When was the last time you reviewed all the tools you are using to run your business?
As you know technology is always changing, new programs are being released, prices go down, new features are added, so it’s important to do at least a yearly or bi-yearly review of all those tools you are using to run your business. Doing a tools audit can save you money; tools can really add up, especially if you are paying monthly fees. You also want to evaluate and review if there are better options out there that better fits your needs, it’s not all about saving money but also finding efficiencies in your operations. As your business changes so do the tools you need.
Conduct an Inventory Of Your Business Tools
Start your audit by inventorying all the tools you use for your business. I’ve made you a handy spreadsheet to get you started; you can grab that in the Tools Audit Kit by clicking below.
Focus on your paid tools first, but I also include some of my free tools or one-time payment tools. I’m making sure to evaluate efficiencies as well as cost in my audit. Make sure you check your statements (credit card, Paypal, bank) so you aren’t forgetting any tools you might not be using but bought and have a renewal. I do not list every tool, but I list:
Any tool that has a monthly or yearly fee
Any tool I’m using on a daily or weekly basis
Evaluate Your Tools
I then ask myself:
How often do I use this tool and is it worth the price for that usage?
Are there cheaper options available?
How satisfied am I with this service? If you are consistently saying “I wish it did ____” then it might be time to see if there is a service that offers more of what you need. If you have created “workarounds” then that is also an indication it’s time to review if another service offers more functionality you need. Sometimes it’s worth the time savings to pay for a tool.
Are you using most of the features offered or do you use just a fraction? If a tool has lots of features, but you only use a few features, then it might save you money to look for a tool that fits your more basic needs. Or can you downgrade your plan. Usually, more features = more money.
Are there new features or integrations I’m not using? Always check to see what new integrations might be added to your tools.
Once you determine in you audit which tools need a deeper review, then it’s time to research. The easiest way to do that is to Google alternatives to _________(the tool you want to replace). Or cheaper than ________(tool you want to replace). Entrepreneurial Facebook groups are also great places to find the greatest and latest tools on the market. You can search the group, or you can simply start your own post asking for suggestions.
For tools that you have annual renewals and you aren’t ready to replace yet make sure to set a calendar reminder to re-evaluate alternatives about 15 days before renewal.
Your Action List To Conduct Your Own Audit
- Download the tools audit kit
- Conduct tools inventory
- Review tools using the provided questions and determine K (Keep), R (Replace), or A (Review Alternative)
- Review or cancel those indicated
- Set calendar reminder for your next tools audit 6 months to 1 year
- Every time you purchase a new tool update your tools inventory sheet.