Today I am going to save you money! There are so many fantastic solutions to just about every operational need you can come up with for your business. Online technological systems are popping up everywhere on the internet. Some are from tried and true entities while some are from the next potential Zuckerberg. As a business owner there is more to just finding the answer to your question. To protect you and your company from investing in a solution that can only frustrate, I recommend a few easy steps for success.
- Understand your problem before buying.
- Consider how quickly you can really start using and integrate the new product
- Consider the cost
- Plan for how it will work in your company.
Understanding your problem? By this I mean don’t get wooed by a shiny new idea that is not for your business. I highly recommend you wait until you have identified a problem and then actively look for the correct solution. Upgrades within free products are the easiest way to go down this costly road. If a tool you are using for free is great then the upgrade for $15 a month must be awesome. And it’s ONLY $15 bucks a month, right? Sounds great IF it is useful. Otherwise it is $180 a year for something that was working for free.
How quickly and easily a new product can be learned, integrated into your current systems and your staff trained up needs to be part of your consideration process. The size of the product itself can determine this part. Is the new product the right size for where your company is today?
Some products may be too big for what your company needs at this time. (Salesforce and InfusionSoft are common ones I have seen clients sign up for and eventually dump because it truly was not the right complexity for their companies. Too much, too early.) Would it be nice to be able to have great pipeline management? Of course but with complex training and a long implementation process, go back to what your business needs. If your company delivers for 5 contract clients a year with the capacity to only take on one more. How many pipelines do you need to be managing for YOUR business’ success?
The cost consideration is the piece that requires little council from me. Is it reasonably priced for the part this piece will play in the overall operations of your business? How many ways will it facilitate your operations? Is it duplicative of another product or service that you will have to cancel? You know what is best for the company budget and growth.
Planning for how it will work in your company initially includes placing time on your (or your assistant’s calendar) to start training and setting up the system within the new product you purchased. Once that is done, there will need to be a training schedule set for when and who will need to learn the new system. Additionally, there needs to be time commitment, process creation and internal communications on how this new product will be used by anyone/everyone in your company. This final step is where a business owner can really push off the new solution to your problem. That expense will keep coming in, month after month, even if the planning commitment for training and implement time keeps being pushed back.
Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE these online solutions. Need something to quickly and easily jot down notes as well as organize them? Got it. Check out Evernote. Need an online scheduling system to help cut down on the back and forth of setting appointments? Check out ScheduleOnce. Need a hosting site for an online course you offer to clients? Zippy Courses is the one I use. There are even specialty programs and systems. HelloBar, Podcast Websites, Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker are all wonderful online products offering singular solutions that meet a very specific need and that may help you with your business operations.
You don’t want to pay for a product even if it is EXACTLY what your business needs if you are not going to commit to the time, training and systemization required to use it. Then it is just money pulled out of your business monthly like some sort of punishment. These tools can be real time-savers and efficiencies for your company so PLAN to use them before you buy!
What software or online tool did you buy for your company but end up canceling or writing off because you did not have committed time for integration? I’d love to know!
Talmar It Up is an operations and management firm that was founded by Talmar Anderson. Working with business owners and corporate teams, Talmar It Up works to bridge the gaps in business education and management experience. Whether working on projects to build teams or one on one through monthly consulting to grow businesses, Talmar Anderson uses energy and enthusiasm every step of the way. Got more questions? Jump over to www.TalmarItUp.com!