Choosing software:
Should I build my own or buy a solution?

3

August, 2017

We live in a world where technology has become synonymous with growth. More and more of our day-to-day lives are becoming automated, and businesses are now able to take advantage of that.

In this ever-growing technological world, it’s important for companies to be at the cutting edge of growth; to be an industry leader and become a household name. Technology is essential to do it.

Franchising is an industry that has been passed-over when it comes to modern technology and systems. Much of the software available is out of date or does not work well for the business model.

So you’ve decided to find the right software for your franchise. The question you need to ask yourself is should you buy a solution that comes ready-made or make your own?

There are pros and cons to both options. But before you can commit to either, you need to understand why you should invest in software at all.

The benefits of software.

Without software, most businesses are limited to inefficient, cumbersome, manual processes. A lack of software limits your ability to scale and makes you susceptible to human error and inconsistencies. But with software, you can streamline your business process with repeatable, consistent results.

Yes, you and your spreadsheet might have been great when it was just you and one employee, but that model is not sustainable.

Simply put, your job is to prepare yourself and your business for growth.
Michael E. Gerber, Author of The E Myth 

Technology offers a competitive advantage. Don’t be Blockbuster in the age of Netflix. Whether you decide to implement a software solution or not, your competitors will, and it will set them ahead in the long run.

So what’s the better deal: building your own or buying a system?

Buying a solution.

The risk with buying a solution that isn’t custom-made is obvious: it needs to match your business process. It could be missing a feature that’s essential for your business to run. Upgrading from an older model and moving all your information from another software can be a lot of work.

There are an abundance of benefits to buying a software. For one, it’s almost guaranteed to be less expensive. It’s a lot like buying a suit: yes, tailor-made is going to fit best, because it was made just for you, but that doesn’t mean other suits won’t fit. Sometimes they might even look tailor-made, for a fraction of the price.

When you buy a software, you’re able to use it immediately. You can hit the ground running and implement your new system sooner rather than later. Because the longer you wait to implement a new business model, the more challenging it becomes. As you grow, you have more and more employees and franchisees to train on the new system. It’s better to lay the groundwork early so you can scale more efficiently. You shouldn’t have to re-train your team years after you decide to use software. Implementing your system early means they’re on it from the start.

 

With many providers, when you buy a solution you don’t need to host your own servers or hire any additional technical people to manage the software as you scale. When software is used by other franchises, there is the benefit of it being paid for, tested and improved constantly, and most companies offer full support to help you get comfortably set up and running smoothly. All the updates, security and maintenance are taken care of for you so your information is safe in the cloud, even if your device is damaged.

But the biggest benefit of buying software that’s already been made, is you pay for experience. That includes the endless revisions, maintenance, bug fixes, trials, product launches and relaunches that go into developing a software. You’re paying for the years of work the creator put into their own business. The countless mistakes and stumbles they made because they didn’t have software that worked. A software provider understands what your software needs to do, because they needed it do it. Companies create products when there is a need for them.

A provider understands your market, because there are companies like yours offering consistent feedback to determine which features are useful to your business. It may mean you end up with great features you never would have thought of.

 

 

Building your own.

The immediate pros for a custom system are obvious: It is tailor-made to fit your business exactly. Every detail is built with your specific workflow in mind. Every feature is one you’re guaranteed to use; it’s beyond a perfect fit.

You get exactly what you want. No one else has a say in what changes are made to the software. You never lose the features you use, and you can prioritize new ones as you see fit. All the insights and information you get out of your software are relevant to your business. With bought solutions, sometimes it’s hard to get the data you want, and you have to get it in a roundabout way. When you create the system for your business and your business only, there are no extra steps.

But what many businesses don’t realize is how expensive a custom system can be, or how long it takes to build. Franchises are complex systems, and as a result, they require complex software to run, which can take years to build. Even once they’re built, they cost a fortune to maintain. Updates, security and bug fixes are all additional costs that need to be maintained, and your business can seriously suffer if they are not.

You might think your processes are easy to communicate to developers, but there’s a good chance a software will go through many revisions. With custom software, there’s always the risk that the time and effort required to build something you love are greater than the resources you have available.

So what’s better?

The goal of every company is to grow (and succeed!) in the most efficient way possible. Simply put, software makes the journey to success that much easier.

If you have the time, resources and patience for building your own system, it can be worth it, but so many businesses don’t. At the end of the day, it comes down to deciding what your business goals are: do you want to spend your time and energy building software or growing your business?

Custom software will increase your efficiency and fit your business to a T, but it’s not efficient to implement. It costs more time and money than most businesses are willing to allocate.

Although buyable solutions might not be the perfect fit, they still offer an efficient solution that will help you grow your business, without spending a years just to get started. They’re built with experience, and they were made to help you succeed.

 

If you’re interested in finding a balance between the two
options, let’s chat!

For all media inquiries, please contact

Chris Neil
The Better Software Company
1 (­844) ­515-­1992
cneil@thebettersoftwarecompany.com

About The Better Software Company

The Better Software Company offers a fully-integrated Franchise Operating System (FOS) to help owners improve and simplify their entire business, using a cloud­-based model. Integrated features, including CRM, scheduling, billing & invoicing, reporting & analytics and inventory management, offer business owners simplicity and ease of use that will save time. The software is configured to service small and medium sized enterprises in a diversity of vertical markets. The Better Software Company is based in Ottawa, Canada.

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