All Episodes

December 5, 2023 33 mins

Ep. 143 Your tech stack is the set of applications you use to operate your business. As you grow, your needs are certainly going to evolve, and what worked for you at one level, may not be the best fit for you at future levels. This episode offers a few categories and concepts you should consider as we approach the end of the year regarding the technology you use to run your business, no matter what industry you're in. In many cases, EOY is the best time of year to consider which software, apps, and processes you will keep as your business grows, and what you should transition. Doing it at the end of the year gives you the opportunity to make a clean break, hopefully reducing the frustration and issues should you do this mid-year.

This episode is about how you should, especially this time of year, evaluate your tech stack.

I hope you gain a lot of insights and inspiration from it!

Follow Will Lucas on Instagram at @willlucas

Learn more at

Learn more about your ad-choices at

See for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
I'm gonna look at black Tech three money. We are
headed to the end of the year, and I got
a special episode for you in that regard. So when
I'm making content, I'm thinking about what are the question?
So I don't make content in a vacuum. Let me
start there. I don't make content in a vacuum. And
what I mean by that is, I don't just sit
around thinking about what should I talk about or you know,

what should I make a podcast about? Or what should
I make a video about or etc. I'm typically in
the mind of what question am I being asked most frequently?
Or what is an interesting question I've been asked recently,
or what are things that I'm currently engaged with doing
like what activities are currently dominating my to do list?

And about this time of year every year since I've
been running a business and growing a business, I should say,
not just running a business, but as the businesses have
been growing, I'm thinking, you know, as I get through,
like midway through the fourth quarter, I start to evaluate
the systems that I'm using, the technology that I'm using

to run my business. And so what I want to
talk about today is an exercise that I'm going through
and that is you know, in December November, I'm thinking
about what is the what are the things that I'm
using to run my business and could they be either
switched out to something that is actually appropriate for our work,

because I'm sure I like some points in the year,
like whatever you're using in whatever category, you know, you
may find something like, dang, I wish this app did this,
or I wish it was more easy or more efficient
to do this in this app, or I wish I
had something that was less expensive, or I wish I
had something that was more robust, or something that better
fit and better suited your needs. And so what I

want to talk about today is ten categories and concepts
for you to consider as you evaluate your tech stack
at the end of the year, because the end of
the year is probably the best time for you to
make a switch. Start so January one, you're all new.
It is very difficult for me, particularly because at least

one of my businesses have a customer facing side and
we hold a lot of customer data. So for us
to make a switch on our pos midyear is a
feat and it's not something that's pleasant to do at
any point, So why make it harder on yourself by
doing it in the middle of the year. So it's
best to make a clean break December thirty first to

January first, so that your staff can get time to
prepare with it. Your customers or members or users or clients,
they have an opportunity to recognize that there's a new day.
And so some of the things I'm going to talk
about today are things that I use particularly, But I'm
not going to give you like a bunch of app
recommendations because it's like super simple to just go to

Google and say what is the best software for X.
So what I want to give you are like categories
of things in your texta that you should be thinking
about evaluating as you cross from twenty twenty three to
twenty twenty four. And this is something that will be
applicable for the foreseeable future. So every year, you know

this is an episode that would be relevant to this
time of year. When you can make a clean break
from what you were doing to what you could be doing,
that is a better situation for your growth. Here's what's
important about that is I won't get number one. I
won't get into a bunch of features of why I

a bunch of reasons on why I graduated or transitioned,
as the reasons I graduated from one app to the
next might not still be applicable today. Like sometimes some
of the apps that I used to use and switched
off of because they didn't have X and Y feature,
they might have those features today. So that's why I'm

not going to spend like a lot of time like
giving you actual app recommendations. I may mention some, but
I'm not going to give you. This is not an
app recommendation episode. This is about the categories. And further,
some of the software I used or used simply just
didn't meet the needs of my growing business, or I
could foresee that they wouldn't meet the needs ultimately going

into the next period of growth, whether that be the
next year or next whatever period however you want to
determine that. But I could see growth on the horizon.
So it's appropriate for me at this stage at the
end of the year, if I'm deciding to make a
clean break on January one, it's appropriate for me to
evaluate the forthcoming needs so I can meet the demands

that my business is going to have before they become problematic.
So this is again, this is an appropriate time for
you to be thinking about what app what software, what
technology am I using currently that may not be best
suited for me going into this next period. So the
first one I'm going to bring up is like your
accounting software I used to use, And I don't want

to like disparage. I'm not disparaging any software. But at
the time I was using particular software that I might
mention that I'm not using anymore. It just didn't meet
the needs I have at the time. And I started it,
I evaluated it and in methanies, but as my business grew,
it's no longer methany So I will start with talking
about fresh Books. Fresh Books was something that it was

an accounting software, and it is accounting software that I
used to use for Creatio, particularly my marketing technology production company,
and so we used to use fresh Books for invoicing,
for sending estimates and receiving money and et cetera. But
as we started to grow and needed more like reporting
and more balance sheet, more p and L rope bustness,

we realized that fresh Books wasn't necessarily suited to do
a lot of that work. Now again, I want to
emphasize this, which is why I didn't really want to
talk about particular apps. Some of the stuff that I
left for jumping the ship from fresh Books to quick Books.
Fresh Books could very well have that today at the

level that I could use it today, but at the
time when I transitioned, it didn't. And again, so it's
like no shade on Freshbooks. So if you are looking
for an accounting software accounting platform to use, I highly
recommend you at least take a look at fresh Books
and see if it meets your needs. And so I
graduated because there were certain things I saw on the

horizon which would determine I needed more reporting, more again,
more balance sheet information and feature sets, more P and
L stuff, more contractor and client you know, break down
if I wanted to filter down to who I paid,
why I paid them, which account I paid them, from
all these different things to the level I needed one

piece of software didn't have it anymore, and it was
time to make a clean break. And it was easiest
to do that. From December thirty first to January first,
the next one up, I would talk about project management
software we used to use. Again, no shade on them.
In a beautiful company, we used to use base Camp
from thirty seven Signals. I'm not even sure if they're

still called thirty seven Signals, but we used to use
base Camp to manage our projects in my company. And
so now today we use Asana. And the one of
the things that was problematic when we were growing is there.
And there's actually a principle at thirty seven Signals. There's

a book that they wrote sometimes let me find the
name of the book, because it was it was rework.
So they wrote this book called Rework back in twenty ten,
and I'm going to paraphrase one of the principles in
and so one of the principles was like they built
what they built and if it works for you, it
works for you. Like they didn't. They didn't lean into

like a lot of customer feedback and client feedback to
building what they were going to put out in the world.
They built a lot of their software for them to
use and then they distributed it via the internet. So software,
so if it worked for you, also that's it. That
was awesome, and so you could buy it, you could
subscribe to it. But they didn't like lean on a

lot of feedback and add a lot of features based
on the demand of people. Their position was, if what
we offer works for you, it works for you amazing.
If it doesn't, we're not for you. And there's an
admirable part of that that I believe, and there's also
parts that just doesn't work for me. So we decided

to make the jump to Asama, which had more features,
and I had just a little bit more experience because
other businesses that I'm into we used the Sauna, so
I had like a preview of the behind the scenes,
and I recognized that this would also work for Creatio,
which is again my marketing technology production agency, and so
I highly recommend that you if you don't have a

project management system, you definitely need to get one, probably
in almost any business you're in. Like at toll House,
we use Trello because Asauna is way too robust for
is way too complex, too many features for what we
need for a toe House, which is a private member

social club. So Asauna works for my marketing technology production agency,
is not a fit for my hospitality and food and
beverage operation. So that's what we use over there, and
that's Trello because it just allows us to simply go
in and make edits to boards, switch things from more

on board to the next depending on which status it's
in status it is in, and that's what we do.
So if you don't have a project management system at
whatever stage you're at, even if it's just an idea,
it helps you get some organization around your thoughts and
if you're actively managing your business, it helps keep people

accountable to where they have responsibility and so you can
have insight because if you're asking everybody or anybody every
day what they're working on, where they're at in the
process and etc. You shouldn't have to do that. You
should be able to just log into a dashboard and
see where so and so is on this particular task,

where the project stands in etc. So you should just
be able to have a dashboard so you can have
a high level view of where your business is, what
are the ongoing projects in, what state are they in.
So project management software we started with Basekent. We're now
using Asanna in one of my businesses. In another business
we use Trello. It works for using up is a

sales software. So what do you like pos like? You know, like,
what are you using to actually make transactions and so
some of these, like with Creatio, we're making the transactions
by invoicing, so quick Books allows us to do that.
So not only are we getting the accounting features, but
we also can you know, use the sales features to
where I can send you an estimate, you can accept

that estimate, it automatically converse it over to an invoice,
you can pay against it right inside the same application.
It's automatically dumped into the reports and et cetera. So
I don't have to do anything on the toll house side,
which is again you know, hand in hand combat it's
a hospitality, food beverage. We use Square and so in
side Square we have our customer accounts. You can build

house accounts in there, so you could. We don't, but
you could allow people to aggregate their transactions over a
month and just automatically build against their credit card which
is on file at the end of the month. We
don't do that. So whenever you come in, you just
provide your member I D and we just ran the
transaction when you're done for the day. So but Square

is what we use so far. Now, I had a
lot of consternation with some of the issue some of
the features or lack of features that Square had. But
one of the things that I have to consider are
the issues that I have with Square such that it
makes sense to transition to another one, Because I mentioned,

we have a lot of customer accounts on here and
so there's a very high barrier to making that transition.
Then it would be if I just had a shop
that has one transaction and I never really see you again,
or I don't hold any of your customer data. But
for me, I invested a lot of money in terminals handheld,

you know, mobile sales devices, and so I need to
calculate and I have, you know, a bunch of customer
I have to calculate, is making that change a reasonable ROI?
Am I going to realize a reasonable ROI in a
certain amount of time that makes it makes sense for
me to change from one POS to another POS. Again,

it's not just switching up the software, but now I
also have to buy new terminals to be able to
go swipe credit cards. So those are things that you
have to consider and consider them diligently. Do your research
before you pick one, because once you pick one, it
is very difficult and costly to get out of one,
especially if you are building relationships with your customers and

your clients, if you're just doing like one time swipe
and keep it moving, it's a lot easier for you
to make that change. So one of the concepts I
want you to consider is, you know, you really want
to build, as you're thinking about your systems, a single
source of truth. So whether that is what it is
is a dashboard effectively, so a dashboard that you can

log in at any time, whether it be an app
or whether it be you know, something you built yourself,
like an Excel spreadsheet that has things automatically dumping into
it in the appropriate spots. No matter what your industry,
you want something that's either prepackaged or something that you
built that allows you to have a single source of truth.

And what I mean by that is sometimes like when
you're using different pieces of software, you know, you might
have one customer reference in two to three places across
different pieces of software, and sometimes things will get out
of sync and not everything has an API to where
they can all loop in talk to each other. And
so what you want to make sure of is is

my sales reflected appropriately in this app versus this app
versus this app and one way to determine that is
by having a single source of truth to where I
only look at my sales information in this application because
I know if I look at it over there, it
might not account for certain variables, and I only use

that particular app over there for such and such thing
like For instance, we've been looking at seven shifts, which
is an app just for scheduling our team, So when
we're scheduled making next week's schedule for when people are
going to work at toll house, seven shifts is a
remarkable scheduling app. And they also do payroll. They also

do tip pooling. They also do also do also do
they do a bunch of things. We didn't want to
use them for all those other things, but no matter what,
no matter that, we decided to use them for those
other things once we integrated it with Square. It's pulling
all this other information, but it doesn't account for all
the other variables Square is accounting for. So I have

to be determined and disciplined and only paying attention in
seven shifts to the scheduling information because I know the
labor information and the sales information that it's automatically pulling.
No choice of mind. But just because they're integrated, the
information that is pulling from over there is not going

to be accurate. It might be close, it might be
correct at some point or another, but my single source
of truth regarding sales is in Square and that's the
only place I'm gonna look for an accurate accounting of
our sales information. So I said all that to say,
what you want is to build a dashboard or find

some software that you trust that is hopefully uh industry
specific to whatever it is you're building. And most industries
have these. Whether you're in trucking, or you're in marijuana,
or you're in you know, food and beverage or whatever.
Most industries have dedicated and software built for that particular

industry and the nuances that relate to that industry. So
you want to find one that is most appropriate to
your industry as you can, and then utilize just that
for the truth about what's happening in your business. The
next one up, I want to give you another concept,

and that was you know, these are why these are
worthy investments because sometimes, you know, even in the beginning
of my businesses, I was notorious and serious about hacking
together my own stuff and at some point you have
to invest in actual technologies that help you do these

things better and help you see around the corners that
you might not even recognize. So, especially when you're venturing
into a new industry, these apps and these softwares, these
applications might have you do things inside them that you
didn't even consider were important to do regarding that industry.

And so again, just to give you an example, let's
let's pull Creatio. So CREATI against a full service marketing
technology production agency, and so I didn't know how to
do forecasting. But if you use a particular app based
on your sales, you know, and if you're using it,
especially over time, it starts to learn, Hey, you know,

in the end of the third quarter beginning of the
fourth quarter, your sales spike, and you should expect to
be at these particular numbers, you know, based on your
growth over time, and so then you can plan accordingly.
You might need to staff up, you might need to
staff down, you might need to invest in new equipment,
you might need to you know, start to talk to

different types of clients and customers. And so those are
insights that I would not have been able without the
assistance of other technologies to be able to put together
on my own. I may have known in my mind
that we grow, we spike in business around certain times
of the year, but to actually have insights into what

is going on to in my business is very, very helpful.
So these are worthy investments to make. And so my
point there is there does come a stage in your
business to where you cannot just continue to do things alone.
And here is a great segue into this next one.

And so I do not allow anybody on my staffs,
any of my staffs to create individual documents and to
email them to people. For instance, you cannot on my
team create a word document and email it to me.
If you are creating anything in the toe house team
creative team, even is better be on a Google doc

or Google Drive, because I don't want multiple versions of
a document out there in the wild. Because what happens
is is I'm going to create a word document. You know,
I have to pick on Microsoft, but I'm going to
create a word document and I'm going to email you
that document as an attachment, and you might make changes
to it. I might make changes to it after I

emailed it to you. And now guess what, there's two
versions of that document, and potentially three versions of that
document because you might have made a change. I might
have made a change, and now we got to reconcile
the changes. And so I don't allow people to do
that in my team. So if you're working with documents,
or if you're working with spreadsheets, or if you're working
with presentations, on my teams, we use Google Drive. So

I'm using Google Pages to create these things. I'm using
Google Sheets to make these things. I'm using all of
Google's Google's offering of different applications to create our stuff.
So that way, if you want to make a change,
I can see you making a change on this one

single document, and I can see the whole history of
changes that have been made, and I can go backward
in time. If I want to change back to a
previous version of this thing, I can see the last
time you logged in to look at it. If I'm
just emailing you attachments, you lose that ability to be
able to make sure that you have one document that

is accurate. And so whether you decide to use Google
Drive or you decide to use Microsoft Office and send
links to documents and etc. Instead of attachments to documents,
these are things that are much more suited to making
sure you stay streamlined. I will say, though, and this
is again, I did not mean to say anything negative

about Microsoft. Is Microsoft's fantastic company, and I will give
them a little bit of kudos in just this way.
I believe the Outlook app for iPhone is hands down
the best email client there is for business. So if
you are looking for if you're looking for something better,
even if you like the one you got, the Outlook
app for iPhone, if you're in business, hands down the

best email client. The next one is social media management.
And so I used to number one, I'm sitting in
front of my desktop all day long. My laptop is,
but I'm sitting in front of a computer all day law.
I'm not always in my phone, it's always with me,
but I'm managing several businesses, so it's often a lot

easier to do tasks via my laptop. And so I
used to publish, you know, posts to our many our
various social media accounts directly on the desktop clients, whether
it was Facebook or whether it was Twitter. Twitter used
to have a nice Mac compatible desktop client. They don't anymore.

X X doesn't have one. Anymore. So now we use
buffer for particularly our LinkedIn content and that's LinkedIn. Yeah
so cause Facebook launched Facebook Business Suite, which allows us
to do it right inside the Business Suite, and so

I don't have to go to an external third party
source to schedule social media content. Facebook offers that they
didn't used to. They didn't always offer this. We used
to do everything via Buffer or Who's Sweet. Now we
just use Buffer. And the reason we use Buffer versus
who Sweet is Buffer was just less expensive and for

the types of features that we needed Buffer suffice who
Sweet is a fantastic app also, but it was just
more expensive for the team that we had. But you
should have something that allows you to plan out all
of your social media content. You should not, as a
business owner, be sitting on your phone, Hey, I gotta

get a post up before the end of the day,
like you should really legit, be spending a Sunday night
or a Sunday afternoon or a Saturday night scheduling out
into the next week so that it's just automatic, happening automatically,
Because unless you have something that you just really want
to post because it's something cool that happens in the
moment you really want to think more strategically about your

social media content, and the way to do that is
to sit down and actually plan it. And so planning
it in software that allows it to be automatically posted
without you having to come back and post it manually
is very very good and efficient use of your time
and dollars. And so again, Buffer is one that allows

you to do this. You can set on Buffer not
to sell I'm not trying to sell it, but I
love that I can set the times of day that
our posts typically work on, and it'll even give you
insights on when posts. It recommends that you schedule posts
for and you can schedule out as far into the
future as you like. And so and you can have

multiple social media accounts in it, so I can see
everything right there on one dashboard, whether it be Facebook
and Instagram, Pinterest, even LinkedIn all of these, I can
see YouTube, I can see them all on one dashboard,
and I can see the calendar of content that is
set to publish out in the future. One more I
would give you maybe two more. I'll give you another.

One that you really need to think about as we
cross over into a new year is purchasing and keeping
track of your purchasing. I used to up until maybe
even just a couple of months ago, all of our
purchases on Amazon would be like on an individual Amazon account.
Now I was using a business card, my credit card,

but I was not using Amazon Business the business suite,
which allowed me to create delegations, It allowed me to
create departments, it allowed me to create cost centers. And
so for this one, it makes the most sense to
talk about toll House. And so when we were building Tollhouse,
I was using my Amazon account with the credit card,

the appropriate credit cards, so that's the right thing to do.
But I was using a regular Amazon account to buy
things that toll House needed. Whether those were cogs, those
were calls of this old whether they were like things
that we were reselling, or ingredients or whatever that we
needed to make the things. I was using the regular
Amazon account. But now with an Amazon Business account and

all other accounts that you can imagine, it allows me
to actually do run the reports that I need come
tax time and business evaluation time, and so I can
see if we bought a particular thing from Amazon for
this particular department or space or location inside a Toehouse.
Toll House has five bars, five lounges, a coffee house,

a cigar lounge, a jazz club, a coworking space, all
inside of one footprints twenty five thousand square feet, and
so each of those locations, each of those bars are
run like a different revenue center. And so previously I
would not be able to buy some equipment on Amazon

and dedicate it to a particular revenue center. Now on Amazon,
because I'm using the Amazon Suite, I can say, Okay,
I'm buying this particular thing using the same credit card,
and I can put multiple ones on there for my
team to even if they have to make purchases. I'm
using this and about I'm going to attribute this cost

to a particular place inside tohouse. So at the end
of the year or whenever you want, I can go
look and see how much money I spent in this
particular department based on the things that I'm buying. You
can't do that with just a regular Amazon account, and
so that's just Amazon. So if you're buying things from

other outlets and other retailers, look and see if they
have business accounts that you can set up. Often they
will want documentation like you know, they want to see
your corporate structure, those documents from the state that you're in.
They may want to see your EI in documents. They
want to see some sort of letterhead that says you
are authorized to make transactions on behalf of this company.

But the reason why you want to do that is
not only for the reporting, but often they will have
B to B discounts because they want to do business
with businesses, and so there's there are many websites that
will allow you to get ten percent off, fifteen percent
off just because you're a business. And so that's something
that you think about how you're purchasing, not just be

purchasing properly using a company card, but also what type
of account you're using on many of these websites, you
don't want to just use these as individual personal accounts.
See if they have professional business accounts that you can
set up once you get your corporation documentation in order.
Last one I'll give you is help desk software. So

we currently at toe house, if you ever email the
front of house, it automatically goes into our help desk software.
I believe today we use fresh Desk, So if you
email a specific email address that we created for a
toe house, a ticket is automatically created. And the reason

for the reason why this is important is because in
the earlier days, months ago, not too long ago, because
I remember the pain and heartache of this, we would
get all these emails inbound from either members or people
who wanted to be members, or people who have a
members and we were always chasing down. There were several
of us that managed the front of house email address,

and so we would get these emails and we would
believe that somebody responded to it, but we didn't know
if somebody responded to it, and so and we didn't
know how long it took, or we didn't know what
they said, and so you would all I would always
have the director that if anybody emails somebody BCC me,
I want to see all the emails that goes out.

And so that is not like a full proof system.
And so a fool proof system is to actually use software.
And so sometimes they would becc meet, sometimes they will
forget to sometimes it got lost in the shuffle, whatever happened.
But now using the help desk software, we can all
see when somebody emails this particular email address that we

created our front of house email address. It's automatically a ticket,
so we know that the ticket is still open and
hasn't been responded to, or if it's pending we're waiting
for a response from the member or the client, or
if it's been closed. Hey, this thing has been handled,
and I can go see the whole chain, the whole
thread of conversation that went back and forth, which also

allows me to ensure that we're responding appropriately in the tone,
in the carefulness, in the level of care and respect
that we have for our members. I can see it.
So if we're just diving into emails with no salutation,
we don't do that at toll house. And if I
see that, I can chime in directly to the person

who respond to and say, hey, when we respond to emails,
this is how they should look. You should give a greeting,
give a salutation, say their name, all of these different things.
So it allows me to create processes and operations. And
I leave you with this particular thing. This whole episode
is about a business principle that I thoroughly believe in

because I found it to be true and every the
successful business owners founders at whatever level they are at
all adhere to it, whether they cognitatively do it or not.
Is I believe you can run a business without processes
and operations, but you cannot grow on without processes in operations.

So this entire episode is for people who want to grow.
If you are happy in your corner of the universe
doing your thing in the lifestyle company that you know,
it pays your particular home bills, you might employ you
and your kid. But if you are trying to grow,

processes and operations and all the ways that you run
your business cannot be in your mind. They need to
be written down somewhere, particularly like something that just shareable.
And so it is important that you get your business
out of your head into a system. And so I
hope you get something out of this episode. I spend

a lot of time on this one because I actually
have to do a whole bunch of note taking in
bullet points because I live this every day. And so
I hope that you got something out of it. If
you did hit me in my DM on Instagram, I'm
at will Lucas. You don't even have to actually even
DM me. I might even just make a post so
you can just put it right in the comments on
the post, but I do hope you got something out
of it. If you know somebody who would have benefit

from this episode, also please share this with them. So
black tech, green money. I'm well, Lucas
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

The Bright Side

The Bright Side

Start your day with The Bright Side, a new daily podcast from Hello Sunshine. Co-hosted by journalist, TV host, and podcaster, Danielle Robay and Emmy-nominated journalist, host, and producer, Simone Boyce, The Bright Side brings your daily dose of culture and inspiration – with the latest trends, celebrity interviews, and real conversations with women doing amazing things while navigating life’s transitions, big and small. The Bright Side is a talk show created to inspire, educate, and empower women as they tackle life each day and add joy to their morning routines. Join Danielle and Simone and the Hello Sunshine community every weekday for entertainment, culture, wellness, books, and more.

Ways To Win

Ways To Win

Winning is an everyday mindset, and the coaches are here to help. Hosts Craig Robinson and John Calipari use their on-court wisdom to solve your off-court problems. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

Dateline NBC

Dateline NBC

Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.