In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Stacey Harris, who is on the team. We are chatting about all the different technology we utilize in the business. Our focus this year is on transparency, and hopefully, you can learn something or find a new tool you might be missing out on in your business.
I love a lean business, but not one that is starving or anemic. Fidelity published a study that 65% of women are money hoarders, and on the other extreme, 20% are throwing money away on tech they don’t even need. We will share how we break down the tech we use and how often we check-in.
How to Best Introduce and Utilize Technology in Your Business
The role of tech in business is to make a process or system you’ve already built run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Before you spend money on tech, do your research and ensure that it will do something that will benefit your business. Remember that you will either pay with your time or your money. There are ways to stretch your dollars if you are willing to put in the time initially.
Many people are scared of technology, but it’s not going anywhere. If you are in that boat, you need to find your baseline of comfort and then be comfortable not knowing everything. There are so many resources to help in situations you aren’t sure about. It’s OK to be uncomfortable with things while you figure them out. Determine the purpose of the tech you’re looking at, and then learn as much as you can about it. That provides a layer of trust because you set it up and have the basic understanding needed.
A tech stack is a comprehensive list of all the technology you utilize in your business. We list its purpose, who the point person is on our staff, the priority level in the business, and what kind of payment plan and renewal plan we signed up for. Having all this information at our fingertips, we can quickly see if there’s anything we need to question and possibly replace or delete.
Our Full Tech Stack Breakdown
Let’s dive into the tech we utilize in our business. We’ll share how we use these programs and how they stack up as priorities in our business, plus we’ll give you the amount we spend on our tech stack each year. It’s important to remember that not all of these would be good for businesses just starting, but seeing the journey we’ve been on can be helpful.
Business and Operations Technology
This section of our tech stack adds up to about $3,000 per year or $250 per month and covers most of our operations and accounting.
Monday is our virtual office and project management tool. We are huge fans of this program and have used it for the last few years after switching from Asana. All of our communication lives in this program, whether it’s on projects, tasks, legal docs, SOPs, strategic goals, and even this tech stack we are reviewing today. We build out projects on boards and then can turn them into processes in the future. Guests can join and collaborate with us and we were actually able to replace some other programs by moving to a higher tier of Monday. This is critical to our business, and we pay $1908/annually.
We recently switched to the free version of Slack, thanks to the communication options on Monday (which saves $680/year.) There isn’t anything we miss about the paid version, but still, use this for quick notes and communications.
I’m sure it’s not just me, but I’m still feeling some serious Zoom fatigue after the last few years. I’m on the fence about keeping this one, but I’m unsure what we’d replace it with. It costs $149/year, and we will probably keep it in the questionable category for now.
This is a new addition for us that we will be transferring over to this spring. We had LastPass but did not love how they handled the security breach. A password manager helps the team stay organized and reduces the need for a password reset.
This is our website host, and it’s definitely critical. With these services, we prepay for two years at a time. I’ve been with SiteGround since 2018, and I don’t think I’ll switch anytime soon, but these services are often sold and transitioned to new companies, so it’s important not to sign longer contracts so you can check in often. Our last two-year agreement was $479.
This program helps with all our contracts and getting electronic signatures. It seems like a stupid business tax, but it’s necessary now.
This program has moved to our questionable list. It takes transcriptions, which can be extremely helpful in business. If you are doing one-on-one coaching and calls, you can easily review your sessions and improve your processes. Other services also do this, so we have this marked to follow up on.
These payment services do not have any kind of membership fee. You’ll pay a processing fee for each transaction, but that’s standard when doing business. These are easy to use and set up.
I have Quickbooks through my accountant, but you’ll pay around $70 per month if you don’t have an accountant. It’s a popular tech program for managing finances and accounting books. There are other options, but I stick to my accountant’s recommendations.
Sales and Marketing Technology
The total price for this section of the tech stack is $1600 per year. Marketing is an important part of the business because it allows us to grow, but we always check on these tools to ensure they work for us.
For the podcast, Libsyn helps us distribute. With a cost of just $20 per month, it’s definitely a worthwhile item to keep as part of the lineup. It gets the podcast out to all the important channels where listeners can find it.
This is what we use for our order form. We purchased a lifetime plan for this for under $500, so we don’t pay for this anymore on a regular basis. It’s easy to customize and helps convert even more customers. This is a critical piece of our business.
Calendar booking systems aren’t critical for us because we could do this manually if we wanted. However, it’s affordable at only $156 per year and takes some manual work out of our process, so it’s worth it. This specific program integrates with other programs, and we are able to avoid having to hire a scheduler.
This video engagement tool is a high-priority part of our tech stack that we will keep. It allows me to send video welcome messages that are personalized as well as holiday greetings and other quick follow-ups. Check out our podcast with Casey Hill from Bonjoro for more information.
Finally, our CRM tool is ActiveCampaign. This is our primary sales tool and the tool that sends our emails. This is critical to our business, but we have it on the question list. The pricing structure just changed so it’s time to look at the options again and make sure we are getting the most out of it. Honestly, we haven’t found anything we like better yet, but it’s important to continue researching.
Program Delivery Technology
The most expensive part of our tech stack is the program delivery tools. Getting good tools for group programs will cost money, but these are critical for the success of your services. These tools cost us $3849 per year.
This tool pulls in all the contact information for anyone who has downloaded the Revenue Goal Calculator. I really like the business owners and was able to purchase a lifetime membership for around $2,000 when they were raising funds. This tool helps build courses and offers different levels of membership.
Many group programs are hosted on Facebook or via chat platforms. Mighty Networks brings all of that communication into one place. We can post calendars and have chats with the groups in a private member-only space. There is tiered pricing for this tool, and we pay $972 per year.
Loom allows you to easily capture screen recordings and videos with easy additions of captions. It makes the content more accessible and inclusive. The price is $96 per year, and it’s definitely a critical tool for us.
For $240 per year, this tool helps give us more podcast options. It provides a private podcast component that helps deliver content in unique ways. It’s a high priority for us, and we continue learning to utilize it more.
This video software helps you do some interesting things while presenting. We don’t use it often, so it’s on the questionable list. It’s a low priority tool that we pay $96 per year. It might be a fantastic tool for you if you’re looking to improve your video presentations.
This knowledge-based tool costs $2,100 per year, so it’s not necessarily something you would purchase as a start-up. The more information you provide, the harder it can be for your clients to find what they seek. This tool allows people to self-serve and search for content. It will reduce the burden on the administrative team and provide better customer service and experience.
This is one of our newest tech tools. Jo signed up for the free trial and then approached us about purchasing. We will review it after 90 days to ensure we use it correctly. It’s a micro-learning tool that helps synthesize live workshops and training into smaller bits and adds quizzes and other fun tools.
Overview of Tech Stack and Our Advice
I hope this transparency and breakdown of our tech stack help inspire you to list your tools and plan to stay on top of them. If you can’t list all your tech tools, you might be spending money you didn’t even realize. If you haven’t downloaded the free How to Plug Your Money Leaks workbook, start there. Choose the tools you use carefully and plan to review them regularly so you can confidently say that you’re fully utilizing them.