As an entrepreneur, you should always ask which one of your competitors would like to partner with you so you can both grow and succeed. This is the competitive advantage that Barry Gosin learned when he bought his primary competitor out. He knew they shared a vision of success where they could both benefit. Barry shares important points on the margins for paying and selling.

Competitive Advantage Puts You In A Position Of Growth with Barry Gosin

Our guests follow the traditional path; graduated high school, went to college, and then went to law school. As an attorney, he practiced law at two of the largest law firms in the country, but the entrepreneurial bug took hold and he decided to buy a local fuel delivery company. He began aggregating local fuel delivery companies known as a roll-up, then sold that first company for more money than he ever dreamed of as a law student. Since then, acquisition and sale, he personally bought and sold 30 more companies and overseen hundreds of transactions. He’s the founder of Merger Nation and Welcome, Barry Gosin, to the show.

Great to be with you.

The local oil company that delivers oil, people never think about that as a way to get wealthy. I’d like to take you back to the beginning and have you tell that story with a little bit more detail, so people can understand what you did. Maybe even use some of your wisdom in what they’re doing right now.

I was practicing law at one of the largest law firms in Philadelphia, and I love practicing law. My work was interesting, but in my heart I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I started to think about businesses that had underutilized assets. When you think about a heating oil business in the Northeast, primarily, they’re making the bulk of their revenue during a five-month period and only during the daytime delivering heating oil to homes and to businesses. Not much need for heating oil in the summer. They had these multi-hundred thousand-dollar vehicles that were sitting idle, staff, and infrastructure. My idea was if you could take these businesses and provide a service where instead of delivering heating oil, you could cross utilize these assets and go out at night and deliver diesel fuel to trucks that were idle and parked at a local depot. You could save companies an enormous amount of money in labor and reduce environmental exposure. It would be something that transportation, distribution, and logistics companies would love.

I put together a business model in my spare time when I wasn’t billing a couple of thousand billable hours in the law firm, and I had to raise the money. I didn’t have any money at this point. I put the business plan together and went to a local bank in Philadelphia, a very entrepreneurial bank at the time, and presented my plan. Sometimes being young and inexperienced has its advantages. You don’t realize or think about limitations. I figured, “I have a great idea and I’m going to be able to persuade others.” That’s a great idea. I went out, and I started to do that and the bank agreed that this was a good plan. I went out and I found two companies. I got them under a letter of intent. Fortunately, using my legal training, I didn’t need to hire anyone for that, which also was an advantage because time is the enemy of all deals. I was able to get those companies quickly under agreement. We started to deliver heating oil, but then immediately diversified after the closing of these transactions into some other areas.

After a couple of months of due diligence, we’re sitting at the closing table, this was in December of 1996. My wife was nine months pregnant at the time. Here we are signing our life away. We personally guaranteeing everything, putting up everything that we have, and my wife’s about to give birth. I remember the banker joking that we need your unborn son as collateral for the deal. We closed on the deal and immediately set out and diversified this business to get into on‑site fueling. It was so exciting because people use a couple of hundred gallons of heating oil a year. You build up a business with thousands of customers and it’s good business, but these commercial accounts that we were bringing on, it wasn’t uncommon that on a given day, we would have 100,000 to 200,000 gallons, $500,000 worth of business. There was one day we signed a million gallon account, $2 million worth. Then I did a third acquisition. I bought my primary competitor in the market who was focused on this niche, because this was a real niche. Companies that went out at night we’re rebels. Companies that went out at night and filled up trucks for FedEx, Frito-Lay, Coke, Pepsi, Yellow Freight, and Cisco, anyone who had a fleet of trucks that returned back to a home base at the end of the night was really a compelling sale. You could see why people would embrace this concept and they sure did.

I bought my primary competitor. Not so much to eliminate competition, but because the owner of that business was someone who I shared a common vision with. I felt that together, we’d be greater than the sum of the parts. We got together and then things really started to accelerate. Within a year, we had added 12 million gallons or $15 or $20 million worth of business within a year and that’s good and bad. It’s good, but when you’re a young business and one that, I didn’t put equity into this deal to begin with. I did with bank financing. It becomes a challenge to finance that growth because we had to pay our suppliers in ten days, and we didn’t get paid for 30 or 40 days. That was the norm in the industry.

Chemically, diesel oil and home heating oil are almost identical with the difference being a colored dye. Is that true?

Most people don’t realize that, but there is a difference. You have dyed fuel and heating oil is dyed red and it’s taxed one way. On-road fuel, which is clear is subject to a whole array of federal and state on-road taxes.

I know this because there was a point in time when I worked for somebody. I had a boss who had a diesel Mercedes and he used to fill up his heating tank with oil and then secretly at night pump it out to fill his Mercedes.

That’ll get you a $10,000 fine if they catch you. Fortunately for him, the DOT is not really in the business of pulling over Mercedes. They tend to pull over big trucks to see if that thing is going on.

You said two things that stuck in my mind. The first thing you said is that you put your house on the line, basically personally signed for all of your debt. I did the same thing with my company too when I built Timeslips, but I did pay back the line of credit. When we borrowed money, we paid it back as soon as we had enough cash to get out of the way of it. Did you not, at that point, do that or did you continue to operate having an open line of credit like that?

We needed to continually increase the line of credit because of the rate at which we’re growing and the cash flow dynamics of that industry where you got paid in 30 or 40 and you had to pay your suppliers. You paid in ten and your suppliers drafted the money out of your account. There was no float. It was coming out of your account on that day, so we were constantly in a position of having to go back to the bank and ask them to increase the line, so that we could continue to grow the business.

One other point that I wanted to make here is that the spread between what you pay and what you sell with fuel is generally very slim. What were your margins like back then?

It is a low-margin business especially in the United States. In Canada, the same industry gets completely different margins and it impacts everything about the business, the valuations and a whole bunch of other things. The strange thing about the fuel business, most businesses think of margin in terms of percentage of revenue. For whatever reason, the fuel business evolved differently and fuel is priced in terms of a number of cents per gallon over cost. That’s the way that everybody thinks about it. It’s the way the customers conceive of it. When fuel prices are low, your margins are higher, but fuel is a commodity and the price changes on a daily basis. When fuel prices are conversely higher, you’re still getting the same spread on a per gallon basis, and so your margins are lower. Around this point in time that we’re talking about, fuel prices were relatively low, so margins were higher. They appeared higher, but anyone who’s knowledgeable in analyzing a P&L can look at it and say, “When prices go up, this is really a scale, but it’s a volume business.”

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Competitive Advantage: When prices go up, this is a scale, but it’s a volume business.

You’re in a bad position of having to pay fast and collect slow, so that means you are financing your clients who are taking your fuel and then holding it for 30 days and paying you later. You with low margin and on top of the fact that you’re actually financing your clients’ growth, that’s a tough business.

No question, but it’s also a competitive advantage if you’re in a position of having the capital to be able to grow and access the capital. That leads us into the roll-up piece because we got to a point where the bank finally said, “This is as if we’re an equity partner in your business without being an equity partner, without having the upside. You got to get some equity into this thing.” What did I do? I did what came naturally to me at that point. I went out and I figured, “I’m going to buy more businesses.” I’ll figure out how to pay for it. I did that and I found a couple of other businesses in the US. There weren’t a ton of them focused on this niche, but I got on the phone with a great guy in Orlando and another individual in Atlanta who were doing this and said, “Here’s what we’re doing. These are the customers that we’re serving. We’re doing ProSource, FedEx, Coke, Yellow Freight, etc., and I’ll bet you’re serving a lot of the same customers. I have a vision that this is the greatest thing. This is the greatest idea since bread. I want to see this reach its full potential. There’s no one doing this yet on a national basis. Are you interested in being part of that?”

It’s not as if these people advertised their business for sale. It wasn’t for sale. I had a vision for where this business could go and got on the phone with these guys, and they said, “Why don’t you come on down and meet with us?” I flew down to Orlando. I went down and I met with them. In terms of our personal backgrounds, we couldn’t have come from more different upbringings, but we hit it off right away. We had a very much a shared view of the potential for this business and the ability to build it into a national business if we had access to financial capital, access to the right human capital to be able to build it, and the right technology on our side. We did all of those things going forward.

First of all, you took what I would think of as a low-margin, high-volume business and you decided that you needed to grow this thing nationally, which is amazing. You contacted the equivalent of your competitors in other locations. They weren’t your competitors because they were far away from you but they were in the same business as you. Everyone, ask yourself this question. “Who of my competitors would love to partner with me and how can we partner together to both benefit each other?” This is exactly what you did, and as a result, you came together and you combined forces. You had that equity partner that your bank told you to go out and get. Tell us what happened next.

We ran the process. I had to raise the capital and I hired an investment bank to work with me in that process. Initially, I did not want to give up any equity in the business. I only wanted to do either a debt or a sub-debt raise. I was not open to the concept for a couple months. Eventually, they persuaded me that I needed to be open to the concept of bringing equity in and it was okay because there’s nothing wrong with getting a payday and taking some chips off. No one ever went broke taking a profit, so take your payday. We’ll work out a deal with the private equity, so that you get a carried interest going forward, a non-dilutable carried interest, in the business.

Long story short, we met with a couple of private equity firms, big, multi-hundred million dollar, billion dollar private equity firms, some of the best in the nation and felt that there was one that was an ideal fit because they understood route-based hub and spoke distribution, which is what we were. From the day that we met the private equity fund partner to the day that we closed on $30 million was three weeks over Thanksgiving until we closed on December 12, 1997. I sold my business into the roll-up, had my first seven-figure payday. These other businesses, the folks that I had reached out to an Orlando and Atlanta, they got a big payday. I remember this big, great southerner crying at the settlement table and hugging me. It was just wonderful. We closed on that transaction and after the dust settled, then we had to go about the business of building this into a national business.

From the time that you bought that first fuel company to the time that you had a big southern man clinging to you and crying, how many months or years was that? From start to finish, from when you bought it to when you sold it or rolled it up?

It was about eighteen months.

Here’s a guy who worked for a law firm, did a deal during the evening hours. Remember he’s working his nine to five at the law firm and his five to nine is sneaking around fuel depots and checking out the trucks that are hanging out in the parking lots. This guy’s a hustler. This is the guy you want to learn from. He knows his stuff. You’ve done this more than 30 times for yourself and overseeing 500 of these types of transactions. Tell me what you could about what the real genius is in this process. Is it getting in and out quickly like you did? Is it trying to find a partner right away? Is it using your own money and not selling equity? Where are the value and the wisdom here, in having done so many of these types of things?

For me, thus far in my career, prior to Merger Nation and what I decided to do, it was largely about financial engineering for me. It became very formulaic, very systematic. It’s a shame because a lot of people don’t understand what constitutes the right business to buy. Before I ever buy a business, I’m already thinking about who the buyer is for that business. That’s part of the discipline that I go through because it’s America. We’re free to live anywhere we want, we’re free to buy any business that we want. Let’s not feel like we need to buy the business that the business brokers are peddling to us because they may or may not get a commission from a franchise, whatever the case may be.

From my standpoint, I need the flexibility. Not that I necessarily am going to sell it in a year, year and a half, two years, three years, at any fixed point in time, but I need the flexibility that if, for whatever reason, I need the money for something else, I don’t love the business as much as I thought I was going to when I first got into it, whatever the case may be, that I can sell that business. You’ve got to buy the right business and then you’ve got to run it so that it’s transferable to somebody else. For me, that meant focusing on businesses and industries where I knew private equity was growing up the industry. My strategy has been to only buy businesses in industries that private equity is actively consolidating.

What that means is you’re going out and finding the buyer first before you acquire the business because you understand what your buyer is looking for, and then you go out, find the business that fits his profile, that you can then buy at a lower valuation, build it up and sell it to that buyer.

After I sold my interest in U.S. Refueling, which was my national fuel business, I went into the propane industry. Propane is an industry that is always undergoing consolidation. It’s highly fragmented. There are a couple of big publicly traded MLPs. It’s not organically a growing market, at least not growing at a real high rate, those companies have to do acquisitions because they have to grow their dividend quarter after quarter.

MLP is Master Limited Partnership.

I focused on that industry because first of all, energy distribution. Different from fuel in a lot of ways. The stickier customers, you own the tanks, you own the assets, they can’t buy from anyone else makes it a better business. Companies sell at higher multiples. I knew what the end game was. I knew that I was going to sell it to one of three or four publicly traded or private equity backed consolidators in that industry. The question became one of, “Here are the statistics for Ferrellgas and AmeriGas and Suburban and, at that time, Energy. Here’s what their revenue per employee is, here’s how many gallons they deliver per truck. I’m going to build a business that does more revenue per employee. I’m going to build one that generates more gallons per truck, more margin per truck. When we get into diligence and they see the performance of our business, they’re going to be blown away and they’re going to love it. Not only do they need to do acquisitions in general, more specifically, they need to buy my business because it’s the best run business in the market.” There’s some planning that goes into it. It’s not rocket science, but most people don’t take the time to do it.

I have to argue with you a little bit here because it is rocket science. The art of what you were doing is something that took me a decade or more to learn because I had to go through it myself. The first thing is you go out and you look for a company who would buy your proposed company that you’re going to build. Second, what you then do is you leverage your management skills and you put the best people possible to run it. You understand what the profit margins are in this business because you’ve investigated it and you know what your buyer is looking for. You shoot to build a business with higher profit margins than the industry norm. You do that through clever and savvy management practices, and by using your own marketing and pricing models.

This is all pretty cool stuff and this is something that you can do in your own business, no matter what your business is. Yes, it’s a formula to a degree, but there’s a level of experience that is required to see these things, understand their exact value, and the sequence they must be executed in. Let’s take this and lead this a little bit into what is all about and how that started and why you are doing this and what makes you different from everybody else. Since you already told me that you never start a company without having a buyer in mind, tell me who should buy

The big problem here is I’ve done all of these transactions. I’ve been a buyer, I’ve been a seller. Never ever use a business broker. Never been able to buy a business when a traditional business broker was involved. Never sold a business using a business broker. I’ve done it on my own. Fortunately, I’m an attorney and I’ve got a lot of real world experience and doing it now, but the business broker model is fundamentally flawed. You only need to know one piece of evidence to know that conventional wisdom is wrong. Conventional wisdom says, “You want to sell your business, sell it through a business broker.” 80%, some would argue 90%, the IBBA, International Business Brokers Association, reports a figure as high as 90% of businesses listed through business brokers do not sell. They don’t sell.

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Competitive Advantage: You only need to know one piece of evidence to know that conventional wisdom is wrong.

That results in disappointment and frustration and a waste of valuable time. Time is a precious, depreciating, and irreplaceable commodity. Nobody wants to waste time. Nobody should waste time. I started to take these systems that I have honed over more than two decades buying and selling, building businesses that can be sold and be able to transfer that information in efficient ways to entrepreneurs and business owners. People who want to buy businesses, whether it’s people coming to the United States and they have money to invest in a business. If they don’t know any better, maybe they buy a gas station or a dollar store, something that they can’t easily resell. Give them options and make them understand how they can have a business that enables them to control their income, control their job security, control their time. I started to provide a better approach for entrepreneurs who are interested in buying, building, or selling businesses.

You may have a very, I would say, an antagonistic statement a moment ago. What you’re basically doing is calling every other business broker to the table and saying, “What you’re doing doesn’t work.” Explain why people can never sell a business through a business broker and why all of a sudden you come along and you can and do something they can’t.

There are a couple of things that one needs to do in the process of selling a business. I don’t want to say that every single business broker in the world is doing it wrong, but the numbers are the numbers. 80% of these businesses don’t sell. The facts are the facts, and something needs to be done differently. I’m not saying that everybody does this specifically, but in anything you do in business, and certainly when you’re in the process of buying or selling a business, you have to play palms up. You have to lay out all of the facts, both the good facts and the bad facts. In fact, laying out the bad facts about your business in advance allows you to one, characterize them in a way that is more favorable to you than if it looks like you hid them. Secondly, it earns you instant credibility and trust because buyers are so unaccustomed to having people share negative facts early in the due diligence process.

Normally, when you deal with brokers, you don’t get that. You don’t get it for two reasons. One is you don’t get it because they don’t often take the time to dig deep into a business. They just get information. They don’t even reformat the information a lot of the time, at least as I’ve seen information coming through from brokers, as I’ve looked at hundreds of transactions over the years. Many of them have not run a business themselves, so they don’t really know how to look beneath the surface and ask tough questions to uncover difficult facts. That’s a threshold issue. Here’s a more practical problem. When you go online, you’ve been to some of these websites like BizBuySell or BizQuest where brokers list businesses for sale. You ever notice that they always publish an asking price on there? That’s conventional wisdom, publish an asking price.

When I approach a buyer, I don’t tell them what I’m asking for. If you’re a salesperson, we’re all selling something to some extent. When you’re trying to get a loan from a bank, you’re selling. When you’re trying to sell your business, you’re trying to sell something, you’re trying to sell your business. Basic principles of sales are thrown out the window when you just put a price on something upfront before you understand what the buyers’ potential motivation may be for buying a business, what the emotional triggers are. There are emotional reasons why people buy businesses, too. It’s not just numbers. You may do something for them. You want to be able to pull those levers and when you publish an asking price, you’re basically saying, “I’m a commodity,” and you may as well go look at every other business in the same category and whoever’s got the lowest price multiple, that’s the one that you buy.

You said something that is the bear trap for every single person who ever wants to sell a business and it’s called due diligence. Due diligence basically is like having liquor on your breath as a high school student, going to pick up your girlfriend, and have mom answer the door. That is the last thing you want to see happen and you know you’re never going to get out of that house with that daughter because you got liquor on your breath. Due diligence is worse. Due diligence is them climbing through your underwear drawer, looking for every possible thing that ever happened in your business, and being able to forensically account for every individual asset and the way that asset was purchased or acquired or created. If you’re upfront before you offer a business for sale and tell people what your warts are, what the issues are with this business, with a very clear and logical reason as to why you want to sell it, then you’re already way ahead of everybody else. Do I get that right?

You’ve got it right. The other aspect of it is when I work with clients who are selling their business, we do the diligence in advance as if the buyer was doing diligence. We gather all the information. We get answers to all the questions. We organize it. We present it in a way that a Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 company would present it. They were selling their business, make the process more transparent, and make it easier for the buyer and the seller. They appreciate that. Transactions close quicker. Ultimately, you end up getting more value because during diligence, one of the things that can happen is buyers pay consultants to come in and do this diligence for them. They like to recover the costs of the consultants, so it’s not uncommon for there to be a renegotiation of price down the road. If you’ve been upfront with everything early on, it undercuts that problem down the road.

The brilliance here is having the experience to know exactly the type of conversation that’s about to happen, which is what your job is as representing a company that’s ready to sell. That’s one good difference and I’m glad you shared that. Let’s talk about something else that’s different about what you do. Other business brokers, they offer their services at a very big fee. We’ve had business brokers, when we were in the business, trying to tell us that they’re going to charge us up to 15% to sell our company. We wouldn’t agree to that and I don’t think anybody should. What do you think?

There’s a reason why they charge those fees. The reason is that if you only generated income from 20% or 10% of your effort, then you would have to find a way to get that 10% or 20% to subsidize the 80% or 90% of the work that you’re doing. That’s what’s going on. That’s part of the reason why it is a flawed model. No, I would never allow somebody to bite into that big piece of my life’s work. It’s not necessary. To top it off, many of them are using twentieth century systems that are slow and passive and unpredictable and they commoditize your business. I like to call it pray-to-the-closing-fairy marketing. It’s like cross your fingers and pray to the closing fairy hat your deal will close.

Assuming that you have a business and it’s going along. It’s small and it’s growing but not growing that fast. You do know that at some point in the future, you’re going to want to sell this company. What advice would you give people that they should start doing that they can better build the value of their company? From there, what should they do to find the right type of buyer? Can you help us with that?

As far as operating the business to make it transferable, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and think about it from their perspective. First of all, if the business is you, it’s not going to be sellable. You’ve got to have some management in the business. If you’re the guy doing sales and operations and billing and credit, then what is there really to hand off to the buyer? Also, they’re going to be concerned that you have personal relationships with the customers and that without you around, the revenue is illusory. That is first of all. You’ve got to build a team. One of the things that I have been able to do successfully in many of my businesses, in teambuilding is to recruit people who are talented but disaffected by consolidation that’s going on in the industry or some other factors.

For instance, let’s say you’re in the propane industry and you need an operations manager. I would look to another company that was recently acquired by a big company, so they were used to operating in a more flexible entrepreneurial structure and they’re subject to all these corporate rules and regulations. For some people that’s fine, but for other people, it’s not. Sometimes you can get great talent that way. Whether it’s that or someone’s just generally underappreciated, they feel like no one is thanking them for what they’re doing, they just don’t feel satisfaction. If you know how to uncover these things, you can find the right employees. At some point, number one is you need to have employees. Also, in terms of forgetting about the sale for a minute, operating a business that’s enjoyable, which is one of the reasons why we go into businesses so that we can control our destiny and enjoy what we’re doing. You want to do things that you’re good at and that you enjoy. If one of those is missing, then you should probably have somebody else doing it. Staffing is the first point.

Recurring revenue is another piece of it. Some businesses by their very nature have revenue. There’re businesses that I like to buy. The propane industry has recurring revenue because you, as the owner of the company, own the asset. You own the propane tank by law and no one else is allowed to fill it. Therefore, homeowners and businesses have to use your propane. Security alarm monitoring is another example. Once you have an alarm system in your house, the company has contractually recurring revenue for whatever the term is. Even after the term, some percentage of people will change as an attrition rate, but the business is sticky. If you don’t already have recurring revenue in your business by its nature, then you need to look at, “How can I add a new sales channel? How can I add an additional revenue stream that can be billed as either a membership fee or subscription fee or a service contract? What can I do to create a stream of recurring revenue?”

You said the first one was to bring the right people on board and you gave us a tip as to how to find them. What do you think about the idea of being very upfront with people you hire and say, “I’m thinking of selling this business in one to three years or three to five years. I’d like you to come on board. I’d like you to pour your heart into this thing and besides earning a great salary, I’d like to give you a small percentage of the upside if this business sells.” What do you think of that idea?”

I like it very much with one clarification. I don’t like the idea of sharing physical equity in a small business that you’re going to be selling in a short period of time. It can create complications with financing and having to get signatures and having to get approvals, even if you have an operating agreement that gives you the unilateral control to do those things. I love the idea of creating an economic interest or quasi-equity interest, a bonus that allows them to share in the upside of a sale, even though they won’t necessarily get the tax advantages as if they owned equity. They’re not thinking about it that way. To them, it’s still a payday that they never could’ve imagined. I do love the idea.

Even the way I suggested it basically highlights Barry’s experience. I might have actually done that. I might have actually said to somebody, “ I’ll give you 2% or 3% of the company if you agree to come on board and help me run it until we sell it,” and that would’ve been a mistake. What else is there? Are there any other things you would say that are part of this process?

The other aspect of it that is important is that your financial reporting is accurate and is kept through, whether you use QuickBooks, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics. Whatever it is that you use as your accounting software, you need to be able to understand your financials and your buyer needs to be able understand them. It’s important for you, while you’re running the business, to be able to analyze your financials and see, “How’s my gross margin trending from one month to another? How’s this category of expense? That category of expense? What are the major levers that if I can twist it a little bit one way or the other, if I can speed up cash flow by two or three days? What does that do if my biggest expense is running fuel for my trucks if I’m able to knock that down by 5%?” You have to remember, in the sale process you’re getting a multiple of earnings. Every dollar you save winds up being three, four, five, eight times that amount when you sell your business.

If you’re at a point where what Barry is talking about is going over your head or you’re saying, “I’m having enough trouble running my company, the last thing I need to do is try and figure out everything Barry knows.” Ideally, what you want to do is bring someone in who could help you. I worked with the same CFO for 25 years. As I went from company to company, I literally moved him with me. Every time I change companies, every time I bought another company or started another company. Ideally, you need this type of financial guidance in your life. You’re making it even more important, clearer than I could’ve ever thank you for that. I have a couple of questions I always ask my guests. The first one is this, who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

YFTC 076 | Competitive Advantage
Competitive Advantage: Flatland by Edwin Abbott

There’s an author by the name of Edwin Abbott, who wrote a book back in the nineteenth century called Flatland. Are you familiar with that one, Mitch?

No, I’m not.

You should read that one, and basically, it was a story that was told from the perspective of a square, a shape, that lived in a two-dimensional world. From the perspective of the square, everything was a line. There was no height dimension. This was meant to be a story about Victorian Age society and class structure but there was another underlying message in there. What happened to the square was one day, a sphere appeared and ultimately was able to cause enough of a gravitational wave, so to speak, that the square was lifted up into the air and all of a sudden realized that there was a third dimension that the square was completely unaware. All of a sudden, the perspective on everything changed. That kind of thinking is what led me to start I’ve always done something from a particular perspective, but as a business owner, you have to constantly try to challenge yourself to look at your business from a totally different perspective.


It’s one of the things that I love about I get to talk to hundreds of business owners with hundreds of business models and all these different perspectives. If you’re the square stuck in the trees, stuck in Flatland, you just don’t know about it. When you open your mind and you’re willing to accept that, “This is not my mind playing tricks on me.” There really are other ways to model your business and model your life through your business. You don’t have to always be stuck with one day the same as the next to no end in sight. You don’t have to think how cash flow will always be a challenge. You need the right guidance, like the square had the guidance from the sphere. I would love to be able to talk to Mr. Abbott and find out about what led him to that insight.

The next question is the grand finale question. It’s the change-the-world question. What is it that you were doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

I mentioned that for much of my career, these transactions were very formulaic. It was financial engineering. I’ve gotten to a point in my life and in my career where I want to impact a whole lot more people. I’ve impacted people with my businesses. I’ve taken people and gotten them to much higher levels of income that they never thought they would get to. I’ve had that happen more than once where someone came into my office and cried or hugged me because I had literally changed their life in one way or another by helping them get bigger commissions, sell their business. I want to be able to impact a whole lot more people.

When a business is improved, someone’s financial situation is improved, their mental outlook is improved, their relationship with their family members is improved, they have more money to contribute to charity, all the people who benefit from those charities, they’re lives are improved. When a business is sold, and an entrepreneur is freed up to be able to pursue their true passion, like I am pursuing my true passion, which is helping entrepreneurs and business owners reach their full potential, economic ecosystems are created. To me that’s the most empowering thing and as HAL 9000 said in 2001: A Space Odyssey, that’s putting myself to the highest and best use of my time.

One thing for certain is that this has been one of the greatest episodes I’ve ever had on how to buy and sell a company. The skill and wisdom that you’ve demonstrated during our time together is absolutely a gift to society. I want to thank you for appearing on the show. I hope one day to be a client of yours, maybe even soon. Thank you for our time together. I can’t wait until we get a chance to speak again.

Thank you so much.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

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