Picking the Right Tools for Your Business (Part 1)
Welcome to Leverage Your Spark. We help businesses and organizations optimize their systems. This saves time and increases productivity. I’m Brandy Lawson, your host. In this 5-part series, we’ll discuss how to make informed decisions. This is when selecting a tool, app, or evaluating software service. Each episode will cover one aspect of the evaluation process. These steps are meant to be used together to guide you to a decision.
Finding the Solution: Evaluating Software to Avoid Distractions
Have you ever found yourself lost in the sea of software possibilities? It can be disorienting to just bob around without an anchor or bearings.
But, there’s a crucial first step. It often gets overlooked in the decision-making process. Don’t dive deep into the nitty-gritty of software features, price comparisons, or reviews. You need to determine if the app is a solution or a distraction.
Evaluating Software: Overcoming Shiny Object Syndrome
Back in the mid-80’s my parents ran a restaurant and my dad coded his own programs for running payroll and tracking sales. In those days, there were 0 options for software, if you wanted something you had to create it. These days, there’s an opposite problem, there are too many options, and Shiny Object Syndrome is a real problem that can cloud your decision-making process. To overcome the lure of shiny objects, the key question to ask yourself is: Does it solve a problem you actually have?
Timing is Everything: Don’t Get Distracted by Future Solutions in Software Evaluation
It’s tempting to get distracted by tools that might solve future problems, but timing is everything. Sometimes, you may encounter solutions that could solve problems you might have in the future. But it’s essential to remember that the value of software comes from how it is used, and it takes time & resources to do that. It isn’t likely you’ll be able to fully implement a solution right now if it doesn’t address your immediate needs. However, as you find these potential gems, I would encourage you to create a reference resource so you can easily find this information in the future when you need it.
Is It Worth the Investment? Evaluating the Problem and Cost-Benefit of Implementing New Software
Okay, so how do you know if it is a solution or distraction? You need to determine if it solves a problem you have, and if that problem is worth the investment of implementing the software.
Here are a few questions that can help you find your answer:
- If you really want to shortcut the sh*t, do a gut check in. You likely already know if it is a solution or distraction and don’t even need the rest of the questions.
- Does this solve a problem the business is currently experiencing?
- How big is the problem this would solve? It isn’t always easy to put a dollar amount on a problem, but see if you can do some “napkin” math on how much time it is taking per week or month and times that by an hourly rate. You can also consider the costs that the current system is causing in terms of mistakes or lost revenue.
- What would it take to implement the solution in terms of actual dollars (like the software fee and consultant to implement) and time spent (by you, the team, vendors and clients). Does the “cost” of the problem outweigh the cost of the implementation?
These questions will help you evaluate the right tool and avoid distractions. If you feel like the answer is somewhere in the middle, don’t worry! You can use a score from 1 – 5 for the app you are evaluating, with 1 being a distraction, and 5 being a solution. If you’ve got a score of at least a 3, then tune in to the next episode for the 2nd evaluation step.
Mastering Tool Evaluation
By taking the time to evaluate a tool before you commit to it, you can avoid unnecessary distractions and increase your productivity. By following our framework, you’ll be able to select a tool that solves your problem, meets your requirements, and fits your budget. In the next four episodes of this series, we’ll dive into the remaining 4 steps to help you make an informed decision when choosing a tool, app, or software service.
Join us for the next episode of Leverage Your Spark’s 5-Part Series on Evaluating Software
If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and share it with a friend or fellow entrepreneur. Everyone deserves to have less stress and more impact!
In the next episode we’re continuing our 5-part series on how to make decisions when it comes to choosing tools, apps or software programs for your business.
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Keep leveraging your spark to ignite your possibility and I’ll see you in the next episode.
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