Blog by Jeff Loehr. Jeff is the Chief Marketing Officer at Start Grow Manage and Founding Member of Westchester Angels. He previously held executive roles at Stratist Group, Rio Tinto, and US Borax.

There are all kinds of challenges, problems, and hurdles with title search. Different processes in different counties, outdated technology, and abstracts printed 100 years ago and copied countless times plague the industry.

Worse, most title search companies are slow, unresponsive, and difficult to work with. So, how can technology make title search better? Pippin Title has figured it out. They provide an interesting case study in disruption and the useful application of technology to fix a problem.

Looking into Pippin Title sparked a thought: technology often creates a burden in business. It holds us back even as it is supposed to make our lives easier. So what does it take to use technology to scale a business rather than make more work?

Well, I gave that some thought. Read on…

What not to do.

When was the last time you implemented a piece of technology that made your life easier and helped you scale your business? Think for a minute.

I’ll wait.

I’ve got all day.

It is a hard one, right?

Here is the problem: There is a ton of business technology available, but most technology does not help you scale. First email, the day planner, and Microsoft Word transformed our world. Then email became slack (and email), the day planner became Outlook (and a Day Planner), writing a proposal went to Qwilr (and Word) and on and on.

All of these are great solutions, and none of them make our lives any easier. They make us more available, connected, and raise the standard of delivery.

The technology mistake that most business people make is to add more solutions so that we can work harder and get more done in less time. There are many tools out there to help us work harder.

But this way of implementing technology is backward. If you implement technology that helps you work harder, you are letting the technology manage you rather than using it to make your business life easier and more effective. Rather than a tool for growth and scalability, your technology becomes a cudgel that keeps you at work and on task.

The technology you implement should allow you to work efficiently and get more done with less work, not helping you get more done with more work. This efficiency is what enables you to scale. Or take the weekend off.

You should drive the technology, not the other way around.

The solution is to create a machine

I learned this when I was part of a project at Mercedes Benz in Berlin to create a fully automated Smart Car engine production line. The only way to make the cars profitable was to make the production exceptionally efficient – they required technology to scale their business.

Efficient production meant turning the line into a machine. When Mercedes finished the factory, raw materials (scrap metal and pre-built parts like spark plugs) went in the back. Shiny new three-cylinder engines came out the front.

The automated line was a significant technological achievement that even lived up to the promise of technology to make a business’s life easier.

The key to an efficient business is not cajoling people at the machines into doing more; it is to change the process so that the machine does the work.

Back to title search: Pippin Title does not offer a shiny new messaging service, and title search is not particularly sexy. There is a lot of manual work in it.

Pippin Title has identified a niche, a market need and created a machine that delivers tangible results. Requests go in the back end; shiny new, pre-formatted reports come out the back end. This is technology that allows you to scale your business.

The old system requires manual drudgery, slogging through an old system with new tools bolted on that reinforce the grind. They have applied technology to solve the problem. This type of disruption is what Mercedes brought to engine manufacture. It is also what Uber brought to taxis, and Seamless brought to food delivery.

The essential component of technology that solves a problem is to identify the issues and go after them. Three insidious title search challenges that Pippins Tittle tackles are:

  • You never know with any confidence when you get your title search results, which means a business dependent on title search loses time waiting and scheduling. So, Pippin added a tracking number and scheduled deadlines. Uber, UPS, Dominos, Seamless all solved this problem elsewhere; Pippin Title brings it to title search.
  • The industry is famous for poor communication, so they have added chat and personalized customer service. Instead of you using communication tools to reach out and get information, Pippin uses the tools to make reaching out easier.
  • And searching outside of your area is painful, so they fixed that as well. Traditionally title search firms search locally. But technology expands our reach. So, Pippin Title searches across counties. You end up with one place to go for all of your title searches.

They built a machine that does the work for you, not a shiny new tool that makes your work harder. Ultimately that is the only way technology can grow your business.

Want to get started with Pippin Title? click here.

We are not marketing affiliates and do not receive anything if you buy from them. They just have a great story. Do you have a great machine-building story? I’d love to hear it. Click here to send a message and we’ll connect.

This is what you should ask of the technology you implement to scale your business

Remember, your core function as a business owner is to build a machine, not do the work. Your business is the Smart Engine Factory or Pippin Title search.

Some technology we implement for convenience and because we like shiny new tools. I don’t, strictly speaking, need Youtube prime, and I do rely on communications tools to get work done. But these are not building my business.

The trick is to distinguish between the technology you need to get work done and the technology you need to scale your business. Business building technology does three things:

  1. It does work for you, not make you work more.
  2. It solves a problem you (and or your customers) have and makes a meaningful difference.
  3. Changes the way you (and or your customers) work; it is not just a bolt-on.

The opportunity for innovation and business scalability lies in these three factors. Problem-solving technology is fundamental to creating an advantage in your market and is critical to building your machine. This is how Mercedes revolutionized car engine manufacture, leading to a new line of inexpensive Smart cars, how Uber transformed taxis and Pippin Title reinvented title search.