By Laura Renner
Mel Austin owns Laugh 2 Success, a stand up comedy and entertainment company. His company provides comedy out into the community, in places like churches, school assemblies, senior homes, military organizations, and hospitals. They also offer Squeaky Clean Comedy at Dave & Busters throughout southern California. Mel’s company works with more than 200 comedians and other entertainers to perform at these shows.
In November 2017, Mel attended a presentation about our Set It and Forget It Systems A Set It and Forget It System is a simple tool for business owners to implement, allowing them to be more efficient and to eventually delegate.
- Trigger--Kickstarts a system into action. Could be time-based or nudge-based, such as “every monday” or “when someone fills out this form”
- Tools--everything a person needs to complete the task such as the log-in information, templates, decision tree, etc.
- Actions--step-by-step procedure of what needs to be done to complete this task or set of tasks
Mel already had the Tools and Actions set up, but he had not set up triggers. As a result, things fell through the cracks when he did not execute one of his systems.
“It was a common issue; I had everything set up but in the hecticness, it wouldn’t get done,” says Mel. “The triggers were the missing link.”
By setting up triggers, Mel was able to use his systems more consistently.
Mel said, as he had been building this business, he had been reading E-myth and learning how to write out the systems, which has been amazing. He learned to document, like the pre-show set up, etc. He had it written out, but no way of reminding himself.
“Your seminar talked about triggers. I set up regular notifications, so I don’t forget the next step.”
For example, Mel has set a reminder on his phone to look at his Accounts Payable on certain mornings. When that reminder pops up, it’s a trigger for him to run through his system for reviewing and paying bills.
Triggers should be as automatic as possible. By automatic, we do not mean through technology alone. For us, automatic means a decision does not need to be made. A small but clear example is laundry detergent. Back when it was a powder or liquid that we poured into the lid, we would determine how much to pour based on the size of the load and how soiled the clothes were. Some of you may just eye it while others would measure exactly. Either way, you had to make a decision on how much detergent to use. Now, we have detergent pods. No decision required at all. Regardless of the size of the load or how soiled the clothes are, you throw a pod in the washer and bam, you’re done. To us, this is automatic because no decision about the suitable amount of detergent needs to be made.
A Set It and Forget It System should be as automated as possible; it should be set up so that the fewest decisions and actions are required. Start with the trigger. As Mel stated, “A lot was written and in the right place but if I’m out performing or making sales calls, I don’t remember to do those things.”
By having triggers in place, Mel does not have to make a decision when to do things. His notifications and reminders trigger his systems into action. Triggers can be time based, such as a time of day or a day of week or month. They can also be nudge based, such as a form is submitted or a call received.
Mel Austin uses triggers as reminders for:
- When customers want a call back at a specific time
- To check flagged emails
- To look at A/P on certain mornings
They are set up strategically: daily, weekly, monthly so that Mel takes care of his tasks in a timely manner and in a way that is not overwhelming.
While discussing how Mel uses reminders as triggers for his systems, we also started talking about the potential downfalls. Mel suggests that if you’re able to condense the reminders, do it. When you have too many reminders, some may fall through the cracks. He states, “I don’t get discouraged if I can’t get to all of them. I still allow them to pop up because I can always go back.”
When you are seeing the same tasks frequently being pushed back, that can be a sign you truly do not have time for that task. Having reminders or triggers in place can help you figure out how and what to navigate for getting things done.
We’re so glad Mel was able to make his systems more effective! What are some triggers you can add to make your systems more effective?
Some of Mel’s favorite Tools for his Set It and Forget It Systems:
- Apple Calendar
- Mac App: reminders
More about Mel Austin:
Mel Austin performs comedy for corporations, military, fundraisers, senior homes, private parties, school assemblies and churches. Mel does ongoing shows for Primerica, American Cancer Society, Veterans of Foreign Wars, VA Hospitals, SCAN Health Care and Ontario/ Chino Unified School Districts. As the CEO of Squeaky Clean Comedy, Inc. (a.k.a. Laughing to Success Entertainment), Mel has access to other comedians to create a full show for clients when requested.
Mel has been an actor and comedian for the last 21 years and has served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He also performs at The Improv, Comedy Store, Laugh Factory and produces comedy events at major venues and local community gathering places. Mel Austin is the host and creator of “Squeaky Clean Comedy” at Dave & Buster's (Ontario, CA). He has several commercial, film and theatre credits. His most recent nationwide commercials are with Terminix and National Geographic and AMP’D Mobile.
Mel Austin is a coach/trainer/teacher of acting and stand up comedy for teenagers, adults and rehabilitated prison inmates. Originally from Chicago, Illinois; He resides in the city of Riverside, California.