Increasing Efficiencies with Workflow Automation

In this, The Faces of Business, Paul Jackson, Founder & CEO, Method: CRM, talks about increasing efficiencies with workflow automation so you can save time and costs, improve productivity, and enable scalability and adaptability.

In this, The Faces of Business, Paul Jackson, Founder & CEO, Method:CRM, talks about increasing efficiencies with workflow automation so you can save time and costs, improve productivity, and enable scalability and adaptability.

Paul is an accomplished founder and CEO with extensive executive experience in the software industry. He has demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation at Method:CRM, a CRM platform that works with QuickBooks to enhance workflow automation and efficiency for small and medium-sized businesses.

With Paul’s guidance, Method:CRM has flourished, garnering recognition as the go-to CRM solution for QuickBooks users. The platform has received rave reviews, earning the trust and recommendation of QuickBooks ProAdvisors and being rated as the leading CRM by QuickBooks users.

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However, Paul’s journey as an entrepreneur and software developer began before Method:CRM. In 1999, he founded Qxpress, showcasing his acumen and technical expertise. His company had an active user base of over 2,000 companies across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Get ready to revolutionize your productivity as host Damon and guest Paul, a CRM expert, dive into the world of workflow automation, unlocking untapped efficiencies like never before!

Damon expresses interest in Paul’s background and the development of an application for scheduling around QuickBooks, highlighting the unique nature of such a decision.

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Paul reflects on his entrepreneurial journey, which started back in college. He shares various examples of his early ventures, from cleaning neighbors’ pools to selling Mountain Dew to campers on horseback. In high school, he started a successful lawn care and landscaping company, which helped fund his college education. Managing 130 lawns per week taught him the importance of hard work and implementing effective processes, including the need for a billing system. As he approached graduation while studying finance, he realized the significance of streamlining operations and finding innovative solutions.

The CRM guru shares his journey of realizing his desire to start his own company and deviating from a traditional corporate path. He recognized the need to automate processes he had previously improvised for service businesses during college. Intrigued by these insights, Paul embarked on a tireless entrepreneurial journey, investing 120-hour workweeks in creating a prototype seamlessly integrated with QuickBooks.

The software allowed customer management, scheduling, routing, invoicing, and accounting synchronization. The market response was overwhelmingly positive, propelling the business’s growth and eventual exit to a private equity company after years of success.

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Damon seeks insights into Paul’s challenges during the scaling process and how those experiences have shaped his current endeavors.

Paul discusses the challenges he faced in scaling his company from 2000 to 2010 when SaaS was not widely adopted. He highlights the perpetual license model’s inconsistency of sales cycles and revenue streams. He transitioned to a SaaS model by offering software rentals to address this. However, he acknowledges the upfront costs and gradual payments associated with SaaS, making it challenging to bootstrap such a business.

Agreeing with the guest, Damon stresses the substantial initial investment required in a SaaS business before seeing significant returns every month. Moreover, he expresses his interest in exploring further whether it is indeed difficult to bootstrap a business when investing “big upfront” is needed.

Paul reflects on the challenges they faced after being acquired in 2010. They identified a significant problem in software companies. Businesses would outgrow their software as they scaled and encountered unique needs. To address this, they brainstormed the idea of a malleable software platform that allowed users to customize features based on their requirements. They aimed to create a versatile solution by integrating this concept with QuickBooks. This led to the development of Method, a platform where thousands of customers utilize different software versions to cater to their business processes. They currently have a team of 100 people and secured venture capital to support their growth.

Paul further talks about the software platform’s flexibility for user customization. He shares the case of a medical cabinet maker with complex estimation needs. Method developed a customized process with specific rules, integrating it with QuickBooks. The implementation cost was approximately $2,000, yielding the business owner a substantial return on investment.

Damon acknowledges the impressive applications of customization in various industries, citing examples like a street sweeper manufacturer. The host asks Paul about some of the most interesting applications he has seen.
Paul answers that the $300 cost of customization with a significant ROI. He emphasizes the importance of automating workflows to overcome bottlenecks caused by key organizational individuals. Every company has multiple payment scenarios, and they should be addressed incrementally.

Damon acknowledges the value of Method’s integration with QuickBooks for professional services companies and other industries with specific agreements. He asks Paul to elaborate on the benefits of this integration compared to standalone CRM systems.

Paul explains that while traditional CRMs may have some integration with QuickBooks, it is limited to basic functionalities. In contrast, Method’s integration goes beyond customer synchronization and includes a comprehensive view of transactions. He emphasizes the malleability of Method’s software, allowing for customization of payment and estimate flows, which is impossible with regular CRMs. Paul believes this customization trend is part of a larger movement where software systems will become configurable and tailored to each user’s needs. He refers to this as the future of software, often called “no code.”

Unlike traditional software, where users must adapt their workflows to fit the software’s predefined structure, Method is customizable software where users can easily modify their processes to align with their preferred workflow. Changes can be made in terms of clicks, checkboxes, fields, and buttons, allowing users to personalize the software according to their specific needs.

Damon highlights manufacturing companies’ challenges when implementing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. The host shows curiosity to know where this innovative approach is headed and what possibilities lie ahead.

Paul discusses the opportunity to provide industry-specific templates to make it easier for companies to adopt their software. He mentions their focus on developing templates for different industries, such as proposals for nonprofits and field service versions for service companies. He believes that the software industry as a whole will move towards providing more preconfigured templates to facilitate adoption and implementation.

The Workflow wizard reflects on the stages of company growth based on employee count. He describes the fun and learning in the early stages, the challenges during the transition to larger teams, and the return of excitement with 80 to 100 employees.

Damon asks about the future of the product and what sets Method apart from other CRM and accounting packages. He questions whether the integration, configurability or other factors make Method unique and worth considering.

Paul describes how Method differs in three aspects: integration, customization, and templates. Method seamlessly integrates with accounting software like QuickBooks, saving time and minimizing errors. The platform’s malleability allows users to build their processes, complemented by industry-specific templates.

At Damon’s request, Paul discusses his journey as an entrepreneur and the valuable lessons he has learned. He shares his experience of bootstrapping his first company and becoming an investor in other ventures. He recognized the benefits of venture capital in scaling a business and sought a venture partner for his current company. This led him to understand the role of a board and how to manage it effectively. Paul also emphasizes the importance of employee stock option plans (ESOP) in incentivizing and rewarding team members. Paul encourages listeners to consider joining such forums for personal and professional growth.

Damon notes the contrast between Paul’s first company, where there was no board, and his current company, which benefits from board involvement. The guest reveals that the board’s purpose is to hire and fire.

Damon expresses gratitude to Paul Jackson for joining the conversation and discussing the cool benefits of workflow automation and increased efficiency with Method. He highlights the configurability and malleability of the software, as well as its seamless integration with QuickBooks.

Damon concludes by thanking Paul for his insights and participation in the discussion.

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44:15
SUMMARY KEYWORDS
company, customer, software, quickbooks, work, business, malleable, scale, payments, workflow, change, method, years, crms, big, cool, started, system, sales, learn
SPEAKERS
Paul Jackson, Damon Pistulka

Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited for our guests today, because we have Paul Jackson with Method CRM, or just method. But Paul, welcome.

Paul Jackson 00:20
Hey, super excited to be here with you. Yes, yes,

Damon Pistulka 00:22
yes. Well, today we’re going to be talking about increasing efficiencies. With workflow automation, we’re going to be talking about some of your background work with products that interfaced with QuickBooks. And now what you guys are doing it method is some some good stuff. So Paul, we always like to start out with your background. And how the heck did someone decide that they are going to develop an application for scheduling around QuickBooks? I mean, where does that come from?

Paul Jackson 01:03
Yeah, so I guess, early on,

Damon Pistulka 01:07
yeah. Let’s start back back in college and before that, and how

Paul Jackson 01:11
it does all started, like in college, so no, wow, that’s awesome. Yeah, I think in a prior to college, I always had some kind of like side, business on the side, right. Like, whether it was cleaning neighbors pools, or I can taking all the mountain dew from the local store and bringing it back to camp on horseback and selling back to their campers else had some kind of some kind of business gig going on. Yeah, I started a lawn Lawn Care landscaping company, when I was in high school, and kind of like 130 lawns a week, and a bunch of a bunch of my teammates or classmates pinned 10 bucks an hour to cut grass in the butt. It became a real business that paid paid my way through college. And I think I learned a lot about hard work and, and process. And when you have 130 lines a week, your billing that month, actually needs some kind of system. Yeah, to do it. So like I had, like all these spreadsheets going on. And yeah, I kind of figure something out. And then when I was when I was graduating college, or my last year, I was a, I was in finance, like I was a queen’s in Kingston. And so it spits out a bunch of students, all the Goldman Sachs kids and McKinsey kids come from, like the program that I was in. And that was what I was, that’s what I was supposed to be doing high

Damon Pistulka 02:41
expectations of where

Paul Jackson 02:44
I realized that this is not what I want to do, I don’t want to be a suit. And I, I decided I was gonna start a company, my own company. And it just made sense that I would kind of automate what I had kind of jarred together throughout my career through college for service businesses, so help all services business, the problem that I had had. And that’s where I started actually, I actually ended up not graduating on time, because I started this business up, while my while my last year and I did do a victory lap and stayed in college for an extra year just getting this thing off the ground. So that that that business grew to the 25 staff before we ended up exiting to a private equity company. And there were a whole bunch of things along the way. But but but didn’t start off. So back to your question on on. How do you get to scheduling software for QuickBooks, that didn’t start off with QuickBooks? It started off with just regular landscape maintenance software. And and there was this one customer one day said, you know, if QuickBooks just did this, I wouldn’t need you guys. Oh, that’s a really interesting thing, right? Like, what if? What if? Is that a competitive problem? If QuickBooks one day did scheduling software for less than No, they’re not going to do that. But if that’s really what, what he thinks is important, then what’s the next best thing? And back in those early days, when you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re just kind of figuring things out, you burn those 120 hour weeks to get an idea. And I did that for a couple of weeks. So 240 hours later, I had this apps working prototype prototype where the software we had bolted on to QuickBooks sucked all the customers out of it. You could put those customers onto the schedule, or you could do routing and an invoicing from that but those invoices would instantly back to QuickBooks, where you receive the payments and have all the accounting say in QuickBooks, and that was a hit. People love that. And that’s when the business took off. And that’s when we really started to scale the company and and 10 years later, I guess we exited

Damon Pistulka 05:00
Yeah. So scaling a company like that, you know, a SaaS company is a little different scaling it a, you know, more like a manufacturing company or E commerce or something like that or a service based company. What were some of the challenges that that you encountered? Then that helps you prepare for what you’re doing now?

Paul Jackson 05:23
Yeah, so. So back then. So we’re talking about the years 2000 to 2010. So SAS, as we know, it today didn’t really quite exist. In those early years, we’re still selling perpetual licenses, which meant, like we saw in self over 2000 bucks and hopefully get an annual maintenance fee. 400 bucks. Yeah. And that’s how it all works. But I remember the challenge of that was the sales cycles, the you’d have a busy season up until April, and then it kind of die off. And I thought back to like, the service business before. And that was a steady. Yeah, steady is good. Good. So we became SAS before there was SAS. And so we started renting the software. So it would download a password every, every month. And that would, that would basically be desktop SAS before there was online SAS. And that that helped the business eventually scale, but there’s, there’s a value you got to go through. Because in, in software, you have a lot of upfront costs to build the software, and the sales, the cost of marketing and sales as upfront as well. As you get paid gradually and slowly over time. So perpetual licenses, the old software days, yeah. Sales Marketing, big upfront cash payment paid off. Use the profit to buy your next customers. Yeah, she can’t do that. So that’s why that’s why I see a lot of VC capital is going into SAS companies. Oh, yeah, it is incredibly, incredibly hard company to bootstrap very, very hard.

Damon Pistulka 07:04
Yeah, that’s a great point. Because like you said, you have to do all the development upfront, or a lot of the development leads for your MVP up front. And then you got to do all that marketing and all that sales effort, just to get your monthly SAS payments to start coming in where to come in. Whereas before you had a bigger lump sum payment that would come in and help to pay a lot of those costs. So you can sink millions of dollars into something before you start getting hundreds of 1000s of dollars coming back on a monthly basis.

Paul Jackson 07:34
But once you get there, the company’s incredibly valuable. And that’s yeah, it’s very few companies get there and most have to raise capital ago, but much of equity in order to actually make the cash flow work. Yeah, it’s interesting business.

Damon Pistulka 07:48
Yeah. I, that’s a great point. And I hadn’t had someone say that before on the show we is it? Is it really hard to bootstrap in the beginning, if you’re gonna get all the upfront?

Paul Jackson 08:00
Yeah, it was it was, it was also hard the second time around, so we, we got acquired in 2010. And then we sat around a boardroom, we thought, okay, well, what do we do next? And we thought, what’s the, what’s the biggest problem that our software company had. And we got down to the point that a lot of companies, they start off using the software, and then they scale themselves, they grow, and they outgrow the software. Just because every business is different. You can make a one size fits all software and not have people scale out of it. And with a hat, we solved that problem. Just sat around for a while, we thought what if, what if a staff was malleable? What if? What if, like, they can make their own features in the software? What if Yeah, they could use 90% of it, but then change 10% of to the whatever they need? What would that look like? If we wrap it around QuickBooks, it would be the Holy Grail, would that would that be me, we came up with this idea of this platform that would basically drag and drop and make the product a little bit. And if you put it all together, then you have this SAS products that can be changed. And we have we have 1000s of customers with 1000 different versions of the software and it all work. And that’s what method became. So we’re here today, we’re 100 people. And this time we took VC capital, eventually. Existing gasket without it. Yeah. And that’s what we do. We have 1000s of companies using 1000s of different variations of the product offer a perfect business process.

Damon Pistulka 09:41
Oh, we’re gonna dig into this. We got to get in this because this is like this is like, I mean, so you envisioned and built a product that if Damon looks at it, and our company workflow is different than your company workflow, I can change it.

Paul Jackson 09:59
You can say And you can do it yourself using drag and drop, or you can hire somebody to. Yeah. Very good example like there’s, yeah, there’s, there’s, I think the medical company, medical cabinet maker, sorry. There’s a really good example for that, because they had a standard Estimate form. And we built a whole different estimate process for him. So the story behind this medical cabinet maker is every, every medical cabinet is custom. They all have different drawer configurations. And each drawer does certain things and hold certain equipment. And the entrepreneur, this business owner, knew what these configurations were some configurations are possible, and some are not. And the estimation process was very, very hard for him to let other people do so he was doing all of it. And up to the point where he gets around 10 employees, that’s okay. Their employees cannot scale the business anymore. He has plateaued and sales is a backlog of estimates that he’s trying to get out. Hasn’t hasn’t been able to close sales anymore, because estimates are going faster from other competitors. Yeah, all this up and says, Hey, how can I? How can you help me here? So we just built a process, which had all these rules of which cabinet configuration is going to work? Which count and, and many other staff doing it from that point forward, not him all done this exact same way according these rules, and all assessments pulled back into QuickBooks. And that yeah, that cost is probably like less than $2,000. To have that. It’s anyone’s custom software knows that. Like, that’s super cheap. Anyone it’s not that expensive. But the ROI is just massive on

Damon Pistulka 11:48
something like Yes. Well, when you look at something like that, and if you could somehow embed that into an e commerce website, where your customers could configure online, get the price pay for it and do what they want to do you you’ve created a, a

Paul Jackson 12:05
pretty good machine. We do that with a customer portal. So people have their customer portals, login and customer self serving to whether it’s dog walking or full configurations, or what have you named the business, we have them under our umbrella and, and just help them really, really helps the entrepreneurs scale themselves. So the things that they used to do and they hold dear, they now allow customers or their own staff to do and scale their businesses.

Damon Pistulka 12:34
Yeah, yeah. I’ve seen some of these, you know, when we look at I’ve talked to people like Kristina Harrington, with Jen Alpha technologies, they do for like, you know, a large OEM equipment manufacturer, like a street, sweeper manufacturer, right, so they’re gonna make hundreds of these things, they got them all over the world, they gain people that do it. And it’s all database on 3d models. And they can go down into oh, I need this gasket in this piece is kind of cool. But it’s really, really, really incredible to hear you talking about something that is a, a simple application for the the person down the street that’s making something like these cabinets, because I’ve been involved in businesses where we make different kinds of metal enclosures like not UL some of them actually were you al bass with someone work, but it’s like, okay, it’s configured this size, and it has a lock on or it’s got two locks, and it’s got some different things. This will be awesome for that company, because now it’s just an end to be integrated with QuickBooks will be crazy cool, because you can manage all the financial pieces of somebody buying and, and yeah,

Paul Jackson 13:45
all the items from the QuickBooks item list the customer who the estimate is going to be you convert it into an invoice eventually when the customer accepts. So it’s yeah, it’s it all just flows. That double entry is. It is the Holy Grail, more or less that we had sought out years ago.

Damon Pistulka 14:00
Yeah, yeah. So what’s some of the most interesting applications you’ve seen?

Paul Jackson 14:06
There’s there’s a whole bunch of getting there simple one. Yeah, that’s a good topic company. The entrepreneur the entrepreneur, the CEO, there’s some good topics and their their skill wavy on template boys at this point. She’s She does all the payments still. Why? Why should you all the payments, she asked us, is there a way where we can have our staff using these methods but I’m the only one locked them out doing payments? Yeah, we can. We can do that. But But why do you want us to do that? Well, I have I have staff they always screw it up. Certain customers need to be on ACH and certain customers up on credit card and, and above a certain amount needs to always be ACH no matter what they’re like, Okay, well, these are just rules. So we can just click a button that’s that changes based on And the amount and the customer and her her world has changed. So I have to say more like, yeah, I don’t trust my employees because all of it. So like things like that too. Like a mosquito spraying franchise with 150 franchises, they go around and basically make sure back gardens are livable. But having all that flow into one consolidated multiple called multi tenants, we have 150, QuickBooks files, 150 CRMs, all in one big dispatcher, reporting system, where they have built an entire custom system on top of method. It’s really just from a guitar pick companies and mosquito companies like there’s a lot in between.

Damon Pistulka 15:48
Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, and rolling things up like that is so complex to begin with different things, different areas, different tax codes, all kinds of junk, you gotta gotta make sure. But that’s a great the guitar pick, though, is such it’s like death by 1000 cuts. Right, right. It’s because it’s, I just hate doing this. But I’m the one that I hate doing like I do. And you said, Well, we just make rules. I bet they were just jumping up and down.

Paul Jackson 16:18
I think that customization costing $300. Yeah. Which, of course, ROI is crazy. I mean, she could then herself, it was pretty easy for us to do it for. Yeah, just just examples like that, like any, any little workflow, where the entrepreneur, the the key person, the company is still a bottleneck for growth, just to write down those steps, but they’re doing and figure out how to automate them. That that’s what we do best. And there are like you said, it’s a death by 1000 cuts is probably every company has 100 Guitar Pick payment scenarios within them. He’s got one at a time.

16:57
Yeah. So what are the some of the other things that method really helps with? I mean, are they help them with data flowing in and out from other systems? Are they doing what are some of the other things that you guys are doing?

Paul Jackson 17:09
Well, so at its core methods a Sierra, okay, starting point, very few people are starting from scratch, and Sandringham is going to the small business, I’m going to create my own system from scratch. Yes, that’s not really how we go to market. So we start with a CRM. So CRMs are of this play the acronym. So it’s customer relationship management, really, contact management. So track conversations, to dues for a customer or potential customer, we call them leads, and share that across everyone, you might interact with that customer. So when shared 360 degree view of a customer, that’s really what CRM is, at its basic core, but then you on top of that, you can have a pipeline. So a pipeline is where you have possible sales of leads down to like highly qualified, it looks like you’re going to be able to get caught up to them to like, almost almost closed to closed. Yeah, tracking all that whole pipeline makes sure that you were tracking your sales team to work on the highest value, highest potential accounts throughout the month. And that really like each stage in the pipeline is full. So you don’t have a big gap in sales, two months down the line. So that’s another big thing that any CRM does, but we help them with we, we have a good proposals system. So you can do engagement letters, which which allows usually professional service companies to send out an engagement letter, which is kind of a contract and estimate all mix into one. And the customer can accept it, sign it, pay for a down payment, and then kick off a recurring payment every month, which just gets sent back to the company. Of course, people change it customize to suit their needs, but it’s a lot better than sending Microsoft Word documents that customer Yes. And hoping that they pay. It’s kind of earth shattering when when those those payments are coming in automatically.

Damon Pistulka 19:21
Yeah. Yeah, that’s that’s that would be a very handy thing for a lot of lot of companies, I’m sure, like you said professional services companies where they they do have those kinds of agreements that you have to do for CPA firms, accounting firms, and other like engineering, things like that, where they can do those things. So what are when you see this happening? Now, the way that you’re integrated into QuickBooks, and you look at other standalone CRM systems, what are some of the things that you see the the benefits of having this integration? You talked about a couple already, but I’d like to highlight those.

Paul Jackson 19:59
Yeah, I think Again, if you look at traditional CRMs, they’re really good what they do the whether it’s email, emailing, email campaign or for attracting your pipeline and whatnot. And some do integrate with QuickBooks that might, they might post a lead over. That’s maybe the extent of their integration, but they can put a little QuickBooks check on their their feature list. our take on it is, yes, we synchronize with QuickBooks really well. And we do more than just the the customers, we synchronize with all the transactions with the full 360 degree view of a customer invoices, estimates, credit memos, payments, sales, orders, sales, receipts, everything, but it’s malleable. So like, with all the examples I’ve been getting, so far, we’re customizing and payment flow, we’re customizing an estimate flow. You can’t do that in normal CRMs. And I think, I think this is part of a larger movement. We started early, back in 2010. On this, I think most software in the future that you’ll see built will be more like this, where it can be configurable to the point where everyone’s getting their own custom system. Because if you have a apples to apples comparison, and the system is malleable, and one that is static and can’t be changed, what’s going to win in the long term is the other one. So this is this is the future is really malleable software, we call it no code.

Damon Pistulka 21:39
Well, and you can, as your business changes, you can just keep changing your workflows.

Paul Jackson 21:45
Exactly. So the problem with any kind of box software, whether it’s traditional CRM or traditional industry specific software is you have to rewrite your workflow steps in order to fit the software. And that might work for a little bit. But every time you want to change it, you got grow. Eventually, this comes when we have to get new software. With this, you just you just changed, you changed the process for like a week a better way. This change, the clicks in the screen has changed, the checkbox has changed and the fields are collecting information on change the button. So now that matches your new workflow stuff, you never have to conform to someone else’s way of doing the work you do it your way.

Damon Pistulka 22:28
Yeah, this is awesome. Because you know, when when I used to be involved with manufacturing companies, and we would put ERP enterprise systems in, I mean, you do it their way. Or you pay gazillion dollars to have them customize your stuff that is going to be obsolete at the next update or it’s going to cost you another gazillion dollars to get it updated the next update, and then you’re just not changing after that. You’re stuck. It has.

Paul Jackson 22:56
It’s like SAP right? It’s like yeah, this is SAP for small business.

Damon Pistulka 23:01
Yeah. So cool. So cool. So as your as you’re doing this, and you see this this malleable, malleable software, whatever you use the right word there. What? Where do you see this going? Well, I mean, because it’s really an interesting concept to be able to go okay, now now what do we do?

Paul Jackson 23:25
So for us as a company, or wherever we are you

Damon Pistulka 23:29
this around your kind of software? What are some things that you see people to starting to use it that you go, wow, I didn’t really think about it, but it’s a cool direction for somebody to take it?

Paul Jackson 23:39
I think so I think the the opportunity for us to help more companies to make it easier for them is to offer more and more industry specific templates. So yeah, I mentioned proposals for nonprofits. So for the professional service, we have a donor version for nonprofits, we have a field service version for service companies, but really getting more and more fine tuned, more and more industries will help them start off further along. So I think that’s, that’s where we I see us taking it. Also, I think that’s probably where the industry of the software industry will will take the more preconfigured templates that can then be customized, the better. It just makes it makes it easier on the on the small business looking to adopt. Take off take on the software.

Damon Pistulka 24:37
Yeah, now you in this business. You guys just scaled a lot in the last few years. Right. So you’re up to how many people now and how, what was it like five years ago compared it was whatever Yeah,

Paul Jackson 24:50
it’s different. Right. So we’re, we’re 100 staff now. Yeah, I think I think there there’s a few there’s a few steps that uh, Yeah, the entrepreneurs to go through. I think 10 Zero 10 was fun. Yeah, really fun, like just high energy, everyone’s around you like, you can see, you can observe everything you can, things can fall off doesn’t matter. It’s just part of the fun game. It’s funny, the entrepreneur has to really learn to scale themselves. And then 20 to 40 is horrible. I remember that being just the hardest time because that’s where you need scaffolding, you need to bring in people from the outside and have some adults revision for a company, it’s really hard to do that yourself without having some senior leadership because the people you’re bringing on, don’t get to be with you as much anymore. Because you can’t learn through osmosis, they need to learn from leadership. And that’s where I as a, as a as a leader, how to go from doing and building to leading. And that was a transformation for, for me to go through. I think 40 to 60 was fun again, because I figured that part out. So now I’m okay now I’m a I’m an Executive leader. That’s, that’s not so intimidating anymore. Yeah. And then 60 to 80 was tough again, that’s where like, HR becomes a big deal. And so you have to learn a whole bunch of new things and, and, like, corporate process that you didn’t need zero to 60. Yeah. Because why would you create process for the sake of creating process all of a sudden everyone expects, and then 80 to 100. So it’s been fun again, it’s just like, nice. It feel it feels like being like 10 employees, you’re scrappy again, you’re moving fast again. And I don’t know what’s next. To do. I’m just gonna look like but yeah, this morning’s Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 26:58
So what So you see, the future of the product is going to be industry specific templates. What what do you see? I mean, there, there are so many choices. Or people when you look in CRM packages, when you look at it, counting packages, all this kind of stuff. You know, what do you really see in the trends in these kinds of software’s that are that someone listening today will go? Hmm, why would why would I think that method might be a little bit different than some of these standalone things? Is it the integration? Is it the configurability of it? Or what are just some things that kind of set you apart?

Paul Jackson 27:39
Yeah, so I think it’s actually just the three things we’ve been talking about really, which is the integration, the customization, and the templates. So the way the way we see the market today is mostly traditional serums. We’re talking about the sales forces and the hub spots, which are great at what they do. They ask you to conform to reread your workflow steps in order to fit the software, but they were forbidden to grow them. Or you have industry specific software, which are also great. They take you most of the way there. Again, you’re working reworking workflow steps in order to fit the software, you might be a CRM. On a side, typically, the industry specific software doesn’t have much of a CRM. So you’re integrating kind of frankensteining that CRM together with your industry specific. That’s kind of how it will do things today. And they’re all held up better than it’s using whiteboards and spreadsheets. But But I think the way we see the market is that if you can, if you can wrap first of all, the software around what what people already use, everybody’s already using QuickBooks, then you’re you’re already starting off in a great spot because there’s no double entry. So data flows back and forth really well, you’re saving a lot of time and fewer mistakes. So if you can really nail one integration, and really nail it’s, it’s the accounting software, and mostly new assets. That’s QuickBooks, we also work with zero, which is more of a UK and New Zealand, Australia. We do that really well. We’re more than just a checkbox. And that’s, that’s something we brought up from the last company to express that key was QuickBooks, right? So we do that really well. The second piece is that the malleable where you can build your own process and you can change things according to how you do your work. That that’s, again different with method and and because we start you off with seeing these templates, then you don’t have to do all that work yourself. And that’s that’s how we see the the future of software is kind of our model. We won’t be the only ones doing this. But but that’s fine, it’s just helping as many small businesses as possible, the more we educate the market this the better way, then more small businesses get out. So that’s, that’s really the lay of the land as far as I see it.

Damon Pistulka 30:12
Yeah, well, and if you give, if you give somebody the best swiss army knife, they have the best end result, right? So and that’s really, there can be a lot of other people wet, you got a lot of road ahead of them as far as developing this kind of product. That’s that is, as you said, malleable, it’s it’s flexible and tightly integrated with their accounting software. What are some of the fun new industries that are using method that you go, I would have never thought that they were

Paul Jackson 30:47
almost a fun movie a big splash of of vape companies for a while that was Oh, yeah. Surprising. Yeah. We really liked one of the franchises that signed up recently. And added I think, 40 or 50 franchises to method and build out a whole franchise system or their garage of a garage makeover to turn your turn your garage into like your man den, kind of Yeah, kind of garage, make this really sweet configurations and turn to your garage into a beautiful space. That’s that’s been a lot of fun seeing what they’re doing. We something of trends. We’re seeing we’re seeing a rise back in manufacturing, rejuvenation of manufacturing small manufacturers. And that’s, that’s exciting. Actually, our biggest group of companies that use method are we call em WD, matte manufacturing, wholesale and distribution. And that those are our largest accounts, typically, our most successful accounts, which I find interesting, because we don’t do inventory. Yeah. Right. So they’re using us for their sales order processes, and really helping your sales reps. And that’s, that’s a big opportunity for us to get better and better at because I think that’s a large growth area for us right now.

Damon Pistulka 32:18
There is a ton of, of, as you said, the problems, the problems brought around by the pandemic in the supply chain, you know, I mean, let’s let’s face it, we weren’t used to at least in the US of going to the grocery store, not having stuff, or not being able to buy something that we want on Amazon for four weeks, because it was always there prior to that. And a lot of that drove changes in the way that the manufacturing is done in the US. And I think it spurred from the from the people I talked to a spurred a lot of smaller brands that were just like, hey, we shouldn’t make this, now’s our time to do it, you know, we’re someone was we’re stuck at home, and we should do it or somewhere, or, like we’re ready to come out and really came out and did it. Because yeah, we’re talking to tons of small smaller startup food brands in niche products and that are that are just creating awesome stuff. That can be anything from, you know, construction related to, like I said, something that we’re we’re going to eat are going to use us out camping or whatever the heck it is. So that’s cool. If you’re getting at that it really makes me excited, because those companies were typically stuffed into one of these other industry specific products that a they didn’t need. Because, you know, if you’re a two to 5 million $10 million manufacturer, you don’t need a crazy expensive you know, and I honestly a long time ago when I was still doing it, you would spend it’s been a half a million dollars on this and it’s like, a half a million dollars. That was you know, that’s, that’s, you would look at it you go, that’s a third of our profit for the year. I don’t know why are we gonna spend that much on a piece of software when you look at what you guys are creating now for these manufacturers. You can be nimble, you can be and flexible.

34:17
And that’s

Paul Jackson 34:19
we’ve helped we don’t do everything right. It’s not Yeah, we have like shipping and inventory. But we’ll do plugins to things like SOS inventory, which is very lightweight inventory management for for QuickBooks Online. Or ShipStation, which is one of the best shipping options out there as as plugins we will plug into that. And so like our one of our one of our mottos was was integrate with other things that we’re not going to replace. Yes, we’re not gonna replace QuickBooks, we’re not going to replace Gmail. We’re not gonna replace ShipStation so integrate with those But then everything else makes make sure we do really well.

Damon Pistulka 35:02
Yeah, yeah. That’s so cool. That’s so cool. Well, what are some of the the the interesting things that you’ve learned this time growing this company, because you took and you had investors alongside EBV, this time compared to last time when you didn’t?

35:27
Yeah.

Paul Jackson 35:30
Just in case my board members listens to this podcast, I’m gonna choose my words very carefully. So I’ll tell you how I got here. So I had bootstrap the first company. Yeah, when we exited. I was 100% of an owner. So I had that bootstrap experience. With capital to deploy, I became an investor. So I invested in quite a few companies, one of which was actually web accounting, which had a tough beginning then sold to h&r block for like $600 million. It was a great outcome. But as I watched companies like wave grow I was I understood what the the impact of venture capital was, and how you could really scale faster than just bootstrapping. And so when I did decide to take on capital, I think we’re about three years in, that’s when we started looking for a venture venture partner and really learned a lot about Well, I knew that private equity that point but now venture, and how to manage a board and what the purpose of the board was, how to how to use things like ESOP, which stands for employee stock option plan, so how to use an employee stock option plan to incentivize the staff member, one of our key V Venture Capital Partners said to me, Hey, Paul, like at the end, this thing’s gonna be big, because we have big exit one day, whatever it’s gonna be, but you don’t want me drinking alone. That champagne bottle is gonna be big, and it’s gonna pour live losses. That was great. So we built an ESOP plan to make sure that every person who was helping us got get there had a piece of pie, I guess, our champagne glasses, right? Yeah, London, blah, blah. But that networking, I think so. For me, personally, I’m maybe more of a an introvert, and I kind of keep to myself, I retain all my fears, my thoughts. And it’s never had a mentor. The, the, the void that I filled, that was actually a founders forum. So if anyone listening, this feels like they need someone to listen, have some listen to them and learn from and have a safe space, I highly recommend you Champy join a founders forum, or founders group, which is just a highly confidential group of between five and 10. Other entrepreneurs, you take very seriously, make sure you show up every meeting, you make sure you’re open and honest, and you’re vulnerable. You talk about anything you want to talk about. You share, you don’t give advice. You only share experiences. And you never you never, ever talked about the meeting outside of the meeting. And I’ve done this for about five years as part of founder forum. And actually tomorrow, I’m going for a two day retreat. I’m gonna group of seven. Yeah, five, five of the seven have exited in the last three years. So I’m not sure how much business we’ll talk. Yeah. But but it’s an incredible experience. I’ve learned a ton from other entrepreneurs, but it’s by being open and honest with the founders forum. So recommend anyone listening?

Damon Pistulka 38:54
That’s really cool. That’s really cool. Because it’s it is it’s they’re different experiences, but they’re shared experiences, too. It’s, you know, like you said, what’s the purpose of a board? You know, that’s, it’s a big thing. Right? Because in your in your first company, you didn’t have a board? Did you

39:12
know, the board? Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Paul Jackson 39:17
The purpose of the board is really to hire and fire the CEO. That’s pretty much their their existence and kind of watch over their investment. But yeah, that is the purpose of this board.

Damon Pistulka 39:27
Yeah. And when you see them work and understand the how they do that’s that’s thing and then, you know, coming into it and scaling like you are now they bring the things to the table. The board does, if it’s if it’s the right board, they’re bringing things to the table like what is an ESOP? why would why should you have an ESOP? Well, it’s it’s a way for us to keep the very best talent all the way till we, we you know, tell we all have a lot of fun. And it’s, it’s cool when you see them working well together. It really is.

Paul Jackson 39:57
Yeah, really. We have a We have a great relationship on our on our board today. So I think when things are going well, then it’s easier to get relationships. So I hope that if we ever have a dip, we’ll maintain that relationship. But right now, we’re good. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 40:16
Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. I’ve I’ve been in companies and been in boards and onboards, when when things aren’t going aren’t going prime, they’re not not great. And what I see a good boards in those situations, understand that if you say something’s going to be the way it is, and it turns out that way. That’s, that’s really what we’re here to make. Sure. And And beyond that, give ideas, the give good suggestions, and resources when we when we’re asked to and then other boards, boards can help through those tough times. But you’re right. In some situations, when the board is not the right board, it can get really ugly. And so out there.

Paul Jackson 41:01
That’s why you have a founders forum. So if the board is crying towel, yeah, your spouse at home because they they No, no, no,

Damon Pistulka 41:11
go on here that we’ve, we’ve, we’ve put up with you as a founder, this log here that to

41:18
me.

Damon Pistulka 41:22
That’s so awesome. Well, it’s, it’s great to get to talk to you today, Paul, with what you guys have built a method, I think it’s really, it’s really incredible to see something that you know, for a small business that’s flexible, it’s a CRM based, integrates tightly into QuickBooks and, and just malleable, like you said, with these different pieces and workflows that you can adjust. And, and configure easily yourself with a low no code and kind of option or have you guys do some of this, and then change it later. Because your processes have changed in the business. So good stuff, man.

Paul Jackson 41:59
So you got it, you understood it off. So so a job here,

Damon Pistulka 42:02
I just think I think it’s, I mean, cuz you’re saving people, you are saving people from going out and buying this big package that is going to be obsolete about the time you put it in, because you’re gonna want to change something,

Paul Jackson 42:16
or just continue to do to do the same things they used to do and never pass it off. And they’re never scaling to be able to afford that bigger package. So yes, we had a both ends of the spectrum.

Damon Pistulka 42:25
Yeah, because that you’re right, you’re gonna help enable them to scale because you’re gonna automate these workflows, and you’re gonna make what’s in people’s heads now in the rules based knowledge that can be shared across the organization. Absolutely. So

Paul Jackson 42:39
good stuff was done the same way every single time.

Damon Pistulka 42:43
Yeah, the consistency, the consistency, because even if the founder is doing it, they’re still gonna make mistakes. Would you let a system do it? It’s gonna do it the same every time. But thanks so much for being here. Paul, if someone wants to learn more about method, where do they go to find out more about method,

Paul Jackson 43:04
they can go to website method.me.me. They can also there’s a URL, so method.me/faces of business faces of Dash business where we have a process evaluation that can help people.

Damon Pistulka 43:21
Nice, nice. So yeah, we’ll drop that in the comments too. So people see that. So thanks so much for being here today. Again, we got Paul Jackson, from method. We’re sitting here talking about increasing efficiencies with workflow automation. He was explaining all the cool stuff about method and configurability of it and how it’s malleable and how it tightly integrates with with QuickBooks so that you can get more work done and standardize, automate, and make your company more efficient. Thanks for being here today, Paul.

Paul Jackson 43:55
Thanks for having me.

Damon Pistulka 43:56
All right, well hang out just a moment. Thanks, everyone for being here. Dale. Thanks for being here. Hey, elocon I don’t know dude, or gal. I don’t know your comments. I don’t understand but have a great day. Talk to you later, everyone. Bye.

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