How to determine which online tools are right for your business

Anyone who says that their business runs itself, who talks about automation, content, or integrations, will have an army of online business tools that are working tirelessly behind the scenes to do achieve all of that.

There is a never ending supply of tools, software, and apps that are all promoting themselves to be the best solution for your business. The thing is, they are all slightly different, and it’s not as simple as picking one out of a hat, or using the same ones that Joe Bloggs is using.

You need the best thing you can get that will work for your business, and that isn’t going to put a hole in your bank account.

So before you go and rush out the door and sign up to the next big thing, run through the following list.

Make a list of must-have features

These are the non-negotiables. The thing that this software MUST be able to do for your business. What problems do you need it to solve? Consider how it will fit into your way of doing things. Does it need to ‘talk’ to another system?

Create a list of all the luxury or nice to have features

Let your imagination go wild. If you could have this software do anything, what would it be? What will make your life easier? What is your budget?

Review your existing tools

We all have tools in our business that we are not using to their full capacity (it’s amazing the list of tools we have once you start to list them out!). Note down all of your current tools, then run a quick review to make sure that they are not capable of the things in your must-have list.

TIP: This is also a great way to work out if you even need to keep all the tools you are paying for! Look at what you are using and see if you can condense the list down at all – you might be surprised at how much money you are investing in software subscriptions each month!

Do your research

Just because it works for Joe Bloggs, doesn’t mean that it is the right choice for you. You need to spend some time researching what tools are out there. This is the bit that can get overwhelming. But you now know what you are looking for so when going through your choices, make sure that the software has ALL of your must haves, and if you are lucky some of your luxury requests to! Having these lists also makes it easier to ask for advice.

Test before you commit

Most tools these days come with a free trial or a no questions asked, money back guarantee. If you are struggling to choose between two or three, sign up for the trials. See what is available inside the platform, what their support is like, how easy the interface is (how easy it is to use).

By spending some time planning exactly what you will need, you will be less likely to be disappointed with the decisions you make, or worst still, end up with a list of tools that you are not using or not using to their full extent.

To help get you started, download our free Online Tool Assessment worksheet!

Pip Meecham

Systems and Operations Specialist & Founder of ProjectBox