200 Ways That Your Business Can Systematize With Chris Ronzio
Episode 413: 200 Ways That Your Business Can Systematize With Chris Ronzio
At a certain point, running your business like a one-man show is a sure path to burnout and a lot of missed opportunities. In this episode, you will learn some ingenious hacks that you can start to implement to systematize your business. Joining Mitch Stephen in this conversation is Chris Ronzio, author, speaker, coach, entrepreneur, investor and founder of the business efficiency consulting agency, Organize Chaos. You’ll be surprised at the sheer number of things that you do NOT need to do yourself. Listen in as Chris shares some business efficiency case studies and learn how you can free up time for yourself to really focus on what is strategic and still have the even the littlest details running like clockwork. Chris also gives away some amazing resources in this interview, so don’t miss them!
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I’m here with Chris Ronzio and we’re going to be talking about something that I know a whole bunch of you out there need. You know you need help. You know you need to train your help on what to do. You know that being a one-man show is the pathway to burn out and a lot of missed opportunities. This is the perfect guy to talk to you. Chris Ronzio, how you doing?
Thanks for having me, Mitch.
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For $0.02 a piece, I can hit them right between the eyes with a text. We all know how many times we ignore our text messages compared to how many times we ignore emails. Text messages have a huge open rate compared. It’s a perfect target. You put out signs, you generate calls, then those calls are captured and you can reach out and touch them any time you want to. It’s a great tool to have.
I’ve been doing a lot of texting lately, it sounds useful.
There’re a lot of features there. Go to the homepage and check it out. A lot of places didn’t have the things I wanted so we built what I wanted. You’re in Boston, Massachusetts sitting there right now and helping businesses get their collective crap together so that they can get unburied and get to the part that makes money.
We say, get your business out of your brain because that’s where most of what we do is stuck.
Give us a little bit of your background and tell us how you got here and then we’ll talk about what you’re doing.
I’ve been running my own business, different businesses for the last years. I started in high school. I built a nationwide video production company that did youth sporting events. We had hundreds of camera operators shooting events in all 50 States and such a big part of that was our systems like how we made the logistics work. How we made them show up and operate on our behalf and do what we did when it was me as an army of one. Growing that business and selling that business led to my consulting firm which was my next business.
That was helping other entrepreneurs and other small companies turn into bigger companies. How do they systematize what they do? Put technology in place and then operationalize it, train people, so that they can scale up. After that business, that’s where Trainual came from. Trainual is a software that enables you to do that. Think all the processes, all the how-to, all the training, all the roles, responsibilities all in one central place online or on your phone and that’s what Trainual does.Get your business out of your brain because that's where most of what we do is stuck. Click To Tweet
You’re giving away some stuff for our audience now. What are you giving away?
One of the hardest things I think when you’re getting started with the process is trying to figure out what they all are. What are the areas of your business that you need to create some clarity or some training for? We put together a checklist, a cheat sheet, a guide that’s got over 200 areas of your business that you should start thinking through.
Go to 1000Houses.com/Trainual. Go over there and get that free list and you’ll be amazed at how many things you need to not be doing and get out of your head and get onto someone else’s plate. It’s an eye-opener. It was even helpful for me because this guy’s a pro and he knows all the places to look. As an entrepreneur, I’m winging it. I think I got places to look and then all of a sudden, I see all these other places and I’m saying, “Chris is right. I didn’t even think of that.” Give us a case study. What’s one of your most successful case studies?
A company I was talking to the other day have now over 500 employees and started using Trainual when they had to. They’re a graphic design company with people around the world that do graphic design services. In real estate, this could be the yellow letters you send out or the postcards you make or the ads for your website or your email newsletter. Think of this company as buying a cheap graphic design service. When they started out, it was one business person and one designer. Now they’ve got over 500 and to scale that quickly in just a few years, you’ve got to perfect your system.
Their system was, how do we sell our subscription services? How do we intake the requests that we get? How do we process each one of those? Where do we store the files? How do we send links over to people? Each designer that they bring on is trained through that process. That’s one example over the last few years but we’ve got thousands and thousands of businesses. We have customers in 120 plus countries now that are using Trainual to make the playbook for their business.
It’s not an industry-specific, it’s not company size specific, it’s when you’re at a place in your business where you can’t do everything anymore, you’ve got to peel off some of those hats and take off some of those responsibilities. The way you do that is to give someone else clear instructions. A lot of people that are reading may be tried writing out long emails or put together a long word doc or three-ring binders and that stuff doesn’t work that well. It’s not repeatable. We built a system to make it a lot easier.
That’s impressive. From 0 to 500. That’s quite an accomplishment. Where does a person generally start? How would they start with you? Who’s the perfect client for you?
A perfect client is someone that’s got some repeatable systems in their business and they’re trying to pass those off to someone else. You would come to us with a use case in mind where maybe you can’t do all the admin work. You can’t do all the contracts anymore. You can’t schedule all the showings or appointments. You’re hiring your first virtual assistant. You’ve got some motivation to start to create some structure in your business.
You’d come in to Trainual. You’d sign up and you’d start to piece together the playbook for your company. We start you off with put your own logo in there, make it look and feel like your own, and then we’ve got 60 or 70 prebuilt templates that you can use for everything from your orientation of training your new person on what your business means to real estate-specific training on how you put together certain contracts or how you show a house or how you do a market, and investment.
These are things that we’re producing, pumping out all the time but it starts with somebody that wants to train somebody on something. You want to do it in a consistent way. If that person doesn’t work out, if they turn over, or if you’re needing to add people and train the same thing over and over again, you don’t have to repeat yourself. You explain it once you put it in the system with either recorded videos or graphics or text or links or documents, and once it’s set up, you don’t have to touch it again. You assign it to the next person and the next person.
If I’m a prospective client, how am I looking at this in expense? What can I expect as far as expense goes to help you help me get to where I’m going using your company?
Unlike a lot of tools, we don’t charge per user. It’s a simple package that starts for your whole company at $99 a month. When you think of all the policies in your handbook and how you do what you do, your processes, your descriptions of each person, a directory of all your people, it’s the place that defines who and how in your business. You make the investment, pay monthly, get a discount pay annually. It’s that simple.
My partner, Mike, and I deliberated on getting him a personal assistant for maybe two years. It was a topic of conversation, “I need an assistant. I don’t want to have to train him. I’m busy.” Part of the problem is you’re usually busy that you don’t have time to step back and train. This is a good reason to get some help. You’re still going to have to invest some time because Chris, can’t read your mind, or you’ve got to fill him in, but take the onus of how to do it off your shoulders.
We finally decided to get a good assistant in the market. We have to pay at least $15 an hour and $36,000 a year. They didn’t have to be geniuses, but they needed to be a certain person. We were doing personality testing and the resumes said, if you want a chance at this job, you have to take this test and don’t even call us. Take this test and do X, Y, and Z then we’ll get it and then we’ll call you back if your personality fits what we need and we did that.
We found the right person and about three weeks into having this person, my partner, Mike calls me and goes, “We were dumb for not doing this long ago. We’re paying an extra $36,000, $40,000 a year. We are going to make an extra $150,000 this year.” The handwriting on the wall. I’m freed up now to go do everything that makes the money, the things I should have been doing instead of running to turn off utilities and trying to get money back from this deposit and doing bullshit.
That’s how it’s supposed to work.
I want to give my own real-life testimonies, like hiring help that expense if you’re looking at it right and you’re doing it right, it should make you money. It means they’re going to generate more than they cost and then you have a better quality of life.
It’s an investment. It’s not an expense if you hire the right person. It’s different if you’re going to hire a full-time barista masud to do nothing for your business. That’s an expense. If you’re going to hire someone to help you with your business, it’s because it’s freeing up time for you. It’s leveraging someone else’s time so you can go make above and beyond whatever you’re paying them. Anyone that’s thinking of hiring their first person or their first couple of people, you’ve got to run the equation and say, “How am I freeing up enough time to make this work worthwhile?”
I think too many people hire that first person and think, “How can I break even on this person so I’m not losing money.” I think you can go into the equation and say like you said, “How do I turn this $36,000 into $150,000 and make their training plan.” What do they need to take off your plate for you to go justify that ROI? That’s what you train them on. That’s what you communicate is the expectation that they’re accomplishing this and this by their one month or three-month mark. That’s how you make a higher payoff.
Even if you miss the mark completely at $150,000 and they only make $70,000, or they only make $60,000, it’s still a plus. It would be $36,000 and you only increased your business by $60,000. My next question would be, how many times can I do that? Let’s do it as often as possible. Let’s hire twenty of those people if it all works the same. I’ll take that margin times twenty. When I look at our business, when I’m talking to the real estate investors out there or the young entrepreneurs, I say there are some easy things to sell outright off the bat, bookkeeping. Don’t do your own taxes. Where do a lot of people start? Are there some obvious places that people start over and over again?Hiring the right person for a job that frees you time is not an expense; it is an investment. Click To Tweet
A lot of administrative stuff like scheduling is a big thing for a lot of us or processing email or answering phones or returning voicemails. There are simple services for your bookkeeping like you mentioned or for a call service that will take all the calls and send you the recorded messages so that they’re screening things for you or processing leads. I know a lot of people will hire VAs to research properties, to run comps, to do their marketing, to email out opportunities that they have. These are all things that aren’t our unique abilities as an entrepreneur. The person that’s the deal maker in the business needs to be focusing on those big pictures, sourcing the right opportunities or making the right connections and not executing on these things that could be done by someone that’s well-trained to do them.
I want to be clear here. Do you help in the process of finding the right person or is that outside your scope?
We don’t directly, but Trainual has a whole army of certified consultants that work with business owners. If you want someone that you hire to be a consultant to work with you on sourcing people on building out your processes, we have consultants that can do that. Trainual itself is a simple software tool to help you with templates and with our support team to help you get started.
$99 a month seems almost ridiculous not to take advantage of that if you asked me because add that to your assistance pay an extra $1,200 a year, it’s a non-issue. If you use it right and get done what you’re trying to get done, a $99 a month is going to be chump change in the big picture.
A lot of times it falls on your number two person to manage it. As big picture thinker entrepreneurs your first hire is probably someone to counterbalance you to do some of the administrative work, and then any other hires would be to help scale your business, to help handle the volume of leads that you’ve got or help you do marketing. Your first administrative person, if anyone reading has one of those, they can own the system. They can build out your Trainual account and connect the dots and create this asset for your business. I think one of the things that’s valuable you mentioned before we on here, you’ve got courses, you’ve got this expertise you’ve built, you have processes that you can train other people to do. A lot of people reading might have those types of processes but they’ve never written them down. Trainual is a place where you encapsulate how you do what you do and you can monetize that even.
The other thing is if you lose a key person and you haven’t documented all they do and their legacy knowledge, you’re in for a heartache when that person walks or demands a huge pay hike. You got yourself over a barrel. You start from the beginning getting these people to document what they do so that in the event heaven forbid they get transferred or they die, or something happens. There’s a life event happens and they no longer can be your person then you’re saving yourself a huge amount of panic at that moment by having thought ahead about that position and preparing yourself to fill that position with someone new if you ever need to.
One of the things that I’ve told people like a real estate analogy I’ve used in the past. A lot of you have talked about do you buy, do you rent? I think everybody knows that you buy a property and you’re building an asset. You own something whereas if you’re paying rent, you’ve got nothing to show for it. When you think about the people whose salaries you’re paying or whose hourly wages you’re paying, if you’re paying for them to do the work, and you’ve got nothing to show for it at the end. You’ve never documented, you’ve never written it down and they leave, all you were doing was paying rent this whole time. You were renting that salary. Whereas if you have them start to write down what they do and how they do it, and you capture that knowledge, then if they move on to the next opportunity, you’ve built an asset. You’ve got all their experience captured.
It’s important that you take the time to do that. It was funny in the first year we joked around calling it like the two-week notice tool. I’ve consulted for businesses that had a key person that puts in their notice and what do you say to that person in their last couple of weeks, it’s like, “Please write down everything that you do so I could train the next person.” That’s something that you can do in the application is get them to write down everything they do, maintain access for the next few weeks even when they get into their next job and they can help train the next person without even being there.
Go over to 1000Houses.com/trainual. Check out the freebie over there. He’s going to give you 200 things that you could systematize. Tell us again what it is.
It’s all the areas of your business. The departments, processes, policies that you probably haven’t even thought about formally writing down, but you’d be surprised how much of that exists in your head. Sometimes the first step is jogging your mind and that’s what this checklist or this guide is designed to do.
I think this is a great interview. I think a lot of people do need to sit down. Do you have a consult? If someone’s interested, what can they expect when they first contact your company?
The easiest thing is to sign up for a free trial. You don’t even have to put in a credit card, you get to kick the tires on the tool. You get to see all the templates that we have and you’ll start to hear from our customer success team which is the in-house department that we’ve built to help thousands of companies get started. You’ll hear from our team and then if you want to do it yourself and set it up, then you’re off to the races. Otherwise, if you want to work with a consultant and have it done for you, then we’ve got a whole directory of them as well.
I’d like to thank everybody for stopping by to get you some Chris Ronzio. Are there any last words you’d like to say to the audience before we wrap it up?
Just a reminder that everything that you’re doing now and everything that you’re doing this week, there are things hidden in there that someone else can do. If you want to do more of what you love if you want to do more of the high-value activities in your business to grow your business, to make more profit, think about what you can take off your plate. Whenever you’re ready, whenever that time is when you’ve got something to delegate, think of Trainual as the place to write it all down.
I’ve given this exercise to many of my students who are overwhelmed and I said, “I want you to set up your phone so that you get a reminder every hour on the hour, and you need to write down what you were doing during that last 60 minutes. At the end of the day, we’re going to go back and start checking off.” “Could someone else have done this? Why am I doing?” Then answer the question, “Why did I have to do that?” You’ll find out that a lot of your day is busy work I’m way below your pay grade and that’s what you’re trying to do.
You’re trying to eliminate work that’s below your pay grade. If you figure out that you’re worth $200 an hour, then if you’re doing anything that you could sub that out for less than $200 an hour, then that makes sense. It might be nice to have a breath sometimes so you can get some quality of life. You can free up your mind and be fresh for the next day instead of running yourself ragged to the end of every day and getting frazzled because it’s a recipe for burnout. I was doing everything, selling my own houses and everything. I was getting to where I was answering the phone like, “Hi this is Mitch. What the hell do you want?” It was horrible. I was like the worst salesman for my company because I had enough and I couldn’t take it anymore. Someone pointed it out and I said, “I’m never selling a house again. I guess I’m going to have to figure out what to do.”
That’s a good point. What I’ve recommended is scroll through your list of texts, scroll through all your sent email. If you keep a calendar, look at your calendar. You can do one of these logs, these time logs retroactively, and say, “Where do I spend all my time? What took up all the time today?” I think the reminder, like you mentioned is a great idea. The tip you had about someone’s hourly rate, it’s a simple exercise. You take what you want to make in a year and you divide it by 2,080 working hours or something like that.
You get your hourly rate and then you’ve got to be cutthroat about it. I remember when I did that exercise the first, I stopped driving around town. I only used Uber or Lyft and I would be doing emails in the back seat because that was a better use of my time for a half-hour. I would hire someone, a stranger to come over and do laundry at my house so I could be closing deals because I had this basket of laundry that I didn’t want to get to. You can get neurotic with this but it’s an important exercise.
It’s a great point because like when I got into that mindset and I started measuring and I started calculating and I started getting into it, taking it seriously, my wife would say, “Can you stop by and get the dry cleaning?” I’m like, “Honey, I’m worth about $800 an hour. Can we find someone else to do that?” She didn’t appreciate that at all. Slowly and painfully, she started to come around to the idea that I’m not doing certain things. I don’t mow the lawn anymore. I don’t trim trees. I don’t take out the trash.
If there’s anything someone can do that’s not making an extraordinarily hourly rate, then someone else needs to do it. Unless you enjoy it. I enjoy getting in my tractor and shredding fifteen feet wide lanes down through the center of my ranch so I can see the animals and stuff. It’s work and I can hire someone below my pay grade. For me, it’s a cathartic thing that I do. It’s something I put on my headphones.
I get my beverage of choice. I fire up my tractor and I get into some ozone that for some reason I enjoy. Is it work? Yes but I enjoy it. That would be the difference. My friend, you’ve been fun to talk to. I’m going to talk to my office. We’re going to sign up for a free trial. Go to 1000Houses.com/trainual and get your free stuff, get your free trial, and check it out. No obligation. If you need more help, there’s contact information over there and get with them, explain your situation and at least find out what they have to offer, and then you can start to weight where you’re at in your business. If it’s time or if you’re ready because nothing’s any good if you’re not ready.
Some of these things you have to make sure that you’re I’ve had enough meter is pegged way over in the red and then you’ll get it done. If you’re not there yet, you will be. It’s sooner or later you’re going to get pegged over in the red over there and you’re not going to want to do it, or you’re not going to be able to do it anymore because you’re exasperated. Please don’t wait that long because you have to put out some energy to get anything done and you’ll have to put out some energy to get this done. It’s hard to do when you’re on empty. Don’t wait until you’re on empty because then it gets extraordinarily hard to do anything but sleep. I appreciate you. Thanks, everybody for stopping by to get some Chris Ronzio and check it out. I appreciate it.