The tools we use every day are an investment in our productivity. Without them we would still be cavemen. Make sure you surround yourself with the tools that provide the best value for your situation.
I use the word “value” because I don’t think that a tool has to be either expensive or cheap to be valuable. Many amazing tools are “free”. Be cautious though, as free doesn’t always mean free of cost.
The value something provides should include time as a factor. In my experience, the largest cost to a business is labor, usually in the form of salaries. Even if you work for yourself, you have a salary.
Ultimately, those costs can be boiled down into some concrete number over some unit of time. Low quality tools inevitably increase the time it takes to complete work. Expensive tools may be high quality, but the math for the return on investment often doesn’t work out.
The best tools automate tasks, reduce wait time, increase visibility, or filter noise. Photoshop can batch modify hundreds or thousands of photos extremely fast. Upgrading your computer could reduce the amount of time you wait. A larger computer screen can help you see the bigger picture. Good ad tracking software can help you quickly find the clicks that generate the most revenue.
Do the math. Do the research. Take a very real look at the productivity increases you’ll gain from investing in great tools vs. their cost. Oftentimes the hard work has already been done for you. You just need to find it. I like to use this Google search: “productivity benchmark ”. Get creative. It is most definitely worth your time.
Be cautiously optimistic. Don’t be afraid to invest in things, but also don’t always believe information you find, especially with digital products. Be sure to really look into the facts yourself and make sure you’re comfortable with the decision.
Check the results. Don’t forget to close the loop. You need to reflect on your investment and know whether you’ve made a good decision. If you’re satisfied with your results, continue on your current path, but if you’re not satisfied, pivot and try to rectify the situation. If at any point you feel like you’re just wasting resources regularly, consult friends and colleagues you can trust and ask for guidance.
Ignorance is no excuse. Not knowing that better tools are available to help you is your fault and nobody else’s. You should always know about what other people are doing to stay on their game in your industry. This is why we have conferences like Affiliate Summit. You want to always be asking questions and evaluating your situation.
Whether you’re a lone affiliate or managing an entire team, invest in great tools that give a great return on investment. If you work for someone, nothing makes the argument for better equipment like math instead of feelings.
James Thompson is a Senior Engineer at updater.com, blogs at jtgraphic.net. Twitter @jtgraphic
Download the entire FeedFront issue 21 here – http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-21
FeedFront issue 21 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2012/12