As a small business owner, you are probably using a stack of different software packages and platforms. This is called your tech-stack. The thing with technology stacks is that they don’t work well if they aren’t planned. With the right tech-stack, you can trim the fat of all that excess tech and streamline your small business marketing processes with a more integrated system.
Here’s what a tech-stack is and how you can use it right to grow your business.
What is a Tech-Stack?
A technology stack is either a planned or inadvertent stack of technology your company uses to make life easier. However, all these programs don’t help if you don’t plan things right. Not only is there likely a waste of money on software subscriptions you either don’t end up using, or don’t use to their full potential, but you also create silos that make things worse instead of better.
Some of the most common software tools small businesses tend to pile up include:
- Finance: Quickbooks, Xero, Excel spreadsheets, etc.
- Sales: SalesForce, PipeDrive, HubSpot, etc.
- Operations: G-Suite, Microsoft OneDrive, industry-specific or ERP software, support ticket software, VOIP software (e.g. RingCentral), etc.
- Marketing: Constant Contact, HubSpot, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Zapier, CallRail, etc.
So, what happens is you use 30 or 50 different software platforms without even realizing it. Often this is because more than one person is involved, one person leaves and another makes an improvement, or you simply are looking for ways to add more automation into your small business marketing processes. The result is a tech nightmare, with all the time and money you were hoping to save actually adding more costs instead of reducing them.
1. Inefficiencies Due to Silos
Silos are always trouble regardless of how they come about. They break down communication and make it impossible for a company to remain efficient across all functions. As a result, your company suffers due to:
- A less than efficient team
- Inaccurate, out of date, or incomplete information that stops you from making smart business decisions
- A poor customer experience due to a lack of clear process
However, tech-stacks are a necessary evil. Every business needs different tools to create a functional business. However, if those tools aren’t used wisely and aren’t compatible, or worse not everyone uses the same tools to complete the same tasks, your business can’t succeed. It becomes dysfunctional.
2. Lack of Intention
The main difference between your current tech-stack and a functioning tech-stack is that the functioning tech-stack successfully breathes life into the products/services you’re using today. As a result, the impact on the company design, functionality, and future ability to scale becomes positive. A smart tech-stack uses a set of different technologies with a single purpose for each. When grouped together with intention instead of being added randomly it’s easier for a business to attract and retain customers and analyze its efforts. The way you build your tech-stack dictates a few important things:
- What kind of products you’ll be able to build
- How efficiently you’ll be able to work
- What type of people you’ll hire
That’s why it’s so important to get your tech-stack right.
3. Not Meeting Your Needs
The secret to creating an effective tech-stack lies in trade-offs. You have to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the technology and discover the right mix to meet your needs. Some examples of what your tech-stack needs to balance out include:
- Time savers
- Feature customization
- Audience segmentation
You need to decide where you can afford to make a trade-off so you still assemble a stack that can both meet your needs now and evolve as your company matures.
4. Not Able to Scale Your Business
Your goal is to improve your efficiency and customer experience to grow your business. That’s why scalability is so important. Backend solutions, like AWS, give you the option to automatically add additional servers as you need them rather than having to estimate usage and pay for capacity upfront.
This saves you money, while also ensuring you can meet demand. When your core product isn’t a factor, look for options with low switching costs or pricing tiers to accommodate future growth. This might include options where you can simply upgrade to a higher level of service such as an e-commerce platform.
5. No Product Analytics Tools
Product analytics tools require extra care because you need them to glean important information about your company. Details such as how your current product is performing, what features are being used, and what parts of your product are troublesome help you improve and plan product development.
You want a tool that helps you plan your product roadmap and in turn your tech-stack. A tool that fails to provide valuable insight can derail your product development process and cost money in wasted time. The right tech-stack will drive your product to success. It makes your product easier to build and ensures it continues to meet customer needs.
Does all of this seem a bit overwhelming to you? At StructureM We can help you build the right tech-stack for your company!
Schedule a call today to simplify and improve your tech-stack.