Black women Founders Managing Tech Expenses

Is Data and Tech Sinking Your Bottom Line?  Budget Tips for Black Women Founders

Understanding data isn’t just a fancy skill—it’s a must-have for every business, big or small. But for the small shop owner or the solo entrepreneur, particularly Black women making waves in various fields, the cost of data tools add up in an insidious way. 

You want to be smart with data and tech without your business budget taking a hit. Luckily, there are ways to harness the power of data without draining your wallet. Here are some down-to-earth tips specifically crafted for our founders who are managing tight resources and trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.

Keep Track of Subscriptions
Don’t let subscription fees sneak up on you. Keep an inventory of all your subscription-based tools, noting down costs and renewal dates. This will help you manage your cash flow better and avoid paying for something you no longer need. It also gives you an easy way to take inventory when its time to consider streamlining, cutting or integrating softwares. Be watchful of “free” subscriptions and trials. They’ll charge you once trials are over and sometimes when your usage increases to a certain level. This is ok if it’s intentional but you don’t want to get “got” with unexpected costs or price increases. In the Sistahbiz online platform, we have a 7-day Subscription Inventory Challenge to help members with this.

Quick Tip: Make sure your accounts are tied to centralized company emails and not yours or team members’ personal accounts. It’s no fun trying to get into an account to change a setting when a former team member had access and control via their personal email. 

Know What You Need
Data puking is a thing. It’s when you overdo it on data and have a ton of data handy that you don’t need and aren’t using. Before you dive into the sea of data analysis tools, pause and pinpoint what you actually need. Not every shiny tool out there is going to be right for your business. Figure out what specific data you need to track and what analysis will actually benefit your business. This way, you avoid splurging on fancy features that you won’t even use. If I were you, I’d figure out my company’s core goals and KPIs, my team’s data protocols in meetings and then decide what data is needed and in what format. THEN choose the tools that get you there and make data collection and visualization easy for your data discussions and routines.

Go for Free or Low-Cost Tools
There’s a treasure trove of free and low-cost data tools out there. From Google Sheets to Google Analytics, these tools offer serious bang for no or little buck. These are a godsend for small business owners who need to make every penny count. Check out this list of tools for dashboards and reports. Remember if your data needs are simple and your budget small, use free tools if you don’t really need bells and whistles that cost.

Choose Scalable Tools
Pick tools that can grow with your business. Solutions that offer flexible plans or pay-as-you-go options can adapt as your business flourishes, saving you from future headaches, migrations and unnecessary upgrades.

Embrace the Cloud
Cloud-based services are a budget-friendly lifesaver for small businesses. They often run on subscriptions, so you can say goodbye to hefty upfront costs. Plus, they scale easily with your needs, ensuring you only pay for what you use. Just remember to have a good tracking tool for all your accounts and passwords. 

Educate Yourself and Your Team
Sometimes, the right knowledge can save you more money than the cheapest tools. Invest time in learning more about data analytics yourself or train your team. Plenty of online courses and resources are available for free or at a low cost. Data can be tricky in this regard. How Stripe defines and calculates churn may be different from how your team does. Sometimes you have to research how various software systems manage or report data in order to have substantive discussions on the team. Keep this in mind when budgeting your time.

Network and Collaborate
Join forces with other Black women-owned businesses. Sharing insights, pooling for bulk subscriptions, or even sharing tool access can cut costs significantly, all while building a supportive network. At Sistahbiz, we have monthly KPI and Budget labs to look at our data and we have numbers, workgroups, study halls and discussion threads. 

Regularly Audit Tool Usage
Keep a close eye on the tools you use. Are they worth the cost? Are you actually using all the features you’re paying for? Regular check-ins can help you trim any fat and redirect your budget to tools that offer more value.

Consider All Costs
When choosing tools, think beyond the price tag. Consider all potential costs, including training, integration, time and maintenance. This total cost of ownership will give you a clearer picture of what you’re really spending.

The data gap often goes unnoticed, but it significantly impacts Black women entrepreneurs, leaving them trailing behind their peers in business growth. However, mastering technology and managing your budget effectively is completely achievable. By carefully selecting your tools, enhancing your own understanding, and monitoring your expenditures, you can transform data into a powerful ally that propels your business forward. So, why not take the plunge into the world of data? The waters are inviting, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to dive in!

Want to join a community of entrepreneurs committed to powering up their business with data and tech systems? Log in to The Suite for 14 days of free Sistahbiz membership at 

Makisha Boothe

Makisha is Head Business Coach and founder of Sistahbiz Global Network. She specializes in rapid improvement and innovation, and helps women with business startup and design.

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