FYE-GI with The Entrepreneur Way | Business Exit

 

Michelle Seiler Tucker is the Founder and CEO of Seiler Tucker Incorporated. As a 20-year veteran in mergers & acquisitions, Michelle and her team have sold over 1,000 businesses. She owns and operates several successful companies and holds the following designations and certifications: M&AMI, CSBA, CM&AP, CBB, Panelist for M&A Source, Keynote Speaker.

“Plan your exit from day one of starting or buying a business because the biggest mistake that business owners make is that they don’t plan their exit. They don’t think about selling until a catastrophic event has occurred, internal or external and then they think about selling. Or they get burned out and they are like 65 years old and I am tired I don’t want to do this anymore”…[Listen for More]

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Why You Should Plan Your Exit From Day One With Michelle Seiler Tucker Founder And Owner Of Seiler Tucker In

I am excited to bring you our special guest, Michelle Seiler Tucker. Before I introduce you to Michelle, I have a quote for you by Ayn Rand, “The Ladder of Success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.” The entrepreneur way asks the questions, so we all get the insight, inspiration, and ideas to apply our businesses. Michelle, welcome to the show. Are you ready to share your version of The Entrepreneur Way with us?

I am. Neil, it is a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

Michelle, you are welcome, and it is an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. We are honored. Thank you for being on the show.

You are welcome.

Michelle Seiler Tucker is the Founder and CEO of Seiler Tucker Incorporated. As a veteran in mergers and acquisitions, Michelle and her team have sold over 1,000 businesses. She owns and operates several successful companies. She is also an author and a keynote speaker. Can you provide us with some more insight into your business and personal life to allow us to get to know more about who you are and what you do?

I don’t think I was a normal child growing up at all. I never played with toys and dolls. I always walked around with a notebook and a pen asking everyone a million questions, like you are doing on your show. My mother thought I was going to be the next Barbara Walters. I was always a curious kid. I always wanted to know everything I could know about everybody.

No matter where I went, if it were a church or a grocery store, I would stop a stranger and start asking them questions. I have always been curious. I have also always been an entrepreneur at heart. I have owned many different companies at any given time. I owned 5 to 10 different businesses, but I did get sucked up in Corporate America when I started working for Xerox. I was making a great six-figure salary with benefits. My nickname at Xerox was The Closer. Every time a salesperson couldn’t close a deal, they would bring me in.

Within six months of being at Xerox, the management approached me and said, “We think you should try out an interview for a regional manager’s position overseeing 85 salespeople. You are not going to get it, but you should try out for it. You are not going to get it because there are employees here that have been here for 5, 10, and 15 years, and they are applying as well.” I said, “Why should I try for something I’m not going to get? Why waste my time?”

They said, “It is not a waste of time. You are going to learn more in this three-month process all about Xerox, yourself, the interview process, and management. It is not a waste of your time.” I threw my name in the hat, went through the three-month process, and even though they told me I was not going to get it, I ended up getting it and beating all my friends at work. These were the friends that I was interviewing against.

It got to the point where I would go sit at the lunch table, and they would all move. It was like mean girls at Xerox. I felt like I was back in high school. They all parted like the Red Sea. I moved into that position, overseeing 85 salespeople. The one thing about Corporate America is you have a meeting to have a meeting to schedule a meeting. Your income is not dependent upon you anymore. It is dependent upon everybody underneath you. If they are not producing, your checks are affected by that.

I had every intention of keeping my position, but I missed entrepreneurship. I have owned publishing companies, event companies, and different types of businesses. I stumbled across a franchise that I wanted to buy. The franchisor said, “We don’t want you to buy a franchise. We want you to partner with us because we know of your reputation, and we think that you can help put us on the map. If you partner with us, we will give you a franchise.”

They only had 2 or 3 franchises at that time. I said, “I’m not going to leave my six-figure career with great benefits for something that may or may not work because you don’t have a proven success model yet, but why don’t I try it out?” I kept my day job. On nights and weekends, I flew out of state. I flew to Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and California. I flew all over the place.

I did trade shows and I put on my own events. I ended up selling franchises in six months and making more money in those six months than I did an entire year at Xerox. Within six months of being in that position, I resigned. Everybody hated me because not only did I beat them out of a job, but I didn’t keep the job. I opened it up for my friends to reapply. I moved into franchise development, franchise sales, and franchise consulting. I never looked back.

What happened was we got so big, and the company never built a solid foundation. They weren’t prepared for the rapid growth that I sold. They were over-promising and under-delivering. I was friends with my franchisees. I went to their weddings, hospital beds when they had babies, and birthday parties. I was part of their family. I would stay at their house when I went and traveled to different cities. It became apparent that the franchisor wasn’t willing to make any changes. They were upset with me because I was citing with the franchisees. Those are my clients. They spent money investing in us. We need to deliver.

It got to the point that I couldn’t keep selling franchises anymore in good faith and conscience. I ended up having them buy me out. When that occurred, that is when I transitioned into selling companies and not just franchises. I started selling small companies like restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, florists, and everything. I have sold something in every industry. I sold over 1,000 businesses.

I then transitioned into selling larger businesses. Those larger businesses are $10 million and up in purchase price, but I realized quickly that 8 out of 10 businesses wouldn’t sell. We need to fix these businesses before we sell them. We need to fix and grow them. We need to help the owner plan their exit strategy so the business will sell for their desired price tag. That’s how I started specializing in fixing, growing, and not just selling. I bought businesses, flipped them, and have partnered with business owners, investing my money, time, and expertise. Sometimes, I will bring in other resources and other partners in which to help grow their business and exit in 3 to 5 years. That is my story.

Thank you for sharing that with us, Michelle. It is quite enlightening to hear about your journey. What a fascinating story of all your friends. I’m wondering, did they come and sit back with you when you told them that you were going to leave and that the job vacancy was opening up again?

I had three guy friends that were my rock. They were my friends no matter what because they were already in upper management. They didn’t care. A couple of them came and apologized to me afterward. A big mistake that businesses make is that they promote their best salesperson in the management. Just because you are a good salesperson, it doesn’t mean you are going to be a good manager.

FYE-GI with The Entrepreneur Way | Business Exit

Business Exit: Being a good salesperson doesn’t mean you will be a good manager.

 

You talked about the fact that you used to ask lots of questions. I feel like me and you have got something in common there. I ask lots of questions. I have always been like that. A lot of people lose the art of asking questions. If you think a kid always asks lots of questions and, at some point, people stop asking questions.

They always say that you can tell a person’s intelligence by the questions that they ask.

You have set me up there. I got to come back with a smart question now to make myself look like I’m highly intelligent. You sell all these businesses or you help owners to prepare the businesses so that they can sell their businesses. That is great for the people who are selling them, but is that a good thing for the people who are buying them? Would they be better off buying them before you got there and you had helped these owners to make their businesses better?

There are five different types of buyers. Most buyers want to buy a business that operates on all six cylinders. We talk about this in my new book called Exit Rich. We define this as all 6 Ps. Buyers don’t want to buy a broken business. They don’t want to have to go in there and fix it, work hard or buy a job. They are looking to buy a business, not a job. They are looking to buy something that works for them instead of them working for it.

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Exit Rich: The 6 P Method to Sell Your Business for Huge Profit

There are five types of buyers. Number one is first-time buyers, 90% of buyers are first-time buyers. Most first-time buyers will buy smaller type businesses like coffee shops, restaurants, daycares, retail businesses, and things of that nature. We have private equity groups. Private equity groups will buy in two ways. They buy based on platforms and add-ons.

Let’s say they want to get into food manufacturing. They won’t even consider a food manufacturing platform unless it does at least $3 million in EBITDA. That company better run on all six cylinders on all 6 Ps. If it doesn’t, they are not going to buy it. They will buy an add-on. If they are already in food manufacturing, they will look at add-ons. Let’s say they manufacture frozen food. They will look at other frozen food products that are doing less than $1 million in EBITDA.

You have your strategic and competitor buyers. Strategic and competitors buy synergies. They will pay more money for synergies than anybody else. Many times, they are outbidding everyone else. They might spend more money on a certain contract. I once sold an oil manufacturing business that has 60% of its revenue tied up in BP. The business is appraised in the $9.8 million range.

There were about 550 buyers that we disclosed. It is about twelve LOIs. We found a strategy that outbid everybody else because he wanted that BP contract. He had a similar product and service. It is not a competitor, but he had been trying to get into BP for decades and never could get in. He figured, “If I get in with this company, that is my foot in the door. I can get my other products and services there.”

He ended up paying $15 million for 70% of a company that appraised at $9.8 million. Strategists and competitors will pay for synergies. That company operated on all 6 Ps. You have your serial entrepreneur or sophisticated buyers. They are industry agnostic. They buy more EBITDA. They are more concerned about how much money a business makes.

The only type of buyer, Neil, that will buy underperforming businesses are turnaround specialists or first-time buyers because first-time buyers make the mistake that thinking they can go in and do it better many times they can’t. The turnaround specialists can’t. Those are the five types of buyers. Buyers want to buy good businesses. According to Steve Forbes, “8 out of 10 businesses don’t sell in America.” The reason they don’t sell is because their dog businesses don’t have people in place. I’m going to take you through to 6 Ps quickly if that’s okay.

First-time business buyers make the mistake that they can do better than the previous owners, and many times they cannot. Share on X

I was wondering what the 6 Ps were. If you hadn’t told me, I would be feeling like I was missing out. Please tell us about them.  

I know you were sitting on the edge of your seat.

I was. I’m trying to figure out the 6 Ps. I got all sorts of thoughts there.

First and foremost, they want to know, does a business have people? A business cannot operate without people. You don’t build a business. You build people and the people build the business. They want to make sure that the business has people. When I go and look at a company, I look at the seats in the company and who is the who. Who does what in that company? Who opens the business? Who answers the funds? Who takes care of accounting? Who takes care of distribution? Who takes care of manufacturing? The list goes on.

They also want to know about management. Is there a management team in place? It is important to have employees in your business and have a management team in place. W-2 employees in the United States, not necessarily 1090. You can have 1090, don’t get me wrong, but you have to have 1090 in the right capacity. You can’t own a manufacturing plant and have a bunch of 1090 because if a catastrophic event occurs, you are going to be out of business because they are not under worker’s comp. They are going to sue. You are going to lose everything. People is number one. You have to have people in the business.

Number two is Product. Everybody should ask themselves, “Is my product and industry on the way up or on the way out?” Before COVID, Neil, many companies and industries were crashing. Now those industries are thriving because of COVID. It is the opposite. There were industries that were thriving before COVID and now those industries are dying. If it is on the way out, that doesn’t mean doom and gloom or you go out of business. That means you pivot, do something different or either acquire a different product line or do something in your business.

I will give you a perfect real quick example. Commander’s Palace is one of the best restaurants in New Orleans. They are a restaurant. Restaurants were failing. They ask themselves two questions. All of your readers and entrepreneurs should ask themselves these two questions. Number one, what business am I in? Number two, what business should I be in?

They asked themselves, “What business am I in?” They said, “We are in the restaurant business.” They were like, “What business should we be in?” They said, “We should be in creating experiences. We should be connecting people because what people are missing the most during COVID is human connection.” What they did is they sold wine and cheese packages and deliver it to your house, anywhere from $150 to $500. They had 800 people on a Zoom call. That is a way to pivot and think outside the box.

It is like when Steve Jobs came back to Apple. He asked that one question, “What business are we in?” Everybody said, “We are in a computer business.” He said, “No, what business are we in? What business should we be in? We need to be in the communication business. No matter where you are in the world, you can communicate and connect. That is how the iPhone was born, iPad, iPod, and everything I, because of those two questions.

I’m wondering about the other four Ps.

The third P is Process. Have you ever watched the movie The Founder?

I have.

Do you remember the McDonald Brothers? Not Ray Kroc. Ray Kroc is the one that blew up McDonald’s. The McDonald’s brothers had one location and a couple of locations. Do you remember them going out to the tennis court and staying out there for hours? They had all their employees decide who is going to take the order, toast the buns, cook the burger, and put the pickles on. They designed their process with the customer experience in mind. Most companies don’t do that.

I can’t even tell you how many times business owners screw up because they want to do things their way, not the way they should do it for the customer’s benefit. Processes should always be designed with the customer experience in mind. They should be efficient, productive, and well-documented, and everyone in the company should be trained on such. The fourth P is Proprietary. Proprietary is probably the biggest value driver. Number one is branding. How well-branded is the company? The Coca-Cola brand alone, without cashflow, assets, inventory, and anything, is worth $87 billion. Do you know who the biggest brand in the world is?

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Business Exit: Many business owners screw up because they want to do things their way, not how they should do it. Every process must be designed with customer experience in mind.

 

I’m going to guess Apple.

You are right. $380 billion is what the brand is worth. If you build your brand, you will build out the purchase price of your business. There are six pillars of proprietary. I won’t go into all of them, but branding, making sure that you have a federal trademark on your name. In the United States, it is important. Most business owners don’t get a federal trademark. They get a local trademark. I can’t even begin to tell you how many business owners have been in court fighting for their name to keep their name. They are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, or they have to change their name.

Federal trademarks are huge. Patents are big. If you got anything, protect it with a patent because that is a huge value driver. The other huge value driver is databases. Most business owners don’t think about that, but Facebook paid $19 billion for WhatsApp. WhatsApp was hemorrhaging. They were losing money.

Remember I told you buyers would buy synergies? The synergy that WhatsApp had is they had a billion users. Facebook knew they could take those billion users and ROI and monetize on the sale of that business so they paid $19 billion. The other big value driver under proprietary is contracts. If you have client contracts, vendor contracts, and manufacturing contracts, those are all valuable, especially client contracts. They have to have a transferability clause. If they don’t have that, it is not going to be worth much.

The fifth P is Patrons, which is the client base. You got to make sure that you have a diversified client base. I don’t know if you know this, Neil, but in the United States, when I wrote my first book, Sell Your Business For More Than It’s Worth, in 2013. I did the research and learned quickly that 85% to 95% of all startups would fail. That is common knowledge. I don’t know if it is that way in the UK, but that is how it is here.

However, that has changed dramatically. Everything I’m talking about is in Exit Rich. When I wrote that in 2019, I did the same research, and I was flabbergasted that the US business landscape has changed dramatically. In the US, we have 30.2 million businesses and point over half the US workforce. It is only 30% of those startups, 1 to 5 years, will go out of business.

Out of 27.6 million businesses, 70% of those businesses that have been in business for ten years or longer will go out of business. That is before COVID. Those are catastrophic statistics. You probably heard this in the UK, Toys “R” Us is closed. JC Penneys, Kmart, and GNC closed down 900 locations. Stein Mart is closing. Every time you turn around, a different business is closing. Those are the public companies you hear about. You don’t hear about all the smaller private companies that are closing on every street corner in every town and every state across America.

These business owners, unfortunately, are going to be forced into selling for pennies on the dollar, closing their business, and even worse, filing bankruptcy. In America, when you file bankruptcy, you typically lose both your family and personal assets because most business owners co-mingle assets in the US. They should not do that. Patrons are important. The reason why these businesses are going out of business is because they stopped, I call it, AIM, Always Innovating and Marketing. They stopped innovating, marketing, and asking their customers, “What do you need? What do you want? How can I make it easier for you to do business with us?”

In the US, whoever makes it easiest to do business with them is the company that is winning. Amazon is winning. They used to be able to buy books. Now you can practically buy a horse and have it delivered to you in two days. The problem is these businesses that have been in business for ten years or longer, like Blockbuster, become complacent.

They stop asking the client, “What do you need? What do you want? How can I make your life easier?” A lot of times, the customers age out and they don’t replace them with new customers. The way that Millennials buy products and services is not the way that Baby Boomers buy products and services. You can’t keep doing business the way you have always done it. You have to innovate and market.

You can't keep running your business the way you've always done it. You have to innovate Share on X

The last P is Profits. Everybody wants to make money. I always say, Neil, that profits are never the problem. It is always the symptom of not operating on 1 of the other 6 Ps. If you don’t have the right people in place, you are in a dying industry, your processes are not tight and efficient, and you haven’t protected IP, you are going to lose money. Those are the 6 Ps that we evaluate businesses on, and we help our companies strengthen their weakest Ps so that their business can be sellable for the highest price.

We got people, products, processes, proprietary, patrons, and profit. I feel so much better now knowing that. If you hadn’t given me that, I would have felt like I had missed out on it. It is useful. Everybody should treat their business as if they are going to sell the business. That is the reality. They should be doing all these things in any case.

They should but the problem is business owners become firefighters instead of entrepreneurs. They are in their business, doing everything, and putting out fires on a daily basis. You should be working on your business, not in your business. Most entrepreneurs are visionary. What the entrepreneurs need to do is hire an integrator. Entrepreneurs should be working on the business from a high-level view and getting integrators to incorporate everything that they envision. They need to focus on their strengths and hire their weaknesses. Most business owners get stuck in the day-to-day. When you are in your fog, it is foggy.

Some business owners act like firefighters. They are putting out fires on a daily basis. They are working in their business instead on their business. Share on X

What do you enjoy most about what you do, Michelle?

What I enjoy most is I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I get excited to see how someone built a multimillion-dollar company on an eighth-grade education. You don’t necessarily have to have a Master’s degree or college. I get excited to hear all these stories about how business owners have built their businesses in the garage or on the kitchen table. I love the stories. I’m passionate about business, entrepreneurship, people, and saving businesses one business at a time.

That example of somebody who got an eighth-grade education and they have created this successful business. Yet, somebody with lots of letters behind the name isn’t able to do that or hasn’t done that. What do you put that down to? What is the difference because it is clearly not intelligence? If the scale of your business were related to your intelligence, Jeff Bezos’s IQ would be off the scale.

That is the big question I ask my guests on my show. It boils down to motivation. What motivates somebody over somebody else? I have brothers, I’m successful, and I’m more motivated than they are. I think it comes down to motivation and what drives somebody. What inspires somebody? What makes somebody want to do something big and magnificent and leave a footprint in the world when other people want to get by?

Motivation is important. I have sometimes wondered if it is an innate thing or it is something you somehow learn, but it is got to come from within you. It is got to be there.

I don’t think it is learned. I think it has to come within. I have even seen it with employees throughout all of my different companies. It is got to come from within. Even from the same family, you will see a brother that is successful and a sister who doesn’t do anything. They were raised the exact same way. Yeah.

The other factor is, and I read about this in a book. It is called your AQ, which is your Adversity Quotient. That is your ability to be able to work under adverse conditions, things going wrong, and things not always going to plan. You can thrive in that condition. Some people don’t like that. If they don’t like that, it doesn’t matter what their IQ is. They are going to try and avoid situations where there is adversity, and things don’t go to plan. Being an entrepreneur, things don’t always go to plan.

Another one I call is EQ, your Emotional Quotient. You have to be able to communicate, read others, and navigate emotional intelligence. I once met one of the brightest guys. His name slipped my mind. He has a show on TV and he spoke on stage at one point. He says, “I don’t have any emotional intelligence whatsoever.” He has to have assistance to tell him about emotional stuff and what to do about that, which is odd.

He doesn’t have any emotions whatsoever.

I will send you the name when I remember it. I met him once. There was a show on tv. I don’t think it is on TV anymore, but it was his creation. He is successful because he solves lots of problems. He has all these different think tanks around the world. He goes around solving problems.

What drives you to do what you do?

I never wanted to be ordinary. I always wanted to be extraordinary, make a difference in people’s lives, have a legacy, lead my footprint, create something bigger than myself, help others, and do something that was bigger than me. I love to write. I have written four books. I can knock out a book in six weeks when it takes other people years. That is a passion of mine. I have always liked writing since I was a child. I thought I would be an author like 50 Shades of Grey or something like that, but that didn’t work out too well for me. I write business books.

How do you relax when you are not working in your business?

I have a daughter. She turned 10 in 2020 and she is my world. I do a lot with her on the weekends. We will go horseback riding, play golf, play tennis, do something fun, or something that she wants to do. I unplug. I try to turn the phone off. That doesn’t always happen, especially when I have a book coming out. I try that so I can have concentrated time with her. That helps me. I have lots of friends. I’m pretty social. I travel a lot as well. Those are the things I did to relax.

Have you got lots of books planned for the future?

I don’t know if I have lots. I probably have about another 4 or 5. Joyce Myers is probably written 150 books. I look at mine, 4 or 5, and don’t call that too much. I love to write a children’s book in the future too.

Do you have any entrepreneurial role models?

I look up to Dr. Nido Qubein, who nobody has probably heard of, but he came to this country speaking no English whatsoever. He taught himself how to speak English with one index card at a time when he was a teenager. He is now the President of High Point University. I have spoken at their campus. He is on the Board of Directors for La-Z-Boy and the board of directors for one of those bright companies and several other businesses. He also owns a bunch of businesses. He is a true inspiration and a true entrepreneur. Jeff Bezos is an amazing entrepreneur. Elon Musk is a great entrepreneur. Richard Branson is another one that I look up to.

Michelle, we have talked about your business and your personal life. What we are going to do is go back in time and talk about the time before you were an entrepreneur. What difficulties did you have to overcome when you started your business?

There have always been difficulties. I’m trying to think back that far. One of the biggest difficulties was not going back that far, but it was a difficulty. It was when I transitioned into selling companies. There are a lot of things I didn’t know that I learned on the job. On my first closing, I went to the closing without a lease because I asked the closing attorney, “The landlord was out of the country. I think we should postpone the closing until she goes back so we can have a lease.” He says, “We don’t need a lease. We can do this.”

We go to the closing, buyer and seller, and they were like, “Where is the lease?” I said, “The attorney said we don’t need a lease.” He said, “No, I never said that.” He completely threw me under the bus. He made me look like a complete moron. My buyer and seller were upset with me. We couldn’t close on the business. I never made that mistake again.

Another big challenge for me, because I’m here in New Orleans, was Hurricane Katrina. It pretty much wiped out all of New Orleans. Now I have clients from all over the world. I have clients all over the United States. I have clients in Trinidad, Columbia, and Canada, but back then, most of my clients were in New Orleans, and in 90% of my engagements with my clients, their businesses were completely wiped out. They were gone. That was a huge challenge, not just for me but also for my clients trying to rebuild.

We have been through Katrina. Now we are going through COVID. Those are huge challenges. I remember one time I owned a publishing company. I didn’t know what I was doing and I messed with the whole print deadline. Everything was wrong. The advertisers were upset. The best advice I can always give is to hire an expert and strengths. Learn from the best. Don’t try to reinvent something. Align yourself with a mentor who has already been where you want to go because a path will be much shorter if you do that.

Did you have any doubts that delayed you from starting your business?

No, I never had any delays or doubts about starting any of my businesses, buying businesses, or partnering with business owners. I have had doubts from time to time in the M&A industry, the Mergers and Acquisitions industry because I’m a Mergers and Acquisitions Master Intermediary. I have doubts about this industry from time to time because it is a tough industry. It is probably the toughest industry you can be part of. It has got a 98% failure rate. Most people are not successful. I have been in it for several years. There have been times when I’m like, “Oh my God.” I will tell my husband, “What am I doing? I need to get out of this industry. I need to find something better, something easier, something that has residual income that I don’t have to eat what I kill every day.”

What is happening there? Why is the failure rate so high?

It is a tough industry for a multitude of reasons. Most people who are in this industry don’t have the working capital to stay in it because it could take six months to a year to sell your first company. It is not like selling real estate. There is a lot of real estate. You can go to your family and friends and sell their house, but you can’t necessarily always go to your family and friends and sell their business. It is a much harder sell and there are a lot more moving parts.

FYE-GI with The Entrepreneur Way | Business Exit

Business Exit: Most people who enter a business don’t have the working capital to stay in it because selling your first company takes six months to a year. You can’t just go to your family and friends to sell it.

 

Most fail because they don’t have enough money to sustain themselves, and they don’t know what they are doing, like me going to closing without a lease, but I learned everything, and now I teach everything. I have an M&A course that I teach other entrepreneurs who want to become M&A advisors. I have a five-day course. I teach you what to do and what not to do. It is the lack of learning and leads. It is hard to get leads for people that want to sell their business because sellers are so concerned, and they should be, with confidentiality that they don’t necessarily put it out there that they want to sell their business. The lack of leads is another reason that they fail.

It is a tough industry because there are many moving parts. You are dealing with legal, accounting, and emotional stuff because sellers have sellers or more. Sellers are extremely emotional. If an M&A advisor does not plan that seller’s beginning, they will never get them through the exit. They got to help plan what that entrepreneur is going to do next. Otherwise, the seller will self-sabotage, won’t close on the business, and you have wasted a lot of time.

It’s emotional on the sell side. It is emotional on the buy side, especially for first-time buyers. When you start dealing with private equity groups, strategies and competitors, there is not a lot of emotion in that because they don’t get emotionally attached to the business. If it is a good deal, they do it. If it is not a good deal, they don’t. There are many moving parts. You are dealing with financials and the 6 Ps. Most advisors have no idea what the 6 Ps are. I started working on these several years ago when I started getting into fixing businesses so they could be sellable.

What mistakes did you make that slowed your journey?

Hiring the wrong people and vendors. I have invested a lot of money in the wrong vendors. That slow down our website or marketing efforts. It is getting a book out or any of those things. Investing in the wrong relationships and people has slowed us down a little bit in some areas. I never like to look at that as negative because you should learn from everything and your mistakes.

Here is the bottom line. I had the money. Yes, I gave them the money, but I can make more money. At least I had the money to spend there. It could be the opposite and not have the money to spend, and I will make more money. That is how you have to look at it because if you get upset with the money you spent on people who didn’t deliver the products and services that they said they would, they will over-promise and underdeliver. You are going to spend the rest of your time being upset and angry, which is nonproductive and not good for you. It is not going to grow you to the next level.

What are some of the things that you did before you started your business that would be helpful tips to some of the readers who haven’t yet taken the first step on the entrepreneur way?

I’m a fairly decent researcher. I will go out and research the industry. Even M&A, before I got into it, I researched the industry. I researched how many brokers, groups, and franchises there are. I talked to different franchisors. I did my due diligence and I have done that in everything I went into. I did that with franchise development, franchise sales, and franchise consulting. I have done that in publishing and in every business. I am also a partner in a graphics company in Houston. We provide graphics for first responders. We did the vehicle wraps for those police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. I did lots of research there, like, “How many vehicles wrap companies are there? Can we grow the footprint?”

The biggest thing is to research. Many business owners go into business or start a business and they want to do a coffee shop but there are five other coffee shops on the street. Do your research and due diligence. Try to come up with something unique and different. What happens is when another restaurant opens, and I have seen this happen time and time again, that restaurant is going to get a lot of business in the beginning.

Why? It is because everybody wants to try something new. They were, “Let’s go check out this new restaurant. Let’s go try it out.” The restaurant is not operating in all 6 Ps. They don’t have the right people in the right place. They don’t have their processes down. They are not efficient and productive. What is going to happen is all these people go to this restaurant, which hurts all the other restaurants around it. Now they are losing business because everybody is trying out the new restaurant. Because their service is so bad, nobody is going to come back. That is typically what happens.

Research the industry, do your due diligence, look at demographics, look at how many restaurants, coffee shops, or whatever your idea is, how many of those are out there, and align yourself with a mentor that has done it before. They can help you get off the ground because 98% of ideas never make it out of the incubator. Look at Shark Tank. You only got to watch shows like Shark Tank or The Profit with Marcus Lemonis. Do your research and due diligence, and make sure your idea is unique.

I always said, “It is better to buy an existing business than it is to start a business. Buy an existing franchise than it is to start a franchise.” Here is a big difference. With a startup, it is all the unknown. I remember reading an article where somebody said, “This business went out of business because they didn’t have a good business plan.”

It's always better to buy an existing business than to start your own. When building a startup, you are in the unknown. Share on X

Businesses don’t go out of business because they don’t have a good business plan. Businesses go out of business because they are out of working capital. They don’t have enough money to keep their boat afloat. That is why businesses go out of business. You should look at buying an existing business that already has clients and employees in place. It is maybe operating on maybe 4 of the 6 Ps. You can go in and strengthen the other two Ps that they are missing. You will already have a profitable cashflow from the minute you come in. There are 30.2 million businesses in the USA. At any given time, 30% to 40% are up for sale. It is much better to risk your money on buying an existing business than on a startup.

Remember what I said before. Businesses go out of business if they have been in business for ten years or longer. If you buy a business that has been in business for ten years or longer, do your due diligence. Make sure it is sustainable, the owner has been innovating and marketing and their customers are diversified and not aging out.

I was going to ask you a question about whether someone should start a business from scratch or buy a business, but you answered that question for me beautifully. Thank you for saving me the trouble of even asking me the question in the first place.

Let me explain this real quick to your readers. My backgrounds are in franchise sales, franchise development, and franchise consultancy. It is easier to get financing to start a new franchise than it is to buy an existing franchise. It will cost you more money to start a franchise than to buy an existing one. I will give you a story. I wanted a Baskin-Robbins a long time ago. It had been in business for several years. The cashflow was about $95,000 a year. A brand new Baskin-Robbins was going to cost about $300,000 to $400,000 by the time you pay the franchise fee, pay the build-out, buy all the equipment, and pay for the inventory.

The build-out always costs more than you think it is going to cost. We sold that franchise for $190,000 that already had existing clientele and cashflow of $90,000. It is always better to buy existing ones. Unless you have a great idea and concept that nobody else has, test it out because 98% of ideas never make it out in the incubator. There are many good businesses to buy.

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Business Exit: 98% of business ideas never make it out of the incubator. Unless you have a great concept, buying existing businesses is always better.

 

Michelle, we are now going to jump forward in time. Talk about the time when you became an entrepreneur. Do you think culture is important from the beginning in a business?

I do, but culture develops over time. You might start out with the company culture going in one direction, and that will evolve over time. Company culture is huge and it should align with your mission statement, values, and core company values.

How do you make sure that you hire the right people so that they fit with the culture in your business?

That is always the tough one. Out of the 6 Ps, people are always the hardest. It is always the hardest to hire the right people to put in the right seat and answer that who question. Who in your business opens the door? Who handles accounting, tax issues, and legal disputes? That is more of an art rather than a science. We use lots of different testing systems here at Seiler Tucker. We give aptitude tests. If you are hiring for an analyst position, you have to take an analyst test. If you are hiring for marketing, you have to take a marketing test. We have personality tests. We have a variety of testing that we do.

We also have different positions where we start a lot of our team members off as interns. If we feel they are a good fit, we will offer them a position. We also have brought people in to fill a spot, and we will do a week trial or a couple of days to see if it is a good fit. I always think it is great if you can test a lot of people but do lots of different tests.

Most importantly, have a working interview where they are working in your business in the seats that they are going to be handling for a day, a week, a month, or whatever it is that you can work out. That is when you see if that person is going to be a good fit or not. Sometimes you have to move seats. Sometimes, we do put employees in the wrong seats and we have to make those tweaks along the way to make sure that we are matching up the right seats with the right core competencies.

Sometimes, business owners put their employees in the wrong seats. They must make tweaks to ensure that everyone get responsibilities that align with their core competencies. Share on X

Knowing what you know now, is there anything that you had known when you started out that would have helped you shortcut the learning curve?

All entrepreneurs get stuck in their ways and get used to doing things their way. I didn’t always do this from the beginning, but it is important from the beginning to align yourself with an expert or a mentor who has already been down your road or path. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that you align yourself with an expert who is in your specific industry, but align yourself with an expert who is extremely successful because the values, strategies, and techniques of successful entrepreneurs are all similar.

You can find a great mentor in a whole different industry. It doesn’t have to be in your specific industry. Align yourself with a mentor who has already been down your path. If you want to grow a $100 million business, find a mentor who has grown a $100 million business regardless of what the industry is because the ingredients are the same in growing businesses. The industries are relevant. One thing I would have done from the beginning is align myself with an expert on exactly where I wanted to go.

How long did it take you to figure that out?

I always had a good network because your network goes your net worth. I always think that I have positive and successful friends. I didn’t start working with mentors until probably around 2010 or 2011.

Did something happen for you to do that?

I want to get unstuck. I don’t want to stay at this level. I want to continue to grow. You are either growing or dying. There is no in-between. I belong to different associations like M&A Source and different associations that are specific to my industry. As far as having that expert who has been where I want to be, I never worked with any mentors until probably around 2011 or 2012. I wrote my first book in 2013. Aligning myself with different mentors, within a year and a half, I wrote my first book.

How much does gut feeling influence your decisions in your business?

I was listening to Bob Proctor and he is one of my favorite influencers to listen to. He is all about the Law of Attraction, guts, and getting in touch with your intuition. I believe that I have great intuition. I don’t always listen to it as I should. I have made some financial mistakes behind the wrong partners, vendors, and things of that nature because I didn’t do enough due diligence. I hired people that were in our circle. I trusted without verifying. You should always trust but verify. You should always inspect what you expect. I should have trusted my gut on some of those.

Nowadays, I listen to my gut and intuition, but I also don’t let it paralyze me. Some people never make decisions because they are paralyzed by fear. They are paralyzed to make a decision, therefore, they do nothing. I never do nothing. I always do something. With my gut, I’m listening to a lot more than I used to and it is benefiting me.

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Business Exit: Listen to your gut and trust your intuition, but don’t let it paralyze you. Always do something instead of nothing.

 

You say you got great intuition but you don’t listen to it. You got as often as you should do. Why is that?

I think it is not just me. It is a lot of people. We are busy. We don’t always do the due diligence that we should do before hiring or partnering with somebody. We listen to others instead of listening to ourselves, which is a big one. We want it done. We were like, “If I hired this person, it would get me to this level.” We are excited and motivated to get to that next level that we don’t always take the time to listen to our intuition.

What makes you uncomfortable as an entrepreneur?

I always tell my clients, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” If you can’t get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you will never grow. I remember the first time I spoke on stage in front of 800 people. I thought I was going to throw up and pass out. I was like, “I can’t do this.” You got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I have crossed many bridges like writing books, speaking on huge stages, and speaking with some of the leading experts. I have spoken on stage with Steve Wozniak, Founder of Apple, Mary Giuliani, Eric Trump, Donna Karan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I still get uncomfortable sometimes when I speak on stage because I want to be my best. Those uneasy nerves help me perform even better.

What makes me uncomfortable is not always knowing the right path to get to where I want to be. Let’s say I have a certain goal, but I don’t know the right path, vendors, or resources to help get me there. You go down the path of hiring the wrong people again and spending money, resources, and energy on the wrong people who you think are the right people. That is what is uncomfortable.

That is uncomfortable for a lot of business owners because we all have goals and places we want to go, but you need resources, marketing, and the right vendors to get you there. That sometimes is the most challenging. That is what makes me uncomfortable because I’m like, “This is my goal and this is exactly what we are going to do to get there.”

What do you think are some of the secrets to success?

The secret to success is number one, having a burning desire to succeed. You have to want it. There are many people that do nothing with their lives. They sit on the couch all day. They have many great core competencies and intelligence, but they waste their life away. You have to have a burning desire to succeed, perseverance, and determination. No matter what, you are going to reach your goals, be all that you can be, and be the best part of yourself. You have to align yourself with the right advisors, mentors, and experts. You have to have good habits.

You can have a desire to succeed, perseverance, and all that stuff, but you get up at 12:00 in the afternoon, go to work by 2:00, and then leave at 5:00. You also have to have good habits. Remember the book that was out, The 7 Habits of Highly Effected People? You got to read the right books. You got to get up, study, and show gratitude. Be thankful for what you have. You got to have the Law of Attraction. There are many different habits that you have to practice every single day.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

You also have to know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t do your weaknesses. Hire your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Most importantly, know your why. Why do you want this? Why do I want to become the New York Times bestselling author? Why do you want to sell your business for $50 million? Why do you want to be an Olympic gold medalist? You have to have a powerful why because if you don’t have a powerful why, you will never achieve your goals. You will listen to all those inner and outer voices until you can’t. All the obstacles will come your way so you have to have a powerful why to keep you in a game, motivated, determined, and moving on.

Reading the right books is important. The 7 Habits of Highly Effected People is a great book, but that person who couldn’t get up, maybe they read The 4-Hour Workweek.

It is also what you watch on TV. I know people who are like, “I can’t get ahead.” I was like, “What do you watch on TV? What do you do with your free time? What do you do with your spare time?” Do you know what I watch on TV? I watch Shark Tank and Marcus Lemonis. I don’t watch TV. What you put in is what you get out.

Life is made of constant change whether we like it or not. Many people say that the only constant in life is change. Michelle, how do you try to keep up with change?

The pandemic has been a huge change for all of us. I like change, believe it or not. I know I am somewhat of a creature of habit. I come to my office every day, but I do like change. I like things to grow like I said, “You are either growing or dying.” If things are not changing, you are not growing, in my opinion. I welcome change. I look for change and things to do differently. I look for ways to pivot, provide better client service, innovate my business, and ways to market.

There are lots of changes. You can have personal changes, business changes, medical changes, and pandemics as we have right now. I’m in New Orleans. We have hurricanes. We have five hurricanes that hit Louisiana in 2022. I’m adaptable and flexible, and most entrepreneurs are because we have to be. We are good at changing on a dime, being flexible, and being able to handle things that are thrown at us.

What is your favorite book on entrepreneurialism, business, personal development, leadership, or motivation? Can you tell us why you have chosen it?

That is tough. The reason why I say that is tough is because I have many favorites. It is hard to narrow that down to one. Can I say more than one?

If it is difficult to do one, you can.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of the best books ever written. The Bible needs to be everybody’s favorite book. That is what I have been studying and reading a lot. I love Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump, and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Sharon Lechter, who is my co-author on Exit Rich and Robert Kiyosaki. I like The ONE Thing, written by Gary Keller, who is the Founder of Keller Williams.

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Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century (Think and Grow Rich Series)

Many entrepreneurs try to do everything at once. They were like, “I got ten ideas.” That is great that you have ten ideas. Narrow it down to one. What are you working on one right now? Pick one thing because nobody can do 10, 5, or 3 things well.” I also love the book Who. It is one of the best books to ever read to hire the right people in your organization. Those are some of my favorite books, not to mention my own.

Folks, when you have a busy life, listening to audiobooks is a great way to expand your knowledge in the time when you may be doing other things, such as driving or when you are at the gym. We have a special offer for you, a free audiobook of your choosing. To choose your free audiobook, go to www.FreeAudiobookOffer.com. As long as you have not already signed up, you will qualify. Michelle, are you ready to speculate about the future?

I am, but can I say one thing about the audiobook that you said?

Yes.

I love that giveaway that you are doing. I take my daughter to school every day. Most people will listen to the radio. She loves hip-hop. That is her favorite music. We listen to Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Robert Kiyosaki, or whoever. My little girl is now learning about how to control your mind, how to listen to your intuition, the Law of Attraction, and all these different insights by some of the best trainers ever. Tony Robbins, we listen, too. It is important that when you listen to these audiobooks, have your kids listen too.

You do that when you do the school run there.

When she says, “I want to hear hip hop.” I said, “No, hip hop later. Bob Proctor right now.” I want to fill her mind with what she could be, all the positive things, and the things that she could do in her life to better her life and other people’s life. Not just music. I love music, don’t get me wrong.

Tony Robbins puts a bit of music in sometimes so he gets everyone energized.

I have been to many of his events and he sure does. Everybody is up and down, dancing, hugging, and kissing. I think they are still doing that, even with COVID.

Michelle, are you ready to speculate about the future?

Sure.

What one thing could you do with your business if you knew that you could not fail?

I would open up an office in every city and state across our great nation in the US to try to help save one business at a time that goes out of business.

What skill, if you were excellent at it, would help you the most to double your business?

Probably finding more of me because you don’t build a company, you build people, and people build the company. I say people like me but also people that have skills that I don’t necessarily have.

Five years from now, if a well-known business publication publishes an article on your business after talking to your customers and suppliers, what would you like it to say?

The title would be something to the fact that Seiler Tucker is results-driven. They don’t get paid unless you get paid. They take everything on contingency. They care about you, your business, your hopes, and your dreams. They want to see your legacy continue on. They want to help not only set your legacy but set you up for your best next step going forward, whether that is retirement, business ownership, or whatever that might be.

Seiler Tucker goes beyond and above anyone else. They don’t help you sell your business, but they help you fix, grow and build your business so you have a sellable business that will sell beyond your wildest dreams for a price tag that you deserve and will have you live the rest of your life in a lifestyle you deserve comfortably.

I’m looking forward to reading that.

Not only are we their M&A advisor, but we are their friends.

Michelle, it is now time for three golden nuggets. What is your favorite quote, and how have you applied it?

One of my favorite quotes is, “When you are in your fog, it is foggy. It is hard to read the label from the inside of the bottle. You need an outsider’s perspective to read the warning signs and keep you out of the danger zone.”

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Business Exit: It’s hard to read the label from inside the bottle. You need an outsider’s perspective to read the warning signs and keep you out of danger.

 

How have you applied those?

Most entrepreneurs get stuck. They get stuck in the day-to-day operations, tactical and transactional. They stop being transformational. The only way to grow your business is to get out of the transactional and become transformational, transformational thinking, questions, implementation, integration, etc. I work with my clients to get them unstuck and help them build a business that is not reliant and dependent upon them.

I don’t know if I told you about the graphics company that I partnered with on our first segment, but here is a perfect example to illustrate that point. A gentleman called me up and he wanted to sell his business. It was him, his wife, and one employee. They had a graphics business specializing in vehicle wraps for first responders, police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances. That was their niche. They were good at what they do. Out of the 6 Ps that we have talked about, they function 3.

He said to me on the phone, “I want to sell. I can’t do it anymore. My wife and I were working out of a garage that we converted into an office. We are printing and doing the artwork. We are doing everything. We are working 14 to 15 hours a day. My wife and I are about to kill each other. We are looking at divorce, plus we mortgaged our home, and we might lose our home. We told our one employee that we were selling the business. He went out and found another position.” I said, “Other than that, and that is a lot of reasons to sell, why else do you want to sell?”

He said, “I have been in business for years. I have been self-employed for decades. I don’t have the business acumen to grow my business to the next level. I have tried. We do this well. We are great at art. I have been drawing since I was six years old. We are great at graphics, printing, and installing. Our clients love us. They love us so much that the word on the street is, ‘We are the best and you have to hire us.’ We can’t handle the demand so we are turning down about 6,000 clients a year.” When he said that, I went, “Wait a minute.”

Most businesses have the opposite problem. They can’t get and service the clients. I said, “I’m not putting you on the market. I’m not going to take you as a client to sell your business.” He goes, “Why?” I said, “It’s because you and your wife are the business. If I pull you out of business, there is no business.” He said, “We will work for the new owner.” I said, “You have been self-employed for decades. You are not going to be happy working and taking orders from someone else.”

He stopped and thought about it. I said, “Today is your lucky day. Go buy a lottery ticket.” He said, “Why?” I said, “It is because you got me.” I’m a Mergers and Acquisitions Mastering Intermediary. I have been doing this for several years with over 1,000 transactions. I said, “If you would have got anybody else, they would have put your business on the market. It went and sold. You probably will lose your house and get divorced.” He goes, “What are you going to do?” I said, “I’m not going to sell you. I’m going to partner with you.” He goes, “Really?” I go, “Yes, but hold on. I got to do my due diligence.”

That was a perfect example of when I used my gut and intuition. It was a twenty-minute phone call to know that this was a company I wanted to partner with. I did do my due diligence. I got all the financials. I went and met with them and did all that. I ended up partnering with them. I invested money, took them out of their garage office to a 6,000-square-foot office, hired about twenty people, hired a COO, leased all new vehicles and equipment, and created a business operating on all 6 Ps, not just 3 Ps. They were operating on 3 of the 6 Ps that we talked about in Exit Rich.

Now they are a multimillion-dollar company. We are all on track to sell the business for our desired price tag. This gentleman and his wife, who are both brilliant, come up with great, amazing transformational business ideas every day. They came up with products to invent and all these amazing things that he said he didn’t have the business acumen for.

I was with them and I said, “Stephen, you told me you didn’t have the business acumen to go to the company to the next level.” He goes, “Yes, I remember that.” I said, “You do. Look at all the ideas you come up with.” He goes, “Michelle, that is because I have grown since you partnered with me.” I said, “Yes, you have grown, but you’ve always had it. The problem is you couldn’t see it, act upon it, or integrate anything because you were in the middle of the chaos. You were trying to do everything. You were doing the art and graphics. You are doing the vehicle wraps and installing the graphics on the cars. You were invoicing, billing, and doing all this stuff. How do you have time to build a company? How do you have time to integrate your visionary ideas when you are stuck in the middle of doing everything?”

When you are in the middle of your fog, it is foggy. When you are in the middle of chaos, it is hard to be transformational. He has business acumen. He needed me, an outsider’s perspective, to get him out of the chaos and get him into creating a business that works for him and his wife rather than them working for it. Now they are both happy and grown as individuals. They are excited every day and crushing it.

Are you still losing 6,000 customers a year?

No, maybe 1,000. Don’t get me wrong. We still have growing pains. We got to get the right people in the right seats. That is always a battle for companies. It is getting and keeping the right people in the right seats. No, we are not. I will tell you that they have such a great reputation and are known as the experts in their industry. They don’t even have to market. The business comes to them. That was a nice story to go with my quote.

When you told me that, I thought, “How many other business owners must be like that?” Many of them must know that they can’t say the word for the truth.

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in the United States, I told you this at the beginning of our segment. When I first wrote, Sell Your Business for More Than It’s Worth in 2013 and did the research that 85% to 95% of startups will go out of business. We all know that. That was common knowledge that if you have been in business for 1 to 5 years, you are at risk of going out of business, but when I wrote Exit Rich in 2019, I did the same research again. I had my team do it again because I didn’t believe it.

The business landscape in the US has changed dramatically. There are 30.2 million businesses. This was all before COVID in the US, employing over half the US workforce, which is the backbone of the US economy. Now, the business landscape has flip-flopped. Only 30% of those businesses from 1 to 5 years will go out of business. Out of 27.6 million businesses in the United States, businesses that have been in business for ten years or longer, 70% of those businesses will go out of business.

In the US, you hear about big public businesses all the time, like Toys “R” Us. You probably heard about this from where you are from. JC Penneys, Steinmart, and GNC closed out 900 locations. Even Starbucks is having some issues, but you are not hearing about all the private companies on every street corner in every town. These businesses are dropping like flies. That graphic story that I told you about is 1,000 reoccurring. My other quote is, “Helping save America by saving one business at a time from going out of business.” That is my passion and mission.

You don’t hear about them. What shocking to me is it is never on the news. Why don’t they make the news? Only public companies make the news because what everybody cares about is the stock market. What about these poor small business owners that are going out of business and forced to sell for pennies on the dollar, close their business, or even worse, have to file bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy in the United States, you lose your business assets. That is not the case because most business owners pierce to corporate veil. It commingles their personal and business assets. Therefore, many of them lose their personal assets as well.

Do you have any favorite online resources you can share with us that will be useful for entrepreneurs?

That is a question you got to ask my team because they are the ones that use all the resources. I tell them, “Do this and that.” Salaries.com is a resource that we use when we are evaluating businesses. Let’s say that we have an owner and the owner’s wife, and we are adding back the owner’s salary if the owner is not needed in the business.

If he is needed, we don’t add back the salary. We are going to add back the wife’s salary because the wife does bookkeeping, but the wife is getting paid $100,000 a year. You are not going to pay a bookkeeper $100,000. We would go to Salaries.com and get the average salary for a bookkeeper in the state of Louisiana or California, whatever state we are looking in. That is a resource that we use.

We use a lot of different resources for business comps, business industry standards, and things of that nature. I can give you Pratt’s Stats and BRG. One of the big mistakes that business owners make in the United States, and I don’t know about the UK, is when they start a business, they go get a state trademark. They never check to make sure it is available federally.

They go and get a local trademark. It cost them $150 to $200, and they set up shop. I have seen this happen all the time. That business owner can be in business for ten years, and all of a sudden, they receive a cease and desist letter. That means they have to stop using that name. The business owner will spend thousands of dollars fighting it and they are going to lose because either someone already had that name and the business owner never checked on it, or the business owner never got a federal trademark, and somebody else went out and said, “I love this name. Let me go get a federal trademark.” Since this company has been in business for ten years received a cease and desist letter. It is USPTO.Gov that everybody can go to make sure the trademark is available.

What is your best advice to every entrepreneur?

Plan your exit from day one is turning or buying a business. The biggest mistake that business owners make is they don’t plan their exit. They don’t think about selling until a catastrophic event has occurred, internal or external, and then they think about selling. They got burned out and they were 65 years old. They were like, “I’m tired. I don’t want to do this anymore. I have never taken a vacation. I want to travel the world.” By then, it is too late because your business is typically trending downward.

Plan your exit, build your exit, and determine your end game. What do you want to sell your business for? If you want to sell it for $10 million, great. I call this the ST GPS Exit Model. There is your destination. You have your destination, $10 million. Your GPS needs to know where you are starting from. What is your current location? “I’m worth $3 million. I want to sell for $10 million.” Always know what your business is worth. Have a valuation.

I will tell you, Neil, that most business owners have no idea what their business is worth. You should have a valuation on your business every single year. Know what your business is worth. Know what your timeframe is. If you are worth $3 million, you want to sell for $10 million, and you want to do it in five years. Know who your buyers are. Is it going to be a private equity group, strategic or sophisticated? Know what their buying criteria are and build your business that suits their buying criteria. The big piece of advice is to build your business to sell and build a sustainable, scalable, and sellable business using the 6 P method that we talk about in Exit Rich. Most businesses, 8 out of 10 companies, will not sell, according to Steve Forbes, because they are not good businesses.

Most business owners have no idea what their business is worth. You should have an evaluation every year. Share on X

If you build your business on all 6 P’s, which again, as a refresh. People, you got to have the right people in the right seats. Products, your product needs to be thriving, not dying. You got to have your processes designed with the customer experience in mind. They need to be efficient, productive, documented, and all the employees need to be trained on such. Proprietary, protect your company brand. The bigger your brand, the bigger the sales price you will get for your business. The Apple brand alone is worth $389 billion.

Protects your company name by getting the federal trademark. Get patents. If you got something creative, protect your idea with patents. Patents add value to the business and make sure you have contracts in place. Most importantly, for those contracts, make sure you have that transferability clause. Build your CRM and database because if it is retargeted and repurposed, we can get you a much higher multiple for your database. Facebook paid $19 billion for WhatsApp. WhatsApp was hemorrhaging money, but they had a billion users.

Patrons, make sure you have a diversified customer base, not customer concentration, but customer diversification. Last but not least, make sure you have a profitable business. If you build your business on those 6 Ps, your business will be sustainable. It will operate without you. It will be scalable. You can grow it. When you are ready, it will be sellable. That is my biggest piece of advice and make sure you go to ExitRichBook.com to get your copy of Exit Rich.

Michelle, is there anything else you would like to add about your business?

What I would like to tell business owners is never give up. I know that sometimes things seem difficult, especially during this pandemic. Lots of businesses have closed. You should never give up and call me. Make a phone call. That is what the graphics company did. Look at them now. Always think outside the box, throw the box away, and reach out to ten experts or someone like us.

Never give up. Always think outside the box and reach out to experts Share on X

The more successful somebody is, the more time they have, the more money they have to invest and help someone else. Never give up on your dreams. If there is a will, there is a way. Reach out. Give me a call. I love to help business owners. My passion is to save one business at a time so we can save the American economy.

I would love for everyone to go to ExitRichBook.com. We are in the middle of pre-sales. For $24.79, you can buy the Exit Rich book. You will receive the digital download immediately so you can start reading the Exit Rich book. Also, you will receive a lifetime membership into the Exit Rich Book Club where there is a lot of video training of me going into deep strategies, going into transformational questions, transformational thinking, and things that you should be doing in your business right now.

Also, digital download. If you have never seen an employee handbook before, an organizational chart, a sample purchase agreement, a sample letter of intent, a sample due diligence checklist, or closing docs, all the documents are there for your review and for you to download. In addition, you will receive a 30-day membership to Club CEOs. It is a community of entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs where we do transformational questions, hot seats, Q&As, and masterminds. When the book comes out in January 2021, we will ship it to your doorstep, all for $24.79, which includes shipping. If you buy anywhere else, it is $27.97 plus shipping. Go to ExitRichBook.com and get your copy.

Michelle, thank you very much for making that offer. It sounds like a fantastic offer for anybody. Even if they are not thinking about selling their business right now, they should be buying that book because they should be thinking about it.

The book is not about selling your business. The book is about building a business that, when you are ready, will be sellable. In the meantime, it is going to make you a lot more money. Why not run a good business versus running a business that is struggling and barely making a profit?

It has been great having you on the show, learning about your business and journey as an entrepreneur, and hearing different stories and examples that you have given us. As you have done all of that, you have reflected on your journey. You have shared some of your thoughts about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and you have given us some great advice. Thank you very much for coming to the show.

Thank you so much, Neil, for having me. It has been a pleasure. Let’s stay in touch.

It has been a pleasure. Thank you, and you are welcome. If you have enjoyed the show, please share it on social media and subscribe to our email on The Entrepreneur Way. Thank you for reading, and until the next episode, goodbye.

 

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