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The right software can make running your business easier and more streamlined. But the wrong software can cause massive headaches, delay projects and cost you precious budget dollars. It’s important to take the time to find the right software vendor. Don’t just sign up with whoever gives you the lowest price. Instead follow these guidelines to select the right software vendor.

1. Check their credentials and certificates.
It’s smart to do your research on your vendor before you invest. Find out how long they’ve been in business and what their credibility is in the industry. Are they growing? Is there a track record of their company online?

2. Find out what their customers have to say
While you are doing your research, you should look for past reviews or testimonials. Ask the vendor if they have worked with businesses similar to yours and the results of working with those companies.

3. Check for hidden fees
Be really clear on what’s included in the offer and what you will be charged for. Is implementation extra or is maintenance? Be certain that the price being quoted is the actual price of implementing, using and maintaining the software.

4. Ask for a free trial?
Many software vendors will offer a free trial so you can test out its capabilities. During the trial you should spend as much time as you can learning the different features and functionality so you can ensure that the software will work for you.

5. Find out what type of support they offer.
If you choose to invest in the software, what type of support will the vendor offer? Are they available 24/7? Who can you contact for help? Do they offer training or maintenance? It’s important that the vendor is accessible to you after the sale.

6. Will the software grow with your company?
If your company is growing, you don’t want to invest in something that won’t last you very long. You want to find a vendor and software that can grow and scale with you and continue to accommodate your needs. You may also want to ask if the fees change if you do go through growth. For example, will you be charged more for more users or a bigger database?

A vendor is often more than just a company that sells you a product. They can become a long-term partner in your company so you should choose one carefully. Take your time doing your research and meeting with multiple vendors to find the one that will be the best fit for your company.