You wouldn’t buy a semi when a pickup would do the job. And, software for your business is like any other piece of equipment, you need the correct tools for the job right. So, when it comes to shopping for software, the best solution is to consider your business’s end goals for any given application. Figure out exactly what you need to do.
Remember, every small business is different, and there is no one size fits all checklist for what software you will need before opening up shop. However, there are some universal basics all businesses need. But even so, there is some variation among these–depending on your business’s needs.
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Word Processing–Google Docs or Office?
When it comes to sending out billing, writing memos, and producing schedules, every business will need some word processor and spreadsheet generator.
For basic and even some advanced stuff, Google Docs is a free and easy to use option, and it can link with other Google services like Gmail and Google Drive.
Microsoft Word is also a good option, especially if a business plans to produce brochures and fancy fliers on a regular basis.
The next important software decision will be about your accounting software. There are several options, but many business default to QuickBooks.
While QuickBooks is a solid choice for most businesses, there is other accounting software out there that could better serve a particular niche market.
Some accounting software platforms are designed specifically to handle the legal and accounting quirks of a given industry. For example, the alcohol industry is heavily regulated. Any bookkeeping solution that can keep a distillery following the regulations of ATF is beneficial in adhering to the laws.
So before you jump on board with a basic suit, explore your industry and see if there is something specific for your niche.
Security is something that everyone should take seriously. No one wants a data breach where client’s personal information is stolen or company bank accounts being hacked. The best security is taking precautions apart from software such as always enabling two-step authentication, not using the same password for everything, and not clicking on strange links.
Despite this, we all get fooled sometimes. Anti-virus and anti-malware is a good start, but neither should be the only line of defense. Be sure all firewalls are activated on any networked machine. Also, use adblockers via browser extensions. A startling number of malware infections and ransomware attacks are snuck in through ads.
There are several utilitarian odds and ends sorts of software that can help business operations and save money.
- Energy audit software can significantly reduce energy consumption for any business that requires large-scale use of electricity.
- Training software can also be a boon when it comes to getting employees into the field ASAP.
- There are also productivity apps that can be downloaded into company smartphones or tablets issued to workers.
This could make tracking work times and company resources manageable, especially if the business requires several crews to operate away from a centralized location.
Cost and complexity should always be considered before committing to any new software. The old saying, “You get what you pay for,” doesn’t perpetually apply to programs and services.
There are several free versions of programs, like Malwarebytes, which are more than functional. No business wants to spend more money than necessary.
That said, sometimes the paid versions do have a better user interface. If employees can’t effectively use a bit of software to do their jobs, then it isn’t saving money, is it?
Do your research and maybe speak with a consultant before deciding on the more critical pieces of software.