Advice for Startups Who Need New Business Software
Here at Cofficient we are regularly asked about software for startups. Such is the appetite for knowledge from start-up companies; we have started to talk to some local government bodies about creating an education programme for those in need of more information.
It’s nice to see software finally take its place amongst the great and good of business practice. Until recently small organisations might happily have used all their initial funding on building a web site or hiring marketing resource without really considering the engine of their business. Don’t get me wrong, these are good, and necessary things for any organisation to do, but it would be folly to overlook the very thing which could power your business growth. A good company without good software is like a beautiful car without an engine.
So here are my top tips on what a start-up should take into account when considering software:
- Start as you mean to go on. You might have an initial requirement for finance software in order to be compliant or to process invoices. But what happens when you start to build your sales resource? How are you going to keep a track of customers and conversations? When your portfolio of products or services grows, whose role will it be to manage stock or to allocate resource? Instead of planning for today, consider getting some software which will grow with your business so you don’t end up with a glut of software which slows your business growth
- Get rid of the hairball. If you’re one step beyond and already have disparate solutions then think about stopping now before it gets any worse. I have been in companies with literally dozens of software solutions, some of them set up to alleviate the issues created by the others. It might seem like a painful process to rip it up and start again but in most cases this is simply the best solution. The longer you leave it, the more painful it will become and the less likely you are to develop your business the way you need to.
- Consider bespoke last. Every business thinks that they are unique and that no one does what they do in quite the same way. And of course they are both right and wrong. There will be a uniqueness to every business – it’s what makes them good, wins them business, allows them to grow – but when it comes to business processes there is little difference from one business to the next. So rather than reinvent the wheel, sort out your basic business processes and get a software which mirrors that, rather than get stuck with a bespoke system which fails to grow with your business and ends up costing an arm and leg to maintain.
- Make decisions for the right reasons. Go with your gut on this one by all means, but if your accountant is telling you they are refusing to work with anything other than Sage or Xero, or your best sales person is blocking your progress because they don’t want their activity to be tracked, remember who is responsible for the growth and development of the business. Make decisions for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.