Jack of All Trades, Master of None: The Limitations of all-in-one Software


There’s a saying: Jack of all trades, master of none. This is exactly how I feel about all-in-one solutions. It’s kinda like buying that one size fits all dress and finding that it’s too tight on your hips and too loose on your shoulders. And while the promise of a dress that fits everyone is alluring you know that it’s a pipe dream don’t ya? That’s because we’re all different with different body shapes and different needs so why buy something that kinda fits you when you can buy something that fits you perfectly and makes you look fantabulous? Even if you have to buy the blouse at one store and the pants at another!!

It’s the same with all-in-one software solutions. I can tell you so many stories of clients who have opted for one of these all-in-one solutions only to have major things go wrong. Like my client, Lisa who had her emails go down in the middle of a launch. Can you imagine being in the middle of an expensive launch and not being able to send out any launch emails? Thank goodness we had an ESP (email service provider) backup that we could use, but doesn’t having backup software defeat the whole object of having the all-in-one solution in the first place?

Another client, let’s call her Alice, had been using an all-in-one client management software but wanted to move to something else. She was unable to get any of her data out of the tool except by manually copying and pasting every single item she wanted to remove.

My top 10 reasons why NOT to get an all-in-one solution

I can go on and on, with all the client stories I have, but you get the point. So here are my top 10 reasons why I DO NOT recommend all-in-one software solutions:

  1. Poor performance: All-in-one solutions may not perform as well as specialized software because they have to juggle many different functions and features. My story of Lisa’s launch is an example of this.
  2. Lack of specialized features: All-in-one solutions may not offer the specialized tools and functionality that users in certain industries or with specific needs require. I had a client once, who wanted to use an all-in-one tool for her CRM but she could only add free appointments to her schedule and was unable to add an appointment where the client would pay upon booking that particular appointment with her.  
  3. Complexity: These types of software can be more complex and difficult to use than specialized software that is tailored to a specific task or workflow. You need to ask yourself if the learning curve is worth it.
  4. High cost: All-in-one solutions may be more expensive than purchasing multiple specialized software tools.
  5. Limited scalability: All-in-one solutions may not be able to scale as well as specialized software, making them less suitable for growing businesses. Oftentimes we get software because it’s popular or because all of your biz besties are using it, BUT I caution against this approach. Take a critical look at your software and ask yourself if it can and will hold up if you add 100 clients, 500 clients, or 1000 clients.
  6. Lack of customization: Users may not be able to customize all-in-one solutions to meet their specific needs and preferences.
  7. Limited integration: All-in-one solutions do not play nice with other software. This will hamper the ability to integrate with any other software you are using.
  8. Hijack of information: Most all-in-one solutions I have found make it super difficult for you to get your data out should you ever want to leave. This is exactly what happened to my client Alice, who had been using an all-in-one client management software but wanted to move to something else because of the high price tag and the fact that it lacked some critical features she needed. She was unable to get any of her data out of the tool except by having her virtual assistant manually copy and paste every single item she wanted to remove.
  9. Limited ability to automate: All-in-one solutions may not have robust automation capabilities, making it difficult to automate repetitive tasks or processes. I can think of a few all-in-one solutions that have very limited automation capabilities and ya’ll know, I love me some automation.
  10. Limited ability to handle multiple currencies: All-in-one solutions may not have built-in support for multiple currencies, making it difficult for businesses that operate in multiple countries. This is something that I have struggled with since our business operates in South Africa but I need to be able to invoice in multiple currencies.

So what do I do when assessing software to use in our business? Let’s take a look.

10 questions to ask yourself when shopping for new software

  1. What are my specific needs and requirements? Make a list of all the must-haves, nice to have, and not important. Make sure that the software you are considering has all of your must-haves and most of your nice-to-haves.
  2. Does this software have automation capabilities? So in other words, does it have built-in automation for you to automate repetitive tasks, OR does it integrate with a tool like Zapier or Make? If not then this might not be a good tool for a scaling business.
  3. How many of my current tools integrate with the software I am considering? If you answered yes to the question above and there is a Zapier or Make integration, then you need to consider if you are able to integrate the tool with other tools you are already using. If not, give it a skip.
  4. Will this software be easy for me, my team, and my clients to use? There is no point in having fancy software that nobody can use.
  5. Is the software able to meet the needs of my scaling business? Consider whether the software can scale to meet the needs of your business as it grows. This includes the ability to handle large data sets, multiple users, and different workflows. (See question 2 above)
  6. Is there access to support and support documentation if I get stuck with anything? You would be surprised at how many tools out there have inadequate support and a total lack of help docs. Lack of support is a hard no for me when it comes to buying new software.
  7. Is the software actively being maintained and upgraded? There is nothing worse than investing in a tool that isn’t being maintained and upgraded. Don’t fall into this trap!
  8. How reliable is this tool? I LOVE looking at reviews when considering a new tool. Note how many reviews it has and then how many are 5 stars and how many are 1 star. If the 1 star outweighs the 5 stars it’s a red flag!
  9. Does the tool have a mobile app? Now this is not a deal breaker for me if it has all the other features I want, but if you’re a person on the go and need access to the tool on your phone this may very well be a deal breaker for you, so it slides into my #9 slot
  10. How much does this software cost? While some might put this at the top of the list, cost shouldn’t be the only factor that you consider but it should be in the top 10.

If we haven’t met before, my name is Jacqui Money and I help overwhelmed solopreneur service providers and coaches scale their businesses with custom backend systems so that they don’t have to hire a huge team just to make more money!

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