This week we’re going to take a look at the tools I used in 2014 and the changes I plan to make in 2015.

Before we embark on this, though, I want to remind you of something.

Just because you use the same tool as someone else doesn’t mean you will get their results.

Way too many business owners I talk to eat up these software review posts (my Trello review is one of the most popular posts on my site). Based on reviews, these people jump from tool to tool with little consideration for the effect learning that new tool will have on their business.

Don’t use my posts that way. As you read about the tools I’ve used in 2014 and plan to use in 2015, don’t get in a big hurry to add these to your own toolbox. A new tool won’t guarantee success. Instead, study any tool that appeals to you, and see if the benefits I list match up with your needs.

If you see some that look like good solutions, then plan a couple weeks to try them out. I do this exact exercise during my 3-week Christmas shutdown.

The only time I change a tool in the middle of the year is if I have a huge problem that needs to be resolved and it can’t wait.

The goals

The goal of this series is to let you know what I used in 2014 and my reasons for using the tools I chose. I’ll be changing a number of my business admin tools in 2015, so in these upcoming posts I’ll try and explain why I’m making changes and let you in on my thought process.

What I look for in a software tool

When I choose a new software tool, would you guess that one of the main things I look for is value? A great example is how Bidsketch helped me shave my hour-long estimate-writing process down to 20 to 30 minutes. It also helped me greatly streamline the signature process.

That means I saved about 50 hours this year, which translates to thousands of dollars. My investment in Bidsketch was $29/month — well under what I saved in time.

I also look for strong keyboard support, though I include this in my project management tools since outside of my code editor I spend most of my day in my PM system.

Bad keyboard support slows workflow as you switch from mouse->keyboard->mouse->keyboard over and over and over.

I’m not a fan of wasted time or broken processes, so if I’m considering a new tool that doesn’t have good keyboard support (looking your way, Redbooth), all the other features of the tool would need to be 10,000 times more stellar for me to use it.

Why review my tools?

Remember back in 2014 when I talked about a 10x business? If I’m going to hit that goal, I need the right tools to take me there. That’s the reasoning behind the big switch in 2015 — I’m trying to choose tools that will be the right ones for my 1M company.

Tomorrow will open up with an epic 3000+ word review of Redbooth.

photo credit: wiredforsound23 cc