Business
January 12, 2022

Systems to Scale from $0 to a $1B Valuation with Chase Harmer

This week on the Scale Academy Podcast Chase Harmer, Founder and CEO of PayCertify, joins Ned Arick and Hilmon Sorey to discuss his journey with fintech and how he exponentially scaled his business.

The Start of FinTech

Chase explains that he started as a payment processor in the hospitality industry when he was 19 years old. Eventually, he had a few thousand properties and as each year passed the properties were trying to negotiate deals. Chase realized that he was just a commodity and that in the hospitality space, if he did not have technology that could offer real value over time, then he had nothing. He had already made millions of dollars in payment processing, so he decided to take some of that to create something more. Learn more about his journey at 00:23.

No Roadmap

At 03:05 Chase explains that his journey to creating a billion-dollar company was no easy follow-the-dots feat. In the majority of cases, you don’t have a group of friends that are chasing the same level of success as you, and so you can’t turn to them or expect them to provide the support needed to sustain the journey of a founder. “You don’t realize how alone you are until you start getting your butt kicked and your teeth kicked in,” but it is still your job as a founder to keep people on board the ship and focused on the vision in order to execute. Things will go wrong, but you have to find your way through it. Continue listening to learn more. 

Automation Does Not Execute

Chase explains that in order to make money, you must know how to sell, and oftentimes founders can be put off by the thought of the sales side. However, automation won’t get you the big opportunities. A conversation has to be had to sell a vision, and that requires a salesperson. You have to understand the requirements and execute and that cannot be done through automation. Learn more at 04:20.

Selling a Vision

Before even having a product, Chase went to the market with his vision and sold it. Chase explains that part of that vision is having a process and a way to scale it, otherwise, you will get a lot of clients in the door, but you won’t be able to realize the LTV of that client because they will end up leaving.  Chase goes on to say that if you are a first-time Founder, you need to make sure that you have the expertise to build the foundation for what you need to achieve long-term rather than just going out and hiring a bunch of engineers. There is a process to selling and building the vision. Learn more at 05:26.

Build the Process

Chase explains that the reason he is so adamant about having a process is because he did not have a process when he first started, and he ran into many barriers along the way, some of which almost destroyed his company. It is so important to build the process and understand the opportunity. Build it the right way first to avoid potentially detrimental mistakes. It is also important to look at the picture as a whole. Oftentimes, Founders are so focused on just getting their dream out there, but in reality, you need to see the big picture and figure out where your focus should be. Too often, Founders don’t put enough focus on the money aspect, but if you run out of money, then you’re done. You need to prioritize the issues and go after what is going to make the biggest impact on your business right then. And this constantly needs to be reevaluated to maintain balance. It is all part of the process.  Learn more at 10:34.

Scaling the Business

When it was time for Chase to scale his business he hit a few speed bumps at first. Because he is such a skilled salesperson, he needed to automate a process that others could follow. But that proved to be difficult and disappointing. Chase quickly realized that even though he could sell anything better than anyone, he was no sales manager, so he decided to move everything virtually and drive the process himself. He eliminated the need for salespeople altogether, and instead, he built a customer success team. Learn more about his journey to scale at 16:22.

Customer Success

At 19:13 Chase explains that within his company, they offer a lot of products. It is their job to make sure their customers are getting the most benefit out of the products, so oftentimes that means that Chase is cross-selling and upselling, which indirectly positively impacts his bottom line. In addition, he expects his clients to see a 25% growth in profit after the first 90 days. So, in addition to reducing the churn, he also expects to see that growth. It is the job of the customer success team to teach the customer how to use and grow the product, and because of this, they build a vested interest in seeing that customer do well. Continue listening to learn more.

Process and Accountability

Chase reiterates the importance of having a process and accountability because, without a process, there is no accountability. He explains that even though you are not selling a product yet, KPIs must start at the very beginning, and managing expectations for the sprints and having governance inside of the company are all incredibly important. You have to have everyone that is a part of the project on the same page and understanding each other; otherwise, there is a gap and they will not understand how you want to build the product, the benefit that the customer is getting from it, and therefore they will never be able to deliver what you want. Learn more at 21:53. 

A Failed Premise

At 24:15 Chase explains that, as a startup, you do not always have to get the big behemoth to come work for you. Many Founders do this thinking it will bring them credibility, but then it doesn’t actually work out with that person in the end. Instead, you need to get someone who does have experience, but who is also willing to make sacrifices and go to battle with you. Continue listening to learn more.

Big Hires

Chase discusses that he does not have a talent for hiring, so he turns to recruiters to help bring in (especially) the C-level people. Yes, they cost money, but if they are worth their weight then they will deliver the best. LinkedIn is also a good place to start. Chase feels that using a combination of internal and external resources is the way to go. Learn more at 26:03.

Manage the Expectation

Chase cannot stress enough the importance of managing the expectations for a manager. Because if you are not managing the expectation, then there is no accountability, and it will be impossible to achieve any task. It is a huge waste of time and money because you are paying people, but nothing is getting accomplished. Learn more at 28:56.

Marketing

Chase knows that he is not a marketer. He has the vision, and he knows what will work, but he has outsourced marketing to someone with expertise. It is something that is not as easy as it seems, and it becomes a full-time job. Learn more about how Chase markets his company at 30:33.

The Biggest Advice

“It all comes back to process. If you are trying to scale a business, and you’re trying to make real money, and you have a vision to do something, you honestly have to build a process and a good foundation….because that one time when we almost died was because there was no process. There was no accountability.” Chase also explains that having focus is paramount. Focus on being a singular thing and then expand. Focus on something that adds a lot of value impact that you can build around. The product is never finished; there is always more to do. Hear Chase’s biggest piece of advice at 34:08 and 37:27.

Chase is available on LinkedIn or at chase@profitpay.io or you can speak with his team at 855-247-3411.

Key Snippets

00:23 The Start of FinTech

03:05 No Roadmap

04:20 Automation Does Not Execute

05:26 Selling a Vision

10:34 Build the Process

16:22 Scaling the Business

19:13 Customer Success

21:53 Process and Accountability

24:15 A Failed Premise

26:03 Big Hires

28:56 Manage the Expectation

30:33 Marketing

34:08 The Biggest Advice

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