This episode’s purpose is to tee up the future of the Life After Business podcast and give you an understanding of why I am so passionate about business exit planning.
I believe transitioning into a life after business is an extremely complicated emotional and intellectual journey. Very few entrepreneurs get a trial run, let alone a second chance, to sell their business. The lack of information out there leaves the business owner alone to figure out what they want, who can help them, and how to achieve it.
When my Dad and I sold our company in early 2014 we did not have the guidance or awareness of the process I wish we had. We felt very alone and out of place. We could run a hell of a business but we had no idea how to even start with selling or transitioning it. We experienced many bumps and bruises along the way, both financially and emotionally.
I want to bring you, the listener, as much information as I possibly can, the information I wish we would have had, so you can avoid what we experienced and increase your chances of a successful exit.
I believe a successful business exit is one where the owner walks away happy. It is a smooth and comfortable transition into a life after business that is full of passion, purpose, and community. I believe the true definition of success is happiness.
The best definition of happiness if have seen comes from Shawn Achor’s book: The Happiness Advantage. He defines happiness as “the joy you feel moving toward your potential.” Therefore, redirecting your passion, energy, talent, and drive into new ventures is critical for a successful exit.
You can’t just focus on the tactical part of selling the business—keeping the advisors in check, finding buyers, due diligence, making sure the buyer doesn’t screw you, all the while running the business. This abandons the introspective questions that need to be addressed.
Your real wishes and desires as a business owner need to be brought to the forefront of the conversation. Bo Burlingham in his book, Finish Big, says that the business owners that walked away happy with the outcome knew who they were, what they wanted from the business, and why.
What are you going to do in the next stage of your life? Who are you as a person without your company? How can you negotiate or make critical decisions about the sale of your company if you don’t know these answers? Chasing the highest dollar amount or shortest sale cycle can leave unintended consequences.
The questions of when you want to sell, to whom, what your number is, what will happen to your employees, and whether you want to stay on for the transition, should be answered based on what you want out of the whole process and not just based on the highest dollar amount.
Once you know who you are, what you want from LIFE, and why, it is much easier to back into the tactical steps to get you there. You now have a plan to guide you and your advisors through the process.
This podcast is to share my experiences and positively impact the conversation surrounding exit planning. The more information that is out there, the better off we, as entrepreneurs, will be.
On today’s show, we have Mike Smerklo, author of Mr. Monkey and Me: A Real Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and co-founder of the VC firm Next Coast Ventures, which helps the best entrepreneurs in the world as they build disruptive businesses. The team at Next Coast Ventures has raised over $7 billion in capital and created exit values of over $30 billion. He’ll share the mindset that brought him success, how he gained it and what he learned along the way. I’m excited to have him on the show because most people think what he’s accomplished is out of reach, and that’s just not the case. We’ll do a deep dive into the mechanics of his three rounds of financing so you can see just how doable it is. Listen for tips on managing and treating customers, the benefits of going IPO and how to get your team on board, and why he’d never make a deal without tying equity to both sides of the table. Mike has achieved 40% year-over-year, so this is an episode you don’t want to miss. My big takeaway from this episode is, even someone as successful as Mike (with all of his achievements), the fact that he still second-guesses his success is proof that we’re all human. You should recognize that the things that you intentionally accomplish over time is well deserved. A really clear plan will help dissolve that impostor syndrome. Education is another thing that will help dismiss and get rid of impostor syndrome and will ensure that you’re living and working intentionally. What You Will Learn In Today's Podcast Interview Mike’s background and story How poorly a “must be nice” mindset serves you ...
Whether you want to acquire, grow or exit your business, this episode is a must listen because it is packed full of information on about the state of lower M&A market, how to find companies to buy, creative deal structures, valuations, things to do before you sell and more. What You Will Learn in Today’s Podcast Interview: Why deals in the $1-5 million value range are mostly about psychology and relationships Creative ways to structure the purchase of a company without putting any money down Why the age of a business owner can impact the value of the business Where and how to find companies to buy The limitations of using an SBA to fund a deal Why most business owners don’t decouple themselves from the day to day operations of their business The difference between being and owner operator and an investor in a business What holds most business owners back from scaling their businesses Why the number one “exit strategy” for business owners in the US is to shut their doors The biggest barriers owners face when it’s time to exit their business Why it is necessary for owners to have a plan for themselves after the sale Carl’s top 4 pieces of advice for buyers and sellers after doing 340+ deals Podcast Interview Summary: In today’s episode, Carl gives us a look into the depth of his expertise on buying and selling businesses, educating and advising owners, and best practices for conducting deals. After working on Wall Street in the beginning of his career, Carl worked as the Director of M&A for Hewlett-Packard. In this role, Carl went around buying companies for HP, which included his largest deal of 13.9 billion dollars. Twelve years ago, he made the decision to retire at the age of 37 after his ...
The co-founder of HAAWK, Inc. Ryan Born joins me for today’s episode. Before HAAWK, Ryan was the founder and CEO of AudioMicro, Inc. AudioMicro was a media rights management company. Its most successful venture was AdRev. Ryan explains what that service was and why he felt it worked. We take the journey with Ryan through AudioMicro’s beginnings, the pivots, the changes in the media rights industry, and what life was like after AudioMicro changed owners. This episode is a great example of the struggle and the hustle many entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. What you will learn about: Ryan’s early career as a CPA. His time with WireImage and what it taught him. The only two things that generate wealth. The changes in the media rights industry. The problems Ryan saw with the system. How AudioMicro and microstock changed the system. How Ryan raised the capital for AudioMicro. The mistakes he made early on in the business. Ryan’s advice for building an effective pitch. Why EBITA is important and not important at the same time. Other factors that buyers look at during a sale. Why you need to break even as soon as possible. The struggles AudioMicro had in the beginning. The list of avenues AudioMicro tried that didn’t work. Why you need to choose your investors wisely. How AdRev worked. Why Ryan didn’t hire an investment banker for his sale of AudioMicro. The indicators that it was time to sell. The dance Ryan and his investors did to get offers. How getting the best offer is like playing poker. The benefit of having a knowledgeable team around you. What happened after AudioMicro sold. The beginnings of HAAWK. The thing Ryan is doing differently with HAAWK. Ryan’s parting ...