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Using JetPack Workflow for project management with David Cristello

Published by Summit Marketing Team on 03 Jun 2020

The Modern CPA Success Show: Episode 15


In this episode, we are sitting down with a special guest, David Cristello, founder and CEO of JetPack Workflow and Adam Hale, the COO at Summit CPA to talk about JetPack Workflow, a project management tool designed for recurring client management.

At Summit CPA, we have found JetPack Workflow to be an extremely valuable tool to create workflows that maintain consistency and quality as we grow our business. Listen to learn about how JetPack Workflow can benefit your CPA firm and the best approach to getting started.

Jamie Nau: Hello and welcome to today's podcast. Today we're going to do something kind of unique, but we hope to continue doing in the future. We're going to start bringing in guests from some of our favorite tools so we can really talk through how the tool works and really give recommendations. So today, Adam and I are joined by David Cristello, who's the Founder and CEO of Jetpack Workflow. And just to throw it out there, he's also an excellent podcast host. So he may start throwing questions back at us and turn this around on us. I have been listening to his podcast for a long time and know he's really good at it. So he is comfortable on air in these type of conversations. So thanks for joining the show David. I'd like for you to start off by telling us a little bit about your background and also how you started Jetpack.

David Cristello: Well, thanks for having me on. You just reminded me that I need to have you on as a guest. I had a really popular episode with Jody, maybe you can be a future guest as well. So I'll just commit publicly for you to come on our show. But, you know, my background is, I spent a number of years as a marketing consultant, more or less, and then I started to become very passionate about what were the blockers stopping people from doing their best work. I started interviewing specifically, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll tax firm owners on the biggest blockers that were stopping them. What was keeping them up at night? What was stopping them from getting new clients, or bringing on new team members with confidence? And this whole problem of checklist management, having different lists in different places, and people doing things slightly different from each other kept coming up. And actually a little known secret about Jetpack Workflow, is that the first version of the app, so in our code base today, it's called Checklists Pro. That's only because I heard checklists so much. We just had to think of a name last minute and said okay, I'll just call it Checklist Pro for now. So some parts of our code base is still called that. But anyways, you know, that's really the origin for us, is we saw that accounting firms primarily we're trying to standardize a set of services they took on. And, you know, CRM tools are really built for salespeople. Project management tools are really built for a defined sprint of work, like a website project. But there's a really big gap in what we sometimes call, recurring client management. So how do you house all the client information in one place, but still have a level of job management or project management associated with all those clients?

Jamie Nau: Great. So you tailored it for accountants. How early on did you hire an accountant? Did you have some bookkeepers helping you with what it takes to build it?

David Cristello: Yeah, so we created a founding members program. That's a little bit different than maybe a beta group. So we actually had 10 firms who pre-purchased the product before we started building it because I just thought, well, you're going to get the best feedback if people actually put the money down and pre-purchase it. They will be very clear on what's required for them to purchase and continue to purchase it moving forward. So we had 10 firms come on board really early on. And you mentioned the podcast. I mean, we got into podcasting very early on because I wanted to keep interviewing the market on what were the pain points, and the trends that are going on so we can incorporate that back into the product. So we had our initial 10, but it's just built in our DNA to always go out and re-interview the market, see what's changed. See what's still relevant.

Jamie Nau: Awesome. I think that's the definitely the way to do it. I think it's cool that it's tailored specifically for accountants. I started listening to your podcast a long time ago, even before I was at Summit. I was listening to your podcast trying to figure out how other accounting firms are doing it.

Adam Hale: Oh here it comes, kissing up. I will tell you I'm the one that actually found you. So we've struggled with that a lot, exactly what you said , checklists. Fatigue really. I was one of those people that would, you know, whenever you hit your tax checklist, or whatever you check in the first box, and then you just drag the line all the way through the rest of it. So even whenever you try to find online tools, and things of that nature, it was really difficult for us. I think what was most appealing whenever we were looking at Jetpack, what we were trying to find, was really we were looking for a wiki, if you will, that we could operationalize. So we wanted to make sure that we were building out our processes, documenting them so that people could go on vacation, they could switch tasks, they could do all those kind of things, knowing that, you know, sometimes even in some of the process workflow, we might not always use that because again, once you get used to a process you want to document out the 10 different steps, but you might be able to skip through. I really like our ability to go in and task out all of the jobs, but then to be able to clear things at the job level once somebody gets going and used to the process. I mean, if there's ever a break in the process, we can go back, look at the tasks. Whenever we want to shift things to another team member, we're able to do that. So I think that was really what was super helpful to us.

David Cristello: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you bring up such a good point in that different firms have different level of sophistication in terms of what the team knows how to do. You might have a tenure team member that really doesn't need to look at every single task to complete it. But you need to have it documented because that's how you scale when you're bringing on new team members. One of the biggest traps we saw in firms as there were kind of growing, say it's so much institutional knowledge, and maybe their first hires were very tenured or senior people. As they started hiring more and more, I guess team members, you probably may skewed towards a little bit less experienced than the early hires. If you're not documenting those steps in a proper way, they're going to be skipped over. There's going to be quality control issues. There's going to be training issues. There's going to be not auditing from an accounting standpoint, but from a management standpoint, auditing challenges to know what people are missing or getting stuck on. I think it's a phenomenal point. When you build out a checklist, you want to kind of build it to the lowest denominator possible, the person that has the least kind of experience. That's how you can create a structure where you can bring in new team members very quickly if need be, or contractors, or interns, or whoever it may be. Adam Hale: Yeah, and we were able to do a lot with templates. I mean, Jamie was the mastermind of all that stuff. But, you know, we have four or five tasks that we do globally for most of our clients. He was able to really make sure everybody on the team was doing the same process the same way quickly by building out templates, and then dragging it across the team and kind of teaching them all at once how to make sure that they were doing all the steps. And we learned a lot about the process doing that as well, because whenever he's like, okay, here's the eight ways. Here's the little steps to do this process, people are like, well, what about this and what about that? And we were able to build a more comprehensive, you know, kind of choose your own adventure kind of a thing within those tasks, which was super helpful as well. Just going through that process.

David Cristello: Yeah. I mean, so I don't know if we want to get hyper into the features, but, you know, the way we look at it is you want to set up your steps, we call them tasks in the system, and you want it to be high level enough so people can conceptually understand what they're supposed to do. You can always create or attach documents to a task, or open up a task description and add subtask, add notes. So this is kind of how you are able to thread the needle of creating a path for your tenured folks where they can just kind of move through the process very seamlessly. But if you have somebody that needs a little bit more handholding, or they need to remember how to work through a certain system or tool, talk to a client, sometimes, you know, call scripts will be attached to a task. You can attach the reference documentation, put things in the in the description. I am also just conceptually a fan of start simple. Start with five steps or eight steps. You can always go to one hundred later and put more stuff in the reference material, then building out these really elaborate templates. Of course that's dependent on the firm. If you're a firm that already has well-documented steps, and you just want to bring that into the cloud, in a more collaborative manner, then by all means great. We just see a lot of firms kind of take their first step at trying to get organized and standardize, and they want to overdo it. So it's always easier to start with less than add more later.

Adam Hale: It's a rabbit hole for sure. I mean, I think we've always ran into issues with that as well. That's why I think, Jamie, the videos really help us out, right?

Jamie Nau: Yeah, for sure. To Adam's point, we've always been a big firm around E-Myth. Especially the E-Myth accounting version. When I introduced Jetpack to the team I told the story. And if you ever read E-Myth, any of our listeners, I would definitely read it. But there's the story in there about the hotel. Where the main character goes to this hotel and has this great experience. And the reason, one of the main reasons he has a great experience is because they have the binder. The binder that tells every new customer what to do. How to handle every situation that my come up during their stay. We didn't have the binder at Summit. We had a lot of cool things we did, but we didn't have the binder. So Jetpack is pretty much our binder. Our Jetpack tells us how to handle each client, how to handle each situation, how to handle recurring tasks over and over again. So to Adam's point, one of the big things about having a binder on the cloud, or out there, is that we can have access to videos. So we don't just have written instructions, and all of our tasks. We have a quick five, six, seven minute video that walk us through the task and say, well, first you log into this database. You pull this report and the sum of the parts can look like this, and you can you delete these fields. We have video with the detailed instructions, because when you do get someone doing an account, or someone's doing it for the first time because someone's out sick, the instructions are very detailed. Which is very helpful for us.

David Cristello: Yeah it just makes me think of that point, you know, sometimes they need to slow down to speed up. I don't know when this this episode is going live, but obviously we're going through not only COVID-19, but all kinds of turmoil in the markets. And I think there's a real push to try to go, go, go and run with everything and just throw stuff at the wall, to put it mildly. But, you know, there’s also something to be said about taking a step back. Take a deep breath, try to document the important things that are going on in your firm as a way to set yourself up to be more consistent, more predictable, in a world in which we're becoming highly uncertain. To have the certainty in those templates I think is really important. So, again, it just the way you guys are talking about it, you clearly had the mindset. Let's slow down a little bit. Let's shoot the videos. Let's document everything. Let's make sure we have a layer of consistency and quality. So as we continue to grow that maintains, right? And you've probably been able to skip over a growth ceiling because you've done that.

Jamie Nau: Yeah, definitely it has helped us grow. It's helped us add client quicker and all that good stuff. Jetpack has been very beneficial to us. But you know, we didn't add Jetpack until we were at about 40 employees. Does that sound about right Adam? So I'm curious to you, David, when do people usually migrate into Jetpack? What is your average size firm, and kind of what's that tipping point?

David Cristello: So there's kind of two buckets people come to Jetpack Workflow in. The ones that come to us, we call them we call them “Jerryies”, get organized Jerry, or Jerry just get your stuff together, they come to us because they need to get organized. That tends to be at a smaller scale firm. Now, believe me, I've talked with a 20 person firm and they're like, now's the time we need to get our stuff together. I'm like, that's amazing. You got to 20, you don't have anything together, that's really impressive. I guess there's a way to put it, but they typically skew towards the smaller end. And it's typically, you know, that owner who came out as an exceptional practitioner, started their firm delivering great client work, and all of a sudden they realized everything's in their head, or everything's in a spreadsheet. And the one or two admin assistants they've hired can no longer scale. Not everybody can just follow them around physically, or digitally to figure things out. So that kind of customer definitely skews towards the smaller end. Although, again, we've had larger firms come in from the, we just need to get organized perspective, and we certainly excel and get them organized. That's kind of the early problem that we built around. The next one is the manage my team bucket, not surprisingly, skews to a slightly larger firm. I think the typical range for us is anywhere from like 30 – 33 employees. We have some that have hundreds of employees inside of Jetpack Workflow. We have many that just wanted to do it themselves for the entire firm, or they might have an assistant. But the manage my team, and we call this buyer persona managed my team Mary, they typically come to us and they have a challenge of A, managing the team. So they got organized. It allowed the firm to breathe again, to go out and get more clients, or you get more clients you have to go out and hire team members. So management becomes a lot harder. And this is typically where a practitioner who is doing everything early on starts to become more of a manager. Then there's a third one I talk about is, you know, moving into CEO. It's very E-Myth related, but managing my team becomes a really big deal. So we kind of come in with that angle, and then also scaling the client experience becomes a really big challenge. Early on, you know, Jerry will do everything he possibly can to help out any client in any way possible, which is somewhat viable when you have a smaller client base. But again, once you get organized, your client base grows, and you just can't take every client call every minute of the day, and chase down, and go above and beyond. So you really start to feel the pain of a scalable, consistent client experience, and then trying to figure out what your team is doing. So I'd say those are the primary buckets of pain that that we solve. And, you know, the manage my team bucket definitely skews a little bit higher. Getting organized definitely skews slower. But like I said, we've had firms that are small, and they've already organized, and they're worried about managing their team, and the same with get organized. We've had large firms that still haven’t gotten organized, but for whatever reason, they were able to reach a headcount that was quite impressive without having any real systems in place.

Adam Hale: So generally smaller is where they start is what you're saying?

David Cristello: Yeah that's a good way to summarize it.

Adam Hale: So get with you early on, or you can’t scale early is what I heard. You know, we were probably an exception, and we did a lot. We just tried to do it on our own, and we just needed a tool.

David Cristello: Yeah and the nature of your organizational chart, you know, shows me that you clearly had thought about the problem. You clearly set up measures to try and resolve the problem. It's nearly impossible in my mind for Summit to have been as successful as you guys were when you first started without having thought deeply about the workflow challenges you were experiencing.

Adam Hale: Yeah, and we used tools like Trello. I don't know if you're familiar with that or not, but, you know, the team really loved it. The problem was, is the inconsistency. You know, somebody's trying to walk into somebody else's Trello board or Jamie coming and saying, hey, I'm trying to manage this process or this thing. It's just everything's unique. So that's why we really needed to bring something together that would kind of unify things. So we definitely kind of limped along for a while.

David Cristello: It's interesting, you're the second firm that we talked with, and there's another firm owner I was talking with the other day, and he had reached the 32 to 34 people inside of Trello. I think that’s because Trello, if you have a good methodology, if you have a good discipline as a firm, it's so flexible, I think it can help you scale up. But it's so interesting that you both use the same tool, about the same size where you really started to move into something like Jetpack Workflow. But to your point earlier, we typically start working with firms a little bit earlier in the headcount perspective.

Jamie Nau: Trello definitely helped us with the organization part early on, and helped us get organized and helped us make sure that things were getting done, which is obviously very important. But to Adam’s point, when I was moved into this director role, I would jump in to different clients, and it took me 40 minutes to figure out what we're doing on that client that was different from where we were doing on another client because Trello was so adaptable. You could do too much in there where it was just like we were delivering a different product to each of our clients. That’s why we made the move to Jetpack, more for the standardization standpoint. Now it’s like okay, we're taking on 4 new clients this month. I want to make sure that every CFO is not doing something completely different and spending too much time recreating the wheel versus, hey here's some templates you can use. Here's the product you deliver. Here's what you do each week. Really what this podcast is about. To take them time to talk about those practices and what we do there. So that's exactly what we use Jetpack for. The standardization purposes.

David Cristello: Yeah and look, I don't know the answer to this, so I don't need to be leading you guys in any kind of way possible. Maybe it's nothing, whatever, but with standardization, have you seen a profit increase? A margin increase? Have you seen kind of like a tangible ROI output of using the tool?

Adam Hale: Yeah.

Jamie Nau: Yeah definitely.

 Adam Hale: We measure gross profit, so, you know, that directly is related to efficiency. And so I attribute that to really everything Jamie's been doing for us over the last year while he's been in that role. But Jetpack has been a big part of what he's been doing, which is standardization of our process and everything. So we've definitely seen the ROI and are continuing to. So I think as we grow, we're going to be able to take even more advantage of that.

Jamie Nau: I think even more versus the profitability. I think what we've seen is it is easier to grow. Before we were always trying to find that unicorn in trying to hire a CFO. It was like okay, we need someone that can pick this stuff up really quick, and do exactly what Adam does. And to be honest, no one can do exactly what Adam does. It's very hard to do. So we were trying to find these unicorns out there and it was very difficult. So now  that the process is standard it’s much easier to hire. We can say what our CFO does is exactly this. I can walk you through three clients, exactly the same. This is what we need. This is what we're trying to do, and this is what we try to deliver. It makes it so we don't have to find this unicorn. So it's going to really, really, really help our scaling, which is the hope.

Adam Hale: But it's all the way through the organization. It's our accountants, our senior accountants our VCFOs. One of the biggest things, I think David, that like hit me was, whenever we had a bunch of new hires, and we had some people transitioning off the team, the new people said, without a doubt, night and day difference onboarding the team member was a complete difference between people that had set up their Jetpack before they had left, and clients where there was no Jetpack. They just felt like they're flying blind. They didn't know what to do, where to go, anything, and they just felt like they were on a totally different on ramp whenever they had Jetpack fully implemented for a client. So that made our decision right there, because that was very early on. We'd only had a few. We just started rolling it out to a couple clients and we were just like okay, we need to press the gas here and make sure all of our clients are set up as fast as possible.

David Cristello: Yeah, that's amazing. The marketer of me wants to keep pressing you on specific ROI, but maybe I'll get to that after the call.

Jamie Nau: Maybe on your podcast. [Laughing]

David Cristello: Yeah. [Laughing]

Adam Hale: I think we moved the needle. What was it? It's numbers. I think we moved our GP percentage up like four point over last year. That's pretty significant. I mean, four points over one year. We still want to move it up about another four or five. I think we're pretty confident that we'll get there. So that a pretty fast ramp to move the needle four points on GP.

David Cristello: Yeah especially at your size and especially how thoughtful you all had been from a discipline and process perspective. That's amazing. Jamie, you brought up such a good point I wanted to touch on for a second is that if you're an exceptional CFO. Exceptional at any specific craft. You're an exceptional marketer, salesperson, CFO, whatever it may be, the skill set that allows you to be exceptional at that, usually doesn't translate well to being exceptional at building out the playbook to scale it up. And look Adam, maybe you are, maybe you aren’t I am not sure, but it's like, this is the reason Michael Phelps is not a swim coach, and he probably would be a horrible swim coach, because he just knows how to do it. He's unconsciously competent. I mean, he just excels and he's in his zone. If somebody asked him, hey, what are you doing to be such an exceptional athlete? He probably couldn't tell you. Yeah he'll say, I worked hard, blah, blah, all the normal stuff. But he can't go back and deconstruct all the individual things that he's developed from a muscle memory perspective. And so I think for a lot of people listening, I think if you're in that role, and you're exceptional at something maybe having a team member, that's not you, having a team member outside of you, run with setting up a process is really important because you're probably not great at developing out that playbook because it's all muscle memory to you at that point.

Adam Hale: We must have talked about a year or two ago when we decided to move Jamie in the direction of the director role, because that was pretty much the conversation between Jody and I. It was like, I am not good at this. He's not good at this. We need somebody that is, and you know, Jamie definitely had both the accounting acumen, and obviously the process and the drive. So that's worked out well.

David Cristello: I've had to go through this personally with, you know, like so I have a little bit of a marketing background. Building out the marketing playbook was hard, but being a founder, being an owner like you guys, you just think, well, I could figure it out. I could read enough books and I can take enough courses, and I can talk with enough coaches and mentors, probably to figure it out. That just doesn't work well. No matter how stubborn we want to be, that we can somehow magically build out this new muscle is very, very challenging. So I would just, you know, challenge a lot of people listening. If you find yourself to be kind of this exceptional athlete, and whatever kind of area you're in, you know, look outside of yourself, look at the team that you have. There's probably somebody out there that has a superpower that is so complimentary to you that they can start building out this playbook. Because you're right, if you have to go out and hire a unicorn every single time for the first CFO role, it's nearly impossible. I mean, it is so challenging, right? So I just want to rest on that point. I think many owners probably fall in that bucket where they just think, well I can build it up, I can build it out. You probably can't.

Adam Hale: No that was our problem. We did that from for many years, and I think that realization kind of came to a head with, you know, getting Jamie in there and him doing the Jetpack, having a champion, too, to really promote the cause. I mean, people make fun of Jamie all the time at work. They call him Jetpack Jamie, because, you know, we talked about it. I mean, I harassed him on a regular basis. I said, hey man, when you pull into someone’s office, ask them where the Jetpack is. Ask them why it's not open. Tell them to prove it show it to you. Before you leave so the same thing. You know, that kind of thing, so now Jamie's name is synonymous with Jetpack.

David Cristello: And that's such a good point. How you treat the investment in the tool. And obviously, look, we're a fan of Jetpack, but this is any tool that you take on that. It has to be something that you continue to think about. So you make sure you get the ROI out of it. You know, I was in an interview the other day, and somebody was talking about, are you doing enough to maximize your current tech stack? And again, the first question might be, well who owns it? Maybe that's not clear. Sometimes I do it, and sometimes you do, and sometimes they do it. Now, who is the owner, and what can we do to help empower them to run with it?

Jamie Nau: To Adam’s point, when we started Jetpack, that's exactly the prep talk that Adam and I had. He's like, if this is going to work, you have to be the champion of it. They do call me Jetpack Jamie, every time I mention Jetpack, you can hear people laughing in the background. You know, it's pretty much in every meeting I'm in. All I need is my Jetpack shirt to be wearing.

Adam Hale: Yeah, where is that swag?

David Cristello: I'm actually really embarrassed we haven't sent you stuff. As long as our office is not quarantined with tarps all over it in the near future we will have to send some stuff your way. That's amazing. I didn't know they called you Jetpack Jamie.

Adam Hale: Yeah we've got a team retreat coming up. I think if you could douse him in some swag, I think it'd be pretty well received by the team.

David Cristello: We'll try to get it sent out because, I mean, look, we look at software tools, generally speaking, I'm sure there's more nuance to it but you have your source of action, you have your source a record. I think a lot of firms index into the source of action. Well, we need to be experts at quick books online where we actually do the accounting work, or we need to be experts and the Lacert or Drake where we do our tax returns. Lot of focus on source of action, expertise and ownership, and not a lot of expertise and ownership on the source of record. Both are critically important. Look, I'm not saying, oh woe is us, right? But I don't think the source of record gets enough attention. And I know internally people kind of pull back the curtains like, when we first try to adopt a tool to be the single place to manage sales and marketing conversations, and pipe all of our data through, which was Salesforce. We are about to leave it for HubSpot. We kind of didn't treat it as seriously as we needed to. And as soon as we started assigning an owner who thought about it every single day, it got significantly better. And we just started building that. We built that obsession over everything being in that tool from a sales a marketing standpoint. It wasn't allowed to sit elsewhere. And we used to say, if it's not in Salesforce, it doesn't exist. And if you have a sales team, we say, look, if you're deals aren't in Salesforce, you're not getting paid. Well, that solves that problem, now everything's in Salesforce right away. So if you're adopting a source of record, you're using Jetpack Workflow, it just needs to, you know, the phrase we adopted internally for other tools we've used in the past, if it doesn't exist in this, it doesn't exist at all. But I thought you guys did an exceptional job, obviously, you know, being really serious about it, and having ownership and having a specific owner about it. I would just say for the smaller firms that are listening, again, it doesn't always have to be the owner that is the owner of Jetpack Workflow. Again, most times it's actually better if it's not the owner, because they're probably getting, in some cases, people adopt Jetpack Workflow because the team keeps asking the owner for a tool like this. The owner is finally like okay I'll buy it, and I'll make everybody feel good. And the owners thinks, oh, check marks the box, I bought the tool, everything's solved. Then they realize they have to, like, own the tool and monitor the tool. Look, if they didn’t want to build the playbook now they have to build a playbook, and monitor the tool, now they're doing two things they don't like to do, which as an owner, to speak on their behalf, if they don't want to do something, they tend to shy away from it. So assign somebody else as the owner if that's not your sweet spot. 

Jamie Nau: That was our biggest fear going into Jetpack, was we'd have a thousand overdue jobs before for like a weekend, and then we'd never catch up. So that's something else we monitor over every week. Yeah, our goal is to have that number as low as possible, and we talk about every one of them in our meetings. In fact recently we take the first 5 - 10 minutes of our accounting meeting to actually clean it up. We say, we're going to take 5 - 10 minutes, we are going to play Jeopardy music, and you guys have to get this number as low as we can. Again, I don’t want people fibbing, closing stuff that's not actually closed. I either want them extending it, or I want them closing because they did it, because I want that number to be as low as possible, because that's really important to us.

David Cristello: So how often do you run that meeting and what kind of percentage? Like, what are some of your targets for that meeting? Not a lot of people do that meeting, by the way. So I think that's been foundational for your success inside of the tool. So unpack the meeting cadence and what you go through, what's the agenda?

Jamie Nau: We meet with our senior accountants every Monday morning. So it's once a week. Again, the meeting has a lot of goals to it. So we have six or seven goals that we track. One of those goals is overdue Jetpack jobs. There was a while where we were running around six to seven hundred overdue jobs. I'd say since we started doing that Jeopardy music part of the meeting, we've gotten it down to about 150 at the end of each meeting. Our marketing team also uses a Jetpack and they have overdue jobs in there, but our accounting team, since we started that alone is probably down to 10 to 20 jobs.

David Cristello: I love it. I mean it. Jamie, we have to send you more stuff. This is like warming my heart. I can't wait to send this interview to the team. But look, it's like, you know, if you're switching tools you're kind of changing the nervous system of your firm, the operating system of your firm. You're building a new muscle. So when you're talking about those jobs in that meeting, and cleaning them up, you're just reinforcing that muscle, that discipline every single week, and you get to have some fun with it. I don't know if you dress up like Alex Trebeck or not? Maybe you should. It's a suggestion for future meetings. Maybe the Halloween theme meeting. But I think it's important. Like, if this system is important to you, run it on a weekly meeting, check it, clean it up. I think what a lot of people do is they fear that things would become on yodi, and then they kind of throw their hands up like it didn't work out. 99 percent of things are not perfect the first time you go through it. But how do you continue to monitor it ,and optimize it, and iterate on it? And so that's why I wanted to unpack that meeting. By the way, how long is that meeting, and how many people are in there? 

Jamie Nau: We have 15 people in there and it last about an hour. Again, we do more than just that. There's a lot of other goals we go through. We go around the room, there's a lot of things we do in that meeting. But again, it's about an hour long total.

Adam Hale: But the intent is to teach them how to do it before they get to the meeting. So instead of sitting there for ten or fifteen minutes to get to other stuff that we need to get to, when Jamie and I were talking, it's like the goal should be zero at the end of the day you either did the job, or you didn’t do the job. And if you didn't do the job, it should be passed through. At this point, you're resetting your expectations for the week. You just need to plug it sometime in this week or next week. There's some tax related things that are outside out of bounds that kind of hit us up a little bit. But it really should be zero, like reset the boundaries, you know, send it to the shrink next week when you're going to do it.

David Cristello: I'll relay this because, you know, the interesting thing is every company is 3 businesses, whether they realize it or not. Every business is a media business, a service business and a technology business. Most of the time, one of those is your primary, but you still have to be good at those other two. So like, you know, service business, obviously on our end we do media and exceptional at technology, and we're a technology company, but we also have to figure out service and media. So our service component is we run, you know, weekly sales meetings. And for the sales team, it's we run a very similar cadence. What was the last touch on the activity? Do you have a next step defined? And clear it out. What did you do? For the same reason, to try and reinforce that behavior going in and updating the system. 

Jamie Nau: Great. So we're actually getting pretty close on time here. I do want to ask one more question, but I'm going to give you a couple minutes to answer it. But before I do that, I'm going to throw our e-mail address out there. So for our listeners, we want this this podcast to really meet your needs. So if you have any questions, please e-mail us at: cpa@summitcpa.net. Again: cpa@summitcpa.net. If you want to be a guest, or you have any ideas for the show, please e-mail that account. So, David, my last question is for you. So obviously we use Jetpack. We see the updates, and we know you're always working on stuff. I am curious, what's the next stage for Jetpack Workflow? What's the stuff you're working on in the future here?

David Cristello: So I'll tell you something that's in motion right now. This is kind of the safest thing to talk about in the world of technology, what's already been started and kicked off, and we're halfway through the cycle. We run the six week cycles, which is, you know, something new gets released every six weeks. What we're working on now, and then depending on when this episode is going to go live, we're working on Zapier. So that's going to connect Jetpack Workflow to about 2000 different applications, to pipe information in and out of Jetpack  Workflow, however you need it in solving some of your workflow challenges that sit outside of the tool. I will say beyond that, things we've been researching a lot, probably won't get into specifics as much even though I really want to is things around, I mean, it's a very broad term, but around team management. I think there is a real challenge on understanding the schedules, and capacity, and utilization of the team. Another area of research, client experience, and how a firm interacts with the client, and how the client gets updates on what's going on. How the client sees it, potentially other services tracking client communications. These are all things that I'm thinking a lot about that are really big problems for a lot of firms that we have today. So those are kind of just things that we're kind of in the early stages of defining and scoping out, or shaping, as we call it, internally. But Zapier, by the time this is out, it's going to be pretty darn close to being finished unless something insane has happened, which shouldn't happen. 

Jamie Nau: I know you guys are changing a lot, but one of the things that happened when we first did your trial, we loved was the embedded videos. We talked about the videos and how that was super important to us. We loved the embedded videos, then within like two weeks out of our trial those disappeared. So if you can ever bring those back, we here at Summit loved that stuff, and part it was of the reason we signed on. But again, we still found a way around it. I'm sure it takes a ton of data space on your side about. But it was crazy how fast that went away.  

David Cristello: So I will say there was a time in our company history, where we essentially rewrote all significant part of the underlying code base inside of the tool. We obviously paired that was some user interface refresh. So the experience that you had when you signed up around the embedded videos, that is not a kind of typical one. Now I secretly think you invited me on just to pressure me to put embedded videos back out.

All: Laughing.

Adam Hale: Yeah we wanted to bring you to pressure you about timesheets, too. That's my wish list.

David Cristello: Yeah, I mean, the concept of going into a trial, and all of a sudden feeling like something has changed in your existing experience I think the world in which we rewrote the core of the existing application, we've passed those milestones. So you've probably seen a lot net new things. The progress report, the my work page, Zapier coming out, you're going to see a lot more of just totally net new things, or optimizations that come out. So certainly I can relay that message about the embedded videos to the team. And, you know, nine times out of ten, it's the most complicated thing I never would have thought about. Oh embed better videos that sound simple. Oh, no, you have to change something very serious to do that. But you know, there is that one out of ten cases where it's a simple fix that we might be able to keep up. It's unlikely. But now that I know that you’re Jamie Jetpack, I want to help you out. And look, as a company, like you said, we're investing heavily in the product. I want to double down on those investments. I want to even invest more if it's at all possible. So as the feedback comes in let me know. If people want to start a trial: jetpackworkflow.com, go check it out. A 14 day free trial comes with every feature. We don't limit anything during your trial. You can have a one on one demo. You can have one on one call. You can chat it up with support. We have webinars and trainings and content. It really is just I will say, if you're pressed for time, the demo call is probably the quickest way to assess the tool. If you like to go in and tinker, then start a free trial.

Jamie Nau: Well I definitely appreciate having you on the show. Obviously the embedded videos is not why I brought you on, because there's a lot of things that Jetpack does well. We did move on once that went away. I appreciate having you on the show. I think our listeners will get a lot out of this podcast. So thanks for joining us.

David Cristello: Thanks for having me on.

 

Using JetPack Workflow for project management with David Cristello


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