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Many entrepreneurs become small business owners by accident. I never wanted to have my own company. When I graduated from college, I wanted to be president of IBM. But then I got tired of my boss. He kept promoting incompetent people over me. As a result, I struck out on my own. But I failed to understand the kind of journey I was really starting.
On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Marcus Babcock, now a sales manager at business management app, vcita, started out as a personal trainer at a big box gym when he was 20. This eventually led him to striking out on his own and starting a mobile workout “studio” with other trainers. It all happened by the time he was 24.
The Accidental Entrepreneur
Marcus got laid off from a big gym. Then entrepreneurship got “forced on him.” He started to take on clients on his own. He liked the idea of having his own business. Where he exercised “control.” It allowed him to work with anyone he wanted. And gave him more free time. Marcus soon realized that he was working more hours for less pay and spending less time doing what he loved- training clients. He began to work mostly on marketing, scheduling clients and making sure he got paid. This was “very humbling” and he started to question why he was in his own business!
Marcus realized how to scale his company. He knew he couldn’t keep track of everything on an excel spreadsheet. He explains it this way. “I was working 12 hours a day training clients and another 12 hours managing the business. I had to remember who the people were, if they paid, when their next appointment was, how many sessions they had left and remind them to come again”. Marcus says he even forgot to charge them for their training service!
The Lessons of Growing a Company
Next, Marcus started to “hoard applications.” They performed specific functions in his company. But the information failed to transfer easily from one application to the other. As a result, he spent a lot of time on data entry. Or he coped with incomplete information about his customers. This hurt his relationship with them.
He now uses vcita. It works as an end to end business management app. And it takes customers from a marketing prospect to scheduling. Then from scheduling it takes this to billing to collection to contacting them again automatically. It manages the entire life cycle of the customer. Marcus believes in the analytics. He understands the activities of your customers and prospects. And he understands how an all in one system gives you the key to profitably growing your business.
With the cloud, this seems a small investment per month. You start with the functions you need right now. And then expand to other areas to match growth. Marcus encourages all small business owner to think about the value of their time. “What is it worth if your clients show up to your appointments on time, what is it worth if they pay on time, what is it worth for them to come again?”
Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show.