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Should my small business invest in custom software?

The Decision

As a small business owner, you're always looking for ways to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and stay ahead of the competition.

Today software is truly eating the world. And there are many options for both customizable software and completely custom software.

How should you think about the decision on whether to use something off the shelf or to build it yourself?

A Few Questions To Ask

The first consideration is this: Is there an existing solution that will do the job well?

If so, you should almost always go with it, since software development is much much more expensive than the monthly fees. Generally.

The second question if there isn’t a single great fit is: What is your budget? And, what is the potential ROI of the project?

If your budget isn’t comfortably in the 10’s of thousands of dollars and the ROI isn’t the same, then you probably should just make do with what you have.

The third question is: How long do you have?

If you have a few months, a good sized budget, and a real interesting ROI for your business (either measured in dollars, productivity etc.) then you may be a good candidate for custom software.

The down side of custom software development is that it takes time and money, the upside is that it can give your business super powers.

Further Resources

Here are some helpful articles from Forbes that will give you more insight and help you decide which move to make for your company:

  1. Buy vs build

  2. Should businesses create their own software

  3. Software development a luxury you may not need

  4. How to evaluate if your company needs custom software

  5. Why is custom software a good thing and a bad thing

  6. How to measure the ROI of custom software

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