Custom software used to be something only big players and corporates could get their hands on because the cost to produce it was so incredibly high.

But as of recently, thanks to the no-code/low-code movement and advancements in tech — custom software is no longer as cost-intensive or time-consuming as it used to be.

Small lean teams are building companies that compete with big players. Just like our client Roland Hehle runs his company, SunRocks GmbH, together with his wife and has used software not just to scale but to open up new business ventures time after time.

We see huge potential for businesses to use custom software and gain a competitive advantage — no matter what size they are. Here are the biggest reasons why:

Off-the-shelf licensing: it all adds up

Even as a small business nowadays, the number of tools you need to run it can include a dozen upward.

You've got e-mail, a chat tool, a CRM tool and an invoicing tool, a time tracking tool … oh, and a password managing tool. The list goes on, and a lot of these tools are charged per user. So, as your company grows, so do your costs, and now all of a sudden, it may not be so clear just what is more expensive — a customized solution or paying for 23 individual off-the-shelf software licenses?

You're setting yourself up to scale

Setting your company up so you can quickly scale means developing well-established processes with little bottlenecks along the way.

Off-the-rack software can often mean you are twisting and bending to meet its needs rather than your own.

Although your company may be small in size or revenue right now, that's likely not the end goal. You're aiming to reach higher levels. And custom software can be the investment to set you up to scale not just fast but successfully with minor hiccups along the way.

Automize processes so you don't need a bigger team

You don't want a big business? Perhaps you want to stay small and lean — good for you. But likely, as you grow your business, the workload will not decline.

The good news is that software can do some heavy lifting for you. And if it's custom software, it's tailored precisely to your needs; so you can ensure it covers the entire workflow.

Because what often happens when you try to automize processes with off-the-shelf software? It automizes just ‘some' of the workflow, and honestly, what good is that?

We've even seen instances where it's just more effective to do it manually again. But minimizing manual data entry and processing is definitely something every company should consider.

Why? Because it's not just inefficient, it's incredibly boring work… which leads us on to our next point.

Putting employee happiness at the forefront from the get-go

Working on employee happiness and satisfaction can be such a trivial thing. A huge goal, and you don't know where to start.

But if you break it down, what employee happiness comes down to is usually to do with how they feel in their day-to-day work.

How appreciated and informed do they feel?
Are they given enough opportunity to grow and learn?
Do they feel supported and heard?
And do they have the right tools at hand to get the work done — without frustrations?

It can be very annoying if you're working with software every day that's not easy to use or doesn't have a smooth workflow. Have you ever been on a website lately where it was just so complicated to get your order done? First, you had to sign up, which took 15 steps, then the website didn't take your credit card, and by the time it had loaded, your cart was empty again. Now imagine dealing with that frustration every single day.

We already talked about how good and bad software can affect employee happiness if you want to read up on it.

As a small company, you're competing with large corporations with a lot higher salary budgets — empowering your employees with custom software might be why they decide to stay.

Ensuring an impeccable customer experience

Why do companies choose small players? Or any player at all?

When they feel like they are not just getting good value for money but an impeccable customer experience.

When you choose off-the-shelf solutions, you don't have a say in what the user experience is going to look like. Building custom software puts user experience design entirely into your hands.

Find out more about why UX research and design are important here.

Custom-made software examples

We at TRIGO have spent over a decade building custom software for our clients. Want to know what that looks like? Check out our work here.

Just keep in mind that these examples are full-scale solutions we've been working on for many years now with our clients.

The thing is, you don't have to dive right in. You can start taking the first baby steps by implementing some stuff on your own or going through a mini discovery phase to figure out whether custom software would even make sense for you and your company. Stay tuned. In the following insight, we're going to walk you through just what those baby steps might be.

Want to find out more? Book a free consult with our CEO, Christian.