For a lot of small businesses, investing in custom software solutions can feel like overkill, especially if you’re growing. However, custom software solutions can be an excellent resource for small businesses, providing tailored solutions to issues that could be difficult to overcome with out-of-the-box solutions.

While custom software can run a little more expensive than out-of-the-box offerings, it can more than pay for itself, and doesn’t need to cost your small business a lot of money.

What are custom software solutions?

Custom software is software that is dedicated to solving a particular problem for a particular business. It can be adapted from, or built on, an out-of-the-box solution, but can run for a much smaller organisation, which some out-of-the-box solutions can struggle to do. If your organisation needs a particular software, but the out-of-the-box option is too expensive and too much to address your specific concerns, custom software is the way to go.

Smaller businesses have unique, complex operational issues that bigger businesses might not strictly run into. Inventory management, customer relationship management, or order processing software will all run differently for a big retailer, whereas smaller businesses could run into issues with using that same software to target their specific audience, location, or to tailor the software to their company culture.

What are some examples of custom software?

Any software can be customised – you just need to know which part of your business could benefit from custom software solutions.

  • Mobile app – if you’re finding it difficult to oversee operations in a way that minimises downtime, a mobile app that integrates with your existing ERP or CRM system could help create a much better understanding of business operations. 
  • Customer service chatbot – as your business grows, the demand on your customer service department will likewise grow, so offloading some of that strain onto automated, custom software that works with your existing website can really help prevent bottlenecks in your operation. 
  • Workflow management – if you have a system in place for your workflow, such as triggering one task after the completion of another, custom automated software can remove the initial, manual entry of the parent tasks, making it fully automated, and freeing up time for your project managers to focus on other aspects of your business. 
  • Custom dashboard – different departments may be using different software to analyse data, which a small program could then collate into one dashboard for easier viewing and an overall more nuanced understanding of your business in general.

How does custom software help business?

Regardless of company size, businesses will need to leverage technology in order to grow and meet the demands placed on them by their consumers. A big aspect of answering demand is placed on software that tracks your inventory, software that is used for customer service, software that you use internally, and software that manages your data and analytics.

However, this software is designed to address a specific set of demands and nuances that may not necessarily be ones that your business is facing at the moment. Small businesses vary significantly from larger ones in more than just company size: they can address very niche audiences, be located in different markets, and work in ways that fall outside of the norm, and thus outside of the scope of out-of-the-box software.

Custom software, on the other hand, is designed to work with your specific circumstances and company, and thus can maximise your profits with a minimum of loss and error.

How do I start with custom software?

Custom software is most beneficial when it addresses a specific problem that the business needs to address, so to get started with custom software that will actually make a difference to your organisation, you need to look inwards and see where your issues stem from. Are different departments finding it difficult to access each other’s data? Is there a lot of information that gets misrepresented across the organisation? Once you have that answer, you can start building a custom software solution that will address that problem.

Pros of custom software:

  • Significantly boosts productivity and efficiency.
  • Reduces the risk of error and increases accuracy and accountability across the organisation.
  • Integrates disparate software and processes together for seamless functionality.
  • Increased opportunities for small businesses to flourish and thus scale up without running the risk of having to continuously upgrade your systems.
  • Beneficial in the long-term and can grow with your business.

Cons of custom software:

  • Initial costs can be higher than out-of-the-box solutions.

Will custom software help my business?

Yes. Custom software will always benefit your business, regardless of what that software has been designed to do.

If you’re interested in branching out into custom software, or you have a business that’s struggling with one specific aspect, reach out – we’re happy to help you figure out a solution that benefits you.

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