Jef Lippiatt
Jef Lippiatt Owner at Startup Chucktown

What is the worst business tool or service you’ve ever tried and what made it so bad?

I think business people often tell other people about software and tools they like and think others should try. I think people are less vocal about what tools, services and software should be avoided at all costs.

 

I’m interested in hearing personal pain points and what made the experience so terrible. We should all be helping others avoid inefficiencies and bad products when at all possible. I look forward to your answers.

Top voted answer
Greg Rogers

Greg Rogers, Founder and CEO at

Great read, thank you to all who contributed thus far.

@Keith Rowley @Jef Lippiatt 

My two cents worth.

One of the biggest challenges I find is that the entrepeneur/business owner doesnt really have a solid idea/vision for the outcome or result from whatever platform/tool/resource/service/software they invest in to use, even if it's free. It still has a time investment!

The other side to this is that in a lot of cases the result, whilst still short of the desired outcome, is still better than the alternative but not acknowledged or seen that way. Progress v perfection.

And of course this is simply because we are all going to have little nuances, nothing can be just right for every business.

Of everything opined i agree with the comment on Sharepoint, albeit allowing for my comments above, as a straight out vault for storing and accessing it does the job. Fails miserably with the promised extended usage within the 365 environment.

I also agree on Skype, I see Skype as MYOB once was (the market darling) and now they are the poor relation to a whole host of newcomers.

CRM wise, Salesforce will always be the domain of the enterprise level users, for SMB/SME there are far better and cost effective options.

In terms of other dislikes the upside is that there is just so much in the marketplace, so rather than those that dont work and lose time over, here are some of the ones I am finding work for me.

Teams v Slack
Dropbox or Google drive v any other
Zoom v anything
Teamviewer
Bitly
VLC
Canva
Notability
Messenger
Hubspot/Agile
Small PDF

And finally with regard to the training/user comments, doesn't matter if it's a tool/software/app/service, right through to people in roles, if there is no training and therefore poor take up or usage...only one person to blame...the one for whom the buck stops!

Enjoy your weekend.

Greg

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

@Greg Rogers I really appreciate your insight on this one. You are right if employees aren’t using the program or not to its full potential that the leadership needs to take responsibility and set time aside to retrain.
I recognized most of the items in your list of helpful tools, but a few were new to me. So I’ll definitely check those out in more detail.

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Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley, Joint Owner and Customer Strategist at

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I think a lot of this comes down to 'horses for courses', familiraity and price. I've used some tools of which I was not particularly fond but often, that was because my staff was not using them properly. An example of this would be Sales-Force. It's a great tool, but without discipline in your sales team, it's frustrating and sometimes useless. Managers need to remember that business tools are not magic and it's up to them to train there staff.

Someone already pointed out that you cannot expect too much from cheap tools. I would add to that and say that if you buy an all-seeing all dancing business system then you will probably find your staff never completing the learning curve. Rather give them something simple and let them complain about the short-comings because when they do complain, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are making provision for the shoertcomings they see.

I find all this to be very true with websites, which ar just a business tool. Some customers ask and pay for every sophisticated inclusion I can provide - and then use a fraction of them. Optimistics humans see a house when they view a pile of bricks, beams and cement.  A good manager looks at all of those things as tools and decides which ones his staff can use. 

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Thank you for the insight @Keith Rowley , really interesting to hear. Totally agree with your point about proper training needed for tools to be effective. I have experience of this as a user and as a manager! Do you agree @Jef Lippiatt ?

Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley, Joint Owner and Customer Strategist at

Sorry for typos - 'their' not 'there staff'. 'familiarity' not the gibberish I types. 'shortcomings' not 'shoertcomings' 'are just' not 'ar just'. 'Optimistic humans' not 'optimistics humans'. Apologies - I need a new keyboard and to check my typing much more rigorously. It's embarrassing.
 

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Rose Davidson

Rose Davidson at LIVELONG DIGITAL PTY LTD

I don't like Crello, I would rather use Canva. Crello does have features that Canva doesn't have, however, overall it is a thumbs down.

There are a few video apps that I dislike. Wave.video is my go-to along with Filmora.

I don't use Skype, too many trolls and weirdos.

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

I'm a fan of Canva, it makes it really easy to share templates (for social media for example) with others too and most people know how to use it. Do you have any experience with these programs @Jef Lippiatt ?

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Hey @Hatty Bell I do have experience with Canva, overall I think it is a relatively solid solution. They have added some key features since it originally was launched. I’ve heard of Crello but never used it. I wasn’t aware of Wave.video or Filmora. I’ll have to check those out so thanks @Rose Davidson for mentioning those other options.

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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Hey @Yee Trinh I get that it is a negative question, but I think helping others avoid bad products and services that may waste a tight budget and valuable time is worthwhile.

One product I would want other people to avoid is Skype. Originally it wasn’t a bad program, but over the last several years I’ve noticed that is has become extremely unreliable as it often crashes or freezes. Additionally it doesn’t easily allow users to make sub-group chats outside of a specific scheduled meeting. I believe Microsoft is phasing Skype out in favor of their new product Teams, which I must say is a much better product overall.

Another program or suite I would recommend against from my own use is Confluence and Jira. They are fine programs, but they are needlessly cumbersome and overly complicated. There are products that do similar things that are much easier to use for development tracking and agile processes. I personally like Trello and Asana, but there are many other good alternatives.

Lastly of my do not touch list would be Sharepoint. It is easily one of the worst and yet most widely used products out there. There are several reasons I avoid this program when possible. It is very dated and unnecessarily complicated. The second reason is because it is dated there are big concerns from a security stand point because it is not easy to upgrade. Related to that, Microsoft is again phasing out the existing version of Sharepoint for one that works in a more connected way to their 360 suite (no verdict on if that will be better). Finally from a skills perspective, in my experience a Share Point developer cannot easily transition to other types of development such as front-end frameworks or back-end programming because Share Point is such mess from a code perspective. Honestly I would recommend looking into Alfresco or just using a multi-site Wordpress instance. Again there are other interesting tools out there.

 

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Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

@Natasha Hawker @Daniel Rouquette @Rose Davidson @Paul Juchima @Bronwen Sciortino @Bridget Holland @Keith Rowley I would be interested in your opinions on this question! 

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Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

I find any tool which isn't used properly a pain point. All too often companies have systems set up which they just don't use, or that some people use and not others. I'd say that unless proper training is given to all users and the systems are streamlined, don't bother!

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

So you don't think any products are bad @Hatty Bell ? Surely with some products, it's because they don't provide adequate support/guidance to their customers? 

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Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

Such a negative nancy @Jef Lippiatt ! But yes, agree that it's good to get advice on both fronts. 

No one specific product comes to mind. There's always positives and negatives to any. Often, I read about people complaining about low-cost solutions.. in which my response is.. what did you expect??! 

Often you're paying premiums for a reason. I have yet to come across a product where I've paid premium and received a lesser experience. And the ones which are more budget friendly, tend to have their shortcomings but that's somewhat expected. 

Also agree @Hatty Bell that what I may have a poor experience with, may come down to how I've used it, or rather how I haven't used it. 

If I was to name one product that I don't believe warrants its price tag.. it would be Mailchimp. It's not cheap, but it's quite a basic tool. Easy to use, does the job but there's a lot of options out there that can do a lot more at its price point. 

We put a lot of research into finding tools that work for our purposes at SavvySME so I can't name too many that are bad products.. simply ones that didn't fit our needs. 

What are some products you'd recommend others avoid @Jef Lippiatt ?

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