Well, I have been on a mission for the last month with a variety of activities and business-related updates and new items. One of the toughest things to do is stay on target and on budget when you have a business. And the best way to achieve both is to make a plan.
Do your research!
I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure you review all the options before you make a purchase or activate a new tool to your business. This is where your eyes meet the fine print and the details start zooming past and cause a blur!
When looking at a New Interface – watch the tutorials and videos. Check the reviews and comparisons online. Sometimes just reaching out to a colleague and asking them what they think about a certain interface can clarify for you whether it is the right fit or not.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to the support team in charge of the interface. Remember they want you to use their product so they will try to ensure you can. This can also be a red flag for you. Should support not answer your inquiry then chances are you might be on your own and that can be a dangerous thing.
If you are still confused as to what you are seeing you will have a much harder learning curve. And we all know that we want something that not only works but is easy and effective to use.
Surprisingly some of the most confusing interfaces I have worked with turned out to be me over-thinking it. On the same note, some of the simplest interfaces still drive me crazy to the point where I have abandoned their use.
Know the cost!
Something else we have to take into consideration is the price point. Just because it is expensive does not always mean it is the better option. Inexpensive is not always cheap and useless. Whether it be cost-effective or not sometimes it is just so simple to use that it makes it irresistible.
Always be sure to do price point comparisons. Do you need all the bells and whistles? OR Do you just need function?
It can be nice to have all the features but if you are not going to utilize them why have them or why pay for them. Certainly, it does not mean that you can’t upgrade at a later date should your circumstances change.
Another import price check is can you do it yourself or will you have to secure someone to do it for you. The practicality of doing it yourself is only beneficial if you can actually do it. The benefit of having someone else do it should mean less headache and a time saver.
There are many subscriptions services and most are in U.S. dollars which can affect the bottom line for Canadian residents. So knowing if you are going to pay a monthly, yearly or per-use charge can be a deciding factor.
As a responsible business person, you should not look lightly on a monthly fee which might fit better into your monthly expenses but turn out to be hundreds or thousands of dollars through the course of the year. With all costs, you want to know you will attain a return on your investment. So be cautious when subscribing to a fee-based interface.
Especially one that has a contract term! Is there a minimum notice required to cancel a service. Will a service fee apply? And let’s not forget the dreaded increase in fees after the promo pricing has ended.
There is nothing worse than a ticking clock with a service you are using and pending cost increases. If it is working to build your business growth sometimes you have to bite the bullet. Finding an alternative with the same features will not only be time-consuming but you may not find something equal to or better.
Hiring someone to do the grunt work!
You have found the perfect interface. It is right on target for everything you need to do and the price point is perfect. But you don’t want to the set-up or perhaps you can’t figure it out. Finding a professional that can do it for seems the next logical step.
Now you have a new cost factor. If you are lucky it will be a one-time charge so you can work it into your budget. Or you might have to hold off and raise some capital before you can engage. Again you must do a little leg work and this time it not only includes research but also costs.
This is where it is important to get a quote for services. So you know what will or will not be done and how the charge will be calculated. It is always a good idea to ask or request what their additional fees are. After all, you might have something that needs to be updated down the road that only they can do.
When you receive a full quote for work that details everything it is your responsibility to read and review. This is one time you can’t just assume they knew what you meant. If there is something you want to be done that is not on the list ask for it to be put on. Or inquiry on the additional charge for it to be done!
One thing we hope we will never be required to do is to pay for services that don’t meet our expectations. An inquiry about a satisfaction clause and refund beforehand can save you grief at a much later time. We like to believe there should always be a resolve, yet sometimes you could end up walking away with an unfinished product and a hit to your cash flow.
As for me, I got what I wanted, for the price point that suited my budget and life is good. Here is hoping yours is the same.