Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating

The Power of Feeling Worthy

Renee Reese is The Worthiness Queen. She helps leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals heal their relationship with money and success and finally experience the power of feeling worthy of their next-level dreams. She’s also a transformational writer, speaker, and teacher and an innovator in the personal development industry. 

In addition to all that, Renee is an attorney, certified success coach,  NLP practitioner, T.I.M.E. techniques practitioner and hypnotherapist. She speaks and teaches all around the world, focusing on mindset and personal development. She is a dynamic, in-demand speaker and audiences love her for her practical application and takeaways, transparency, and relatability. You can listen in to our full conversation here.

Childhood Joint Ventures

Growing up, Renee always wanted to write. Now, writing is a huge part of her platform and work (she has a book coming out soon)! She also had aspirations of being an actress, which didn’t materialize. Her speaking and teaching does put her on stage and in front of crowds frequently, however, which she enjoys.

The first deal Renee remembers was negotiating a sleep-over at a friend’s house. Her early strategy was to wait till her mom was in a great mood, and to then have her friend do the big ask, since her parents were less likely to say no to someone else! We might consider her a master of the strategic alliance, or even a joint venture!

As an adult, Renee now works with leaders, entrepreneurs, and more. She got started as an attorney, but found herself burnt out and exhausted early in that career, despite financial success. Unfortunately, she was noticing that a lot of technically successful people were lacking confidence, passion, and positive relationships with their money too. In her heart she knew: there has to be another way, because this can’t be all that success is.

If you’re healthy, with friends you love and money in the bank, but you’re lacking a sense of worthiness….none of it will feel good. All too often, high-performers go from one thing to the next, hitting goals yet feeling empty. Renee helps people create alignment so they can experience success both internally and externally.

As an entrepreneur myself, I know how powerful alignment and personal money relationships are!

Owning Your Worth

I know that owning your own worth is a huge part of successful negotiations. When you’re dealing with fear, scarcity, and lack — it’s almost impossible to create strong negotiations you can confidently bring to the table.

Renee has noticed that when people are struggling with worthiness, they often struggle to come to the table with clarity on their non-negotiables. It’s not about being aggressive, it’s about matter-of-factly knowing what you need, what you’re willing to compromise on, and what you plan to take away from a deal. When you’re not coming from a place of worthiness, you tend to feel a strong sense of urgency around forcing deals to go through. Why?

Because your sense of success and worth are tied to the outcome of every deal. When you KNOW you’re coming from a place of worthiness, you don’t have to feel that your own reputation, worth, ability, or success are tied up in the deal. You are empowered to hold firm to your own non-negotiables, and you know you can walk away if the deal isn’t a good fit for you.

This is easier said than done! Owning your value and knowing our worth are powerful….but often they are concepts we only understand intellectually. Living it is a whole different ball game. Renee shares that owning your own value starts with your relationship with yourself.

You have to know your own desires, know your own strengths, and know the outcomes you want. Renee literally tells herself: “Self, you can tell me anything.”

She knows her boundaries, she knows what she craves, and she defines herself on her terms. Rather than trying to escape and avoid feeling bad feelings, awkwardness, loneliness, or scarcity, we often try to run (and force things to happen). Instead, you can actually allow yourself to sit with yourself, feel those hard things, and know that you can trust yourself to listen to yourself, be with yourself, and show up for yourself.

Trust Building With Ourselves

In a romantic relationship, you expect to build trust slowly. The relationship with ourselves is the same. We have to start slowly, communicate openly, and demonstrate acceptance and care.

One way of building self-trust is to keep the promises you make to you. If you said you were going to make your bed every day….ask for the promotion…write the book….you can build trust by actually showing up and doing those things. Pay attention to the ways you show up for yourself, and also take note of the ways that you don’t show up. Actually listen to yourself: what’s happening when you don’t show up? Why won’t you keep your word to you? Be willing to listen, learn, and make changes as needed.

When it comes to achievement and growth, Renee says we can build trust in our ability to experience success as well.

She recommends writing down three things you’ve already succeeded in, and three things you’d like to succeed in. Just like you’ve succeeded before, your mind starts to see your new list as things that are possible as well. Whether we believe it or not, we are constantly creating in our own lives. The best way to tap into that power is to be intentional about creating the vision we actually desire.

We all carry subconscious beliefs about topics like money, achievement, power, and success. Everything in our world starts with belief.

Self-Belief and Deal-Making

If you walk into a negotiation with the belief that the other person at the table is better and smarter, or that they deserve more, of course you’ll be dissatisfied with the deal you make. You’ll sell yourself short, and make compromises.

When you believe in yourself as someone who is intelligent, deserving, and successful, you’ll show up at the table differently. 

I teach that being crystal clear on your objectives and outcomes is an essential part of deal making. What Renee is saying here is so true: if you come to the table with a lot of internal blocks and haven’t done core level work, it does impact your negotiating.

Self-worth also impacts the deals you’re willing to attempt to make. If you can’t get by your fundamental self-worth struggles, you deeply limit the rest of your life.

Building the Life You Deserve

Renee’s work centers on helping people overcome these internal struggles and limitations so they can truly experience alignment and success.

One of her favorite clients was experiencing some level of success, but also dealing with massive amounts of doubt and fear. People on the outside wouldn’t have known, based on how she showed up, but she was unhappy.

From her business structure to the way she was showing up….she knew she wasn’t owning her work or her worth. When Renee started working with her, she was going through a dry spell, which was a repeating pattern in her life.

She would hit new income goals, then go into a complete slump and have no money again. It was the feast or famine cycle, which many entrepreneurs are familiar with!

Renee used strategies and tools from her NLP training that helped the client go straight to the root of her money beliefs. Internalized beliefs about being secondary, not deserving, and less than had impacted this client since childhood, and when she understood what they were based on she was able to blast through them and experience transformation.

Clearing past beliefs opened up so many new doors for her, and it all started with the root. Renee’s clients find that clearing these blocks changes their lives and their businesses.

Externalization + Personal Value

I noted that our society sends us so many messages about what we need to have and how we need to look in order to be valuable or worthy. That deeply impacts our confidence and self-worth, which bleeds over into our businesses and deals.

Renee agreed, sharing that consumerism is a huge driving force for many of us. It fuels a more, More, MORE mentality that makes it impossible to understand the abundance that is available to us in the present moment. And the reality is….there is never going to be enough in the external world.

There will always be something new, something different, something bigger and better that tells us we aren’t enough. We cannot understand our own personal value and worthiness when we are constantly looking at external measurements for validation. 

When we are building our relationship with ourselves and our own self-trust, we have to be able to detach from external messaging and gain clarity about our own values and desires. That’s the only way to maintain an internal sense of value and confidence, regardless of external circumstances.

Another way of coming at this is to clarify our WHY. If we are pushing ourselves to achieve because we are measuring ourselves against what we “should” be doing, it’s not going to work. Growing for growth’s sake to fuel vanity isn’t going to serve you in the long run. Get real with yourself about what you truly desire, and why it matters to you. Those are the goals that matter – that’s what you need to pursue.

To hear more about Renee’s take on negotiations and worth, listen to the full episode here!

 

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast

.
If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal-Ready Assessment today!

 

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Deal-Driven Growth

A Capital Raising Journey

Sherisse Hawkins is a multi-talented builder, learner, risk taker, motivator, rainmaker, and speaker. She has a strong engineering background. Beyond that, she is the creative minded CEO & founder of Pagedip. Sherisse also has a proven record of meeting impossible deadlines, delighting customers, and re-imagining how things can be done. She believes anything is possible in the digital world, and is passionate about driving innovative content. She’s appeared in Vanity Fair and on Shark Tank. In this interview she shares more about her capital raising journey and other business experiences.

Early Deal-Making Experiences

Sherisse notes that she didn’t think of deals or deal-making until she became an entrepreneur. In her earlier work experience she had thought of decisions and deals pertaining to technology usage as being more technical. You examined which systems were most sound and used those. Pretty clear cut!

Moving into the entrepreneurial world and becoming a founder & CEO revealed how many other factors come into play. There are so many factors beyond “by the book” choices. Even when dealing with the objective facts of technology and science, things weren’t as clear as they had once seemed.

Becoming an Entrepreneur 

Not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship. This isn’t just about having the dream, or being financially set up for success. Instead, there is a necessary personal mindset shift that must be experienced. This shift is what allows some people to make entrepreneurship a reality. 

Having worked in very large organizations, such as Walt Disney Imagineers, Sherisse hadn’t had the experience of working in a small company prior to starting her own. She understood that there were going to be financial risks. But she also knew there were going to be risks of not following her dream. She recognized that she liked starting things, and enjoyed getting things into the state they needed to be. That might be connected to her engineering background.

Sherisse shared that, throughout her life, she’s found that it’s intensely satisfying to take things apart and put them back together. There is a sense of exhilaration when a set of code works, or something comes together for the first time.

She found that same exhilaration in entrepreneurship. Although she had a great title, a corner office, and a bonus system at her role, she had a pull within her heart. She knew she could not deny the call to entrepreneurship. The field of communication and the development of digital tools held huge potential, and Sherisse knew she could make an impact. Finally, she took the leap.

You often hear of people in their young 20’s and even late teens starting companies and becoming millionaires. However, the average entrepreneur starts their business in the 30’s, 40’s, and later. There is no real time in life that it’s too early OR too late to become an entrepreneur.

Seeking a Co-Founder 

With Pagedip, Sherisse shares that she feels they’ve created what Microsoft Word might have been if they had created a word processor in the time of the internet. Essentially, they’ve created an editor that allows the user to marry core content with other elements. This combination creates a narrative flow that compels the reader to actually use the content you create. (Unlike traditional documents or PowerPoints!) Additional information can be added into what you’re sharing, all while allowing readers to stay on one page. 

As a result, materials can be kept up to date. Analytics are possible, so you can see where readers spend the most time, and which addition information mattered to them. Best of all, everything can live in one place. Pagedips are interact-able, measurable, engaging, and secure documents that create experiences for their users.

In terms of raising capital, Sherisse shares that she initially started the company with her own money. She was hoping for a technical co-founder, but had a bit of trouble finding the perfect person. Many of her peers didn’t want to take the risk. Eventually, she found a new graduate who seemed like a good fit.

Shortly after, they headed to an accelerator in Australia to get things moving! (She learned of this from Jen Matthews, who she had connected with after hearing her speak.) With her co-founder, she was able to further incubate the idea and started to understand the role capital raising could play in getting the organization off the ground. Sherisse sees that bootstrapping likely makes sense in some instances. For Pagedip, however, it was clear that bringing in outside capital made the most sense.

Notes on Capital Raising

After their first pitch, there were a number of investors interested in their idea. Not surprisingly, since that initial pitch, Pagedips has pivoted, as most businesses do. That initial interest was a great early start!

Sherisse shares that if she had known everything she knew about how difficult fundraising can be, she might not have taken the leap. (So she’s glad she didn’t know!) Raising money can be really hard. It’s made even more difficult for women and people of color. When she looks back at those early experiences now, she sees that the data supports the experience she had.

The company has now had two rounds of seed investments. Sherisse notes that fundraising takes longer than you think. It really is a full time job. There is a tension between wanting to move the company forward and invest time there, and needing to devote a huge amount of time to actually fundraising.

Along the way she’s had feedback that the company is thinking too small. Some investors have said they should be aiming to be much bigger and larger. She’s also gotten feedback that the idea is too big. This advice is usually paired with a warning that they need to think more reasonably. Between the two, “too small” is most common. Investors want to invest in something that will earn them back the largest possible dividend. That means more income, more markets, and larger numbers. It means casting a bigger vision with more dollar signs.

Want to hear about Sherisse’s appearance on Shark Tank? Curious as to why many companies DON’T need to seek investors? Listen in to the full episode!

Capital Raising as a Woman, a Person of Color, and Engineer

Sherisse shares that she approached this journey as an entrepreneur, a woman, and a person of color. Those identities came into play throughout her business building and fundraising journey. Although you cannot know what your experience would be if you did not possess those identities, she did feel that there were still some stereotypes. This was especially true about what technologists and professionals in the space were expected to look like.

She knew that her company was changing how people would experience information sharing forevermore. That’s a bold statement and huge undertaking! In a five minute pitch for that level of technology, there’s not time to dig into your background, prowess, and ability to pull that off. (And still share about the actual idea you’re presenting).

You don’t have the opportunity to share about the relevant experience you’ve had throughout your 20+ year career. You don’t have time to combat stereotypes AND establish your ability to succeed with a new venture.

Somehow you have to find ways to convey that experience and expertise. You can do this through non-verbal communication to save time. In addition, Sherisse noted that it was essential to bring that background to the forefront. Sometimes that did mean spending a bit more time on those areas than others who more apparently fit the funded founder check-boxes might need to. (Which also means less time to spend on pitching the actual idea itself.)

Sherisse found it was vital that she was able to own the fact that she is a technologist and a visionary in her field. That ownership was a key element in her ability to create a compelling pitch with confidence.

Studies have shown that perceptions about gender and race create huge assumptions about a person’s ability and capability. Everything from music auditions (read about the impact of blind orchestra auditions here), being considered for a Ph.D. program  (read about the impact of name and gender here), to the weight that GPA, professional experience, race, and gender play in hiring (read about the impact of these and other factors here) can be impacted by a person’s perceived race and gender. Appearance can immediately play a role in whether you can even secure the opportunity to show what you’re capable of. (Not only “can”….studies show that it most definitely DOES.)

Personal Growth and the Internal Journey

Sherisse shares that she is tenacious to a fault. Something she’s grappled with in her journey is when (and if) there is a time to say, “This is enough.” She hasn’t found that place yet! Instead, she keeps on pushing forward and growing.

One thing that fuels her is the belief that if you can see it, you can be it. She knows that there aren’t a lot of women, or women of color, within her field. Years ago, Vanity Fair brought Sherisse, as well as other women of color who had raised over a million dollars in capital, together in one place. They all fit in a really small room. There just weren’t that many people in those categories to invite! As someone who knows what it is to be one of the first, Sherisse notes there can be a lot of doubt about what is possible.

She also shares that she would be remiss not to mention that there IS a little part of her brain always processing what is possible in our time and within her industry. There aren’t a lot of people who look like her who have experienced a large amount of success in her industry. That’s a big undertaking, and an interesting journey!

In general, founders raising capital are a small group of entrepreneurs. Capital raising and making over a million dollars, an even smaller group. Among these small groups, white men continue to make up a majority. This means we still have this picture of representation that validates that we belong in the space, and that we can succeed.

As someone who has benefited from some of those privileges and has been committed to use that privilege to promote equity, provide opportunities and stand for representation of people of all backgrounds, I appreciate Sherisse sharing her journey with authenticity. Her commitment and drive to overcome the challenges of not fitting the mold and breakthrough and reshape the mold for her own benefit and that of others inspires me. 

Learn More

To learn more about Sherisse, Pagedip, and the capital raising journey, listen in the full episode! You can connect with Sherisse directly by emailing [email protected].

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating

Internal Succession Deals

What is the likely time you’ll want to retire? What happens if circumstances force you to leave your business earlier than planned? Your retirement and ownership transfer may be on your own timing, or dictated by things you may not control. Either way, having as many options as possible is advisable. While you might be able to sell to an outside party, you should also consider having internal succession on the menu.

How to Best Position for an Internal Succession Deal

Depending upon the size of your company, grooming a successor and/or building a strong executive management team is crucial. Empowered, knowledgeable employees create a potential pool of buyers. These buyers might be excellent candidates for a buyout when you’re ready to retire or move on. The great thing about doing that is your company is more likely to be able to operate without you. As a result, even while you have full ownership you’re putting yourself in a strong position for an external sale as well.

An internal succession deal is essentially an opportunity for you to sell your company to your existing team or one key employee. This may occur upon your retirement, death, or permanent disability. Creating an internal succession plan and binding agreement in advance with the management team or key employee is an essential step toward a successful internal succession deal.

Advantages of Internal Succession Deals

One huge advantage of this kind of deal is that you’re working with someone who knows the company. They understand the company culture. They’re also familiar with the ideal clients and the “state of the union”, so to speak. They may not need to spend as much time doing their due diligence and understanding the company at its core. (Note: They also know your skeletons, so there is a lot of transparency in most internal succession deals!)

If you’ve built a great company with a great team, an internal deal can require less “selling” of the deal. Another advantage? Continuity! Relationships in business matter. Clients and customers are often more comfortable when they understand they’ll be able to continue working with the same team and philosophy. They are less likely to completely revisit the relationship when they feel they are still working with the same people.

Also, a majority of deals are done as asset sales. (As opposed to equity deals.) After all, the buyer doesn’t want to take on a huge liability risk. This is often the structure for an internal succession deal as well. However, there are possibly more opportunities to consider an equity deal when you’re dealing with someone who truly knows the ins and outs of the company. They are taking on less unseen risk. This may make an internal buyer more open to the potential heightened risk of an equity sale. This is a huge plus because equity sales can actually be smoother than asset sales.

(Listen to the full episode to hear more about assignment issues, consents, and a note on taxes!)

Finally, consider making it known to key employees that you’re willing to consider an internal succession deal when you reach retirement. You may be able to retain high-level employees who have a desire for ownership. When these employees know that they will have the option to gain majority control, or maybe even 100% ownership in the future, that may be the incentive for them to stay. Even if a larger company offers them more benefits or higher pay, ownership incentives (which can be set up in advance via legal agreements) will often outweigh other benefits and perks offered by larger companies.

Disadvantages of Internal Succession Deals

A possible downside to internal succession is lack of funds. There may not be an ability to pay the purchase price if the internal buyer can’t find the necessary capital. There can be limited funding options, and internal buyers sometimes want the owner to essentially fund the note and get paid over time. Although financial options are increasing in many industries, the lack of capital is sometimes an impediment to internal succession deals. One antidote is to plan in advance. Pre-planning increases the chances that an employee interested in buying the business out will have the ability to finance the deal.

When deals are done internally, there is often a lower valuation. This corresponds with a price discount — even if small. This can be because the deal is easier to get done. It may also be a result of working with people you trust, recognizing their contribution to the growth in value of the company over time, or other reasons. External buyers are often able and willing to pay a bit more for their own strategic reasons. However, they bring other issues and risks that may not exist for an internal sale.

Setting Up the Deal

There are a number of ways this may be done. For example, you may set this deal up where an internal buyer is able to buy the company over time. This could be at 5% a year, or some other breakdown that makes sense. You may also consider how much a buyer would need up front, how much they can pay over time, and whether this is a full buyout or if you’ll retain minority stock or equity in the company.

When you’re allowing employees to buy into a company over time, the owner often does not want to put themselves into a position in which they are still working in the company but now have a minority ownership. This can be remedied by creating legal agreements to ensure that you have control of decision making within the company until the point at which the buyout is going to be completely transitioned. For example, a structure at which the full out buyout occurs after ownership by the buyer reached 49% over time. So while the buyer might have been buying 5% – 10% a year over a period of year, for example, after reaching 49%, the next purchase is for the remaining 51%

Also, remember that you can divide ownership and voting control. So you can give up the majority of the economic benefit of equity ownership while still maintaining decision-making control.

Another consideration: what assets will be used as security for backend payments? In essence, if the buyers don’t pay you, will you be in position to take the company back? What recourse will you have? In reality, most people don’t want to be in a position in which they would be at risk of having to leave retirement in order to reenter the company. For that reason, you may consider other forms of security or protection.

Best of Both Worlds

There can be some frustration here. An employee making the purchase may be trying to have the best of both worlds by taking on ownership of a company without the risks of buying something unknown or starting something new. They may not want to offer a second mortgage on their home or other personal assets as collateral against possible failure. Or they may not have those things as an option.

Although internal succession deals can be wonderful for both parties, it is essential that there are protections in place to protect against worst case scenarios. Be clear about what you’re comfortable with when you show up to the deal table.

In an internal deal, you know who you’re dealing with.

You know if you’re passing the business into capable hands, and ideally you’ll know enough about their work ethic and way of thinking to know that they’ll carry the business forward. However, you don’t know what could happen with all sorts of factors: the economy, global pandemics, unexpected losses, and any number of potentialities could arise that complicate an otherwise solid business deal.

Finally, I would encourage you to truly spend some time pre-planning your own transfer and retirement. Do you have the right people in place? How will you preserve your legacy? Do you want a slow transition or a full stop when you’re ready to be done? Are you dealing with yourself as a single owner, or do you have business partners/founders whose views are important?

Listen in to the full episode for more strategic thinking on internal succession deals.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Deal-Driven Growth

Business Partnerships Deals

Today we’re diving into business partnerships! Many businesses have more than one owner; you can spread the risk, add expertise, double your network, and share necessary tasks. It makes sense!  Adding a partner, however, isn’t as easy as just signing someone new on. From business issues to legal structuring, we’ll talk about the important things you need to know!

Fundamental Business Partnership Considerations

Business partnerships often arise when a new company starts. They might also arise when a new partner joins an existing business owner within their company, or when multiple businesses comes together.

However your partnership starts out, there are a few fundamental “buckets” you’ll want to consider.

Bucket #1 – Decision Making & Control

Who makes the decisions on what kind of things? Who has voting rights?

There are various levels of decisions that occur in any business. There will be distinctions within the partnership for who is in charge of what. For day to day decisions, there is often minimal documentation. Partners usually have tacit agreements about areas of oversight in order to keep things moving.

Once we branch into larger areas, however, clarity becomes key. Imagine one partner is a ⅔ owner and is a ⅓ owner. Does the larger majority holder automatically control all decisions? Do they have the final say? If no agreement has otherwise been made, this will be the default setting. (Possibly with a couple of exceptions under state law.) Alternatively, you may have a supermajority or unanimity requirement. That would impede a majority owner from making decisions without a minority owner’s approval.

Questions of selling equity, hiring/firing key employees, incurring debt or acquiring other companies?

You need to be aware if one partner has more decision making power than the other. All parties within the business partnership should have clarity around the level of decision making control they have.

I provide my clients with a list of extraordinary transactions for the business partners to review as they consider business partnerships. These transactions include large decisions like bringing on new partners, spending a certain amount of money, or otherwise making larger decisions. It’s crucial for business partners to get clarity on these matters from the get go!

Additionally, you’ll want to consider equity. Will everyone in the entity have the same class of equity? It’s not uncommon to create an A Class for founders, and a B Class for others buying in later. However, there are so many equity and capital structure variations that they need to be tailored to your specific needs and desires. Keep in mind that this is something that must be decided and created, not something that automatically happens.

Bucket #2 – Economics & Cash Flow

Who holds the purse strings? How does the money flow?

Just because someone holds a certain percentage of a business does not mean they are entitled to that percentage of the split. (If three people own a company, it is not a given that compensation must be split into even thirds.)

For instance, within a business partnership there may be a consideration given for services or contributions in addition to ownership. Whether this is paid as a salary, as a guaranteed payment, or as an additional distribution, it is important to understand how each member of a business partnership will be compensated for their role in the company.

Will the compensation element be directly tied to ownership elements? Or are there other factors that may be just as important, if not more so?

It’s much better to gain cash flow and economic understandings from the outset, rather than assume that others are in agreement and find out later that there are resentments and confusion.

Bucket #3 – What ifs?

What if someone dies or becomes permanently disabled? If someone retires? What if someone wants to leave the business? 

One important decision you should make within your business partnership is what will happen if a partner passes during their time as an owner.

If a partner dies and there is no written agreement, their share of the company will pass to their next beneficiary from their will. This could be a spouse, child, or relative. In an instant, your business could have a new business partner who, very likely, knows nothing about the business. For this reason, buy/sell provisions should be included in the operating or shareholders’ agreement for the business partnership protect the other living partner/partners from being forced into a business partnership in which they did not intend to be.

A buy/sell gives partners the right and ability to retain equity by purchasing it from the deceased’s estate. This is a powerful form of protection that can prevent a company from moving into the hands of an unintended party. It’s also a gift to the family, who is able to monetize their ownership and be compensated for their family member’s role. Ideally the estate or family receives fair compensation, and it’s a win/win for both parties.

In terms of being able to buy those shares back, we most often recommend a term life insurance policy that has been set up as a cross purchase. As a funding vehicle it won’t hurt the company’s cash flow, and allows partners to quickly compensate the family and retain shares via a buyback.

To hear more about how disability insurance can come into play, listen to the full episode.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider retirement expectations. Along with retirement criteria, you should discuss potential non-compete/non-solicit agreements. These would come into play if a partner leaves without retiring.

If a partner were to leave, what would happen with their clients? Is there a way to divide the business if members want to dissolve the partnership at some point? Are there buyout provisions in place?

The truth is, there are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to business partnerships. There are too many nuances to just pull a pre-formatted agreement off the internet. You can’t just use the one your friend used for their company. Like with the old Fram oil filter commercial: you can pay your attorney and other professionals now, or you can pay them much more later. That’s what happens when things weren’t done right the first time around. You end up having to clean them up or deal with a dispute.

Listen to the full episode on business partnerships here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Mindset of a Deal-Maker

Daryle L. Johnson is the president and co-founder of SmartIT Mobility. He’s also the owner of Ideation to Valuation. Daryle is responsible for setting overall sales, partner, and supplier alliance strategies. He’s also empowered to leverage corporate assets to deliver value with integrity and quality. With the mindset of a deal-maker, he is an innovative, energetic, creative, and very charismatic intrepreneur AND entrepreneur. 

He brings over 20+ years of market, business, and solution development experience to the DealQuest show today! Partners and customers include Google, T-Mobile, Sprint, and HP. In addition, he serves on several boards including Doorways, Mobil Trackr, STEMnasuim Learning Academy, and AIS Solutions. 

Mindset of a Deal-Maker

As an entrepreneur, Daryle believes in taking 100% ownership of his destiny and work. This requires effort, passion, and flexibility. It also requires the powerful mindset of a deal-maker. It’s this mindset that enables him to leverage partnerships, relationships, and opportunities within his business.

Daryle notes that being a deal-maker isn’t just a skill. It’s truly a mindset. 

It is absolutely vital that entrepreneurs understand that deals aren’t a one time event that happen. In fact, often amazing deals are disguised as “sales”. Entrepreneurs may not even realize how many deals they make, simply because they don’t think of them that way. They also may not realize how much power they have to create deals all the time. You must recognize that every sale has the potential to be a deal. When you grasp that, you can influence those outcomes with the mentality you bring to the table, and you have more power in your business.

K-12 Deals

Daryle shares about a deal he negotiateted for schools that took all of their needs into account. From pricing to software, he covered every possible problem that could have created issues for the school board. He partnered with T-Mobile (for both software and sales teams). Then, he brought in a training company to work with teachers, and he leveraged long-term marketing strategies to bring up front costs to the school down to $1 per device.

He also anticipated parent issues, teacher frustrations, and student needs. The final deal was the result of dozens of smaller partnerships, leveraged resources, and connections. Also key? His mindset. Rather than seeing the problem as too big, the partnerships as too complicated, or the schools as too difficult to negotiate with, he chose to see the possibility. 

Every challenge was faced, and solutions were created. Why?  Because he believed that it could be done. Ultimately, the program provided technology to over 60,000 students. It also spawned other local deals for Daryle, as a result of ongoing negotiations and collaborations.

In theory, Daryle could have gone into the school and said he had a solution he was selling for X price. If he had, he wouldn’t have been successful. Instead, his deal-maker mindset enabled him to create a full package. He provided a comprehensive solution in a way that made sense for his audience, and they bought it.

At the end of the day, that deal was all about the impact.

When he looks back at that deal, Daryle sees how powerful the subsidy of the carrier commission was for driving down the prices and making the product accessible. He’s the first one to say that they didn’t make much money on it. Instead, they made an impact. Although his strategies could easily be used in a more financially lucrative way, in this case he wasn’t looking for profit.

Follow the Process

In complex deals and negotiations, there are a lot of parties involved. It can become difficult to manage personnel and expectations. Daryle acknowledges that there are challenges. Over the years, he’s developed a process that works for him and keeps things moving forward.

The first thing he focuses on when making a deal is relationships. He wants to know what kind of relationship businesses or possible partners are open to having. Will it be transactional, strategic, temporary?

He’s open to any answer, but he wants to know up front what the situation is.

Next, he wants to know about the budget. If the numbers are off, it’s better to stop up front. It’s vital to have a money conversation before any party is in too deep. 

From there, clarity on what is being solved is key. Daryle also pushes that “what” one step further. He asks: If we solve that, what happens? What is the impact? What changes?

Once clarity is achieved, he finishes his process by asking how others envision this all happening. It’s key that everyone on the team or involved in the deal has an understanding of what it’s going to take to make it happen. They also need to be onboard with doing what needs to be done.

If someone is still standing, then it’s time to get started! And if the process has eliminated other parties? He can walk away and save a lot of time and trouble.

Strategic Deals

In a strategic deal, each party should understand the potential for something larger than just a single transaction. It’s not about just that one agreement; it’s about the potential of what could occur in a continued relationship.

In addition, Daryle shares that strategic deals have a functional fit. Value for value, every party is fully engaged. There is no one making money or getting paid that isn’t providing value as an essential part of the process. There’s also an understanding about who is taking the risks and where the costs lie.

Daryle prefers to keep a few deals moving at all times.

He’s always looking for ways to expand, grow, and build up credibility. Part of this is in building value equations. It’s not about his name, or a partner’s name. It’s about having something that has value on the market and that can be repeatable, scalable, and sustainable. Rather than one off deals that may or may not go anywhere, Daryle works hard to create deals he can leverage in the future to continue building on his past success.

On a closing note, Daryle suggests that audacity and out of the box thinking are key. Always be looking for new ways to add value, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope. You never know what you’ll get when you ask for the mildly ridiculous!

Listen to the full episode to develop the mindset of a deal-maker today!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Dealing With the Potential Risk of Negotiations

This week’s guest, Henry Daas, is a serial entrepreneur, business and financial coach, screenwriter, avid traveler, golfer and tennis player. He also actively trades the financial markets and is the author of FQ, which is all about financial intelligence. Despite his current success, he also knows what it’s like to see everything fall apart. He’s learned how to assess deals from a standpoint of both ROI and potential risk as a result.

Rough Beginnings

Henry shares that around 2003 he bought a fixer upper and started interviewing contractors. He found one he liked (“Bob”), and they started doing real estate together. Their first deal? They bought a house for over a million dollars, knocked it down, and built a three million dollar house in its place.

Things were going well, and they started doing a lot of deals. However, things went south. The housing market crashed when Henry and Bob were knee deep in a multi-million dollar deal. Huge firms started collapsing, and Bob found himself crumbling. Sadly, he committed suicide and Henry was the last principle investor left holding the bag alone.

Multiple lawsuits ensued, and it wasn’t clear how things would end. Somehow, amidst all the financial turmoil of the time, the property was foreclosed on and Henry was released from his obligations as part of the proceedings. By the time he’d gone through three years of sleepless nights, and had endured extreme stress.

Potential Risk? Don’t Ignore Red Flags!

Henry realized he had deluded himself into thinking he had eliminated risk. In hindsight, he hadn’t put proper controls in place. His partner had controlled the books, and Henry had never asked to audit or review them. There was a lot of potential risk he had been blind too!

Things had been moving fast, and when loan officers and banks were sloppy with their paperwork, he didn’t identify that as a red flag. Now, he looks under every rock to identify risks on every deal. He doesn’t just want to know ROI, he wants to know risk and be able to balance the two.

After his lawsuit ended, Henry was told that one reason the judge had relieved him was because the other side had been slow to respond. They had frequently given the runaround, or made basic communication difficult. Their failure to communicate responsively cost them millions of dollars. If you’re ever in the midst of a deal (whether it’s going well or not), don’t forget how impactful small details are. 

Reach out! Follow up! Be responsive!

You never know what a difference it could make.

Deal-Driven Growth

In order to have a business, you need a product or service you can sell. Sales growth sometimes can be hard! So many companies are banging their heads against the wall as they try to grow their customer and client base organically. What they’re failing to look at, however, is the opportunity for strategic alliances and other forms of deal-driven growth.

Henry works with many remote companies. He’s found that people will spend huge amounts of money trying to build organic sales channels, even if they’re not that great at it. Sometimes they’ll pivot towards a fulfilled-by-Amazon or other drop shipping service. Although that can seem like a good plan, there are challenges when you don’t control the terms or have much power within the relationship.

Another option is to find someone with whom to enter into a joint venture or strategic alliance. Regardless of what you pursue, the multiplier effect is key. If there isn’t something that’s going to synergistically enhance your sales or client base, there isn’t any purpose. Be sure to consider the potential ROI as possible risks prior to entering into one of these relationships.

No matter how you go about your business, always be open to the lessons available to you. When you pay attention, you can always find something to learn that will help take you to the next level. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, invest in coaching, or join a mastermind group. 

True deal-driven growth isn’t something you have to do the hard way by forging your own path. Why not rely on others who have gone before? There are so many resources available for you! 

Protection Within Partnerships

One of Henry’s first partners started as part of a college friendship. He shares their first business ran for about 10 years, and it went great…until it didn’t. In fact, he initially joined Entrepreneurs’ Organization and hired his first business coach because he needed to navigate how to end the relationship. He hadn’t full recognized the potential risk beforehand!

By the time the business was successful, it was operating at the four million dollar mark. However, because their arrangements were verbal and there were no clear buy/sell agreements or other contractual deals, there was a great deal of conflict. Ultimately, Henry left the partnership with nothing.

After things ended poorly with his second partner (earlier referred to as Bob), Henry decided to be a solo-act. Although there are both pros and cons, he’s satisfied with his current position. If he were to enter back into a partnership, he would insist on much greater clarity on partnership terms and obligations.

Again — prepare for risk and take precautions to protect yourself from unnecessary problems.

Regardless of hardships and struggles, Henry is pleased with his outcomes. He’s overcome great losses, and he’s also had huge wins. By believing in himself, investing in coaching and assistance, learning from his experience and mistakes and persevering through hardships, he’s been able to have significant entrepreneurial success despite and, in part, because of the challenges he has faced.

Listen to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

 

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Deal-Ready Foundations: The Power of Team Building

In our last solo-cast, I talked about a few things related to creating a scalable business that you work ON, not IN. Although those concepts might not connect to all deals, the more you can do to create a business that doesn’t depend entirely on you, the more you’re setting yourself up for powerful deals. From new collaborations, joint ventures, or even preparing your exit plan: you can employ a variety of strategies to make your business deal-ready. One powerful area to consider is team building.

Team Building Expectations

Most businesses have some sort of team. Whether the team is all on sight or is working remotely, successful businesses that intend to scale are going to have to consider team building at some point. Often, we start to run into default ways of thinking here. We have expectations about oversight, presence, and even micromanaging that seep into our team building decisions. 

Our ego also starts to pipe in. We may have a tendency towards being controlling, or choosing not to trust our employees. When that occurs, we often use the excuse that “they” just don’t care about the company as much as we do!

On one hand, you’re right. When you own a company, you’re going to be invested in a way that an employee just will not be. And why should you expect them to have the same drive and commitment for your business as you? After all, it’s YOURS!

On the other hand, there are ways to build a team that is passionate, motivated, and connected to your business. A few ways to create that sort of team? Being flexible, building trust, and empowering every team member to contribute in the way the best taps into their skills. After all, isn’t that why you brought them on in the first place?

When you make deals, you show up at the negotiating table with the understanding that both parties are bringing something of value. Approach your team in the same way. This isn’t just an exchange of your money and their time. They have the ability to make a powerful difference in your business, but only if you allow them to do so.

My Own Team Building Experience

I have a dedicated, loyal team that I’m proud to work with. I’ve offered all of them flexible options that work for their lives and families.

You can find phenomenal employees who work hard and love what they do — and they might ALSO prefer flexible work schedules that give them opportunities to prioritize their families, hobbies, or other needs. That’s not a reflection on their ability to perform within your company. In fact, it only enhances it.

I’ve also noticed that sometimes amazing talents will bypass higher salaries from larger companies in order to work for a smaller company that offers them openness and flexibility. It’s simply not true that remote workers are less capable or talented, or that the “best” employees are working 9-5+ from a desk inside your building.

Another benefit? Diversity! Hiring remotely significantly increases the talent pool you’re able to hire from. Even if your local talent pool feels relatively homogenous, you don’t have to be limited to that. When you offer flexibility and remote options, the pool is global. You may find that your business can attract great employees, teammates, and leaders who bring powerful new ideas into your business when you open yourself up to their presence.

My flexibility and openness has enabled me to find excellent candidates and bring them into my business time after time. By being less rigid, I’ve been able to offer positions to excellent candidates that I would have otherwise had to pass by (or not even be aware of).

Another tip? Be aware of how your team is motivated. Some people want to be praised, especially in front of others. Some want to be challenged, and always have something new. Everyone wants to be trusted and empowered to do their best work in their own way.

Tap into your individual employee’s needs so you can focus on your highest and best use areas. As you do so, you’ll find yourself with the capacity to look for and close new deals of all kinds.

By building an entrepreneurial culture that values all team members, you may find yourself positioned for deals you might have never expected. 

Delegating Up

Sometimes you give a task to an employee, and they end up circling back to you. They have questions, or they’re looking for you to finish something off.

And although I want to be a resource to my team, I also want to discourage “delegating up”, in which they use me as a crutch. Sometimes team members don’t want to take responsibility for a decision (so they bring it back to you). Or they lack confidence or trust in themselves, so they’re looking for validation.

One trick I use: when I have employees ask me to look something over for them, I’ll ask them, “Do you really need me to do that?”. If they actually do, then I’ll look it over. Oftentimes, however, when they reflect they realize they don’t need me. I trust them to do their jobs, and it’s my intention to remove myself and have faith in them to do their work independently while being a resource to them when they really need me.

And honestly…

When you hire a team, you should be hiring people who are talented in areas that you are not. They are the content creators, site developers, ad creators, or admin professionals that you’ve brought in for a specific purpose. Trust them to do it. Let them know that they have the power and autonomy to complete the work assigned to them. If you give the ability to do this, you may find that they are even better at it than you!

Don’t be afraid of being “surpassed” by a talented employee who is really good at their role. Offer training opportunities. Help people become their absolute best, not only for your business, but for their own growth as people. Will that mean they leave your organization one day? Maybe! But wouldn’t you rather have a phenomenal team member who one day leaves for bigger and better things, than a mediocre team member who sticks around because they aren’t passionate about growing and improving?

Team Building Requires Trust Building

In deals, trust is essential. You have to be able to trust yourself, your partners, and the clarity of your objectives when putting together a deal.

Your team requires trust as well.

There is no way to truly scale and grow if you cannot trust and empower people. Your team members need your trust to do their best work. And you need to give your trust to be able to take things to the next level.

Encouraging creativity and building an empowered team is vital for successful positioning. If you’re hoping for organic growth, improved marketing, new joint ventures, scaling, or preparing for an eventual exit: you’ll benefit from creating a team you can trust!

In the trade off of a deal, it has to work for BOTH parties. If one side feels that they’re not getting their fair share, they won’t engage.

Team building is the same. Trust, respect, training, empowerment, autonomy, flexibility – these are all aspects of the employee deal-making process. When you bring a valuable package to the table that includes so much more than just a paycheck, you can build a team that truly takes your business to the next level.

When you do that, you increase your firm’s capacity to do deals, build enterprise value and better position the company to monetize that enterprise value upon exit.

In the future, I plan to talk more about how internal succession is an incredible deal option that only makes sense if you’ve built a team that can run your company without you. The foundation? Team building!

Listen to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Pitching Deals As Your Authentic Self

Have you ever met the full-figured diva who has taken the business world by storm and won BIG? Well now you have! Precious L. Williams, also affectionately known as the #KillerPitchMaster, can help you #slayallcompetition. She does so with her “killer” elevator pitches, media pitches, and investor pitches. I’m really excited to share our conversation, especially as it pertains to pitching deals as your authentic self.

Who is Precious Williams?

As a child, Precious wanted to be a talk show host. Even then she knew that her future was going to include using her voice and commanding the attention of an audience. She could not have been more right!

Today, Precious is a world class master communicator. She works with successful entrepreneurs and speakers around the world. Her main role is to help them take their professional pitching and speaking skills to the next level. Williams has over 25 years of experience in creating unique speaking and public speaking techniques. In addition, she is known for her innovative training programs and services to her clients. This includes sales teams at Fortune 100 companies, including Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, eBay, and more.

Prior to her rise, she shares that her first real deal was getting her job back. She had been fired from a grocery store, and she went back and laid out the reasons she should be rehired. (Once she got it back, she realized she didn’t want it anymore and resigned!)

Pitching Deals For Sport

As a 13-time national business elevator pitch champion, Williams has been on top television shows and publications. She’s widely known for her pitching, branding, and professional speaking skills. Here in the US she has been featured on Season 8 of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Forbes Magazine, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, and the movie “LEAP,”. She’s also been featured in other outlets around the world. Precious is also the author of a #1 bestselling business book and has been featured on top podcasts and stages globally.

The philosophy of her “killer” pitch is evident in the strategic and personalized creative communications and presentations solutions Williams puts forth. She is a quintessential serial entrepreneur, international professional speaker, and corporate trainer. As such, Williams is equipped to bring life, authenticity, strategy, and boldness to all your oral and written communication needs. Her ability to pitch herself, and to help others pitch themselves, has been a key element of her success!

The Shark Tank Experience

By the time Precious made it to Shark Tank, she had already coached multiple clients on their own presentations. She felt like the best kept secret. Getting her own chance to pitch a business she cared deeply about was an exhilarating experience.

She listened to her music, then said GAME ON. Walking down that hall, seeing the doors open, and facing the Sharks was like nothing else. Precious shares that she felt spellbound during her experience. At the end Mark Cuban said “You are a master at your craft.” Every question they asked, she had an answer for. During our interview, she shared multiple times that she felt she had been born for that moment.

Regardless of all the prior feedback Precious had received about how her gender, race, and background were going to prevent her from success, she rose to the occasion. Not only that, but she blew it out of the water. Most impressively, she wasn’t even there for a deal! She was there to prove that it could be done. If you’ve seen her episode, you know she achieved her goal.

Benefits of Pitching (Thinking Beyond the Deal)

Precious shares that her first ever pitch was getting onto the Your Business with JJ Ramberg show. At the time, she didn’t even consciously know she was pitching. Her second ever pitch was on the elevator segment of the show. It resulted in a $500,000 win! She had been told it could never happen for her, but it did.

Too many people think about the money first and foremost when they pitch. Precious shares that you need to think beyond that. Consider who else is in the room. Possible partners, mentors, collaborators, or future investors are all around you. You’re constantly making connections and contacts. Pay attention to who else is in the room!

Because of these secondary opportunities, you can think of pitching itself as a gift. Regardless of the immediate outcome, just the chance itself to pitch as the ability to create traction and transformation in your business.

As a business person, you never know who you’ll be sitting next to on a plane, in a restaurant, or anywhere else. You should be able to share what your business is, what pain points it addresses, and how people can get involved in a succinct and compelling way. Too many people can’t do that! Your elevator pitch shouldn’t be dry and boring. You should be sharing about your business with passion and intensity.

What is going to let your listeners know that YOU are the right person for them to work with and invest in? Share that!

Change Your Language and Change the Game

When Precious pitched her lingerie company, she didn’t get up and say “Here’s lingerie for plus sized women.” Why? No one cares. That’s not interesting or compelling. Instead, she changed the language to make it compelling. You have the power to consider each and every word you use to present your product or company. Choose powerful options!

For Curvy Girls Lingerie, she pitched the company as being “The ultimate shopping experience for full figured divas and plus sized fashionistas!” People wanted to know more about these women, this market, the product. It didn’t feel boring, it felt exciting. It also helped her tap into a market of over 30 million women who are size 14 or larger who want to wear beautiful undergarments.

In addition to your language, you need to think about your mindset. Do YOU believe in this product? Can you prove that you are behind your product 100%? Can you show up and bring your pitch with passion and intensity time and time again? If not, why would anyone else be interested? You owe it to yourself and your dream to pitch with passion every time.

Pitching With Passion

Precious believes that part of her purpose here on earth is to use the power of language to pitch your brilliance and passion. For anyone who has been told that they can’t because of some perceived stereotype or barrier, she is here to say that you can.

There is a brilliance inside of you that deserves to be seen. Precious loves to come alongside these people and kick through doors together. How? It’s all done with the power of the pitch!

Wan to learn more about the power of pitching? Interested in an example of how to break-through implicit bias within the deal making industry? Listen in to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Conversations About Difference Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating

A Different View of Deals & Negotiations

My guest today is Zoltan Istvan, who is a world leader in the field of Transhumanism. He’s also a vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 2020. I’m excited to have Zoltan on. He brings a different view of deals and negotiations, and how that plays out in the political realm.

More About Transhumanism

Transhumanism is a social movement. It contains many millions of people around the world that want to use science and technology to radically modify humans and the human experience. This can include anything from exoskeleton suits that will allow elderly or disabled people who have lost mobility to walk again, or chips implanted in either your brain or in your hand.

It can also include things like genetic editing, where we try to eliminate cancer through radical types of genetic therapies. Transhumanism is about applying radical science to human beings and our lives.

In 2016, Zoltan was nominated to run for as a Transhumansim presidential candidate. Zoltan believes that America actually received a science-based candidate really well. Although he acknowledges that the party never had a chance to win, they did get their message out, with over 100 million views of their content, 6th best of all candidates.

Deals & Negotiating in Politics & Journalism

Zoltan shares that he has several businesses and has been an entrepreneur for years. However, politics takes the cake in terms of deal-making. There are constant divisions, factions, and differences in opinion. If you want to be nominated as a candidate, you have to be able to combine factions, make deals, and bring people together.

The complexity of political deal-making in today’s divisive social atmosphere is intense. Zoltan noted that political deals often differ from business deals in that they tend to be less directly about money. Instead, they are about positioning and leverage.

The person who best masters compromise often ends up the winner.

Zoltan’s work in journalism required similar negotiation skills. When a journalist wants to create a story based on a certain person or group, it’s necessary to find ways to help people feel safe in revealing their truest selves. It really comes down to trust, and your ability to build trust with the other person as part of creating a deal together.

Building Trust as Part of Deal-Making

Because deals always involve people at some level, the power of trust cannot be overstated. No matter how amazing a deal might seem, it’s incredibly hard to get someone to put their signature on something if they don’t trust you.

In journalism, you have to be able to show someone that opening up to you and sharing their story is going to be better for them and their lives in the long run. And that can be a hard sell if trust has not been established.

So, politics and business share the same truth: Without some level of trust, it’s really hard to get a deal done.

Zoltan’s background includes reporting in a lot of war zones. As a result, he’s seen that generals and military commanders are very hesitant to speak with reporters. He had to prove that he would report the facts and create stories that were accurate. The modern, “click-bait” style reports that are common on social sites today do the exact opposite. They may be entertaining and compelling — but they do not build the sort of trust necessary to get to a deeper, bigger story.

Existential Risk & Transhumansim

Zoltan shares that transhumanism focuses quite strongly on the reality of existential risks in the world. There are plagues, health problems, and nuclear threats. He believes that reallocating government money into researching and addressing these existential threats is vital. In addition, it would be a foundational role for transhumanist political leaders in the future. This would clearly require a great deal of political deal-making. This would also involve the boundary-pushing science transhumanism is known for. Because of this, there are likely going to be conflicts with more conservative or traditional religious leaders.

For example, artificial wombs are reaching a place of viability that means they will be an option in the upcoming years. The Catholic Church has long held a position against abortion. Their perspective here will be interesting. What if they could see artificial wombs as an abortion alternative that allows a woman to opt-out of pregnancy while also protecting the babies life and making it possible for the child to be born full term and adopted?

Zoltan points out that innovations in science and technology almost always signal new deals on the horizon. From what will be accepted, to how something will be funded, produced, marketed, and used: deals are a necessity.

Building trust will continue to be a key element of allowing various sectors and factions to come together. This is necessary in order to create the best world for us all.

Listen in to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Stand Out, Get Noticed, and Make Better Deals

Jesse Cole is the owner of Savannah Bananas, founder of Fans First Entertainment, author of Find Your Yellow Tux, and a keynote speaker. He’s a huge believer in helping businesses stand out, as he uses the power of being different as a way to gain leverage and make deals!

Using Experience to Stand Out (and Sell Out Stadiums)

In lower level baseball, it’s not unusual to see empty seats in the stands…unless you’re at a home game for the Savannah Bananas. As a college summer team, they have reason to NOT sell out. However, Jesse is known for having a team that sells out constantly. They do deals, create promotions, and find ways to stand out, get seen, and sell tickets all the time!

In fact, they’ve sold out every single game for the last two seasons, and have thousands of fans on their waiting list.

He shares that they built a brand that has transcended past Savannah, having received global attention. People are tuning into their games, and eagerly watching what they do. Jesse sees it as a crazy brand story connected to building something with a very clear purpose. His vision was to change the game of baseball, and to do it by putting fans first and entertaining always.

Goal: To give fans the most fun they have ever had at a baseball game.

This includes a professional high fiver, a role that Jesse held auditions for (hear more about that on the full episode)! It also points to how necessary it is to invest in experience. It’s not “just” a baseball game; it’s a full blown experience, from beginning to end.

A GM with $268 in the Bank

Jesse’s first General Manager position in baseball had a salary of $27,000, and placed him as the GM of the worst team in the league. He got the offer with no experience, because no one else wanted the position. Since he was an unpaid intern at the time, what did he have to lose? So, he went for it.

His first week in, he realized there were three full time employees…and $268 in the team’s bank account. For the first three months on the job, he wasn’t able to pay himself.

But he saw potential, and he made a deal:

If he could hit a ridiculously high revenue and fan goal, he wanted a $2,500 bonus. He got a joking “yes”, and proceeded to double revenue and triple the fan base. How? Well, he shares that they started being dramatically different. They focused on the fun, and the entertainment aspects of the game. They had dancing players, and grandma beauty pageants.

The next year, the owner came to his office to say that He’d never seen anything like it. Jesse attributed it to being empowered to making changes and doing whatever he thought needed to be done. He believed in the power of standing out and getting noticed, and he leveraged that power to transform his team.

The Power of Ownership

Jesse believes that being empowered to make decisions, make deals, and even name his own salary is what equipped him to be successful. Today, he feels that giving people ownership is the most powerful way to increase success.

Big questions he asks himself in terms of creating sustainable growth:

How do I empower others to make their own deals?

How do I give opportunity to all my employees?

One way he practices empowerment is by profit sharing with his employees. It’s a way of giving everyone ownership within the organization, which uplevels their personal investment and agency.

He also believes in his dreams and goals, and he demonstrates what it is to be ALL IN.

In fact, when the Savannah Bananas were getting started, they ran out of money early on. Jesse and his wife made the choice to fund the team by selling their own house; they believed so firmly in their ability to succeed that they literally put in everything they had.

They also brokered deals on many fronts. From their stadium lease, to an expensive expansion deal, they looked for ways to build their audience, engage with their community, and create a foundation for success.

One important aspect of these deals was to consider their community impact. Short term dollars could not override long term community concerns and needs. Using the concept of Fans First, Entertainment Always, Jesse ensured that every deal made had a positive impact on their fans. It’s a core part of what they do, and he stands by it 100%.

The promise you make to your people and your fans with your brand is vital.

Jesse understands that fans don’t want ads – so their stadium doesn’t have them. They gave up hundreds of thousands of dollars and potential income in order to stand behind their mission – Fans First. Their tickets are all inclusive, because fans aren’t served by being nickel and dimed every time they come to a game.

It’s a philosophy of caring for customers that goes far beyond lip service, and it impacts every deal that Jesse makes with his entertainment company and ball team.

Lessons on Pivoting

Jesse shares that when they tried to do what everyone else was doing, they got the results everyone else got. Now, he believes in doing the exact opposite.

At their start, the team didn’t have many resources. There was no massive budget for marketing. So instead of having a marketing plan and throwing dollars into ad spend, they looked for ways to garner attention.

To this day, Jesse encourages people to stop creating “marketing” plans, and start creating “attention” plans. Think about what a reporter would find compelling. Think about your fans most desire. Create experiences. Experiment to see what works, what draws your audience, and what gets people attention.

To tie in baseball metaphor: the player with the most hits in MLB history is also the player who had the most at bats.

If you’re a business that is constantly “planning” and never actually swings…you don’t have enough at bats to achieve extraordinary success.

Identify your core vision, then find ways to take action. Have a brainstorming session with your team, but then go out and DO something about. How many experiments can you do this week? This month? This year?

How can you release the need for everything to be perfected and polished, and instead choose to fail forward fast?

Jesse brings so much energy to this interview, and he dives deep on culture and growth as well! Listen to the full episode to learn more!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!