School for Startups Radio: Mobile Pocket Office Sam Ovett
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In this podcast, Sam had the chance to speak with Jim Beach of the School for Startups Radio Podcast. Below is a transcript of our conversation. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Jim Beach: Excited to introduce my next guest. This is a really cool story. His name is Sam Ovett. He is the CEO and founder of a company called mobile pocket office, which is helping businesses of all sizes with their human and tech resources. The business has got 15 employees and is profitable with over a million bucks of revenue.
Sam Ovett. Welcome to the show, how you doing?
Sam Ovett: I’m doing good. I’m excited to be here. I’m here in Colorado this morning and my house and it snowed outside and, and be a better day. There it is. Snowing there. Yeah, we have, we just got a hot tub delivered, so we’re pretty psyched.
Jim Beach: Yes. I do love a hot tub in the snow.
All right. Explain the business mobile pocket office. What are the features that it offers?
Sam Ovett: All right, so pretty, uh, I’ll keep it simple and we can dive in wherever you want. But, uh, simply what we do is we work with businesses to design their process and automation plan. That’s the consulting aspect of it.
And then we implement with our team, the actual tech stack. That’s required to pull that off. And we have a methodology. We have some thoughts that we focus on in terms of how we do it, but that is the core idea of what mobile pocket office does. And the outcome is that if you do it right, your business is able to be managed from a mobile, getting new interest to come and find out about your business.
Jim Beach: Okay, so deep dive already tell me I’m a business I’m at dental practice or something. Or my favorite is a, we’re a gizzard business. We sell anything that McDonald’s, won’t put into a nugget. We will put into a gizzard and sell it to you. And we’re one of the premier gizzard businesses in all of Southern Louisiana.
So what you got for me?
Sam Ovett: So, so you are just like everyone else. How about that? Oh,
Jim Beach: thought my mama told me I was special
Sam Ovett: though. Sam. She, she lied.
Jim Beach: Okay. All right. Keep going sales tactics so far, but
Sam Ovett: that’s right. Yep. We want to make you feel bad. Just start. No, I’m just kidding. Um, the, uh, the primary thing that happens in every business is you have five different stages that you get to look at. And we found that. Works across any industry, you got to attract new business, right?
You’re king of gizzards. You sell all the gizzards stuff and you got to attract new business. You got to let people know you exist and they got to find out about you. Then once you let them know exists, you’ve got to convert that interest into people who are willing to give you their contact information and ultimately buy something from you.
Right. You’ve got to buy those gizzards. And then if you’ve promised the world’s greatest gift, right. And, uh, you don’t deliver, you don’t fulfill, so attract, convert, fulfill, uh, you’re pretty much quickly going to go out of business because people are going to say, Hey, I didn’t get what I expected or they didn’t deliver.
Or the fulfillment process is really crappy. Um, and that’s not going to be good for your referrals down the line so you can attract convert. So, so, and then if you real good, a lot of businesses miss this, and most of them do it just without realizing. If they’re decent is delight. So you delight your customers, right.
You know, and the dessert business, you might say, Hey, if you like gizzards, we also have this other thing that goes great with gizzards and we recommend you get it. So you’re going to remind people to buy the different things that go with them. You’re going to give them maybe recipes for gizzards so that they can get the most out of those gizzards.
Right? So you’re gonna delight your customers, make it a better experience, make it a more valuable experience for them and hopefully make some more money for you in that stage as well. That’s kind of the up sell cross, sell. And then the last is refer because we all know that the, the cheapest, most effective marketing is referral business.
Right. So if you do it right, you’ve got a process to get referrals, not just, uh, It’s nice people like us. So they send us business. You’ve got a process that you make sure that everybody knows how to give you referrals, right? And you can do that very tastefully, but if you don’t have a process, then you’re haphazardly getting your referrals.
So you can take that business to the broom business. You can take that to the, you know, the car business. You can take that to the, any business that’s run on the internet, right. Which we work a lot with those. You can take that any business has to attract convert. Fulfill the light and refer, most people stop it at fulfill and they don’t think too much about the others.
It just sorta kind of happen. But if you don’t do the first two, you don’t have a budget first, so you don’t even have a business to begin with you with me. And so that’s the big picture. And then we look at that. We go, there’s your processes, right? This is your system of business. Everybody’s got that. Now.
Let’s look, let’s dive into each one. And what we do at that point. It usually, usually people have a problem with when they want to solve, you know, primary problem. They want to approach and adjust, and then we go, okay, well, what are the, what are the processes that make up each of those five systems of your business, right?
They overlap, what are the processes that make that up? And once we understand the processes, which the way we do this, we can share some links that people can grab out on the internet. We can get some free stuff that they can use in their business to do that. But you fill out a personal activity log, right?
You print off this sheet. It’s really basic, even though we’re super technical, we take it down and just make it analog. You get this sheet of paper and you write down what you do in a, about a three-day period or however long, it takes you to go through a full cycle of attract, convert, fulfilled delight, refer for at least a few customers.
Um, and then you find out what do we do in these different phases, right. And that might mean different team members need to actually fill that out. And then you find out what you spend your time on to actually make the business run. And from there, that’s where we dive in and this is what we do. That’s unique.
We say, okay, now we look at where can you be human, where it counts and otherwise automate your business. Right? That’s our thing. Be human, where it counts otherwise automate because you don’t want to just automate everything. A lot of times you need a human touch. That’s what drives the emotional attachment.
People have to your business and working with you and buying from you. But everything else that’s busy work that you have to do to run the business. Either, cut it out. If it’s not necessary or you automate it because then you don’t have to rely on a human to scale your processes, right? You with me so far.
And so that is the approach that we take and it works across any business so far that we’ve worked with and we’ve worked with businesses and a lot of different industries, um, and that is how you approach it. And now you have a game plan to automate, and then obviously you need to actually do the work to make it automated that then we do that, that implementation of that.
Perfect. That’s it.
Jim Beach: So that’s where I’m very lost. Once there’s a mutual understanding of all the processes and we’ve gone through several customers and have all of this written down. How does that turn into app functions of automation? That sounds to me like you would have to write an individual, you know, the app for each and every user.
Sam Ovett: Yeah. So that’s where we, we, and I’m going to take it out of the app world for a second. And the way that happens here is that it. Everybody’s got functions that go on in a business. So we’ll, we’ll take, um, let me give you an example. That’s more on the sales end of things, where it sort of, there was marketed interest, but we weren’t, there was a company that wasn’t capturing conversions.
This is a software company, not the gizzard company, but I can, I can put it in that context. There’s a software company and they were, they have a great product. You connect e-commerce stores to QuickBooks. And so your books are balanced for your e-commerce store. Your inventory is taken care of super valuable.
If you’re in that space and they were listed on all the different e-commerce marketplaces, so people could find them, they could go to them. But then when you got to the website, there was only so much information. About the product just enough. And then if you actually got it into it and sign up for a trial, whether wizard was really good and they had a good customer service team to help onboard yet, but what they were lacking was converting that interest.
So they had a lot of people coming and saying, wow, this seems like it could solve my problem, but they weren’t converting that interest very well. And so. Well, we did is found out that they were doing every month or two months, a webinar, random times to walk through their product and show people what it did and the, the behind the scenes that folks wanted to know before they buy it.
Hey, does this do all the things that I need? We turned it into an automated process where someone could sign up to watch at any time. This webinar, there was prescribed times, but it was a, they could watch it the time that worked for them. When they were interested in the product, they didn’t have to wait a month.
Right. And, and scheduling demos with them. Okay process at that point. It wasn’t great. We improve that, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now. So they got the webinar going that people could watch it. Anytime. Now you can learn at your convenience about the product, and then if you don’t attend the webinar that you registered for and automatically followed up with you with the replay and same for, if you did attend with offers to get a free trial.
Now they were going from once a, let’s say every six weeks, roughly. Having about 20 to 50 people on a webinar to every month, having around 200 people get to watch it at the time when they were ready to solve the problem they had with their accountant and moving that data back and forth and sinking it from their e-commerce store to QuickBooks.
And so they were able to follow up with people, get them into free trials, and once they got them in there, The fulfillment of their product was really good, so they didn’t have an issue there. And so automating that process allowed them to scale their time and they didn’t have to wonder if people were going to attend and they commit customer service reps to time on a webinar because they didn’t have a very robust sales team.
And. Then anybody could find out at any time. So that’s just a small example of automating that convert part of the process of a portion of it. So you don’t actually have to make something like a custom app, because what happens is there’s a lot of tools out there that you can, you can use in your business to run these automations, to make these.
Experiences that follow up with people. And that’s a lot of what it’s about. It’s a lot of following up with people at the different stages they’re at with your customer, with your business. Does that make sense when I put it in that
Jim Beach: term? So it’s more of an assessment tool,
Sam Ovett: that
Jim Beach: tool that drives you through a methodical process of analyzing your business.
Sam Ovett: right. And so we do, we do that. We go through that. You know, what would typically just be called a consulting process? And we have a way we do it. We call them blueprint maps, and it starts with you figuring out what you actually do to run your business. And then, then it’s all right, where can we relieve time?
Right. That you would otherwise have to pay somebody to do. And now you can do it consistently using technology to power the process. And it works every time, all the time. For the customer or the prospect is interested at the time that they’re interested versus someone having to manually follow up with all the different customers that are in different stages.
And only at the time when somebody says, Hey, I want to talk to a human. Then you have a task that says, Hey, somebody wants to talk to you. They schedule something on your calendar, show up and answer their questions.
Jim Beach: All right. How’d you get the idea for this? How did you start implementing it, building it out, all of that kind of stuff.
And I know that your dad was involved with this and that you all work together, uh, that can weave into part of this as well. But talk to me about building the business. Give me a history lesson from an entrepreneurial perspective.
Sam Ovett: Yeah. So I was prior to doing this. I was, I was a whitewater kayaking professionally after college, and I was, I ended up on the realizing that as a, as a professional whitewater kayaker, I was just part of it.
Marketing plan. Right? I was an athlete. I was having fun. I was getting to travel around and kayak all these cool rivers, golf waterfalls, but I found out, Hey, I was just, I just part of the marketing plan, right? I’m just a line item on the marketing plan. And then I started to get really interested in the actual marketing and process around converting customers.
And that’s what drove the interest. And so. I was ready to move out of the world and I’d always been involved with technologies and that’s from my dad who has always run businesses in the technology space that he’s owned, uh, and did a lot of. Right process around the manufacturing side for companies for a long time.
And he was getting boarded that wanted to be more on the play with some of the marketing side of stuff. So, and I was ready to make a shift out of the outdoor world that I was noticing all these, all these opportunities and saying, wow, you know, you’re real good at getting people interested, but then once they get interested, you just don’t follow up with them.
You don’t pay attention to them. And then, you know, there’s a lot of opportunities. And I was sort of trained to see this way from my dad. So that’s just, that’s just something that I lucked out with. Right. Because I grew up around it. Um, and so we decided, you know, what, let’s, let’s partner with the leading automation companies, the companies that have the software.
And because we’re seeing all these people who are trying to automate this aspect of stuff, but they are just really struggling with figuring out, well, what do I actually automate? Where do I start? And he knew that from his experience. And I was starting to see it more and more in the outdoor industry that I was involved with at the time.
So we decided, well, let’s, let’s start the company mobile pocket office and have it start on the marketing and sales side of automation versus the backend business processes. That starting point, because if we can help you and very bore the business or the more the interest that’s coming your way. Then we already know how to solve the process problems downstream, but you you’re even more excited.
So we’re going to start at the top and do that. So what we did is started partnering with software companies that provided automation software. And they, and this is how we got this business up and running. And it’s something people can do is partner with a service provider that technically is challenging to implement.
And so people, we would get referrals to say, Hey, these folks, folks have a complex automation problem they want to solve. And so we would get that interest that way. And so a lot of our business comes from, with, from these partnerships. And we would go take them through the process of mapping their process, figuring out what they do with this personal activity dogs.
And then from there, they’d have a plan of what to automate and then we’d, you know, naturally we built the relationship with them and then we would do, we actually do the automation implementation. And so that’s how we’ve grown the business. Does that make sense? Yes. Yeah. It’s like a, it’s like pretty, pretty simple story.
You know, we
Jim Beach: think scale now, what is it grown into?
Sam Ovett: So, I
Jim Beach: mean, you mentioned it earlier, 16 employees in a million and Rav. So how many customers is they’ll be back this way? What’s the price point for the product?
Sam Ovett: So the way it works is we start with a map and those are kind of an entry point for folks and they start at, um, it, we have like a four hour block of mapping and it’s a pretty easy intro.
Those are $2,000. They get you do this map and it gets you involved. Then we give you some homework upfront that personal activity, like you have to do that and then show up on a zoom call or digitally map everything. And then you have you walk away with that. Some of the maps we do, if you have a very lot of complex process, they, they go up to six to 10 grand because we got to spend a few days with you.
And from that point, the projects they come out of that. What that’s where we make our money. That makes sense. So that’s where we, that’s where then there’s, uh, you know, we price out the project and, um, we do a lot of fixed prices where we give you a budgetable known expense, cause we’ve mapped out the scope of it.
And as long as we stick to that, you know what you’re going to spend and we get you up and running, get you on a timeline and then we’re off doing, you know, a project implementation.
Jim Beach: Well, so a majority of the 15 employees would be on that part of the business
Sam Ovett: on that part. Right. So they’re doing that. That’s the actual work that’s being done. So when we, we I’m right there, Josh is right there and we’re doing this project mapping sessions. You’re working with us to do that. So to understand your business.
And then after that, we make a plan, hand it off to our team. They executed on it and you know, we do quality control on it before it goes out the door. And then that’s how we run the business.
Jim Beach: And from your experience, how much of a business can be automated. So I love your slogan be human, uh, where it counts, but otherwise automate.
That’s a great one. Uh, what percent.
Sam Ovett: So I would say probably it just in my experience, you know, 90% of a business is automateable, but I’ll break that down because where it’s automateable is WhatsApp, I think almost more important is
other: the attract part
Sam Ovett: of attracting new business. That is largely not automateable. There are pieces of it when you, but to attract raw interests to your business, that is largely not automated.
We have, that’s where you’re doing the creative work of advertising of content, of partnership development, where you’re reaching audiences that way. And that is learn. That is such a human high touch, uh, intelligent, creative process that has to take place. And you always are trying new things. I mean, you probably can relate to it in, in terms of doing these interviews, you know, I’m sure that’s attracted business for you is I’m guessing you can tell me otherwise, but that’s something you have to do, right.
Jim Beach: Yes, there are huge chunks of this business that are automated, but unfortunately I have to actually talk to people and that, and
other: that, that just
Jim Beach: jerks and people or bragging about how cool they are and how cool their businesses, yada, yada, yada. And yeah. So yeah.
Sam Ovett: But no. So that’s the deal, you know, you’ve got that attract part.
Everyone we’ve worked with is really, really good. And as a, as a really striving business, they do the majority of their effort that really drives the business is in the attracting part of the business. And then from there, the rest of it can pretty much be automated convert. If you get people’s interest, you can then do some type of advertising that gets people back through retargeting.
You can. If then people give you the information, you can use the different communication channels, like email and text and all the different messenger type of bots that you can, you know, you can use face administer. All of that communication can be automated. And then, you know, sometimes depending on the product, people want to talk to somebody, but you can automate it all the way up to a short con you know, that conversation you’re having because we live in an age now where.
You don’t necessarily need salespeople because people can research this stuff on the internet. And as long as you have a way for people to pay, you have enough of that information out there and it’s clear, and it gets to people in the right manner that actually helps them make a decision. For the most part, people can make a decision without a human, and then you have fulfillment and depending on your product or your service, that’s where.
You can usually automate the processes involved in fulfilling your product and unless it’s your time, do you know? Then you have to, then you have to be there. But you can still automate a lot. That’s around whatever you’re doing with your time and then delight. Well, of course, you know, people, but you can help them get more out of it through automation, letting them know about things, reminding them to take up an offer that you’ve presented to them all automateable and then refer if you’ve done it right.
Simple referral programs where like given get type of programs. And I just asking for reviews, all of that can be automated asking for testimonials. All of that can be automated. So what I see when I say 90%, it’s really everything after attract, you can automate well, a lot of people want to automate that part.
You know, I sort of the marketing, all the, all the attracting. You know, you can automate parts of it, but to get people to you, you got to do the work, you got to do the work that gets people interested in whatever you’ve got.
Jim Beach: That is so true. The entrepreneur has got to be out there selling at the beginning or it’s not going to happen.
Oh yeah. Yeah,
Sam Ovett: no. And, and people just got, I’m going to start this up and run some ads and it’s like, Well, but it’s probably not going to be the first set of ads that work. And it’s probably not gonna be the first blog post it’s. You know, it’s not going to be the first interview. It’s, it’s a cumulative effect that your brand building a lot of, a lot of testing and trying to get something that really.
Hits and attracts people. And anybody’s is we’ll look at these folks who did it overnight. Well, their marketing was, if we look at some of the technology companies, why their marketing is in the actual product that fills the need and that’s the creative work right there. And then they’re building partnerships and they’ve, they’re putting it out through a large channel of different people were saying, wow, look at this, you know, they’re reviewing it, but those are partnerships that are being built and it take work and energy and that’s marketing too.
That’s marketing to that’s out of track face, but that’s, I will, I will love to hear when that when, when somebody figures out how to automate that aspect of things. But I think we are not there yet. That is the one thing that you don’t automate easily. And the rest you can largely automate to the point where you’re not playing all these back and forth games.
You’re not moving a lot of data around from one system to another to fulfill orders. You shouldn’t be doing that. That’s all automateable
Jim Beach: Sam great stuff. And congratulations on the business that you’ve built looks really cool. How do we find out more about you follow you online? Find out more about mobile pocket office.
Sam Ovett: So really simple. You can go to mobile pocket office.com and. There’s information there. We can. Absolutely. You know what I can do? I don’t know if this is good for your audience, but you let me know. We can put a mobile pocket office.com forward slash school for start-ups radio. People can go to that link.
We’ll put one up and we’ll put some like that personal activity log and, um, a little video series we have about how to think about mapping your business process. That’s starting pointer, figuring out what to automate. And people can go there as well. On the website. People can book a call if they want to chat.
If they, if they feel like their business has, um, the need to be automated, I will say one thing about that is that we find that if you’re not doing at least half a million in revenue for a few years,
There is not that much that you need to automate because you’re still adapting, still evolving your process.
And most of it you’re changing enough that it doesn’t necessarily make sense to automate a lot of it. There are pieces, but a lot of it you can largely do yourself. Um, so we find that the customers who really get the most value out of working with us are. Roundabout half a million in revenue or more, but that’s kind of the low end of the threshold where they go, we’ve got a scaling problem.
We need to automate stuff because we’re at the point where they’re going to hire more people to do this, or use technology to power it.
Jim Beach: Sam great stuff. And I will send you some gizzards for your holiday and Joel. Yes. Thanksgiving dinner, like a of that is
Sam Ovett: absolutely right. And if you do it right, you then said, yes.
Automate ask me, Hey, how was the gizzards? We love it. We’d love a review.
Jim Beach: We could just go to your funeral.
Sam Ovett: That’s right.
Jim Beach: Sam Ovett, everybody. Sam, thanks a lot for being with us. Great stuff.
Sam Ovett: Thank you so much.
Jim Beach: It was our pleasure. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Everyone be safe. Wear the mask we are outta here. Have a fantastic day. Everyone. We will be back Friday. We got a new show Friday. Bye now.
If you answer yes to one of these questions.
- Need to fix your business and get a life?
- Just starting your automation journey?
- Feeling overwhelmed on where to begin your automation?
- Just feel sometimes like chucking your whole system out the window?
Then we can help.
Here’s the problem: You are manually doing everything in your business. And have no idea where to where to start or how to start automating. Finally, you want to be working ON your business not IN your business.
Here’s the solution: Understand what your process looks like to acquire a customer. By making a map of each and every step a customer takes in your funnel. Then reduce any mistakes they can make when entering information.
Easier said than done. Traditionally this is called Business Process Engineering and we at Mobile Pocket Office have taken this concept along with Six Sigma and LEAN manufacturing concepts concepts to improve a business … aka be human where it counts, otherwise automate!
Just because your business is still afloat, doesn’t mean it isn’t taking on water. But you probably already know this, and that’s why you are here. Identifying that there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be is the first step, but what are the next steps? Mobile Pocket Office is leading the way in helping new and established businesses augment their human and technological resources to leverage growth and streamline productivity.