When we think of Bill Gates, small business usually doesn't come to mind. As one of the richest men in the world, he's known for his success in Microsoft and now in creating the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Yet, as you are looking for a business app for your small business, thinking like Bill Gates can help.
Bill Gates at the Annual Meeting for the World Economic Forum, 2008 (World Economic Forum, Source)
1. Gauge Interest
In 1975, Gates contacted MITS that he and Paul Allen were working on a BASIC interpreter for MITS's new platform. In reality? Allen and Gates hadn't created anything yet. Gates made the call to gauge interest at MITS for this kind of software. MITS's response? Setting up a demo in Albuquerque just weeks later. This started the organization we would later know as Microsoft.
Before you even begin to start looking at apps for your small business, take the time to gauge interest in your organization. Like Gates, you can do this in roundabout ways. Take some time to discuss with your workers what their pain points are in gathering data. What's working? What's not working? What do they wish they could do differently?
The same technique can work with partners and customers. How would they prefer to receive information? Would they prefer emails, in the mail, or just a paper receipt? Odds are they will jump at the opportunity to get receipts and information via clean and organized PDFs.
2. Knowing the Details
In the early years of Microsoft, Gates was known to look over every line of code, even fixing parts he didn't like. While this didn't last as Microsoft grew, Gates brought his attention to detail with him through the company, forcing subordinates to defend their work and plans in details.
As you look at small business apps, this same attention to detail can help you as well. Thinking like Bill Gates will help you anticipate what you will need, and how to choose the best small business app for you.
To start, do you need expensive hardware to use their mobile app? Or can the small business app work with the technology you already have? Can you integrate the data you collect on a mobile device easily into your existing systems? Dont forget to look at what different companies offer for their prices. Is there a limit on edits or number of apps inside your account? These are just some of the questions to answer before you buy a small business app.
3. Keep Your Eye on the Target
Bill Gates has been focused on creating great software since he wrote his first computer program at age 13. In pursuing this goal, he's taken great risks such as dropping out of Harvard to work with MITS in the 70s. But by keeping his eyes focused on creating great software, he was able to bring Microsoft products into nearly every home.
You don't have to be set on software domination to use this part of Gates's thinking. But clarity of vision can help keep you on task. It can be easy to get lost amongst all the options for small business apps. Ensuring focus on what your specific needs and issues are will help you decide the best path forward for your business.