In today’s podcast episode, we dive deep into the world of technology stacks, an essential component of your business strategy. I’m thrilled to have Stacey Harris back with us as we explore the ever-evolving landscape of technology and update you on changes to our own tech stack.
For service-based business owners, being tech-savvy and tech-literate is no longer optional; it’s a necessity.
Tech Can Be a Black Hole for Profit
Many business owners overspend on technology and don’t fully utilize the tools because they don’t understand it. Decisions are made based on what other business owners might be using or what their mentors use. It could mean you get saddled with something that makes sense to someone else and not for you.
Another big piece I see often is that people sign up for a seven-day free trial and then end up with an annual plan that gets forgotten about. Once that renewal comes back around, the cash flow is disrupted because there was no plan for it.
Tech stacks need to be measured and monitored to help you maximize the tools and be profitable. It’s important to know what your team is using and ensure they have the proper information and support with all the tools you provide. That needs to include employees, contractors, and even your customers.
Our Proven Tech Stack Process
At our company, we have developed a streamlined process for managing our tech stack, inspired by the success of our fractional COO service. Since our last tech stack discussion, we’ve evolved our approach and saved a substantial $4,000 per year by reducing unnecessary technology.
Our tech stack management is centered around a versatile work operating system called Monday. Stacey refers to it as “the office,” and it serves as the core engine that integrates various teams and functions within your business. It’s highly adaptable and can be tailored to your unique needs.
Our Monday board is a comprehensive data repository that holds documentation for all our tech tools and automates essential processes. It’s categorized into areas such as general business operations, sales and marketing, client delivery, and accounting and payments.
General Business Operations Tech Stack
Monday is our main piece of tech. It has eliminated the need for many other tools, which helped pay for the cost almost immediately. We also use the free version of Slack, but I see us moving away from that because Monday handles so much of our communication.
The other tech tools we use for general business operations are fairly standard. We made the switch from LastPass to 1Password because of security breaches. 1Password is annoyingly more secure and makes you reenter your password every two weeks. SiteGround does our website hosting. DocuSign was a new add for us to replace HelloSign because we didn’t love the function when it merged with Dropbox. We are considering changing again and finding something that integrates with Monday. Wordfence helps with security and creates some firewalls.
Sales and Marketing Tech Stack
Calendly is one of my favorite tools for sales and marketing. They have great workflows built in and come out with wonderful updates. It automates some of the communication with clients who have scheduled a one-on-one session and sends prompts ahead of time. It manages the calendar for us, and Stacey and I are huge fans. On top of that, it’s affordable at only $156 for the year.
We have some other great tech tools for our marketing and sales process. ThriveCart is our order form. Payments get processed through Stripe, which is a much better system than Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal. Libsyn is our podcast host, which we keep under marketing because the podcast is a marketing tool for us. We are moving to Buzzsprout soon because it allows us to lower our costs slightly, and they have wonderful customer service.
ConvertKit is the last one in this bucket. We moved to this in July from ActiveCampaign, and I’ve considered moving back. Part of the reason is that I had invested a lot of time in learning ActiveCampaign, and I haven’t been able to do that yet with ConvertKit. I’m going to spend some time with it, but I might still move back. It’s OK to change your mind.
Client Delivery Tech Stack
This is the area where we saved basically all of our money when we closed The Bold Profit Academy. MemberVault is our learning and development portal. This houses all the former curriculum from The Bold Profit Academy that one-on-one clients can access now. I bought this service outright when they were raising capital, so it’s now zero cost to me.
HelloAudio helps turn information into audio. All the Bold Profit Academy training had audio to go with them. This tool also allows private podcast feeds. We will likely turn some of the curriculum and content into courses that people can purchase and use for the audio component. We will use this at least until the subscription renews and then reassess closer to that date.
Accounting and Payment Tech Stack
QuickBooks is one of the main tech tools in accounting, but my accountant pays for it and holds the license. Stripe and PayPal don’t cost me anything, although I’m no longer using these. This is a simple one to manage for us.
The Big Changes to the Tech Stack
I’ve already touched on a few of the tools that we have moved away from. Bonjoro is a software system that allows us to send video messages to potential clients, prospects, and others. We got rid of it because it was nice but expensive and not something we absolutely needed. Otter is a note-taking app that transcribes, but there are options with better price points now, and it just wasn’t a high priority to hang onto.
Mighty Networks was another tool we cut. It helps manage a community, but we aren’t managing a community anymore. There was great functionality, and I really like the founder, but it isn’t a tool that we need.
Final Thoughts on Managing a Tech Stack
At the end of the day, each piece of tech needs to benefit your clients. They will end up paying for them, and you will break even. You don’t want to pay for tools you aren’t using because that price will be passed onto your clients.
In addition, you have to familiarize yourself with the tools you are paying for. You cannot be afraid of the tech. Start with YouTube, set up a call with their sales team, and reach out to someone in your network who might be using it. It’s important to be conversational in the tools you are paying for.
Things will constantly change in the tech space, so find a way to wrap your arms around your current setup and what changes you might want to make. You don’t need to hang on to any tech forever. Find the tools that add value. And if you are experimenting with something, don’t get the annual plan, just get the monthly plan.