In business as in life, having the right tools and knowledge will save you both time and money in the long term.
Those tools might be intellectual. Like having the right bit of software to achieve the results you require. Or they might be informational, such as gathering the correct knowledge to perform a certain job or task. They may even be physical, like having the correct brand and size of saw blade for a UK based construction project.
Whatever form your tool takes, for it to benefit you in the long term it must be fit for purpose and used in the prescribed way.
What happens if you use the wrong tool?
It’s always tempting to ‘make do’ with either something you’ve already got, or with an alternative which does not match the quality required for a job in hand. If, for example, you are needing the informational services of a tax accountant, you could either do it yourself, employ the services of a poorly qualified but cheap back street accountant, or spend that little bit extra and employ someone who knows what they are doing, and could actually end up saving you more than they cost through tax savings that they know about because of their superior expertise.
Someone with less knowledge and experience could end up costing you if they wrongly submit your accounts, missing vital information and bringing you unwittingly to the attention of the authorities.
Creating a false economy
Equally, using cheap physical tools usually means that you are compromising the integrity and quality of the tool. The result of this is poor performance, so the job may take longer than necessary, which in turn costs you money.
The tool may be prone to breakage, which means downtime when you have to repair or replace the tool. Replacing like for like will only prolong the issue.
If you’re not using the right tool for the job, you could be causing irreparable damage to the project, or indeed to the operator. You should only use a tool for an intended purpose.
All in all, using the wrong tool, or a cheap version, will result in a job that is of poor quality, delivered late and too expensive, which is damaging both for the company doing the work, and for the client.
Watch out for the hidden catches
Our lives are today ruled by software and apps – they pay our bills, clock our steps, tell us what to eat and when. They keep our accounts in order, manage the security of our homes. In manufacturing they can optimise material usage, keep machines running, clock your employees in and out, keep an eye on their wellbeing.
One of the aspects of seeking the best software or app for a particular function is to know exactly what you are looking for. So many draw you in either with a completely ‘free’ option, or with a subscription that appears (on the surface of it) really good value. But watch for the hidden clauses.
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- Is it really ‘free’, or is it just for a certain amount of time? Often it is only free for a certain period of time, then after that cut off point they start to take money from your pocket. You can cancel, but you have to do it before a certain period of time has elapsed, and the onus is on you to check.
- Does the ‘free’ option include what you actually need? Often the free option has very limited features that are really not suitable for anyone – they are more of a ‘trial’ option. Only by upgrading can you get what you really need.
If pays to take time and attention to really assess the functions of a particular tool, find the right one for you, and consider it as a long term investment that will save you time and money.