Shiny object syndrome is a real thing. I’m serious. It applies to all those new projects you want to start. It applies to all those new bits of software you want to subscribe too. It applies to all those glazed doughnuts you want to eat.

OK, maybe that last one is just me… Let’s get back to you.

Is that new shiny thing you’re looking at (template, course, subscription, book) worth the purchase. Let’s do the math.

Scenario 1

You don’t consider yourself as a reader but someone recommended a great book to you. It’ll change the way you look at business, the world and  yourself. It’s only 325 pages long. You can read it on the commute to and from your office.

You’re a busy person and don’t want to risk forgetting a physical book anywhere so you buy the Kindle book… and it sits on your tablet for the next three years unread.

Verdict: Not worth it… however, if you had purchased the Audible version of the book you could have listened to it on the go.

Scenario 2

You’re scrolling through Facebook and see an advert for a challenge to help you finish that thing you’ve been procrastinating on.

You procrastinate on your work to complete the challenge, but it’s to grow your business, so it’s worth it. Right?

So you complete the challenge and get an offer to get full access to the full course which dives deeper on the subject the challenge dealt with… but for half price! Bargain!

And of course you buy.

So you sit down to watch the first video and realise that you’re not actually at the point in your business where the course would be useful to you. SOO you park it for now. You’ll come back to use it once you’re ready.

Only thing is, by the time you’re ready, the course material is outdated, or worse, the course is no longer live.

Verdict: Not worth it… however, if the course was about something you needed there and then, it makes sense to buy  it, but buying because it may come in handy later is the equivalent of digital hoarding.

Scenario 3

You’re a financial advisor who is struggling to generate leads for your practice, and you decide to contact a web developer to help you plan and set up a semi automated system for generating interest in your services. He charges you $2500 for the system.

Working together for a month, you design a sales funnel that generates traffic to a squeeze page which collects prospects’ email addresses in exchange for a free report. That report could be about maximizing a lead’s equity without exposing their own capital to risk.

You run ads that show your report to audiences for whom it addresses their most pressing need. You build the funnel and test it and find out it’s generating 500 leads a week. Your conversion rate (the percentage of people who sign up to become clients) is 2%. Your average session with first time clients is $300.

2% of 500 is 10.

10 x $300 = $3000.

This means your new website is generating new business for you to the tune of $3000 a week. Not bad for a $2500 investment.

Verdict: Definitely worth it.

Granted, the above scenarios are fictional, and the amount of money you would spend in each scenario is different, but they are typical – I personally have experienced each of the above scenarios.

As small business owners, we often spend time trying to figure how best to save money on what we need, rather than evaluating whether what we are actually spending on is what we need in the first place.

As we draw near to the end of the calendar year, I’d like to encourage you set a business budget for the coming year, and decide how much you can afford to lose, as well as how much you stand to gain from each purchase.

If it doesn’t save or make you time or money, let it go. If there’s a chance that you’ll lose more than your budget allows for, weigh the risk before you click that Buy Now button.

What are you investing in next year? Let me know in the comments.