Building a startup requires several things. You can have an okay idea with a great leader versus a great idea with an okay leader. The okay leader will fail 99% of the time, but the great leader will find a way. You also need to be frugal especially now. Spend money on the necessary things. A lot of small businesses are crashing and burning because of the state the world is in. If you want to learn more about startups, listen to this episode where Michelle Seiler Tucker talks to Bill Walsh. Bill is a venture capitalist and is the CEO and Founder of Powerteam International. He is also the best-selling author of The Obvious. Bill hosts and speaks at events all over the world. His passion is to empower entrepreneurs and business owners to create massive success. Learn how to speak to sell, the importance of marketing, and much more today.
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How To Build A Startup In This Time Of Uncertainty With Bill Walsh
I’m so excited to have my very good friend, Bill Walsh on. Bill, I miss seeing you.
Michelle, how are you? It’s great to talk to you.
I’m great. How are you?
Congratulations on the new book.
Thank you. We used to see each other because we would speak at the same stages and we would hang together. Everyone, meet Bill Walsh. He’s a radio personality, speaker, holds events all over the world, CEO and Founder of a speaker training team, which is Powerteam International. He helps business owners, startups and global brands to help build their business and a productive well-oiled machine. What did I leave out? Tell our audience a little bit about yourself.
Most important, I’m a dad. I have three of the most amazing kids and two are getting married so that’s pretty amazing.
That is the most important thing being a parent. I always say the same thing.
I know you are an amazing mom.
Thank you. I have a little girl. You said you have two boys.
I have two boys and one girl.
Are they following daddy’s footsteps?
My oldest son. He runs our internet marketing companies and then my daughter is in Dermatology and my youngest one, he produces Beats. He makes music.
You have done a good job, you and your wife, I’m sure, takes a village.
My wife is an amazing lady. The toughest job is being a mom and because of that, we have three great kids. I thank God every day.
You are congratulating me on my book but you are a bestselling author on a book called The Obvious.
I did it right after the movie, The Secret because people can dream about it but The Obvious is you have to get off your ass and go to work. What a concept that is. It’s now more than ever.
Tell us about the speaking business. I know you hold events all over the world. You and I were always going to do something, where I was going to come to some of your events to train and teach entrepreneurs.
You should do that. I’m a big believer and Warren Buffett probably said it best in the 1950s or somewhere in that area, “The number one skillset for entrepreneurs is public speaking.” It was an offshoot that I had been doing on so many events on business growth and yet, the speakers kept coming up to me saying they would watch me sell and close from the stage. What we specialize in is how to speak and close from the stage, how to sell those $1,000 to $10,000 programs in less than an hour to strangers.
Before you know it, after years of our incubator course Rainmaker, which we still do for entrepreneurs, we launched something called Platinum Speaker Program. It is designed to help a small group of speakers every year build their product, shoot their videos, help them with their signature talk, how to fill events, how to book events and get their contract, brochure and banners did. We put them on three stages so they’ve got a chance to go out there speak and sell because I don’t care what course you take. If they don’t put you on a stage, you are not going to learn to speak and sell.
This is something that I know you do well, you have done it for years and years but most people don’t get any swings. They get to talk at their Toastmasters or something but it’s speaking to sell, which makes it so unique. That had been a signature course since 2010. We have trained speakers all over the world on Speak to Sell. We have entry-level speaker programs too but that is our signature program. I love watching speakers that have a story, have a message of something great and how to learn to convert at a very high level from the stage on their own courses and programs.
I have been preaching this for years but why do you think business owners should be out there speaking? Why should they be on stage?
You build relationships one-to-one but you build business one-to-many. Speaking now is not what you think it is, not about having to go on stages. It could be on Zoom, Facebook, recording, Telesummit, at an event break or where you are doing something at your local chamber, your Rotary or the tip. All of these locations are potential client acquisition events that you don’t get to speak about for 2 to 5 minutes.
We teach people what’s called network from the front of the room so quit going around and passing out your business cards. That was many years ago. Go in front of the room, give them great content, a free gift or a special report from your business that then gets them to opt-in to something. They opt-in then you automate the follow-up sequence.
One of our new SaaS products in 2021 is called Mobex. We have created the first mobile complete automated sales funnel for any business owner for $100 a month. Imagine, instead of paying for all these mega website funnels, why not use a tool that gets a 90% open rate, a 30% click-through rate, puts them into your appointment calendar, on your sales page and converts your sales conversion time to 60 minutes versus three weeks? We believe that if you are going to be in business, you better be able to speak about your business or at least be a lot more comfortable with it if you truly want to have more exposure to your company.
The app is when you are speaking in front of an audience?
The app can be used anywhere. For example, you are on your broadcast. You take out one of those Exit Rich signs and you put a QR code. The QR code takes anyone that looks at your presentation through a phone, it opens up their phone right to your opt-in code, then from the opt-in code, it puts them through your mobile sales funnel.
Imagine if you are speaking on stage from this day forward, you tell someone to take a picture if they put the phone up and going to take a picture of you on stage, it pops up your automated app system. They opt-in, get all your social connections, get access to your calendar and sales video. You can put them on your Zoom call so they can be an automated Zoom link to your past Zoom presentation.
The only time you talk to them is if they have actually completed the survey. If they are not qualified lead, why talk to them? If you are putting this on Facebook Live, you could have everything that you do from this day forward, text EXIT to this number, it puts them into your entire sales funnel where you see them in the funnel real-time. Email gets about a 20% to 24% open rate and text messages about 90% open rates.
We will have to talk about that. We have a number that we have been using on other people’s shows saying, “Text MICHELLE or text EXIT RICH to this number.”
You want to make sure it’s a complete funnel if you want it an automated full funnel.
That one is good but it’s not a complete funnel. I think your app is great. I will take a look at it and everybody reading should take a look at it.
It’s a killer system. It’s real simple. It’s called Mobex. If you text MOBEX to 26786, they get a free info pack.
The number one skill set for entrepreneurs is public speaking.
You have been doing these events. Before we dig deep and find out more about Bill Walsh, what you do, how your business owners and entrepreneurs become successful, tell us about Bill Walsh. What were you like as a little boy? Did you come out speaking?
I raced BMX bikes as a kid. Can you believe it? Now, it’s in the Olympics. I love to see BMX racing in the Olympics because I did all that. I raced all over the country. I did for Factory Schwinn, I raced BMX bikes from when I was 10 to 16. I had a newspaper out at nine years old so I was always an entrepreneur but I loved the idea of building things. I was never cut out for a job.
I’m truly unemployable but I understand what it takes to build businesses. What most people don’t realize is that my friend, Greg Reid wrote a book called Three Feet from Gold. Most people in business are always three feet from gold. They are right there on the edge of success and they quit or give up because somebody told them they are not good enough.
I’m a big believer that if somebody has a vision, I can help turn the vision into reality and help line up the money, marketing, partners, social media, and marketing funnels to get organized and begin to execute. That has always been my gift. I can see things in people they can’t see in themselves but I’m a huge believer in execution. No matter what the challenge is, you’ve got to figure it out and press through because if you quit, all those negative voices win.
Out of high school and college, I became a trader. I traded currency in New York and Chicago. I did that for almost eight years and I wound up getting married, having kids, and started doing and fixing businesses. I love doing turnarounds. I was an early-on investor and all through the ’90s if you had a failing company, I would be hired by the board to come in and usually fire some family members, fix the company, take it public or close it and sell it.
After ten years, I was burnt out and in ’02, I teamed up as a marketing partner for a young company called GoDaddy and a big company, a channel partner for a company called Franklin Covey. We launched a business in a box called Success Folio. We were assured about a million affiliate marketing but I found out a big group in New York that became the marketing partner and in twenty months, we were in twenty countries.
We launched the product Rainmaker in ’05, which we now market worldwide as our three-day incubator course for small business owners, The Venture Fund in ’07, the Mastermind was in ’08, the Inspiration Conference in ’09, the Platinum Speaker Program in 2010, the Internet and Marketing Camps in ’11. We became the main sponsor for an event called The Small Business Expo in 2012. We brought out Google, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Dodge. Everybody you could think of, Bank of America, Twitter, Facebook, Shark Tank became sponsors for that event and in seven years, we went from 2 cities to 17 cities, with just over 100,000 attendees a year.
Along that way, we launched local masterminds. At the end of the day, I love to help small businesses. Take what you are great at. If there’s a big market, money in it and you are passionate about it, go after it. People want the recipe. That’s the recipe. I do believe 10,000 hours to be great, you pay your price to get there. I have been honored for the last years in order to be in the top 30 coaches in the world by Guru Magazine.
We had a big award ceremony with Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, all these guys are coming up in a couple of weeks so it’s an honor to be a part of that group. It’s a fun group. Marshall Goldsmith is almost always the number one coach because of his client base. He manages Venus Williams and the CEO of this and the CEO of that.
He’s a down-to-earth guy though that his whole focus on coaching is relationships. Everything he teaches about who you are connected to and if he can help make those connections for you, then you pay him. I believe as great as you are, I can bring people to you but if they don’t hold the weight once I had opened the door, it doesn’t mean very much. I believe you can open the door for yourself but they’ve got to be able to keep the door open.
I didn’t know that you sold businesses before. What is the size of businesses?
Somewhere in the $100 million to $300 million, somewhere less than five years old, less than $10 million in revenue.
You’ve got an MNA advisor or you’ve got a personal advisor.
Believe or not, I lectured at the MNA Award Show every year for five years in a row. I gave a keynote at the MNA Awards. These were the biggest transactions in the world because I talked a lot at the UN about disruptive innovation and how disruptive innovation is changing all the face of business, not knowing what was going to happen but years ago we talked about that if you are not digital, you are done. Look at what happened in 2020 that if you weren’t digital, you are wiped out of business. The ones that went digital innovated.
If you look at Capriotti out on Nevada, Las Vegas run by a friend of mine, George Chanos, the former Attorney General, what they did is they immediately spent all their money on social media. They immediately began to do all the marketing and social media to drive Grub Hub and Uber Eats, and their stores expanded. Outside the retail stores, they put up pop tents but they didn’t let people go. They expanded during the worst time ever. It’s a lot of how you handle it and how you moved your marketing dollars quickly to make a difference.
It’s all about mindset. When I wrote my very first book in 2013, Sell Your Business For More Than It’s Worth, I learned the 90% of all startups would fail but then when I researched Exit Rich, I was flabbergasted and so was Sharon Lechter because I’m like, “Sharon, the business landscape has flip-flopped. Now it’s only 30% of startups that will go out of business but out of 27.6 million companies, those businesses that have been in business for ten years or longer, 70% are going out like Toys”R”Us, Pier 1, and Kmart.” You hear about the big public companies and the number one reason they are going out is lack of innovation and marketing.
We know that 90% of your success is marketing. People tell me you’ve got to be a great salesman. No, you’ve got to be great at marketing.
You’ve also got to innovate because you can keep the marketing the same old stuff as Toys”R”Us did and Toys”R”Us is in business for many years and did nothing different. It’s the same thing with Blockbuster. They had the opportunity by Netflix twice.
Blockbuster could have bought them for $50 million. They said, “That’s way too expensive.”
It’s marketing but it’s also innovation. The aim is everything. How do you work with business owners to get them to innovate? I always say when you are in your fog, it’s foggy and so many business owners are working in their business, not on their business and they really lack innovation.
The best answer for small businesses when it comes down to that is that, do you solve the problem? If you solve big problems, you make big money. If you don’t solve problems, you don’t make any money. The other idea is that you make something better. Bose headsets have been around forever but if you look at Beats, all they did was they made Bose sexy. They made it a sexy headset to wear and they brought on a lot of influencers to say, “We love these products. “If you are not realizing that influencers are here to stay, you are missing the boat. You can run all the TV ads you want but certain groups buy from what their peers say versus anything they say on TV.
If an influencer, whether micro or macro says they love your stuff, their followers are going to buy it. You are seeing this in drones. If any of the Kardashian’s like your product or service, you are done. They will kill your servers in a day or two because of the traffic they can drive. It’s really about innovating, not just what your offer is but also in the way you connect with your perfect customer. The future of marketing is educational marketing. You educate clients first. If they like what you give them for free, there’s a good chance they will come back and buy more and more.
You’ve got to speak at Harvard.
I did. I was honored there with Speaker of the Year. I gave a twenty-minute lecture and part of my talk there was how to connect with millionaires and billionaires. It was fun because even the kids at Harvard go there for the network but sometimes they don’t know how to network. Most of us were never trained.
Many of them are socially awkward.
Once they realize that the most successful entrepreneurs are usually the most approachable. The fear factor is to learn to have a great conversation, any door can be opened. You can go online and you can type in Bill Walsh and Michael Jordan on YouTube, they are watching our video together. I realize an hour before the video, I didn’t know Michael Jordan but it didn’t matter because when you come from a place of absolute faith, there’s no fear and when you are not trying to sell somebody something, there’s no pressure.
The challenge most people have is that when they try to connect with the ultra-successful, people can feel like they are trying to sell you something right away and that’s an instant turnoff. It’s like, “No.” You are an Allstate agent and wear your Allstate door hanger around your neck. You go to a college frat party and you bring a case of beer then you make a connection but you are not bringing your Allstate order forms trying to sell insurance.
You have launched a lot of different startups. Tell us about this startup space.
There were tons of startups. What I believe is in the startup world, everything starts with the leader. You can give me an okay idea with a great leader versus a great idea with an okay leader. The okay leader will fail probably 99% of the time but the great leader will find a way. We invest in the leader, plan, systems, process, and then what you’ve got here, what’s the exit strategy? Not how do they get out but how do we get out? If I’m the investor, do I have a preferred way to get out first?
If I get money in, let’s talk about a liquidation preference and conversions. Are they using convertible notes? Do they plan to go public with it? You start the business, at the end of the day, many times to sell it. It’s either sell the business, take it public or bring on managing partners. Otherwise, all you have done is get yourself an expensive job. You want an expensive job, be an entrepreneur all by yourself.
We teach a lot of this. If you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with a great team. Surround yourself and don’t try to find people, attract good people. The secret in hiring people is always trying to find people. Become so good that people can’t wait, they would love to be a part of your network. This 2021 for our top promoter, they get to win a Ferrari and they get $100,000 in cash. Our top Rainmaker salesperson, our affiliate group, gets some great prizes. Believe it or not, people will work for money but they will die for a cause. There will be so much more inspired around the recognition and the cause, that’s why social impact is a big part. If you want to attract Millennials now, you better talk about how your company gives back.
We did a celebratory dinner for our Exit Rich book launch as it made Wall Street Journal, USA Today and a bunch of other lists, and I’ve got schooled in a difference between a Millennial and Gen Z. I thought I had all Millennials working for me. I come to find out I have all Gen Zs.
You build relationships one-to-one but you build business one-to-many.
At the end of the day, your team is your team and that’s who you attract.
What do you give back? What is your cause?
A couple of causes I belong to. One, I sit on the advisory board for a group called A Safe Haven Foundation. In Chicago, we help 5,000 families get out of homelessness. They have been doing this since 1994. It’s run by Neli Vazquez. She’s brilliant. They are both MNA attorneys and investors. In ’94, they cashed out and launched this program. It is a solution to homelessness. Not only it’s a three-year program for the folks that come in. First of all, they get them back to realize they are human, then they help them understand what it looks like to survive.
They teach them a skillset over three years and then they put them in job programs. They have their own job programs that are self-fulfilling like in the streets of Chicago, they clean Michigan Avenue and O’Hare airport. They are all part of that program connected with the city and the state so I love what they do. We’ve got amazing board members and they make a big difference.
What’s the retention rate?
They’ve got an 86% success rate. About 2 miles from them is the largest prison hotel in the world. It’s called the Cook County Jail and they have an 87% recidivism rate, which means they go back every two years for $2 billion. They run A Safe Haven for less than $100 million a year.
They should duplicate that program in other states.
They are opening Indiana now. They are looking to open in Dallas. I pitched it to Governor Newsom in California.
What’s the name of them? They didn’t open in New Orleans.
It’s called A Safe Haven Foundation. They are on social media. They finished a big Run/Walkathon to raise some money. They do exceptional work in their space. I actually brought Neli. She lectured at Harvard also.
How many feet did they get off the street since they have been in operation? Do you know?
I don’t know about the operation but they housed 5,000 families a year in their housing. They own all the housing facilities, too.
What do you think is going to happen with the homeless given the current situation with rent? They lifted the extension on paying rent, what do you think is going to happen to them?
They added to it. They are going to keep the extension.
I thought in Louisiana, that will get a no.
It’s going to get passed. They are going to do something but I don’t know that that’s the answer. Where are all the individual entrepreneur landlords, why aren’t they on the steps crying? Now they get no money. At the end of the day, if you keep feeding people money, you are killing something called hope. If you kill hope, you kill everything.
They are going to come a little way. There’s going to be a presidential ordeal that allows with some form because the crazy part of the $50 billion that was set aside, only $7 billion has been used. Ninety percent of the fund has not been used. Now, they make it difficult to get it or something to make it easier but at the end of the day, they could leverage that to pay the rent. There are ways to do this but I’m not a believer in handouts. I’m a believer in elevation plans.
It’s a hand-up, not a handout.
A hand-up is a much better thing because a handout is nothing more than just keep doing what you are doing and what happens after a while, it’s a program. That’s what happens. They get programmed to think, “Why should I do anything at all?” That’s the same thing. At a certain point, why go back to work when I can earn more sitting at home watching TV? That’s why you have seen entrepreneurship rise because while they are sitting home, they are building side hustles and still getting paid to sit home.
For the ones that get it, they are leveraging the system to build their own side hustle. In 2020, and I don’t blame them, that’s a smart move, we’ve got to curb some of that because you are seeing small businesses be decimated. You talk about closing companies that are around for 50 years and these aren’t big companies with big funding. These are small to mid-size mom-and-pop businesses that have been around for a long time, that they can’t afford their payroll. They certainly can’t afford their rent so the only choice is to shut it down and maybe reopen a couple of years from now. We know that most of them will not reopen.
It is very difficult to get people to work and then everybody wants higher pay now. They have been closed for months and people are demanding $15 to $16, and in many cases, $20 an hour.
In some markets, I believe that probably is the case. The cost of living in San Francisco has gone so outside the norm that you can’t hire people from McDonald’s because they would have to drive two hours to go to work every day and still couldn’t get ahead of time. By the time the week’s over, if they are doing 40 hours at $600 a week, you can’t rent a place in San Francisco for less than $6,000 a month.
It’s in the same realm. You can’t afford to have an apartment. That’s why they are moving out really quickly because they know that Texas, Florida, a lot of other places is a much better alternative even though people do love the ocean. California has been a building block for entrepreneurship but they have crushed a lot of it. It’s sad to see.
I’m from California, it is very sad to see that. How do you fix this problem with small businesses?
You don’t cut marketing but you do look at marketing to see what funnels are working and cut the ones that are not and double down on the ones that are.
That’s why we feel our new Mobex product for every small business is a must. For $99 a month, you have a fully turnkey mobile funnel with a 500-person Zoom account that can run all your Zoom training on and it’s done for you. We build it for them and for $1,000, they build the custom funnel, which is 20% of the cost of normal funnels. It’s probably about 100% more effective than almost every funnel that’s out there. If you don’t want to take them into your social group, put them in your private groups and give them access to your newsletters, this is all the free stuff before they talk to you. By the time they have talked to you, they are ready to become a customer.
One thing we figured out during this craziness of 2020 is that everything is going to SaaS business models and membership sites. Whatever you are doing, figure out ways to create membership sites for your clients to keep them all connected to help drive new business. If you can lower your acquisition costs, provide great value. Do not lower your prices.
Understand that if you are a small business owner, do not lower prices, just add more value. Do something called value stacking, don’t discount, no 50% off sales. If you spend $100, we will give you $10 towards your next purchase. That is not the same as 10% off. That’s on future purchases. Something we found is that if you can be innovative on some of this stuff and begin to get a much higher communication rate with clients, the greatest source of new clients is from the clients you have.
As long as you are keeping them happy.
You’ve got to go beyond the service. That’s what I’m saying, value stack. Don’t lower your value proposition, add value to it.
What you are talking about is proprietary like subscription models, the reoccurring revenue and that’s what we talk about in my book, Exit Rich because that’s what buyers will pay a lot more money for. They will pay for that.
If you’re going to be in business, you better be able to speak about your business.
They will pay as much as nine times the gross if it’s reocurring revenue model-based.
For SaaS companies, yes but for other industries, no.
I will give you an example. Even membership, if you look at the NRA. The NRA is great membership-driven. They’ve got more than six months to a year if they buy every month like clockwork. People notice and they have only said, “Who’s the number two?” Number two is the American Gun Association, they’ve got 90,000 members that are paying $20 a month but they only sell the NRA members.
At that level, absolutely. If you are a company and you’ve got 2,000 subscribers, you are not going to get it. I just want to put it in perspective for people reading.
If you have 2,000 members at $10 a month, that’s not a massive membership.
We’ve got a client that’s got, 2,000 members. It’s a digital marketing agency. I don’t want people to have realistic expectations that they are going to get a huge, multiple gross. They will get a multiple gross if it’s a SaaS business or if it’s a membership company like ARP.
They are also paying a lot though for large customer-type databases.
You could be losing money as WhatsApp did and WhatsApp sold to Facebook for $19 billion. It’s all about these proprietary assets like patents, trademarks and customer databases. Do you know how a lot of times somebody will say, “I’ve got a million followers on Instagram?” You don’t get anything. You might have a million people following you but you don’t own them.
The better question is how many have opted in?
Not only have how many have opted in but do you even have an opt-in?
Most of them don’t.
You’ve only got to build those funnels on your social media pages to be able to capture a percentage of those followers. I’m sure you have that built into your social media.
We do. We use text opt-ins and we do it through giveaways. We give away stuff all the time, whether it’s a copy of your book, download, consulting, strategy session or an event link, whatever it is, give it all away to have the person that becomes part of your group or your community. The money is in the community. Everybody if you are reading, build a great community and you are going to build a great value prop for the value of your company, as long as you communicate with them regularly.
Talk to us about some of the challenges that you faced because you have a speaking company. Talk about innovation. You have a speaking company and the pandemic happened.
Speaking is one part. In the first part of our business, we invest in startups. We find companies with two things, money or marketing. The second piece is business growth. The third piece is speaker coaching programs. The fourth is masterminds. We run masterminds now in 32 plus cities and two big mega masterminds a year, all about deal flow. Those are the four components, then we have SaaS products, whether it’s our success clubs or membership clubs. That’s another part of our business and then we do full business coaching. We have a whole coaching division of coaches that we send qualified leads to and we do revenue shares on.
The speaker business going back to March 2020, we do our three-day incubator towards Rainmaker. We had 45 people for our class in Miami. By the second day, the hotel went from 94% occupancy to 15%. When we sat there at breakfast I said, “We have to go digital,” and so we did. I called friends, Mark Victor Hansen, Sharon Lechter and Brian Tracy, and I said, “You want to be on a twelve-hour Zoom call?”
I don’t even know what a Zoom call is. We are going to do a broadcast on this network and put it out to our network. We’ve got over 2,000 people at our first digital event with twelve hours of speakers. We took all the content and gave it away. We gave it away as a membership drive, and then sold it back into coaching and program but we went from one event per month to then we are doing sixteen events per month, all digital.
Everything went digital very fast. I used a package called StreamYard. We use Zoom inside of StreamYard. We then broadcast to all of our LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. What most people don’t use is called Twitch so we broadcast on Twitch, which believe it or not is the number four most visited website in the world. It’s free to use so when you broadcast on Twitch, you can get paid subscribers. It’s owned by Amazon, now all of a sudden, you are getting free hosting for your videos on Amazon and it’s the only service that lets you broadcast on your website in real-time. When you embed Twitch to your website, they can watch your broadcast, at no charge, in real-time and they can join your membership on Twitch.
Once again, we started to realize there are so many channels that were out there and for less than $100 a month, we could run almost all this stuff. We cut our budgets by almost $5 million just in advertising dollars and event frontend dollars because there were no real convention center floors. All of a sudden, all that spend was gone but we went digital and we are still selling programs.
By October of 2020, we realized that country clubs were called a necessary business. We teamed up with a national country club group and began to run lunches. They are a very small group with high tickets. Our sales went through the roof. You couldn’t go to church but you can go play golf. They were not under the restriction of all these other programs because they were necessary business and it has been a great partnership ever since.
You partnered with the country club association and you are doing events at country clubs all around the US?
It’s every week.
Those are the live events?
They are all live events. They do about fifteen a month so about 120 a year of those events alone.
Were those indoor?
They are all indoor.
Who are they inviting? Are they inviting country club members?
The members, of course.
Is your program the same or is it something different?
It’s still the same Rainmaker. We sell it for $5,000. They get to bring five people.
Members of country clubs are already successful.
The most successful people you are going to spend time with, there’s a reason they are successful. They never stop investing in themselves.
Solving big problems makes big money.
Do you think you will ever go back to the convention?
We are doing it. We have a 20,000-person event coming up in Vegas. We are back to the big events, too.
You will keep the digital space, too.
We are not going to slow the digital. Digital runs every day so our digital is Monday to Thursday, Live events are every day.
I would imagine you are a lot more profitable with doing digital.
They are but once live started again, we saw the digital fall off but if we keep the digital as something special because a lot of stuff we do is pre-recorded. We call them moderated Zooms and then we run from there into our live events.
I invest in small businesses too and you invest in small businesses, what are your criteria? Do you have a quick checklist that you go through?
When I talked about it is, I invest in the leader and we only invest in products or services that sell back to small businesses. We are very much in one niche that we own the customer. Our database is a little over 700,000 small business owners so if you have a product or service that serves small businesses, we love you. If you’ve got a product that’s designed to help an oil rig somewhere on how great it is, not our wheelhouse, we just pass.
We are very specific in the lane that we know, which is products or services that can help small business owners. In that lane, we are the best at it because we are a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have a brand new app that helps them manage HR and do time management, we can blow that out and take a revenue share right away. Our model is gross royalty revenues.
We take a piece of the gross royalty on what I call the delta or the change of revenue. If you go from $1 million to $10 million, we want to get paid in the delta for life for being a part of this, whether we put it in capital or in marketing. Sometimes they think they need money but what they need is marketing. They need customers that they get on their products or service.
If you give them more money, what are they going to do with it?
They go back down the same path they were around before. It’s not going to help them.
Are you taking equity?
We take an equity option because there’s no value in equity in a private company that goes public or it gets sold so we have an equity option. If it gets sold or goes public, I want to get paid on the gross revenue off the top. You could pay it on the net. You and I both know that if they pay themselves all a bunch of high salaries, we are not the controlling interest in the business.
We normalize their financials and add all that back. We have been doing that for many years. You said you invest in companies, are you investing in that leader or do you have leaders? Do you have a pocket of leaders that you bring in?
I invest in that leader. First of all, I invest in who is the leader of the business. The team can be great but if a leader sucks, there’s no reason to invest.
What are your criteria to choose and to know if it’s a great leader or not?
Number one, they’ve got a great sphere of influence and have a sphere of influence and some of the same business partners for a while. Number two, somebody you trust with your kids. If you can’t trust that person, no reason to invest with them. Number three, have they already had past success? It doesn’t have to be in that space but if they had success somewhere else, I will take a wounded eagle versus a good-looking duck.
The Eagle will come back. The duck is always going to be a duck. All they do is quack and all kinds of excuses so I have found that those are some strong criteria that we look at. Sphere of influence, trust with your kids, have they done it before and if they had, some wins on the book. I don’t want to be their first win.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge has been balanced. How do you balance all this stuff? It’s about at some point, you’ve got to look at it and say, “How much do we want to work and time do we want to put in some of this stuff?” That’s why now, as we invest more in SaaS products, to speak less and bring in more speakers that can about to replace me, I enjoyed the year off. It was almost like a year off and it was fun hanging out, reading and enjoying family time.
The challenge for us is we are building new sales teams in multiple cities for our SaaS programs. We are also building speakers, trainers and coaches to duplicate me and some of the things that we do but it’s also looking for the right events to sponsor. We commit probably $1 million to $2 million a year at least in sponsoring events. We look for the right events where there’s the right client, the right opportunity and then drive right into it.
You need Michelle Seiler Tucker to be selling those businesses after you grow them. I’m glad that you are building your business with other speakers because your business has been branded around you.
I’m the one that closes the most but believe it or not, what most people don’t realize, most of our sales come through our affiliates, not me. When we sell the Rainmakers, it’s not the Bill Walsh Rainmaker. It’s not the Bill Walsh Platinum Speaker can, it’s not the Bill Walsh Win Global mastermind. We branded all of our courses without me. Each course that we offer, people can train those courses.
At least you have been the face for a while. That’s good that you are rebranding. Any last-minute, brilliant golden nuggets, ninja warrior secrets for our Exit Rich?
The big thing is never quit. You don’t let people ran in your parade and spend more time with successful people. Spend more time with Michelle because what she does is helps you understand how to take the idea of build it, grow it, launch it, sell it and get paid for it. If you look at the name of the book, it’s very simple, Exit Rich. It doesn’t say exit poor. It says exit rich. This is what you’ve got to do before you launch the business or wherever you are at in your business, ask yourself this question, “How do I exit rich and what does that look like to make that happen?”
I would tell you for a fact that I have known you for several years, the same with Sharon Lechter and I have absolute faith and trust in the work you do. Get around people like you that are doing it, not talking about it. I’m a huge believer that you don’t know something until you live it. Go out and fail a few times. I have failed plenty of times. I have been broke and wealthy. Broke sucks but you will always find who the real friends are.
If you are reading and you want a copy of my book, our newsletter and access to some of our free events across the country, it’s simple. You text the word, WIN to 26786. You will get all the gifts. Michelle, we should talk about having you in one of our upcoming events that, I know, our audience will love your message as well.
That would be fun and I would love to be there to help your clients build their business so they can exit rich. That’s why we named the book, Exit Rich because, unfortunately, you know this, Steve Forbes says, “Eighty percent of businesses will never sell.” That’s like a big slap in the face because that means you have less than a 20% chance of selling your business. Business owners are selling pennies on the dollar, closing their business and filing bankruptcy, they are exiting poor.
You’ve got to start with the exit rich in mind when you launch.
From the beginning and that’s where I need to come. That would be the perfect course for me to teach, how they build the end from the beginning.
You start with the end in mind.
The most successful entrepreneurs are usually the most approachable.
Ask Stephen Covey, Start with the End in Mind. How else can our readers get in touch with you?
That’s the best way, they can follow me on Instagram, @BillWalsh360.
Any last-minute thoughts?
No, that’s it. Keep up the great work. That’s all. Go buy Exit Rich now. That’s my last thought.
Go buy Exit Rich at ExitRichBook.com. Keep reading the blog. Make sure you subscribe and share with your network. Thank you to all of our Exit Rich audience and followers. Have a great day. Make it a big day. Thank you, Bill. It was a pleasure.
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About Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh is a venture capitalist and is the CEO/Founder of the Success Education/Business Coaching & Speaker Training firm Powerteam International.
Bill hosts and speaks at events all over the world! His passion is to empower entrepreneurs and business owners to create massive success. He is the best-selling author of the book “The Obvious”, is an amazing speaker and radio personality. He has been ranked for the last 5 years in a row by GURU Magazine as one of the Top 30 Business Coaches in the world.
He has been honored to lecture at Harvard University and has been speaking to small and large groups from around the globe for the past 2 decades. He has also been working with start-ups to major global brands to help them increase sales, productivity and overall success. He is an innovator with a remarkable ability to help entrepreneurs create even more success.
He loves to teach how to build success plans to help entrepreneurs & business owners on how to seize immediate market opportunities. You will love his presentations on how to become an even more effective public speaker online, media appearances or live events.
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