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Ask NCET: How do I pick the right business software? – Reno Gazette Journal

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Brett McGinness
 
| Reno Gazette Journal

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How do I pick the right business software?

This is an important question, especially if you’re considering all-new business software. I find too many businesses are working around their systems, rather than getting the leverage and efficiency they should with such tools.

Here’s some symptoms of the problem:

  • “I didn’t know it could do that.”
  • “The system won’t/can’t let us do that.”
  • “We can’t get that information.”
  • “There isn’t a report for that.”
  • “We haven’t finished closing the books from (3, 4, 5 months ago).”
  • “We have to enter that data manually or into the other system.”
  • “The inventory is wrong.”

To figure out if this is an opportunity for you, map out how you want to do business — your ideal process. Identify the information you need to make decisions, being careful to avoid just getting raw data vs. information.

Once you have your process map and information needs, take a hard look at how your current system(s) support both. Does the system really match the process? Are there unwanted manual steps? Do you have or could you create a one-page dashboard that tells you your business’ health and shows any problem areas you need to address?

If the answer to these questions is no, it may be time to look for better systems. There are lots of software tools available, many customized to specific businesses. Take a look and see if there’s a solution that can really get your process humming and give you the information you really want!

Peter Williamson owns his own exit planning and business coaching businesses. Peter has 15 years’ experience coaching business owners and is a BEI-certified exit planner, an ActionCOACH certified business coach and a Business Valuation Institute certified business valuation advisor. More information at peterwilliamson.actioncoach.com.

I use several different social media platforms. Should I use a social media scheduling tool?

When I consult with businesses and nonprofits and hear that they are posting live in the moment every day, to every platform, I commend their personal fortitude. Then I ask them if they have ever considered using a scheduling tool. (The answer is always no, they haven’t.) Then I ask them to imagine a world where they focus for one to two hours a week to program one to three weeks of content in one sitting across all of their social channels. How much time and mental energy would that save them? The look of relief in their eyes says it all.

Scheduling content ahead of time removes the burden of having to be creative on demand. It allows you to capitalize on your most creative time, on your schedule. Embracing a scheduling tool will also free you from the hassle of having to log into all of your social media accounts separately. Many social media schedulers will even provide a free trial, so you can investigate which tool fits your needs best. While they relatively all do the same thing (schedule out your social media) their prices, extra services and reporting do vary.

To find the right scheduler, ask yourself these questions: How many channels do you need to support? What level of reporting do you need? What is your skill set? Are you just starting out and needing something dead easy? Based on your answers, you’ll have quite a few schedulers to choose from, including SocialPilot, Nimble, AgoraPulse, Hootsuite and many more. And, once you start using a scheduler, you will never want to go back to posting one channel at a time. #Promise.

Cinammon Davies is an account executive for LOCALiQ, part of the USA Today Network (www.localiq.com/markets/nevada/) and NCET’s VP of social media and newsletters.

NCET (www.NCET.org) is Northern Nevada’s largest member-supported nonprofit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore businesses and technology.

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