Tech-Enabled Services Businesses Can Scale Efficiently with Automation and Process

People-powered tech businesses require documented processes much earlier than scrappy “software-only” solutions. These founders procrastinate documenting processes and enforcing processes at their peril.

On the outside, services-assisted SaaS or tech-enabled services businesses are very similar to product-only SaaS businesses, but inside, they are run very differently.

They require SOPs, standard operating procedures, so employees can deliver as consistently as their software does. It’s more than just software code that always works.

This week on the Practical Founders Podcast, serial entrepreneur Nathan Hirsch describes how he grew his second business, FreeUp, with 30 contractors doing everything in the business—and no employees.

FreeUp is a leading marketplace of vetted contractors that grew to $12 million in revenues in just four years. FreeUp was successfully acquired by The Hoth in 2019.

FreeUp is a people-assisted software solution, not no-touch software. Their contractors did important work with clients and candidates every day.

During the due diligence for the acquisition, Nathan was asked to document how everything worked in the business.

So he sent their 75-page SOP document which described every step of every process in detail. It was already documented, refined, and used every day.

Nathan and his co-founder successfully transitioned the company and left 30 days after the closing. The company was running great without them.

They had already learned the hard lessons of creating a successful business without processes and systems. Their first company was a mess that didn’t scale well.

FreeUp scaled fast, but the founders were all in and it consumed them.

After selling FreeUp, they have created several new businesses that are each growing profitably.

They have already systemized the work marketing, sales, customer delivery, and operations, with some software automation too.

Their new businesses, AccountsBalance and EcomBalance, are so systemized that they have hired other people to run them.

Nathan plans to create even more businesses that can run without him.

That sounds like an entrepreneur’s dream, but it takes serious discipline and focus to start, systemize, and set up each business for long-term success.

People-powered tech businesses with documented SOPs can scale efficiently with contractors and employees who deliver their solutions every day. They can be profitable early with increasing cash flows. They don’t require any outside VC funding.

That’s one more way to succeed as a practical founder.

Listen to this interview with successful serial entrepreneur Nathan Hirsch on the Practical Founders Podcast.

Thanks for sharing your amazing story with other practical founders, Nathan.


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