No one likes to change systems. Payroll, marketing, operations, etc., no matter what it is and no matter what you were promised, it is going to be a miserable experience.  Like, fall in the mud and get kicked in the head with an iron boot.

But–if you don’t ask yourself what the best programs are for your business, you’ll find yourself struggling to succeed. It is vital to reassess and determine if the tools you use are contributing to a growing business. Just because something worked for you a year or two ago doesn’t mean it’s the best option out there for you today.

Here at Potomac, we’ve re-evaluated pretty much everything in the past year because of our massive growth and need to become “more” corporate to improve efficiencies. So, we are here to share our insights and highlight tools that have helped us reduce frustration, eliminate overlap, and grow tremendously.

We hope what we have learned will give you a head start (and make it much less painful).

    The Business of Running the Business

      Payroll, Compliance, 401(k), Workers Compensation, and Benefits

      Setting up payroll, healthcare, 401(k), and other HR programs are daunting tasks for a business; they’re fundamental to your employees, and it’s necessary to do them right. As a completely remote company, we have integrated every aspect of the business to operate online.

      Previously, we had multiple tools to handle HR such as Gusto (Payroll), Vestwell (401k), Hartford (Workers Comp), and a plethora of other providers to handle the various benefits we offer.

      These tools have great UI’s and a convincing sales pitch, but the truth is they are struggling to scale. The software is great until it’s not and the customer service is horrible to nonexistent. The marketing decks proudly spotlight integrations, but the tech is surface level, and they constantly wag the “going to get better” carrot in front of your face.  The truth is they never get better.

      All in one is the way to go…

      In addition, as a remote firm we hire in many states across the country. Since we grew so fast, C-Suite members were still responsible for dealing with the DOL/UI departments from each state. If you want to inflict as much pain on yourself as possible take on the task of dealing with state governments – I dare you.

      We needed a solution, so I started to speak to trusted industry veterans who were running larger and growing businesses.  All signs pointed to using a PEO service.

      We are big believers in implementing as many “all in one solution” tech platforms as possible across your business. We have learned that you are better off getting 80% of what you need than trying to connect disparate tech solutions.

      Imagine a world where your payroll, 401k, HSA, compliance, health care, Workers’ comp, PTO tracking, etc. are all handled by one company.  Now imagine that this is run with both technology and actual human beings.

      We decided to use Insperity to meet our needs.

        Office Technology

        The all-in-one theme continues when it comes to the technology that makes the company run. We previously had what we thought were the best of breed solutions for Server (Dropbox), Phone, Chat, Webinar (Zoom), Device/Cyber Management (Avast) and Email Security (Armorblox).

        The problem, once again, isn’t that these solutions are bad but simply they lack the ability to elegantly talk to each other.

        We decided to move 100% into the Microsoft environment and embrace native integrations. Our back-office tech stack now consists of everything under the Office 365 umbrella like Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, Device/Cyber Management, and Email Security. 

        The soon to be released Co-Pilot AI (Artificial Intelligence) functionality will supercharge the cohesiveness of how these tools natively integrate.

          Expense Management

          We use the Ramp Expense Management platform. This sleek platform allows us to easily issue physical credit cards to every employee.

          Having formerly used Expensify, our realization was RAMP does everything Expensify was supposed to do, but never did very smoothly. It is so fast it usually dings your phone with a text to take a picture of the receipt while you are still trying to sign the darn thing and you can have the memo and category chosen in under 30 seconds.

          In addition, it’s a spend management platform to control spending from the corporate level; this means that you can set restrictions globally if you want certain employees only to spend money in the “Internet” category.

          Each employee can tag expenses into the proper chart of an account designation, which flows directly into our accounting system Xero.


            We use Xero for our accounting platform. It is one of the cleanest and most straightforward pieces of software to use. They make it easier to work with your data the way you want, and it doesn’t impose the limitations of other accounting software.

            Of course, (as an added benefit) it’s compatible with Ramp.


                Our business is educating advisors and marketing to potential prospects, so a successful business should have a seamless way to output information for both. We had to find platforms that were simplistic yet effective.


                  We built our website with WordPress, which has an almost 40% market share of all websites these days. It is incredibly robust and flexible; however, on its own you still need a web developer to get much done. Enter Divi.


                    Divi is a WordPress theme that brings a visual interface to WordPress. Its intuitive design helps us, who aren’t developers, build and evolve the home base for our brand, content, current clients, and anyone curious about Potomac. Remember, a website is never “done.” It is a living organism much like your business and should be continually tweaked/improved to connect your audience with your message.


                      We use Flywheel, a dedicated WordPress host. They do one thing and one thing only—and they do it exceptionally well.

                        Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

                        If you have a website, hopefully, you are creating content for users to engage with. We use Ahrefs to research what words or phrases are prominent in the industry to lay out the foundation of the content we’ll write next. They provide search volume, difficulty, and other data points that paint the picture of what people are searching for on a day-to-day basis. New to SEO? We were, too—luckily, their YouTube channel has an endless library to get you started. Creating quality content that generates organic search engagement for your website will provide your company oxygen.

                        You’re probably wondering where ChatGPT will show up in this list. Well, it isn’t here. ChatGPT is a wonderful tool, and there are many uses, but be careful when using it to write SEO friendly web copy. As AI gets smarter, so does AI detection. Most search engines downgrade what they recognize as AI written content. Proceed cautiously. 


                          An image generation tool which (currently) runs off Discord, Midjourney has transformed the way we create images for blogs, marketing materials, and social media. With a simple prompt, you can create unique illustrations and “photographs” that fit your storytelling ethos. If you’ve not seen a tool like this in-action, you’ll be amazed at what is possible. Hint: the title image for this blog was created in Midjourney.

                            Video Presentation

                            StreamYard is the key for advisors looking for a simple way to put out content without a large production team. Need to record remotely from multiple locations? Want to cut down (or eliminate) your post-production work? Want to bring in charts or do a demo? Want to broadcast live (gasp) to YouTube? Want to host a video-quality webinar? Use StreamYard. It can do just about everything, and it’s super easy to use.

                              Metro Exhibits

                              Swag has always been a challenge, one that has amplified as our Sales Team fills our calendar with events. Continuing with our all-in-one theme, we recently moved to Metro Exhibits. Metro orders all our SWAG (at our direction), stores it in their warehouse (along with our booth and banner stands) ships everything out to events, and processes any items being returned. Their tech looks like something out of 1987, but their customer service and problem solving is top-notch (paramount for anyone who knows what it’s like to deal with event production).


                                You could file this under Marketing, Sales, or Operations, as we all use it, but it starts with Marketing.

                                Hubspot is our all-in-one hub for everything. Lead-gen, content, communications, it all flows in and out of Hubspot. We have used so many tools over the years to publish, track, and rate our efforts, but ultimately you can’t beat the ever-growing resources within Hubspot.

                                Running ads? We track those in Hubspot. Creating a lead-gen piece? We store those in Hubspot. Sending communications? Those are sent from Hubspot. Everything is tracked back to the contact, and nothing falls through the cracks. Sales knows what Marketing has sent. Operations know what Sales has done. It’s beautiful.


                                    Back-office Software

                                    We use Orion Advisor Technology for everything operational. They do back-office work such as reconciliation, trading, billing, reporting, etc., and serve as our portfolio accounting engine. However, given our unique business model, we needed to create a better front end with onboarding, CRM, and a new account experience.

                                    As the saying goes, “if you can’t buy it, build it.” So, that’s precisely what we are doing—taking the extra step to control the front end and build a custom user interface on top of Orion–we call it, “Guardrails by Potomac.”

                                    Let’s face it, most risk analysis tools are essentially marketing resources. A subjective “score” derived from inexact science, which must be subjectively tied to a real portfolio.

                                    Not a recipe for precision.

                                    You can’t hide from math, and it is not subjective. Our risk scoring process utilizes maximum drawdown, a simple, real number that can be tied to a portfolio in perpetuity.

                                    This process defines the Guardrails (or bands of risk) the client is willing to tolerate. The risk score is then matched to a proposed SMA, Strategist model, or combination of models, that fits within those risk defined Guardrails.

                                      Customer Relationship and Email Management or, HubSpot Wins Again

                                      Our customer relationship management system is HubSpot; we keep information such as names, emails, etc., of our advisors. This is how we reach out to advisors, send them video messages, and connect them with past articles or podcasts episodes they might find useful.

                                      HubSpot is also our email system—we don’t have separate constant contact or MailChimp—any automation is sent out through HubSpot. It’s expensive, and a lot of competitors have sprung up in recent years. However, we believe in the power of an all-in-one, and HubSpot checks all the boxes.

                                        Task Management

                                        As a 100% remote company spread out across the country, staying on task, and remaining accountable is essential.

                                        We use Teamwork for our calendared events and task management. It has dramatically improved our workflow and ability to keep projects running efficiently. Our productivity lives and dies with this—which keeps people plugged in and on schedule.

                                          Sales and Education

                                            Investment Proposal

                                            Potomac has been managing risk for over three decades, and part of that work has been serving as an OCIO – optimizing model combinations for advisors.

                                            This expertise is utilized in the Guardrails by Potomac model optimizer. This tool will create an Investment Proposal with specific percentage holdings for combinations of SMA Strategist models, all based on the risk and return criteria a client needs to meet their goals.

                                              Community and Diligence

                                              One of the best features of our OCIO services is the ability to source and combine various models from investment strategists. But from our experience, it is tough to get all the information and updates from each manager. Advisors are forced to sign up for multiple email subscriptions and piece it all together.

                                              Since our mantra is reducing complexity, we recently set out to tackle this problem. Our community software, Insight by Potomac, will allow all our advisors to access manager updates, diligence, and commentary from a single portal in a controlled fashion.

                                                Investment Management


                                                  Data is the gasoline to run our money management engine. We currently source most of our data from a company called Norgate. For additional data and sanity checks, we also source data from FastTrack and YCharts. The data is fed into our programming software for systems development.

                                                    Systems Development Software

                                                    All our technical market indicators and composite trading systems are built inside AmiBroker. This software is extremely robust and powerful—built based on AFL code language. Our testing and execution ability has been supercharged with the addition of this software tool.


                                                      Creating and presenting charts is a colossal amount of our work. Some of our charts are created inside of Amibroker, but the main charting software is Optuma.

                                                      Optuma is very intuitive and user-friendly with the additional benefit of creating beautiful charts. Depending on the data, we also use YCharts as a supplement.

                                                        The Future of a Successful RIA?

                                                        Every business runs differently. What works for us may not work for you. Take what you can from this and toss the rest.

                                                        For us, being static equates to a declining business. What got us here won’t be the same in the future. That doesn’t mean you need to pull a Doug and get distracted by every shiny object that comes along.

                                                        But standing still (literally) gets you nowhere.

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                                                          Potomac Fund Management ("Company") is an SEC-registered investment adviser. SEC registration does not constitute an endorsement of the advisory firm by the SEC nor does it indicate that the advisory firm has attained a particular level of skill or ability. This information is prepared for general information only and should not be considered as individual investment advice nor as a solicitation to buy or offer to sell any securities. This material does not constitute any representation as to the suitability or appropriateness of any investment advisory program or security. Please visit our FULL DISCLOSURE page. The company does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to the Company website or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any of this information. The views of the Company are subject to change and the Company is under no obligation to notify you of any changes. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy will be profitable or equal to any historical performance level.