David started out like most entrepreneurs, looking for painful problems to solve. He worked as a freelance marketer and saw a lot of accounting firms struggle with various aspects of their business including project management. [3:45] He realized...
David started out like most entrepreneurs, looking for painful problems to solve. He worked as a freelance marketer and saw a lot of accounting firms struggle with various aspects of their business including project management.
[3:45] He realized there was a gap in the market because if you’re a firm owner with a number of clients to manage, the average project management tool is not client centric at all. Sales tools are built for handling a pipeline, not for dealing with tasks. A conversation with one of his first customers lead to the genesis of Jet Pack.
[5:40] Creating a solution and then searching for a problem is a recipe for bankruptcy. David is trying to instill that idea culturally into his business and is always trying to identify the pain that they are working to solve first.
[6:25] By interviewing people in a specific niche and trying to solve their problems, you begin to learn the language of the industry and really understand the challenges they face. If you’re in the world of business, do more interviews and listen to them.
[8:45] The bad news is that there are many challenges, the good news is they are common challenges to the business. The big shift happens when you go from an owner that does everything to being able to articulate the right process for your team to follow. The most successful firm owners begin to think of their business as a product and understand that the quality of their product is determined by their workflow.
[12:10] When something goes wrong, always go back to the workflow that lead to that result. The SAT framework (Standardize, Automate, Track) comes into play when you’re hiring and scaling clients. If you don’t know where to start, begin with the tasks that have the biggest revenue impact or take up the most time. If you can’t get the process out of your head, have an assistant interview you.
[14:50] None of us want to be micromanagers. If you can’t step away from your business without having a panic attack, it probably means you don’t have the right set of tools to give you the visibility to feel comfortable about the progress of the firm.
[16:50] Every business has three systems: the deliverable, the marketing, and operations. Within each system there are processes that instrumental to the successful function. Simplicity is key in your checklists.
[19:20] Whatever muscles you build today are going to be the muscles that you’re using when you hire somebody. If you start building up the discipline of documenting your processes today, you will have those muscles in place when you need them. Anything you ignore in your business accrues, at some point you will have to deal with it. When you start learning you will discover patterns that will make it easier.
[25:00] If you are already using a task management tool and it’s working well, keep using it until the cracks start to show.
[26:30] The more you can systematize your business, the more valuable it is. Nobody wants to buy a business that is basically buying a job. The more days of vacation the owner can take the higher the potential value of the firm, it indicates that there are processes and systems in place, and those are key to living a lifestyle you enjoy.
[30:30] Planning your month in advance is one of the most freeing things you can do because you can see where you are each week and if you’re reaching your goals. We’re always a work in progress, you always have to reevaluate the structure of your workflow and integrate what you’ve learned. If you’re not seeing the information in front of you it’s impossible to improve it.
[34:15] You don’t have to bring all the business improvements to the table, you should rely on your team to bring ideas on how to make things better. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients how you can serve them better. There are innovations in the minds of your clients as much as there are in your team.
[37:50] More often than not, the insights are sitting outside of you in the connections and people you know and work with.
[38:40] The Net Promoter Score is a simple system for pulling insights out of your clients. You will get a lot of feedback from your clients using that tool that you may never hear otherwise. It’s amazing when you listen to your people and what they will tell you. Insights from the Net Promoter Score will uncover the client experience so you can deliver a great workflow.
[43:20] Create a guarantee that will hold you to being able to deliver on the goods. The industry is moving incredibly fast so if you don’t stand out from the pack you will fade into obscurity. A guarantee will highlight your marketing and force you to sharpen your workflow.
Mentioned in this episode: Growing Your Firm podcastDouble Your Accounting Firm by David CristelloJetpack Workflow