Systems and Automation: Business Building Essentials
I have 3 dogs and picking up after them is not a fun job. I have thrown in the towel and called a local dog waste removal service. The owner had returned home after being in the Army for 2 years and could not find a job so he started DiddlySquat [ www.Diddly-squat.biz ]. We spent some time talking about business in general. His name is Jon Locke and as we spoke it reminded me of starting my business and how in the beginning you wear every hat and it seems like all you do is work or think about work. It can feel like you are climbing a ladder with no end in sight.
After many years and many more mistakes you learn a few things. One of the most important is having systems in place that allow you to transition out of micro management and into business building activities. You always run into a ceiling of complexity [this is a term used by Dan Sullivan—he is a brilliant author and runs www.StrategicCoach.com]. The ceiling of complexity
is a barrier business owners hit that prevents them from getting to a next level [eg going from 50k to 100k in yearly revenues]. There can be many reasons you hit the ceiling but one of the first [there are many ceilings] is a result of the business owner doing so many low value tasks [like sending out invoices, making bank trips, accounting etc].
One way to break through the ceiling is using automated systems. An example might be a CRM tool or business management software. Another is an automated payment processing system. The cost to generate an invoice, mail and process that payment costs from $3 to $8 per invoice [based on estimates from Small Business Administration]. If you are conventionally invoicing think about the time you spend. You then have to wait for payments to trickle in and of course the dreaded collection calls to those that “forgot”.
John currently only takes cash and checks. We spoke about the advantages of ACH processing and credit card processing. He is a pretty smart guy and understands that in order to get out from under his mountain of paperwork he needs to automate and systemize.
An automated recurring payment collection system will allow him to completely remove himself from the drudgery and expense of conventional payment collection. Each month the customers checking account is electronically debited [ an ACH] or the credit card processed]. Imagine checking your bank account around the 1st of each month and seeing the deposit for all of your payments due. Not only that but automated email receipts going out to the customer [you can even market to them using these receipts]. The time and expense saved allows the business owner to take the next step and systemize another part of their business or hire an assistant to take more mundane tasks off their hands.
I am confident Jon will take the next step and automate recurring payments via ACH or credit card. It’s nice to see a veteran that has served his country succeeding as an entrepreneur.