Guests: Joe Daniel, Daniel Ramsey
Recorded: February 19, 2020

Excerpt

When it comes to payroll processing & HR paperwork, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) are rapidly becoming the solution of choice for modern business. By outsourcing these tedious, but necessary employment tasks to a PEO, you can save time & money – and the same applies to hiring a virtual assistant: by delegating repetitive tasks to a VA, you can take your lead generation, administrative paperwork, even transaction management or HR recruiting tasks off of your shoulders, for less than 60% of what you’d pay for in house staff.

In this exclusive webinar, we’re joined by Joe Daniel, the founder & President of Streamline CXO, who will explain how outsourcing repetitive business functions are becoming a critical part of running a successful, growing business in the 21st century. Don’t believe it? You’ll be surprised – PEO companies have doubled their client base in the last decade, and they’re on track for record growth in the 2020s as well.

Joe has been helping businesses, and business owners, reduce risk, control costs, and exceed employee expectations for over 30 years. Prior to founding Streamline CXO in 2011, Joe began his career in the insurance and investment industry. He later transitioned to the Retirement Plan Services Division of AmSouth Bank Trust Department (now Regions Bank). In 1997 Joe left the bank to join Better Business Solutions, a local startup entity in the PEO industry, where he served as VP and Head of Sales & Marketing.

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Joe and his family live in Homewood where he is active in the community. Currently a board member for The Jimmie Hale Mission. Joe is also a member of and past board member for The Birmingham City Sales Club as well as past President of the Homewood City Schools Foundation. In addition to his board service, Joe is a member of The Monday Morning Quarterback Club and for the past ten years has served on the Business Development Committee for the Birmingham Bowl (formerly BBVA Compass Bowl). Joe and his family are active members of Dawson Baptist Church.

Transcript

00:00:07:01 – 00:00:30:05
Daniel Ramsey
Hey, everybody. Daniel Ramsey here with MyOutDesk. I’m excited because we got Joe Daniels here from Stream. I’m CXO, a CEO in the Alabama area. And today we’ve got a really cool conversation because this guy has been through a merger, separated, sat out, is his non-compete for a year and then start his own company. And nine years later, here he is on our show.

00:00:30:05 – 00:00:32:17
Daniel Ramsey
So, Joe, thanks for being here today.

00:00:33:02 – 00:00:34:13
Joe Daniel
Thank you. Glad to be here.

00:00:34:17 – 00:00:45:09
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah. I mean, let’s start real quick. Let’s let’s start about talk about how you got started in the industry like, you know, your origin story. That’d be that’d be a good spot to start.

00:00:45:21 – 00:01:12:12
Joe Daniel
Okay. Well, long story short, I was in the investment service and investment world that transferred me over into the banking world, you know, primary in the trust department. And through that became introduced to some folks in this industry. And then in 1997, I joined a guy that had started up a new company in this industry. Wow. We rocked along for about ten years together and then we merged with the group, larger group out of state.

00:01:12:23 – 00:01:49:18
Joe Daniel
Yep. That sounded good, but it didn’t go quite as well as we both had preferred. And so in 2010 I decided to move on and then I started upstream in 2011 after a one year non-compete. So a little bit of a break there and a little bit of a time to reflect and decided as I looked around at different things to do that I really liked this industry like what it and I think it’s been a good choice because the from the beginning days of 1997 where people looked at you and said, oh, what is that?

00:01:49:19 – 00:01:56:14
Joe Daniel
Yeah, yeah. Today we’re no longer having to explain who we are, but we get to talk about what we do. So it’s been great.

00:01:57:05 – 00:02:22:18
Daniel Ramsey
That’s awesome. Man one One of my best friends in the industry just lost one of his best sales guys. And it’s an interesting conversation. And I think, Joe, you’re a great example of a salesperson who had everything gone right, you may have still been with the original founder of that company from back in 1997. So I want to kind of hear from you being that you’re a sales guy, that you’re in the trenches.

00:02:23:01 – 00:02:33:16
Daniel Ramsey
What do you think is required to hold on to that sales talent and kind of keep one of your best guys happy and an on on the boat basically or on the bus?

00:02:35:01 – 00:03:03:07
Joe Daniel
Oh, wow. Good question. You know, part of that probably goes to the philosophy or the thoughts of the of the PTO itself from from how they view sales. Yet, you know, if you’re looking for quick sales and high volume and not so much quantity focus rather than quality, then it might not be as much. We’ve always been a little bit more focused on quality than quantity and so on.

00:03:03:08 – 00:03:29:03
Joe Daniel
That reason, it takes a little bit more time and a little bit more conversation. And so I would answer that question by saying, you know, if a salesperson obviously compensation always matters yet, but if they are compensated at a level and they have a sense of ownership and the ability to really kind of influence or control and bring on business that fits the company’s model.

00:03:29:10 – 00:03:33:10
Joe Daniel
Yeah. And then obviously again, they’re compensated for that.

00:03:35:10 – 00:03:57:05
Joe Daniel
Then I think that helps somebody kind of have some sense of ownership or sense of of responsibility that’s higher than just, hey, what are your numbers and how many people have you talked to today and why would you sell anything? Right. You know, a different, different approach. But but that’s I think that’s one that I’ve enjoyed and would like.

00:03:57:05 – 00:04:12:18
Joe Daniel
But I also would acknowledge that not everybody is cut out for that. And so if you get somebody that just wants don’t want to spend that much time and energy on it or is not capable and really sit down and have a conversation with the business owner and they just want to sell a product.

00:04:13:00 – 00:04:14:06
Daniel Ramsey
A widget or something, a.

00:04:14:06 – 00:04:33:03
Joe Daniel
Widget or a low cost quick sale deal that, in my opinion, that you don’t want to keep that person around. So. Right, you got to I mean, certainly training comes into certainly the ability to communicate is important. But at the end of the day, I think, you know, if they buy into the culture, then they got to like the environment.

00:04:33:03 – 00:04:36:01
Joe Daniel
If they like the environment, then they got to stay.

00:04:36:13 – 00:04:51:18
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, well, your original co-founder, you had a ten year run, which, by the way, is unusual. How did you guys divvy up the responsibility? He ran the company and you did the sales or did you both do the sales like how how did that relationship go?

00:04:52:13 – 00:05:24:12
Joe Daniel
Well, as with any new company and as we told everybody in there, there’s everybody responds for sales. But there’s a few of us that was our job description. So we’re of that obviously not that a little bit humorous, but just saying customer service and client service and response time, all that helped us get our message out there. But in the end, he ran the company and I was responsible for the sales and marketing and we had a couple of salespeople at one time and just decided that, you know, we were probably better off.

00:05:25:04 – 00:05:50:21
Joe Daniel
He and I got out really talking to business owners that we knew and what we called everybody call centers of influence. But your accountants, your bankers, your other trusted advisers, right. Like we were better off to spend our time educating them on our company and let them referrals business and then trying to convince these Yahoo! Sales folks, yeah, what we want and how to do it when they were just looking for quick deal and.

00:05:50:21 – 00:05:53:11
Joe Daniel
Right, right. So it’s had that way.

00:05:53:20 – 00:06:00:24
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, that’s good. Man one question that I had, what did you do on your one year sabbatical where you just kind of said, Now you’re 99 can be.

00:06:02:10 – 00:06:20:08
Joe Daniel
For the first three or four months. I just detoxed, if you will, really. But then I start spend time talking to folks about what I was going to do next because I wasn’t sure I was going to get back in this industry. And then about six or seven months into it, I realized, you know what? I did like this industry.

00:06:20:08 – 00:06:42:18
Joe Daniel
I like the opportunity presented. I just want to have the ability to control or not control, but influence the culture. Yeah. And so probably probably about seven or eight months into it, I just started putting together a business plan and looking for folks to hire and nice reaching out to vendors and doing the things you got to do.

00:06:42:18 – 00:06:55:02
Joe Daniel
And, and probably started that about ten months. We kind of had an entity ready to go. Yep. And then we waited till that one year was up and before we actually officially call on anybody dating thing.

00:06:55:02 – 00:07:00:03
Daniel Ramsey
So did you did you literally wait one year and one day before you started?

00:07:01:02 – 00:07:01:17
Joe Daniel
Literally.

00:07:02:10 – 00:07:04:13
Daniel Ramsey
Huh? I love it, man. I love it.

00:07:04:23 – 00:07:26:16
Joe Daniel
Literally. On the advice of a of the attorneys who both said, you know, these things maybe do, maybe don’t, but you’re wise to follow it. But all that really means that you can’t generate any income. Right. But they want I could be ready to go. So we got software vendors in place, we got office space, we got people.

00:07:27:01 – 00:07:29:14
Joe Daniel
We were we were prepared to launch.

00:07:29:19 – 00:07:48:11
Daniel Ramsey
You’re ready to go. One of the things that you said to me was that you never kind of ran the whole thing prior to that moment. And then running the whole thing. You went through a bit of a learning curve. I’d love to to kind of understand a little bit of that learning curve that you had in the first early couple of years.

00:07:49:18 – 00:08:07:13
Joe Daniel
It’s kind of like the backup quarterback or the assistant coach that thinks they can jump in the top spot and do just fine and they realize there’s a little bit more to it. Yeah, I would say that that was me. I was the vice president of the company and in charge of sales and marketing, and I thought that was the bulk of everything took place.

00:08:07:13 – 00:08:27:00
Joe Daniel
That stuff just kind of happened. Yep. I realized pretty quick that there’s a lot more to making things run smoothly from top to bottom. And yeah, humorously, you know, we’re in the age of outsourcing business and and our calling card companies or prospects to tell them how we can help them on the people side of their business. Right.

00:08:27:18 – 00:08:40:17
Joe Daniel
But internally, I deal with that. You know, we we still got our people side of the business to handle. So that’s we’ve grown it just more to deal with. And so that kind of cuts into the selling time a little bit.

00:08:41:02 – 00:09:06:05
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, makes sense, man. One of the, one of the interesting things I like to say, I tell my clients this all the time because we’re in the people business. I’m like, people are messy, man. You got to be you got to want to build a people organization before you do it. Salespeople, marketing people, you know, support operations folks, you know, you got to deal with all of that comes with leading people and you you obviously experienced that.

00:09:07:14 – 00:09:31:24
Joe Daniel
Yes. Some you know, everybody has things going on, but some folks kind of fit in better. Or you can tell part of pretty early on and we’ve been fortunate that we got a good solid base of folks in that we’re not without our hiccups along the way, but at the end of the day and sometimes we’ve had good people that that spouse was transferred and they left, it was like, oh my gosh, we hate to lose you.

00:09:32:10 – 00:09:52:19
Joe Daniel
Yeah, tried to do some long distance things, but it ended the day we realized we needed our folks here. And so we’re, you know, we’re not we’re not hiring all the time, but you occasionally have to do it. And certainly even within the folks you have there, you want to make sure that they feel appreciated, that they’re beneficial, but also that they are capable of doing what we need them to do.

00:09:52:19 – 00:10:08:21
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, I love it. Well, we’ve gotten through a first part of introduction, like your origin story, Joe, and I really appreciate that. I’m curious what exactly in the peo world do you focus on and where where’s your business and a little bit about your your company’s kind of mission and purpose?

00:10:10:07 – 00:10:33:21
Joe Daniel
Well, we probably not probably we focus on what I would say smaller companies, where they look at groups of 100 employees or less. But yep. But really, the bulk of our clients are are probably under 50 or 60 employees. Sure. One reason we do that is because there’s more companies that size and generally those size companies not hiring an h.r.

00:10:33:21 – 00:11:06:24
Joe Daniel
Person. Right. As far as a type of industry or company, we’ve got them all across the board. And as a general rule, we’re not out marketing or calling on what I call low wage, high turnover, which, you know, part time seasonal, right. Restaurant, not because those are not great companies. They just the aspect of benefits and policy procedures are not quite as necessary with with companies that full time employees and and don’t have high turnover or one avoid high turnover.

00:11:06:24 – 00:11:35:15
Joe Daniel
So you know we’re not we’re probably lean more towards this service and the white collar side of stuff than blue collar. But we certainly have clients across the board and even in the restaurant world. So we’re not we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to say. But but we’re looking for companies that need what we offer that are looking for policies and help with that and consistency and processes and benefits to help them recruit, retain all the stuff that pillows do.

00:11:36:18 – 00:11:40:24
Joe Daniel
We just looking at it probably at groups that are under 100.

00:11:40:24 – 00:11:51:00
Daniel Ramsey
What are some of the anxieties that you guys relieve for your clients? Like when you think about, you know, how you serve or help your clients grow, what are some of the things that you take care of?

00:11:52:17 – 00:12:14:01
Joe Daniel
Wow, good question on that. From the standpoint of, you know, a startup company, they probably other than just saying, just handle this for me, they don’t they don’t have a lot of anxieties. They are there’s not completely answer your question, but saying that existing companies the anxiety of using us initially might be just the change of how they’re doing stuff.

00:12:14:08 – 00:12:37:12
Joe Daniel
Yeah, but I would think kind of what you were asking is, you know, if somebody is prompted to consider using an outsourced option, better not be it financials, be it in the world. That anxiety has to do with them. Are really handling all this the best way, you know? And in our world, are you in compliance, right? Are you comfortable with that?

00:12:37:21 – 00:13:04:08
Joe Daniel
Everybody uses, though. Can you with your sleep factor, can you go to sleep at night knowing all this is being done the right way? Now, I would say that the angst of taking this stuff, you know, I say, you know, but just humorously when I talk to a business owner, I can tell them I might not know anything about your company, but I know this when you started it, it was not to deal with all this stuff we handle because nobody except maybe us start a peo but nobody only.

00:13:04:08 – 00:13:06:12
Daniel Ramsey
The crazy people, right? Only the crazy.

00:13:06:24 – 00:13:29:09
Joe Daniel
Right. Or the company saying i’m going to be the best payroll processor and h.r. Person started because i know how to make money doing something else right. Architect, engineer, dentist, lawyer, marketing, whatever it is. Right. That’s what they want to focus on. And then they get distracted with this stuff that they didn’t want to do, but they got to do.

00:13:29:09 – 00:13:38:19
Joe Daniel
And so that anxiety comes from, how am I handle this? And how do I know if people are doing it, really know what they’re doing? And so that’s that’s what we probably relieve the most for. I love it, man.

00:13:38:24 – 00:13:58:05
Daniel Ramsey
With Yeah. Yeah. What about like pushback from those businesses? Like what are some of the pushback there as you’re kind of helping somebody understand your value proposition and why you guys exist? What are some of the things that people are like? Well, I don’t know about this, Joe. Tell me this. You know.

00:13:59:01 – 00:14:26:16
Joe Daniel
Yeah, it’s again, I’ll kind of go back to maybe younger or startup companies, younger business owners or startup companies, less pushback. You know, they’re more about finding ways to outsource because outsource is way more common now. Yep. Like an older company or even an older business owner who has run their business for a long time without outsourcing, they’re going to be a little bit more skeptical or maybe a little bit more.

00:14:26:16 – 00:14:34:03
Joe Daniel
Do I want to put all my eggs in one basket? You know, why would I, if I’ve got multiple vendors out there, handle this for me now? Why do I need to have it all with one?

00:14:34:11 – 00:14:34:22
Daniel Ramsey
Right.

00:14:36:09 – 00:15:00:03
Joe Daniel
You know, some people come inclusion. It’s easier to deal with one than the multiple. Yeah, but I’d say the pushback would just be the change factor. Again, just kind of like, yep, if that ain’t broke, don’t fix it type of thing. But if you’re still dealing with multiple vendors and multiple processes and multiple paperwork multiple times a year, you got to do stuff.

00:15:00:18 – 00:15:03:22
Joe Daniel
Is that really is that really what you want to be doing?

00:15:04:10 – 00:15:27:00
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, I love it. One one thing that’s happening over the last ten years and you’ve probably enjoyed some of this growth, the pillow industry has really taken off. I mean, it’s it’s blown up. Outsourcing has become like you said when we first started, we first started outsourcing in 2007. And we outsourced talent for companies. But we started in 2007 with virtual assistants and nobody knew what they were.

00:15:27:06 – 00:15:40:12
Daniel Ramsey
And now it’s comment like everybody talks about it. You’ve heard of them. It’s just kind of a common thing. Same thing for the PEO industry. Where do you see us going over the next five or ten years? Joe what’s what’s in your crystal ball.

00:15:40:12 – 00:16:21:12
Joe Daniel
Yeah, my crystal ball. Yeah. Well, I will say that, that a strong economy and the familiarity of what a POW is, it’s what’s helped our growth over the last ten years. Yeah, going forward, I think technology is certainly going to be a bigger part of that. And and adjusting to that, the gig economy that everybody talks about but just changing workforce you know, part of that is going to be we need employment law to catch up to where we are because we still got a lot of laws that like, we’re still everybody goes to an office every day from eight five and all that and that’s changing.

00:16:21:12 – 00:16:46:14
Joe Daniel
So, you know, I can’t say that I know exactly. But what I have told people is, listen, accountants have been practicing accounting for 100 years. They’ve just a ball this things have evolved. Same for lawyers and banks. And in our world, as long as there’s people and there’s people, there’s payroll, there’s going to be issues. So those are going to evolve and we’re going to adapt to kind of what’s taken place.

00:16:46:14 – 00:17:08:19
Joe Daniel
But there’s always going to be, in my opinion, business owners who say, Hey, can you handle this for me? You just take care of this. And so, you know, we certainly will be less well, say, let me just say it’s certainly going to evolve on how we manage and deal with stuff. And I think technology is going to be a huge factor in that.

00:17:09:02 – 00:17:14:21
Joe Daniel
Yep, looks. But I also think we’ll evolve as the employment laws involved evolve.

00:17:15:10 – 00:17:29:21
Daniel Ramsey
I love it. I love it. Joe What piece of advice or encouragement would you give our audience as you’re, you know, looking forward to the PEO space and outsourcing in general? What, what would you tell our our folks?

00:17:29:21 – 00:18:00:04
Joe Daniel
You know, I don’t know that I’ve got anything is just wildly unique but I would say don’t don’t be slow to look into new ideas and new technology that can help you stay productive and that’s that’s kind of a general comment. But just saying that the change is happening in fast, way quicker than anything we grew up with or had in, you know, in the 98, late eighties and nineties.

00:18:00:04 – 00:18:29:07
Joe Daniel
So, you know, I just would not be too don’t be hesitant to look into new ideas and new ways. Doesn’t mean everything that comes out is going to be right for you. But don’t just assume everything’s not right and kind of explore, ask questions because it is getting it does technology does move fast, but it is making things a lot easier to do and a lot, lot of simpler for you to run your primary business by having these other aspects take things off your plate.

00:18:29:18 – 00:18:39:00
Daniel Ramsey
I love it. Well, Joe, Daniel, thank you for being here. And I guess if anybody wanted to get a hold of you, what’s the best way to kind of find you and your business in Alabama?

00:18:40:12 – 00:19:00:15
Joe Daniel
Oh, you obviously we got a website which is streamlined six. Okay. But I would say just just email me directly. Okay. We’re still we’re still on the small side of the company, so we’re high touch personal customer service. So, you know, I get your emails, I read your emails. So we had Joe at Streamline. So we’re probably the best way to reach them.

00:19:01:04 – 00:19:03:21
Daniel Ramsey
Well, thanks for being here, Joe, today. It’s been a fun interview.

00:19:04:06 – 00:19:10:23
Joe Daniel
Thank you.