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May 4, 2022

Dan Rogers On Crafting A Powerful Vision To Create A Rich Future (#122)

Dan Rogers On Crafting A Powerful Vision To Create A Rich Future (#122)

“The learning becomes part of the joy.” - Dan Rogers

Dan Rogers never expected to go from rolling burritos to becoming the CEO of his own company Point to Point Transportation.

In defying the odds and always looking to challenge the status quo, he helped to grow a quick-serve restaurant chain, tripled annual sales for an existing book of business, and pivoted his own company to navigate tremendous growth; the 2008 recession; and being listed for seven consecutive years of Inc 5000 listings. 

Dan is committed to advising companies on how to be a Sales Sidekick- cultivating value for both their clients and employees. Dan's passion is coaching individuals so that they can clarify their vision, construct a plan, overcome obstacles, and reach their goals! In the Sales Sidekick Bootcamp, he shares the strategies and tools you can use to achieve those goals. His focus with the Sales Sidekick is first on how to help his client's well-being, build confidence, and inspire them to succeed.

Please enjoy!

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Enjoy the interview!


[00:00:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life.

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a nine-figure offer.

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again.

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event.

After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.

At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

Dan Rogers never expected to go from rolling burritos to becoming the CEO of his own company Point to Point Transportation. In defying the odds and always looking to challenge the status quo, Dan helped to grow a quick-serve restaurant chain, tripled annual sales from an existing book of business, and pivoted his own company to navigate tremendous growth: the 2008 recession and being listed for seven consecutive years of INCs 5,000 listings.

Dan is committed to advising companies on how to be a Sale Sidekick, cultivating value for both our clients and employees. Dan's passion is coaching individuals so that they can clarify their vision, construct a plan, overcome obstacles and reach their goals. In the Sales Sidekick boot camp, he shares the strategies and tools you can use to achieve those goals. Dan's focus with Sales Sidekick is to help clients' well-being, build confidence, and inspire them to succeed.

Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. And for all you listeners out there, hang onto your hats. As the saying goes, we are going on a deep rabbit hole dive on business, on success, on how to do things differently, on creating market disruptions, and just looking at the world in an entirely different way. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So Dan, welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. We're absolutely delighted to have you with us. Dan, why don't we start with this question? There's always a story behind the story. What's your story? What got you to where you are today?

[00:03:22] Dan Rogers: When I made the decision to drop out of university to roll burritos is really the secret of my success for sure.

[00:03:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that rolling burritos.

[00:03:31] Dan Rogers: Literally rolling burritos yeah. So the rest of this story is that I had taken a job, trying to finish up college at a very small, new fast-food chain. We had three locations when I started with 11 employees. And didn't have any recipes, no standardized experience or whatever. And the ownership kept offering me opportunities to do more and more. And eventually, university was really getting in the way of growing that business. And I dropped out of college to roll burritos and in a little, over two years we went from three locations to over 60.

In terms of what I got to contribute to was standardizing the restaurant experience, both front of house and back of house. Setting up a central commissary, delivery routes cause we cooked all of our own food, operations manual, franchise manual, onboarded seven or eight franchise groups, opened up in a different state, did all sorts of stuff.

It's just an absolute blast. And thank God they never gave me equity cause it led to something else. But that really just demystified business for me is they were smart people. I don't want to be critical of them, but what they really showed me was running a business and being in business was about making decisions on incomplete information and then adjusting to what the marketplace told you as quickly as you could. And that I felt like I could do. I thought prior to that, you had to be like this brilliant person or have this incredible idea. And what I learned there was like, no, you just have to be fairly teachable and brazen enough to try some ideas.

[00:04:54] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. So you started this whole rolling tacos and burritos, and you're going down this path. It sounds like you learned a whole lot there. And so after that had grown and just taking you to an entirely different level, what happened next?

[00:05:08] Dan Rogers: So prior to doing that, I had been a furniture mover, a truck driver during the day I was actually in night school and the class has got such that I had to a couple of during the day. So the trucking company I was working for prior to that actually came back and said, hey, we were hoping that you would graduate one, it gets you into sales. You're clearly not ever going to graduate at this point, but you just did all this amazing stuff with this restaurant. Do you want to get into sales? And I'm not proud of it but I'll happily own the sort of a lure of unlimited commissions I was fairly convinced I was willing to work hard at that point. So I was like, unlimited commissions. I can make my fortune. And so I went to work for the moving company and in sales.

[00:05:45] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. And so when you're going along that line what were you learning? What were you seeing?

[00:05:50] Dan Rogers: What I learned right away was I didn't have any idea how to sell, which was really quite fortunate. And they didn't offer any training was also, was really fortunate. I'm glad they didn't but because I think I'm a fairly passionate person and I had tremendous credibility.

I did know how to drive the truck and I did know how to do what they were asking us to do. And so I think between just my passion and the fact that they were like, he might not know how to sell what he's doing, but I'm fairly certain that if we give it to them that they'll actually handle it the right way.

And so we actually had a fair bit of success and there was, I mean, I had some support people behind me and I worked for, it was a great company that I worked for. And so we had a fair bit of success right away. And then what the success led to is that I found out that my job as a salesperson wasn't to convince people to buy from us, it was sort of interview these customers and figure out which ones were actually the ones that we were supposed to work with because this was specialized transportation so I essentially didn't meet with anybody that wasn't like a really strong prospect. They usually had either really big things or very expensive things or very big, expensive things. And they were very difficult to move and we were incredibly good at that.

But what we found is that there was a certain type of that person that we did unbelievable work for. And for us, that was a person that had all those needs that had no desire to be on operations, but they wanted world-class operations as part of their network. And it sounds so obvious when I think about it, but at the time that was a process. And what I learned as a quote-unquote sales person was my job was literally just to figure out who those people were and then politely refer the rest to the quote-unquote competition who weren't our competition in any way, shape, or form, because they didn't do what we did.

So that led to great success. And then a few years later I actually bought the company. And then pulled it out of that system and rebranded it Point To Point. And yeah, that was about 20 years ago.

[00:07:35] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so Dan, you really stay true to your roots. When you look back at the two different areas that you started in and you fast forward to today because you're involved in two different companies doing really on the surface, very different things, but why don't you share with our listeners what those two companies are and what you're all about?

And then from there it will be some interesting conversations that we'll have.

[00:07:55] Dan Rogers: Yeah. So one, one thing I'll say is just a tease is someone pointed this out to me right as COVID started, that I've actually been on the same career path, my whole entire life, since age 15, it's just getting more and more abstract. There's a more abstract sort of implementation of my career. So we're fortunate that Point To Point survived COVID Point To Point is a highly specialized shipping company.

We did some other things around the event industry, but primarily we're a shipping company. So we did about 10,000 events on five continents going into COVID. It was reasonably successful. Endeavor, we found our way through the faucet is dripping at this point in that part of the business.

And so that's great while the faucet was off I went to one of my networks. I know a lot of business owners and I offered free consulting, and I think many of them got what they paid for. Some of them, we accidentally created some value in a lot of those conversations.

Eventually got around the topics of sales and marketing.

And I like to say that we had a COVID baby. Our COVID baby is a company called Sales Sidekick. And so we launched a company called Sales Sidekick, which was really it's about teaching, how we organized the company point-to-point. Which I think is different than a lot of other companies are organized. And so that's really what it does. People think they have a sales problem. I personally think they have a systems designs problem. And so that's what we're doing.

[00:09:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so then let's talk about that. But before we do, we've heard all of these stories coming into COVID of just lives transformed and change. And sometimes for the negative sometimes for the positive. So here you were, you're on five different continents with Point To Point Transportation, you're in the event industry, things are looking terrific and literally overnight, everything just stops.

Why don't you share with our listeners what was that like for you from an emotional mindset to go from business is booming to are we going to have a business? And how did you work your way through that?

[00:09:48] Dan Rogers: Yeah. So, I want to be clear. I mean, I try to be the best husband and dad I can be, and hopefully, I'm a little better than I was yesterday, but when I say I saw what was going to happen, I did not see work in place. I didn't buy a stock in Zoom. I just saw in the second, third week of January before it really hit. And I won't get into all the reasons why, but I got some in different facets of my life I got some previews. And so it became obvious. So by February 1st, I knew precisely what was going to happen, that we were going to go from a very healthy eight-digit, 40 plus percent growth forecast to close to zero. I actually argued with some people outside of our company, other great business people I know, cause they thought I was overstating it. Unfortunately, we were precisely correct.

And so that was what I saw for the business itself. I make the comment about being a husband and father because I ain't really think about the health of myself or my family. I just assumed that we would be okay. But by the grace of the universe, I'm a systems guy. I believe the whole thing is a system.

I believe the universe is a pull system. I'm doing my best on a second-to-second basis to align myself to that system. And by the grace of that system, by the grace of the universe, the thought that was in my head. The thought that was given to me that very first thought was I want to be able to brag how I conducted myself.

And then that rounded out a little bit over the coming weeks of but really that was the first thought. And I wanted to be able to brag about the character and the ethics that I operated on.

Not like the smart business moves and all that nonsense. I knew it was going to be horrific. Like I knew it was going to be like some throw up in the garbage cans stuff and I wanted to be able to be clean through that, to the place that I could brag to my son Drew about how we did that. Yeah.

[00:11:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so it's still, early days, Dan and the pandemic is finding its way. And our new normal seems to be changing by the day, but certainly, we're a lot further along than when it first began, but let's fast forward. So when Drew's a little bit older, what's that narrative as we sit here today, what's that narrative to Drew of how you did handle yourself through the pandemic, what does that look like?

[00:11:50] Dan Rogers: Well, I think the lesson there's been so many, but like the big takeaway for me is there are only two timelines. There's like, what do I need to do in this moment? And what's going to matter 20, 25 years from now? And in those lenses, it is ridiculously obvious as to what's supposed to happen. Like it's just, there's the confusion that comes in between those two timelines. And sometimes, they don't work perfectly because stuff doesn't fit neatly into those boxes but things become significantly easier to know what I want to do when I think about how is this going to play 20 years from now? It's just way, way easier.

I'd like to think that I try to think transformationally, not transactionally. It's very difficult to extrapolate 20 years of transactions. I don't have the cognitive power to do that, but I can get it pretty much like this is what we want it to look like.

And does that fit into what we want? Yeah, and I think that helped because there was just awful decisions that had to be made when we had to deal with what happened to the business.

[00:12:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's really interesting, so why don't we do this for our listeners? Let's talk about what you're doing at Point To Point Transportation that was different that ushered in that success. And at the same time, let's meld in the wholesale sidekick because Sales Sidekick was taking what you're doing a Point To Point Transportation and teaching others about that.

So why don't you walk us through, what's your secret sauce at Point To Point Transportation? What made you so different that you became the success that you were back in the day and you still are today, despite what's been going on with COVID and the pandemic.

[00:13:26] Dan Rogers: Yeah. So I think I want to be clear like when we talk about this stuff, it sounds like it was perfect. I'm very fond of saying that we survived our mistakes. And smarter, better, better business. People just didn't have the same fortune that we had. So when I talk about some of these things, there are people that will testify.

Some of these are like 18th, 19th, 20th generations of prototypes. So like it's just constantly iterating to try to change something. Or we tried a really bad idea five years earlier, but we learned one little thing and then we applied it somewhere else. When you talk about this stuff, it was not like, oh, I had this idea.

And then this is what we did. I tried to range the business originally like I thought we were supposed to arrange it with marketing and sales and all that other stuff. Now we didn't need to do much marketing and sales because I was a sales guy that bought the company and we had business coming to us.

And I didn't really understand why that was happening originally but so we got away originally without having any marketing and sales. And then when it became obvious that just letting the business run itself, the business grew to eight digits without a sales and marketing department and without even a vision if you ask us what I did, I couldn't tell you.

And so I found out that led to me hating my job. So I hired a business coach that said, hey, man, if you don't have vision, you can't be successful. No wonder you hate your job. So we did the hard work of cleaning up and coming up with a vision. That's when we went all in on events and then we did the first sort of downsize.

We actually fired 70% of our customers politely, but we removed everything that didn't fit into the new vision. That was right before the recession of 2008, 2009. We lost another 70% of that. So short order, we're went from a 91% loss, but around that vision, a clear vision of how we could serve the community. We built back up to over two and a half times what we were before we built it up. And so we were focused on the vision first and then from the vision, it was, how can we really serve those people in the event industry? And we had been in the business for quite some time. We were afforded a nice book of corporate customers, you know, several hundred, fortune 1000 companies that people have heard of that would ask us to move their stuff around.

And that was a privilege to be able to do, but we had a much shorter list of those same, a subset of those customers. They would ask us to either do more or we could ask them if we could do different things for them. And that was where we were really pouring our energy in to trying to create new value.

And we would frequently do things for free at first. We would just say, hey, can we try this? Can we try this? Can we try this? But in trying to serve them in the overall marketplace, we started ending up with becoming more of a systems company than a shipping company. And so this is when I say it's always been the same thing.

It just got more and more abstract. So as a furniture mover, I moved mass through time and space sometimes like literally. And sometimes it was like, I got to drive the truck that moved, you know, moved it through time and space. And so then we started looking at workflows or assets in general about the assets that we were responsible for moving.

And that led to all sorts of other value creation, but it was more really fixating on how can we create value to the folks that we serve. And when you're doing that, and you're doing it in that spirit, people want to a, give you access to do great work for them. But the by-product of doing that great work is a whole bunch of other people asked to be your customer.

So it's probably too long for the podcast, but what ended up happening at Point To Point is we had a company that was a very healthy company that people thought was a shipping company sure, looked like a shipping company, but what it really was this company that was designed and ran for our very short list of clients to really drive value and deliver value to them.

The by-product of that system is that about once a week, a fortune 1000 company would approach us and say, can we be your shipping company customer? We said, of course, and then we engage them as a shipping company. And occasionally they would graduate up to the real business of what we were doing.

And that's instead of having a sales and marketing department, we just focused on delivering value and eventually, the business elevates into a much larger offering. And we just never needed sales and marketing. I mean, We had a website it's still up there. It's nice. We like it. We added those customers, like I said, without any sort of push campaign or anything like that.

[00:18:06] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's so interesting. So let's talk about the vision for just a moment, because for most companies you have the vision statement or the mission statement and at some plaque on a wall is collecting dust. It's all these words that are taking up space that really mean nothing. And they're just dry and don't really elicit any kind of response.

So what was the vision at Point To Point? What did that, in words, what was that for you?

[00:18:31] Dan Rogers: Yeah. So I'm going to tell a little bit of the evolution, cause this might be helpful to people. It's what I had to go through. So what I would say is I didn't have one and was successful and hated my job. So I would strongly encourage even a bad one. So then I just came up with the best one that I could, and I was afraid to tell anybody, and it was 20 million by 2020.

 And then about 18 months into it, I finally shared it with a handful of people and that was our vision. And I'll tell you right now, I'm sort of embarrassed by it, but like on the back of my baseball card. So that was what the vision was. But that was enough and we're going to focus on events.

And that was enough to get us moving in the right direction. That was enough for us to make some decisions around and all that. That was sort of our BHAG. But we got to a place where it was obvious that it wasn't enough. And so what we did, and I think it was around 2014 or something somewhere right in there.

We do annual and quarterly meetings. So I asked a woman on the team to lead us through what the BHAG was Big Hairy Audacious Goal by Jim Collins, just cause we didn't talk about it. And I had sort of tricked her a little bit. So she did a great job. She taught everyone what it was.

And so now that we all knew what it was, I said, so here's our BHAG does everyone like it? And I was like, huh? I was like, do we want to get a new one? And they're like, yeah. I said, her name was Gretchen. I was like, Gretchen, can you facilitate the conversation for us as a team to come up with the BHAG.

And I said I will participate. I'll sit in the back of the room because it needs to be ours. Mine was enough to get us here, but if we were going to go, we had already gotten farther than I could drive the company. I drag it as far as I could. Now it's going to be us. And so to everyone's surprise, including mine, I actually shut up the whole time until we got down to the very, very end they were talking about.

And I said, can I contribute everyone sort of laughed. And I said, look, I think it's grammatical. I'm not sure what the grammar is, but what I hear you saying is this and the vision that they wrote. They came up with that BHAG that they came up with was to be the most indispensable resource in the event industry, period, done period.

And so I said to them, and they were debating whether or not it should be indispensable or most indispensable. And I said, look, based on your conversation, it needs to be most period and done period. So I sat in front of them and I said, look, I'm willing to accept the challenge to lead us there. I'm not sure I'm qualified, but when I become the stuck point, we'll get out, we'll replace me.

And this is what we'll do. And it took off from there. And that we'll see what the new, you know, as the lights come back on and as the faucet comes back on Point To Point is going to have to do that work again, to see what we become, what it became, but that's it wasn't ours. It wasn't mine.

It was ours. And so I would say if you don't have one, come up with something to get you moving. And then when you're fairly confident, you've got some people that you can trust, that you can believe in, and then trust them to come up with what the vision is. It was I guess sort of goosebumps. I just sat there and watched, and then I thought holy crap.

I'm going to get fired before the meeting's over, but that's okay. It'll be our vision anyways. So yeah, it was great.

[00:21:11] Jeffrey Feldberg: And what's amazing about this, Dan and for our listeners in the nine-step roadmap of preparation at Deep Wealth, step number two, X-Factors that insanely increase the value of your business. One of those is culture. Money can buy lots of things. Money cannot buy culture, a culture. It's like a fingerprint it's unique to every business.

And Dan, what you did was you really stepped aside and you said to your team members, your key employees, your leaders, hey, you come up with our vision. You figure out the words I'm going to be here, but I'm not going to really tell you one way or the other. And you're vulnerable. I don't know if I'm really the best guy even to do this in the first place.

Let's see what you can do. And what's interesting about that is when they created the vision for the company. You had instantaneous ownership in that this now became this wasn't business. This was personal, hey, I played a role in coming up with this vision. We better follow that vision because it's now my name on the line and I don't want this thing to fail or go in a different direction.

And that was absolutely brilliant. And the next thing that you said, which I really admire because it's being vulnerable in your words, I don't want to be the stuck point. I'm not so sure that I'm the right guy to be leading the company. Once we get to a certain point. And when that happens, I'll remove myself.

And so for all your business owners out there, are you brave enough to publicly say that in front of your management team to own up to that and to admit it because Dan, you did that and then the results spoke for themselves in terms of I can just imagine what the culture was like at Point To Point Transportation.

Once you had that vision going out there and then how that really you know, we're talking about the pandemic, I'll use the word infected in a good way, how that infected your clientele and the marketplace. And you now had people coming to you without you having a quote-unquote marketing and sales force or division or department.

So what was that like once everyone walked out of that room and you had that vision and it was now known throughout the company,

[00:23:12] Dan Rogers: So one thing I'll also say too, there are people out there that can play different roles and can evolve and all that. I think for founders, it's pretty rare that they can actually graduate really to the next level. And as you start building a real team like they know you might, I mean, they know where all of your weak spots are.

So I think I informed them that I had some level of self-awareness I think they definitely sense that it may or may not be in, within my pay grade to lead us there. So, I mean, I would just remind everybody that it's highly possible that your genius isn't. You know, your genius has some limits to it.

So that was easy for me to see. But what was great about, some stuff had happened prior to that, too. There were a couple of things that I will say that I take pride in that. They're like my ideas and some things that we did. But what would happen prior to us really signing up on the vision? And then after we signed up for the new vision, is that on a real regular basis, people were coming up with ideas on how to improve the business. Then I can just tell you that I just would not have thought of, I'm a sort of a whiteboard think about things guy and I'm just like, yeah, I don't know.

I don't think I'm going to get there. I'm just like, I would not have thought of that. And what happened in the first time we took the business apart, I had a moment of enlightened leadership and I say a moment because I proved to be far, I did not reach enlightenment as a leader and I haven't got there yet but two women suggested we do something.

And I actually thought it was a really bad idea. And I thought the customers would hate it. But my moment of enlightenment, I was like I'll let the customers tell them. So I said, sounds great. Let's do it. And in really short order, the customers were raving about when they suggested. So I was like, okay, my answer needs to sound great.

Let's do it. That's just what we need to do. And so I probably said no to a couple of ideas or tried to improve them or whatever but I think let the marketplace dip in their enthusiasm, don't let leadership dampen their enthusiasm. That's something I try to remind myself all the time. It's like the marketplace will inform us, but you can't teach the unbridled enthusiasm for your business. So if they're thinking about it, I would just say, look, to put gas on that and then trust that the marketplace will figure it out.

[00:25:22] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. So just stepping aside, believing in the team, having them go out there and either they're going to sink or swim and from either scenario really it's a win-win because if it doesn't work out, it's hard lessons learned about as their lessons. It was their directive, but wow. When it does work out the pride and the ownership is just tremendous.

And Dan, it sounds like part of your secret sauce was really I'll use a word enabling people, trusting them, letting them know that they have your trust and they should just go there and you're going to support them either way. How was that for you as a business owner? Because for so many of us we're type A personalities and letting go of that control easier said than done.

[00:26:07] Dan Rogers: Yeah. We talked a little bit, you know, we've had a couple of conversations prior to this so, you know, I'm a little wackadoodle, so this warning for everybody else. So look, this is just one guy's take I don't know how to say this, any more gently. So I'm just going to say it. If I ever had control, I would never let it go. I just wouldn't. I might give you a day off but I'd never let it go. What I have to let go is the lie that I'm in control that's really what it is like, that's what it is. It's the idea that I can have a direct impact on outcome and all this other stuff.

So what I'm trying to desperately do is just manage that list correctly of what's actually in my control, very shortlist and what's out of my control very long list grows every day. And so inside of that, like that. If I'm in that place, then it's like, look, this stuff is going to play outplays.

Let's align to the bigger system and trust that'll take care of us. And our ops department had to get out of jail card. And all they had to say was I was servicing the order. We are a non-asset-based freight forwarder for all practical purposes.

We buy transportation on behalf of our clients and we sell it to them for the value that we bring and no one in the company still today, even no one in the company's ever been responsible for profitability, except for me, because you can't service an order. If you're worried about profitability. But it also, the flip side of that is, is you got to dig deep to deliver on the promise to the customer.

The checkbook is open and that was also true on the client-facing side where people in front of the clients, they were the claim department and they could reconcile what was the right thing to do. And it's way easier to coach better thinking than it is to try to get them to get ownership.

And a bunch of people didn't want to take the ownership. I've been fortunate that I've had the same work spouse for 18 years and she would say, sporadic accountability or limited ownership like people would suffer from that. But as time got on we were fortunate that we attracted and retrained people that were willing to take that ownership and accountability, but not everyone wants to do it.

That's the flip side of it. It's like, look, you know, we were fortunate that they were willing to take it. Because it doesn't work like you can be, you know, they can be Mr. Wonderful leader, but if they don't actually step up and take it then no one's in charge. No, one's doing anything. So I think it's a chicken and egg thing.

We were very fortunate that we had people that took ownership in that. And I think it's bad business not to give them that ownership. If they're willing to sweat at that level for you, why would you not let them sweat? You can work on their form, whether they're doing the squat.

But if they're willing to go do the squats, man, yeah, it just seems like that's a rare thing nowadays. And we were fortunate. We had a bunch of people that did it.

[00:28:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: So Dan that is really a very different way of thinking about that. And just for our listeners, I really hope you're paying attention because of what Dan was sharing with us. If someone had profit and loss responsibility. So if they had responsibility for profits, you heard Dan say, there's no way that they would ever be able to service the client the way that they were doing that and the way that they were going out of their way and becoming indispensable period.

End of story. So Dan, how did you balance? Because I know in my mind, and I'm sure the listeners are thinking the same thing. Okay. So you've enabled the team to do whatever it takes to service the clients. How do you ensure that the team just doesn't go overboard and in servicing the clients, you're now losing money on every job.

[00:29:23] Dan Rogers: Yeah. First of all, you got to have systems like you gotta have systems and I'll tell you when I first started in sales, we were inside of a closed system and the system was almost Bulletproof. So we just didn't have to worry about service. And then, because that's where we came from the team from the very beginning, we just held ourselves to a perfect standard.

Of course, we fell short of it, but we were fortunate that our systems never got bad enough that we couldn't afford to write the big check to cover the small order. But you have to have systems to do that but this is one of, sort of the things that I think people, we all sort of say, oh yeah. No, I understand that.

But then we don't really do the work. We were so fixated on being good for the customer that like that if you focus on driving value to the customer, that will fix everything else. Now you've got to have the right economic model to make that work. You can't just go blindly do that.

But that was really what drove the company was. It was all about we called it customer experience. And it was just like, that's all we're fixated on. And I think there are three ways to look or three sorts of subsystems that you can evaluate a business on.

And I think if you're going to be scalable, you got to get to a score of 24. If you rank each one of those on a scale of 1 to 10, and you can get to 24 any way you want, you can be 10, 10, 4, or whatever, ironically, as a shipping company, if you want to talk about quote-unquote, the physical delivery was probably our weakest component of what we did. But you can overcome, bad margins when you completely crushed the rest of the scenario when you're really good at systems. And you're really good at customer experience that will overcome some less than optimal margins. And it was also, I just looked at it.

We were not investing in sales and marketing on purpose. And we were investing in the relationships with the people that we already doing business with. Like why go spend a bunch of money to potentially do business with people when you could just invest in the relationship that is already paying you.

And that was really the core driver, but that does not lead to maximum profit in the moment. Frequently to ridiculous profit from time to time, but like on any one given an order that may or may not look good, but over time, over the life of a relationship that looks ridiculously profitable because they know that you have your back like they sense it.

[00:31:45] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so Dan from a very high level, because you're right. Any one of these topics, this is an episode in itself and we can just go down that rabbit hole, but you talked about systems and you said it was the systems that really ensure the staff didn't go overboard to not perhaps under service, but also not over-service to the cost of loss instead of profit.

So from a high level, what were some of these systems that you can share with us that our listeners can take from this episode and begin the process of implementing in their companies?

[00:32:17] Dan Rogers: Yeah. So I think I would encourage folks to go through sort of this three sort of phase. So the first thing is you got to make sure that you have quality and efficiency covered and that's both for your customer and internal. So does it just pass the quality efficiency test, then if that's the case, If you're there then it has to be transparent, and transparent doesn't mean you have to share it with anybody, but you have to be able to see all the way through it and understand what drives cost or doesn't drive costs. What drives profit, what doesn't drive profit, all of that.

If you get to that place, then you should have some ability to make quite accurate predictions. And if you're there, then you have the level of the system that you're like, look, I can give operations a free and unlimited checkbook because the reality I know is that we're going to spend less than 3% of our total revenue on what we called marketing claims.

We track those dollars just to make sure we knew what was happening but the operational system of covering freight and covering orders and tracking freight and doing all that stuff, the QE the quality efficiency was so strong that we were confident that we could predict the level of variants.

I'm tempted to use the numbers, but I don't want, I'm embarrassed to. We had this guy, Kyle, who had come up in operations. He was now on the client-facing side of the business and he fixed it cause he knew how to route the freight. And he spent five digits on an air freight order. And I think it might've been one of those where maybe the provider maybe took advantage of the situation but whatever, look at the end of the day that's an easier problem to overcome than somebody not acting in the best interest of the customer.

You can coach Kyle and your operations into smarter decisions. You cannot coach them into caring about the customer. They're either going to go there or they're not. So anyway, I apologize. I'm rabbit holing again, but that's a little bit of what the systems were. What I continue on the cover is we're fortunate to work other businesses ready as actually as my friends that have systems that make my teeth melt, cause they're so solid. I think in general entrepreneurs, and business people go to scale faster than their systems are all ready for.

When I think of what I thought great systems was as a burrito roller, versus what I think of great systems today. It's not surprising that in some of those other iterations, in some of those tests, some of those experiments that failed that we survived. It's not surprising as I look back but it really is all in the systems.

And when we first talked, that was what was apparent where we were brothers of a different mother in terms of our approach to business and systems.

[00:34:49] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, What's amazing about business owners, generally speaking, we may come from all different walks of life, but we have so many different areas in common that bring us together and really at the end of the day, We're all out there to solve painful problems that we are just so good at. We are, world-class at solving these painful problems.

People are only too happy to pay us, to make the pain go away, to take the pain away. And you did that. And so Dan what's amazing is you created a very strong vision that was internalized by the team, is created by the team that had them care to actually care about the customer base. And through no sales through no marketing, the company grew like gangbusters and the team was really enabled to do whatever it took within the realms of the system that you created to service that customer.

And it just all worked beautifully. What an incredible story and who would have thought that when all was said and done, this was coming from rolling burritos.

[00:35:53] Dan Rogers: And a furniture mover. Yeah. Yeah. Everything I need to learn. Yeah.

[00:35:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Back back to the point of origin for all of this.

[00:36:00] Dan Rogers: Yeah.

[00:36:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well Dan, we're at the point where we're starting to wrap up the podcast.

And it's my favorite question. And the question is this. I'd like you to think about the movie Back to the Future and in the movie, you have the magical DeLorean car that can take you to at any point in time. So imagine now that is tomorrow morning, you'll look outside your window. And Dan, there it is.

The DeLorean car, the door is open, is waiting for you to hop on it. So you'll hop in and you can now go to any point in your life. Maybe it's Dan as a child, a teenager, a young adult, whatever point in time it would be what are you telling yourself in terms of, hey, Dan, here's some life wisdom or lessons learned or do this, but don't do that.

What does that look like for you?

[00:36:50] Dan Rogers: So my first intuition is I am so happy with today that I think I would just make it today. But because I just feel like I had to live all those mistakes to learn them. I'm hopeful that I'm still a work in progress and I'm hopeful that I still, I mean, probably physically at 52, I've sorta peaked, but maybe just a little bit but I'd like to think you're still more up in my game, so I'm not done, and I hate saying it, I wouldn't want to cheat the system and I really love life today. I don't know if I didn't get to bring everybody back. I don't know that I'd want to go back just to get a little bit further ahead. And I think one of the blessings of early mentor told me when I was rolling burritos.

Cause I said to him, I said, hey, these guys are, they're asking me, basically, they're going to pay me to practice the principles that you're telling me I should try to learn. And he told me that if I kept that mindset, that I would never work another day. And I've worked more than I want a cop to cause I've been less than perfect with that mindset, but I've been paid for way more than I've worked.

And with that sort of mindset. The learning becomes part of the joy like it really does. And so look I love to be 30 and know what I know now, but I don't want to give up the sort of richness of making the mistakes. I hated my job before we took the company apart.

Cause I epically failed as a business leader. Like the few moments of enlightenment came because I had to be a knucklehead as long as I do. And I'm hopeful that there are other moments of enlightenment based on my knucklehead moments of today.

I'm not trying to dodge the question, but think I'm, hopefully, that's an answer.

[00:38:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: Dan you have been filled with wisdom and your answer is no exception. I mean, What beautiful wisdom for our community to take away from, hey, you are where you are today because of everything that happened before in the past. So cherish that really look to that as you wouldn't be where you are if it weren't for that.

And sometimes we put labels on it. This is quote, unquote, good. Or this is bad, but if you remove the labels, it was needed to make us the terrific people that we've become throughout that journey. So I think that's terrific wisdom, Dan, and something that everyone should really follow live in the moment.

And I loved what you said earlier, just as we wrap this up, you were thinking of what's needed right now, but what's also going to be important 10 years from now, 20 years from now, or down the road and beyond. So, Dan, I'm going to put this in the show notes and we'll make this really easy for our listeners.

It will be point and click. If somebody would like to get in touch with you and find you online, what's the best place?

[00:39:18] Dan Rogers: So, just Dan T Rogers at LinkedIn, and they can schedule a meeting. I'd love to talk to anybody. I always just tell people I reserved the right to learn more than you do. But if any of this stuff sounded interesting, I'd love to talk about it. If you want to argue about it, I reserve the right to agree with you at the end of the conversation.

But yeah, no, I'd love to talk about it. Yeah. We'd love to be helpful if we can.

[00:39:35] Jeffrey Feldberg: There, you have it. And we'll have that all in the show notes. It will be a point and click, so you can reach out to Dan and have those conversations and he can agree or disagree or wherever that's going to go. So, Dan, as we wrap this up a heartfelt thank you for taking part of your day and spending it with us here on The Sell My Business Podcast.

And as always, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:39:55] Dan Rogers: You too. I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks so much.

[00:39:58] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

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[00:42:27] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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