I had the pleasure of interviewing Glenn Sandler, CPA, who has been in public accounting for over 30 years. Founded in 2013 by Mr. Sandler, G. I. Tax Service is America’s premier provider of year-round tax preparation and financial services including tax planning and small business formation assistance. G.I. Tax Service reaches out to military vets with turn-key franchise opportunities. G. I. Tax Service also believes in corporate responsibility and is active in a variety of local charities that help military families.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I attended Florida International University, I wanted to get into the business field. I wanted to be a business owner one day, and I figured the best role in business is a CPA. My father has been a CPA since he was 18 years old. I’ve had the ability to follow his career path, and he always taught me that the best way to know a business is from the inside, and nobody knows business better than a CPA.
Can you share the most interesting story about what’s happened to you since you started your company?
I was at a charity event for Hopes for Heroes, and I was a dealer at the blackjack table. I was the only one there that wasn’t in a war. The eight people at my blackjack table were all veterans, and they all fought in foreign wars. While they were sitting together at the table, I realized their stress was released, and they felt comfortable. I got the impression they felt like they were in their own little world with others who know where they had been and what they had experienced. It’s truly a fraternity.
I was really affected by watching them. I thought to myself, ‘If I can start a company that creates this type of feeling and environment for veterans, then I can feel that I’ve made a difference in these heroes’ lives.’ That is one of the most memorable experiences I had with veterans. It was what set me on this path.
I want to make a difference. I believe that what you leave behind, or your legacy when you’re gone, is the way to make a difference with people. G.I. Tax Service wants to make a positive, substantial difference in people’s lives that have fought for this country.
What tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not burn out?
Have fun with it. You know the saying, ‘If you love what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I think any business that you approach in life has to be the same way. You have to enjoy it. We’re going to veteran franchisees or people that enjoy working and helping people because this is a company where you can really help people.
When you go to work, and you help people every single day, then you enjoy it. When you enjoy it, then it’s easy to be successful.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you get where you are and can you share a story?
You know that’s an interesting statement. But I’ve done this thing on my own. I’m one of those people that don’t really ask for help. I figure if things need to get done I do them myself— I’ve been that way since I was 18 years old.
Some people have given me advice—a lot of people think that I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. But, I read books about successful people. I’ve read books by Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Michael Dell. And what they all have in common as people is that they don’t hear ‘no.’ They don’t listen to others saying ‘you can’t do this.’ If you’re going to be successful, then you have to have that kind of barrier because it’s difficult. There are a lot of hard decisions and a lot of people telling you ‘no.’ You have to have this vision to be able to move forward, and then you just do it on your own.
All leaders pay attention to what other successful leaders have done, but in the end, they make their own decisions.
If we look at what all successful people have in common, it’s having a vision—a clear, focused, forward-moving path. It is moving through obstacles, not hearing ‘no,’ not listening to ‘you can’t,’ and not being held in place by anything negative. It is the constant movement towards the goal.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’m just a nice guy! I firmly believe the only thing you have when you leave this place is the way that you affect people. I practice this; from treating my employees to my customers well. Hopefully, G.I. Tax Service can make a huge difference in the way we treat those that have served in this country.
Do you have a favorite life lesson quote and can you share a story and how that is relevant in your life?
There are many, but the first one that comes to mind right now is ‘Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.’
Small decisions make big impacts. Everything grows slowly but surely. Methodically, get through it and then you’ll become successful.
What are five things you wish someone told you before you started your company and why?
Here’s a really interesting thing, when I started this company. I expressed that I’m going to be one of the largest tax companies—in the country, if not in the world; I mean that because we’re in America where we do American taxes.
However, since I had started this in 2011, I have yet to run into a roadblock. Every time I turn around, I’m waiting for something to stop me—to come to a crossroad, a scarecrow moment (reference from the Wizard of Oz where the scarecrow hits a crossroads). I have yet to hit a scarecrow moment where the outcome was bad.
This industry is a great industry to get into. There are not a lot of people in it. There’s not a lot of competition. I thought the most difficult thing was going to be developing a tax program, but there are ways around that. There are only a few companies that actually have proprietary tax programs. It’s recession proof as everybody who has a job, works or has money, can be a customer. I have yet to run into a roadblock that I have to turn around and say, ‘Man, I wish this would not have happened,’ but it just hasn’t. The only barriers into any business are finances and time. The only thing that would have been different is if someone had told me that it would take five years to franchise instead of one. However, it’s been time spent learning, honing the brand and model, and getting it ready as a franchise. So, really, the timing has been exactly what it needed to be.
Did you know that the inventor of Dyson had over 6,000 prototypes? Do you think if he knew that it would take 6,000 tries to get it right, it would have changed his path? No, because he would know that at a certain point, he would get to THE ONE.
I don’t think anything would have changed my mind from this direction. I think the country needs this. I think veterans need this. I think our employees need this. And I think our franchisees need this opportunity and America and Americans deserves this.
Our franchisees deserve, when they decide to put their life savings on the line, to make a career. It’s my job and my responsibility to make sure that I help them be successful. It took me years to learn how to do that.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Our whole company is about this idea. I firmly believe what I felt on casino night with Hope for Heroes triggered this idea which is to help the people that serve this country. We don’t get to have the freedoms that we have unless these guys and gals put their lives on the line. I mean, I’ve seen people with limbs blown off. I have talked to people that have PTSD to the point where they can’t sleep. I’ve spoken to the homeless guys that just don’t fit into society anymore. It’s our responsibility to make sure we help these people get through this kind of stuff. And if we can make a difference in their lives through our donations, awareness, a career opportunity, business ownership, the chance to make a difference in their lives and their family’s lives, then we have met our mission.