When Should I Upgrade my Software Tools?
You don’t want your small business to stay small forever. You want your company to grow in line with your ambitions. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming big, you need to ensure that your growth is scalable. If your capability is not equal to demand, it can create a range of problems – mistakes made, paying customers turned away, your team overworked and stressed. And this can tarnish your brand’s burgeoning reputation.
The savvy business owner is constantly re-evaluating the efficacy of their tools, upgrading them where they can, and replacing them when they can’t. But when (and how) should you upgrade your software tools to facilitate business growth?
Know the signs
It’s not like you get a schedule dropping into your inbox when your business starts to grow. By constantly reporting and reviewing your performance metrics, you’re perfectly positioned to identify signs of growth from increased product demand to positive sentiment on social media.
However, one thing you may not be able to see from your office is how well your tools are coping with your newfound growth. Talk to the frontline employees who are using your tools, and keep an ear out for the following signs that could bottleneck future growth:
You and your team often get frustrated with the tool.
The tool creates friction that is detrimental to the customer experience.
You and your team spend too much time solving problems with the tool, and it has begun to affect productivity.
The operational, productivity and monetary costs of keeping the tool are less than the costs associated with replacing it.
Identify your limitations
The tools you invest in to get your new business off the ground may not meet your requirements several years later. It’s important to take the time to identify the specific limitations of each tool, so that you can find ways to overcome them.
What exactly is wrong with the tools you use? Are they slow? Do they integrate poorly with your software architecture? Are they glitchy or unreliable? How do they create barriers or bottlenecks to productivity?
Asking these questions will help you to understand what you expect from your upgrades or replacements.
Use the cloud wherever possible
The main barrier to upgrading or replacing your equipment, of course, is cost. This is why cloud-based solutions are perfect for businesses in transitional periods, on the cusp of growth. These allow you to scale your provision in line with your growth, so that you’re never stuck with excess costs or tools that are surplus to requirements. They’re also affordable, and easy to implement with minimal disruption and downtime.
Identify the right tools for your needs
Finally, it’s essential to identify the right tools to suit your changing needs. While these will depend on the nature of your business, we have some recommendations that will hopefully benefit GoCardless customers.
Xero is a cloud-based accounting software platform ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. It uses a single unified ledger, so you can work on your accounts wherever you are – including through Xero’s smartphone apps. In Australia, you can integrate it with Single Touch Payroll.
Sellbrite makes inventory management and order fulfilment easy and frictionless, with a host of multi-channel reporting tools. It enables businesses to list and sell products across multiple marketplaces from a centralised platform. With some packages free of charge, Sellbrite will be an excellent option for early stage, small businesses. The tool is very easy to integrate with existing technology, including Shopify, Google, Ebay and more.
Selling products online means spending a lot of time and effort on creating shipping labels, packing and sending orders. Shipstation is Australia's most 5-star reviewed shipping software. It helps you save time and money by managing, importing and shipping orders in one place, integrating seamlessly with a wide range of eCommerce platforms.
Scaling up your business may mean scaling up your workforce. But this needn’t come with massive overheads. Freeeup gives businesses access to a huge pool of vetted and talented freelancers at reasonable prices - every freelancer on the platform is interviewed and vetted by the team at Freeeup.
Who is GoCardless?
If you’re interested in finding out more about business growth, scalability or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.