Help to Grow: Digital scheme from the UK Government
9 May 2022
Businesses that have adopted digital technology have seen sales per employee grow between 7% and 18% depending on the type of software used
To help businesses choose the right software for them, the Government has put together a comprehensive 6-step guide and downloadable checklists to help you think about what you need and how to buy it as part of its Help to Grow: Digital programme.
Help to Grow: Digital is a UK-wide government-backed scheme that aims to help you choose, buy and adopt digital technologies that will help you grow your business.
Eligible businesses can get 50% off, up to £5,000, on approved Digital Accounting and Customer Relationship Management software.
To view the 6 tips, videos and checklists visit GOV.UK - Help to Grow.
Six steps to choosing the right software
Following these 6 steps will steer you through the buying process, so you can make the right choice for your business according to Help to Grow: Digital
Step 1: Set objectives for new software
Before you think about which software to buy, you need to know what problems you want it to solve. Work out why you're buying it and what you want it to achieve.
What do you want the software to do?
Knowing exactly what you're looking for will give you a clearer idea of what software you need, and the features it should include. If you think about your three main pain points, there's bound to be technology out there to address them
What's worked and what hasn't with software I've used before?
Have you tried software in the past? Did it help you achieve your goals? If not, think about why it didn't work to help you avoid having the same issues again. What barriers did you come across last time that you wouldn't want to repeat? Keep this in mind when looking at the features new software could offer.
Is there anything else I need to think about at this stage?
Now you've got a clearer idea of what you want to achieve - and if you've used tech before, the pitfalls to avoid - take one last look at any other obstacles you might face.
Step 2: Write your requirements list
Use their checklist to draw up a list of the features you need your software to have. This will help you compare products and choose the right one for you.
The Help To Grow programme has developed a downloadable checklist with five stages:
1. Your budget and the software features you want
2. Your team and customers
3. About the software
5. Support and roll-out
Step 3: Calculate your software budget
Budgeting for new software goes beyond what you can spend on it. New tech must also meet your business needs for your team to successfully implement it and give you value for money. Use the checklists to help you understand the potential financial benefits and savings, plus the financial costs, you need to consider before buying.
Help to Grow has created two checklists to help you before deciding which software product you want to spend your money on.
Help to Grow Digital - Software Costs Checklist - The costs for new software aren't always limited to the initial price you pay for access to the technology itself. It can include additional services offered by the supplier, as well as getting your team trained to use the new system.
Help to Grow Digital - Software Benefits and Savings Checklist - will help you calculate the benefits, potential cost savings and hours saved per week you'd get from investing in software.
Step 4: Buy software with confidence
Once you know what you can spend on new software, it's time to talk to suppliers, get quotes and trial some products. Find out the questions to ask and what to watch out for.
Comparison tools give a great overview of the market. But be aware that they're not always independent and don't necessarily give the full list of pros and cons.
Always do your own research and try to use a broad set of resources to get a more accurate idea of the software you're considering investing in.
To help you stay focused on what you're looking for, check back to Step 1 Set objectives for new software and your checklists from Step 3 Calculate your software budget.
Step 5: Make new software work for your team
There are lots of potential challenges when introducing new technology into your business. Getting "buy-in" from your team is key to the success of introducing any new software.
Involve your team from the start
Champion the benefits
Communication is key
To help you make sure that you've asked yourself all the questions you need to see Help to Grow Digital - Introducing Software Checklist.
Step 6: Get your money's worth
With your new software in place, it's time to review whether it's achieving everything you wanted it to, or whether it needs improvements. Here's how to do it.
Go back to what you wanted the new technology to achieve - and comparing it with the benefits you're seeing now.
Revisit the goals you set in step 1 Set your objectives for new software, plus your Shopping List Checklist from step 2 and Introducing Software Checklist from step 5.
With the technology in place, you can now compare these lists with how the software is working. How well has it integrated with your business' other systems and processes? Is it working how you expected it to?
Complete these reviews each month in the first six months, then quarterly.
Wider business support
For other digital support, funding and training see our business support section.