Coffee Break: Daniel Brownebizuniverse
Q: What’s new at your company?
A: We’re continuing to see record growth in leasing and sale assignments and have recently been called upon to assist banks and bankruptcy trustees with property dispositions. We’re excited about plans to expand our own space and add new brokers to accommodate growth. We also have a new website (www.browncommercialgroup.com) that better reflects our services and philosophies.
Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
A: We are planning to increase our brokerage staff by about 20 percent and also add administrative support to help manage growth. During the last year, we have upgraded our computers and phone systems and remodeled our office. We are also planning to expand our office space to accommodate growth.
Q: What will your company’s main challenges be in the next year?
A: Managing growth is our biggest challenge, as we continue to expand our client base and push outward geographically throughout the suburban market.
We are being asked to advise clients in more areas, from business expansion needs to investment decisions, so we have to continually stay on top of the dynamics in each individual market segment.
Q: What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
A: We’re seeing a big increase in activity and interest from small to mid-sized investors looking to get into the market as it continues to improve. Investor demand, however, far outweighs supply, as there are often five investors for each one property on the market.
Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie CEO, what would it be?
A: Enjoy your work and look beyond the immediate financial rewards. Try to add value to your customers and staff. You’ll find more happiness … and the money will come.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: Build relationships and add value. It’s all about building true partnerships and working toward the best result for the client. At the end of the day, you should feel like you added value for the client.
Q: From a business outlook, who do you look up to?
A: My mom has been my primary mentor and the inspiration behind my business success. While she had no college experience, she had the tenacity and drive to work hard and climb the ladder of a company that has grown tremendously. She moved from a secretarial role to being a senior vice president handling all operations of the company.
I was the kid who was out in the neighborhood asking to mow lawns or wash people’s cars. My mom encouraged that and was always pushing me to try harder. She inspired me to go out in the world, work hard and own my own business.
Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?
A: We are very focused on giving our brokers the training and support they need. All our brokers are W-2 employees, unlike the typical commission-based structure at most brokerage firms. We also provide and pay for all expenses for each agent. We also provide personal and professional coaches that help them establish goals and drive their own successes.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Spend as much time with my four kids as I can. I also do a lot of charitable work, through Willow Creek Community Church and other organizations.
Q: What book is on your nightstand?
A: The Bible.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: The thoughts of how to manage the business into the future. Things are going well, but there are always challenges with managing growth and deciding when to add new brokers or expand the office. It’s a tricky balancing act.
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: In seventh grade, I scraped flour off the floor of a local bakery for 2 hours to earn $3.15. That experience, and my time spent looking for odd jobs around the neighborhood, led me to become an entrepreneur.
Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: I’d want to sponsor a PGA golf tournament. Just as in our business, golfers aren’t getting paid like most professional athletes. Each and every day they tee it up and they are only as good as their last round. Their paycheck is not guaranteed; they have to work hard to get it.
Q: What is one funny thing that has happened to you in your career?
A: In my second year in business, I was taking four or five people on a tour of a machine shop that was for sale in Addison and I caught the pocket of my suit pants in one of the tables, cutting a large area on my pants. I learned to take things in stride.
— Kim Mikus