December 3, 2020

Building a Minimalist Tech Stack

Written By Charesse Spiller

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Today we’re reviewing the key pieces of technology you should include in a standard “minimalist” tech stack. Ready to trim your tech budget? Let’s dive in.

Every business owner has fallen prey to the “new, shiny thing” syndrome at some point or another. It’s easy to get sucked into a new piece of technology when you see a demo that looks amazing or hear glowing recommendations from other business owners. However, tech is an expense that can quickly get out of control in a business. More than that, an unorganized tech stack can cause inefficiencies, frustration, and poor client experience. One question our team often addresses with clients is: 

What pieces of tech should actually be part of my business?

Today we’re reviewing the key pieces of technology you should include in a standard “minimalist” tech stack. Ready to trim your tech budget? Let’s dive in.

What key pieces of tech are non-negotiable?

  1. Email. If you run a business in the 21st century, you need an email system. Our team recommends choosing one with other capabilities. For example, G Suite offers Google Drive, Calendar, and more.

  2. Task management. Yes, paper-and-pen to-do lists will never go out of style. Even still, you need a system that tracks your outstanding tasks and holds both you and your team accountable. As much as we wish it was possible, your team members and contractors simply can’t see the items on a paper to-do list. Having one hub for tasks is a must. 

  3. Scheduling. It’s surprising how many financial planners and coaches don’t have an online scheduling tool. This creates a barrier for prospects to book with you, and can reduce the number of clients you book. Look for an option that’s easy to integrate, like Calendly.

  4. Virtual meeting room. Coronavirus has made it abundantly clear that even primarily in-person firms need to have a virtual fallback plan. Zoom, Google Meet, and GoTo Meeting are all good options. 

  5. Document storage. You need to be able to access your client documents from anywhere in the world. Having a secure, cloud-based storage system can help both you and your team access information quickly. Consider Dropbox, Box, or another system.

  6. Planning. After all, if you’re a financial planner, you need a top-notch financial planning software! Pick something that provides a seamless client experience and is user friendly for both you and your team.

  7. Custodian. You can’t manage investments without a custodian. Choose one that matches your investment philosophy as closely as possible.

  8. Billing. You will need to be able to collect payments quickly and easily from clients and show them their billing statements. Some tools, like AdvicePay and Orion, are created specifically for advisors.

  9. CRM. Tracking your business’s prospects, clients, and workflows is game-changing. It helps you to stay organized and build a thriving, scalable practice. Check out both Redtail and Wealthbox for solutions tailored to financial planners.

  10. Forms. We recommend finding a form solution that offers e-signature capabilities to make contracts and other data gathering a snap. 

How can you clean up your current tech stack?

The easiest way to clean up your current tech stack is to know the systems you currently use backward and forward. When you become a power user of the systems you have, you can save both time and money by maximizing their use. Often, you aren’t as drawn to the “new shiny thing” if you know your current systems meet (or exceed) your needs. Have your team work to gain a deeper understanding of these systems, as well. Their knowledge can help you expand your tech stack usage in areas of the business you aren’t heavily involved in.

If you find that your tech stack is still missing pieces, then you can move forward to look for simple solutions that meet your needs.

Can two pieces of tech do double duty?

In a word – yes!

Advisors run a highly regulated business, so there is a lot that goes into technology selection and ensuring you are tracking the necessary information for compliance. If you can have one piece of tech do double (or triple!) duty, by all means, do so.

For example, systems like G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 both offer a robust number of tools. Both of these systems knock out the following “minimalist tech stack musts”: 

  1. Email hosting system with canned response and template capabilities. 

  2. Task management. 

  3. Virtual meeting rooms.

  4. Online form systems.

  5. Document storage. 

That’s five tools for the price of one! 

Need help with your tech stack?

Once you’ve pared down your tech stack, you might be wondering when you’re able to add technology that helps you to “level up” your practice or your client experience. The truth is, while the list above is lean, you should be always looking and evaluating new technologies with a critical eye. As your business grows and evolves, new technology will be better able to meet your needs. This is when speaking with the experts on our team can help. We can assist you in auditing your tech stack and building a system that works for you and this season of your business. 

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