Productivity Tools for Small Businesses

How to choose the best productivity tools for your small business

Navigating the cluttered landscape of SaaS offerings for small/medium-sized businesses is no small adventure. From stand-alone offerings to existing-service integrations and web extensions, there are a lot of paths from which to choose.

If you’re the lucky soul who will be venturing out, pack light and take a few tips from a seasoned traveler:

Assess your company’s needs

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many businesses head out without a map. I get it. A SaaS claiming to increase productivity 40% or cut waste by 15% can be enticing and feel like an oasis in the desert. But resist the urge to run toward it. Take a step back and evaluate all of your options that will best map to your needs.

Get internal feedback

A solid way to get on the right footing is to get feedback from the people in the trenches. They know the problems personally and are usually the ones coming up with stick-and-tape solutions until the real solution arrives. So get out from behind the online chatter, and go talk to your team. Find out their challenges and what’s really keeping them from hitting their productivity goals or moving up to the next level. They’ll let you know.

Talk to other travelers

A lot of companies will have a list ready to give you, some won’t. Either way, ask for clients in your similar realm and see what has worked—or not worked—for them.

Read the signs along the way

Not so long ago we were reviewing companies for a possible benefits management solution and had narrowed the list to three providers. One clearly stood out in terms of the offering and potential (oasis!). We scheduled a call and began researching the company. Turns out they were in super hot water with regulatory agencies, and while they were working swiftly to address the issues, the company was moving the C-Suite around and at a minimum, the short-term future looked uncertain.

Ask this question:

“Every business loses clients for one reason or another. What is the number one reason your clients abandon your platform and what can we do to avoid that?” Every potential SaaS vendor I have asked this question to has thanked me. They are aching to help you succeed but they also want you to buy what they’re selling. When you ask this question, you are helping them accomplish both of those goals and you find out the hiccups ahead of time.

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