Considering the fascinating twists, turns and travels that fueled his personal journey, it seems ironic that the crafty branding line for his company is "We Do Boring." But dig into the meaning behind the phrase and it makes perfect sense. Crawford's team of high level outsourced COOs take care of the below the line, day to day details of their clients' businesses so they can focus on the passion and vision that drove them to launch it in the first place.
Launched in the fall of 2015, Agents of Efficiency (AoE) identifies the time-sucking, profit draining tasks that distract from their clients' passion and core competency, then implements targeted solutions with their best-in-class service providers. As per the moniker of Crawford's organization, everything is designed to maximize efficiency, the bottom line, and that often elusive happiness that far too often gets lost in the sea of those back-end responsibilities which – while necessary – have nothing to do with why the entrepreneur started their business in the first place. Or as he likes to say, "We do the boring stuff. You do the happy dance."
While Crawford is no stranger to Silicon Valley, and has worked in high level capacities for several of the world's largest shipping corporations, his new company is geared toward the small business owner (law firms, pizza shops, etc.), ideally with 25 or fewer employees, helping streamline their time and workloads and maximize profits. He is starting regionally, with clients in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but plans to expand his operations nationwide by the end of 2016.
"Time after time, I kept running into entrepreneurs and small business owners who were struggling just to survive – let alone thrive – in their businesses because of simple and avoidable mistakes about how they ran the business itself," he says. "They had a clear vision and passion for the CPG product they wanted to bring to market, or web-based service, or they were great at the practice of law – but they got lost in the weeds when it came bookkeeping, technology, operations management – or even marketing."
Agents of Efficiency provides strategy plus execution to struggling small business owners looking to unlock profits and growth for their businesses by re-thinking how they run "the business end" of their companies.
On the strategy side, Crawford unpacks the company's Efficiency Roadmap™ process in his highly anticipated and upcoming book Live Free or DIY – The time-starved small business owner's survival guide. The process utilizes the Business Model Canvas, hypothesis testing and validated learning to guide owners into new insights about how to create more value for their customers and capture more of that value for themselves. It also leverages what Crawford calls "The Golden Formula" to provide a systemized way to center their clients thinking on an obsession with their effective hourly rate, then track and increase that rate continually over time, utilizing tactics like breaking up the value chain and "Focus + LEGO-based day construction" – Crawford's personal system for effective time management.
On the execution side, AoE maintains a carefully curated database of expert service providers that specialize in everything from HR, to bookkeeping, to marketing. Crawford's COOs bring in experts that are the perfect fit for their clients' specific needs. They then manage those relationships and that process as necessary to make sure all the component parts of the strategic plan are working like a well-oiled machine.
"My chief purpose is to remove roadblocks to personal happiness," he says. "The motto at the Federal Academy I attended as an undergrad was Acta non Verba – 'Deeds, not Words.' We become a trusted partner in the trenches, and we force ourselves to prove our ROI every month. If we don't deliver, fire us. That's how confident we are in our results. We love working with small businesses because that's where the greatest needs are, and where the rewards are the largest."