How Service Bureau Accelerator Got Started | Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast E11

by | Nov 22, 2023

The origins of one of the most successful service bureau coaching programs. Hosts Baldeep and Ross give us an inside look at how they built the Service Bureau Accelerator from the ground up. We go back to 2008 when Baldeep first entered the tax preparation industry by buying a franchise and quickly scaling it to over 15 locations. A few years later, almost by accident, he started his own service bureau and made over $100k in pure profit the first year without fully grasping the model. Meanwhile, Ross was honing his entrepreneurial skills in various businesses before finding his way into online marketing. In 2017, the two crossed paths and saw a major opportunity to help tax offices with Facebook advertising. This grew into Early Season Marketing, while they also built their own profitable service bureau in the background. Seeing the huge demand and gaps in the industry, they launched Service Bureau Accelerator in 2019 to provide the coaching and support they wished they had when starting out.

Now in its third year, SBA has helped countless service bureaus start and scale successfully. The hosts share key lessons like taking imperfect action, leveraging experience in an industry, constantly improving, and providing true value and transparency. Even the biggest companies start small and overcome mistakes.

If you want to learn how one of the fastest-growing service bureaus got started from humble beginnings, don’t miss this origin story episode. Tune in now!

Other subjects covered on the show

  • The pros and cons of Baldeep’s experience owning a large brick-and-mortar tax franchise business.
  • How Ross and Baldeep both got into an online marketing training program in 2016.
  • Launching a beta Facebook ad program for tax offices in late 2017 and seeing huge demand.
  • Transitioning Early Season Marketing to be more coaching-focused to serve smaller offices.
  • Having their own successful service bureau allowed them to have proof of concept before launching SBA.
  • Nothing will ever be perfect – need to be comfortable with imperfection and constantly improving.
  • Importance of having industry experience before trying to coach others.
  • Transparency in business models and providing real value is key.
Transcription

[00:00:00] Baldeep: All right. Welcome everyone to another episode of the Service Bureau Accelerator Podcast. Excuse the mess in the background. It’s doing a bit of remodeling. Ross, why don’t you go ahead and kick it off and tell us what we’re going to be talking about today.

[00:00:15] Ross: For sure. And obviously my scene’s a little different cause I’m down in Mexico working remote, so, but we’ve still got time for the podcast. So yeah, today’s episode, we kind of thought about it. It’s like, why don’t we talk about how we got started? Because you know, the, how the service bureau accelerator actually got kicked off you know, Baldeep, and his experience in the industry.

[00:00:31] And my experience in kind of like marketing, everything like that, it’s quite a bit different, but our path somehow collided at some point, and we ended up kicking off and launching the service beer accelerator program. So it’s been a pretty cool experience so far.

[00:00:45] And so we figured we just kind of share a little bit of our background, like, where do we come from? And why did we end up ultimately putting together this program? That’s, you know, been helping them. I mean, I don’t know, how many numbers we got this year, but we’ll see next year what our numbers total out.

[00:00:58] Helping people, you know, [00:01:00] start and grow six figure, even seven figure service bureaus. So it’s been really cool to see all the results from our clients. So we figured, Hey, why don’t we kind of talk about where we got started? So, if you want to start Baldeep with kind of your experience, cause you are a little bit more well, way more experience in the actual tax industry.

[00:01:13] And then we can kind of go from there.

[00:01:15] Baldeep: Sure thing. So I don’t know how detailed we want to be, but I’ll kind of give like the broad strokes overview. I started in the industry back in 2008 ended up working and owning a franchise. Went multi location rather quickly grew to about 15 storefront locations, maybe 16 across about five states.

[00:01:38] Ross: And these are brick and mortar like storefronts, like actual brick and mortar offices.

[00:01:42] Baldeep: Yeah, brick and mortar offices. So real quick, when you start expanding past like two or three locations at a certain point, you’re no longer involved in the day to day. That comes with its own challenges and headaches and conversation for another day. But along that time too, I also did purchase some development rights.

[00:01:58] So I was also selling [00:02:00] on the franchise side. After I exited that side of the business, I didn’t even know what a service bureau was, but I had a lot of people that were also leaving asking, Hey, so what do we do for software? So I had to go figure that out real quick. I ended up speaking to a software company.

[00:02:20] I got a bit more details than they usually give and those you guys who probably years before we started asked about service bureaus didn’t really get much information until you paid a bunch of money to somebody. That’s kind of how the industry was. But in that timeframe, I just started asking a lot of questions, how it would work.

[00:02:37] I knew I could produce a certain amount of volume just based off of my connections in the industry. So we ended up doing that and I remember that first year of it was pretty quick. It happened pretty quick. I think I signed up in like, I want to say in August or September, I set up my first service bureau and that year we did a bit over 4,000, 5,000 bank products.

[00:02:58] And that was when I really and [00:03:00] granted that wasn’t mine. I didn’t have offices at this time. Right? I did notice real quick, though, with just the incentive structure and everything that I negotiated that the money that came in on that side of the business. It was all profit cause I didn’t have any overhead.

[00:03:19] I didn’t have any overhead. So I pretty quickly made over, I want to say the first year was about 125, 000 to 150, 000 in profit income.

[00:03:29] Ross: Yeah. Free and clear profit.

[00:03:31] Baldeep: Free and clear. And I was like, wait, I did this without having to do a single tax return that I’m going to manage anybody without having to deal with actual tax clients.

[00:03:41] And without the liability of that, to go along with it, it was like, interesting. So then I did what all smart people do. And completely ignored that. And just started looking for other things.

[00:03:52] Ross: Complete opposite direction. Which is how we ended up meeting.

[00:03:56] Baldeep: Yeah, so I did what every smart person does when they find something that’s [00:04:00] making them money. And this is something we talk about a lot in our group.

[00:04:03] Is, I want to go look for another stream, right? Creating that other stream of income. What’s something that I actually want to do. I didn’t really take much of it seriously. Cause I was like, Oh, cool. Money’s coming in. My bills are paid for it. Let me go build something. I want to build. And that kind of led me into the marketing world.

[00:04:23] And before I dive into how I started on the marketing side and all that, I don’t know, Ross, if you want to talk a bit about. Your journey to that section.

[00:04:32] Ross: For sure. Yeah. And actually before that, I kind of wanted to, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions just to get a little bit closer back into.

[00:04:39] Baldeep: Oh, no.

[00:04:39] Ross: Like, so here’s the thing, when I started working with Baldeep and we started working in kind of the tax industry, I didn’t have a lot. I don’t have like tax industry experience.

[00:04:48] And I had to really kind of learn from Baldeeps knowledge. And I think it’s kind of important to set the precedence, not as like as bragging, but just to make the statement of [00:05:00] how much industry experience and knowledge you do have. Because I wanted to ask you, like, when you had your offices, like, what was the average return count per office location on average, when you guys were at your peak, when you had like your 15 locations, like what would be like on average, your return volume per month?

[00:05:16] Baldeep: Our best offices did over 1500 1600 our worst.

[00:05:20] Ross: 1500 returns in one office.

[00:05:22] Baldeep: Right our worst offices probably did about three or four hundred So that’s just how that was back then. Brick-and-Mortar.

[00:05:29] Ross: Obviously the industry has changed quite a then, but the reason why I wanted to bring that up is because one thing that I learned when getting into like marketing and everything like that, which we’ll get into a little bit here is talking to your niches, like really understanding your niche and knowing the market that you’re servicing.

[00:05:44] This was when it came like, as we were doing like a marketing agency and we’re trying to, you know, sell marketing services to an industry. If you don’t know that industry, it’s going to be really hard time to kind of sell that product. And when I started working with Baldeep in the tax industry, I started realizing his knowledge and [00:06:00] his experience in the industry.

[00:06:01] And I was like, holy shit, we were marketing and we’ll get into this in a little bit, but we are marketing to thousands of EROs across the country, and I think maybe we’ve talked to two people who are either at your level or who are, you know, had grown like a multi unit franchise, but there’s very few people in the industry that I’ve met so far.

[00:06:20] That has any kind of experience, like has the level of experience and the level of success and growth that you achieved in the industry. So I just kind of wanted to preface that just to be like your guy who knows what the fuck you’re talking about when it comes to that space. So, yeah, anyway, so, my journey, how we got into the kind of the marketing.

[00:06:37] I was always fairly entrepreneurial. Like, you know, I was the kid who was like selling candy bars and shit out of his locker in high school. Like I just, I was always kind of like trying to make a buck and looking for hustles. I remember trying to do all these, like just, you know, paper napkin, business plans thinking stuff out of like, how could I do this?

[00:06:53] How could I grow this? And I ended up working in, I’m actually in Canada, so I’m a Canadian and I was working in [00:07:00] Northern Canada in the oil industry with a security company. And I ended up being the right hand man of the founder and owner of that company. I was supposed to get equity, but that’s a whole other story.

[00:07:11] Sweat equity anyways, I was working towards, but I realized really quickly that. After doing that and after being a manager, after hiring and firing and, you know, having a crew of over, we think overhead had over 50 employees working part time or full time for a security firm doing multi million dollars of revenue a year.

[00:07:27] I realized really quickly, I’m like, I can’t work for people anymore. Like, it’s very hard for me to go to work and work for someone because I was basically in a executive role at that point, basically running the operation with the owner. And so, 2013, the oil industry had a big collapse and we ended up just kind of closing the company.

[00:07:48] We didn’t have to, we could have kept operating, but a lot of our contracts got reduced significantly because, I guess, you know, when times are tough, everyone starts looking at cutting expenses and security and maybe we don’t, we can get away with, you know, 25 [00:08:00] percent instead of, you know, all of the security guards that we currently have.

[00:08:02] So, a lot of our contracts got axed and we just said, Hey, you know what? Let’s just wrap it up. Like we kind of fell into the industry. We weren’t really that passionate about it. The owner was getting pretty old as well. He was in his mid sixties at this point. And he’s like, you know, and I’m kind of done.

[00:08:13] I’m like, yeah that’s totally fair. So we wrapped that up. I started working in the oil industry in the actual field, doing field work. And that was painful. It was great pay. It was a lot of long hours, but it was extremely painful working under people that in my mind were there because they had a family connection.

[00:08:32] They weren’t there for the competencies. I’ll put it that way. And so, so immediately I was like, all right, while I’m making this money, what can I do? And that’s when I started looking like, I like doing some marketing when I was working with a security company, maybe I can learn more about like online marketing.

[00:08:45] How can I use my computer savviness and Figure out a business with it. And that’s when I started learning actually I think we both got in, we didn’t even realize we were in the same group, but we both kind of got into a group called job killing where you like rank and rent websites. And we’re [00:09:00] like, Oh, this is the business model made sense to us.

[00:09:02] So obviously we both made the investment. We got into it.

[00:09:05] Baldeep: Well that’s funny because did that. I was doing that at the same time. I started that in 2016. Which was when I started the service bureau. So that was one of the other things I was doing.

[00:09:17] Ross: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, let me go also do this stuff on the side. Yeah. All the revenue streams.

[00:09:22] Baldeep: And it wasn’t cheap. wasn’t cheap. It was 5 grand or something. 5 or 6 grand

[00:09:26] Ross: Oh, yeah, it was expensive. Well, I didn’t have that money either. So I had to finance it. So I ended up paying like Canadian. It was like nine grand Canadian because I had to pay more and it was obviously the exchange.

[00:09:35] Baldeep: I paid in full.

[00:09:37] Ross: Yeah, there you go. Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t have that cash. I didn’t get nothing. When we closed down the security company, my income just stopped. Like I didn’t get a bonus. I didn’t get nothing. So I was a little bit bitter about that, but yeah. So, then getting into the marketing space at some point I think, and, you probably, I don’t know, were you playing around with Facebook ads before that guy came in and did like that real estate pitch to the group in job killing?

[00:09:58] Baldeep: Not really a little bit like[00:10:00] with like affiliate stuff. Nothing major the real estate thing. I really, I ended up getting a lot of clients real estate side, but then you deal with all the churn and the real estate. It’s a whole other market.

[00:10:11] Ross: Yeah. So basically we I mean, I bought that program from Grant, whatever his name was. And it was basically teaching us cause with the one, the model that we were in before was learning how to rank websites where it’s like, you create these little websites, you rank them on Google, like service websites, like plumbers or roofers.

[00:10:27] And it’s just an unbranded kind of business website, you get a ranking high so that now everyone’s calling your website and you just have a 40 number that you just forward to an actual contractor that can actually facilitate the work. So you’re just a broker. You’re just attracting the business and you’re just handing off to someone who can go facilitate and you get a little fraction of the action.

[00:10:46] Great model, right? Great model, but it takes a very time to deliver.

[00:10:50] Baldeep: A sliver to deliver.

[00:10:52] Ross: Sliver to deliver fraction of the action, but it takes a long time to get the website up there, right? Depending on the market, it could be like six months. It could be a year. [00:11:00] It could be a year and a half. You may never get. It ranking high enough and then comes in Facebook ads where it’s like, why don’t you just pay to play.

[00:11:08] Baldeep: Yeah, it’s kind of an object.

[00:11:09] Ross: Where you can just pay down? Yeah. You can just say, Hey, I’m just going to pay and just get leads. And then it’s like, Whoa, okay. Now they’re like the whole opportunity just really explodes. Cause now you’re like, I can get instant results. I can go and offer a program or offer some leads, some traffic, some business to a business.

[00:11:26] And I can literally turn on the floodgate tomorrow. Like it just starts instantly. So that really kind of had a huge shift. And then of course, both Baldeep, myself, we ended up starting our own agencies. We’re working with, you know, all kinds of different clients. And then just through kind of networking, everyone, we’re all trying to kind of figure this out.

[00:11:41] Hey, Facebook’s doing these changes. We’re all kind of adjusting because we’re kind of at the mercy of the advertising platforms. Baldeep ended up launching a community on Facebook, like a little Facebook group with one of his friends and myself and well, our other business partner, my business partner at the time found the group, [00:12:00] jumped in, started hanging out and yeah, maybe you want to take it over from there when you started go back into the tax industry with marketing.

[00:12:06] Baldeep: Right. Yeah. So, that was an interesting group because at that time there was just a lot of people like selling courses and stuff and we were just like, Hey, let’s just make a group and not sell anything.

[00:12:15] Ross: The gurus who ran one ad, they’re like, oh, now I’m going to show people, teach people and sell one thing.

[00:12:20] Baldeep: That would show you how to do a business that you never did. Right.

[00:12:23] So yeah, so that group was interesting. Made a lot of connections, obviously met a lot of people in that group. We would just do weekly lives. We made no money doing it. It was just, Hey, cool, we’re all doing the same or similar things. Let’s just hang out. But along that time, because I was doing ads, I was doing ads for different types of businesses at the time somebody that I know in the industry reached out to me in the tax industry.

[00:12:44] I was kind of like staying away from it. And somebody in the tax industry reached out to me. I’ve known him for years and he was like, Hey, I know you’re doing some Facebook ad stuff. Can you do it for my office for the tax season? This was like, I want to say, December, November, December of whatever year it was. I don’t remember.

[00:12:58] Ross: Seven 17.

[00:12:59] Baldeep: Something like that. [00:13:00] 17, probably something like that. So I was like, I drove up, I brought somebody that actually I met through my community from another state. I was like, Hey, just come with me on this. Let’s see. Cause I was going to rely on him to do with some of the build out stuff.

[00:13:12] Ross: Ramon.

[00:13:13] Baldeep: Ramon. Yeah. Ramon

[00:13:13] Ross: Ra Ramon.

[00:13:14] Baldeep: It all came down. Yeah. So this is when I lived in New York at the time. So I go to this guy’s office. Kind of map out a whole campaign and really just came down to using the skills that I know about running ads But how do we target what ultimately bank product clients because that’s where I know he’s gonna make his money already knew enough to say, his thing was look every time I speak to a company They’re saying oh, it’s gonna take two or three weeks to test this and figure this out by the time They learn the industry in the market tax season is over Like it just doesn’t make sense, right?

[00:13:45] Unless you really know the industry to be able to do something like this. So I was like, okay, cool. I charged them. I want to say a charge in like four grand. And then I was like, yeah, three or four grand. I was like, cool, I’ll do it. And then I’m like kind of got this mapped out. So on my way [00:14:00] home, I just called up everyone I knew that had tax offices still, and I think I signed up like four or five other clients on that ride home, that first beta, I call it the beta season of doing it.

[00:14:11] The 18 to 20 people paid a chunk of money to have their ads ran. And I was like, Hey, you’re going to pay me this much. And you’re gonna have to spend, you know, the same amount or more on Facebook. Right. So I took my feet and then they did their feet. Season came and went, wrapped it up, you know, it’s tax season.

[00:14:28] It’s seasonal. Right. Started doing.

[00:14:30] Ross: The next shiny object.

[00:14:31] Baldeep: Back the next thing. What are we going to do? And I was working on some other random stuff with a buddy of mine who’s actually in Service Bureau Accelerator now we’re just doing some random stuff like e commerce, like trying to figure out something online, something else online, right.

[00:14:43] And then while we’re doing that, for some reason, I just had this idea in my head. I’m like, what if I just launch an advertisement? So this was coming in, this was like September of that year. I’m like, fuck, let me just launch an ad to tax offices. And that first, I launched an [00:15:00] ad and it was funny because I put together the ad copy and the ad copy was.

[00:15:04] I don’t even remember what it was, but it was pretty straight forward.

[00:15:06] Ross: Was it the image like the dude the laptop with like money, like bills flying at them on like a side profile.

[00:15:11] Baldeep: The image was an animation of a guy sitting on a laptop with money flying out of the computer screen. And then the headline was like, Hey, early season tax offices. And I just hit all these bullet points about hitting pain points about people not knowing your industry, showing you how to get bank products.

[00:15:28] It was just an ad. And that ad was, basically taking them from the ad right to a phone call with me. So I’m sitting there. I’m talking to my friend I’m launching this ad while we’re working on something else. I’m like, oh cool, I’ll launch it. The next day I woke up to a calendar full of appointments for the rest of the week

[00:15:46] Ross: Literally like you had what, like an eight hour booking window and there were 30 minute calls and it was back to back to back back every single day. There was no gaps.

[00:15:57] Baldeep: There was no gaps. And I was like, oh, fuck [00:16:00] what I do. And then the challenges and most of you guys in the tax industry, you know, this, you guys don’t answer the phone sometimes. So out of those back to back appointments, maybe half of them showed up. But aside from that, I got on these calls and I had no presentation.

[00:16:13] I basically just shared my screen. I was like, Hey, yeah. I’m going to show you what I did last year, and this is what happened. And then I had, because I was so unprepared for that. I had no contracts, no agreements. I was like, okay, cool. Hey, by the end of this week, I’ll send you something to sign and we’ll get you set up.

[00:16:29] Ross: Yeah. Pitching people on one phone call and they’re like, hell yeah, I’m in. You’re like, all right, well, I don’t have any to actually take your money yet. So, I’ll get back to you on that.

[00:16:38] Baldeep: Yeah. So that was that. And then I think that’s when I was like I went to Jameson. I think I went to Jameson, I didn’t go to you. I went to Jameson. Like, hey Jameson, what the fuck are you guys doing right now? Are you guys actually doing anything? You making any money?

[00:16:56] Yeah, that was basically the conversation. It’s like, what are you guys doing? We’re like, Oh.

[00:16:59] Baldeeo: Just met a [00:17:00] hotel. I don’t think that was it.

[00:17:01] Ross: Yeah. We’re like, we’re working with brokers. We just met this, like, we’re working on a deal with this like motel, it wasn’t even a hotel. It’s like a motel franchise.

[00:17:09] Baldeep: No tell motel.

[00:17:11] Ross: Exactly. So we went and we talked with them and we are pretty standoffish after that meeting, but we are still possibly trying to work the deal just because, it would be a decent chunk of money and Baldeep’s, like, what do you guys fucking do? Look at my calendar. I need help. Do you guys want to come help me?

[00:17:24] And we’re like, sure, why not? Let’s see. Let’s test it out. So I think we work together one day. And we got a lot of shit accomplished and we’re just like, we have something here because the appointments didn’t stop coming in like, that didn’t slow down and the appointments, like literally not paying for someone’s name, email, phone number, but paying for someone’s name, email, phone number, and them scheduling a call on the calendar was like 50 cents.

[00:17:49] Baldeep: It was cheap.

[00:17:50] Ross: Like it was dirt cheap to get these EROs who are be like, I need help because no one was doing it.

[00:17:55] No one had ever done it in that industry. But everyone kind of understood that and they want and they [00:18:00] needed it. So it was this massive opportunity where that we just saw were like, yeah let’s just go full on this. And that was the the origins really the first real version of early season marketing.

[00:18:10] And yeah, we just kept scaling from there. I think we were pretty much doubling our client base year over year. We tested a few things. We tried doing like a little bit more of like a coaching program where it was kind of more for, cause there’s a lot of offices like for the program to really work and to really be robust.

[00:18:26] And this is what most people don’t really understand about marketing when you’re actually doing not vanity marketing, where it’s like, Oh, I’m getting a bunch of likes and comments and a bunch of views on my information. It’s like, no, we do what’s called direct response marketing. We want to put an ad out and we want to generate a name, email, phone number so we can convert them into a customer.

[00:18:42] That’s all we care about. We want dollars out to equate to dollars back into our business. And in order to do that effectively, you need a budget, and you need people who can actually follow up with all these leads. You cannot just hope and sit and pray that someone clicks on your ad, they fill it out.

[00:18:59] [00:19:00] And they book an appointment and they actually show up and they complete their tax return. There’s a lot of steps in between that someone can drop off. And so you need to really make sure that there’s a dialed in follow up process. And that’s what we ended up building. We ended up working with a lot of clients, but there were a lot of offices who wanted to have marketing.

[00:19:16] But they couldn’t maybe afford our fee for us to do all the work for them. And so we started to shift into a little bit more of a coaching program where we’re like, Hey, why don’t we try and get them set up with most of the stuff they need? And then they can kind of run their own budget. It’s a much lower investment.

[00:19:31] They need to do a little bit more work. Yes. But now they are ultimately are in control and they can kind of set their own budget as far as what they want to spend and they can manage all the leads themselves. And so we kind of did that as an extra kind of step down program that would help

[00:19:45] Baldeep: Yeah, it was essentially a downsell. It’s like, Hey, and we kind of filtered in a sense, like depending on when the person came in and they gave us all this information on that. Because at that point we had shifted to applications after a webinar. So it was more like, Hey, if you’re in this line, let’s just put you on a [00:20:00] call and we’re only going to talk about this program.

[00:20:01] If you’re above this line, let’s let’s talk about the done for you program. It’s really just dependent on the metrics that we saw from the applications on what program we would offer you realistically, though, like, I think the coaching program was a lot more work for us.

[00:20:15] Ross: On the first year we did the 2000 coaching program that was just a bad idea because it was the same amount of work basically, but we limited budget. It was like some. Yeah.

[00:20:23] Baldeep: So then we did more done as the technology evolved, it became easier to fulfill that side, but it required more of our time. Cause at that point we were doing only coaching calls for the coaching group, the dump you group didn’t even get access to the coaching calls because we were doing all that stuff for them.

[00:20:38] So they didn’t really need it. So it ended up being more work, less money. But I think, the contrast to that is we’ve signed up way more people there actually, yeah, I think we signed up more people there then, or it’s kind of speedy.

[00:20:51] Ross: Yeah, I think it was about even, but we still grew on the done with you or done for you clients. And then we also then added on about the same number of done for you. [00:21:00] So our revenue still like we were still doubling in our total revenue. But we were also able to scale quite a bit that year in particular was like our best year where we had, you know, Yourself doing some sales calls myself, 3 other sales reps that we brought in and were and had trained up from, well, I guess 2 at the time moved into early season marketing. So, it was a good program for sure. And all the while, while we were running that program well, maybe you want to take this dive into this part is what we’re actually doing on the back end that. No one even really realized that it was our business as well on the back end.

[00:21:34] Baldeep: Yeah. So through that process on the side, still, so as we’re having conversations, we’re sniping people and saying, Hey, don’t you also need tax software and setting up separate conversations to have tax software calls with people. So our service Bureau we ended up setting up a new service Bureau because I had my own, so we had to set up another one.

[00:21:54] Just because I was like, Hey, if we’re going to use leads that come in from here or run other things, I don’t want to do all that [00:22:00] myself. Let’s just bring the team on board with it instead of me just doing it on the side. That’s kind of how that happens. We set up another service Bureau and I think in two or three years it did over 10, 000 bank products pretty quickly.

[00:22:12] Just off of side ads and also conversations that we funneled over to a sales team. So it did really well and then we’re looking at it’s like, Hey, the money comes in from that. We’re like, Oh, there’s a nice chunk of change coming in for really not having to do much after. And then we decided, I mean, that’s pretty much it.

[00:22:33] It was really just like something that grew on the side. We ran our own ads, we did our own marketing for it, and we also funneled leads that qualified over to it from my marketing program to that, so it kind of just grew on its own separately with minimal work from us. And that kind of just led to what sparked the idea for Service Bureau Accelerator, which, you know, a lot of people are trying to copy now, but it’s a conversation for another day.

[00:22:59] There’s [00:23:00] somebody that’s copied every of the way and trying to do catch up on that.

[00:23:03] Ross: It was interesting though, because it was that scenario where it’s like something that we were focused on. We were kind of focused in the wrong area. Not so much. I mean, I think we just didn’t really see what was happening until it grew to a certain volume where the numbers, like

[00:23:17] Baldeep: You couldn’t ignore.

[00:23:18] Ross: Couldn’t ignore the numbers where we’re like, holy shit, there’s a lot of money over here.

[00:23:22] And we’re not even doing anything we’re spending about, you know, 80 percent of our energy, 90 percent of our energy over on this one thing, which is doing well, it’s paying the bills. It’s we’re making money on this, but now there’s this other thing that we’re spending maybe 5 percent of our time on.

[00:23:37] And it’s almost making the same amount of money. It’s like, wait a minute, what if we just focused on this? Like, what if we actually put work into this, what could we achieve?

[00:23:45] Baldeep: Then we decided to build Service Bureau Accelerator, which ends up being a lot more work than all of them combined, right? But the benefit of the Service Bureau model, so here’s one of the things, and we talked about this at our convention. Here’s one of the [00:24:00] things that, you know, the pros and cons of the marketing stuff.

[00:24:02] Pros, yeah, it’s a lot of cash, right? We made a lot of money there. The con was we benefited nothing from the results that we provided. So what the service of your seller, the goal was, well, obviously we want to make money, right? Everyone in business wants to make money. We don’t hide how we make our money.

[00:24:17] And I think we’ve done a top podcast or a podcast will come about how we all make money and how that makes sense for everybody. But but one of the things that, you know, one of the mistakes we made is all the people on our marketing program, not everyone use our software. If we did it, how we would do it now, if we relaunched it was, Hey, you want this marketing program?

[00:24:35] You have to use our software. That would be like the bare minimum.

[00:24:38] Ross: Non negotiable.

[00:24:39] Baldeep: Non negotiable because,

[00:24:41] Ross: we won’t work with

[00:24:41] Baldeep: yeah, because look, at the end of the day, everyone makes money on the bank products. So when the service group accelerator launched, the idea was more so seeing the need in the industry, the gap in the industry, the, how many people came through our phone [00:25:00] call, our calls from the marketing and mentioned, oh, yeah, I’m a franchise or I’m a this or I’m a that.

[00:25:05] And then we come to find out they’re not even set up as a proper service bureau. Or how many people had said, Oh, yeah. Or how many service bureaus came to us saying, Hey, I want to offer free software to your webinar.

[00:25:17] Ross: On our live webinars. I can give everyone free software. We’re like, no,

[00:25:21] Baldeep: Yeah. You and everybody else. Like, what are you doing different?

[00:25:23] Right? Like, it was just, we kept seeing a lot of the same stuff. But another thing too. There was quite a few people that brought up, Hey, I’ve always wanted to become a Service Bureau, but I don’t know where to start because I call up this company and they’re saying, okay, cool.

[00:25:39] Before I can tell you anything, you have to pay us 4, 000. We have to pay us 10, 000 or whatever the fee was that they’re charging. But then they got no basic information, like our free webinar for service broker accelerator gives more info for free than anybody would even consider giving. So really, it was just seeing the opportunity in the market.

[00:25:56] We’re like, well, we’ve been doing this for a while. We have the relationships, the [00:26:00] contacts, the deals to get everyone branded, set up and build on their own, build their own business. And we have the operational knowledge, the industry knowledge, the skills to help them grow and actually deliver this.

[00:26:12] Whereas a lot of these people How many people I’ve spoken to that were service bureaus with the software. I’m not going to name softwares on this call. There are service business with the software. They’re like, Hey, so I got my service bureau. I got my software licenses. They showed me how to set up an office, but I don’t know how to get clients.

[00:26:28] I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to do any of this other stuff. That’s actually important to building a business. So we’re like, okay, well, why don’t we just treat this like a program? Like we would with early season marketing, where we put everything together. Make it streamlined, but guess what?

[00:26:44] Everyone’s going to get their software branded. Everyone’s going to have unlimited licenses. Everyone’s going to be able to do the things that I wish I knew how to do when I started in 2016. So that’s kind of how it started as that idea.

[00:26:58] Ross: yeah. And to [00:27:00] sell, how to acquire clients.

[00:27:01] Baldeep: Yeah, it was really just me calling up. I called up a couple of people that I work with and was like, Hey, this is what I’m planning on doing.

[00:27:07] We got to figure out the workflows of delivering this, because When I knew once we did the ads, it would be game over. Like, we would be in front of everybody with the opportunity. And it pissed off a lot of people along the way, because we took a lot of people’s points.

[00:27:22] Ross: Still are today.

[00:27:23] Baldeep: Still are today, just because, you know, some people decide to offer no value and just charge people maximum fees on their bank products.

[00:27:30] Good luck keeping them forever. They’re not going to stay.

[00:27:32] Ross: Yeah. Well, I think the industry as a whole, like, I mean, I didn’t even really understand what a service bureau is until we started working together. It was probably like the, I think it was the year after early season mark. Like the first year we did early season marketing. Then the second year, I think is when we launched the service bureau together and I’m like, wait, okay, what is this?

[00:27:47] And I remember early on, like James and I were like, wait a minute, why don’t we just do this? I think that was James’s company. He’s like, wait, you make how much for doing how little work. What are you talking about? And but we couldn’t [00:28:00] really, and I think that was the other thing too, is that we couldn’t have launched SBA, the service bureau accelerator back then because we didn’t have the volume and the connections.

[00:28:08] And not only that, but also like the proof of concept, right? That it’s like, Hey, so we just grew our service bureau over a few years. And then it got to the point where it’s like, Hey, look what we’ve been able to achieve. And then you were able to have those conversations with people that kind of unlock the doors where it’s like, this is what we want to do.

[00:28:22] How is this going to work? How can we make this happen?

[00:28:24] Baldeep: Yeah. I mean, a lot of times it’s show and prove, right? Like not many people come to me at this point, they come like, yeah, I’m going to do X, Y, Z. Can you give me something special? It’s like, look, our deal is better than you’re going to get anywhere else. Like hands down. Like there’s no one that even if they want to compete on the money, they can’t compete on anything else.

[00:28:41] Like there’s nothing else. Right. Like good luck. Good luck trying to copy that. Right. So there’s people that have come and say, Hey, I want this and this. And I’m like, cool, you’ll get whatever you want once you show in proof. And then those same people don’t do shit. So it’s like, we’ve already been burned down that road.

[00:28:56] So like, we’re not gonna do anything special unless you [00:29:00] have a proven track record and can actually come with something aside from that. But anyway, so that’s kind of, yeah, that kind of all led to you creating it and saying, all right, this is what we want to do. This is negotiating this whole stuff.

[00:29:13] And then we launched it too. I think the first group we launched it to was the people that did early season marketing coaching program. We did the shittiest webinar ever and people bought it. So, but at that point we’d already figured out how we’re going to operate. Like the growth the idea of what we do and what we train on the group.

[00:29:30] Is let’s lay out everything we want to put in this program, right? Because the training aspect, right? And let’s figure out what we need to do to deliver a seamless on board of what we need to collect and all that stuff. And we broke all that down. People bought it, signed up, and the only thing they had was a couple of like a welcome video.

[00:29:46] And these are the dates or the months that this stuff is coming out. We didn’t record everything before we sold it. But we did have the operation side and the delivery side done. Like, here’s how you get your software. Here’s all the steps that we’re going to do. That [00:30:00] took about a month and a half to kind of figure out before we even launched.

[00:30:04] And then when we launched, it was just off our email list. We didn’t even run ads. We didn’t even run ads. And then we finally launched ads in the summertime.

[00:30:16] Ross: And then here we are now three years later. Yeah. It’s the third. Yep. Three years later.

[00:30:20] Baldeep: Taxes and yeah.

[00:30:20] Ross: And it’s constantly improving, that’s the other thing too. And if I can say anything to anyone who’s listening this call, who’s looking at whether you’re starting a business or you’re starting a program, or you’re wanting to start a service bureau, whatever it is, nothing’s ever gonna be perfect.

[00:30:33] And I see this a lot, especially in this industry, and I know Baldeep, you always talk about just with, you know, account type individuals. You’re very process oriented. Like, I didn’t know A to Z before I even start. And one thing that I always try to coach people on, it’s like, look, nothing’s ever going to be perfect.

[00:30:47] Like business is literally that the practice of breaking shit and improving shit. That’s what it comes down to. And even our program from, we look back to the very first year to now. It’s completely [00:31:00] changed, like there’s, we have a new training portal. We’ve got a whole different like software tools and everything.

[00:31:04] Our support system is completely revamped. The training process, the onboarding process, literally every single thing that we do in our business has been completely changed from that first year, but all that first year was like a minimal viable product. We’re like, Hey, you know what? Let’s launch this program.

[00:31:19] We’ve got an idea. Let’s go and execute it on it. We did it. And then after that year, we’re like, all right, what went well? What didn’t work? What can we improve on? And it’s how do we make it better the next year? And that’s what we do year over year. We’re constantly tweaking, constantly improving.

[00:31:33] And I think I just want to kind of mention that for anyone who is thinking of launching a program or starting a business is that just be comfortable with imperfect action. Just go out there and actually make stuff happen first because you’re always going to have Microsoft It’s going to be a requirement for you to always improve and make adjustments on your business as you go along with it.

[00:31:50] But just getting started is the most important part.

[00:31:52] Baldeep: Yeah. think a lot of people, like we’ve mentioned a lot in this call. It’s like, Hey, we had to do, we did all this with very little work. It does take work. [00:32:00] It was, we did it with little attention to it, right? Because then we start seeing like, all right, well, those are just software sales, right? But now obviously the landscape changed, right?

[00:32:10] How do you compete with everybody, right? Well, how do you differentiate yourself, right? So there is work involved, but one of the cool things is it’s when you kind of build it up, as long as you’re consistent on your communication with your client and retention is good, you’re just building on top year over year with very little downside and a lot more upside to that revenue.

[00:32:33] Ross: And through our program, I actually have a, I was making the coaching call slides this morning and there’s a slide learn from our mistakes to help you grow faster. And that’s, I think that’s ultimately one of the biggest benefits that everyone does have. And by the way, guys, if you’re listening and you’re interested, we have weekly webinars for the Service Bureau Accelerator program.

[00:32:53] Just head onto our website, ServiceBureauAccelerator. com. Book in for a webinar. You can go check out and learn a little bit more about our program, book a [00:33:00] call afterwards, ask your questions. we’ll figure it out if it’s a good fit. But I think that’s another huge thing is that look like, we grew a service bureau ourselves before we actually started teaching people how to be a service bureau.

[00:33:12] And so I think that’s the one aspect is that there’s a lot of people who are trying to kind of copy what we’re doing and they never really built a big service bureau in the first place, but now they’re trying to offer service bureaus and try to offer to showing people how to start their own service bureau because they see us doing it.

[00:33:27] But they didn’t go through all of the growth and all of the, you know, all of the things that we had to go through first to really kind of build our own service bureau and actually do it and be like, okay, we know how to do it now. Let’s actually show people how to do it as well.

[00:33:41] Baldeep: I think there’s a lot of surgeries that have been around in the industry that are start seeing what we’re doing and they’re like, Oh, well, how do we do that if they haven’t already been coaching and doing this stuff at scale, it’s going to be very uphill battle.

[00:33:53] And, you know, one thing I will say, I mean, like, I’m not going to mention names, but I know there’s a service out there that’s been stuck at a [00:34:00] certain volume over 10, 000, less than 20 for 10 years. Right. Like, and now they’re like, Oh, okay, cool. Let me just go sell service bureaus and see, and then I’ll make, I’ll get more volume.

[00:34:10] Ross: See if that works. don’t know what works and what doesn’t.

[00:34:13] Baldeep: But it’s very difficult. Now all of a sudden they have to build a whole new support business model to coach and train that they’ve never done before. We’ve been doing it years, right? We’ve been coaching and training on marketing and sales and operations for years. And even though they may have some systems in their business, they’re not adept to translate that to something that’s easy to consume, right?

[00:34:37] Like we have it easy to consume. Yeah, sure. Some people pick it up faster than others, but that’s what we have support for. Right. It’s like, okay, cool. Yep. Break it down. Keep it simple. But some of those people that have been in this industry for so long, now, all of a sudden they’re losing clients and they’re like, well, what could I do different?

[00:34:56] We’ve already blew past them by multiples [00:35:00] because we’re quick to make changes. We’re quick to adjust. We’re quick to see where the industry is going and make adjustments for the group, right? All right, cool. Hey, why don’t you try this? Try this. Hey, we’ve ran, we literally show people at our convention, ads we ran where people in the audience were leads from those ads

[00:35:20] Ross: You’re like, Oh, we got an application from Terrence. in the room or, he’s in the group.

[00:35:24] Baldeep: Right? Like literally showed them the process. Right. So it’s easily a quote unquote copy, but not easily replicated. And that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Oh yeah. Maybe you could get a cheaper upfront price somewhere because somebody just wants to sell you, but you don’t know what those backend fees are going to be.

[00:35:43] You’re not asking the right questions. You just need to make sure you’re dealing with something that’s very transparent from All that..

[00:35:50] Ross: I can guide you into ultimately achieving success. Cause we’re all here to make money. Like don’t make no mistake about it. Right. We’re all here to start a business and make money. But it’s like, who actually has the results, [00:36:00] the proven results who can also, who’s A done it themselves and B has also already helped people. Hit the goals that you want to hit. So I think that’s a big part of it as well.

[00:36:09] Baldeep: I think that’s, that wraps it up.

[00:36:11] Ross: Yeah. With that being said, again, one more shameless plug again, guys, for if you guys have been listening to this episode, first of all, appreciate you guys jumping in, listening to the podcast. We’ve actually had a couple of members now sign up from listening to the podcast.

[00:36:21] So we’re definitely getting some viewers, which is always great. We definitely appreciate you guys listening in and if you want to learn more about the program, head on over to ServiceBureaAccelerator. com. Book in for one of our webinars. That’s the best way to get more information. Jump on one of our webinars.

[00:36:35] We’ve got a ton of them running. You can learn more about our program. Book a call with one of our team members to, you know, ask any questions and ultimately just make sure if it’s a good fit for you guys and help you get set up for the upcoming season.

[00:36:45] Baldeep: Cool. All right. Well, that’s the pod.

[00:36:48] Ross: All right, guys, take care.