Time is Money: How This Early Stage Startup Found More Time to Focus on Product

March 10, 2016

Robust RIA

Robust RIA has a clear mission within a complex industry: they make institutional quality investment advice and management available to individuals and foundations. Simply put, the NJ-based startup gives independent advisers more time to spend with their clients by handling trading, technology, and administration.

But where can they carve out more time? Like most small business owners, CEO Mike Kerins recognizes he only has a finite amount of hours in a day to tackle the challenges Robust RIA is facing as they grow. So, how is he channeling his time and energy into the most impactful areas of his business?

A Laser Focus on Product

Fresh off a round of seed funding, Mike is laser focused on growing the business by investing his time in the product. He starts his day at 6AM and goes non-stop from there, pausing only for a cheese steak break–if he’s lucky. He spends most of his time meeting with clients, partners, and developers. In brief windows of opportunity, he’ll do some coding himself. “The less time I can spend on ops stuff, the better I am,” says Mike. “I really have no time for HR, benefits, payroll, or employee onboarding.”

“With Zenefits, I’m able to stop spending time on HR-related tasks and focus on designing, building, and selling our product.”

Mike joined Zenefits without any employees, and immediately began scaling up. “It’s really painless for me to go from 1-8 employees. It’s not an effort. I don’t even have to think about it,” he says. “My onboarding time and hiring time is two minutes for an employee. Input name and email, set compensation, review, send. Period. I don’t get questions, and I’m not emailing documents. It’s really nice.”

Mike loves the preset employment offer letter, NDA and IP assignment agreements, which saved him $1,500 in legal fees. His favorite feature of Zenefits is the integration: “From hiring to health and benefits, it’s all integrated,” he says. “Payroll is linked perfectly, and the whole process is streamlined which allows me to get back to building an awesome product for my clients.”

Mike and his team now save time across the entire HR spectrum. Instead of having the burden of HR tasks fall on him, the onus to enter information is evenly distributed among his employees. From there, Zenefits takes over, cascading the data into benefits, payroll, and everywhere else it belongs. Neither Mike nor his busy employees need to enter anything twice, and all their documents are conveniently accessible online. “You look at your traditional HR framework, and you have an HR person who talks to the employee to collect the info to input into some database. Today, there’s no need for that,” says Mike. “With Zenefits, the employees just do it themselves.”

In addition to employee empowerment, another benefit Mike has seen through Zenefits is the high level of support he receives: “I can email support and get an answer back right away. When you’re trying to do stuff quickly at a business, and you get a response back within 12 or 24 hours on the solution, business doesn’t stop.”

Scaling Up

And business has anything but stopped. In fact, it’s growing–just as Mike had hoped. Robust RIA’s product comes out of beta in mid-late May, and Mike and his team are continuing to invest 100% of their focus on it. “I couldn’t imagine doing what I’m doing now without Zenefits,” he says.

When asked would he recommend Zenefits to others, Mike responded: “Once you try it, you’ll be completely in love with it and say ‘how could I ever hire people without this?’”

Want to discover more stories like Mike’s? Read how more small businesses are leveraging Zenefits to drive their business forward.


Jeremy "Sprout" Brautman is a writer, problem solver, and big fan of growth. When he's not trying to solve problems to help small businesses grow, he can be found developing amenities to increase occupancy at his urban Ladybug Hotel.

Category: Small Business Success Stories

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