Businesses use software to solve problems. As businesses grow, so do the problems–and so does the need for software.
Small businesses start off using software only where required. You need a CRM to manage your customers and contacts. You need a productivity suite to handle communications. You also need software for finances, marketing, inventory management, and a host of other things depending on your business.
Your team is probably used to finding the best solution out there that solves the problem for a reasonable cost. But as your business grows, so do your software needs. Your finance team will start complaining about limitations, while your sales team requires an upgrade to track deals better.
You go back to the market and see what is ready made and try to find the best deal you can. But does this approach to software go on forever? Like office space in a crowded city, are you stuck just renting out bigger and more expensive software without end?
Well, your grandfather would say, “No”.
The Millennial Mindset
Most young entrepreneurs accept the idea that as a business grows, you need to upgrade the structures around you, including software. This boils down to accepting a continually spiraling rental price for all the tools you use.
But when you start to look at the IT cost for the dozens of applications you run, most of which have overlapping features, it can start to get absurd. Costs go up with more users and you will have an ever-expanding need for more specialized tools as you grow and your use cases become more specialized.
Aside from cost, you often have to compromise when using ready made software. Their offerings weren’t built specifically for your company, and there will always be ways you must adjust and accept limitations. As much as you request features, you are competing with everyone else out there to attract the attention of the product roadmap.
But Grandpa always told you it was better to buy and not rent. In the world of corporate software, if you look back a generation ago, when a company had a need that required a software solution, how did they solve it? They built the tool themselves.
Of course, this came with its own set of problems.
- Building custom software requires hiring an expert, which was expensive in those days and can be even more so now
- You are stuck worrying about hosting, maintaining, and debugging the software
- You have to pay someone to add new features and changes
However, there’s a new opportunity for your growing company that previous generations didn’t have.
No-Code Application Development
You may have heard of platforms called low- or no-code development. These tools simplify the software development process using drag-and-drop modules to replace line-by-line coding.
Low-code development platforms initially came about to make the development process faster for programmers. However, many of them have become easy enough to use that even someone with basic technical knowledge can build and support software applications on their own.
On top of that, for some specialized use cases such as building automated business processes, there are no-code tools which are built specifically for business users who don’t know anything about programming. These tools support the business leader who knows how she wants a process to function and wants to build it herself.
Benefits of Making Your Own Software With No-Code
By using low- or no-code platforms, you are building your own software instead of renting someone else’s, but reducing all the negative factors mentioned earlier.
While not always cheap on their own (though some no-code platforms are extremely affordable), if you find a platform that lets you build unlimited applications, you have stopped the spiraling costs of software. Instead of always paying more and more, you have a product that fits your company perfectly and stays at the same price.
Here are some other benefits to consider:
- If you need additional functionality, you can build it into the software instead of asking for it from a vendor
- Some software vendors will be bought by bigger companies who may try to force you onto a different platform, or kill the product altogether
- Software vendors can go out of business, leaving you without a solution moving forward
- When vendors decide to increase the subscription fee, you may feel locked in and forced to pay more
- Software vendors are open to data breaches, and the safety of your data depends on how seriously they choose to protect it
Put Yourself in a Safe Digital Position
Building your own software puts you in charge of your digital future and keeps your costs in check. By using low- and no-code tools, you are future-proofing your business against any number of negative possibilities.
Look at where your company will be in the next few years. Will you be more or less reliant on digital tools? Ageless business wisdom says to control as much as you can, both in terms of functionality and cost. Low- and no-code tools give you the best opportunity to stay in charge and not be caught off guard.