Today we’re digging into the Tech Stack Framework. I developed this framework as part of my Virtual CTO services – we’ll get into those more later in this episode.
In 2010, when I first started out building WordPress websites for clients, I knew I wanted to put together a website that would support their business. Trouble was, I was also just starting out and didn’t have a deep understanding of the online infrastructure required to support their businesses. This left me feeling quite accomplished with the website I delivered but anxious that I hadn’t met the actual needs that we were trying to fill.
So, I went on and dug into my intuition to make sure I firmly understood what else is needed online to truly support a business. And I dabbled – I dabbled in Facebook Ads. I dabbled in copywriting. I dabbled in email marketing. I dabbled in landing pages and funnels and membership site and online courses. As I dabbled, I took copious notes (mostly in my head) as to what was a fad, what had serious potential and what was going to stand the test of time.
I have easily been in 50 or more different software services for myself and for clients. These run from tools for hosting your business website and email marketing to content creation, planning, scheduling and delivery tools. And from calendaring, scheduling and event tools to shopping carts and online accounting software.
And because many software founders care deeply about the impact that their product has for their clients, we have tons of great tools – something for everyone!
I have my preferences, for sure, but my philosophy is that my role is to meet you where you’re at to create a supportive foundation for your business goals. If something is working, we don’t need to change it for change sake alone. But if something is causing headaches, not providing enough value or otherwise impeding business growth, then it’s time to circle back on that tool or system and determine how to correct course.
This brings us to the tech stack. This is a term I’ve adopted to encompass all the online systems and tools that a business uses to operate. It includes client-facing systems, back-office systems, content creation systems, marketing systems and lead-generation systems. I love a good tech stack… but without a framework a tech stack is only as good as the individual components – the framework addresses the critical thinking piece called “How does this all fit together and allow tech to support your business goals.”
The Tech Stack Framework is a process by which we can make the most of the systems and tools in your business.
Here is the framework:
The framework is a pyramid. The pyramid sits on a pedestal which represent the different audiences that interact with your business. These audiences are those internal to your business, your clients and the public.
Our audiences are people not tech tools, which is why they are not part of the pyramid. But they are a necessary entity to the checks and balances of the systems and tools we use in our businesses.
The base on the pyramid is called Base Tools. Base tools include those primary functions that allow us to showcase what we do, sell our products and services and deliver them to our customers and clients.
The layer on our pyramid is Support Tools. It contains the systems and tools that integrate with the base tools to allow them to work together, do more and drive your business towards your goals. At this level, we focus on tools and systems that allow us to create, manage and track.
The next layer contains our Growth Tools. These are the tools that help us to have systems around storage, visibility and learning.
Above this layer is a thin layer called Document. Our document layer is directly beneath the capstone because without it the tools in the Base, Support and Growth layers do not fully descr