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A starter’s guide to custom software development for small business

Why should small businesses consider creating custom software?

For several decades now, software development for small business has been a must. Yet many startuppers and entrepreneurs still hesitate about it, relying solely on the power of social media. But is it the way to succeed? More often than not, it really isn’t.

Light IT Global has created a short guide pack with useful information that will take all your doubts away and convince you to opt for bespoke software.

Why should small businesses consider creating custom software?

For the longest time, off-the-shelf software was considered a safe, reasonable, and budget-friendly choice for smaller businesses. As it allowed to build a digital platform without investing all the money in the world into it. However, in 2022 it’s no longer a sustainable way to develop a brand the audience will be attracted to. And there are multiple reasons for bespoke software to take the lead.

1. It hits all the marks

One of the greatest things about custom software development for small businesses is that it has no pre-cut mold and is not trying to put each customer into it. A bespoke solution is a unique, one-of-a-kind solution that is made with certain business needs in mind. That is how the customer can be sure that the final product will be effective and comprehensive.

Do you need AR/VR integration? User-friendly chatbots? Social media integration? Animated emojis? A price calculator? Voice recognition system? AI-based recommendations? A sleek design in corporate colors? Custom development delivers all of it at once!

2. It increases efficiency

One of the main goals of any software is to bring value to the business. Whether it is an operational efficiency boost, growing sales numbers, or improved exposure. By introducing custom-made software, a business owner makes a huge step toward more efficient and profitable practices. Modern software allows the employees not to waste time manually doing the work that can be done by a computer. Billing, tracking, reporting, and many other tasks can be easily automated. At the same time, the entrepreneur may focus on building a well-thought-out business development strategy, partnerships, and customer relations.

3. It grows with your business

Almost any out-of-the-box solution is only good while the business is not growing or changing in any way. Once that happens, an entrepreneur is usually forced either to change a software provider or think about custom development.

Business team

Bespoke software, on the other hand, is known for its scalability. It means that no growth-related change won’t have a negative impact on the existing software. The business owner may conquer new markets, target new audiences, and explore new business niches, it will be possible to tweak the existing digital product to satisfy all of the arising business needs.

4. It keeps everything in your control

Unlike ready-made solutions that force an entrepreneur to adjust the business processes and practices to fit the software, custom products are made to satisfy the owner’s every demand. No changes need to be made on the customer’s part.

Besides that, bespoke software grants complete control over various digital tools. Be it customer interaction, sales, publicity, etc. Only the entrepreneur chooses whether to add new features, change the software completely or revamp the solution to improve its efficiency.

5. It’s not that pricey

One of the greatest fears a startupper has in regards to bespoke software development is the impracticable amount of money one has to spend on it. In reality, it’s not that expensive, as the modern IT industry offers many ways to cut costs on development services.

If fitting the budget is a priority, consider nearshoring or outsourcing to a country with lower software development rates. Eastern European and Asian countries offer prices that are usually 2-3 times lower than in the US. Western Europe, Canada, or Australia.

Ways to find a reliable software development services provider

Once you’ve found out about all the benefits custom software development for small businesses has to offer, it is time to make another vital step to future business success and find an IT vendor that will get the job done and deliver a high-quality product.

Here are several most popular ways to do that.

1. Directories

There are websites created to complete one specific task — make the search for IT contractors easier for businesses all over the world. Such websites are B2B directories like Clutch, Goodfirms, The Manifest, and many others.

A modern B2B directory stores information about thousands of companies that offer numerous IT services: from web development and design to mobile app creation and specific task implementation (like the Internet of Things solutions).

To make the selection process easier, the platforms are equipped with filtering systems allowing to narrow down the search based on multiple parameters. It may be a specific location, types of services, proficiency in certain technology, an hourly rate, overall rating, etc.

Browsing the directories gives a business owner a chance to get a comprehensive overview of a potential vendor. The company’s profile usually includes some examples of previous work (mini-portfolio), customer reviews, and contact information. Basically, anything you might need to make an informed decision!

2. Linkedin

Linkedin is one of the leading platforms for business communication and establishing new business connections in the world. Even the biggest names, the most powerful brands do not neglect Linkedin as a useful hiring tool. Neither should you.

There are 58+ million companies on Linkedin as of August 2022, and the vast majority of software development firms listed on the platform use it to search for new customers. So it won’t be hard for an entrepreneur to find the right fit.

Another important aspect is Linkedin giving the users an opportunity to evaluate the work ethics and corporate values of a certain company. Whether you want to admit it or not, matching values and approaches are as important for successful software development as low costs and extensive experience.

3. Word of mouth

Saved the best for last. Hiring by recommendation is by far the most effective way to find a provider you’ll be happy with. The reasons for that are quite clear. We tend to trust and have a positive bias toward people, businesses, or products our friends and family love. So no wonder the “ask a friend” system works for software development team selection.

But there’s one “but” (actually, even two). Firstly, you’ll have to trust the person you’re asking for a recommendation. Secondly, your requests should be at least similar. For example, if a person you’re willing to trust has outsourced cross-platform mobile application development and loved the vendor, it doesn’t mean the same vendor will be able to help you with a complex web-based LMS creation.

Final words

Software development for small businesses is a necessity and a highly sensitive task that can directly influence the company’s market success. So it might be a good idea not to jeopardize your business perspectives, choosing some kind of generic off-the-shelf software that wouldn’t even get the job done. Think about this matter as of investment into your business’ stability and growth. Choose the software development provider thoroughly, make sure the final product is exactly the way you want it to be, and in the end, all of the efforts will pay off. You will end up owning a digital product the target audience will truly appreciate. And that is the key to business longevity.