How to Buy Business Software

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Scenario: "Dude, you gotta buy our CRM software. You'll make kabillions. Yay!" Most software firms from sea to shining seas promise you riches if you buy their software. They tell you their stuff will make your bottom line super happy; and if you don't buy it, you'll lose lots and lots of future money. Yet, what they don't tell you: the dark side of business software. An overwhelming majority of software tech investments ultimately lose businesses money. A primary reason? Tech companies peddling their wares as one-size-fits-all business tools to unsuspecting businesspeople. Think hard about adopting any software for your business; in most cases, you won't need it. Instead, get software that will only complement your already-thriving business. Rule of thumb: If you can get by without software, you're doing super excellent.

"What's the problem with business software?"

Think back to the days of Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Sam Walton, and David Packard. The dudes started with zero computers -- much less software for their businesses. Some of you badasses now might be asking: "How in the mutha could they cope?" Simple. They ran their businesses by focusing on the basics:
  • Driving sales.
  • Keeping employee morale up.
  • Boosting team performance.
  • Strengthening customer relationships.
  • Building a factory of innovation.
  • Reducing/eliminating debt.
  • Investing ahead of the curve.
  • Providing healthy work environments.
Business software? Non-existent. The boom in software happened in the 70s. Those companies had already been thriving for decades. Why? Software played absolutely no role to creating those successful businesses. So, people peddling pricey software like it's some magic pill are probably tricking you into fattening their own bottom lines -- not yours. Keep in mind: You can live without software, and still build a really kick-ass business by focusing on the basics. Software's role then? Think of it this way:

Software can't start your car. It can only accelerate it.

Most businesses spend recklessly when approaching software products. The common theme:
  1. Bossy Barbie: Yo! We're starting our business. What do we need?
  2. Manager Mikey: I think we'll need a CRM system.
  3. Bossy Barbie: And a contact database system. And a project management system. Then a customer feedback application.
  4. Manager Mikey: And, something to send Christmas cards. And, something to keep track of customer birthdays. Yay!
  5. Bossy Barbie: Done! Let's buy, buy, buy! Yay!
So what do they do? Two scenarios could happen:
  1. They wait, and wait, and wait, until: "We're ready with everything in place so we can soar higher than an eagle!"

    That prevents them from doing anything -- like building a customer base, driving sales, fattening cash flow to live another month.
  2. They start their businesses while the software programmers develop their applications.

    And when the applications finish, what happens? "Dang. We didn't need that thing after all, huh?" Money = drainage = sucky.
Not to mention: complexity getting in the way of core features. The minute you speculate what software you need, that's the minute you slap yourself. So how do I approach business software? Do this sucka:

Imagine You're Stuck in the 1920s.

Your ancient butt has no computers, software, yadda, yadda, yadda. All you have is: [whatever sweet products/services you're providing]. So, instead of worrying about what software products you need, you focus on the business basics: Hiring, managing, leading, selling, innovating, etc. You use paper and index cards to organize your information. You start building a system by hand to handle your information. "I'll track customer orders using this form, and ordering it with this bin," you tell your badass. "And over in that bin, I'll track my inventory of apples and oranges." Soon, you start building one-freakin'-rocking-sweet and efficient system that empowers your organization with information on-demand. And, that's where technology finally comes in: creating a faster system to handle that sweet information. Remember: if your business can live without software, you're doing amazingly awesome. To boost your business even further, get software that accelerates your already-thriving business.

Most software = blah. Super-totally-customized software that speaks-to-my-company's oh-so-fabulous-heart = thumbs up.

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Posted on December 19

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