Choose the right business tools with 3 simple rules

The dilemma of choice

If you’re working on a startup these days, you’ve probably tried to navigate your way through the process of selecting the right business tools. And it typically goes something like this:

  • Step 1: Google it
  • Step 2: Sign up for multiple free trials
  • Step 3: Develop a minor brain aneurysm from information overload

I’d be lying if I told you that we went through a comprehensive evaluation of business tools when we decided to adopt Trello and Intercom during the early days of ServisHero.

The reality is we typically picked the option with the longest trial period, borrowed student email addresses, shared accounts between the entire team and just hacked our way towards getting things to work. Software Bootstrapping 101.

However, time is money. And while you’re trying to evaluate which software is perfect, you could be using that time to actually get shit done. So here are a few tips to help guide your decision making.

1. Keep stretching till it hurts

Yes, I know the startup you previously worked at used Zendesk and Salesforce but try holding out as long as you can. You don’t need Salesforce when a Google sheet is sufficient to track your sales funnel. Neither do you need Zendesk when you’re responding to ten support emails a day.

Stressing your early systems forces you to identify what business functions are most critical for YOUR operations. Don’t go to the supermarket without a shopping list or you’ll end up browsing for hours and buying crap you don’t need.

2. We love the Jack of all trades

When evaluating business tools, there is a tendency to select the best in class for each function. MailChimp for email marketing. Asana for project management. Mixpanel for user analytics.

At an early stage, streamlining your systems is more important than superior individual functionality. It reduces the amount of up-skilling for new employees and you don’t waste time trying to get too many tools to speak to each other.

3. Find tools that play nice with others

Closed proprietary systems are a thing of the past. Find out how easy it is to integrate any new product with your existing tools. Even better still, get your engineers to review the API documentation.

It’s no surprise that Slack is the de facto communication tool at startups today with their one-step integrations and clear API documentation.

Bonus Tip: Invest in a good automation tool early on

Here at ServisHero, we believe that once you find yourself performing a repetitive task, you better be thinking of a way to automate it.

We don’t push buttons, we create solutions

With the stack of business tools that you’ll inevitably end up with, you’ll need to build connecting pieces to eliminate repetitive tasks and automate workflow.

Two of the best automation tools in the market are Zapier (what we use) and IFTTT.

If you’re interested to find out what business tool stack ServisHero uses, drop me an email or connect with me on LinkedIn.

“You’re either the one that creates the automation or you’re getting automated” ~ Tom Preston-Werner
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