Author Archives: dustyspeedy

Systemize Your Workflow

We hear a lot about creating systems. Why is that and what benefit could it possibly have for you? The truth is that no matter what business you are in, you can benefit from spreading work around by creating a system to make tasks easier for your staff to complete. Imagine the original Ford assembly-line and you’re on the right track.

The workflow process progression is to first think through each step, locate pertinent information as it becomes necessary and assemble the product as your mind catches up to what feels like a finished product. The pros are there is no upfront investment and this can be a learning process.  The cons are it is slow, full of waste, error prone, and high in uncertainty and anxiety for the employee.

The second major step is having the relevant data in one place for you to find it quickly so you can assemble the product with less searching and uncertainty.  The downside with this is that there is still a significant level of knowledge required to complete tasks and the abundant information presented heightens information overload.  However, it is more efficient than step one and the investment to achieve this level is modest.

The next step in workflow improvement is to have a template or checklist and to have the product assembled on a specific date.  The benefit here is that quality is improved along with less uncertainty and a less skilled individual may accomplish the tasks successfully.  The problem remains that data still must be searched for, entered, and requires a significant investment to achieve this level of systemization.

The step we are designing allows the data to be brought to you where you need it during your work process, eliminates redundant entry, and separates all the steps to allow for the least compensated/skilled person you have to be able to complete the task.

Many attorney’s complain about their lack of time and a lot of that comes from the inability to let go of tasks they fear another staff member may not be able to handle. Our mission is to make those tasks easy on the back-end by utilizing proven systems on the front-end to make it impossible to miss a step.

Relax. We have you covered.

Richard “Bert” Diener

The Big Picture: APIs

How do you know you are using the best software to run your practice? If you aren’t currently using any software, how do you choose a solution that will work for you?

Most of us choose software because it promises to be a solution to a problem we are having. Inherent within any vendor’s sales material is a guarantee to deliver you to the promised land (whatever that is?). The truth about software is that it usually gives us a path to a desired result. However, the software does not constitute the solution itself. In truth, your ability to understand the problems and channel your resources to achieve your desired goals is the promised land.

So what the heck does an API have to do with anything? To accomplish growth, we must evolve our systems and do things better. An API allows your software to grow with you by “talking” with other software and creating synergy.

To get technical, an application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact and APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. If the software vendors allow it, third-party software developers can also use Web APIs to create software solutions for end-users.

Every software has an API, but it is important that they have an accessible or “open” API to allow for those third-party integrations. This is how we are able to connect software together to solve problems. This type of flexibility can become a technology contingency plan you should consider as you evolve your business processes. It is important to note that just because a software has an open API doesn’t mean you have access to all the data.

What’s the big picture here?

Many of your major applications have already built custom integrations with other heavily utilized services to increase the ease of use. A great example of this would be that most of the popular Practice Management Software (PMS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems integrate with QuickBooks to make your billing process simpler.

We have used open APIs to allow for multiple software solutions in a centralized location to streamline sales, collections, and document procurement processes. What makes this such a big deal is that you can eliminate a significant amount of waste while improving quality. Bridging Clio with Salesforce to Quickbooks to Infusionsoft is a superhighway to your goals rather than the typical duct-taped solution many firms hobble together. Nobody wants to be forced to use 3 to 4 different applications simultaneously to complete one process. Automating these processes will allow you to break through to the next level in growing your business and achieve an advantage over the slower moving competition.

Like anything that is worthwhile, it isn’t necessarily easy to connect software but there are shortcuts. What is important to recognize is that small businesses are increasingly able to utilize solutions that only large companies could in the past. The leverage API’s can create is simply amazing.

Imagine a situation where all business information is synthesized into a dashboard to allow an owner to manage a company by the numbers. It would be a cockpit and the owner would be the pilot. With a quick glance at the dashboard, even while on vacation, the owner could satisfy their anxiety with a quick peak at the numbers.

These gateways allow for a lot more flexibility in creating solutions and integrated processes for all of our businesses.

Dusty Speedy

Buckets and Pipelines

There is a great business parable that tells a story about two young men who took jobs transferring water by bucket from a stream to a town. One of the young men was happy to do the work because he was paid immediately, and well.  The other young man was dissatisfied and became determined to find a way to get paid without the requirement of the daily manual labor. The story goes on to tell how the dissatisfied young man conceived a plan to build a pipeline so that the water could be transported without the daily manual labor. When the two discussed the idea, the uninspired and content young man laughed at the idea and decided to pass on the project. The industrious young man was undeterred and began working; by day carrying water and moonlighting building the pipeline.

While the content man lived an apparently comfortable life the toll of the daily labor slowly wore at him.  The fatigue was disregarded because of the soon realized pay for his work.  However, after a period of years the pipeline was finished.  The industrious young man realized the fruit of his investment and the other young man continued his routine march.  The lesson of the parable was one man became rich and the other man eventually became tired and broken.

At some point in my budding legal career, I realized I was going to have difficulty sustaining the caseload necessary to support myself and my family.  Regardless of the reason, the painful thought of working cases indefinitely prompted my obsession with creating a pipeline.  This blog is dedicated to discussing the ideas and strategies of building pipelines within law firms.

Richard “Bert” Diener