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How to Evaluate Your Business Tools at the Start of the New Year
  • 17 January 2019
  • Tiffany C Wright

How to Evaluate Your Business Tools at the Start of the New Year

The start of the new year can provide small business owners with a blank slate, a fresh start, and a chance to shake the cobwebs off and try something new. As such, this new year provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate the tools that you or your employees use on a regular basis.

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Whether it is your email marketing service, your accounting software, or your scheduling website, evaluate your tools to see if they are still meeting your needs as a small business owner. If it is time to renew these service contracts, ask yourself the following questions to kick start the evaluation process.

Is this tool still the right option for my business size?

Perhaps when you started out using this service you were a solopreneur with just a few clients, but now your business has grown and the tool has not. If you are constantly trying to work around a tool that is meant for a smaller business, it may be time to scale up and find something that can help you manage your increasing number of clients.

On the flip side, if you are using a tool that is meant for a larger business in both capability and price, it may be time to cut the cord and find a service for small business owners. There is such a wide array of tools available for all sizes and types of businesses that there is no need to be tied to one that is not the best fit.

What do I want to accomplish this year?

We all make resolutions at the start of the new year, with most goals being personal in nature (lose weight, meet someone new, eat less sugar, etc.). But what are your small business resolutions? Perhaps it is to find five new clients, reestablish relationships with previous customers, grow your email list or hire a new employee.

Once you establish what you would like to accomplish in your business in 2019, evaluate your tools with a lens focused on getting you closer to these goals. Will these tools help you achieve these goals? Or will they actually hold you back because they are not robust enough? The tools you use in your small business should be moving you forward, not slowing you down. The time spent reconfiguring a tool to meet your needs could be time spent growing your business.

You may also need to investigate new services as well. For example, if your resolution for 2019 is to hire an employee or two when you have been a solopreneur up until now, look into payroll services and employee scheduling software.

Who can I ask for recommendations?

When starting to look into new tools or services for the new year, tap into your network and ask around to see if fellow small business owners have any recommendations. Be sure to ask for the good, the bad and the ugly — you want all the information about a certain tool before you make the leap to something new and potentially more expensive.

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Also when you are networking, ask how they learned to use the new service. Note any educational resources or websites that you can use in the future to help shorten the learning curve when you implement the new system.

Do not get caught up in something new and flashy if your current tool is working just fine for your business. But do not be afraid to take a hard look at the services you use and see if they are still meeting your needs. If you have ambitious goals this new year, you want the tools and services to match them — so out with the old and in with the new!

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