Windows 7 was just released today – promising to be a big improvement over Vista. So, do you rush out and buy Windows 7, maybe a new laptop or desktop to go along with it, and maybe even upgrade software along the way?

Same with camera equipment. Canon just announced its newest camera, the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. Not only does it offer you a ton of features like 16 megapixel sensor and 14 bit A/D data conversion, but it also has full high definition video capture as well. Due out in December, the price of $5,000 may be enough to scare off some photographers, questioning what REALLY has top priority in their businesses.

I was out on several forums yesterday chatting about this very subject. When you’re struggling to maintain your old profit levels (or maybe even a profit level at all), when do you say enough and simply not upgrade?canon camera

I know as a business owner, I’ve faced that question a lot over my career. So I’ve come up with a few guidelines that help me decide when to upgrade, and more importantly, when not to.

1. Do you already have a system in place that works?
Is what you are currently using working? Are you having problems with it? The old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here. As long as everything works for what you need, stick with the old.

2. Is upgrading essential for your business?
Some tools you use every day. As a web designer, Dreamweaver and Fireworks are used daily. As a photographer, Photoshop is at the top of the list. When a new version comes out, it’s mandatory to improve your productivity within your business.

3. Would not upgrading make you less professional – your clients may be more up to date than you?
As a photographer, walking into a wedding using a camera body that’s several years old could put you on the spot if a guest has the latest equipment. While it is important to keep up to date, you don’t have to replace everything all at once. If you have three or four camera bodies for backups, you don’t have to replace all at once – for the most part they all still do the job. Set yourself up on a schedule – one new body every year – and stick with it. Phase out the oldest and sell it on eBay, and put the newest one to work.

What are your ideas on upgrading? When do you no to buying the latest – just because its available?

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