Evan Albert is one of the co-founders and the CEO of Seamless Chex. The New York City-based company was founded in 2012 by himself and his brother, Jonathan. Seamless Chex is a full-service payment processing company providing eCheck, ACH, and credit card processing solutions to e-commerce and retail businesses.
Where did the idea for Seamless Chex come from?
Seamless Chex was created based on pure necessity. My brother and I became increasingly frustrated with the underwriting process of traditional ACH payments, while working in retail merchant services. We encountered countless underwriting hurdles while trying to set up ACH processing services for traditional merchants. As a result, we built Seamless Chex to alleviate merchants of these pain points.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am an early riser and a new father, so I have been up for hours before our phone lines open at 9 am. I use this time in the morning to work out, organize my thoughts and start preparing for my day. I am extremely routine based, but as any small-business owner would understand – no two days look the same – so I have to organize my time based on business priorities. Early mornings and late afternoons are the two parts of my days that remain most uniform: following up on emails, tickets & Slack.
Peak productivity is accomplished through the team’s hard work, dedication, and passion for what we do. We have defined groups dedicated to each facet of our business – I communicate with team leads and employees throughout the workday to ensure priorities are set and goals are met.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life is deeply credited to listening & learning from our customers and partners. Our clients provide vital feedback on what is working, where improvements can be made, and what they would like to see. The same goes for our partners, as their success is a direct measurement of our own. We are constantly building enhancements and refining our products based on client and partner observations. Once feedback is reported, we determine how it can be incorporated as seamlessly as possible – typically just requiring a small design/dev change. For projects that affect various aspects of the business, we take to the drawing board for weeks to ensure proper execution.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Normalizing the concept of credentialed login. Rather than repeatedly inputting sensitive information or sifting through your belongings for banking info, customers pay directly with their bank accounts via username and password. This method is more secure, reliable, and straightforward. I hope these developments continue to make checkout more efficient and user-friendly.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
New industries and businesses are being introduced every day, and in order for Seamless Chex to scale, we must have an intimate understanding of these businesses so we can effectively provide solutions for each. I find that staying on top of industry trends and news updates makes me a more productive entrepreneur. It allows me to grow and pivot alongside new technology trends, as well as monitor what the public eye is excited about.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Read the news, books, and blogs, and listen to podcasts. Stay current with the latest trends because the best ideas are typically right under your fingertips. Keep your eye on the “why.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Airline flight prices reset every Wednesday.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen to your customers. This has been an integral piece of Seamless Chex’s success. By doing so, you are fundamentally managing customer experience, satisfaction, churn/loyalty, and improving products and services along the way. I believe all entrepreneurs need to wedge out time to listen to consumers’ feedback: the good, the bad & the ugly.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Patience – we are willing to spend the extra time & resources toward training our team, building relationships in the industry, obtaining a holistic understanding of consumer needs & moving toward trends the right way rather than the fast way.
I credit our team for the raw success of Seamless Chex. Having a well-trained, diverse workforce ultimately leads to growth: Training results in a group of individuals with a common language and understanding of goals. A diverse team brings new perspectives and cuts inefficiencies. And listening to the opinions and needs of our team generates a well-oiled machine.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In 2014, I co-founded a company called “Taply ” which was a product that allowed customers to checkout online by simply using the phone number associated with their Taply account. Customers could download the app, create an account in under 60 seconds & fully checkout with just their phone number. We integrated directly with merchants to display a Taply button as a checkout option & processors to ensure proper security and relationship management. As Taply started to pick up traction, we were removed from the app store – instantly killing the business. After countless times trying to fight the removal, we were denied and never reinstated. As upsetting as it was, especially knowing how timely (almost too timely) this product was, we learned the most important lesson of all: You always want to be able to determine your fate – you never want to rely on anyone to dictate your success or demise. Along with that, we learned the ins and outs of the payment industry & have been fortunate enough to grow and scale with the same development team the whole way.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea I’ve been sitting on, is an application for big cities that would identify where scaffolding is. The main purpose is to show city walkers where they can find maximum coverage (within their current route) during severe weather conditions. I think about creating this simple app every time I’m caught in the rain walking home from work.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I am a new dad, so the best $100 I recently spent relates to my son. We recently bought him a motorized swing which rocks and soothes him to sleep while his parents work – I am sure the majority of new parents would agree that is $100 well spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Slack is a simple, reliable software that supports our team’s productivity every single day. It enables streamlined communication between our coworkers, partners, designers and developers alike. We exchange information, delegate work, and remain in constant contact to reduce inefficiencies. I find the simplicity of the tool nearly ironic, as it brings together thousands of people, positions and other software in such a secure / seamless way.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book I recommend all entrepreneurs and business owners read is: “Zero to One” by Peter Theil. This book provides a no-bullshit take on true entrepreneurship and provides actionable advice for startups owners. Theil discusses competition, different markets, technology, and the impacts of globalization. “Zero to One” is a must-read for any business owner.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”-Winston Churchill.
- Take your partners’ and clients’ feedback seriously.
- Stay current on the trends, and find where you can implement them into your business.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.