I know how overwhelming it can be having to wade through all of the different apps out there in the online business world…. You need a booking system, payments, email marketing, CRMs and more! But which one is right for you and your business?
Just because it works for someone else does not mean it will work for you. Yes I have apps and tools I recommend because I know they provide a good level of functionality for those of us in service based online businesses. Before you jump in boots and all and waste a whole heap of time, money and energy, take yourself through the process below.
Step 1 – Define your business requirements
In this first step you need to clearly define what you need.
- What does the app need to do?
- What features does it need to have?
- How do you want it to work?
- Consider your business blueprint and how this will fit in the bigger picture of your business.
- What is your business process and how will the app support that process?
- Are there features that are ‘must have’ vs ‘nice to have’?
- What is your budget?
- What levels of support do you need? (NOTE: Some apps with free plans only provide support for the paid plans).
What other apps does it need to integrate with?
Step 2 – Identify 2-3 possible solutions
Now its time to look at what solutions are out there. Ask your peers, Google, talk to someone like me (check out my resources page if you want some suggestions). But set yourself a time limit because its so easy to go down the rabbit hole here! Identify a couple of good options that on the surface look like they’ll meet your needs and move on to step 3.
Step 3 – Review and compare
Once you’ve identified a few options, compare them your requirements from step 1.
- What requirements does each solution meet and not meet?
- Are these deal breakers or can you compromise on that feature?
- Take time to really consider each of the features and how well each solution will meet your needs
A spreadsheet matrix can be good for this…. Or if you’re so inclined go with your gut instinct.
Step 4 – Implement
Please don’t get too hung up on this step. Do not let your inner perfectionist make this harder for you than it needs to be! Most apps will have a free trial so you can see if it works for you. You’re not locked in if the one that seems best on paper just doesn’t work for you. So give yourself a little time to try it out, test out the features, and see how well it meets your needs.
As your business grows you may outgrow some of the tools you’ve implemented in the past. That’s ok, its all part of the cycle of life. When you get to that stage just start back at step 1 and work through the process again.