In this episode, we have invited Dan Rogers, CEO and board member of Sales Sidekick. You’re going to hear a story about a person who decided to leave an area and go into rolling burritos for less than minimum wage and eventually owns 60 restaurants under three years. Since COVID shutting down his business, having no income for 17 months, and starting another company, we’re going to hear all about how it’s rocking and rolling.

[7:50] From rolling burritos to opening 60 restaurants

One, you did a fantastic job based on how much prep you got. But just one minor nuance. I never had equity. The greatest gift they gave me was they didn’t provide me with equity. What happened was I was moving furniture during the day and trying to graduate at night. The schedule got so crazy that I just had to take what I had to. I just took a job trying to roll burritos at this tiny little fast-food chain. 

The owner took me under his wing, and he said, Look, I want to be burritos but with subway, or I want to be subway but with burritos. And he just let me sort of start doing stuff. Two and a half years started with standardizing the experience, ops manuals, franchise manuals, central commissary, figured out catering, onboarding seven franchise groups, and opening about 60 stores.

[9:26]  I understood right away that there was a place that I could create value for him. We made plenty of mistakes on the way, and not everything we did work, but there was enough trust that they trusted me to keep trying stuff. I realized that by staying there, I was getting the opportunity to take on chances that I wasn’t qualified to do because ownership trusted me. 

[12:31] When did that mentality started

I got sober in 1994. I was given a process to report up essentially and to plug into something significantly bigger than myself. I would say that that’s sort of the basis of what I call the sidekick mentality. It becomes “second nature.” I’m looking to see how we can create value, usually on a more significant level than where we’re serving.

[14:09] Transition

The moving company that I was working for prior was waiting for me to graduate to get me into sales, which wasn’t going to happen. So then they just came and talked to me.  I need to know what’s in it for me. And I don’t need super specifics, but just some idea of what’s going on? And I feel for him because I have since run several businesses my own like I get where they were, they were just trying their best to get through, so they couldn’t give me a specific answer. If they had given me half a percent equity, I would have stayed, but since they didn’t, I went back to the Moving Company and got in sales. And the agency that I was working for had an excellent reputation. So with a little bit of enthusiasm and all that we had a lot of success in sales. Five years later, I bought one of the four agencies that the guy that I worked

[15:33] Did you have a bigger vision of what it could be?

The first in actual hardcore reasoning was, I was sort of the face and a little bit of the brain of what was happening. But there were a lot of really great people making stuff happen behind my promises. The owner that I worked for was a good man. He’s still a good man. It wasn’t about the money. He just didn’t like that we were doing what he was saying was their job. It got to the point that it was harder to sell him on my next idea than getting the people to pay us.

[16:58] What was the idea behind not starting your own in that realm?

I’ve seen plenty of people execute this, the sort of long-term strategy that is successful. He knew, and I knew that the customers, at least the overwhelming majority of the customers, would have followed me because that was the relationship. They knew I was the “face.” Secondly, if you value equity, then pay for it. In terms of the vision of what I wanted, plenty of people helped make the promises happen. But as the salesperson, I was the one that won the National Sales award and got the cruises and all that other stuff. And so, I felt like we had an opportunity to let other people do that.

[19:20] The other thing is how awesome is it if the 10 top people in your team all had books and speaking tours? What does that say about your team?

[21:08] Why should we listen to you?

It’s because you heard me say something that did make sense. Work is the single most honorable act in the universe. Or, if you’re bored, I have some colorful sayings or fundamental truths that may be presented in a way that makes people think about them differently.

[21:44] What is this new business?

After buying the business in 2002, we succeeded, took it apart, and cleaned it up. It was a highly specialized corporate event, shipping business. And what we heard politely but consistently from our clients was, “Hey, you’re good, but you’re a shipping guy, so we’ll call you when we are back to face.” 


[23:04] I started helping other people who were fortunate enough to have classy problems. How do you grow through COVID and all that because our businesses were booming? They said what’s cool about your company’s how you organized to do what you did without salespeople. That turned into a Sales Sidekick. And we got that started in just late February 2021.


Key Quotes:

[19:45 – 19:53] “I just felt like it’s just way easier to get ahead helping people get to where they want to go than trying to impose it on other people.”


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