How to buy online business software for your small business?

computer_problem.jpgWhen you start your business you’ll need to consider what software and which online services you need, i.e. online accounting software, web-hosting, online shop, business planning software, invoicing and much more. Before you do so you need to know what you are looking for.

Many buy their software if and when they need it, rather than planning the software needs and then looking for a good offer for a complete offering, it becomes more of a sequential process, which, in the end will turn out quiet costly in more ways than one.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Software Cost – don’t look only at the initial price! What happens when you want to add users, send more invoices or want more bank accounts? Many software vendors work on the principle get them in with a free offer for one user and then charge high subscription prices for the next user. Have a look around, there are enough ‘unlimited’ offers around – compare prices.
  2. Software Features & Modules – rather than buying single applications, like accounting software by itself, buy software that offers integrated modules and gives you most of what your business needs, like accounting software integrated with online shop and address book – it saves time and money.
  3. Multi-user Software – you need to be able to restrict what different users can see. When you are the business owner, you may not be too happy to share your bank balances with all employees, while you would want them to write invoices. Remember that marketing speak can be very deceptive.
  4. Software Mashup (Mess) – due to limitations in certain software applications, we hear more and more about software mash-up. Don’t let this fool you, it means extra software cost, very limited choice and the possibility of lots and lots of technical issues. Unless you are a software geek, don’t go there.
  5. Software and Data Integration – when you buy individual programs your user data needs to get from one to the other program. Re-keying data is very unproductive, costs a lot of time and with that money, exporting and importing data is going to lead to data loss eventually. An integrated solution is really the only option for a serious business owner.

Value for Money – is more than just comparing prices, it’s about what your business needs and what you have to pay for it, now and in the future. Every business has basic needs, accounting, sales, website, email, business planning, cash-flow planning, buy it piece by piece and it’s going to be expensive – buy it in one package and you’ll save much money and prevent many wasted hours on IT integration and frustration.

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