How we used to do things
It's never been more true that time is "the commodity we all trade". Everything we do is managed by productivity and how we make most use of our time is measured my some hundreds of systems and kpi's .
Once upon a time we would phone each other to arrange going out for a beer; now we just announce where we are heading and when we get there. We use snap chat, Facebook, instagram to announce what we are doing as we do it. Time is measured in nano seconds....
We used to travel in cars with maps; we now book a driver via uber and monitor where were going via google maps. We can almost teleport to places!
We used to see looking after the lawn as a nice way to pass the time, but now we just see it as a distraction to doing stuff that's more valuable. How can I get someone to easily do it for me?
Things have changed so much the we have developed our businesses around the changes in how we value our time and how we get things done, like the lawn cutting.
We have worked out that in the UK people spend some 207,000,000 hours a year cutting grass because they have to....... Until recently there has been no one who can support "on demand" bookings. Just imagine what we could do if we did something more valuable in those hours.
We have also calculated that the average cost for you to cut your lawn is £26 which includes the cost of a lawn mower,your time and maintenance costs.
There was once a time when we would cut the grass and a customer would ask us questions about the lawn. We would make a follow up visit and then sell additional services to deal with the problem. That was until we started sharing photos of all our visits before and after with our team and our clients. This recording happened by chance initially and we started doing it well before mobile phone were called smart... we would just text back then... (expensive but useful). Then the smart phone arrived and we started taking photos and emailing them to us and to our clients. We then developed the system to host photos on google apps.
Today we keep a record of every visit, every problem and everything that happens. We have some 30,000 visits of data over some 10 years in business. We know whats happened in the past and we have a good idea of what might happen in the future - we are God like!!
Our systems have developed over the years, not over night. We have developed systems as our clients have developed their relationship with us. At first we did have a website of sorts, but everything was run on microsoft technology on PC's. Then one sad but good day we had a flood in the office that took out every system with every bit of data on everything - all 900 customers - we mean every system.
On that day we moved to the cloud. We embraced every cloud based system, CRM system, payment system, booking system - we got rid of all the PC's and upgraded the mobile phones.
We now run every day via google apps, an integrated website. We track and record everything that happens and the only cloud we worry about now is the one that makes for a rainy day.
Mapping the world
When we started we used A to Z maps - there was a book in all the vans. We ran our systems and looked in the book. We now have all the online systems aligned so the schedule is optimised and we can get to any customer whenever they want us there. All very simple and very easy to manage. This has given us the flexibly to be "on demand" at any time of the week.