All software has a cost

David Turnbull

‍”{Successful large company} is using {trendy new product}, we need to try it.”

Hold that thought. When you see a competitor using a new tool it’s easy to think you may be missing out.

But before you rush in and sign up for a free trial, let’s take a step back. If your competitor has only just started to use this tool, it clearly wasn’t the factor that turbocharged their rise to the top. And their size and scale means they are dealing with a different set of challenges than you. There’s a good chance that the tool is helping them solve problems you don’t even have.

A few years ago chatbots were “the next big thing”. Most of the leading B2B SaaS companies jumped on board, integrating tools like Drift and Intercom into their sales and support processes, with promising results. Many early-stage startups took note and soon followed. They spent days to building out complex automated response pathways. But there was a problem: they didn’t have the user base to make it worthwhile. The chatbots were a fantastic time and money-saver for larger companies, but early-stage startups would have been better off spending that time jumping on calls and speaking with customers and leads directly.

Treat time like gold

Remember: your time is extremely valuable. As a founder of an early-stage startup, you’ve got a very limited supply of it. Every shiny new software product you try, even those with tempting free trials, eats into your valuable time. You have to figure out how it works, evaluate its worth, compare it to other tools…

Does this mean you should avoid new software? Absolutely not! But you need to treat your time like gold, and spend it wisely. Don’t be swayed by the latest fad; choose tools that solve the problems you’re actually facing.