The Right Tool For The Job


A few days ago, my son and I replaced an old, leaky faucet in our laundry room. We planned on 90 minutes, but we ran into a problem and ended up spending more than four hours to replace the faucet.

Our struggle with the faucet reminded me about the importance of having and using the right tools for every job. This is especially true when it comes to running a business (more on that below).

It wasn’t difficult to remove the old faucet, but the hole cutouts in the sink were 1/8 of an inch too small for the new faucet.

The sink is porcelain, and this presented a unique challenge. I didn’t have any experience drilling porcelain sinks, so we tried a few things first, including a hole saw made for creating holes in wood, and a bi-metal hole saw (I already had both of these so it was easy to try). Our efforts proved futile – neither was able to drill into the porcelain.

A quick Google search  taught us that we needed a special diamond-tipped hole saw to drill porcelain. After a quick trip to the local hardware store and $20 for a simple diamond-tipped hole saw, we finished the cuts in about 30 seconds (after struggling for nearly 2 hours trying to use the wrong tools).

I took the opportunity to teach my son about the importance of using the right tools – for every job.

Our conversation about using the right tools reminded me about the importance of finding and using the right tools when running a business. It can be very frustrating to use the wrong tools for any job, but the wrong tools can be fatal to your business. The right tools nearly always make tasks easier, quicker and often, more fun.

For example, years ago we experimented at crowdSPRING with Skype chat, IM and other tools for team collaboration, but settled on Campfire from 37signals. Instead of using the web interface, we looked at a few apps and found that Propane and Flint offered the best user experience and functionality – and that’s what our distributed team uses daily.

Similarly, we relied exclusively on Skype group video when it was initially released but Skype group video was incredibly buggy and frustrating (and it still is). A huge amount of time in our group calls was wasted trying to get video to work correctly. We switched to Google+ Hangouts for group video calls and have been very happy.

We periodically evaluate the tools we use and switch when we find something better – whenever a new tool can make our team more efficient or happier. For example, we’re currently testing Trello for our engineering team sprints after using another product for many years.

The right tools can help empower your social media efforts, and can also help you launch your company for less than $1,500. In fact, a “tool” doesn’t even have to be physical. For example, did you know that “surprise” is one of the most powerful small business marketing “tools”?

Look carefully at the tools you’re using in your business. Are they the right tools for the job?

image credit: Cayusa