Have you ever been stuck in the mind-numbing, never ending, research black hole that is trying to choose a business software?
End the Research Paralysis
Research paralysis is a real thing, even if the previous question is a bit dramatic. Or, maybe you are in that place at 2AM and it doesn't seem dramatic at all.
Either way, I've been there, and I have you covered friend!
Here's a quick POA (plan of action) to get you unstuck and happily on your way to making your small business dreams come true. Seriously, making decisions is one of the hardest parts of being a solopreneur.
Let's Start With What Not To Do:
Don't create a generic post in your fav Facebook Group asking for everyone's opinion. The truth is that you are super-duper unique (you lovely unicorn), and your needs may be totally different from the next gal's. By the way, in case you are looking for a fav business group, we'd love to have you at the Momboss Collective.
Next up, don't pick a CRM just because your biz bestie or that famous blogger uses it. It may be exactly what they need, and they may genuinely love it; but remember, you are a unicorn!
So, what should you do? I'm so glad you asked.
01. List the most important features
Take a moment, or a couple of days if it is a huge decision, and write down the must have items. This should be a short list. What can't you live without?
02. Set a Budget
Decide how much you can afford. Most solopreneurs are bootstrapping and making purchases as we go. Maybe you need something free. Maybe you can afford a larger price tag. Either way, write it down.
03. List the Nice to Have Features
Now you can make a list of all the nice to have features. Things that would make your life easier, but aren't deal breakers. It's OK if this list is a little longer. But stay focused and realistic. I mean, adding doing your laundry to a bookkeeping software is probably too much to ask.
04. Research, Ask Around, & Adjust (if needed)
Now you get to search Google, watch the YouTube videos, read the blog posts, ask in that Facebook group, etc. Now that you know what you need, you can ask for targeted recommendations. Instead of looking for a social media scheduler, you can ask for recommendations for a free social media tool that auto posts to Instagram. The responses should be much more helpful. If you are having trouble finding what you need, you might need to adjust. Or if you are a developer, just write your own software. In that case, give me a call. I'd love to collab on something useful for solopreneurs.
Now you have to sift through the information. I find it much easier to narrow it down if the pros and cons are in black and white in front of my face. Grab your pen and paper, Google Sheet, or notes app and make a list. Once you have the info written down, it's easier to see what best reflects your must have features, budget, and nice to have options.
06. Make a preliminary decision
At this point, there is likely a front runner. Which one includes your must have features, fits your budget, and has the most nice to have features? That's your front runner. The benefit to this process is that it takes the emotion and ooh-shiny-thing-syndrome out of the equation.
07.Start a free trial
Before you hope on an annual plan or sign a contract, start a trial. Most software options have a free trial available. If you don't see that option, ask around. You might be able to get one with a referral code. This way you can make sure that it really does what you need it to do in a way that makes sense. You can also evaluate the UI, or user interface. Sometimes a terrible UI can be a deal breaker if you can't stand to look at the screen or can't find your way around. Remember that new programs usually have a learning curve; but if it doesn't work for you, move on. That's why you didn't pull the trigger on an annual contract.
This may seem like a lot of steps, but it doesn't have to take a long time. You can quickly get through the initial steps in a short brainstorming session. For free or low ticket items, you don't really need to spend a long time in the research phase. Take the time to compare a few options and move on. If you are looking at a long term commitment, like a website platform, or a large purchase, you will want to take more time to make the best decision.
Happy decision making friend!