This episode is the first of its kind on the podcast — an ON AIR TECH TOOL AUDIT.
I am SO excited to share with you this REAL tech audit that I did with Kickstart Accounting’s co-owner Danielle Hayden. Danielle graciously accepted my invitation to expose the technology she’s using in her business so that we can find the hidden gems and where she can double down on her efforts. This is so she can do that much more with the technology that she is already using OR how to switch things up so that she is using technology to support her business goals that much more.
If you are interested in a Tech Audit for your business please visit https://techofbusiness.com/audit
If you think a Tech Audit might be a great step for you — or if you’re not entirely sure… download the freebie that will help you start putting the pieces in place and looking at your tech objectively. You can get that by going to https://techofbusiness.com/impact
This is going to be a bit of a peek behind the curtains of how I love to work with my clients and why a tech tool audit makes so much sense as a starting point in our conversation. As already mentioned, Danielle Hayden is co-owner of Kickstart Accounting. They are a bookkeeping service for entrepreneurs. They help their clients take their accounting understanding to the next level. From startup to 7-figure entrepreneurs, the methodology of their business is the same… that is help entrepreneurs:
- understand their accounting processes
- make sure everything is working together
- get them set up with an accounting system
- take bookkeeping off their plate
- send financial statements at the end of the month
- MAKE SURE their clients UNDERSTAND those financial statements
They did realize that not everybody is able to commit to a monthly service after 5 years in business or the people they talk to aren’t understanding their financial statements. So… they are writing a book series that walks the entrepreneur through a weekly goal and then a daily actionable task to help them put together the processes behind their business so that they can become more profitable and really understand their financials with confidence.
This is a great time for us to be doing this Tech Audit because Kickstart Accounting is on the brink of doing something new. Some of the tech tools they have used to this point in their service based one-on-one business may not translate quite as well to offering this planner and series of product they are creating. These two business models are completely different so it’s important that we get their tech in order.
The sales cycle is different.
The way they communicate with people is different.
The amount of people they are able to help is larger.
All these things mean it’s time to make sure they are using the correct tech to optimize their business.
Current Tech in Place…
Currently on the Kickstart Accounting website customers have two options when they are connecting with the business. They can reach out with just sending them an email through their email portal. Or they can take a quick 8-10 question quiz called “Are You Ready for An Accountant?”. It’s a google form, which as Danielle mentions, is not very sophisticated and simply emails the information to Danielle.
Once Danielle receives an email inquiry, she will reply and invite the entrepreneur to set up a call. This is completely manual. There is no integration between emailing Danielle and email marketing or a CRM.
For the new profit planner, the plan is to distribute the first 7 days of the planner as an opt-in.
At this point in the conversation, I was ready to dig far in and uncover the actual tech that the business is using… the Kickstart Accounting website is on Squarespace.
Danielle has mostly used the built in list building tools and admits that they are not integrated with her EMS (email marketing system.) This includes setting up a Squarespace hosted email nurture sequence that can be accessed through her Financial Goal Setting Worksheet.
As I said, she has something there — it’s not as refined or as efficient as it could be, but having something there is better than nothing and a great place to start from.
“Everybody starts where they start, and we always get to grow.” -Jaime Slutzky
Switching up their Email Marketing Platform…
Kickstart Accounting currently sends out a monthly newsletter via MailChimp. That is separate from the SquareSpace automated email that goes out when they get the worksheet freebie. As this is already a disjointed process and the Profit Planner is coming out, Danielle is looking at changing everything over to ActiveCampaign.
You know me…I LOVE ACTIVECAMPAIGN. ActiveCampaign is definitely a great option.
This is something that I typically include in the report I send to clients at the end of the Tech Audit…
To start the process, start getting new leads from the Squarespace website into ActiveCampaign. Even before they take their existing list off of MailChimp and put it into ActiveCampaign.
It’s paramount whenever someone is entering your mailing list that you get them to the right spot so that you are not doing work twice.
In my report I would put it as a task to set up that link from their SquareSpace website into ActiveCampaign and creating the “Welcome Sequence” according to that insight. And similarly with the new planner where people can opt in and get that 7 days worth of a planner, if you are looking at switching, I would recommend going ahead and getting that set up the new provider even before you do any of the backend work.
There are integrations within many systems that allow entrepreneurs to accomplish things like getting the ActiveCampaign form onto the SquareSpace websites and doing the back end integration.
What I recommend for Danielle is to get people tagged appropriately within ActiveCampaign from the outset. It takes a bit of planning, so grab the whiteboard and draw out the flow… and from there you can visually see the tagging and automations and synchronization that is needed.
Seriously… I told Danielle to get the good old fashioned paper and pen and draw out the journey that someone is going to be on from opt in to completion.
In addition to the visual, it will also be a roadmap for your automations of the journeys there are so you can create the emails and create the right touch points.
As I mentioned… I provide my Tech Tool Audit clients with a detailed PDF report upon which they can move forward with their tech. Our time together is helping me to understand and dig into what you as the entrepreneur are using and where to guide your tech needs.
When she gets an email after first contact…
Danielle works instead of automation at the moment.
- She calls the customer.
- She does sent a Calendly link to have them schedule the call.
- She does have a few tools to help her remember who she needs to follow up with.
- She’s not using anything sophisticated as a CRM to monitor this.
- She is using Boomerang within her gmail.
- She sets up conditions to help her follow up with who she needs to.
While this is certainly not where Danielle wants to be, it’s where she is and the system is WORKING… so there is no REQUIREMENT that she changes ANYTHING.
If Danielle chooses, she can take the advice from the report and put it on the back burner to look at in 3 months or 6 months.
But… Danielle has found a few issues with this system she has created:
- She sometimes forgets to set her reminders.
- She doesn’t have a good idea of where her leads are coming from.
- She doesn’t always know who is not following back up with her and why not.
- She is trying to keep track of everybody in a Google Doc.
This means it might be time to start using something else. And that doesn’t mean she needs a full blown CRM and a team of 12 to manage it for her.
It might be as simple as creating a system to use the notes section in ActiveCampaign. Here Danielle can write updates for herself and even tag users for internal purposes. I would likely include in her report an outline of how to use ActiveCampaign a mini-CRM. I would go into what it means to setup automations that are solely for the business (and not actually sending emails to the subscribers/users.)
While I do not know the inner workings of her business, by supplying the tech options, it allows Danielle to figure out how she can best work with the tool.
She will be able to keep notes about leads in one place. And she’ll be able to find her groove with tracking leads. And then it leads to less for her to do and remember to do so she can go in and do the work that only she can do — and leave the automation to the work that computers can!
Side note: When you are doing multiple opt-ins, there are tools like Zapier come in. This allows you to have multiple opt-ins, but then in your backend it’s more streamlined. Zapier allows you to get the information in the same place no matter which way they opt-in. We are trying to avoid future overwhelm by talking about these tech issues now.
Zapier is out of scope for where Danielle needs to be right now. So I recommended to her to leave this be for the moment.
What online vehicle is she using to sell the planner…
The Planner is going to have a separate WordPress website. She is currently debating as to whether to build out the sales component with Shopify or with WooCommerce. She is trying to determine which one would be the best fit. She then wants to use ActiveCampaign as the email provider for the planners.
I told her that the nice thing about WooCommerce is everything sits inside your WordPress website and if you only have one or two items for sale it’s pretty easy to keep it consolidated. The challenge with WooCommerce is that you are spending time in WordPress and you have to design and develop all the pages yourself.
With Shopify, you have a store. You put your name and products on it and you integrate it with your website. There is significantly less manual setup with Shopify. But once the manual setup is done they basically operate the same. The big difference to think about here is…Are you going to be paying Shopify? Or are you going to be paying for the addons you need in WordPress for WooCommerce.
I have done it both ways. I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other. At this point in time, it’s important that whoever is running this part of your business is comfortable with whatever option they choose to do this portion of their business.
Being a numbers person, it’s going to be important to Danielle to understand all the ins and outs of the business and the cost of this part of her business.
Danielle indicated that she also wants to be able to reach out to her planner purchasers. It’s more than just selling a product and collecting money for it. She genuinely wants to help the people who need the help.
Reporting between WooCommerce and Shopify…
I have not really used the reports in either of these systems, my role is usually around the tech setup rather than the operations side. So, I would probably do a couple google searches on this topic and include the results of which in the report.
My recommendation to Danielle is that I like to keep as few systems in place as possible. So I would say if you can get WooCommerce set up and running then do it because it’s one less system that you have to be touching and in and doing work in. Then linking it to ActiveCampaign for tagging and follow up.
The automation for the planner is quite straightforward —
- Opt-in for 7 day freebie? → send through an automation that hits them daily and encourages the purchase
- Purchases the first planner? → send through an automation that helps them use the planner
Another aspect of the planner flow for Danielle is a Facebook group. She would like to be able to tag group members in ActiveCampaign… so I said “go for it”.
For Danielle, if a purchaser doesn’t join the Facebook group, it might indicate that she wants to send them extra emails so that they get all the goodies that are loaded into the Facebook group. This is something that could be valuable information because there may be someone who isn’t all about Facebook who isn’t getting any of the tips and tricks so you may need to create an automation to email it to those types of people. The more we know about the activities and habits of our audience, the more we can meet them where they are at.
There is a paid Chrome plugin you can use called Group Funnels which can automate extracting your group member data and importing it into ActiveCampaign (via Zapier). I think it’s more than necessary for Danielle at this stage. The best way I see controlling a new Facebook Group is to set expectations — You go in and say we’re going to approve members every Wednesday. So then you know your process of what you are going to go do every Wednesday.
With a Facebook Group, you don’t have to approve the moment they ask. Set expectations and stick to it. Just make it part of your workflow. This is something that I love about email automation. You are easily and clearly be able to set expectations. As an entrepreneur, it’s so important to set expectations.
Any other tools being used in business…
It’s important to me that during our Tech Tool Audit we don’t just talk about the tools that my clients think are most important or what comes top of mind… so I generally circle back to as many tools as possible within the conversation.
Dropbox is being used for their engagement letters. This is how they send engagement letters and information to new clients. So in terms of a process, someone goes on the website, fills out the quiz, she sets up call with them by using the Calendly link, she talks to them, and they decide they want to move forward. At this point she sends them an engagement letter via Docusign. Once the engagement letter comes back to her, she sets them up with a Dropbox file so that is where they share all of the client’s documents that way everyone has access to that file. This and email is the current ways of communication with their clients. This is a completely manual process.
In this case, manual is completely fine. There is no automation that really makes a whole lot of sense. It’s not removing a huge level of complexity. Even if you had an automation, you still would have to go into that folder and assign permissions to people. That’s an automation that is not necessary.
Asana is used for project management. So when a new client signs, Danielle let’s that bookkeeper know they have a new client. She also gives them access in Quickbooks. Then she goes into Asana and set up tasks for that specific client. They make this a recurring project in Asana. This is a pretty automated system. But there is one piece in Asana that is manual in the case that someone needs to be “caught up”. This has to be added manually.
One thing I would recommend that when Danielle sends out the Docusign, that she go ahead and create the template in Asana for them. You don’t have to automate everything just to make it more effective.
For Danielle, we realize that the biggest place for her to add automations is on that front end with the leads and tracking.
When I’m doing a Tech Audit with a client we typically touch on this side of things, but we may also touch on things like social media or backend systems. For the purposes of this podcast and the listener, we have really highlighted how this Tech Audit works.
Then I turned the tables on Danielle and asked her what questions she had for me
Her first question was what comes next after the Tech Tool Audit?
I create the report and deliver it via Adobe within 72 hours. Inside the report you have immediate, midterm, and long term recommendations. I always provide a proposal for me to come and do the first set of tasks to see the biggest benefit from the audit. My intention is to ride the momentum of insight and still allow my client to continue doing what they need to do. It allows the integrations to be done so that the client doesn’t lose any days on the current work they have going on.
From there, we would decide if it makes sense for me to stay on with you and help you through those midterm and long term suggestions. This is sometimes done as a fixed price project or as an ongoing monthly retainer. My goal is always to support you and your business goals and to make sure that that tech you rely on will be there to do the heavy lifting. It’s important for you to spend more time in YOUR zone of genius and for your tech to support you.
We clarified things further — One of the tasks on Danielle’s immediate needs would be to get all her opt-ins setup to go to ActiveCampaign. I would do the tech to make that happen and build out the automations. I would then provide Danielle with a list of emails that she would need to write the copy for — and then I would get them in place.
I can also then help you understand the reports in ActiveCampaign so you understand the open rates, click rates, etc. on each email that is going out. This is where people are getting stuck. Looking at the open rates between emails in the automation helps you determine if you need to adjust your content based on consumer behavior.
I loved Danielle’s final question… she asked if there were any tools I wouldn’t work with.
Wow, that caught me off guard and I had to think before I answered — I am very tool agnostic. I have worked with so many tools and I can’t think of any one tool that I would say “NO” to.
However, If I find that a tool isn’t taking us where we need to be, then those are reasons I would suggest moving off one tool and on to another that does provide everything that you need.
Connect with Jaime:
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- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaimeslutzky/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Danielle: