No matter what industry you’re in, starting a business has its challenges. Initially, you may be working with a small team that wears many hats and needs to accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently. The cost of not doing so can be a loss of customers, revenues, and even the closure of your business.
In the retail sector alone, more stores — nearly 6,000 — closed from January to mid-April 2019 in the U.S. than shuttered in all of 2018. With all this at stake, and with your internal IT team likely already stretched to the limit, software development companies can help by creating custom software that will make your and your employees’ jobs easier, faster, and more effective, increasing the likelihood of business success.
Here are five reasons to hire one.
1. Greater Efficiency
When you use customized software for tasks like customer management, project management, marketing, online store, analytics, helpdesk, and scheduling, you get to make it fit the way you work, rather than the other way around. For example, say your scheduling application doesn’t have a way to consider how certain employees interact together.
In other words, you only want Joe to work when Clara is also available because Clara is Joe’s mentor. A custom scheduling application can incorporate such functionality and much more.
When you have these tools designed specifically for your company’s needs, you save time, money, and aggravation that might otherwise take you and your staff away from achieving the company mission. The software can even be designed to help you complete more than one task, making you and your workers that much more efficient.
2. Greater Agility
Custom software enables you to modify the way you work as your business changes. The best bespoke software has built-in features that allow you to expand or customize its use. So, when you open a new store, create a new division, put out a new product line, you’re ready to go without software limitations to hold you back.
The compatibility of custom applications is key to company transitions as well. With two or more programs that can “talk to” each other, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll make it work when, for example, two departments with their own applications merge.
3. Risk Management
Software development isn’t something just anyone in your company can take on. As a time-consuming task that requires specific knowledge, custom development is something that even your IT team (assuming you have one) may not be able to tackle.
If you turn such a critical assignment over to the wrong professionals — talented though they may be in other areas — you risk losing time, money, and effort that could be better spent on core endeavors that will help your company flourish.
On the other hand, a firm that specializes in these skills can create and support software that is likely to add value to your startup without diminishing your ability to take advantage of it. Such a firm will dedicate all of its resources to your project, unlike your IT staff, which may need to fit it in between other priorities.
Additionally, when you use off-the-shelf software, you’re taking a risk with security since hackers target these well-known programs. Custom-designed software is less likely to be susceptible to hackers because it’s less-known to them and because added security features can be built-in.
4. Cost Savings
Bespoke software development enables companies to cut costs in a variety of ways. Sure, you’ll spend upfront on the initial development. But, given that each employee will become more efficient, you’ll be able to reduce labor costs.
With the right applications in place, you’ll be able to cut down on things like marketing spend, customer care, and maintenance for your online store. With custom analytics, you can better understand how your business is impacted by various factors and make smart decisions accordingly.
More importantly, you’ll avoid making costly mistakes that happen when you don’t have the right data available or an easy way to understand it.
5. Happier Customers
All of the above leads to the most important element in any company’s success: happy customers. When you’re able to respond to their demands and requests at a faster rate, they will appreciate and reward you for that effort.
When you keep their data safe and secure, they’ll recognize you as a stable resource. And when you can efficiently provide customer service and online interfaces that reflect perfect user experience, you’ll get repeat customers, referrals, and even evangelists willing to amplify your sales and marketing efforts.
Given that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for better customer experience, these happier customers can potentially, in turn, generate additional revenue per purchase.
A common image of a startup is a scrappy DIY operation that relies on the considerable skills of its enthusiastic and hard-working employees to do everything needed to get the business off the ground.
But outsourcing can be a smart choice when a particular task takes away from the ability of those talented employees to perform the functions that will actually move the business forward. Software development providers are just one type of outsourced service that can be a worthwhile investment that ultimately propels a startup to success.