Choosing the best apps for your business

If you’re new to owning a business or trying to make improvements in your daily workflows, you’ve probably experienced “overchoice” (apparently a real word)—the overwhelm and confusion that happens when there’s too many available choices. It’s why marketing people suggest offering no more than 3 options for a product or service.

For example, when clients ask about establishing email for their business, I encourage the client to instead think of how they want to work. Do they like having lots of additional features? Do they work with Microsoft Office a lot? What industry? How does the client want to interact with colleagues? Almost always the decision is way easier once those questions are answered. In the case of email, it usually comes down to whether they are already used to the Google ecosystem, or just love to use Outlook to manage their email and calendar. Thinking of these factors makes the final decision much clearer.

Beyond email, there’s another broader strategy that should be considered when choosing apps—consolidation vs. specialization. Because there’s so much of everything out there, thinking strategically helps. If your ideal is to minimize the number of tools and services you’re using to a select few that offer most of the features you need, then a consolidation approach is your best bet.  On the other hand, if you value having maximum flexibility with the services you’re using, with all the cutting-edge features you can imagine – then specialization is your go-to. So what does this mean when choosing apps? Here’s two examples of tech stacks that illustrate each approach:

A consolidation example: Google Workspace, Adobe Creative Cloud, ClickUp, Zoho One. This stack incorporates email, file storage, office apps, online scheduling, calendaring, conferencing, graphics, video editing, project management,  collaboration, whiteboarding, accounting, ecommerce, email marketing, document signatures and way more than what’s listed here. Streamlining with this approach may bring some trade-offs, but the obvious advantages are reduced expense and context-switching.

A specialization example: Microsoft 365, Canva, Notion, Slack, QuickBooks, Zoom, Dropbox, Calendly, Jira, Miro, Figma, MailChimp, Google Calendar, Pipedrive, Airtable, HelpScout… you get the idea. With a specialization approach, you can select the specific apps that truly meet your requirements and preferences for each aspect of your business. The specialization strategy allows you to leverage all the bells and whistles available. The downside is that it’s a lot of services to be managing and paying for.

So, what approach works for you? Regardless of your preference, there’s no shortage of options, as there’s so many services that are solid choices for any goal you have in mind.

For a great example of thinking strategically, check out this fun advice from Layla at ProcessDriven. In the video, she describes how to choose a project management system based on your personality type and work style.


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