Maureen Doss talks about Systems and CRMs
Maureen is an equestrian mom and a systems expert. She came on the podcast to help us all understand how we can leverage systems to make our businesses run smoothly.
Maureen Doss talks about Systems and CRMs
What Is a System?
A system is a tool that you can use in your business to help with your processes. Every equine business has processes from the way we follow up with potential clients to how we confirm information with our customers. Systems are tools out there that can help those processes run smoother.
Most horse businesses’ biggest need is a way for their customers to schedule and pay online. This can be quickly done by integrating QuickBooks with Calendly or Acuity.
Once you are ready to get a little more advanced and start tracking your appointments, payments, and correspondence, you’ll want to move your systems into a CRM. That’s a Customer Relationship Manager.
Businesses use CRMs instead of having a bunch of different systems running in different areas of the company. The CRM takes all your data and centralizes your processes in one location.
It’s so easy for things to fall through the cracks when you don’t have a CRM tracking your To-Dos. It can be intimidating to get a CRM set up, but that’s where Maureen comes in.
If someone comes to her that has a TON of different systems and programs running in their business, she always starts by streamlining their processes. Efficiency in business is critical, and you want to get that sorted out BEFORE you set up your CRM.
Maureen offers a round pen call with her clients to do some groundwork in their businesses. This ensures the proper foundation is in place, so when they go to add in the snazzy CRM, everything works well.
During the hour and a half call, you go through all of your systems, and Maureen asks you how you want their business to run. Just because your business is running a certain way now, doesn’t mean you can’t change it if you don’t think it’s working for you.
The goal of the round pen call is to tame that mass chaos. Typically this involves removing some systems that aren’t working and freeing up a lot of your time. People often have partially implemented systems that they haven’t made work for them yet. You hear of someone else using a system, and it works for them, so you try it out, and it isn’t perfect, but you keep using it anyway.
Every business is different, and the systems you use may be different than the system Sally Sue uses. The round pen session with Maureen lets her take a look at your business and help you make the best decisions for what you want your customers to experience when working with you.
The worst time-wasters in equine businesses are having too many systems or using partially implemented ones. Both of these issues lead to partial automation and incomplete processes, which at the end of the day, cost the business time and money.
Another common mistake is when a business invests in massive systems (usually CRMs) that they don’t need. By the time they realize they’ve made a mistake, they’re locked into a contract or have paid ahead and can’t get a refund. Then they are stuck with an expensive system that isn’t going to work for them.
This exact scenario happened when Laura went to invest in her first CRM. She accidentally got locked into a contract with Hubspot. Thankfully, her sales rep misrepresented the software to her, and she was able to cancel the contract, but if she had consulted with Maureen beforehand, she would have avoided that headache.
If you’re considering investing in a big software for your business, talk to someone who knows about YOUR business and your needs first. Don’t just let the sales rep for the software tell you how amazing it is. It will save you a world of hurt and heartache.
Meet Gambler! Maureen’s BIGGEST kid
Maureen has a special equine in her family. Although she doesn’t consider herself a horsewoman, she does own a horse and cares for him deeply (that makes you a horsewoman in our book Maureen!)
Gambler is a 10-year-old paint gelding. Maureen’s girls, 13 and 18, love him dearly. They got him when he was two. The girls had been showing at local shows, part of 4-h, and members of their saddle club since they were four, and they wanted their own horse.
Maureen’s uncle rescued a couple of horses and asked them if they wanted Gambler. The answer was easy:
“We have 60 acres, send him on over!”
Little did they know, they knew nothing about raising a horse. The road has been bumpy, everyone’s fallen off a few times, but he is a beloved family member. Maureen’s 18 year old had brain cancer when she was 11.
Gambler was the only one who didn’t see her differently when she was sick. She would go to the barn in her wheelchair, and he would just lean his head down in her lap. He just knew what she needed.
Those two have an extraordinary bond. He’s gotten both girls through a lot. Gambler has earned himself a home in the Doss’s pasture for the rest of his life. He’s not the easiest horse to ride, but his girls never give up on him.
Maureen’s daughter is going to college next year, but she is staying local, so Gambler will still get to see his girl often.
Getting Started With Systems in Your Horse Business
If you are implementing systems for the first time, start by writing out what you want your processes in your business to look like. Fancy people call these your SOPs or Standard Operating Procedures.
You can write them out on a piece of paper. SOPs do not need to be fancy. Put your different processes into buckets; for example, all your processes around leads should be in one bucket. What do you want to happen when a potential customer shows interest in your business? At what point do you start working with them? What needs to happen for that to occur?
If you serve different customers in different capacities, for example, an equine photographer might offer senior portraits, farm portraits, horse portraits, and family photoshoots. Each service will be in a different bucket, and you will want to sit down and write out exactly what you want each client to go through as they receive that service.
Once you have your buckets and processes laid out, it’s time to implement your systems.
Ongoing Systems Management
We always try to automate our systems as much as possible, but all businesses require ongoing systems management to keep everything on track. Maureen offers ongoing monthly management for her clients to keep their systems running smoothly.
If you are one of those people who knows you need systems in your business but don’t want anything to do with it, this is a good option for you.
“I’m not a tech person. I’m a horse person.”
If that’s you above, don’t worry! You can still have systems in your business without having to touch them or spend more time behind the computer.
Maureen can maintain your CRM, make sure your systems are working optimally, add and remove clients to workflows, and even handle invoicing. If you want that freedom that most of us want in our business, not have to sit behind a desk all the time, Maureen can give that to you.
Once you have your systems in place, your CRM set up, and your monthly management outlined, your business is going to run on autopilot. You can take a vacation and be in the moment with your family instead of constantly checking your phone and worrying if things are okay in your business.
A CRM = Smooth Sailing In Your Business
A properly running CRM makes everything go super smoothly. If you are a riding instructor, imagine just showing up and teaching your lesson. All your clients are confirmed, they’ve received reminders, and they’ve paid. You didn’t have to do anything but show up and teach.
Think of your business as a pyramid; your CRM sits at the top and runs everything. Below it are your other systems like your mass email systems, any project management you may need, maybe a bookkeeping system or marketing platform.
Your CRM should show you your potential customers, the people that you need to be talking to, and what you need to be doing every day.
Who Needs a CRM?
When Laura first started Unbridled Content Marketing, she was coming from a corporate world where they generated 500 leads a day. She thought she didn’t need a CRM because she operates at about 500 leads a year.
That train of thought led to a LOT of inefficiency. Any business can benefit from a CRM. It’s just important that they choose the right one. Maureen can look at your processes and what you need to accomplish and make a recommendation for which CRM is best for you.
If you don’t want to invest in some huge expensive software, you don’t have to. CRMs range from free to thousands of dollars a year. It all depends on how many customers you have and what you need the system to do for you.
If you are a growing business, take the time to set up your systems and CRM now. You may not think that you need them if you only have 2 customers, but when you have 10 customers, you’re going to be going crazy and wish you had your systems in place before you are manually handling everything.
Laura met Maureen at that point in her business, and she was drowning. All of a sudden, she was faced with learning new software, implementing it, AND continuing to serve her full client schedule. Thankfully, Maureen stepped in and saved the day, but Laura could have saved both of them some headaches had she gotten started a lot sooner.
You can save so much time down the road if you get everything in your business running how you want it to run at the beginning. Don’t wait until you need it because it’s too late at that point.
Can you still do it? Of course, but you are rushing, feeling pressured, and it’s more stressful than it needs to be. April was setting up her CRM while getting her MBA and trying to run her business. Talk about pressure!!
Popular CRM Softwares for Horse Businesses
There are hundreds of CRMs out there. The two most popular ones for small businesses are Honeybook and Dubsado. Apptivo is excellent for larger businesses, and another one that Maureen’s clients love is Vagaro. Vagaro is great for companies whose primary focus is online scheduling.
The best CRM for you will depend on what you need and how much customization you want. There’re pros and cons to each of them, and if you need help sifting through what’s best, Maureen can evaluate and help you decide.
Laura tried to decide on her CRM by talking to sales reps at different companies. She spoke to HubSpot, Ontraport, and Keap before settling on Dubsado. All the sales reps will tell you that their software is terrific for your business. Talking to someone unbiased like Maureen, who doesn’t care which CRM you go with, is super helpful and will save you a lot of time.
We don’t want anyone to feel overwhelmed when thinking about setting up processes and systems in their business. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and focus on what needs to happen first.
Focus on your most significant pain point first, and once you figure out a system to fix that move on from there. Just take it one day at a time. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Connect with Maureen
The best place to connect with Maureen is in her Facebook Group, The Virtual Workhorse Roundup. She offers all kinds of systems related tips and trainings in there.
If you think Dubsado may be a good fit for you, she is offering a group setup that is half the price that she usually charges to get the program up and running. She’s only accepting 4 people a month, so jump in there if you think you could benefit from that!
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