How to choose the right tools for your business
Every modern organization relies on a great variate of different tools they use. Some more complex, some pretty simple. Especially in the recent years, the importance of using the right tools to fulfil your business service can make or break the growth of your business. Having an eye on sites like TechCrunch and Crunchbase, reveals the massive amounts of money flowing into that market – for a good reason.
In this article I am going to highlight what the most important factors for us and our clients are when choosing the right software to stick with for the coming years of growth.
How to choose
In this flourishing market of new and shiny software, one can get distracted very easily by the latest marketing campaign of a cool looking tool that seems to solve every struggle that we ever had in business.
At Workflowed, my current consulting company for structure and automation, we test A LOT of tools for us and our clients to make sure what we recommend and implement is the best for the need and nothing less. We have tested just over 100 tools this year alone.
And let’s be honest… I love testing tools. It is fascinating to see a bunch of people creating something so amazing out of pure thought, raising hundreds of millions and shooting the company within a few years to an IPO. Hint: That might be my journey another day, too.
Back to topic: What should you to look out for when testing tools?
I guess that one is pretty self explaining. The tool should do what you require it to do, and nothing less. Try the edges, play through different scenarios and find out where the tool has the limits. This last part is very important and don’t save the time on it. There’s nothing more painful in that regard than finding a new tool, setting everything up and figuring out after a few days that this one key function is not supported – and the search starts again.
2. Company Growth
This one might not the most intuitive, but it is indeed very influential if you want to have a tool that growths with you – and the market. If you have a close look at the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry and the Venture Capital investments, you see that things are moving fast. What might be up-to-date today could be outdated and slow already next year. Sticking to the wrong key-tool can mean of loss of a competitive advantage in your business, unnecessary high overhead due to more staff needed and simply less efficiency – nothing of which we’d like to have in business.
Therefore, we take this factor for us and clients into account: Looking at the software company now, will the future likely be more or less exciting?
A great example of this is ClickUp, our no. 1 Go-to tool for Project Management. They are generally a simply amazing tool that leaves all the Asana, Trello and co. in the dust – and they just raised another $400 million. I am pretty sure the future with them will be roses, and there’s no alternative that could currently come close to that. We manage our whole business with it, easily.
3. API Access
Yes, this one is big, too. But generally highly overlooked for most small companies – but it leaves so much on the table if not considered.
A good API basically means that your tool of choice can communicate with your other tools of choice, which allows them to do work without you being involved. Means, things get done by themselves – I love that thought, don’t you, too?
But, you don’t need to be able to program anything, not at all. And that is also not the goal. We usually look for Integrations with Zapier and, preferably for us, Integromat. After finding a tool that I think could be good, I type in Google “Tool X Integromat” to open the page with an overview of automation. If the tool does not have any Zapier or Integromat integrations, or no API at all, that’s a no-go. No API means manual work and manual work is very, very ineffective.
Let me get that point in since I believe it is very important:
The world is changing in an always increasing speed. Technologies become better, bigger and more complex. This is part of the universe, entropy, and does not stop in business. Things moved from Analog to Digital. Currently, everything becomes more automated. The next step, which is already partly in our lives and slowly finds its way into the everyday-business world, is automation. Things don’t move backwards, and you shouldn’t either.
This is a two-edged sword. On the one side, we shouldn’t really care about the pricing of the tool if the ROI (time savings per month x cost of labor – costs of tool per month) is positive. This is the most significant part. If you are afraid of spending money on things that make you money, we have to rethink that approach.
On the other side, we have to check in if the price is over the edge. One example was a time tracking solution we were testing and working with. Our clients needed the higher plan due to certain features, but after we internally calculated the total monthly pricing of almost $200 we simply refused to recommend this tool to our client and continued looking for an alternative. Project Management $200 per month, sure, simple time tracking with dashboard, surely not. Our research lead to an even better tool that did not even cost half of the other one and had more features – win-win.
Picking the right software for your company might take a little more time and thought than initially considered, but it is often more than worth it. Take the time, test and find the one that works best for you. It will, when you choose wisely, accelerate your company to the next level. I can promise you, since this is a major part of our company Workflowed and our clients results speak for themselves (feel free to check them out yourself on our website to get a feeling for it).