With technology becoming a core part of today’s business world, smart companies are constantly looking for ways to use it to their advantage.
Software can help companies monitor inventory, process orders, manage customer data, and budget.
Custom software for small businesses can boost their technical functionality in a big way.
Ultimately, tailor-made applications offer a number of added benefits for SMBs.
Plus, they don’t have to worry about paying the steep fees for mainstream software applications!
No doubt, software development for small business is increasingly popular.
In this post, we explore 13 of the most important advantages associated with these solutions.
Why Use Custom Software?
Sure, buying a license for an off-the-shelf solution can help a small business get up and running without delay.
However, most software is made to suit the typical business of the market. And you’re not typical!
Every company faces unique problems. There is no pre-packaged solution available with features that address each nuance of your business.
You would likely end up having to buy several different products and paying for unnecessary features. This is where a custom application comes into play.
A company that commissions their own software can tell the developer or agency exactly what they need.
This way, all of their specific problems can be effectively targeted. They won’t have to worry about upgrading software licenses.
They won’t have to write scripts because the off-the-shelf application is unable to provide them with the features that they need.
They will have a product that works especially for their needs.
#1. Custom Applications Work the Way You Want Them to
One of the top benefits of a custom application for a small business is self-evident: the company can choose exactly how the software should work.
Existing software products impose interfaces and setups on you. Your staff would need time (and possibly training) to adapt to those systems.
In many cases, IT specialists need to be hired to optimize the products for the specific application.
With custom software, there is no need for these lengthy adaptation processes. You can get right to business!
It also eliminates the need to switch back and forth between applications. You can have all the functionality you need incorporated into a single software product.
With a streamlined system, everything is more efficient. Your business can thrive.
This is also a great way to keep things simple for staff while giving top management access to more advanced features.
Maybe you need an advanced software-as-a-service system.
Maybe it’s just a simple mobile or web application.
Whatever you need, anything is possible with custom solutions.
#2. Minimize Your Interface Issues
With off-the-shelf software applications, users need to adapt to the interface imposed on them.
This can cause problems and make things take longer than they need to.
For example, a feature that your staff use extensively could be buried away in a hidden menu. Or perhaps the software only works on certain operating systems.
With your own solution, you can dictate what platforms you want to use. If you want to work on mobile devices, just tell your developers.
Don’t wait for a big company to roll out an integration update.
Get something that works with the systems you prefer and already use.
With a custom developed application, the business owner and end users can decide how the interface is designed.
This leads to ease of use for your staff. If your employees can achieve what they need on a day-to-day basis more quickly, you save time and money.
Plus, the office becomes a happier and more productive environment.
#3. A Clear Business Model
With custom developed software, the application is centered around your business model. You don’t have to wonder where the developer will take the product next.
This is a huge advantage for SMBs. It will help streamline and simplify how your business runs.
Appropriate user roles can be built into the software. Data can be transported effectively between different users or departments.
All of this provides a more efficient workflow.
The system will work for you because it was designed to.
#4. Enhanced Business Security
With software that was designed for general use, there are already thousands of other businesses using the same products.
With a custom solution, the code is unique to your software application.
This makes it significantly harder for someone to gain unauthorized access to the application. They won’t have any insight into how the system is designed.
Furthermore, data is also usually stored on private servers with a custom developed application.
This translates to further protection for your company’s sensitive data.
Custom applications can also be integrated with more advanced user management systems.
You could, for example, use biometric authentication protocols.
You have control over how you restrict unauthorized access to private information and customer data.
#5. Handy Reporting Tools
Businesses rely on good reporting. It’s how they monitor performance and detect errors to keep everything on track.
This is where a custom software application is key. With pre-made solutions, it can be hard to get reports that display the exact KPIs you’re tracking.
With a custom software solution, you’re in charge. You can determine how the database is set up and what types of reporting tools you want.
Your staff shouldn’t have to dig through menus or contact the developer.
Make it easy for them to extract the data they need for your reports.
#6. Lower Cost In the Long Run
Some owners balk at the idea of a custom application because they think development is pricy. True, the initial fees for a developer might be higher than subscribing to an existing product.
However, as any smart business owner knows, it is important to think long-term. Factor in all the costs and savings over time.
When buying a license for an off-the-shelf application, there are usually monthly costs involved.
You often have to pay an extra fee for every employee that needs a user account. These charges quickly add up.
Within just a year or two, the total cost could vastly outweigh that of a custom application.
Think of the development as an investment that pays for itself over time.
#7. Improved Integration
A ready-made piece of software can provide some integration abilities, but you have no control over which ones.
Why should you pay for a company to develop integration for a platform you have no interest in using?
Wouldn’t you rather they focus on what you need? SMBs, in particular, might need very specific integrations with niche products.
You are likely already using several different software products. You don’t want the headache of deploying a product you aren’t sure will work properly alongside them.
A guaranteed smooth integration process can be exceptionally useful. You can save your time and your nerves!
With a custom application, this is what you get. Your chosen developer can ensure that all your business operations work together seamlessly.
This increased efficiency saves you money in the long run, too.
This adds to the earlier point that custom solutions prove more cost-effective than premade options.
#8. More Scalable
With store bought applications and software suites, there is a limit to what they can do for your business.
When a custom application is developed, the software can be easily expanded and scaled according to your needs.
As the company grows, so can the software’s capabilities. Under your leadership, your business can expand and flourish.
Naturally, you will start to provide additional products and services to customers.
New features can be added to your custom software to accommodate this expansion.
In most cases, a pre-developed solution will not be scalable; the code is usually closed-source and cannot be modified by users.
#9. Fewer Risk Factors
There are less problems to worry about facing down the line when you opt for a custom application.
With an off-the-shelf option, you need to wait for updates to be released from the developer.
For example, suppose the latest release introduced a bug in the software.
You would have to deal with reduced productivity at best (and possible security breaches, at worst).
You are powerless until the developer reads the bug reports, identifies the problem, and decides to fix it.
With a custom application, you can immediately reach the developer in charge of maintaining the software.
They can then start resolving the problem immediately. This is only one example of how custom solutions help to reduce such risk factors.
#10. Unmatched Support
The technical support department of many major software development companies is seriously lacking.
They publish software, small companies buy the software, and they profit. It often takes several days before they obtain feedback on issues users run into.
If something is wrong, the customer has to log a ticket on the support desk. You might even have to chase it up through multiple support channels.
The best you can hope for is often a phone call from an outsourced support agent who may be able to help.
They can then pass on your concerns to the company’s product management team, who will determine whether it is a priority for them.
It’s a slow process, and it’s a major headache for SMBs. Enterprise clients usually receive the fastest support. Their issues will likely be different from yours.
When custom software is developed, there will be a specific developer in charge of maintaining the software.
You will be able to get direct support from them.
#11. Improvement of All Business Processes
Business processes today are highly dependent on IT infrastructure.
A custom solution for accounting, CRM, or any other purpose proves more efficient.
With a custom solution, specific processes that occur within the business will be taken into account.
This helps to speed up business processes and wastes less time.
#12. Manage Your Sales Leads Smarter
In a custom-developed application, you can manage sales and leads in a much smarter way.
The latest AI technology, for example, can be implemented to help filter through leads.
This way, you can prioritize those leads that are most likely to become sales. The algorithm will be different for your business than for others because every product and market is unique.
When promising leads are identified, follow-ups can be scheduled accordingly. Tasks could be automatically added to a calendar or to-do list for employees.
The actions taken can be tailored to suit your business processes.
#13. Better Branding Made Easier
Branding is an essential part of any company’s overall success. A good branding strategy can help your business reach its target market more effectively.
It can even help expand your reach beyond that. When you use custom software to run the business, you add yet another level of branding.
You can integrate the company’s logos and corporate identity.
In some cases, e.g. food ordering systems, you can even provide customers access to certain parts of the intranet.
Did we miss anything? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below!