Finding the right IT to power up your business
Whether it be Google Apps or BaseCamp or Evernote, the right IT tool, program or app can revolutionise the way you work, bringing in profits and clients a plenty. However, as with all things, the key to reaping these rewards is to find the ones that are right for you.
But how do you actually do that? Let’s use Kipling’s six honest serving men (What, Why, Where, How, When and How) to answer this question.
What are IT tools, programs and apps?
IT tools help you carry out tasks. For example:
Why should you seek them out?
Finding a good tool allows you to do what you’re currently doing but:
- in less time
- for less money, and
- with less effort.
For example, I used to write my invoices in Microsoft Word. It would take about 15 minutes per invoice, and I would often mess up the GST. To fix this annoyance, I bought an invoice writing app for $40.
It now takes me less than a minute to write up an invoice. As such, I’m saving 14 minutes per invoice.
“So what?” you ask.
I reply, “This time saving adds up to an extra 1 hour every week, or 52 hours per year to do the things I would rather be doing. I now spend those extra 52 hours I have up my sleeve on things I’d rather be doing. So instead of writing invoices, I now spend that time playing computer games talking to clients about new projects.”
By finding an IT tool suited to your needs, you can save time, energy and money too.
Where do you start?
There’s a trick to this. Don’t start by looking for tools. Start by looking for problems! It’s counter-intuitive I know, but the idea is that IT tools deliver the greatest benefit when they solve a problem.
And the easiest way to spot a problem is to look for:
- The things that irk you
- The things you complain about to your friends
- The tasks you wish you didn’t have to do
For example, complaints I often hear include:
- There’s never enough time to do everything I want to do!
- I have to explain basic tasks to staff over and over again!
- My clients are never clear on what they want!
Once you’ve found one of these pain points, you can find a tool to fix it.
How do you find the right tool to fix your problem?
Research is the key here. Some of the techniques I use include:
- Talk to others in your network about the problem you’re experiencing, and see what they did to fix it. Then copy them.
- Type your problem into Google and see what results are returned.
- Download a few trial versions of tools which claim to address your issue, and see how well they work for you.
Be warned that this does take time and effort. But when you succeed in finding that tool, you will either be freed from the problem, or at least minimise it.
When should you do it?
There’s no time like the present! An easy way to start is by spending a few moments taking note of something that’s irking you.
Who can help?
A business analyst or business consultant can help you identify problems and recommend tools to address them – including showing how to best use them in your business. Indeed, that’s what I do for a living, so if you think I can help, give me a hoi.
Over to you! What’s your favourite tool? What pain does it address? How did you find it?