Houston, there is a problem. The old way of doing things just isn’t cutting it anymore and you need to make a significant investment in a software solution that will get the job done. But, how can you approach your boss with the idea that the software will make life easier, while increasing business profits – and it’s not always YOUR job to do everything (you are not a robot after all)?
Let’s get the facts first
Most bosses, whether they are immediate supervisors or owners of the company, think in terms of factual data that they can wrap their brains around. They want quantifiable numbers. This is because they business world is run on numbers. There are numbers for everything, from the cost of office equipment and the salaries of employees right on down to the tiniest of percentile earnings that the company makes from every sale.
Before you approach your boss with any scheme to buy new software, make sure you have crunched the numbers yourself. Here’s a simple calculation for making a software purchase more palatable to your boss:
- Your hourly wage x hours spent on specific task= $ Cost to Employ You
- One-time purchase of software x hours reduced x your hourly wage= $ Cost of Software
(HINT: Your bottom number must be bigger and reflect the cost savings that the company will experience as a result of the purchase.)
This is a simple calculation and there may be other variables that can alter the cost of the software purchase, such as time to customize and implement the new product, the learning curve to use the software, and any requested support that comes with the territory.
Make the investment a smart business decision
Once you have the black and white of the software purchase, it’s time to get buy in from your co-workers, who will be impacted by this decision too. The idea isn’t to shake things up, as much as it’s to improve processes and the daily life at your workplace.
Chances are, your colleagues are feeling the same frustrations as you are over the tasks and processes that are outdated, tedious, and unnecessary. Conduct a poll of your department to find out what general percentage of your team will benefit from this purchase, and ask for ideas on how it will make things more efficient.
Seek out potential vendors
While you may have your mind set on a particular software line, you will want to keep your mind open to the other vendors that may offer similar value. Approaching your boss with the idea that a software product can handle some of your tasks can be met with some resistance, unless you present several choices. Consider that there may be hesitation about prices too, as the company may not allow purchases over a certain dollar figure. Make your boss’s life easy by getting quotes from several vendors and line them up by lowest price to highest price, with their comparable features. There may also be payment plans and monthly subscriptions available, which can soften the blow.
Anticipate some resistance – have a plan
Your boss may look at you and say, “But hey, weren’t you hired to perform this work?”, which can shut your entire plan down unless you can indicate how the software can actually improve upon your performance as an employee. Find at least 3-5 vendors who offer variations of the product features you desire and then tie them to how they can improve your task management so you can give more to the company. When you come to your boss with a proposal that can improve the company bottom line, and you’ve done your homework well, your boss will have greater respect for you and this can help to make things happen.