Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sleep at night, knowing things are done right and no tasks are falling through the cracks? Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the tools, know-how, or means to document and scale their workflows.

Today, I am talking to Amit Kothari, co-founder and CEO of Tallyfy. Small- and medium-sized property management businesses use Tallyfy to easily scale operations and document their standard operating procedures (SOPs) to improve workflow and mapping processes.

You’ll Learn…

[03:29] Purpose of Tallyfy: Pain point that had to be fixed. Tool was built to help companies document, scale, and run processes.

[05:32] Process vs. Project: A process isn’t a process unless it repeats. A project is unique every time.

[05:50] Do you have processes? What are they? Document them in a structured form.

[06:10] Collaboration for Continuous Improvement: Who looks at the processes? How are they updated? What needs to be done beyond creating a static document?

[08:10] Forget Flowcharts: Too complicated and too big. Switch to simple checklists focusing on next step in the process for specific team members.

[15:38] What’s next for Tallyfy? Chat-based interactions and plug-in for Slack.

[16:48] Property managers can sign up for a free 14-day trial. Tenant/landlord screening, onboarding, eviction, and maintenance workflow templates are available.

[18:05] Suggest Improvement/Idea: Tallyfy prompts and incentivizes documenting, reading, and making changes to improve processes.

[23:54] One interruption can cost 18 minutes of money and productivity.

Tweetables

Resources

Tallyfy

Process Street

Slack

DoorGrowClub Facebook Group

DoorGrowLive

DoorGrow on YouTube

DoorGrow Website Score Quiz

Transcript

Jason: Welcome, DoorGrow hackers to the DoorGrow Show. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, increase revenue, help others, impact lives, and you are interested in growing your business and life, and you are open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow hacker.

DoorGrow hackers love the opportunities, daily variety, unique challenges, and freedom that property management brings. Many in real estate think you’re crazy for doing it, you think they’re crazy for not, because you realize that property management is the ultimate high-trust gateway to real estate deals, relationships, and residual income.

At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management businesses and their owners. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, change perception, expand the market, and help the best property management entrepreneurs win. I’m your host, property management growth expert, Jason Hull, the founder and CEO of DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show.

My guest today, I’m hanging out here with Amit of Tallyfy. Amit, welcome to the show.

Amit: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me, Jason.

Jason: Glad to have you. I’m going to share with the audience your intro here. Amit is the CEO of Tallyfy, a workflow software product that specializes in helping small- and medium-sized businesses scale their operations. Tallyfy enables anyone to document their process or SOP (standard operating procedures) and to launch/run it in a team of people while also being able to assign tasks to clients and people outside the company.

Amit founded Tallyfy after decades of experience and mapping processes as flowcharts and noticed that while everyone makes flowcharts, nobody actually follows them while they are working. Very true. Tallyfy is being used by various property management companies to run operations like on-boarding and off-boarding tenants and also handling complex, repeatable real estate sales processes. This sounds really cool, I had not yet heard of this. Our topic today is scaling operations for property managers. Amit, tell us how you got started with this, give us some background on you.

Amit: Yeah, sure. I’m British, first of all. I came to the US four or five years ago and I spent a while, basically, helping people improve workflows, mapping processes, things like that. It tended to be mid-sized companies, large companies. It turns out that many small companies don’t really have the tools, or know-how, or the means to actually go and stop documenting and scaling all their workflows.

That’s where I noticed the opportunity that what if the rest of us who were not large companies actually had a simple tool that let us go in and just document a process, scale it, run it, and basically sleep at night so that we know things are done right, none of the tasks are falling through the cracks, and the client experience, ultimately, is completely awesome for your tenants, for your clients, whatever you want. It was just that vision that it doesn’t have to suck that much.

We founded Tallyfy five years ago and raised some funding from Silicon Valley so we went through a bunch of Silicon Valley accelerators, we’re now based in St. Louis in Missouri and it’s just growing crazy right now. It sounded like other people agreed with our vision that they want to document and scale their operations, too, so here we are. Now, we’re still figuring things out but that’s how we go here, that’s a fairly simple story. There was a real pain, we had to fix it, so we built a product that fixed it.

Jason: Got it. Take us through how this is different than some of the other tools that might be on the market, what people are using. Let’s get into the problem that exists which was mentioned in your intro, that you create these complicated processes, or maybe have none, or maybe it’s just a Word doc, or you’ve got a flowchart, but people look at it once, maybe a few times when they first on-boarded, then they think they know it, and then they ignore it.

Amit: Let’s start with the problem that’s really the problem. The first problem is that you don’t have any process whatsoever. That’s not great. It’s probably worse just sitting down for a minute and just saying, “What is it that I do? How do I do this thing? Does it vary a lot every time I do it?” because remember, a process isn’t a process unless it repeats, otherwise, it’s just a project. A project is something that’s just unique every time. To really grow your company reliably and scalably, what you need are processes, not projects.

The first step is, do you have processes and what are they? The problem is if you haven’t written them down, we’re a great tool to begin to just start writing them down in a structured form. If you have a process which is either a Word document or a flowchart, say you have one and it looks like that, the problem is, again, like you said, who looks at it? How do you update it if you keep improving it? There are things like collaboration and so on which you need to do beyond just having a static document because the document is always changing.

For example, when I do a process, I might spot an idea like, “Hey, next time let’s do it this way instead.” Now, if I don’t remember that or put it down into my main process, when the next time comes around, it will be forgotten. There’s this thing about documenting processes which is a problem, but there’s also this problem around continuously improving and that’s something that often people don’t do because once it’s written, it just lies there like in a safe. It’s like in a cabinet, it just sits there, dust gathers on top of it. and no one ever looks at it. Really, that’s a wasted investment.

We needed you to do both, but now, here’s where the problem gets really, really big. That stuff is a problem, that’s great. If you’re a property entrepreneur and you’re on your own, you could start that way, but imagine you hired an intern, you went into business with another property entrepreneur, or you have a team of people who do things for you. Now, the problem compounds about tenfold because whatever’s in your head has to be in a place, otherwise, someone else is not going to be able to read your mind, especially if they’re new.

It helps new employees see how you do things, which onboards them much faster. It makes sure that lots of people, as you hire more people and you grow or you partner with folks, they know how you do things successfully as well. The reason we don’t like flowcharts is because they’re just way too complicated. I’ve seen flowcharts that are so big that if you try to print them out, they would actually print on an A2 size paper. It’s so big, it doesn’t even fit on my screen right now.

Jason: I’ve seen some print out there of a property management flowchart processes and they had multiple sheets of paper and they taped them together.

Amit: I admire people who have the tenacity to document an amazing process like that. The trouble is are you really going to look at that seriously? If it doesn’t fit on a picture frame, who’s going to use it? Often, we found that just having like simple looking checklist-type things is a lot easier for people to follow. It works on phones because a lot of people are out there in the field. They’re showing people houses or doing stuff like that, so it’s got to work on a phone or a tablet. A flowchart doesn’t fit on a phone. It doesn’t even fit on a piece of paper, so how is it going to fit on a phone?

Devices that are small require checklist and things like that. We were the first app initially that launched this. A bunch of other people came out, but we initially create the idea of conditional branching, so if-this-then-that. In other words, if the tenant is this kind of tenant, then show this task, otherwise, show this other task. You can automate all your decisions. too, which means that there’s no guesswork that people are doing. It’s just like, “Hey, here’s a question, we hit the answer for the question,” and the next question pops up just like magic. It handles that real-time workflow for people who are bigger teams like 3 people, 5 people, and even 50 people. In fact, the more people that turn up, the more useful the app becomes.

Jason: Interesting. This is really popular right now in the property management industry, we’ve had Process Street on the show before, which sounds similar, there are some things that you guys have in common. What do you see is the difference between these two platforms or systems?

Amit: It’s left up to whoever’s listening to judge the difference there. We don’t know how they work, we don’t really know that much about them, to be honest. One thing we did start the company believing in and having real experience in is improving workflows and mapping workflows. I spent a decade in London just mapping workflows. That was my actual job, mapping workflows and this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. This is a pain I actually had for 10 years. I think having real experience in the area is probably a really beneficial thing if you’re trying to build a tool for that. If you try to build a tool for property entrepreneurs but you’ve never been a property entrepreneur or a landlord, it’s going to be really difficult. That’s one thing the whole team has right now in the space.

Then, a real UX focus. I do think that functional is fine but an app that’s like Slack—we love Slack because this is such an easy app to use and it’s cool and it works—we love some of the UX pieces around making things easy and just making it fun. There are a lot of checklist apps, but they look really boring, so what things can we do that does make it engaging, fun to think about the design, the experience of somebody using the app. We’re thinking very hard about that and I’d like to think we’re probably at the edge when it comes to really making that happen, making it an engaging experience, if you will.

Jason: One of the biggest challenges with software is adoption, getting people to use it. Me personally, I’m a visual guy, so if the software is ugly and gross, I don’t want to use it. It’s a thing for me because I’m going to be living in that software and working with that software, I want it to be aesthetically pleasing and intuitive. It’s a big crux of user interface and user experience design and that’s something I pay attention to.

Amit: I’ll give you one example of how it’s different. We don’t use checklists. In the actual user interface for Tallyfy, you won’t see a checklist. You’re probably wondering why like, “Does that make sense?” It does make sense because if you think about it, the first thing people see when they look at a checklist is a boring bunch of tasks that they’re not going to think about, they’re just going to mark them done even if they didn’t do them. Seriously, I’m not kidding you, a lot of people just mark a task done even though they haven’t done it.

Jason: Yeah, it happens a lot. Then you have to build in these weird checks and balances to make them prove that they’ve completed it, put in their names or put in details so that step that you’re just created.

Amit: Exactly. To answer your question what’s different about our app, we’ve thought through these things because we’ve watched people do workflows for 10 years. One of the things we do is what we call a card. A card is a rectangular shaped thing and it invites collaboration. It’s not just like, “Oh, I’ll just mark stuff done,” but, “Maybe I have an idea to improve it. Maybe I need to chat to my friend, Jane, about something I don’t understand about this task. Or maybe I have to collect some information of that task.” It encourages more engagement, we’re seeing more engagement on our app with actually doing workflows.

Honestly, if you want a checklist, you wouldn’t need an app. You could just use any to-do app. It’s only when you’re in a team when you need to track between people where these kinds of apps become really useful. It’s little touches like that which honestly needs a lot of experience to think about, things like that, those experiences that make us a little bit different from some of the others. It’s just like we experience in the field of watching people do this and design thinking. That’s what makes Tallyfy different.

Jason: In Tallyfy, would you say that instead of seeing a checklist, they see what is the next step that they need to be focused on? Is that the focus design-wise?

Amit: Yeah. We often found that people don’t want to see anything but the one thing that they need to do right now.

Jason: What do I need to do right now. Right, yeah, what’s next?

Amit: What do I need right now, yeah. Imagine if you saw a list of 55 tasks, wouldn’t that be scary? That’s just like, “Oh, my God, it’s so boring, I’m just going to mark everything done even though I haven’t done it.” It’s things like that that are so important that no one really thinks hard about them. They think that they can just roll out some app and like, “Oh, everyone’s going to use it.” How did you know everyone did what they said they would do? These things with other things that helped solve it.

There are some other things, too, which we’re adding down the road which are seriously awesome, especially chat-based interactions which we’re adding with chat tool soon. So, instead of doing tasks, you’re actually talking. You’re actually speaking to people on chat while also doing tasks at the same time.

Actually, I might as well announce on your show today, we just got approved by Slack, which is like a chat application that a lot of people use. We just launched our plugin for Slack two days ago. It works beautifully with Slack, with a whole bunch of chat tools. You don’t want to see a boring line of checkboxes, I don’t think that’s going to work out for anyone. We try to think. We’re trying to move across the realm of possibility here and make it engaging, make it better for people, so that people actually love doing those workflows.

Jason: Awesome. What else should property managers know about this app?

Amit: It’s free to sign up to. We have a bunch of templates which we can help you with, but we often find that most property managers already have processes or things that they already have written down. It’s super easy to just move them across to Tallyfy. We could help you with that, too, but there is a bunch of sample workflows that we can also provide. Things like tenant screening, tenant onboarding, tenant eviction, maybe screening landlords, or onboarding new landlords, or even just apartment building maintenance checklists or just things like that.

We have a bunch of samples we can help with, but the thing to really start doing is just go to tallyfy.com, hit the free sign up, it’s free for 14 days, and then to reach out to us if you need help because maybe you’ll need help, maybe it’s that simple. There’s nothing to lose by just giving us a try and we’re here to help you if you need it.

Jason: Now you had mentioned that one of the things that’s important is to update processes, as somebody moves through a process inside of Tallyfy, is there some prompt? How do you incentivize them, making changes to improve the process?

Amit: Firstly, there’s collaboration. If who owns the process, say it’s your manager that owns it, you can just notify them using @ replies saying, “Hey, here’s an idea to improve it.” Now, we’re enhancing that around down the road. What we’re doing is, as you’re doing a process, even if you’re not tracking it, you can hit a button that says “Suggest improvement,” (that’s actually coming in a couple of months) a real simple button that just says, “I’m just reading this thing, I have an idea, here’s the idea.” There’s a proper thing that tracks the idea all the way through to the owner and that way, you can do continuous improvement because the person doing the process often has the best idea how to improve it as well. For them, it’s super simple.

Also, I feel like people ignore this question but the reason people have Word documents now is because they don’t want to literally launch a process every time, they just want to read documentation like, “This is how I do things.”

Jason: Because it’s fast.

Amit: Because it’s fast. You don’t have to actually track every task, that’s just boring. We’re launching a plan. By the way, people listening to the show, if you want to trial this plan, we’re happy to talk to you about it. We’re launching a very cheap plan that’s literally less than half the price of all the competitors on the market right now, that literally lets you document and read a process but also improve it.

Take your Word document, which you might have already right now or your Google Doc. Now, think of all the features that you wished it had but it doesn’t, like this improvement button, all sorts of other things which are not there right now. Package that in a simple thing that literally costs $5 a month per user. That’s what we’re launching soon, the ability to just document and read while also improving workflows at the same time. That’s actually something no one has really seen so far because so far, all the apps out there make you start an actual process and make you mark every tasks done.

Jason: Yeah, I’ve noticed there’s a really fine balance that needs to be achieved between making every single, little, tiny step have to be done, documented, and check marked and allowing the process to be out of the way, allowing the employee or team member to just get work done. I don’t go through a huge checklist every time I drive my car but I probably did the very first time I drove it. I was a little nervous, I want to make sure I was doing it right, but once you know how to drive a car, you want to get in, go, and you want to make sure things are right. But you want to get things done and you don’t want to hinder your team members’ ability to get work done quickly by making the process overly cumbersome more than it needs to be.

Amit: Yes, because you get that muscle memory, you get into the habit, and you already know how to do this stuff. The last thing you need is now to update some other place to say you’ve done it even though you know you’ve done it. I think no one’s really addressing that, it’s a real issue. We are launching this next month or so.

We’re very excited about that because it’s also a lot cheaper, it’s also a lot faster because you’re not expecting people to literally go to their phones and go check, check, check, check, check. They’re just reading stuff and as they read, if they need help, they can ask for help. Sometimes, you get stuck. In your example, you’re going to start your car. But one day, your car doesn’t start and you’re like, “Oh, gee. I wonder why. I need help from my mechanic,” or something.

It’s at that point when you need actual help because you’re stuck at that task right now or you have an idea to improve it. Either one of those things. But that’s the only time you have to interact. When you need help or you have an idea to improve it. That’s what’s coming. That is transformational because it means that you as a property manager or your staff don’t sit there getting bored, seeing a boring checklist of things they have to do every day because honestly, some of your people are actually really experienced. You don’t need to offend them by making them check a box every time they do some tiny thing.

Jason: Let’s connect it to money. A business owner also doesn’t want to pay twice as much for a team member to do a bunch of tasks simply because they’re slowing them down at half speed because they have to do something overly cumbersome.

Amit: Right, isn’t that completely insane? You buy an app to speed you up and it’s actually slowing you down.

Jason: Very possible.

Amit: That could be possible and if you misuse some of these apps including ours, by the way. You could actually have that scenario.

Jason: One of the biggest challenges I’ve noticed with slowing down team members in my own business in the past was interruptions. For example, we used Slack for a while but I found that Slack was causing so many interruptions with team members because everybody was messaging everybody constantly. The challenge also then becomes avoiding interruptions because one interruption, according to some, costs 18 minutes of productivity. If you have two team members interrupting each other, it’s like 30 minutes of labor that is blowing out the door. If somebody’s being interrupted once every 18 minutes, they almost feel they’re spinning their wheels, so reducing interruptions is also important.

Amit: Right, and the average professional services hourly rate, fully-loaded in the US is $44 an hour. So, you’ve literally just thrown, was it $20, you say 30 minutes every hour, something like that?

Jason: If members interrupt each other every 18 minutes, yeah, that’s almost about 30 minutes of work like you double that because […] people, you’re losing 18 minutes for each interruption. My business is built around eliminating interruptions. This is a focus that we have because the less interruptions, that means the team members need to be able to get the answers that quickly, we want to reduce them asking the same thing more than once, we want to make sure things are documented so that they don’t have to keep coming back. If somebody has to say something and I have to tell them how to do it, I make sure they document it, I say, “Here’s how to do it, document it, put that into our process.”

Amit: Yeah. Let me tell you one thing about chat, and then Slack, for example, is a chat tool. Chat tells you what has happened, chat doesn’t tell you what’s going to happen or what should be happening next, chat just tells you what’s going on right now, not what’s going to happen next or what should be happening next. They’re two completely different worlds.

Tarryfy and processes, and Slack and chat, these are completely different things altogether. You could have the best of both worlds, we have an integration to Slack but we’re doing it in a non-interrupted way the integration that I’m talking to you about. We’re very conscious of that design experience because it is annoying, because everyone feels like checking their chat all day long like what messages they got and things like that.

Jason: I’ve got 20 notifications, am I going to read all of them?

Amit: Right, yeah. We don’t use Slack to advertise Tallyfy, I want to put it that way. A lot of people build integrations, but they get those integrations to make people go back to their apps because they’re like, “Oh, well just use Slack to make people come back to our app.” You just compounded the problem by interrupting someone every five minutes with some notification. We’re definitely not going to do that.

What we’re doing with Slack is quite different and chat in general. I’m really excited about our future. A lot of it is shaping up right now. If any of these interests you, especially if you’re looking to get your operations into one place as a property manager, just be in touch. We’re really excited to speak to you folks right now.

Jason: Very cool. I appreciate you coming on and sharing this with everybody. How can they get in touch with Tallyfy and learn more?

Amit: Visit tallyfy.com. The best thing to do is just sign-up. There’s a big sign-up button on the home page. Just feel free to check it out, you have nothing to lose, it’s free of cost. Once you’re in and you get the basic picture of how things work, feel free to reach out, that’s when we’ll be most useful to you personally. I’m the CEO and the founder and most times, I often take calls. It’s not like I’m hiding in a corner. I take calls with customers directly. It’s a pretty flat company, we love what we do, and we like being honest with you.

One thing you won’t find about us is that we won’t try and sell you. If we think this is not going to work for you, we’ll just say it’s not going to work for you. That’s the kind of fresh honesty many of these product vendors need to have. It’s not just a case of pushing you a subscription plan to sell you stuff. It’s got to work for you, it’s got to deliver benefits, and that’s what we’re interested in.

Jason: I agree. We’re very similar. I had a phone call today and it was a startup property manager. I just asked, “Do you want me to convince you you should do property management or not?.” I said, “I can go either way, I’ll explain to you either one,” […] an accurate picture and don’t jump into something that you’ll regret later.

I’ll wrap this up, I want to tell everybody I believe every business should have a […]. This is one of the major systems that every business should have. They need a support system, they need an accounting system, they need several different systems. One of the systems they need is a process documentation system. You need some system to make sure the processes are also being done correctly. It’s so simple. I recommend everybody check it out and I’m excited to hear feedback. Amit, I appreciate you coming on the show. I will let you go.

Amit: Yeah, thanks for the time, Jason. Much appreciated.

Jason: You just listened to the DoorGrow Show. We are building a community of the savviest property management entrepreneurs on the planet in the DoorGrow Club. Join your fellow DoorGrow hackers at doorgrowclub.com.

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About Jason Hull

Jason's mission is "to inspire others to love true principles." This means he enjoys digging up gold nuggets of wisdom & sharing them with property managers to help them improve their business. He founded OpenPotion, DoorGrow, & GatherKudos.