This episode was not planned but after a run-in on our own mission critical solution (online podcast recording solution) we thought it was a perfect time to dig into how companies need to think about having redundancy of skills and solutions that are mission critical to them.
Tool Finding & Selection
If you missed our episode with Kevin Mullett go listen to Tool Discovery and Selection Tips W/ Kevin Mullett as we really dig into how he goes about finding options for X online and keeps a long list. Now you don’t need 10 alternatives for something but having 1-2 that you have already tested, vetted and shortlisted may not be a bad idea.
For this podcast we use a few hardware and software tools. One that we talk about is Trycast and Zencaster but there is also the transcription service we use.
While again we love the one we use what if it went away? What if there is something better for us we just didn’t know about? So for an episode but also for our knowledge we did What is the Best Transcription Service?.
Keep Short Lists
Keep aware of what solutions are still active, winning awards, adding features, and just staying updated. Maybe every X months or once a year take a look at your shorts lists and just quickly check on them. Over time that “short list” may evolve or change and you need to make sure that when the time comes that you need to use a service/solution from that list if it is outdated it might be useless. Companies are sold and close so keeping a loose list of updated services for mission critical services for your business is paramount to you staying in business.
Redundant Skills aka Cross Train
No matter if you are an agency or in-house you also need to cross train. It is likely that you have one person that owns X where X could be a vendor relationship, knowledge of tools or services or just the keys and logins to something. What happens if they leave, something bad happens and they are out of work for awhile or maybe they just go on vacation. If they are on vacation and you need access to X RIGHT NOW, what is your plan?
Think about cross training and creating internal backups. Have Suzie train John on how to use a tool. If there are webinars or new feature meetings with that vendor, have them join and just listen. Maybe even assign them a small task every now and then just so they can stay updated on how things work. They don’t need to be experts on it but should have a basic understanding of how to log in or fire it up and do some of the basics. This way you are also having your staff and skills shared and not locked into one key person.
Mission Critical = Find Backups
If something is mission critical to your business make a backup. Whatever the skill, service or whatever – make sure you have a short list of backups for it so that your business is NOT crippled by one thing going down or closing.
Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt scintilla and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have everyone join us on another one of these businesses, digital podcast episodes as always Dave, how’s
Dave Rohrer: [00:00:17] it going, bud? It is. It is. Yes. Hey,
Matt Siltala: [00:00:26] as of right now, there’s none. There’s no noises in my background anymore. So I probably shouldn’t have said that. I just changed it, but you did. Um, so funny enough when, uh, Dave and I had planned to record this episode, um, or the series that we’re doing right now, um, I get a little ping from Dave saying, Hey, our normal.
Uh, service that we used is down. And so I’d sit in there for a while and he didn’t say anything else. And then pretty soon an alternative way to record these episodes popped up. And Dave and I started chatting about it and we said, Hey, you know what? This would make a great idea for an episode about making sure that you have redundancies.
And so that’s kind of where we were going with this.
Dave Rohrer: [00:01:19] We’ll see how it goes. Cause we literally just came up with that as we were trying to go. Wow. So we normally record on TriCast, uh, it’s tri CA dot S T, which we love fast what’s that which we
Matt Siltala: [00:01:35] both love. It’s a great, yeah,
Dave Rohrer: [00:01:36] it was, um, we had started with, and we’re trying it again today.
We’ll see. Hopefully there’s no drifting Zen. So Zen C a S T r.com. We had started on Zencaster actually, we started on Skype. Yeah, we did
Matt Siltala: [00:01:52] actually, we recorded her first
Dave Rohrer: [00:01:53] ones on scape and then went, wow, this is bad. It’s problematic when or something. So we ended up finding, I forget how I think. Have a podcast or an episode about those solutions, maybe I’ll have to double-check the, uh, we tried Zencaster and then we ended up running into audio drift issues, which is where we would both, I don’t know how to explain it, but basically it made my life hell trying to edit and align our, our conversations.
There was only two people talking, but yet I would spend like 40 minutes editing the podcast just to get. Our voices aligned with the, with the export. So we ended up giving up and we’ve been on Trek cast, but today try cast is down and we need to record before Matt goes on vacation and I do some traveling.
So here we are.
Matt Siltala: [00:02:51] Are we actually talking about traveling
Dave Rohrer: [00:02:53] again? I know. The, uh, luckily I’ve always kept this login because we liked it. It just wasn’t, it wasn’t working for us for a while. And I figured, you know, we’d always come back and either do some sort of tasks or whatever, you know? Um, I’m sure most of us have at least 50 logins to 50 different tools at some point.
And I think that’s a good segue. The whole thing is, and to redundancy, whether it be hosting, whether it be. Um, keyword tracking, whether it be, you know, developer, PPC, some sort of expert at your company. Um, you know, if, if someone, if someone loses a key or loses a password, is there another way for you to gain access to your analysts?
Or your office door, you know, I think most people, Matt probably have a master key to your office. I know whether it’s being used these days or not. Are you guys back in the office? Yeah,
Matt Siltala: [00:03:54] yeah. We a couple of weeks ago. Um, I’d say we’re probably about 95% in the office. Oh,
Dave Rohrer: [00:04:02] okay. Um, but I mean, a couple of people have a master key, so, you know, if one of the partners kind of.
Was sick or couldn’t make it that morning. Someone else could let everyone else in. Nope. I mean, most businesses have some sort of redundancy, whether it’s, you know, oh, it’s our, you know, maybe not. Um, but you know, from an accountant or some sort of solution, most people at least have someone else or they could find something.
But I think for some stuff around. This or, you know, if say some rush was to raise their prices or a refs was to raise their prices, or one of them was to go out of business or maybe you use a company for hosting or for rank tracking and they’re bought or sold.
Matt Siltala: [00:04:50] Perfect example was authority at labs. We used to use it.
Yeah, for a lot more. And then, um, changes were made, things were sold, products wasn’t as good as it was, but, you know, luckily we had other services that we use it just like you were talking about that we’re able to, you know, kind of plug in switch and change things up and still, you know, produce reports.
But if that’s all we were using, then we’d be
Dave Rohrer: [00:05:17] out of battle. Yeah. And we talked with it about Kevin and he’s, uh, I’ll, I’ll drop a link into that about just how he goes through and is always documenting and noting and looking for different tools for this exact reason. You know, if you have a tool that you use for your dashboards or reporting with your client, with your clients, and suddenly it stops working with a certain API.
And you have 12 clients and they all require that by contract. What are you going to do? Have you ever tested anything? I mean, you don’t need to spend time every single day, but I’m always trying to look for different tools. You know, we did that entire episode about, um, transcriptions, partly because we used one, we liked it, but I was also like, what happens if this one stops working?
What are we going to do? Is this the best tool for us as well.
Matt Siltala: [00:06:12] Okay. You know, something else. That’s interesting. Well, the, then I thought about while we were chatting about all this, as you know, last year when, um, you know, everything went down with the pandemic beginning and, and, uh, everybody, you know, getting out of the office and stuff and people worrying about, about, uh, jobs.
And I mean, you remember how it was. March of 20 20, 1 of the things that, uh, that we did too. And it’s funny, I didn’t kind of think about it for this, but it fits is because we do have a lot of redundancy, um, tools and things like that. And also we did kind of like a little analyst, you know, a little analysis of, uh, what tools that we did have and which ones we really wanted to keep.
And, you know, we did do the thing where we kept ones that we needed, you know, a couple of redundancy, but then we realized that we have. Probably, you know, two or $3,000 worth of tools per month, we were paying for that we hadn’t used in years. And so I think that’s a good part of it for you to be able to, you know, don’t get too caught up in paying for all these tools and don’t get yourself too many that you’re not using, but definitely give yourself opportunities to have backups or at least a backup, but also don’t get too carried away and forget about tools that you’re paying for.
Even if it’s. You know, you’re thinking, well, it’s only $5 a month, but if you haven’t used it for four years and you’ve been paying $5 a month, you know, that’s money that’s lost. And so anyway, it’s just something I thought of that made me, you know, wanting to share that as well.
Dave Rohrer: [00:07:51] Well, I logged into Zencaster the way that that shows is that, uh, there’s like, we’re, we’re good through, um, like the next month or something.
And I was like, wait, what. I’m paying for this? No, like I just did taxes. I didn’t remember that credit on my credit card. I’m like, what’s going on? And so then I like went into the account. That’s why you were kind of sitting there waiting for me. So I’m like, wait, freaking out a little bit gone. Wait, how long is Matt pain for this?
Am I paying for this? What’s going on? I was like, oh no. It’s cause we’re on the free account. Oh, oh yeah. But yeah, like most services and of course I just got a notice for. MailChimp. I think for one of my old projects, it’s like, you have not logged in, in 23 months, we’re going to shut down your free account.
I’m like, well, that’s probably okay. Yeah, that’s fine. At some point, I think I was looking at different solutions and, you know, I completely understand from the tool side of things, that it, that all costs, you know, money at a certain level of their database and, you know, maintaining it. I’m not going to fault you for kicking me out for not being out.
Um, but you know, I will eventually probably come back at some point when I have another project or, you know, another need. But I think, you know, even from a hosting standpoint, there was a, I was working on a project and I was looking at a company because they weren’t owned by other companies, certain other companies, I won’t name who, but they weren’t owned by any of them.
And as I was getting further and further down, and I started like narrowing who my finalists were. I was going to look at for this project. Lo and behold, that company was bought by one of the ones that I didn’t want to work with. And since then another company I don’t wouldn’t want to work with has bought them.
There’s no way I could use them now. Um, I was looking for some sort of redundant system because I have some good hosting providers, but they weren’t going to work for that. But maybe they could, if I did other changes, um, like, you know, I host, uh, the podcast is hosted with an old. Hosting company I used to use in the past for a lot of my stuff.
I moved everything else off of there. Um, this one just had like a long, what is it? Two or three year contract or whatever. Um, probably move it, but I’m also lazy and it takes time. To move, you know, everything. So it’s for now, it’s right here, but I’m also always looking for, you know, anytime I see people in chat forums going, Hey, w w who do you use for hosting for WordPress or Drupal or this or that?
I’m always paying attention because who knows what one good hosting company today is, may not be good in three months or six months or a year. Yeah. And I would rather have a short list in my head. That I can then pull from and say, okay, you know, over the last six months I’ve seen these companies repeatedly mentioned as really good and really fast, or we’re having really secure or really good for Drupal or really good for, you know, whatever CMS you’re looking at.
Let me go. I might, I can think I kind of need someone right now. I at least have it finalized. I at least have someone that I can go to. And I, you know, a couple of companies, I can look at it. I’m not doing from the ground up, like, okay. Um, our hosting company just went down for the fourth time. This week. I have 50 other things going on now is a good time to spend eight hours trying to research who would be a good company.
Yeah. I mean, I didn’t, I don’t have someone picked out, but at least have it narrowed down, whether it’s, you know, whether your accountant or your SEO company, your PPC, you know, always have, you know, what if they close shop or what if, what if your agency sees you as a problem? Well, even just the smallest, you know, just too small for them.
Matt Siltala: [00:12:00] Well, have you went and got me thinking about the place that my son works? Um, forever. There was one guy that knew exactly how to make the dough of the scones that they make. And, uh, Forever. They were well, what if he gets COVID or what if he gets sick or whatever, like, they basically would have to shut the business down.
And they did have one time where he just got exhausted and they had to like close shop because no one knew what to do. And so that kind of helped them with this whole redundancy thing. And they started thinking about getting someone that they could teach that knew how to do it. And they did find. Get someone that they, they taught that could do it.
And it was a good thing they did because he ended up getting COVID and they didn’t have to shut down because of it because they had that backup. And I think that just a good lesson for no matter what industry it is, you know, whether you’re a specialty chef, whether you’re, um, PPC, whether you’re using, um, you know, the whatever kind of Adobe tools, whether you’re using.
This, like we’re doing with a podcast, a recording, a software, whatever it is like you should always be actively looking and figuring out what is the backup solution in case at all just goes away.
Dave Rohrer: [00:13:14] When I was in-house we were all we all, I want, I won’t call it a buddy team or buddy system, but we all had, um, we all had to train someone on certain things of our job.
So if we went on vacation, Oh, I see. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, this is a marketing team. I think we were like six or seven people. I was the main owner of Google search console and Google analytics. I had to make sure that someone else on the team knew how to log in, knew how to get some basic data. Maybe we were doing, um, you know, a launch and I was out of town.
Did they understand enough around Google analytics to be able to validate certain things? There was someone that did the Salesforce add. Not everyone needed to know everything, but they needed to train up someone for emergency type things. Like, do they know how to log in? Do they know how to validate that, you know, leads and, and things are coming in?
Do they know how to validate? Just some basic stuff? Like there needs to be redundancy because yeah. What if there, you know, it sounds bad, but what if, what if someone is hit by a bus tomorrow? Or if, what happens if someone gets sick or what if they decide to quit? Yeah. Like all of these things can happen.
It’s not just, you know, hosting and everything. It’s if only one person in your company and it’s easy, it’s usually smaller companies. If only one person knows in your company, how to log into your PPC account, how to log into your analytics, how to log into your web hosting and they leave. And no one else knows.
The number of times, like I’m working with a client of any sort of size and it’s like, well, who has access to the web host? Well, Johnny used to, but he doesn’t work here anymore. Well, what email did they use? We don’t know. Okay. Well, what about your analytics? Well, we’re not quite sure which email addresses used, and I know we’ve talked about this before, but you know, I see it every time.
Yeah. At least one client I work with or one new client or one company I talked to, I basically asked that question and they’re like, well, we’re not quite sure. I’m like, what year is it? How long have you been in business? How
Matt Siltala: [00:15:27] do you, and that’s the reason we keep talking about it folks, because I know
Dave Rohrer: [00:15:31] cause I keep hearing about it.
Yeah. And it’s not like I hear about it once a month. I hear about it from one company that I talked to in some level of size that it still happens.
Matt Siltala: [00:15:43] Yeah. It’s uh, it’s. It is insane. It’s great.
Dave Rohrer: [00:15:47] Does anyone else know redundancy, like set up a single email address, marketing sales, you know, whatever you want to call it, like internal analytics or something?
I don’t know. And set it up so that it’s basically a distribution list and use that for everything. You know, if you’re on the marketing side, make sure that the VP or CFO or whoever has access or at least two or three people are on that distribution list and that it, or your, your email people, whoever it is, the owner, someone can always have access to that and changes on that list because then it doesn’t matter.
So if someone changes a password, people are. If, if an email comes through from Google search console or Google analytics, a couple of people are alerted. Yeah. Always, you know, create a folder and just have them go in there and not pay attention to them. Sure. But at least then it’s not, you know, Matt email and when he leaves and it shuts off his email.
Now you’re like, well, we don’t know what email address it is. Well, reset the password. You get an email. No, nobody did well now it’s because it goes to an email that doesn’t exist anymore. Welcome. Welcome to, you know, having analytics and Google tag manager and the perhaps a PPC account, even running that no one knows how to access happens all the time.
Matt Siltala: [00:17:10] And people wonder why we go crazy and lose our minds at time.
Dave Rohrer: [00:17:15] This is, this is why, because this is yeah. All the time. No redundancy people don’t like, no one knows how things are set up. No one understands certain things. I’m like, you don’t have to be an expert, but at least. You know, cross train people, make sure you have redundancies for solutions and things that are core to your business.
You know, I think most people tend to not, I mean, it’s kind of hard as a restaurant, you know, you’d probably buy it from Cisco or someone else, but you probably know of a couple other companies that you could talk to. You know, maybe, maybe Cisco raises their prices and you decide you don’t want to use them.
Matt Siltala: [00:17:53] Yeah.
Dave Rohrer: [00:17:54] I know Cisco is, and you’re not in the food industry. Don’t worry about it, but they’re a very big supplier of most food. You probably eat at restaurants depending on where you are in the U S at least here in the Midwest. I know they’re huge. Um, but yeah, I think that’s just it, whatever, whatever is key or core to your business that could hurt you.
Across all things, whether, you know, it’s your CRM or, you know, accounting management or your, you know, marketing of some sort or you’re hosting anything, just have, make sure that more than one person knows what’s going on and knows how to, you know, do at least the basics login. There you go, guys. That’s my key one.
Matt Siltala: [00:18:41] All right. Well, thank you for sharing that. And, uh, hopefully you guys, uh, you know, if anything walk out of here, just thinking that, you know, the takeaway being, I need to at least start thinking about getting something in place for the redundancy and it saved our butts this morning and, and. I’m glad that we do have stuff like that.
And so thank you guys for joining in as a reminder, um, we are on, um, Spotify, we’re, uh, we’re across the board on all kinds of whatever your, whatever you use to listen to us. Take the time, maybe go give us a five-star review. And, uh, we do appreciate you listening guys. And for Dave ward with Northside metrics, I met sold a live with avalanche media and thanks for listening.