When you think of using software in your business then you might be forgiven for presuming this just means using your usual selection of Office programs like Word and Excel, and maybe a few specialist ones like Rhino 3D if you use 3D design or like PaintShop Pro if you do a lot of graphic design.
However there's a lot more to using software than that and if you create custom software then it can accomplish nothing short of transforming your business. The key is to knowing how to use custom software and what to ask for so that you can really make the most of it to transform your business.
When most people learn a new programming language the standard practice is to write a very small piece of code that will simply print ‘Hello world!' to the screen. However when I make my first piece of code in a new language I normally make it laugh maniacally – that's because it and I both know just how many possibilities there are when you have the means to make a new type of software.
Software is essentially a ‘force multiplier' in business terms. This means that it can amplify the work you're doing and thereby allow you to get more out of the same amount of work. For instance then if you were to put two hours into some web design or content creation, then you could create five pages or twenty depending on the software you used – even if you put the same effort in.
If you're currently editing your individual web pages by hand by downloading the HTML files, opening them up, finding the content you want to change, and then manually editing it, then you will be spending a lot more time than necessary. A piece of custom software could download the pages you want to edit for you from your server, present you with just the text you want to edit while spell checking it all and coming up with useful suggestions for what you want to type and then it could simply upload the new article after you were finished allowing you to get on with the next one. The job of the person updating those pages has gone from downloading, writing, editing, coding and uploading to simply writing and of course then they can get a lot more work done.
Now imagine that you were the only company that owned such a piece of software. This would allow you to offer a service where you built or updated websites, but you would be able to offer this at a price and speed that would leave the competition in the dust.
Of course I'm aware that many other businesses are already using such software and this is relatively old news – it's not my job to come up with the software designs for you. But in other words if you can find a way to use software to automate your work, or to make your jobs quicker and simpler, then you could revolutionise your industry.
So when you use your custom software design companies, don't just ask them to make you a word processor with your company name on the top – think about the features and tools you could use to really revolutionise your current service. It doesn't necessarily have to be overly ambitious (don't ask them to build you an AI that can write articles for you – that's just unreasonable), it just needs to be something unique that can serve you well in your industry. You come up with the idea, and they'll make it a reality. And then you can use this new software to do the job you're already doing but ten times more efficiently.
And entrepreneurs? If you can learn to program then of course you can make these tools yourself – and if they're good enough you might even be able to sell or license them to the other companies and entrepreneurs in your industry.
Further Than That
And there are the ways you could go further than that. Imagine coming up with the idea for a piece of software that didn't just help you to improve your service and increase efficiency, but that would actually provide an entirely new service, or create a whole new market. The possibilities are pretty much endless and the tools are there; you just need to find a need and think on it.
Bradley Harrison is a software developer with more than 10 years of industry experience in custom web application development