, and set aside the funds required to finance the purchase. Depending on the software, the vendor may send a representative to help you get it up and running.
As you can tell, the process of buying software can take much time and effort; however, by following the steps this article outlines, you can be confident that the solution you choose is an excellent match for your business’s needs.
NCrypted Technology is a web application development company that can help your business aim for success. Learn more about our products by website clones.