Dan Berzansky | Pivoting From a Swimming and Lifeguard Business to Software Development

Dan Berzansky 10:59

Yeah, yeah, that’s, for me, that’s a no brainer, really, I built it in silos, initially. And really, the initial issue we were having is when you think about shiftworkers, when you think about hourly employees, generally speaking, you’re going to have someone working at shift kind of beginning of the day, middle, the end of the day, whatever it might be. And you may have a number of different managers or supervisors interacting with them. So our initial problem that we were having was that someone would work a shift, and they would have upwards of three managers interacting with them. But there was no real way for us to communicate conversations that we had had, or document conversations that we had had in a really clean way that was private, that was controllable. That was, you know, you’ve got, you know, you’ve got Google Sheets and things like that. When we started, we didn’t have that. Now you do. But one that actually controls and in such a way where the employee has access to their files, managers have access, we can communicate from there turned into we started realizing one now we fix this issue right now we know exactly. If you talk to Johnny about something. And I talked to Johnny about something, we both got records, we can see the conversations, what coaching we gave, and we can kind of stop the bleed. But the next issue that we ran into was really came down to training and just consistency across our, our organization were in about 100 facilities. So we were having issues where facility one and facility 31 The staff look, they look different, they dress different, they train different, where we have a really repeatable process, but not if we don’t build in some kind of system to implement. So the next step we did is we built in a training module. Once we built in the training module, we added in what we call our SAR instead of our progressive employment ladder, where we basically said, Okay, now coming down to points, and this is a, you may or may not be amused by this one. But I say that every demo we do I say you do 90 Day probation for your new employees, right? And they said, Yeah, of course everybody does. 90 day I said, Okay, well, here’s employee a who worked 60 shifts in 90 days, an employee B work three shifts, and 90 days. So how do you keep How do you grade them on the same playing field, right? So we built this Points Based System where it’s you want to get out of probation, great 20 points, the 20 points, it’s our means 20, successful chips, right? You’re trusting our way you’re there on time you’re speaking our language, you know what we’re doing. And then that turned into just a full blown incentive program. If you want to raise if you want to interview for a managerial position. If you want to earn more PTO, if you want paid paid volunteer hours, which is what we offer great going on it, it’s right in front of you, takes you 20 points to get to that 40 points to get to that 60 points to get to that. And it’s really made a big difference in how transparent the whole process is for younger, younger staff.

John Corcoran 14:02

It sounds like that is something that requires a lot of customization for you as far as building the software product and having to work with each individual client in order to kind of customize what the incentive

Dan Berzansky 14:13

programs look like. It used to be we’ve we’ve systemized in our something really easy. We build the entire system for our clients. But we do it based on their actual data. So we’ll say okay, what’s your, what is your current retention rate? Most of them don’t even know how to calculate the retention rate for staff. So we’ll help them calculate that number and we’ll we’ll decide on a goal. What do you want it to be? And obviously, I’ll say 100. And we say okay, let’s be realistic, what what can you afford, and what can we do here? And then we will build out? A custom program for them will say based on what you’re telling us what we believe, for example, my lifeguard business, every 20 shifts or every 20 points, you get some kind of incentive on my swim school. business where we keep people much longer. It’s 20, then 25 and 30 than 35. Hands

John Corcoran 15:05

in the business. Okay. Yeah, yep. And what is the incentive look like? What do you typically recommend? Is it like a Starbucks gift card? Or is it something else? What do you recommend to me?

Dan Berzansky 15:16

Yeah, generally, it’s a little bit more personalized than that. So they, the employees get to build out their favorite things. And we get to incentivize them with what they love, not what we love. But it’s also nobody gets a raise, without earning enough points to earn a race. Nobody gets an interview for a managerial position without earning enough points for a managerial role. So really, we’ve laid out the entire, I mean, now my life card business goes through, I think, 250 points, which is basically two and a half years, on average, which is really where we want to be at that point, they’re managing for us, we’re paying for some of their their extra education to kind of get them to their next step in their careers. And that’s, that’s a successful relationship for us.

John Corcoran 16:00

And this is all laid out for them. Like, did they can they go on an app on their phone and view it? Or how does how did they? Yeah,

Dan Berzansky 16:08

exactly, no, yeah, it’s, it’s all app based. It’s, they just look in the app, they say, you know, they get trained from day one. And we say, this is one team. And this is how it works. And, you know, when you want your first race, you just let us know, just pick up some more shifts or open your availability up. And then it really is up to them. It’s No, we haven’t had a single complaint that the race was taking too long since because they’re in complete control. Right? If they want to, if they want a raise, great, pick up a few more shifts, and the raise is yours. And it’s all based on actual data. So it’s no longer my manager doesn’t like me. It’s all based on actual actual data and data points, and we’re giving them feedback. And the beauty is now we’ve added in this new component, which you alluded to. So at the end of the shift, they get a push notification to their phone saying, Hey, thanks for the shift, login to see how you did for us tell us how we did. So now they get to provide our managers, anyone who interacted with them that day, the system will say, Hey, these are your managers that interacted with you rate them one to five on a scale of one to five, how did they do in this category, that category, that category? And what we found is we found with the 360 feedback, we are able to determine who are the managers that are keeping people? Who are the managers who are scaring people away? What are our most successful who our most successful team members trainings and so on? It really is. It’s, it’s a really cool, a bit of insight that we’ve never had before.

John Corcoran 17:40

What do you say to people who say, you know, we can’t reduce this down to a Points Based System, it’s too unique, we’re too much of a special snowflake, whatever you want to call it, you know, it says there’s too much subjectivity to it to reduce all of this down to a Points Based System.

Dan Berzansky 17:59

What I would say is one get on board, it’s coming. But I what I would also say is that we’re dealing with a completely different generation. So the way that they communicate with you, the way that we you communicate with them has got to change. And if you aren’t getting into some kind of virtual or at base communication, and coaching and so on, you’re going to miss the boat. And the example that I give again, and again, I watched a stop by one of our facilities and watch the training. Excuse me, I sat next to a must be a 16 year old female lifeguard, I sat with her for a good hour, just watching and chatting, you know, shaking hands and kissing babies and doing my thing. And we had a lovely conversation and everything was great. The very next day, I get a 360 feedback alert, sent in through one team. And she was filing a complaint not against me, but against one of our managers, where she felt like she was being sexually harassed. Okay, and that she sat with the owner of the company for an hour. But I can tell you, we were just chit chatting. There was, you know, it wasn’t a scary situation. But

John Corcoran 19:07

she didn’t say anything to you didn’t say a word. Right, but anonymously

Dan Berzansky 19:11

through an app. She reported it. She felt better. I as the owner, I can see who submitted it. And I was able to nip that in the bud immediately. Right. I got to jump right in. And what would have happened

John Corcoran 19:24

is what she would have just gotten on reported or she would have

Dan Berzansky 19:27

reported she would have quit, she would have sued us she would have something would have happened. Yeah. And we’ve had that a few different times we’ve had, we had a wrongful termination suit, where the lawyer sends us all the paperwork and we’re being sued for wrongful termination. And with two clicks of an export, I send the lawyer the entire training and performance history of this employee right out of one team. And the response from the attorney was Thank you, you will not hear from us again.

John Corcoran 19:52

Interesting. So it’s just like,

Dan Berzansky 19:57

we’ve got to get on board with it. We can’t and ignore the fact that times are changing in a way that this new generation coming up is communicating, and needs to communicate and be communicated with. And by. It’s just we’ve got to, we’ve got to get on board because they’re, they’re communicating through Tik Tok. And they’re communicating through Instagram. And while while even for the people listening to this who don’t have hourly employees, yet, they’re coming. Like they’re yes, that right now they work for me, but pretty soon they’re graduating and working for you. Yeah. And the way you communicate manage them is different than you’ve ever seen. It’s different. I want to ask

John Corcoran 20:33

you about, you know, you have the successful lifeguard and swim school business. And then all of a sudden, you say, to your family, to your friends to your team, we’re gonna start this new software business. And now you’ve got a team of developers, you raised a million and a half bucks. What has that been? Like? Both? Did you get some feedback from people saying, What are you doing? This is nuts. This is a completely different type of business for you to run. And secondly, how’s it been for you running, building a much different

Dan Berzansky 21:05

type of business model? humbling. It’s the main word that I can use. But really, I didn’t think it would turn into this. And when I went into it, I talked to my wife, I said, Look, we have an opportunity. We’re going to try to raise some money, but I doubt we’ll raise anything. And if it happened, and then just overnight, things went well with that. Once you’ve seen the system, you can kind of understand that there’s a lot there.

John Corcoran 21:35

How far did you take it before you went to raise money.

Dan Berzansky 21:39

So the original system was just called the app, we affectionately refer to it as the app was just an internal single tenant system that we used for premiere. And then we had started developing it as we decided to raise money. And then all raising money did was speed up the process, right? It was gonna be, you know, I was committing, you know, 50 grand a month to development, and then all of a sudden, it’s 200 grand a month, is a big difference,

John Corcoran 22:05

how much money put in before you raise money.

Dan Berzansky 22:10

The app cost me half $1,000,000.03 to three to $500,000.

John Corcoran 22:16

Put it in a signal a significant sum at that point.

Dan Berzansky 22:18

So we already knew it worked. We already knew what was going on at that we knew we already had scrapped ideas and rebuilt other ones. Yeah, we were building it in a low code, no code environment. So it’s much easier to do it then. Now with our new infrastructure, our new tech stack, you know, everything’s a little bit more deliberate. But really, it’s been a challenge. I think the product itself has been relatively easy. Because we understand it, we understand who uses it. Marketing has been a challenge for us. It’s really, I’m really great on the service side. But we’re selling an operating system. Yeah. And it’s, it really is a it’s been a completely different ballgame. Very,

John Corcoran 23:01

very different from selling. I’m going to teach your kid to swim or I’m going to put lifeguards in place. You need lifeguards for your pool in order for people to be there. It’s very different type of sale.

Dan Berzansky 23:12

Yeah, yeah. People Google swim lessons for my child. Right people don’t google app for managing my staff. Right, right. And we do we ask people to kind of change the way they operate. But the fact of the matter is, is that year over year, now we’ve had a year under our belt, the average increase in retention is 44%. Across our customers. So when you think about what that means, 44%, they’ve increased their retention by 44% increase in

John Corcoran 23:42

retention of staff. Yeah, that’s a really high increase retention.

Dan Berzansky 23:45

It’s a big number and, and the fiscal impact is amazing, right? And just not having to retrain rehire, loss of clients and so on. So

John Corcoran 23:56

I’m sure you’ve tried it. I’m sure you tried other solutions that were out there before you sunk in half a million bucks to build your own solution. What did you find was lacking with these other solutions that were out there?

Dan Berzansky 24:09

Great question. Really, they’re all built for full time, employees sitting at a cubicle, right, working a full time real job, real job. So there was nothing really focused on shift and hourly base people. So really, we’re speaking historically, we’re speaking to kids. So really are the vast majority of our clients, our users are under 24 years of age, like and I would say under 22 years of age is quite 80% of them. So everything that we saw a involve me giving a lot of money out shelling a lot of money out for gifts and, and so on. And so a lot of kudos base like hey, I’m giving you five points. I’m giving you five points that you can spend in our company store. Um, it’s just not what we do, and it didn’t scratch the rest of our edges, then fix our training is You didn’t fix our compliance issue, it didn’t fix our HR issues. So there was so many things that was that those systems can’t do. They are very niche, very gift oriented, where we are a full, we take a full, holistic view of the entire organization that we we fix that?

John Corcoran 25:19

Yeah, of course, one of the challenges of that is, then it’s so many things at once. And I know from having interviewed many founders that sometimes the challenge there is, you know, an app become can become bloated, or it’s hard to articulate all those different benefits. What has the that tension been like for you, having this vision, having experienced it yourself, used it for your own business, knowing all these different bells and whistles, so to speak, versus, you know, creating something that’s stripped down? That’s simple, that’s easier to explain.

Dan Berzansky 25:56

Yeah, we go back and forth. Like, in fact, I have this tinge of not embarrassment, but kicking myself every time I demo it, because there is so much yeah, you know, excuse me. So you’ve got the training components, you’ve got the HR components, you’ve got the the incentive program. But we’ve also got customer reporting, we’ve also got task management, we’ve also got team competitions we’ve got. So when you start to go through it, the issue that I’ve seen is that a lot of people will start to kind of gloss over going, Oh, my God, this is way bigger than we can take on. So the way we’ve combatted that is the the addition of an implementation fee. And we do we interview your team. We build the system like we think it should be built, we get your your buy in. And then we actually physically build the system it there’s nothing for you to do as a client. So we do it’s a full turnkey implementation where you can we do these two interviews, and then a week later, your entire system is ready to go. Actually, usually 24 hours later, it’s ready to go. And and you can start using it tomorrow, drop some names in it and go, yeah, the biggest issue we’ve had the only real issue we’ve had the companies who don’t follow through, the employees get upset, right, because they love it. It doesn’t take much to get the employees to buy it. But it’s really important that that the owners or the the GM for the

John Corcoran 27:26

day dropped the managers for about Yeah, yeah. What about the decision to make it broader than swim schools broader than lifeguarding? That’s obviously the world you’ve lived in for many years. But you know, I look at the homepage of one team 360. And it doesn’t say anything about some schools lifeguard and you did deliberately made it a broader solution.

Dan Berzansky 27:46

Yeah, industry agnostic. And we are focusing right now as we’re still kind of getting our sea legs underneath us with regards to marketing and selling this thing. We really are focusing on swim schools, lifeguards, waterparks, amusement parks, um, but we’ve got cannabis dispensaries in there as well. And they’re getting as much use if not more out of it. And they’re warehousing I want there. But then we get we’ve got warehousing groups, because we can dump in the entire OSHA training platform. And then you can actually run train off of all your OSHA trainings or your state licenses certificates. I’m glad we built it industry agnostic. And until we figured out that we have to implement for you. It was a problem. Once we figured out that, hey, we’ll do the heavy lifting for you and just turn turn over ready to go system. Everything changed?

John Corcoran 28:41

Yeah, yeah. Where do you go from here? Where what are you most excited about? leaning into the future? Of course, building a startup now is a tough time. We were recording this in March of 2023. Not a great environment for raising money at all. Right? Has that setback plans at all?

Dan Berzansky 29:00

No, I mean, financially, we’re doing pretty good. Right? Now, we will likely have to do another raise. But minimal, really minimum, and we’re looking at half a million dollars. I would say in the next six months or so. But what I’m most excited about is we’re likely bringing on a marketing partner who will help us to understand SAS marketing. And we, we don’t we’re trying we’re trying a lot of things and we’re trying to do it ourselves. But we’re realizing that we’re really good at the we can sell it, but getting the eyeballs to it is the challenge right? Our demo close rate is amazing. We just need more demos. Yeah. So I’m most excited for that. And then just to see our integrations come to life. We’ve got some amazing, amazing integrations coming. In the next three months we are going to be you will be able to onboard your applicant tracking system. We have a partner that we’re working with and we’re doing it direct integration,

John Corcoran 29:59

like you can If we use Jaz HR, so like a an applicant tracking system like that, and you plug them directly into that’s great

Dan Berzansky 30:04

directly. So it’s gonna be Applicant Tracking full onboarding and training, right into one team plus time and attendance and payroll, all tied into one set of partnerships. And I’m really excited for that. That’s just going to be for us a game changer.

John Corcoran 30:20

Yeah. Yeah. As someone who has hopped careers throughout his career many times, from politics, to entertainment industry, to law to podcasting, I’m kind of fascinated with people that go into a completely new industry, and how they learn that industry. And I’m interested in knowing that who you turn to I know, we spoke before, and you said, Dan Martell has a great program that you’ve been a part of speak to that a little bit about what that’s been like for you, basically, kind of going back to school and learning a completely new industry, new platform, and how to build a business in this world.

Dan Berzansky 31:05

Yeah, I mean, I’ll use the word humbling again, because it is you know, when you come from relative success, right, I might swim schools, my agency, my life credit agency has been, we’re, we’re getting bigger, and we’ve got a really built out org and it’s really, it’s working. And then take a step back where I’m, I’m writing content for the website, and I’m writing email sequences. And I’m, I’m back in it’s been a learning curve. I,

John Corcoran 31:32

some people love that. And then other people are like, what am i What did I do to myself here?

Dan Berzansky 31:37

You know, I, you know, I grinded so hard, were 11 or 12 years in the life car, business and swim schools. I had eight, year eight, when I started this project here, eight or nine, I was finally making money and living a really nice time and I had, I had time I had money. My kids were young it was if I knew then what I know now, I definitely would have thought twice about what I’m getting into this. Now that I’m here is it’s an incredible I really enjoy my time. I’m I feel rejuvenated. I feel excited about learning and trying to figure out this algorithm. I haven’t had success. I haven’t figured it out yet. I can I will tell you that. But I’m really enjoying the process and meeting new people and new industries and learning from others. And just a lot of this I really I’m enjoying this process.

John Corcoran 32:28

Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. Well, Dan, it’s been such a pleasure to talk to you about it. Where can you go to learn about one team 360 and Premier and connect with you and schedule the demo?

Dan Berzansky 32:40

Yeah, so one, Team Three sixty.com. We’ve got our new website coming soon. But please visit us there now. And then swim. oc.com is our lifeguard premier aquatics, website. And premier swim Academy is our URL. So premier swim academy.com. So we’d love the visitors. If anybody wants to come visit. Come check it out. Love to show your ad. Excellent. Dan, thanks so much. Thanks for your time, John.

Outro 33:08

Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com. And while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast.