ECM, FAS, and Small Business 2.0

Asher Black

Earth Class Mail - California Staffing Agency Los Angeles - Lean Startups - Agile BusinessWhat they do: Earth class mail receives all your mail for you and lets you see your envelopes online (or on your mobile), with the option to scan contents to PDF, shred securely, or send you the original. The point is that you no longer have the hassles of receiving or opening mail, and you ditch the costs associated with international forwarding mail when you’re on the go, or paying someone for on-site mail room services. In this way, ECM is a genuine pioneer in its field, transforming the old way of doing things (where you take distractions and complexity for granted) into the new way of staying focused on your core interests or business model, and letting someone else manage the hassles. Earth Class Mail represents the new lifestyle of taking on only what you want, instead of having to buy the farm or feed the cow, just to get the glass of milk. ECM lets you get mail any time, but be anywhere. It’s Mail 2.0.

Free Agent Source - Los Angeles - agile startup lean company - staffing agency - temp agency - employment agency - small business startup company

Free Agent Source does the same thing with employment.

  1. You hire anyone you want from any source. Use your own recruiters or internal recruitment method. FAS can also send leads too.
  2. FAS becomes the employer. You and the Free Agent control the relationship, while FAS takes on the business formalities and back end costs.
  3. You’re left with no employer costs. You have no hassles from managing independent contracts. You don’t pay expensive temp agency markup, which is often more than 50%.

FAS lets you hire anyone, employ no one. It’s Work 2.0.

The cost of Earth Class Mail is still more than zero, and it’ll never appeal to people who are willing to keep doing things the old way. If  you don’t mind going to the mailbox or the post office, opening letters and envelopes, scanning what you need, shredding what you don’t, and doing mail forwarding or mail holds when you travel, possibly missing something important, you can take on those roles yourself or hand it over to someone else and pay higher costs.

The cost of Free Agent Source isn’t zero, either, even though you pay no agency fees. You raise the pay rate to people you hire (or rehire as “free agents”) by 20% so they can cover their costs for back-end services from Free Agent Source. In exchange, you ditch the greater employer costs, or the 50-70% markup of a staffing agency, and you no longer manage the liability, workers comp, insurance, payroll taxes, and other costs (we have a cost chart coming soon, comparing employer costs to FAS). You no longer wear the hat of handling the employer back office or have to employ people to do that for you. You get back lost focus and attention on your core business model, and the greater efficiency of concentrating on your products and services and growth for your company.

Small Business 2.0 – the new way of doing small business is about borrowing the “just in time” services and “supply chain economics” model from bigger corporations that have revitalized their businesses, when other businesses weren’t growing, and out-competed their rivals. The paper company that decides it no longer wants to manage its own trucking or control the whole supply chain is violating a time-honored tradition that says you have to do it all – you have to operate everything in-house in order for the business to be effective. By relying on parnter companies that deliver services “just in time” or just what you need, and just the amount you need, small businesses are becoming leaner and more agile, and are getting back their focus on the things that made them great in the first place.

Things were different when we first started out in our businesses, it was often more fun, more focused, more hopeful and competitive, and more interesting. As time went by, and we took on more of the traditional corporate baggage, keeping it all in-house, often because we were at the mercy of sharks like the high-markup staffing agencies (it just didn’t pay not to employ), we slowed down too – we lost a lot of our attention from the things that kept us pushing the envelope and gaining market advantage on competitors. The balance shifted, so that we became more administrative, less professional. New companies starting up are coming out of the gate leaner, quicker, and are after our market share.

But we don’t have to fear. We can take advantage of the trend toward agile and lean operations, doing what we do best and offloading the rest, instead of remaining in the corporate business model of the previous century. Even the big corporations are shifting in this way, more slowly of course, like big brontosauruses turning around to get at a different tree. It takes longer for large, teeming organizations to turn. But that’s good news for you and I – for small business. At a time when we’re getting the crap kicked out of us by these monster trucks running down the middle of the commuter lane, we can be faster, get their quicker, and compete with any organization of any size.

It takes counter-intuitive thinking. The tendency to reach for control and to own it all in-house (employer relationships, supplier relationships) is strong. But the new small business model operates on the belief that by tossing that stuff out and away from us, even if it’s not how we’ve done it before, we not only recoup the costs by getting back productivity and focus, we become capable of things we never realized were possible with an unburdened company. If you’ve ever thrown down a heavy pack and suddenly realized you could run and still have energy to burn, it’s like that only across the company itself and your own attentions as a professional or a business owner.

Earth Class Mail and Free Agent Source are just two solutions that address the same types of underlying needs to free companies and professionals to become the unburdened creative, dynamic, competitive forces they were destined to be from the beginning.  FYI: If you’re interested in *more* solutions like these, contact Steve Pruneau because, in addition to founding Free Agent Source, he runs a consulting company (PT4B – Performance Tuning for Business)  that helps businesses make exactly this type of transition using a whole host of similar tools. In the meantime, take a second look at Free Agent Source. Watch our latest video: FAS in 30 Seconds (on a “napkin”). Whether or not, ultimately, you make use of FAS’s “Free Agent solution”, as we call it, or ECM for instance, your business deserves to do this kind of thinking and find ways to apply it, so you can be lean, mean, and compete with anyone of any size. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Asher Black

Asher Black

Asher Black is a co-founder of Free Agent Source and its Corporate Storyteller. As a consultant, his practice areas are Sales Effectiveness & Engagement, Education Program Implementation, Brand Story and Corporate Messaging. He often serves as a fractional leader, is a frequent public speaker, and media talent. He also lives in Brooklyn, plays guitar, writes fiction, and practices the martial arts.

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