Cameron Cummins’ business growth record speaks for itself. With 30+ years of experience expanding some of the world’s most widely recognized brands and still going strong, he’s at the top of his game. But we wanted to show another side of Cam – to take a look at his personal motivations and the key players in his life and get to the bottom of what makes him tick.
Pivotal Growth Partners: What initially brought you into the franchise arena?
Cam Cummins: In the early part of my career, I was looking for a way to see compensation proportionate to my work output. Just out of college I had to learn, literally, learn how to work. I did, and that meant that I was working more and harder than my peers without being rewarded for it. I hoped that moving into franchise sales would translate to that kind of model – I was ultimately right about that, but it also took a change of industry.
I later started my own company and grew companies through results-driven marketing. And that work, because I had more personal accountability, was more rewarding. And that’s also what pushed Bryon and I to team up and jump into Pivotal Growth Partners.
PGP: Who have been your most important mentors throughout your career?
CC: There are really four. And I kind of learned different things from all of them.
- My parents. I come from an entrepreneurial family. My dad owned his own company. My mom, when she couldn’t find a good nearby nursery school for us kids, started her own nursery school – and ending up owning a few more after that. I learned my work ethic from them.
- My college roommate, Stuart Frankel. He went on to start his own company that has become the leading edge of AI and interpretation of big data – his number one investor is the CIA.
- Dave Illingworth. He was there when I got started out of college and he taught me how to work. He taught me that you don’t go home until every phone call is returned, until everything you promised to do is done.
- My wife, Ana. Ana’s influence has been crucial because you need that support system. You need someone to be there saying “Why don’t you go for it?” And that’s what she’s always been for me.
PGP: What do you wish you knew earlier in your career?
CC: A few things, actually.
I think I’ve learned more about business in the last 18 months than I have in my whole career. Learning how to structure a company, learning how to finance a company, term sheets – it’s totally a different universe. So, I wish I would have realized earlier on how important it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and into new avenues to ensure continuous learning.
I also wish I’d learned earlier in my career that the journey is more important. I know now that, because we’ve been successful in the past, we’ll be successful in the future. I didn’t realize that earlier and I wasn’t enjoying the journey. Before I’d say, “I would cut off both my arms to get to where we have to get to,” but now I like where I am. I like the long road with the bumps and bruises.
Finally, there’s people with positive energy and people with negative energy. You’re going to run into all of them. The stuff we’ve overcome and solved in the last 18 months has been amazing, but sometimes it’s a battle at every step. If you’re surrounded by negative people and it’s a battle every day, you’re in the wrong spot. You need positive people that will rise to meet those challenges and keep pushing forward.