What to consider when investing in a new app

As a small business owner, you have to balance keeping an eye on your bottom line and an eye on your limited time. There are apps for absolutely everything these days, some of which are game-changers, but before you commit, here are some things to consider.

We love tech. We wouldn’t be in our line of work if we didn’t. We spend a lot of our time learning about new tools, techniques, and ways to save time and money for small businesses. It all comes down to ROI. The right software can save you hours every week, but only if you purchase the right tool for the job. You may think it’s a straightforward choice, but we urge you to consider these questions before any major app adoption… yes, even if it’s free, because your time most certainly isn’t!

  1. Will this tool save me time? Time is 100% your greatest and scarcest resource (even when it doesn’t feel like it). Anything that can help you free up time through automation or simplification is fantastic. If it won’t, do you really need it?
  2. Will it fix a problem? If you are constantly coming up against the same issue, fixing that problem should be your priority. If the app you’re looking at doesn’t deal with this, it may not be the priority right now, but it will depend on your answer to the top question.
  3. Does it come with a trial? Be highly suspicious of anything that doesn’t come with a free trial. You need to get in there, even with limited functionality, and see that it does what you think it does and that you understand how to use it.
  4. Is it tricky to learn? We worked with hundreds of apps over the years and, between the team, we’re pretty confident we can pick anything up (although we have abandoned many tools because they actually cost us more time than they saved – see question 1!), but depending on your level of tech-savviness, you may not be in the same boat. If it’s quick to learn, great! If it will take you 6 months to get to grips with it, do you really have that time commitment? If you have a tool you don’t know how to use, we can train you or your team to get you up to speed.
  5. Does it work with your current systems? There is nothing worse than buying a new app only to discover that it won’t work with your other tech pieces. A single purchase can cascade into a high-priced total tech overhaul if you’re not careful. Before you purchase, check if it has in-built integrations and, if not, if you can connect it through third-party platforms, such as Zapier or Make.
  6. What is the conversion process? Many systems offer a free expert to convert you from one system to another. For example, in email marketing, ConvertKit will move you over from Drip, MailerLite will be able to import from MailChimp etc. Accounting and email marketing software usually offer this, but it’s worth checking across all apps. The time needed to move across to a different platform can add up and should be considered a part of the initial cost.
  7. How long has the product been around? Never willingly be a guinea pig! If something has just been launched, it will be heralded as the best thing ever. It probably even has glowing reviews from people who received free versions or were otherwise incentivized. Wait 6 months minimum to see if the wheels come off the bus.
  8. How established is the company behind it? This is an offshoot of question 7, but worth its own spot. If a company is brand new, they may not stick around. In the tech space, things are moving fast; companies boom and bust constantly. New companies will often try to tempt you with extremely discounted lifetime subscriptions but only go for it if you are happy to lose that money.
  9. What customer support do they offer? Again, depending on your level of tech knowledge, this may or may not be a deal-breaker. If you aren’t 100% comfortable diving in solo, make sure that there is a functioning customer support option. If there isn’t, check Facebook and forums to see if you will be able to get any help you need there.

Next steps

Nothing beats the feeling of connecting an amazing new piece of software that works with your existing systems and takes a task out of your hands, but with the internet offering a non-stop supply of new, shiny things for us small business owners to buy, it’s important to keep focused on what helps you with that next step.

If you want to talk tech purchases, integrations or training, email us or book a meeting and we’ll get your technology superpowering your business.

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