So many times, people come to me, hands in the air, muttering that they just have too much stuff. Too many tools that is costing them too much money and they can’t make head or tails of how to work out which tools are the ones that they REALLY need.
So let’s work through that! Throughout this post, we will be walking our way through how to review your tech stack.
Grab a pen and piece of paper or open up a blank notepad/word document on your computer.Or feel free to use the template at the end of this post.
We all have a tech stack! Your tech stack is a list of the technology that you use to help you in your business.
Email software such as Google Workspace or Office365, accounting software such as Xero, Quickbooks or MYOB, CRMs like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign or Hubspot, Canva for designing and the list goes on.
Before we go any further, let’s take a quick moment to note down all the tech that you are currently using in your business.
On your piece of paper, draw three lines so that you have four columns
If you are using a word doc or notepad, insert a four column table. In the left hand column list out the tools that you are using. Leave a bit of a space between each tool as you will be making some more notes as we go.
Think about your emails, accounting software, the programs you are using to manage the work that you are delivering for clients, design software, calendars, booking systems, video calls, the apps on your phone, screen recording, video editing, spell checking for those that use tools like Grammarly, social media platforms, social media scheduling, advertising.
List them all down, file storage, funnels, event management, your website platform, online payments, travel bookings.
How does that list make you feel!
Looking at that list, how confident do you feel that you are getting the most out of each tool? That you fully understand what it is capable of doing for you?
When was the last time you analysed that list and really took a look at what it’s doing, what it’s overlapping with, and what the gaps are!
In the next column, make a few notes about what that tool does for you.
Try and be specific here. If it’s a project management tool, what is it doing for you? For example, here at ProjectBox we use ClickUp to manage almost everything in our business. From our sales pipeline and deal management, through to reporting, task management, our big hairy audacious goals, our daily to do’s, projects that we are working on for clients.
We use ActiveCampaign for our email newsletters, we use Canva to design images for social media, we use Facebook creator studio for scheduling to FB and Insta but we use OneUpApp for scheduling to Google My Business and LinkedIn.
While you are doing this part, if you think of anything you wish it would do, but you aren’t doing yet or you are not sure if it’s capable of doing, add this to the last column.
Your wish list.
This list is now your official tech stack.
In the third column, add what it is costing you each month or each year.
Looking at that list, do you have any clearly identifable overlaps? Are there tools that overlap but because you are not using them to their full capacity you continue to use multiple tools when you could be using one?
Before you ask, Pip, how do I know what the tool is CAPABLE of doing?
When we sign up to apps and software we normally do it for a specific purpose. It’s solving a problem. Just like the reasons our customers come to us. We are solving a problem. But see the world around you and the world in which you do business, ESPECIALLY from a technology point of view is constantly changing.
The tools that you use are forever going through improvements, updates, changes. Take Canva as an example. This started initially as an easy piece of software for all us un-photoshop savvy people to design images. This year alone they have added the ability to create videos, schedule to social media, connect to various other apps and gizmos, and build entire websites! Just today I got a new notification about some improvements they have made including moving the search button for a better user experience, the ability to edit your photos right from within Canva, and a better solution for locating your folders and documents.
So just like we are supposed to review our insurance policies and household amenities like power and phone each year, we should be reviewing our software and it’s capabilities.
Back to the question, how do you know what it’s capable of doing?
First and foremost, take a look at their website. At their sales pages. What does it talk about? Does anything stand out to you that you go wow, that’s cool, I didn’t know it could do that!
Then dive a little deeper into how it works and IF it will work for you. If you are still not sure, then engage an external consultant who can give you some honest feedback and what’s possible vs what’s not.
Let’s quickly summarise the first three tips.
Now for the third! Condensing the list.
When it comes to condensing your list, this isn’t actually always the best option. There is a reason that I still use Facebook Creator Studio for my social media scheduling and not using Canva. Because Facebook Creator Studio is designed for doing what it does. Canva is at its core, software to build images – scheduling is an afterthought.
Whilst there are platforms that will do multiple things, when it comes to these platforms, they might be capable of it, but you need to ask yourself the question of if they do it WELL. There is a reason that I don’t use ActiveCampaign as my full functioning CRM to manage my sales pipeline. Even though, that’s what it is designed to do, there are parts that don’t work like we need them to.
Same thing with Dubasdo. Dubsado is an all in one platform that will manage your entire sales process, invoicing, project management, and client portals. It does an OKAAAAAAAAAAY job at all of those things. But it’s not the best. I have multiple clients who use Dubsado for one specific function, then use another tool to manage projects.
It’s the same with all of the storage options with the three most common being Dropbox, Drive, and OneDrive. Each of them has its pros and cons. Some of them do a better job of things than others. There is no reason why you can’t have all three as long as you have CLEARLY defined reasons why and can segment them.
For example, we use all three storage options mentioned above. OneDrive is where the photos on my phone back up to instantly, it’s also where I store all of my personal stuff. Drive is for business. We are Google Workspace users so all business files are kept in Google Drive. Dropbox however has functions that Google Drive does not such as the ability to stop downloads, and have links that expire. PLUS it’s super easy to share a Dropbox link whereas, in Drive, there is a bunch of permissions you need to change each time. So we use Dropbox for all of our file sharing with clients.
Three tools – all cost money, all achieve very different things for us. All important in their own right. None that I’m willing to give up!
So when you go through the process of looking at what you should keep vs what you should remove. Carefully look over the list that you have already created. Consider what the pros and cons are of tools that overlap each other.
If, after all that, you decide that you need some new tech, complete this quick exercise BEFORE you go looking.
Divide your page into four squares, title one MUST HAVES, the next NICE TO HAVES, the next BUDGET, the next OTHER NOTES. Start to complete these with what you are looking for. Make sure you are detailed in what your needs are as it will really help you to work through what is going to work for you. Don’t rely on recommendations from others – we all do business in a different way and what works well for some people definitely does not work well for others!
And finally, you don’t HAVE to have a condensed list of tools. The goal with this is to know and understand what tools you do have, what you are using them for, if there are overlaps. There is nothing wrong with having a long list if you can clearly define where the boundaries lay and what each tool is used for within YOUR business.
Then, if you need help, simply click on the video in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, and let’s chat!