Travis Peters shares how a long career in manufacturing administration and a knack for organizing systems (and cattle) led to a small business journey that has been quite a ride.
The longer you work in an industry, the more you notice the problems it faces and start to build potential solutions. Work in a space long enough, and you could end up with a lot of solutions.
The longer you work with cattle, the more proficient you become at moving groups in a single direction. In his spare time, Travis sharpens his skills as he works cattle with his family in Northeast Texas.
After wrangling a herd of cattle all weekend, reigning in administrative processes seems like a breeze. That’s where Travis Peters found himself when he started Impelos, a provider of back office software solutions for manufacturing companies, an industry for which he had developed profitability solutions over a period of years.
When Travis and Impelos needed to improve their own administrative processes for finances and invoicing, they turned to FINSYNC. We sat down with Travis to talk about how his journey began and continues to grow today.
What inspired you to start Impelos?
There’s a significant need in the American manufacturing industry for optimized processes in the administrative workspace. Having previously done this throughout my career, it’s been a thrill for me to be able to remove processes through lean thinking.
I use lean thinking to design software, as a contractor and as an employee. Over the years, I’ve developed a suite of productivity tools that relate specifically to manufacturers. My goal with this business has been to bring those tools to a broader market.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced running a small business?
Cash flow has been a big one. Being able to run the business without debt, manage our investments into the business, and ensure that clients are paying and contractors and vendors are getting paid in a straightforward fashion has been the biggest challenge.
Another challenge is from a sales perspective. Bringing a potential client into the fold to use our product takes a long time. It can be challenging to convey to a client that’s building 30 to 40 custom units a day how our software can freeze administrative overhead where it is today while expanding capacity by 300 to 400%.
Managing our team is also really important. We have employees and contractors, and we use FINSYNC to manage payments for both, as well as all of their related financial needs.
What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learned growing your business?
Every business I go into is different. They each have their own market niche and competitive advantage. That inevitably leads to a different solution as they produce and market their product, fulfill orders and deal with their vendors. That’s been a fun part — discovering how companies choose to differentiate themselves.
As far as running a business for myself, using a method called “profit first,” I’ve found it’s pretty lightweight to manage the financial operations for this business. That’s been a really fun journey for me to be able to make sure that as revenue comes in, the money is allocated appropriately ahead of time, so I don’t find myself in a bind later.
What prompted you to start using FINSYNC?
We had tried Quickbooks and several other solutions, and they all prevented us from getting visibility into where our cash pain points were going to be. Early on in the business we often found ourselves running out of cash unexpectedly.
Whether something someone had purchased on a credit card wasn’t foreseen, or a client payable wasn’t paid on time and we didn’t anticipate that, these situations became a problem. Working with FINSYNC we were able to get a lot of visibility to anticipate the crunches and prepare for those situations.
How has FINSYNC helped you overcome your challenges?
With the cash flow tools that allow us to see where our financial trends are, we’ve been able to look forward and see where potential problems might arise. This allows us to plan accordingly rather than having sudden surprises.
Any advice for small business startups out there?
Strongly consider the profit first method to ensure your most valuable employee gets paid. That’s you, the entrepreneur. You can’t do that without good financial planning. FINSYNC helps with that.