Small business software puzzle

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / AnsonLu

The Vision

You are a small business owner. You started your business, got a website, and then after a period of time, you realize your business is growing, and you need more than just a website!

  • You need a way to track your interactions with your customers.
  • You need to automate some of your tasks.
  • You want to have better data about your customers, so you can send them information and coupons for products and services they are interested in.
  • You want to streamline your process to ship your products.
  • You want to make sure it is easy for your team to locate information about your customers orders.

You are not alone! There are several business owners in this situation.

One of our customers found themselves in this same circumstance. They are a small business providing products and services. They have a website with eCommerce. As the business started growing, the owners knew they needed a better way to track their customers and automate some of their tasks in order to keep growing.

Puzzle time!

And this is when they realized they needed to assemble a puzzle. It is challenging to find one package that does everything you want. Custom development is an option, but is it worth it? It is time consuming, and it can be very expensive.

Our customer needed a combination of scheduling software, customer relationship management (CRM), integration with accounting and a fulfillment tool. On top of these core software packages, they used small connectors that allowed these applications to talk to each other, and have a flow of information from one system to another.

So, you might be thinking, how am I supposed to figure out how to assemble this puzzle? Where do I start?

Big Rocks First

Have you ever heard the analogy of the rocks, pebbles and sand? You start with the big rocks first, and then you figure out what is the best way to connect them. You might be thinking:
what are the big rocks in this case?

The big rocks already in place were their website and e-commerce platform. The next important piece was the CRM. Choosing the CRM is a very important step, and there are so many options for small business that it can be overwhelming! Here is where you might suffer from “analysis paralysis.”

How do you avoid getting stuck in this place? You review your requirements first, and if this task is still challenging, give us a call!Cloud Software Puzzle

The following piece for our puzzle was the scheduling software. In this case the scheduling software they wanted didn’t have the ability to connect to the CRM of their choice. We worked with them to provide a connector.

The next big rock: accounting. Our customer already had an accounting software, however his version was not cloud based, and not ready to talk to other applications. In the interest of keeping information flowing from his CRM to the accounting software, he decided to upgrade to the online version of his accounting solution. Then he found a connector for that too!

The last piece of the puzzle was an application to take care of order fulfillment. This cloud app helps to calculate accurate shipping costs, print stamps, and process orders in batches. At this point of our project, our customer felt lucky when he found out that the connector for his accounting software was also able to “talk” to his fulfillment app.

Do you have time to solve this puzzle?

As you can see, there are a lot of pieces in this puzzle! There is a set of main applications (our big rocks), followed by another set of small connector apps involved in this solution.

Just like a real puzzle, when you look at all the pieces laid out on the table, it might be challenging to see how they all fit together.

So, what is your situation? Do you like puzzles? Do you have time to put a puzzle like this together? We are a business too, and sometimes we need to make time for our own puzzles. The thing is: we like it! Whatever your challenge is: maybe you don’t like puzzles, or maybe you like it but you don’t have time. Reach out, we can help!

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.