My two most important tools

Regardless of the business you’re in, success likely depends upon a few important, can’t live without them tools. As a multi-media designer, I’ve a lot of them. Many I’ve acquired over the years, and some I’ve picked up only after shifting to running my business full-time a year ago. Looking back, I can say that without question my two most important tools are my tablet computer and my accounting system. These two tools are essential to what I do.

I can’t function without my tablet computer

My desktop computer is the technological brain and heavy lifting workhorse of my whole operation. And my phone is without question a necessary device. I’ve got many other tools that make my work better and easier. But I doubt I could function without my tablet computer. I bought an Apple iPad Pro that I use for so many things – connecting to the internet, drawing, writing, jotting down and recording ideas, presenting to clients, reading, etc. The list is truly endless.

I decided to go with a tablet instead of a notebook computer because I valued drawing ease over typing. That’s just the nature of my business. I like that when paired with a stylus and my design software, the iPad becomes a digital canvas and more than capable 3D design tool. It’s amazing how flexible it is. Even though the iPad isn’t optimized for intensive keyboarding, I’ve found it good enough. I’ve used the iPad’s virtual keyboard to take notes, and write most all my posts, including this one. Recently, I purchased a compatible keyboard and mouse to extend the tablet’s usability, especially when traveling.

My tablet is an essential tool. When I consider how my workflow has evolved over the years, the iPad Pro is the one tool I can’t function without.

I won’t function without my accounting system

If my tablet computer is the tool I can’t function without, my accounting system is the tool I most need. Sure, I could run my business without it, but why would I? I purchased my accounting system right after I registered my company and open my business bank account. I use Quickbooks, the online version. If you look at the pricing, you’ll see that Quickbooks isn’t cheap. But in light of how it key it has proved to be in helping me to understand my business, I now consider it essential. An accounting system wasn’t an expense I was looking to impose upon my business but I’ve learned the hard way it’s an expense I need.

Way back when I started business number one, a solo effort, I knew enough to set up my accounting. Matter of fact, I used Quickbooks. That was in 1999. I didn’t know what I was doing and I’m sure I set it up poorly, but at least I had something in place. Business number two, which saw me in a partnership, is a blur. Business two was much bigger. We had employees and an accountant. We ran a good amount of revenue through that business. But one thing that sticks with me even now, is that I never felt we really understood our business operations the way we were supposed to. Ultimately, a recession hit, our revenues declined, and we reacted to the changing environment much too late. The important lessons I learned were to track your numbers, and most importantly, understand what they’re telling you about your business.

Flash forward twenty years to business number three. And I can tell you without hesitation how my business is performing. My accounting system is only a tool. But I know, it’s the one tool I work work without.

Of all the tools I use to make my business go, the two above are my most important. If you’re just starting out in your business have you considered which are most important to you? And if you have, do you know why?

Take care. Do good.

P.S. – By the way, I’m not affiliated with or receiving any sort of compensation from anyone regarding either of the items above. This is just what I use and my experience based on what works for me.

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