Starting out in our online entrepreneurship journeys, it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in acquiring tech tools to make our lives easier. As we read forums and blogs, connect with people online, take courses that promise ease in scaling and productivity, we seem to accumulate more and more products. Or maybe your “dream product” is out of reach, so you MacGyver one together using ideas from YouTube integrating all the pieces with Zapier until you’re pretty sure it works. Either way, you may be losing time and money with an inefficient tech stack. You can stop the leaks by auditing your tech stack and taking an inventory of your tech tools and see what’s working, what’s not, and what might be a better solution to bring you ROI in your business.
What is a Tech Stack?
In the most simple terms, your tech stack is the collection of tools and systems that you are using to run your online business. It’s sometimes also called a “solutions stack” since it provides a solution to how problems of communication, storage, and management within your business will be solved.
What Tools Should be Included in Your Tech Stack?
It may include your website, email service provider, cart/payment processor, learning management system, online storage, communication hub, client relationship management, project management tool, and so on.
As your business grows, your tech stack may become more complex. Maybe you’ve added in an online chatbox and social proof system to help support you during your launches. Maybe you’ve decided to opt for a digital password manager over a spreadsheet for increased security and sharing with a team. Maybe you use videos as part of your marketing outreach, so you have a video recorder and editor. If you book discovery calls or client appointments, a calendar scheduling app may be part of your toolbox.
There is no right or wrong answer to the tools you need to have; they will be as unique as your business needs and they will change over time as your business evolves. I’ve included some of the best tools to help you start and scale your business with ease and some of my favorite productivity tools to help you get started if you aren’t sure of what you need.
How Does Your Tech Save You Time and Money?
There are several reasons why it might be a good idea to audit your tech stack for your business, the obvious one is the cost savings. You’ll reduce expenses by reviewing your tech stack and identifying any unnecessary or underutilized tools.
When you create automations in your business with the support of technology and having the right tools in place, you are naturally more efficient in your business.
For example, if you have a scheduling tool, your potential leads can see your availability at a glance and choose a day and time that works best for them (bonus points if your tool automatically senses and converts to their time zone so there’s no confusion when it comes to connecting!). The workflow in place will automatically send out the reminders, the link for the call whether you use Zoom or Meet, and add it to everyone’s calendar. Easy Peasy!!
Now compare this to doing all of this manually, going back and forth coordinating times and sending reminders on your own. Consider the margin for error when you have these lapses in following up with someone.
Knowing what’s working well also saves you money when you aren’t losing potential leads, potential sales when a cart isn’t working properly, or unhappy clients when they aren’t getting things delivered in a timely manner.
How to Audit your Business Tech Stack?
Just like you inventory your content and your offers in your business to see what’s working and what’s not working quite as well, you should also be auditing your tech stack. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of what you have, what it does in your business, what it’s costing you, how happy you are with its performance in your business, and whether or not there’s something better you could be using instead.
I recommend auditing your tech stack at least twice a year. Add it to your project management system as a reminder so you don’t forget. Another good tip is to add any new tools to your audit sheet as you purchase them so they are there when you conduct your next bi-annual audit.
Take some time to go through your business and write down all the different tools you have within your business. Be sure to consider everything so you get a comprehensive picture:
- Domain purchases (remember you may have more than one, especially if you are a hoarder!)
- Website hosting
- Email service provider
- Call Calendar Scheduler
- Project Management
- Learning Management System
- Cart / Funnel Software
- Video Recorder
- Video Editor
- Podcast Recorder
- Podcast Editor
- Meeting Platform
- Graphics Design Tool
- Stock Photo Site (you may have more than one)
- Social Media Scheduler (you may have more than one)
- Online Storage (you may have more than one)
- Password Management
Don’t forget to add anything you might have purchased from AppSumo that you aren’t quite sure what they do or why you bought them anymore!
What Are They Used For?
Knowing what each tool is used for will help you discern where the duplicates may be.
For example, maybe at one point you were using a Google Doc for proposals, Hello Sign to have them signed, and then PayPal for invoices. Since then you’ve upgraded to Honeybook as a CRM and all of these steps are integrated into one system. You may not need to continue to pay on Hello Sign now (if that’s something you’re continuing to do and maybe have forgotten about).
Will They be Able to Grow With You and Your Business?
I think this is a really important feature to consider. We make the best decisions with the information we have, and, when we are starting out in business, sometimes we make the best decision we can afford.
Years ago I really focused on Pinterest management and strategy as my sole offer in my business. I regularly used and promoted Tailwind as the go-to Pinterest scheduler. I purchased Social Bee as an AppSumo Lifetime Deal because I loved some of their features for social media scheduling. I especially loved the ability to automatically repurpose social media content. Over the years, Tailwind has added Facebook and Instagram scheduling, and Facebook Business Manager (now Meta) has really developed their own native scheduler for Facebook and Instagram. (in fact, Canva even allows scheduling if I wanted to use that).
The point is, as your business grows and tools grow and develop, you may have a lot more options available and could spend a lot of time evaluating the best choice for your business.
An audit can help you ensure that your tech stack is aligned with your business goals and needs, help you identify any limitations in your current tech stack that may prevent you from scaling and help you identify any tools or processes that may be hindering collaboration within your team.
To help you out in auditing your tech stack, I’ve created a free spreadsheet with prompts and examples to get you started. You can sign up and get it along with an audio walkthrough here!
If you aren’t sure how to get started, you can sign up for a walkthrough with me here, and I’ll be happy to help you along the way.
Tighten Up Your Tech Stack and Increase Your ROI
Did you know you can work with me for project based and retainer tech support services? I can assist you in your audit, help integrate and set up the tools you need to get your business running efficiently and effectively so you can have more time and more money to do the things you love. You can check out my services here or schedule a call to learn more.