Interview with Ashu Avasthi, Leader of Digital Transformation at Grant Thorton LLP
In Episode 12 of the Mad Profit Podcast, we interview Ashu Avasthi who leads Grant Thorton’s Digital Transformation practice. He walks us through what small and medium size businesses should consider when reviewing their current and future technology needs.
Ashu has decades of experience helping businesses drive significant growth through sales and technology and his core message is “do research and have a plan” when it comes to developing a technology path for your company.
|INTRO: Welcome to the Mad Profit Podcast, where we interview active investors, entrepreneurs and experts, who left corporate jobs to buy or start successful ventures and live life on their own terms.|
Listen to their stories learn from their experiences and heed their advice so you too can create mad profits and the life you’ve always wanted and now here’s your host Laurent Truc.
LAURENT TRUC: Hello everybody and welcome back to the mad profit podcast my name is Laurent Truc and today I’ve got a special guest that I’ve known for a very long time. I’ve actually been hounding him to get on my podcast because he spent a lot of time with a lot of technology companies out there and today we want to talk about technology and kind of Pickers brain, so please help me welcome Ashu Avasti, the head of digital transformation at Grant Thornton.
Ashu welcome on board, how are you?
ASHU AVASTHI: Thankful that it’s great to be here looking forward to the conversation.
LAURENT TRUC: Appreciate you making the time and yeah sorry I handed you, but am glad you are here anyhow. So, Ashu I wanted you here, because you’ve had a pretty long career in technology and in sales you’ve helped a lot of businesses grow, some were very small businesses in their very early years, to large corporation.
LAURENT TRUC: So, you’ve seen kind of that growth that a company goes through from a technology perspective and obviously in your role today, you’re seeing more of that and I think you can provide a lot of advice to our listenership. So, I’m glad to have you here I think it’ll be great.
ASHU AVASTHI: Now looking forward to it for sure.
LAURENT TRUC: So why don’t we get started can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?
ASHU AVASTHI: Sure I’ll keep it brief, but you know my background has always been in technology by you know kind of by training by schooling computer science and engineering background, although I never really wanted to be a hard core engineer, but I certainly loved the puzzle pieces of Technology and as a result throughout my career I’ve held various types of roles, whether it’s been product development, whether it’s been in sales leadership, whether it’s been in operations, they’ve always been either in technology companies or in and around technology. And when I say technology, it’s everything from networks to software as a service to delivering on ecom platforms, building out ecommerce companies. I’ve got a couple of stints doing that, consulting, helping grow sales teams, grow markets, all those types of things, you know in there some of them would I say probably, big stints were at you know Bell Canada Donna Bradstreet at LinkedIn, now here at Grant Thornton as part of our digital practice where we have a lot of fun and spend a lot of our days is working with small, to medium, to growing sized businesses, helping them figure out how to leverage technology to grow their business and that can be across any kind of segments, whether that’s manufacturing, whether that is ecommerce, whether that is retail, we really learn, know, have the team and experience to help clients with that.
So, bringing all that knowledge and I get to basically play with puzzles and put them together, that’s my day job.
LAURENT TRUC: That’s awesome it sounds like a lot of fun, so let’s start. What should a company consider when they’re looking at their technology platform today and if you can break that up from kind of a smaller sized business to a larger sized business, like where do they start?
ASHU AVASTHI: No, it’s a great question so you know maybe I’ll use as a case example, just an ecom site you know maybe you’re, you know at the end of the day the critical thing is we don’t start from a place to say, I’m gonna go get technology for the sake of getting technology or because it’s a cool and flashy thing, it sounds a little you know silly, you can make that statement, but you’d be surprised how often that really does happen and when you look at actually a client’s growth curve from small to offices, as a whole process you’ll actually see along the way that they’ve made technology choices to solve a pain point at a certain time and so let’s say you start you know day one, it’s two people, a dog in the garage building, a business which is great, but then you know you start to get a little bit of revenue. You start to you know build a little bit of capacity and then you’re like, Oh! Well we need something to send emails out to people. So, you get a small little marketing system, survey monkeys, you get a subscription and you start to email out to people.
Oh! well how do I keep track of addresses, how do I keep, there’s all these things as you start to get bigger and bigger, you start to solve leveraging technology along the way. So, the first thing, no matter what and what stage you are, whether you’re small, early on or if you’re mid size or you know you hav’nt even been around for a while, is you really need to step back, leverage some you know expertise or experience in your network, people you know, solicit information, try to get an assessment of your business. Where can advantages be at? I’m not suggesting everyone running up and go hire a consultant. What I’m suggesting though is that you pause and you actually try to conduct some research, either by yourself or through networking groups, through forums like this, where you know you can have a 10-minute conversation with someone says;
Hey! I’m coming across this problem now, have you heard or seen solution? The idea is that you do have to build a plan, right? when you start to do the point solution, I’m going to get one little piece of technology that solves my problem today. Well, a week later you’re going to buy another piece of technology that, when you could have probably forecast or seen coming up or a part of it is just building a plan, how do you build a plan?
LAURENT TRUC: And so how does a business know when they’re just plugging up holes with technology versus ok, we’ve plugged up so many holes, maybe we should look for something more end-to-end like an ERP that integrates our CRM, because I think a lot of small businesses, it’s exactly what you said it’s okay. Me and my taxes are a nightmare, let me get a tax software, let me you know I can’t keep sending out these emails out of Outlook, how do I centralize that differently? So, when do they kind of figure we need something more end-to-end? What drives that?
ASHU AVASTHI: So, you know in the past and I would even say as little as five years ago, certainly ten years ago, but you know probably as even as little as five years ago. For small business to enter into you know the notion of things like ERP and for our audiences ERP is basically a large end-to-end system that looks from all the way from customers coming in your ordering product, maybe your shipping product, your all the way through your accounting and finances and your general ledger. You know in the past you kind of needed a big player right? The SEP, the Oracle, those were the names that people knew and you needed like you couldn’t get out of bed for less than you know five million dollars, you know, but certainly over the last five to ten years, definitely it has accelerated over the last five years.
The market space has changed so much that technology is actually democratized the businesses ability to actually access that technology. So, as an example you can get a lot of that big business feature and function in a system that is based in the cloud and maybe is only for the five employee company that you are currently running, right? and you know your cost of entry just might be $200 a month and you’ll get a lot of that feature and function, you know and it’ll scale with you right, they’ll scale with you to your you know your dream big and you’re a thousand person company, but the key thing is you gotta have a plan and you’ve got to work with people to understand okay, here’s my business and it isn’t just about the technology, its what’s your business goal? What is your three to five-year goal? Where are you trying to?
Because then, based on you know where you’re trying to? What does your cash flow look like? you know are you looking at investors, is there you know at some point are you looking for investors? is your plan to build a certain amount of business? and then exit or sell it, like this all has to be part of your plan, because then we can determine what is the best fit technology, what are the pieces that over the next three to five years. I’ll say with eighty percent certainty likely to continue to meet your needs so that you’re not having to retool your business.
LAURENT TRUC: And is there a strong change management component with that technology, like I know years ago I actually did I say the implementations as my first thing out of school and it was five year, two year to five year implementations they were massive and the entire organization at the change like you know, adopt this new process and that was a big part of it.
What’s your view on change management for in this day and age when the smaller technology faster nimbler?
ASHU AVASTHI: So, change management, the need for change management in the detail that it’ll will increase in the same proportion as know the age of your company in business. So, if you wait till you’ve gone from two people, a garage and a dog and now you are a 25-person, office setting, you know five million dollar, ten million dollar revenue business and then you’ve decided to make your technology choice, yeah doesn’t mean you can’t get it done, doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions, but it does mean that there is, there will be a change management will be a big part of it, because you’ve been doing it for a certain way for whatever period of time.
And now how do you get everyone to move to the new way of doing it, is really, it’s now the bigger you get and the longer has been, the more that change management is going to be really critical to your, you know your quantum leap, here when you’re introducing the technology and that’s why the plan doesn’t mean you have to buy all the technology they want, but if you have a plan along the way and some pieces may. See the great thing about a lot of the technology that exists today is that they also cut their modular right. So, you don’t have to buy all the features, all the functions, all the modules, all at once. You can buy the entry piece, let’s say CRM and market in contact management. Right, you have customers you want to communicate with them, you want to record, you know I was like starting on the customer side, because that’s really where we get paid and that’s where we deliver value, no matter what you do, but you know you think of customer management or contact management, you can start there and then you can still use us you know separate small accounting system, but that system that CRM system later on as you’re growing, probably has a module that bolts on things like order management, inventory management. It can you know later on in the cycle you can bolt on the accounting package that goes with it.
So, what happens is you’ve planned that I will need these things along the way and you’ll invest in them, you know in the right cadence of your cash flow and your growth, but you don’t have to buy, you plan for new, but you don’t have to buy it all at once and as a result you’re actually telling people; hey! things are going to change. We have this module, but if we get to here guys we’re gonna buy this module and it’s going to make things easier, but we’ve got to get there first.
So, you already start to introduce the concepts of change management and it will make it significantly easier as you go through the process.
LAURENT TRUC: Are there gates that you think through so a company that is under 1 million dollars should have these two or three pieces of technology and then if you’re a million to 10 million, you’re sure the vault into this. So, I found a lot of people, it’s also a balance of cost right and so often I see businesses to try and muscle it with what they have and their employees get frustrated and there’s a very simple a few solutions. That’s just a couple hundred dollars more a month away, but they’re deciding not to. So, how do you balance that and when should people start saying, ok it’s time we need to go look at the next thing?
ASHU AVASTHI: Well, certainly the thresholds that we have seen, at least I’ve seen over my career interestingly enough, kind of 1, 5, 10, 20 plus, right and where I’ll break that down, so the 1 million, getting to the 1 million that’s your first tranche right, you are typically bootstrapping.
It is just you, your friend and a dog in a garage, in a dream, you are typically personally invested in terms of financial investment. Right, it’s typically your personal time or money that’s invested in the endeavor and you know you are trying to get to that break-even, you know obviously profit, but the first prong is getting into that breakeven and the break even when you start to look at material cost, also opportunity cost of your time versus employment or what have you. That million-dollar mark is typically the first gate that everyone’s trying to hit.
Once you hit that first gate, you typically have, you start to get into a place where you may have a little bit of cash flow, like a little bit of predictable cash flow and you are starting to high volume and capacity that is typically your first tranche of really starting to look at. Okay, do I have the right technology to get me from one to five, because getting from one to five is typically a straight numbers game and you cannot throw bodies at it. So here’s the challenge you’ll have, you’ll have to get took, if it was to you know you, a friend and you know a garage and a dog that got you to a million, it’s probably you, a friend, the gardener part-time, one day a week and the dog and the dogs friend that’s going to get you to five million. So, really what you do need to figure out is, how do you, then you start to look at profit in that income. How do I get my, you know my business that is generating maybe 1 million of top-line revenue? I’m kind of breaking even or maybe a little bit even part of the cash flow, how do I start to increase my profit and revenue right? So I just, I don’t want to get to five million and still be a break-even, because you’re gonna have to put you know five times more time into it and you don’t want to just throw bodies, traditionally people will just throw bodies at it right and there’s a balance between the two, but that is definitely certainly the first tranche where you’re gonna want it really. If your planful and you’re able to actually lever some technology to help with the scaling, your profit will improve and then once you get to the five to ten mark, then you’re typically you’re self-funded. You’re self-funding, the business itself has enough cash flow, the business itself is building you know credit history, has its own tax entity.
All those pieces of the business are there now and this is from five to ten where we see just natural growth in segments, people are, you have more customers, you start to spend a little bit on advertising, you’re starting whether it’s digital or otherwise. You know you’re spending more time on you know paid AdWords. You’re starting to leverage, your starting to reinvest into the business in a way that you can afford and still have an income, but traditionally, what we’ve seen is, it works really well and then you kind of hit the ten million dollar threat ceiling and then you kind of bounce off it and come down and that ten million dollar mark is really the big one that is hard to cross and it typically is another leap, either in technology, process, people, tools, but once again you can do it.
Change management is going to be a little bit harder there, had you planned ahead of time, sometimes that transition past the ten-million-dollar mark can be easier or more efficient.
LAURENT TRUC: Are there a lot of technologies that you can start as a solo entrepreneur that can be leveraged all the way through to ten million or once you get to ten million you’re really talking about? Okay, scrap the technology used up until now, now we’re gonna have to get into you know full ERP, we’re gonna have to get into you know much bigger types of systems.
ASHU AVASTHI: Not necessarily, I mean now with the notion, I mean everyone’s heard of you know in the cloud, it’s almost cliche now, but the truth in matter is now that cloud solutions or the norm right, it does allow that single entrepreneur who’s growing, if done planfully, you know generally speaking they can stay on the same platform and continue to grow, you know if we look at something like Salesforce as an example obviously, I mean Salesforce is a huge CRM provider they own, they were the first ones to take CRM in the cloud. You know 20 years ago they you know started in CRM they do a number of things now and if you think about it they’re they’re like the Apple Store, everybody’s got an app for Salesforce, yeah so you’ve got a platform now that you can start with as little as one license, two licenses and we know that it will give as your business grows, Salesforce and scale and then they have different apps and modules along the way that can integrate into that platform and there are multi-billion-dollar companies running on Salesforce, so and they are you know, several one person, two person, three person, five person shops running on Salesforce.
So, yes absolutely you can start small at something that you can afford if you’re planful about it and then you can plant, you know and then you know that’s the key thing is, start you know do that research, leverage networks, leverage you know tons of knowledge and that’s out in the in the marketplace, same applies for things like ecom sites or you’re looking to you know ecom is a big piece of anything anyone’s gonna do. What if you’re selling a product or service? You’re going to establish a website, you’re gonna want to share information about yourself, if people are engaging with your web assets, you’re gonna want to track that, you’re gonna want to be able to communicate with them and so you know, that ecom piece of it has to be part of your strategy and you’re gonna want to link those in as well.
LAURENT TRUC: Very cool, very cool. Tell me about what’s kind of a hot topic right now? So, we’re hearing in technology, we’re hearing you know A.I, we’re hearing all these other things. Are you getting customers coming to you say; Hey! I got to get into the space. I’m not doing anything here or talk to me about this kind of new wave of stuffs coming out.
ASHU AVASTHI: So, certainly you’ve hit a hot topic that’s definitely out in the marketplace, which is AI. Everyone’s talking about it, from the small… and like I said earlier on. The great thing about technology these days is that you know it has been democratized, so that everyone can get access to it. But Before we jump into AI, I just want to make it like a small distinction, but really important distinction is that there’s a journey that AI goes on and I think you know naturally, when we think of AI, we think of you know science fiction movies and the notion of things like cyborgs and things completely running autonomously. But really the journey starts with what is called RPA or robotic process automation. So, no differently than you know 20, 30, 40 years ago as robots were brought into auto manufacturing or manufacturing in general, to be efficient, safer, less error to do the same process over and over again. Maybe it’s bending a piece of metal, maybe it’s welding up a particular join. Well, the fact is that robot can repeat it, you know it’s a repeatable exercise and that robot can repeat that exercise within 1% degree of difference each time they do it and it making honestly do it at a different efficient rate and they can do it safer. So, robotic process today in our digital world, we all have digital processes.
So, at companies they might be downloading reports. It might be, oh! I’ve got to take… download my sales report and load it into my accounting software, so that my accounting software can then do invoices and then I’m you know APAR or if you’re bigger, maybe I have a lot of invoices coming in and I need to those invoices to be processed. Well, I’m entering them into my accounting software or whatever. Well, the first entry point is robotic process automation. All these manual digital processes can be fully automated now right and the cost of entry into getting those types of automation is low. It’s not extremely high, you don’t have to buy a whole new platform for yourself and so when you see a lot of tools out there actually, whether they’re in the cloud pieces of software, they are all leveraging a bit of RPA in the background to make your life easier, right and then what you start to go to the next phase, which is what we call learning bots, right.
Bots that start to learn activity that’s happening, the common example I like using here is chat bot, you know you go to a website you see the little you know chat bot icon pop up, when nine times out of ten there isn’t a human behind that right, that’s a chat bot AI that is you know based on an algorithm and a number of you know pattern recognition, language recognition, is running an algorithm and interacting with someone to a certain point and then maybe it needs to move to a salesperson. So, here’s a great example of where a one-person shop or a two-person shop, could leverage something like a chat bot interacting with potential clients, potential prospects on their website. So, you’re able to address a large number of people at one time and then the chat bot will filter to you when ready.
The person who’s ready to make a purchase or needs that further inquiry or what have you. So, you are you’re able to ingest more than if you were the one managing the text line or the chat line right, individually. So, and this is where we start.
LAURENT TRUC: Yeah it’s actually crazy how many sites now have a chat bot on them, like you know I know some owners that are one person shops and yeah the price of that technology have gone down, so much that it’s like he said, it’s like having three employees that are working 24 hours a day. It’s awesome.
ASHU AVASTHI: 100% and it goes back to what I was saying, is that they’re taking an intensely manual digital process and automating it, right. And then you start to layer in some learning, some machine learning.
You start layering and some of the AI, and then because when we start talking about AI, really what we’re talking about is at some point the algorithm, is actually making a decision for you, right. That’s different. so, when start to get into, that’s where we get to the higher, the you know, the more science-fiction oriented.
You know, where AI is actually conducting decisions for you, for example, maybe you’re applying for credit cards. so, what people don’t realize is when you’re applying for credit cards, there’s a lot of RPA and AI in the background, you’re filling on your form online, it’s going through the system. The algorithm is actually proofreading the application to make sure that it’s correct, if the addresses make sense. It’s double checking it, if there’s an issue it’ll send it back to you, if it’s good it’ll move it on to the next part. In the process you may have another algorithm that’s reviewing all the information and then making a red, yellow, green decision in terms of, yeah I think this you know this credit application looks good or this credit card application looks good, you know this one doesn’t, It may go to an adjudicator. That’s no different for your business, there’s small business, right.
There are companies that may be applying for credit, because you’re selling them a hard good, right. so, you want to because they’re buying such a large amount, maybe you’re selling a hard good and you want to make sure and they want credit terms or that maybe they’re not buying on credit card or transacting. The fact is that you can actually start to figure this stuff out, then I mean other options around AI and RPA is reporting and analytics. There’s so much data out there, how do you ingest it? You know, while Excel is still one of the number one analytical tools out there, you know, as a one person, two person, five person shop, can you afford to spend five days a week trudging through reports to try to figure out who your best customers are? Or maybe where the best areas to be shipping and delivering are? Or where you may need to change in your pricing strategy? Well, no! The answer is no, but there is you know reporting software out there leveraging AI and things like RPA that start to give you a leg up.
I can have all the strength and intelligence of big business, but at a cost that makes sense for me at small business, right.
LAURENT TRUC: I find it’s getting infusing everything, I had an Amazon store and we actually bought a software that would leverage AI to figure out what pricing, to optimize the pricing of advertising through the channel. so, it’s crazy. It’s getting infused and literally every piece of software out there now it’s not…
Yeah no absolutely.
LAURENT TRUC: Very good. Is there anything else? So, AI is a big one, any other kind of, the cloud is no longer blue, I guess.
ASHU AVASTHI: Yeah, but I think you know part of this too is, you know the notion it’s kind of put it about … AI is the big buzzword, but where you really want to see AI or RPA is how is it helping you in your marketing automation? How is it helping you? So, when you look at solutions, is there automation? Maybe the easiest way to think of it, is there automation? I’m looking to communicate with my clients on a regular basis, you know whether its newsletter offers, advertisements, what-have-you. Is there a software that allows for automation? Can I program it to a certain degree that allows it to interact? Meaning if I send a certain piece of work or advertising or material seven days later, if it hasn’t been clicked, can I send it again?
If it has been clicked, can I send a follow-up piece of information that I think the client might be relevant based on maybe other links within the article, or the piece of information I sent to them? Is there a different piece of art of information I want to send to them? So, this type of sales and marketing automation once again allows you to be a 10, 20, 30 employee business, but only be two or three people, because you’re able to interact with larger people. You know, a greater amount of people, then as you’re processing or your order processing, is it done automation or someone actually entering stuff to get stuff shipped out, or schedule time are using scheduling automation? Are you rolling this stuff automatically into your accounting system? So, that you’re not manually every night at the end of the day, entering in a whole bunch of accounting records to make sure you’re tracking all those stuffs properly.
so, one of the big, the key thing is in these big tranches. I would say what I call sales and marketing automation, order management and processing and accounting, are you taking advantage of automated processes or workflows to make it much more efficient, lower degree of error and allows you to scale as you go? Those are the things that you really want to kind of look at.
LAURENT TRUC: so, actually what are some of the biggest technology mistakes that companies make today?
ASHU AVASTHI: Based on technology mistake, I was, I was just thinking about recently with all the stuff that’s going on right now. An airline that should not be mentioned released an entire customer management reservation system without actually having tested it with the user.
so, the actual customer service agents had no training on it and they released it and they literally shut down their reservation. They started to shut down their phone numbers and I mean it’s a mistake of epic proportions, but you know in every example of a bad technology mistake, what you will see consistently, whether it is a really big company, whether it’s a small company, it’s did you follow the plan and the product? did you have a plan? And if you had a plan, did you follow that plan in the process? Typically, see the good thing about technology and because there’s so much information out there, is there are generally accepted. If you use accounting as an example, gap right generally happen, you know generally accepted accounting practices. well, with technology rollout, with vendor selection, with you know actually implementation, there are generally accepted processes and practices you need to go through, steps you need to go through, right. And you know the question is don’t try to shortcut it, like it’s okay if it’s going to take a little bit longer.
The biggest mistake people make is that in a rush to solve a problem they find the quickest or first available technology solution and as a result you know it may be an immediate potential solve to the pain, but there’s a longer term you know challenge that you end up facing there. so, I mean really simply the mistake in technology decisions is rushing to make one, we’re just taking the time to actually go through the process.
LAURENT TRUC: Yeah, so do you have a… I am Grant Thornton has a methodology, but do you recommend methodology for small businesses, when they’re looking at, we need a new CRM or some sort of platform like how should they to make sure that it’s a robust kind of approach at that day?
ASHU AVASTHI: Yeah, so if we’re looking into the, you know the broader Internet sphere and if you’re searching for you know knowledge articles or things like that, you know you do want to look for and there’s lots of stuff on this, right, you know like you know vendor selection process.
That’s a key or software selection process, you’ll hear things like agile methodologies, right. Where you take an iterative approach, you’re not trying to do this Big Bang solve the whole world at one time, but you’re trying to solve small problems along the way and you keep going back and retooling. This is analogous to what I was saying about. You can start with a smaller entry level solution that can grow with you over time, right, because as you improve your processes, so you know look for articles and information around agile methodologies, around vendor selection, around software selection, then you’re going to get into maybe if you’re looking specifically CRM. You know there’s lots of articles around how to select it as CRM software.
So, the fact is there’s actually a lot of knowledge articles out there, to say hey! How should I really be looking at my business? But My council would be start broader. How do I start an online business? What are the things I should consider? You know start with a broader plan and then you can start to… because there’s many other things other than just technology, right. It’s going to be you know how do you manage cash flows? How do you, should I go get an accountant? Should I have a bookkeeper like there’s going to be a number of things you know that impact your business, and there’s a lot of knowledge articles out there and saying you know here are the steps that you should go through.
You know here is generally accepted steps one through five that you should go through. It at least triggers thinking, right. It triggers, okay here are the things I need to consider before and then you certainly, then you can go out into the network, whether it’s LinkedIn, whether it’s your own personal Network guarantee there’s lots of user groups out there and lots of places where you can actually have discussions with people around what are the best practices, right. How are you leveraging social media as part of yours and when I say social media, I don’t mean just Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, but are you leveraging you know who’s your audience? Are you leveraging tik-tok? Are you leveraging LinkedIn? Like you know there’s so much social media out there and there’s so many different applications. Which one is the right one for you right? so, that’s also going to be relevant. who’s your audience Segment? All that type of stuff you know and you can, and there’s lots of knowledge articles out there on that.
LAURENT TRUC: It really sounds overwhelming; the point is don’t do it in a vacuum. Like research, get other people involved, you know maybe a consulting firm, if you’re at that level, right.
ASHU AVASTHI: Exactly at the right time, in right place, you may want to look at you know consulting firms, but there’s even you know tricky smaller you know consultants out there, independent consultants. Back to the you know, two people, a garage and a dog you know they’re small consulting firms out there. What we call a single shingle or two shingle people who are just, want to help and you know they can be your individual consultants. Sometimes they can even help be a temporary kind of employee that helps with a certain aspect of a change that they’re trying to put in place.
LAURENT TRUC: Perfect! Any last recommendations for somebody who maybe thinks it’s time for me to take a look at my technology footprint and maybe improve it. What would you, what would you say to that?
ASHU AVASTHI: Awesome! I would say; make sure you have a plan that, you know i would definitely say know what your financial plan is, right. like that’s got to be critical. What’s your financial cashflow plan, investment plan? What does your spend plan look like over the course of a 12, 18, 24 month horizon? Cash is king because you can’t grow a business if you don’t have money. so, I would always say have that plan first, have that fiscal plan. Then the next step is how can I leverage technology? How can i leverage automation that allows me to have the lowest cost, but the most impact right? whether that be in presence or scale, but get that fiscal plan done first and then you know technology. Because technology ultimately will be your most cost-effective way to create scale.
LAURENT TRUC: It’s interesting you should say that. so, is there like a rule of thumb that your technology spend should be X your profit or X your revenue?
ASHU AVASTHI: Yes, you’ll hear lots of sort of numbers out there in terms of you know technology to spend. I want to be careful when we say technology spend too, is you may have… let’s use accounting as an example; you’ll have an accounting you know package, you know if you’re big enough you’re going to be having an accounting package or an accounting person, well that’s not really technology, that’s table stakes, like you can’t not have an accounting package to manage your finances. You know the notion of I like using the email, you have Outlook or whatever email Google suite and you’re paying money for it. Do I consider that a technology investment?
No! because the notion of not having it, it’s so part of mainstream, that’s not a technology investment. so, I just want to qualify when we say technology investment, we do mean investment that is over and above what we call table stakes to run your business, right. This isn’t your email, this isn’t your website, this isn’t you know I mean you can kind of incorporate it in there depending, but you’re probably looking at about five to ten percent and then it can scale differently, but you are probably looking at about on average you should plan for a part of your spend should be about 10 percent on the technology.
LAURENT TRUC: Okay, Very good.
That’s super helpful. Actually, this was great, if somebody would like to get in contact with you with more questions what’s the best way for them to reach you?
ASHU AVASTHI: uh best way I am on LinkedIn so you will easily, but and I have a I’m on our public lands Orton website and my contact information is there as well so and I’m sure with this podcast you’ll send out my information as well.
LAURENT TRUC: Yep they’ll be in the meeting notes absolutely. Awesome! Well, thank you so much for taking the time, really appreciate it. This has been eye-opening and very informative and I hope to get you back on at a future state, if we’ve got some more technology questions, if you’re open to it.
ASHU AVASTHI: would love to.
LAURENT TRUC: Awesome! Alright actually thanks a lot, I appreciate it. Take care.
ASHU AVASTHI: Awesome! Thanks so much.
OUTTRO: Thank you for joining us on this episode of the mad profit podcast, we hope you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play or the listening platform of your choice also check us out at madXcapital.com for more useful information and resources to help you achieve your investing entrepreneurial and business goals. See you next week on the mad profit podcast.