Keeping up with all the new tools that promise to make our business life better, more successful, easier and doing all or less of the other guy’s new stuff is impossible. I googled “new tools for business” and G-ster returned 863,000,000 records. Now let’s say 99% of these are not high quality deals, not from a reliable resource or simply not a match to my needs. The remaining 1% is many thousands more than I want to read.
My search wasn’t specific enough, it’s true, like most days in a contractor’s life. Most days, we are not looking for a new app or platform, but between emails from people who I like to suggest their favorites, FB ads and promotional emails from partners; things find us, right?
You know how to go to a new store for one thing and you end up with a cart full of things you didn’t know you “needed?”
Since part of my job is to stay on top of what makes business and marketing more efficient and easier, I can go down the rabbit holes with research so I can recommend and stay up to date with what’s worth.
One of the drawbacks of research, as you probably know, is that it is a bottomless pit that we gladly throw our time into. Not only does it serve to educate and entertain us, it is an important distraction from the work we do. do not like to do.
I wish I was teasing and you know exactly what I mean.
Back to the current topic. There are times when a promo for a tool or new software was not something we were actively looking for, but reminds us of a problem we have that we intend to do. It may be justified to take out the credit card and sometimes a smart idea and others where you are advised to step away from the buy button.
Here are a few questions you need to ask before clicking “buy now.”
What problem are you looking to solve?
Is this the right tool for the job?
Is buying a tool the right answer, or is it time to hire a human?
What is the ROI you want from your investment?
Is that the right expense right now?
Question 1 is the most important thing to be aware of, and retail therapy tricksters want you to get it wrong. Let’s say you get a promo for planning software on social media and you think, “This is it. I want to finally get out there and be in line with my social marketing.” Not so fast. Platforms like Hootsuite, Social Queue, Buffer and the rest are just as good at getting you consistent as you fill the pipeline. If you are not willing to invest an hour or two a week to load the system, you will pay for something you do not use.
The question of the right tool can be simplified by knowing how you like to work. I need an interface that is comfortable and easy to navigate. Drag and drop fits me fine and I need direction. (This is why I can’t understand Asana all my life). Customer service is also high on my list of requirements. Don’t you care if you only get email support within 48 hours, or do you at least want to chat at least during business hours?
The answer to # 3 may be just one person. It is likely to cost you more money, but money should not be the only deciding factor when making business decisions. Is it that you “don’t have” money for it that allows you to get more clients or do something halfway? Never make a decision based solely on money.
# 4 – Will investing in this tool pay you back so the expense is justified? You need to think about your return on investment, whether you invest money or time in every aspect of running your business. If the software costs you $ 20 a month but it gives you 5 new leads or saves you 5 hours because you automate, that’s great ROI.
And finally, is this expense – even if “only” $ 20 / month – right now, or do you have to save cash for something down the road with more impact? Resources are precious in our businesses and we can always find a way to use them. Weigh all expenses against the long-term goals you have.
There is no way to keep up with all the cool new apps, software and platforms that promise to help us get seen. And many of them offer a free trial or don’t have annual contracts so you can test them with a little out of pocket. Before you start trying things yourself, be aware of the problem to be solved. It is no use playing with social planning software if you have a bookkeeping problem. And no need to play with a tool that requires time and you don’t have to get the result you want.
Do some homework around your pain points and plans for your business before embarking on that rabbit hole of research, and I promise you’ll spend more time on the things you love about your business – and some left over for it, you do not have .