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Stop chasing shiny new tools and run a tech stack audit

Operations

I don’t know one person who hasn’t fallen victim to shiny object syndrome in their business. Whether you found an insane deal on AppSumo or it’s a new platform everyone and their mother is gushing about (Moxie, Notion, Butter, the list goes on), we’ve all done it.

But how often is it that what you just bought was actually worth it?

The tech you use for your business can make or break it — from operations to client experience to financially.

When it comes to your tech stack (aka the tools you use in your business) what are you actually using and should you keep using them?

I’m a big fan of running tech stack audits for myself and my clients a couple times per year. I’m there to help make their business efficient, streamlined, and sustainable. So running audits on what they use to run their business just makes sense.

When is it time to do a tech stack audit

Just like when the dashboard on your car lights up and warns you to go check things out, your business is going to do the same at some point.

Here’s 5 indicators letting you know that it’s time to do a tech stack audit:

  1. You don’t actually use the tool(s) you have and default to something else instead (ie. sticky notes)
  2. Your business is growing beyond the capabilities of your current tools
  3. You have a team now and the functionality of it with a team is subpar
  4. You keep having to compensate for features that are lacking or not there at all
  5. You’re wondering why your non-contractor expenses are so high but have no idea what you’re actually spending money on

I recently ran a tech stack audit for an OBM client — they were paying for Asana, but we weren’t using any of the paid features anymore. Once I completed the audit, we downgraded to the free plan which saved her over $500 per year. For that client’s whole audit, we ended up saving her $3-4k per year.

If you haven’t done a tech stack review focusing on the financial side this post dives into all that.

Stop chasing shiny new tools

Nothing makes me roll my eyes more than when everyone suddenly jumps on the bandwagon for a certain tool because everyone’s talking about it that week. I’m looking at you Notion.

Not every tool is going to be a fit for you. Whether it’s because of the way you think or work, the way your team is built, your budget or how your clients work with you. That’s why there are so many tools out there. Because everyone thinks and works differently.

If a tool that is making you feel FOMO, think about this:

  • Is this something your current tech stack is been missing
  • Or is this one you’ve been trying to replace but haven’t found a fit yet

In those cases yessss please do test it out and see if it fits your needs. Otherwise, put those blinders on. I’ve seen too many people try out the hottest new tool, buy templates and move their entire business over to it without actually testing to see if it actually hits all the boxes they need it to.

Look at your tech stack from a growth perspective

When you think about the tools in your tech stack, how do you feel about them? Do you feel stressed with how much they cost versus how effective they are at what they’re being used for? Or maybe they served you well when it was just you. But now that your team is growing, your services are diversifying, the tech stack you started with isn’t actually working for you now.

When you’re running a tech stack audit, it’s important to consider if the tool aligns with your future growth and needs.

In a conversation with a fellow business owner, they mentioned that they’re preparing for massive growth on their team within the next 6 months but they’re concerned that the tools they have aren’t going to grow with them. As a small team of two, they could get by with the features their current tool offered, but looking at the upcoming growth they’re planning for, it wasn’t going to cut it.

If your goal is to grow your team, running a tech stack audit is going to be crucial in avoiding a problems like that down the road.

How to run a tech stack audit

Tech stack audits are one of the first things I do with my OBM clients but also something I’ve done during a 90-minute Implementensive®. Running an audit ensure that the systems and processes I create or streamline are done using tools that you actually want to continue using and will allow your business to grow in a sustainable way.

Whenever I complete an audit there’s a series of questions I ask for both now and future use. Because you don’t want to make a massive migration on a tool only to realize it won’t do something crucial that you’re going to be doing a year from now.

Here’s the 6 questions I love asking about every tool in a tech stack:

  1. Is this tool still in use or have you been defaulting to something else
  2. Is it worth the money being spent (especially for tools with ongoing payments)
  3. Is there another tool you currently have that could replace this one (even if you need to upgrade it)
  4. Do you need to upgrade or downgrade your plan
  5. Do you need to add to your tech stack so you can do X, Y, Z
  6. Is this a tool that will grow with your business or is it a placeholder for when X happens

While you can’t account for every eventuality or shift in your business, you can make smarter decisions based on those answers.

If you’re ready to run a tech stack audit but want an outside set of eyes to as the hard questions while helping you find the gaps in your tech stack, it may be time to book an Implementensive®.

Let me know in the comments below: When was the last time you ran a tech stack audit — what was the biggest thing you discovered when you did?

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