They say that a bad workman always blames his tools. That’s as true in the digital realm as it is in the world of carpentry or plumbing. In the world of digitally led and ultra competitive entrepreneurship, intelligence, talent, savvy and experience can be severely compromised by using the wrong tools. The wrong tools can hamper your productivity, reduce your visibility, hobble your efficiency and increase your waste . And if you work for yourself, time is your most precious commodity, and so productivity should always be your number one priority.
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As such, you should constantly be evaluating the tools at your disposal, ensuring that they’re not only fit for purpose but enable you to boost your productivity as you and your team become more experienced and proficient. Your productivity lies not only in harnessing the right tools (or digital applications) but also in boxing clever with which elements of your operations you handle yourself, which you delegate and which you outsource to a specialist.
Outsourcing is also a tool
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Outsourced talent, should you choose to use it is a significant tool in your arsenal, and thus should be skilfully implemented and under constant scrutiny. Imagine you run a business that makes tinned salmon. You wouldn’t get very far skinning and filleting every fish yourself. You’d invest in the right equipment and outsource production to the people who can meet your demand. What works for canned fish works for digital marketing and HR too. You should evaluate the efficacy of your outsourced service providers on a regular basis (quarterly or annually) and hold them to account if they don’t get the results your business deserves. If they prove themselves to be a blunt tool, there are plenty of others to choose from.
The most expensive tools are rarely the best
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As an entrepreneur, you likely fight a never ending battle to keep your overheads under control while investing prudently enough in the right equipment to make sure that you’re at your most productive. When starting out, however, it’s easy to assume that the pricier applications are the best. This is rarely the case. Let’s look at something simple like Word Processing. A subscription to the home version of Microsoft Office 365 costs $129 Australian a year. On the other hand Google docs is, pound for pound, a better and more intuitive word processing platform. It’s quick and easy to adopt and makes for much quicker and easier collaboration between team members.
Make free trials your new best friend
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Many entrepreneurs are keen to replace applications that may not be the most efficient or productive, but balk at the potential costs. This is why free trials are a tremendous boon to cash strapped businesses. Trial versions of new software will give you a working understanding of how it can improve your productivity without costing a fortune.
But beware the unnecessary upgrade
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When you’ve found a solution that works for you, it’s important to compare it to other products on the market on an annual basis. Be wary of unnecessary upgrades. Don’t pay top dollar for features that you won’t use or are of little benefit for your business.