Often I get inquiries about our dog daycare and boarding software that include the phrase "we want pet care software that does everything".
I have a little joke I sometimes share in response, and it goes like this: "Google is working on that". The implication is that Google is working on software that does everything. Every conceivable task for every industry. An ALL-in-one solution. (Kind of like super-sizing your lunch. Bigger, but not necessarily better). Of course they are not. That's why there are well over 100,000 software companies in the U.S. alone, building tools for different needs in different industries.
The truth is, no software does everything, even within it's industry niche. Yes, some are better than others for certain types of customers. Some do more, some do less, some are more user-friendly software, some are less. Some you pay more for, some less.
Here at Gingr, we use at least 15-20 different software/apps. Here's a partial list:
Slack (team communication), RingCentral (telephony), Join.me (screen sharing, online meetings), Agile (CRM), Gusto (payroll), googledocs/Drive, MS Office, YouTube (video-sharing), Trello, Asana, FreshDesk, SquareSpace; Zapier, MoonClerk, Stripe, Squarecash (for paying each other for lunch) .... (this does not even count what the developers use, and I'm sure I am missing some anyway).
Now you may not need that many software/apps, but here's the point: pick the right tools for the right job. No software will do everything, even with respect to your specific industry. So why not use the best tool for the right job?
Here's a process you might go through:
- Define your needs. Where is your pain? Is it time on the phone? Data entry? What are most important functions or operations that you can streamline and automate as best as possible? What tool or tools will do the most important functions?
- You might need several tools to complete a larger task* (i.e, running your business). Have a software toolkit. Use the right software(s) for the right task(s).
- Have a selection of tools at your disposal in case of emergency*. It's good to have a back-up plan.
- When a new tool is created that does the task better or faster or makes your life easier, learn about it, assess it, use it if it's the right fit.
- You only get the full effectiveness out of some tools if use them together* (like a hammer and a chisel to carve a sculpture). For example, we use Zapier to integrate our online forms with our CRM and project management tools).
- There are more tools than anyone one person could use in a lifetime, but some will become indispensable to your practice.*
(*attribution to Kim Cofino's post at: http://kimcofino.com/blog/2008/01/19/the-technology-toolbox-choosing-the-right-tool-for-the-task/)
In general, I look for solutions that have the following attributes:
1. Automate tasks when possible and appropriate.
2. Empowers other people to enter the data and find information when they need it.
3. Searchable, easy to find information.
4. Simplify my life/work.
5. Easy(er) to learn (full disclosure, I used to be a technophobe.)
6. Replicable and scaleable as my business/activity grows.
I feel very fortunate to work for a company that provides a software service that meets the above criteria. We don't do everything, though, and I'm always happy to help a prospective customer identify other tools to help them succeed.
What software/apps are you using to help make your life and work easier and more successful? Let me know!