Make things simple.
Steven Toups is the CEO and Founder of Cleargistix.
Cleargistix is a software company that helps small businesses get away from paper and spreadsheets. They take the data input systems that the company is already using and implement an easy to use solution based software. Steven believes in simplifying things.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Stick around to the end of the show; we'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
Josh: And with us right now, we've got the CEO and founder of clear just sticks, Steven Toups. And Steven, we connected three and a half years ago at a conference. And then lo and behold, small world like that somehow we were introduced to one another. And it was Tad who said that, you'd be a really, really great guest. And I agree, because I already know what you do. And so really, really great to have you on. Thank you so much.
Steven: Great to great to reconnect, Josh.
Josh: Now we're recording this. And right now, there is the back end of a hurricane that's just kind of passed by.
Josh: So, thankfully, New Orleans didn't get slammed by what was the name of the hurricane? Laura? Laura. Laura. Okay. Yeah, it's all in it bypassed Florida. So shoo. But I'm so glad that you didn't get to hit too hard there in New York,
Steven: Arizona with the folks in the Lake Charles area, like some significant devastation. Yeah, for sure. So you work within the oil and gas industry, right? Primarily? Yes,
Josh: yeah. And so explain a little bit about what Cleargistix does.
Steven: Sure. So we like we like to say we deliver information, peace of mind. And we do that by helping companies get rid of the very frustrating paper or spreadsheet based collection of information in the field. So we have a cloud based solution that allows companies to collect information digitally, natively in the field. And then we manage the workflows around that information for review, approval and reporting purposes. As a result, we save company, we help companies save costs and time, helping get paid faster, and very importantly, help them accelerate the availability of management information.
Josh: Yeah. So your industries, again, oil and gas, Toronto construction, some other ones? Is it really still that much paper out in the field?
Steven: Oh, yeah, it's, it's, you know, the, I was amazed by the level of paper in the field. And so I actually kind of got here through a real world experience. So I was sent to Midland, Texas working for a group of investors who had bought an oilfield services company. They weren't sure they were getting the right information or unsure, you know, a lot of things about the company. And so they hired me to be their company's first Chief Financial Officer. So I parachuted into Midland, Texas. And one of the things that I saw was I was just really shocked by the level of paper based documentation in the oilfield. Not only documentation on activities and revenue transactions for us, but safety, documentation, inspection, documentation, expense reports, stuff payroll, I mean, just form after form, after form, after form. And I had actually looked for a solution that I thought could alleviate this problem, and didn't find anything that I felt my folks, my folks would use. And, you know, the the the important thing is getting the information digitally in the field. And I didn't find anything that I thought our field folks would actually use that kind of was able to meet our business needs. And that kind of always stuck in my head. And then I had one of the investors from that investor group asked me to take a look at a software company that he had started and founded and funded. And asked me to take a look at it, see what I thought. And what I saw was kind of the basis for a system that could be used to help get rid of paper in the oil field. And so I joined what is now Cleargistix in late 2015. So a lot of our company has real you know, we we were developed based on real world experience, so we didn't have to guess as to what the industry wanted or liked or how it worked. We knew all the things. And so all those things come through in our product.
Josh: You know, and I want, you know, again, our listener, if you're working in an industry or in a space or you know, the community or culture that that you're experiencing, not everybody is is comfortable moving forward, because, you know, this, they might look at the way that they're doing things and say, this works. So why change? And do you find that there's much resistance to going paperless?
Steven: Yeah, change, change management as a big part of our business. You know, I, I tell folks, when I'm speaking all the time, that you know, there was a, there was a study done of patients that had significant heart issues. And these were patients that were told you have to change your lifestyle, or you're going to die. All right. And so they track this group of patients, throughout 11% of the patients enacted real, meaningful lifestyle changes, based upon the advice of their doctor. Now, again, it was change or die, and 11% chose to change. And so change management for us is just as important as our solution. And we've learned a lot. And a lot of the things that the way that we implement, the way that we develop is all based on change and change management.
Josh: Wow. So what was when you maybe first joined clear logistics or beforehand, you know, when you're going out, and you're having meetings with folks, and you're laying out a vision? What are some of the responses that that you got, maybe in the earlier days, uh, you know, just in terms of like, you know, companies that always kind of been doing things a certain way, I would imagine some of receptive, especially if you could demonstrate cost savings or efficiencies.
Steven: Yeah, well, especially getting started, you know, you're asking for someone to try out, that's like, one, just give me a chance, because this is gonna work. I know, it's gonna work. But you get a lot of, hey, nothing wrong with paper, we got a lot of, you know, hey, it's, it's it's working. It's been the way that we've always done it. I had, you know, just gotten a lot of entrenched, folks that are just like, well, this is the way we've always done it, this is the way we're gonna continue.
Josh: Yeah. So I would imagine, then, a lot of what you do is really just education.
Josh: It's like, you know, and I would imagine your case studies, oh, man, that would probably do all the selling for you, if I go to your website. So it's, your website is Cleargistix.com. And it's clear, just G I S T I X .com. Here we go learn more case studies, ah, that this right here is got to pretty much do like 90% of your selling.
Steven: Yeah, it does. And when you've got when you've got customers that are willing to not only put their name, but put their quotes behind your solution.
Steven: We've got a lot of great customer, and not only Customer Quotes from people who bought it and sign the contract, but folks that actually use it, you know, in our, in our case study with OTC offshore technical compliance, you know, one of their leading field technicians, they call them field experts said that we're saving them a half hour to an hour a day-
Josh: Oh jeez.
Steven: In documentation. So that's significant.
Josh: You know, you think about a, you know, someone that's out in the fields, a trained professional, and the value of their time and what that's worth, and if you can make their job more efficient, you know, we don't want them doing menial tasks.
Josh: You want them doing what only they can do you want them using their their wisdom and their experience. And-
Josh: You know, and their decision making, that's what you want to pay them for.
Josh: Not, you know, taking an extra, you know, five minutes per conversation to, you know, do things, you know, document things inefficiently on paper, which then needs to be scanned in or re typed or whatever it is.
Steven: And that's, that's a question that we got early on, you know, we had folks saying, hey, if I use your solution, how many people can I get rid of in my office?
Josh: Oh, yeah.
Steven: And my response to that was always, who do you think are the people that know more about what's actually going on in your company?
Steven: It's the people keying in on the paper.
Steven: And you're not using their brains, you're using their fingertips. Mm hmm. And so, change from using a as you described it, a menial job to being an analyst because these are people who can spot things that hey, that's just doesn't look right. Let me go follow up on this. Well, if you're keying in a couple of hundred tickets every week, you have no time to do that.
Josh: Mhmm. Yeah. So what's going on in 2020? For you?
Steven: Oh, boy. 20, 2020 has been very interesting for us. Yeah. You know, we we really took the opportunity we've grown up in the oilfield. So that's kind of, as I indicated, that's where we got our start. Um, but we have always known that there are other opportunities for us out in the marketplace, you know, what we do? And so one of our primary initiatives in 2020, was Let's go find some other places. And we've been, we've been successful in identifying a number of other industry verticals, that we've got active conversations going on a couple of which we've got some customers now in to, you know, kind of diversify our market space. The second thing that we decided to do, and we decided to do it very early on in the shutdown, so the oilfield was not only affected by COVID Coronavirus, but there was a huge price war between the Saudis and the Russians.
Steven: Which really completely tanked the price of oil. So, you know, the oil fields really been hit by a double whammy here. And so what we decided to do very early on there, Josh, was, we need to tell our story better, because we felt that a lot of people were going to be sitting at home now in front of their computers on LinkedIn, on Facebook, um looking around, and we wanted to have our message be out there. And so that's the three of them four case studies we've published in the last, you know, four or five months. So we you know, we wanted to do a better job of telling our story out there in the marketplace. And we're seeing a lot of a lot of results from that.
Josh: Yeah, yeah. And so in the years ahead, where do you see Cleargistix? Moving to? Or, you know, what, what sort of innovations? Or what sort of things do you do you see Cleargistix doing?
Steven: Well, we've got, we got a lot of stuff in the hopper. And you know, that, for us, it is a fundamental change in the entirety of the oil fields, payments process, the oil fields Business Administration process, to have information digitally in the field. And the opportunities around using that information are absolutely enormous. And we are pursuing opportunities to really fundamentally change how those business processes go on right now. And so there's going to be some some interesting things coming out of Cleargistix here in the next six months or so.
Josh: Yeah, terrific. Terrific. So as a company, what what would you say, has led to your success from a leadership perspective? And maybe from a culture perspective?
Steven: Yeah, I mean, we've, we have had a always listening, always learning. That is one of the things that I've tried to instill in our, in our team and in our folks. You know, we're a small shop. And I tell people, you know, when you're, when you're coming to work here, you're not coming to work for IBM, it's going to be red today, green tomorrow, yellow The day after that, and you just got to be willing to roll with the punches. And those punches, not figurative- figurative punches. A lot of them come from the customers. And a lot of you know, the best ideas we've gotten, have all started off with a conversation with one of our customers that said, “you know what would be nice?” And if you're not listening, you're not hearing that. And you know, what would be nice, always has great stuff on the end of it. Because it's stuff that we've probably because we're so close to it. We don't say,
Steven: But the customers who's coming in new “man, you know, be nice if I could put this information here that would eliminate two jobs. And I've got down downstream from that information.” It's like, why didn't we think of that?
Josh: Yeah, you know, and think about this from from your clients perspective. So your client who could say, “Okay, well, we're just going to try to figure out how to go paperless on our own”
Josh: They lose not just the benefit of your experience and wisdom. But the ongoing learning that you get from all of your other clients, who, in real time are saying, whoa, this just impacted everybody on the industry. We came up with this clever idea. How to do that. So now, and a clever idea with one of your clients now has the ability to deploy across everybody that you get to work with. And that's kind of, you know, when we do b2b sales systems, that's, you know, it's tough doing sales on your own, and you have to come up with all of the brilliant ideas, you know, individually, it's a get to find a way to get together with a network where we could all share those ideas. And I think that's, you know, kind of the benefit that that your clients have as well.
Steven: Yeah, you know, again, as I said, we're always always listening, always learning. That is so, so important. But the solution we have now is the solution we have, because we've got some great customers who, who've really taken the time to provide us some great feedback on the solution. You know, the old adage in software is you got to learn more about your system, the first five times you implemented that is,
Steven: Completely true. Go in with an idea, and all of a sudden, it's like, oh, well, no, that's not working, or this is working, let's do more of this and less of that. And-
Steven: Um, yeah, we've we've got a different solution now, because of feedback we've gotten from our customers.
Josh: Yeah. Steven, for for those listening, like, who would be a, you know, great person to reach out and connect with you? And, you know, what, what's the outcome that you can help them with?
Steven: Yeah, so you know, for us, you know, I when I walk around, well, I used to walk around trade shows. Or when I'm talking to folks, you know, ask them two questions. You know, did does your company send people out into the field to do work? If the answer that yes, the second question is, are they using paper or spreadsheet to document that work? If those are two yeses? That's somebody I want to talk to we have it we have a very easy sales qualification process.
Josh: Yeah. Excellent. Okay. So your website is Cleargistix.com or again, that C L E A R, gistix, G I S T I X.com. Anything that folks should look for when they get there?
Steven: No. So you know, you mentioned it before, the place that I like to drive people towards is our case studies. You know, don't don't listen to me. Us, listen, listen to our customers, and listen to our customers, office personnel, the executives that made the decision. And you know, as I mentioned, when we started off, you know, what we deliver peace of mind. And that comes through in the case studies, because if you've got a lot of paper out there, you know, you're always worried about you have everything Do you have is everything right? Was everything keyed in correctly? Using a system such as ours, you go right on, you can look at everything. You can look at yesterday's business today using paper. Can't do that.
Josh: Yeah. Fantastic. All right. Again, Steven Toups. Thank you so much for joining us Cleargistix.com. I appreciate it.
Steven: Fantastic, Josh. I appreciate reconnecting. And thank you for your time.
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