OWEN: My guest today is Sébastien Dupéré and he’s the president and CEO of Dupray Corporation. Sébastien welcome to the show.
SEBASTIEN: Thank you Owen. I appreciate you having on here.
OWEN: Awesome. This show is all about getting entrepreneurs like yourself who have been able to successfully systematize their business so my listeners can listen to how you did it, and learn from it, and also implement what you’ve done in your business in theirs. But before we get started I want to give the listeners some… What will you say are some mind blowing results that you now experience as a result of going through the process of systematizing and automating your business?
SEBASTIEN: I think your clients are probably going to want to hear that I took my first vacation in about 10 years. That’s mind blowing enough. At the end of the day business owners, entrepreneurs, they really don’t have much time for these things. Because of really our automation efforts I guess I’d say that I’m finally able to really enjoy my life. It was always a question of us kind of spending a lot of our time on very micro things, like doing the minor details. And now it’s more a question of I set my own schedule and I had the confidence to know that the automation is working, and we’re able to kind of take care of the things that need to be taken care of without really too much effort.
OWEN: That’s mind blowing in the sense that you’ve not taken that vacation that you want to take for 10 years. Where did you go for the first time when you took the vacation?
SEBASTIEN: I went to Iceland in February. I’ve always had a weird attraction to that country. There’s a lot of hot springs that I thought would be relaxing, they were. Frankly speaking it’s a beautiful place. I highly recommend it. Just being about to get out of the country was a really great experience.
OWEN: How will you say your company has been transformed as a result of systematizing and automating your business?
SEBASTIEN: The biggest change that I’ve noticed is that we’ve really transitioned from doing a small detail-specific things to more macro things.
OWEN: How so?
SEBASTIEN: On a day-to-day basis we’re looking at our emails and trying to figure out what to pay attention to because everything is essentially automated at this point in time. I know really where I need to spend my time more than anything else. If we think back before we underwent this transition it was really a lot about… It was a free for all. My mind was in a million places. It was hard to stay focused. We were getting bogged down by really minor things. Now, everything is a lot more prioritized, there’s a linear flow to the day. There’s clear expectations and a really great division of labor. I think my employees would feel the same. Everyone is a lot more organized, a lot more efficient, and a lot more clear on what they have to do.
OWEN: Let me see if I can break that down for the listeners. What I hear from that is that now the work and the priority of task that you have to handle, and you employees have to handle is very clear and very expressive when they go into your tool that you’re going to talk about in this interview. It can actually see what is prioritized, what they need to do first, what they need to do next. Compare it to back before you build this automation system where it was literally whatever comes to mind first but it wasn’t necessarily the best or highest use of the time. It was kind of free-for-all. But it’s clearly defined what everybody should be doing and when they should be doing it.
SEBASTIEN: Right. The big thing is the feedback that I’ve received from our employees, there’s very positive factors that play in where you come to work and you know exactly what needs to be taken care of first. At the end of the day it really makes you work more efficient, it makes the business more efficient. Everyone comes out a winner. Knowing what your superiors expect from you is probably I think one of the best things that could create a really positive work environment. Again, we attribute all these things to automation and processes that we’ve developed.
OWEN: Okay. We’ll talk about just because the listeners wonder… We’re going to talk about that next. How has your personal life been transformed as a result of systematizing your business?
SEBASTIEN: Great question. I’m not answering emails at 3 o’clock in the morning anymore.
OWEN: That’s one thing.
SEBASTIEN: My quality of life has risen that way. But more on a much wider scale I’m much more relaxed, and I’m finally able to really step back and focus on the macro direction of the company. Again, I don’t get bogged down by the little details. It’s more of a business development perspective and less of a micromanagement being there on a day-to-day operations. It’s less of that and more of a macro, so that’s kind of how my personal life has been transformed.
OWEN: Awesome. Now that you have systems in place that allows the business to run without you what is the longest time you’ve actually been away from it. I know you say you went on vacation for the first time. Talk about that.
SEBASTIEN: I was gone for about two and a half weeks. It was tough to be away. I don’t think I could’ve been away for any longer period of time than that.
OWEN: Why was it tough though?
SEBASTIEN: Your business is your baby. While you have faith in your employees and you have faith in your colleagues and processes you still kind of want to give it a peak every once in a while. Frankly speaking two and a half weeks was more than enough time really for me to take a step back and relax. Again, we have 15 employees where they’re mostly for oversight and marketing, and customer care. I have confidence in my employees, and frankly speaking they did a wonderful job while I was away.
OWEN: Just give the listener context as to what your company is all about. What exactly does your company do and what big pain or problem do you solve for your customers?
SEBASTIEN: Great question. Essentially what we do is we sell steam cleaners in six different countries, on six different domains, in four different languages. As you could probably imagine we’re struggling to deal with customers in different countries in terms of language. We were dealing with a lot of problems in terms of a 302 re-direct. For example if you’re in Germany you should be on a URL that has .de. They were ending up on .com and that was essentially causing a lot of problems for us. Same thing goes, for example if you’re in the U.S., you should be on .com and not a .ca website. Now we’ve made it easier for the customer to figure out what type of product they want, how to get it, where to get it. It’s delivered in 2-3 days. Again, because we’re selling high-end steam cleaners which cost occasionally several thousands of dollars you do need to have this confidence that it’s being delivered on a timely, appropriate, professional manner. That’s essentially how we got into the automation thing. We realized we had to address these issues.
OWEN: And these are consumer grade steam cleaners or a professional, office-type of stuff?
SEBASTIEN: We sell all types. We sell residential, commercial, and industrial models, everything from a cleaner that a mother uses to keep her house clean to industrial conveyor belt cleaning. We offer a full suite of products. Our clients include auto detailers, they include mothers, families, they include a wide variety of people and companies, janitorial services hospitals. A lot of real estate agents actually love to use our products. People who have certain sicknesses or illnesses, or who are a little bit more allergic to toxic chemicals, they love to use our products.
OWEN: Okay. You mentioned that you have 15 employees already and they focus primarily on oversight and marketing. But I’m wondering is your company profitable? What was last year’s annual revenue and what do you expect to generate this year?
SEBASTIEN: Last we year we had an annual revenue of $7 million. And this year we’re about top eleven and a half.
OWEN: That’s awesome and congrats. We’ve shared with the listeners the successes and what you’re experiencing right now as a result of systematizing and automating your business but it always wasn’t like this. Take us back to when the company was not systematized and automated like it is now, and what was wrong with it then?
SEBASTIEN: We had a couple of big issues. I think one of the first things that came to mind was that we were really delivering to wrong people at the wrong time, which is really not a good recipe for success in this industry. I remember one specific instance very specifically where we were supposed to deliver a specific model and they actually ended up getting the wrong model and it’s costly mistake.
OWEN: How did you even fix that?
SEBASTIEN: Yeah. We did a lot of things but the first thing we did was we took a step back and we realized that we really needed to take it out of the hands of humans and put it in the hands of technology. Technology is much more useful for these types of operations and processes at the end of the day.
OWEN: For that very specific instance where the person got the wrong thing I’m just wondering what you guys did to kind of ameliorate that situation?
SEBASTIEN: I’ll be very clear. We actually took a huge financial loss. We had to overnight ship about 150-pound machine across the United States, which is a pretty penny in and of itself in terms of shipping. We’ve put in a couple of extra perks for the client but we only had to do that essentially because we made a mistake.
OWEN: Back when the business was not systematized what will you say was the lowest point and describe how bad it got?
SEBASTIEN: I think the lowest point was when I realized that we had a pretty toxic work environment. Things weren’t being done properly and people were really arguing amongst themselves. It just wasn’t really a situation. We realized that we were being far too demanding on our employees and we were asking them to do things that should have been handled by automated processes and really kind of automation. As a management and executive team we kind of took a step back and we realized we have to do something to improve the situation more than anything else.
OWEN: Okay. Let’s dive right into the first step you took because it sounds to me like sending that order to the wrong person at the wrong time was one of the big breaking points and the need to change the work environment. Let’s move into the first step you took to systematize the business. What was that?
SEBASTIEN: The first thing from my recollection was that our ERP wasn’t really up to handling with tasks that we needed.
OWEN: Let’s break that down because the listener might not know what an ERP is. What is that?
SEBASTIEN: An ERP is a piece of software that integrates inventory, customer service, all these processes that really make inventory management and the selling of products easier. It’s an acronym…
OWEN: Enterprise Resource Planning, right?
SEBASTIEN: Yes, exactly. It uses machine learning, it uses a lot of technology to really pinpoint where your stock needs to be, if you have to buy new stock, a variety of things. How to have your clients integrates, with all these things we went from OpenERP to NetSuite. NetSuite is far more robust for what we need. It’s essentially able to handle more complicated procedures, shipping, whatever we really needed to handle it’s able to. That really was I think the first step for us. We realized that our ERP really wasn’t up to the task.
OWEN: So that’s like inventory management tool?
SEBASTIEN: Yes, exactly.
OWEN: And it’s great too because you guys are selling physical products also.
SEBASTIEN: Correct. But just to remind you Owen that we are selling products in four different languages and in six different countries on different domains. We needed something far more robust. And in terms of NetSuite it really provided us the opportunity to kind of grow with the software. As the company would grow we would kind of add processes to it. It’s a very flexible piece of software. You could tune it really kind of any way you need it to be.
OWEN: Okay. I get the need for having a complex ERP to manage the inventory and stuff like that. What was the second step you took to systematize or even automate the business?
SEBASTIEN: We actually integrated our ERP with our CRM. Just for your listeners a CRM is a customer relationship management software. Our ERP took care of our inventory but we realized that we needed something to improve our CRM. We needed something that would help automate the process to really address…
OWEN: To take the customers right?
SEBASTIEN: Yeah, exactly. I think from my perspective and from the perspective of our company once the ERP and CRM are integrated, together we’re really kind of able to manage our business from one spot, which is a very important feature for anyone who is remotely interested and working on the efficiency of their company.
OWEN: And so I’m wondering what other steps did you take at that point to systematize the business?
SEBASTIEN: To start off we were very involved at a very primary level. So if a customer required a specific thing or a specific add-on or something like that humans have to kind of be involved at the very primary process. As time progressed we were able to actually address all these issues with computers. Again, humans in my opinion are very prone to making mistakes, and enough trial and error with any code technologies we’re really able to kind of handle these processes more efficiently. Again, the steps we took, it was almost like, we took one step at a time. We addressed one process, we moved on to the next process. It was really kind of climbing a staircase more than anything else.
OWEN: I’m wondering too because you said you took one process and addressed the next. I’m wondering how did you even prioritize what order of steps to take? How did you decide what process to create first and what was next? Was there any reasoning to it?
SEBASTIEN: Yeah, of course. As an executive team we decided that we were going to take a top down, critical to non-critical approach. We were really focusing on things that were crucial to our business more than anything else. Again, like I said we sell steam cleaners and steam irons is six countries. So for us inventory is the most important thing. And if you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for shipping fees you really want that kind of optimized as much as possible. It’s really top down critical approach but there’s a second component to it and I think that has to do with the financial implications of what is the most important. So for us again inventory and stock issues, again, we’re dealing with significant amounts of capital. In my opinion you kind of want to address the things that have the biggest financial impact.
OWEN: How so?
SEBASTIEN: At the end of the day the things that are the most expensive and the most costly are the things that should optimized the most, or at least at the starting point.
OWEN: And I’m wondering, what are the ones that you make the most profit from? Was that part of the consideration as well? What of the inventory where you made the most profit from, was that also part of the consideration when you guys…?
SEBASTIEN: Yeah, it was. Again, I really cannot emphasize, our primary service is providing these machines, so for us the inventory was the most important thing that we had to prioritize. Again, I think for other companies it might be different. For companies that have more of a software what they need to prioritize probably is customer relationship or the functioning of their product more than anything else.
OWEN: How did you document procedures and processes for the business and what tools did you use then?
SEBASTIEN: It might not be the answer that your listeners are looking for…
OWEN: No, we’re looking for your answer because this is going to relate to what you did to theirs and learn from it.
SEBASTIEN: To start off we didn’t really document our procedures, we didn’t have the documentation process. We probably spent between about a month and a half really just figuring out the order of operations, what need to get done first, what you need to get done second, and what do you need to get done third, and so on. As an executive team what we did is we did sit down and we laid out our processes. We were able to really organize ourselves in a way where we were comfortable with how it functions and we were satisfied that everything was going to plan. When you’re building software and when you’re building code it’s built and then it has to be implemented, and then we have to ensure that it’s working. It’s really a three process. In a sense you could be on process one or you could be on the building process for one thing and the implementation process for another, and I guess the quality control process for a third thing. Unfortunately we didn’t really have that much documentation but what we did have is kind of like a little bit of a schedule and a little bit of prioritization.
OWEN: Let me see if I can unpack that and correct me if I’m wrong. What I’m hearing from that is because systemization is when you’re documenting procedures and processes, and for people to follow and have kind of work flow for them to follow as they’re doing the work. And then automation is when you’re basically saying the machines should do most of the work. Was it more that you guys figured how the work needs to be done and then figured out a way in which to have machines doing, hence more automation than more humans doing. I’m just trying to understand.
SEBASTIEN: I think it’s a mix of both, because you build software but that software’s not being built without human in sight more than anything else. So you really need to have humans direct the development of code. And trial and error is really one of the most important parts of all these things. You really need to test, and retest, and triple check, and verify, and go back and forth, and really test these processes and make sure that they’re going well. So in terms of documentation we just had to ensure that we were going through the correct verification process more than anything else.
OWEN: Yeah. And by software is this something different from the net ERP or did you have to go custom software to handle…?
SEBASTIEN: Yeah. Within ERP we’re doing a lot of custom scripts.
SEBASTIEN: We also did have external things we were dealing with Python, Java, C+, C#, and other languages that we were building other mini components that could attach on to an ERP, CRM. I’m sure potentially we’ll speak about this later, alerts to our phones and things like that.
OWEN: Okay. Basically the platform had the means for you to add additional scripts to it based on what you guys are trying to achieve and that can helped with the workflow all within that platform itself.
SEBASTIEN: That’s exactly right.
OWEN: Great. At the time when you were working on systematizing and automating the business what books or mentors had the most influence on you and why?
SEBASTIEN: I didn’t really have a mentor.
OWEN: How so?
SEBASTIEN: Frankly I think it was an internal process at our company. I think we were constantly looking at our employees and we just realized that we could do better. I wasn’t reading books. It was just really about our employees and making sure that we were able to keep them happy and that they understood what we were doing, and understood what they were doing. They were our guidance when we were pushing too hard, they were telling us to back off. When we thought we weren’t being efficient enough, we were sure to kind of ask more from them. Again, I don’t want to get too tied into the business component of it but there’s a very crucial element between the executive team and the employees, and you absolutely need to have a good, ongoing dialogue. Again, just to really re-emphasize, it was internal process more than anything else. We weren’t getting too much guidance from the outside. It was something that we did in-house I’d say.
OWEN: Just like saying basically knowing that the problem is internal and looking internally to see where the issues my employees are facing and how can we help automate as much as possible and those things that cannot be automated, how much can we create a procedure or systematize it so that it’s done predictably by the human beings using this platform that we decided to use.
OWEN: Okay. What was the biggest challenge that you experience when you initially tried to systematize your business and even automate it. How did you solve the problem?
SEBASTIEN: The biggest challenge for our team was that I think if you ask any developer this they’re going to tell you that 99 times out of 100 a new line of code probably doesn’t work as intended.
OWEN: Are you a developer yourself or…?
SEBASTIEN: I have very minor development skills. I understand how the processes work but I won’t be taking credit for the magnificent web development team that we have here.
SEBASTIEN: If I can, a shout out to Mr. Anthony who’s one of the best we’ve dealt with. Again, like I said, 99 times out of 100 you’re really not going to get the results that you want. So the challenges that you have to be tedious enough and careful enough to ensure that it is working. You need human verification just to ensure that that new piece of code is functioning. In terms of the challenge that’s extremely boring but it has to get done. And once it’s done you’re free. You’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do.
OWEN: I’m wondering too because at this time when you were trying to use this tool and also having to update the code and stuff like that did you already have the developers in-house, or you had to go find them?
SEBASTIEN: We had a very skeleton crew dealing with it. But again, going out and hiring a couple of new developers was the route we went with. Again, the more developers you have the more capabilities you have to kind of achieve what you want.
OWEN: Okay. And being someone who is not a developer yourself, just in case the listeners are trying to go this route, what would you say you found useful when you’re trying to determine who is the right developer to join your team to help with the stuff that you couldn’t do?
SEBASTIEN: I think honesty and being able to trust someone and trust the developer. You all know very quickly in an interview if that developer has the qualities that you’re looking for. But being able to have an ongoing dialogue and a relationship with someone is very important in development and process. From my perspective developers do think in a very logical, math oriented way. Whereas the executives tend to think more in a very different way.
OWEN: Right brain, left brain.
SEBASTIEN: Exactly. And frankly speaking you have to get both sides of the brain working together, and there’s a gap there. Usually in my opinion you kind of want to deal with people who are able to bridge that gap a little bit more easily.
OWEN: What was the second challenge that you also experienced when you were initially trying to automate your business and how do you solve it?
SEBASTIEN: The second biggest challenge was really from my perspective you do get careless after a certain point and it becomes extremely difficult to refocus. When you’re building these processes you have to look at every email that comes through just to make sure that it’s fine, to make sure that it’s functioning properly. I was doing these things and you do become extremely careless and you start making mistakes. The example that’s coming to my head right now is that when the orders are coming through we need to make sure that the invoices were going through properly. Again, some invoices were coming through differently. Because again, there might have been between 300 and 400 a day I really didn’t notice that I was making some of these mistakes. So I have to go back and ensure that everything as being done properly. Again, it’s a massive headache but really getting careless is one of the bigger challenges. You have to stay focused. And it becomes extremely difficult to re-focus.
OWEN: So is it like as developers are creating new functionality within the tool you are using being able to just stay focused and making sure that you are monitoring it all the way to make sure that what the developers built are actually achieving the results that you wanted it to achieve and not just becoming careless with it.
SEBASTIEN: That’s exactly it. From our perspective, like I said before there were three steps. There’s building it, implementing it, and verifying that it works. Verifying that it works it’s a team effort. It’s not just the developers doing it, everyone has to get on board.
OWEN: And clearly with software too, it’s like even though they built it sometimes the bugs, you won’t even notice it until it starts being used. So at that point it’s the willingness to go back, “Yes, we have this intention to make this a software. Do this very thing.” But it’s not working out based on this scenario. Let’s go back and fix it. I totally understand that need for diligence to stay on board to fix that kind of stuff. And so given all the challenges that mentioned earlier, I’m wondering why did you even stay committed to the goal of automating your business as much as you did?
SEBASTIEN: Really the line between I guess being stupid and confident is blurry sometimes. Some people call it stupidity, we will call it confidence, but were confident that the end the result was going to be worth it more than anything else.
OWEN: What did you see that made you feel that way? Did you see some other person’s model? I’m just wondering.
SEBASTIEN: I think it was more a vision, a vision that we imparted to our team, a vision that I had in my head. Again, some people might call this craziness or anything, but if you have a vision and you really, truly believe that it’s going to be worthwhile in the end. You kind of want to stick out through the tough times. The more you keep at it the more benefits you’re going to see out of it. We just kept believing that it would be worth it at the end, and that’s why we stayed committed.
OWEN: Okay, fair enough. I want to get the listener to a more recent part of the story. At what point in time were you able to automate your entire business and have it run without you successfully? Do you remember?
SEBASTIEN: I’d probably say in September 2015 I was finally comfortable enough to back away from it. But I really do want to stress that it’s always a work in progress. You’re really never done. Systemization, there’s always something new that could be improved upon. There’s always something new that can be automated. There’s no black and white line on being complete or incomplete, it’s more of a question of there is gray and there’s continuously new things to improve.
OWEN: I like that. What I’m trying to do now, now that we’re talking more about more recent times. I always like to give the listeners a behind the scenes as to different parts of a specific business. In this case now I want to go behind the scenes and talk about the different parts of your business. Think of it like a conveyor belt. On end of this conveyor belt is somebody who has a need for the product that you’re selling, right?
OWEN: And then under the part of the conveyor belt is that same person has bought your product and they’re out there raving about you guys, telling the world or their friends about you guys. In your business there are a bunch of different parts that made that transformation happen. And I just want to give the listener a walk through each part.
SEBASTIEN: Again, it’s different for every business and in our case we have different pipelines. We have a sales pipeline. We have a pipeline that starts with advertising, customer acquisition. We have this pipeline for customer sales. We have a management pipeline. We have a logistics pipeline. We have finances, human resources. From my perspective it really isn’t so much a pipeline, it’s more of a spider web more than anything else. Everything is essentially connected. Sales is connected to marketing, and logistics is connected to sales. It’s really integrated. I know you’re using the pipeline mentality. I would almost hazard that it would be a spider web mentality more than anything else. From my perspective the interconnectedness of the different elements really make it to be more of a spider web than I guess a pipeline or a conveyor belt.
OWEN: Okay. I’m glad you answered it like that. One of the things you also mentioned during the interview. Because we always have a pre-interview with every guest just in case the listeners wonder what I meant by pre-interview. So sales pipeline, advertising pipeline, customer acquisition, and also sales to customer… But you said there’s a secondary management pipeline, something to do with logistic of inventory, talk about those secondary management pipelines.
SEBASTIEN: Again, from my perspective there’s surface pipelines or surface core components of the functioning of the business. I would sales is a primary pipeline. A secondary management pipeline from our perspective is kind of managing the underlying things. Like what about human resources, what about the person who orders a specific piece for a specific model that we haven’t sold 4 or 5 years. I would say it’s like a unique pipeline, unique things that you kind of have to take care of. If you don’t address this you’re going to have holes and gaps within your business model.
OWEN: Yeah. And so one of the things I also found interesting, we’re talking about the conveyor belt that transforms the customer experience so that on one end they go through that transformation. But you said during the pre-interview that you also need a conveyor belt for employees and what projects they’re working on. Talk about that.
SEBASTIEN: That’s great. I’ll regurgitate it one last time, developing software is 3, 4, 5 stages, building it, implementing it, testing it out. There is a natural process to this. Every employee needs to know what they’re doing. Again, we spoke about that before but being able to manage what the employees are working on, short-term and long-term is probably one of the most critical things in terms of our business and I would hazard in terms of a lot of other businesses as well. So I would look at it as a conveyor belt. You do one thing and moves on to the next stage, and moves on to the stage after that. And the end result and end product is something that is beneficial for the business.
OWEN: Earlier you mentioned that you guys built a proprietary system for the business but we didn’t dive into how it works to share that with the listeners. This is where I’m trying to ask you basically how you set-up systems that you have in place to enable your employees to know what exactly they have to do. And so talk about how the proprietary software itself that you guys built, how it actually works.
SEBASTIEN: Sure. For us our software is very much centered on alerts. Again, employees are responsible for different things. A certain employee might need to sign off on a big purchase order or something like that. When these things happened our proprietary software essentially sends alerts to these people by phone or email so we could actually be more efficient with it. It does many other things but at the very core of it what it does is it kind of gets the critical information to the right hands of the right person in a timely fashion. A lot of software is really intended to make it easier for our employees to do their job. So for example, if you want me to Owen I’ll dive into it a bit more. For example an employee comes in, they take a look at their schedule and they might see that they have 10 things to do. They might have two urgent tasks, two orange tasks, and the rest are green that they could take their time on. From our perspective they need to handle the most urgent things first. I think that’s a pretty logical thing. With our software we really much able to kind of ensure that that’s getting done. Other things that we might have, I’m trying to think of another example here but…
OWEN: If stock in your warehouse is low…
SEBASTIEN: Yeah, that’s a great example, the stock is low in our warehouse, that’s something that we need to look at right away because if we don’t have stock we can’t sell. With stock comes the idea that advertising is very much closely related. So if something’s out of stock we don’t want be advertising it.
OWEN: …and wasting money for it.
SEBASTIEN: Yeah. So we need to make sure that the appropriate person shuts that down or kind of is aware of what’s happening. It’s just an inefficiency that is literally taking money out of your pocket.
OWEN: Literally because someone is clicking an ad for something that you don’t have and I’m sure it’s probably more than $2 per click for certain things and you don’t want people…
SEBASTIEN: I wouldn’t get into that but we have a very robust AdWords account unfortunately to stay competitive within…
OWEN: I totally understand the industry. How do you track and verify the results being delivered by your employees?
SEBASTIEN: What we really focus on is the accuracy of what they’re doing. What it is, let’s say you have employee A, B, and C, and every one of them has 15 tasks per day. What we’re hoping for is that they get through the majority of them without making mistakes. What ends up happening is you have employee A, B, C, and you have manager A. Manager A reports upwards of the pyramid where the executive team and myself kind of takes a look at how accurate and how efficient our employees are. This in my opinion is really a tangible way to kind of verify the efficiency of an employee. Again, some employees might not be as efficient as they should be, and there is a human element and a human component there, but this does give me and give the rest of our management team the ability…
OWEN: Quantifiable data on what’s happening.
SEBASTIEN: Yeah. “Hey, what’s up? How come you only got so and so done this week? Can I help you with something?” That’s kind of what we look at in terms of verifying our results.
OWEN: Awesome. And so since you have more free time I’m wondering which areas of your business due you focus on now and why?
SEBASTIEN: I won’t get into too much detail but right now we have a bigger focus on expansion more than anything else. We’re planning on going into more countries, expanding our markets, and to really kind of increasing the languages that we offer our products. And currently we’re at four, English, French, German, and Spanish. We’re looking for potentially Chinese, Mandarin, something along those lines. Now that our business is stable we’re really kind of going back to thinking about growth and thinking about how we could utilize automation to kind of continue that growth more than anything else.
OWEN: What’s the next stage of growth for your business? Anything you want to share with us on that?
SEBASTIEN: Growing the number of places we sell is important, but also the number of products that we have available. For us product development’s a pretty big deal. We’re always looking for new designs. We’re looking for what to sell next. Again, our products are amazing. They work extremely well. We just want to able to tap into different areas and we want to grow geographically but in terms of products as well we want to be able to offer our amazing products in the far reaches of the world. We are in no way expanding there but it would be cool if we can sell our products in Mongolia.
OWEN: Awesome. We’re coming to the end of the interview and I’m wondering if you could try and summarize what you’ve shared so far. Can you just give a quick summary of what we’ve gone so far.
SEBASTIEN: Sure. The first thing that I would give as advise to your audience is that you really kind of need to determine what the most critical component is for your business and you need to try and build off that I would say. You have to have a base and you have to have something to build off of. For us inventory management was really the one thing that we had to deal with. Again, for another company it might be customer care, it might be advertising, whatever it might be. Again, for us it was the inventory. But once you really have your most important processes fixed everything else is essentially going to fall into place, right? Again, just to summarize it for your listeners, it’s important that you identify the critical processes that need to be improved first I’d say.
OWEN: Identify the critical process, and in your case inventory management was number one you had to deal with. And from there you guys were able to now figure out the next critical thing, until essentially you figured out all the critical things and you created a way to automate how they get done using your platform.
SEBASTIEN: That’s exactly right Owen.
OWEN: Is there a question that you were wishing that I would’ve asked you during this interview that I didn’t ask you? If so post the question and the answer.
SEBASTIEN: That’s a good question. How have I been doing in the interview Owen? That’s I guess my question for you.
OWEN: I don’t think the listener cares that much about it.
OWEN: If you want to know the answer, great, I like your answers so far. I’m looking for more on the listener’s side, if there’s something that you think will help to round out this interview that we didn’t even get to talk about that you think is a critical thing the listener needs to know.
SEBASTIEN: We touched on it very briefly but I really want to emphasize again. Just don’t ever quit. Nothing’s ever done. It’s so important that you remain tenacious and you remain dedicated to improving your business. That’s what it’s all about. If you could just dig down, get that extra 5% or 10% out of you you’ll succeed in a small way, in a big way, in a medium way. Whatever it might be you’ll be able to succeed because you know that you’re going to be trying your best. And when you provide your best things usually work out. I know it’s not a question but I think that’s really the last piece of advice/commentary I’d have for your listeners.
OWEN: That’s awesome. What’s the best way for the listener to connect with you and thank you for doing the interview?
SEBASTIEN: Thank you Owen, I appreciate it. They could reach us, they could get to us at dupray.com. Alternatively we have a pretty funny, robust Twitter. You could follow us at @dupraysteam. That’s our Twitter handle, social media. We have a very lively blog. We’re on all the social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever you want. Reach out to us we’ll interact with you. We love to hear what you have to say.
OWEN: That’s awesome. I’m speaking to you the listener. If you’ve enjoyed this interview so far I want you to do us a favor and leave us a positive review on iTunes. And to do that go to sweetprocess.com/iTunes. The reason is when you leave a positive review people will check it out, and also become attracted to listening to the interview and we get to grow the size of our audience. And also if you know another entrepreneur who you think will find this interview useful please share with them. And finally if you’re at that stage in your business where you’re tired of being the bottleneck. You want to document step-by-step how you get repetitive tasks done so your employees know what you know and can get them done the way you would get them done, well, sign-up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess. Sébastien, thanks for doing the interview.
SEBASTIEN: Mr. Owen, I really appreciate the opportunity. Thank you so much and thank you to your listeners.
OWEN: And we’re done.