Gadgets and PDAs

Avoiding Unnecessary Gadget Purchases

Gadget envy is an epidemic among small business owners. But before you plunk down a big chunk of money for today's hottest gadget, think about whether you really need it and whether it will actually benefit your business.

Put a dozen business professionals in a room and before long, they'll be talking about the latest trends in business gadgetry.

Gadgets have quickly become a requirement for doing business. Without access to their electronic devices, many business leaders would struggle to stay on top of their daily routines and would find themselves frighteningly out of touch with their company's vital data.

Today's technology clearly has benefits for business. But the question business professionals need to ask themselves is, "How much is too much?" At some point, technology crosses the line between a necessary tool and a luxury. And when you combine the cost of the hardware with the cost of monthly subscription rates, buying the latest gadget can become a drain on your business' bottom line.

Gadget envy is powerful stuff. But it's important to make sure you're buying for the right reasons before you spend big bucks on a new device. With that in mind, here's our advice for avoiding unnecessary gadget purchases.

  • Be rational. Gadget envy is often fueled by the hype that surrounds the release of a new product. When you're a gadget addict, it can feel like everyone else has bought the new product and you're going to fall behind if you don't become an early adopter. Resist the hype and take a rational approach to the decision making process.
  • Evaluate value. Right away, you need to begin to evaluate the value the device has for your business. Does it help you do your job more productively? Great - but if the improvement is only marginal and the cost is exceptional, it might not be a wise investment.
  • Separate the device from the lifestyle. Early adopters of new technologies gain a certain amount of style points from being seen with a hip, new device. But style points will only get you so far in business. Try to objectively distinguish the actual benefits of the device from your desire to participate in the lifestyle that surrounds cool, new technologies.
  • Identify key features. There's a good chance that not every feature of the new gadget will have a business benefit. So make a list of the device's key business features and then do a cost analysis based on the value of those features alone. In many cases, you'll find that you're buying a device that only has one or two legitimate business applications.
  • Wait. The best advice for techno-gadgeteers is to wait. New technologies almost always come down in price when competitors introduce similar devices to the marketplace.

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