No matter what stage of business you’re in, it’s understandable that you’ll need to spend money to grow your business. Whether it’s on an app, program or course, there’s certain essentials your business needs, to take it further or get there faster. However, you also want to ensure you’re not wasting money on things you don’t need. And of course, there’s also the other scenario – a fear of spending money on something you do need, but that doesn’t work!

Regardless of whether you’re looking at apps to help your business or courses to help you learn something new, the one thing you won’t be short of, is choice. There’s lots of options available to you and often, at many different price points. It can all be a little overwhelming and often, incredibly tempting too. We’ve all bought things we like the look of, but never use, as well as things we think we need, but in hindsight could’ve done without.

So how exactly, can you ensure you’re not wasting money on business extras or buying something you don’t need? Here’s a five-step strategy to engage, prior to making any decisions.

#1: Do I need it?

This is often the first question we ask ourselves, but it isn’t as clear cut as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. When we see something we like and want, it’s easy to instinctively give this question a resounding yes! This is why you need to have a multi-level approach to this question. The follow up questions need to be: ‘Will it save me time, effort and money’, followed by ‘Can my business afford not to have it’?

These questions help you understand if you’re about to invest in something that is really needed, or is just really wanted.

#2: Where am I already at?

This is a great question to ask yourself, as it highlights your achievements and your frustrations. You may want to buy a course on marketing but, when you ask this question, you know you’re already being visible and marketing yourself on most platforms, and you also know how to market. You may then decide that you don’t need the course or you want one that focuses on a specific platform. Using software as another example, you may be at the stage where you’re using an accounting app that totally frustrates you, so a new one that comes onto your radar may alleviate or solve those current frustrations.

#3: Review your existing purchases

Once you’ve asked yourself the questions, it’s time to look at what you already have. We’ve all been guilty of wasting money on business apps, programs and courses that languish unopened on our laptops! With places like AppSumo offering great deals, it’s easy to lose track of past purchases, so take stock now. Go through and check what you’ve bought, what you’ve signed up to and what you have access to.

#4: Take advantage of the free and trial versions

If you realise you have something that fits the bill, great! You can then bypass the latest shiny thing you wanted to buy. However, if you don’t have anything suitable in your existing kit, you may decide to take the plunge and buy. But, before you do, see if there’s a suitable free alternative or, a trial you can take for a test drive. You can then see if you actually get on with what you’re looking to buy, without the commitment.

#5: Regularly review your courses, apps and programs

This is something you may have already started, whilst getting your VA business ready for 2019, but it pays to do this on a regular basis. If it helps, compile a list of all the apps, programs and courses you already have (both free and paid for). You can then review, add and delete where necessary – and save some time when the next temptation comes your way!

We’ve all been in a position where we’ve been attracted to the latest shiny new objects – me included! Whether we buy into them or not, comes down to how diligent we are, at giving ourselves the space and time, to assess before we jump in and part with our money. By engaging the five-step strategy above, you can ensure you’re making the decision from a rational and balanced viewpoint – without having to struggle with hindsight or buyers remorse.

(You could try a tip from one of my Luminary One to One Clients everytime she wanted to buy something new for her business she would say outloud or use the hashtag – #WALT – which meant “Would Amanda like this?”  ie. Would I approve of the purchase she was considering making? Effectively I was acting as her conscience without even being there…!

What did you think of today’s blog? Do you consider yourself a sensible buyer who thinks with your head, or are you more of an impulsive spender? Did today’s blog give you any a-ha moments on how you’re spending your money? Why not share your thoughts and comments, in the box below!