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Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

A Deal-Maker’s Paradigm Shift

Jeff Dennis is the trusted advisor to the CEOs of fast growth companies, where he provides strategic and financial advice. He is a lawyer, serial entrepreneur, best selling author, and public speaker.His book, Lessons from the Edge, is a collection of stories by 50 entrepreneurs who share their biggest mistakes in business and the lessons that they have learned. He’s a sought after public speaker for audiences across the world. Here, he shares about the deal-maker’s paradigm shift that has helped him grow throughout his career.

Creative Problem Solving as an Entrepreneur in Residence

Jeff shares that, early on, he expected to take over the family business. After circumstances changed, however, he had to reinvent himself. This reinvention is what ultimately brought Jeff into the entrepreneurial space. 

Now, Jeff is an “Entrepreneur in Residence” with Fasken Law, one of Canada’s largest law firms. He helps them answer the question: How does a big law firm do business with these new tech companies?

These startups often have vast legal needs, but often few resources early in. Although some of them turn out to be unicorns that achieve wild success, many don’t. It’s clear, however, that they have legal needs. Part of Jeff’s role is to enable Fasken Law to meet those needs creatively. He considers himself to be part intreprenuer, as he’s building a small business inside of an institution. He’s part business advisor, as he does quite a bit of coaching and consulting within his work. And he’s part lawyer too, as a licensed legal professional! His journey certainly has been a “typical” lawyer’s journey, but he’s enjoyed his alternate career path.

Some of Jeff’s creative ability comes from a unique deal he crafted early in his professional life. It involved his family’s restaurant business, a massive theater complex raining debris on their patio, and a revenue guarantee that enabled them to sell at a profit. (Curious about the details? Listen HERE to get the whole story!)

Discovering a Deal-Maker’s Paradigm Shift

Prior to Fasken Law, Jeff went through multiple iterations of business. First, he thought of himself as a real estate guy. He was registered with the Ontario Securities Commission as a limited market dealer, and was syndicating real estate.

And then the market crashed. It seemed like everything Jeff was involved with was connected to real estate, and suddenly that was nothing but bad news. Rather than throw in the towel, Jeff set to work reenvisioning himself.

His realization? He was a deal-maker. This paradigm shift allowed him to see that real estate had been a commodity that he was making deals around. Rather than fixate on the commodity (real estate), his world opened up when he realized he could create deals in any sector, with any commodity.

Jeff has since done deals in mining, cosmetics, insurance, stocks & bonds, TV productions, franchises, and more.

If you’d like to hear more about Jeff’s thoughts on the “pound of flesh” required to take investor money in these types of deals, listen to the full episode here!

Always Growing

As he branched into deals, Jeff also worked hard to network and grow professionally. He joined EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) and worked his way from local leadership to the international board. He wrote Lessons From the Edge, which became a bestseller and launched his speaking career. And he’s since traveled the world, speaking globally.

By using his deal-making skills as a springboard, Jeff has advanced personally and professionally throughout his career.

As he was writing and speaking, he also transitioned into angel investing. During this stage, he worked with early stage companies on commercialization and capital raising. Later, this experience would assist Jeff as he began crafting fixed-fee deals aligned with startup values and needs.

Creating Services & Products That Work

When Jeff talked about how a big law firm tends to deal with tech companies, the only word that came to my mind was “poorly”. Ultimately, law firms expected to operate with large hourly fees. And startups and entrepreneurs that were building tech companies couldn’t afford that.

There was an entire underserved market that was having to forgo legal representation, or deal with minimal legal counsel because it was out of range of their budgets. Jeff brought his deal-making experience to bear. Working within Fasken Law, he developed a concept for a fixed fee model that he knew would attract tech companies.

This creative solution required a great deal of negotiation. As a traditional law firm, they had to let go of “how it was always done” in order to try something innovative and new. From incorporating the company to creating shareholder agreements, creating employee contracts, and building employee stock option plans; Fasken Law became startup friendly.

Jeff shares that hundreds of companies from every sector came through these programs. Because they were structured as fixed-fee offerings that could be customized as needed, they were highly attractive to the startup market.

Ultimately, the deal-maker’s paradigm shift Jeff encountered early in his career has shaped his professional life ever since. There is power in making deals!

Listen to the full episode here!

 

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

 

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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 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz 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 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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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 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Conversations About Difference Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

DealQuest’s BEST OF Leading Women in the RIA Industry

This week we bring to you a BEST OF episode. You’ll get to hear from some of the leading women in the RIA industry! Lisa Rapuano, Mindy Diamond, and Mary Ann Buchanon shared a wealth of knowledge. Listen in, and prepare to take notes!

Meet Lisa Rapuano

When Lisa Rapuano was twenty-five years old, she managed to talk her way into an investment management position. A startup in Chapel Hill, NC hired her, and her interest in investments grew. The experience she gained at FSP unearthed a new passion for investment research, which quickly became her focus and paved the way for her future as a business leader.

A Market-Cooperative Business Model

Today, Lisa serves as the CFO of Facet Wealth. This is an RIA that focuses on people with less than a million dollars in investable assets. Their niche encompasses thirty-three million American households that have between $100k-$1M in investable financial assets.

She describes Facet Wealth’s business model as market-cooperative. That’s because they are driven by highly efficient, back-end technology that enables their financial advisors to provide a holistic customer experience to lower net worth clients. As a result, peripheral partnerships are developed with other RIAs that focus on more complex investment strategies.

Deals are a driving force behind Facet Wealth’s success. There are two primary types that they use to generate growth. The first is a referral partnership, where Facet pays for referrals if the prospective RIA partner signs a solicitation agreement with them. This offers Facet’s RIA partners a way to continually serve the segmented clients, while also freeing up capacity and resources to focus on their niche.

The second way is a revenue replacement opportunity. This is also a sequential deal where Facet signs an asset purchase agreement with an RIA to acquire certain of their client relationship. In these deals, Facet will agree to terms for how long the RIA’s revenue will be replaced after the client transitions to Facet. This provides a great home for their smaller clients as the RIA seller focuses on their larger clients.

Learn more about Facet Wealth, Lisa Rapuano, and RIA deals here.

Meet Mindy Diamond

Mindy Diamond is the CEO and founder of Diamond Consultants. She specializes in recruiting and placing financial advisors. Through Mindy’s work in the wealth management field, she has helped facilitate numerous deals between buyers and sellers. She is a true expert at identifying potential deals for her clients. In addition, she is excellent at identifying weak points when the deal partners aren’t a good match.

The Best Deals Require the Best Partners

In our interview, Mindy and I talked about what differentiates a good deal from a bad one. Mindy shares her strategies for identifying when a buyer is ready to buy. She also shares her thoughts on the ever-evolving financial advisor field. A facilitator like Mindy can simplify the sometimes confusing process of finding and closing a deal. She’s a powerful asset to have in your corner!

One of the major changes Mindy has identified in recent years is the industry’s move toward independence. Although this creates more possibilities and avenues for deal-making, it has also served to complicate the process. There are many more things to consider when structuring a deal now than there were ten years ago. Finding the right partner is critical. It’s a growing challenge with the ever-wider buffet of options available.

It is also important to look at the bigger picture. A deal can have immediate benefits, but sour over time. By looking past the instant gratification, you can get a better sense of how your deal will affect you in the long term. That long-term approach is an important aspect of the evaluation process; an experienced consultant like Mindy can help you with that process.

Learn more about Diamond Consultants, Mindy Diamond, and RIA deals here.

Meet Mary Ann Buchanan

Mary Ann is the CEO and co-founder of RIA Match. This is a service that helps pair RIA firm and practice buyers and sellers. Her company has more than five thousand clients all over the nation. Mary Ann is experienced in connecting her clients with the right deal partners. She truly understands why the numbers don’t always tell the full story. Mary Ann helps her client firms look past the financial appeal of a deal in order to see the many other important key factors that need to be considered.

RIA Matchmaking

During our interview, I spoke with Mary Ann about the role culture plays in making a good match between deal partners. We discuss some of the deals Mary Ann has made in her own business that have helped RIA Match accelerate its growth. She also shares some surprising statistics about the RIA industry. We were able to discuss the work her company does for its clients in areas like succession planning, mergers and acquisitions. She is truly an expert in the art and science of matching the right deal partners.

Mary Ann also gave a fantastic checklist of considerations and data points that RIA Match examines. This is a phenomenal list to keep in mind when you’re looking for your own deals. Consider things like geographic location, number of clients, what technology is being used, and what sort of growth trajectory you are looking for. Each of these come into play as things potential deal partner may want to know about your organization. That means these are things that you should consider to help evaluate if a deal is the right one for you.

Learn more about RIA Match, Mary Ann Buchanon, and RIA deals here.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Strategic Business Growth Leads to Deals

Lately you may have noticed that we’re having some guests on the podcast that are speaking about things you need to do in your company to prepare yourself for deal-related opportunities. This includes strategic business growth decisions like building teams and putting processes in place. It also includes building a company that’s less dependent upon you as the founder.

Strategic Business Growth Positioning

It is a myth that you need to be a huge company with huge resources and major capital to do deals. Why? Because deals are not only about financing. We’ve covered everything on the show! From joint ventures and strategic alliances, licensing deals, affiliate deals online, sponsorships and business partnerships. Everybody at any size can do a deal.

However, it does take some level of resources. In the very least, you need somebody with the time and focus and energy to get deals done. Are you in a position where you are working in your business as the founder, and you have to be there every single day? Is your presence required to make sure that the sausage is getting made, so to speak, or the products are going out? Or are you the one actually delivering the services to the clients? If so, then you don’t have the time to work on any kind of deal!

If you’re not doing those things and you haven’t built a team and you haven’t put systems in place, your ability to do deals successfully is extremely limited.

Scalable & Saleable

You’re probably familiar with the concept of scalable and saleable. You know that those principles ring true whether you’re ever going to sell your business or not. But even if you don’t plan to sell, why not be in a position where you can monetize at the end? Too people get to retirement and their business just sort of goes away.

No matter what your business is, ultimately there is a way to monetize it in some way that lasts beyond your ability to run it. But you have to be sure that it’s not solely dependent upon you, and that you build it in such a way that it has value beyond you.

When you build processes and systems and shift your mindset to build a team, that’s when you truly build a brand and something that has value beyond your own efforts.

So many experts and entrepreneurs have experience in doing that, which has allowed them to not only be in a better position to do that ultimate exit deal at the end, but also freed them up and made the company more valuable with increased profits while they were running it.

It also ensured they had the power to do deals during their operations, not just at the end when they were phasing themselves out.

Working On Your Business

The fundamental level of this is the concept of working on the business and not in it. People have to figure out what their highest and best use areas are. That means what it is that you are great at, and what you love doing.

And too many people stop there. But just because you love it and you’re good at doesn’t mean it is highly leveraged. It may not even make a big difference in your organization.

You have to assess whether it moves the needle. If you’re not doing stuff at that level, then that’s your first problem.

Second of all, build a team. I’ve built this phenomenal team. They do a lot of the work in the areas that they’re more talented in than me, or that are not in my highest and best use areas. It’s their highest and best use areas, though, and that allows me to leverage the high level things that I do.

I’ve had entrepreneurs tell me that they can’t do that because they haven’t got the right people. Usually they say things like, “I’m kind of a perfectionist”, or “ I don’t think anybody’s going to do it as good as I do”. Well, those are problems. Both the perfectionist thing, and also the lack of trust in other people. Ultimately you can find the right people out there, but some of that is a mindset thing. When you believe they aren’t there, and that no one could ever do the job right, you’ll always have a reason to turn potential candidates away. Or a reason to critique and run off the people you do have.

Trust Me – 80% Works for Strategic Business Growth
So here’s something to keep in mind. Some people do it differently than you. And it doesn’t seem like it is as good, but you know what, maybe it is as good, sometimes even better. If they can do it 80% as good as you, let them do it. Even if that means you come in at the end and tweak that final 20%, you’ve saved a significant amount of time and started the process of training someone who will get better and better at understanding what 100% looks like.

When you’re in a position to have a successful business that’s grown organically and that scales in a way that’s not dependent upon you, you get to have a better lifestyle. You’re not working 20 hours a day, you’re not under extreme stress all the time, and you’re bringing in expertise and surrounding yourself with people who are better at certain things. If you have systemized things so that you’re acting in your highest and best use areas, you’re now leveraging what you’re best at. That means that you’re going to be producing more revenue. And then you start to build this team. They are either producing revenue, or helping get the work done. Not only are you going to have more time, but you’ll also be more successful.

And then of course that increases your enterprise value and valuation on the back end.

In your business, that can look like whatever makes the most sense for you. There is no one right way to scale or grow, or to run day to day operations. And you certainly shouldn’t feel obligated to grow past the point that you want your business to be at. What’s important is that you have clarity about what you’re seeking in your business.

I’m speaking from experience here and saying that it starts with us. It starts with addressing our own limiting beliefs and our own willingness to be open to learning and growth. All of that mindset work is stuff that we need to learn as entrepreneurs. This is especially true if we want to continue to develop in a way that will allow our businesses to scale.

Grow Your Mindset

Over on my website I have a whole list of mentors and leaders in the mindset and development space. Want to be able to grow more and experience more deal driven growth? It’s vital that you get your business running in such a way that it’s organically successful. That makes it less dependent upon you. That starts with a mindset shift and a willingness to do the personal growth work to make that shift. And that feeds back into your ability to continue to scale, build your team, and put new processes in place. Those components are key when you get to that next level.

What I am committed to is not only deals and growth, but really entrepreneurial freedom. I think you’ll see that in some of the stuff we’re doing with our upcoming Entrepreneurial Freedom course. If you have any questions about that, definitely reach out. At the end of the day, I love working with entrepreneurs. I love helping people achieve their dreams and visions. It can be some tough work, but it’s always easier when you have guidance and support.

Listen in to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Create the Synergy for Optimal Deals

I am so excited to have Marc Gordon’s interview going live this week. He’s a Customer Experience Expert out of Toronto, Canada, and is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of customer experience. In our interview, we had a chance to discuss what it takes for two companies to create synergy. This is essential for there to be a positive outcome for buyouts or partnership opportunities. We also dig into the importance of integrating the culture of a business post-merger and post-deal. After all, you can have the greatest deal structure, legal agreements, and finances, but if the rest of it doesn’t come together? You’re in trouble.

Marc has been regularly featured on TV and radio. He’s even been referred to as Canada’s Marketing Superstar by the Oprah Winfrey Network. As an award winning keynote speaker, Marc has spoken for some of the world’s most respected companies, including Bausch and Lomb and Hilton Hotels.

Corporate Staging to Enhance Deal-Making

One thing Marc has done a lot of work with lately is what he calls “corporate staging”. A lot of companies have a great product or service, and they reach a point where they are looking for either partners or buyers. But even if their books are good, they can’t get into a conversation. Their online presence is sabotaging them. Potential buyers and partners go straight to Google, and when there are huge issues with a company’s online presence, they can’t even make it to the table to discuss deals.

Whether the issue is their branding, their website, or their social media; they have massive barriers. These problems are based on the way they’ve curated their online presence. And who can blame other organizations from saying, “If this is such a great company or opportunity, why do they look this bad?”

No matter how good the numbers might be, it’s hard to overcome perception issues. Marc’s had the opportunity to work with companies on corporate staging in order to turn their image around. Often, this is done quickly. 72 hour turnaround times are a regular request. Why so fast? Well, it seems that many businesses realize in the final days before a proposal goes out that they are going to be under a whole new level of scrutiny. Of course prospective partners and buyers are going to be heading to their website and social accounts! And in order create synergy for a great deal, details have to be considered.

Drive Deals With Marketing

When people think of deals, they don’t automatically see how something like customer experience or marketing might play into success. However, deals can absolutely be impacted!

The truth is, quite a few companies that are turning a profit look unprofessional. When they reach the stage where they may be looking for venture capital, a buyout, or a business partner, they just aren’t prepared.

Often this happens when a company has been super focused on creating a stellar product or service. They simply let marketing and branding fall by the wayside. Essentially, they realize too late that they’re walking into a formal affair wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That’s a problem, especially when they should be wearing a tuxedo!

When they call me, says Marc, they’re saying, “We need you to make us look like the company that we believe we should be.” And the truth is, they ARE that company. It’s just that no one else can tell. This creates huge issues when it comes to sitting down at the negotiating table.

Marketing Reveals Who Your Company Truly Is

By focusing on marketing, they have the ability to look established. They can come to the table and look as strong as they actually are. They want to look like they are leaders in their niche and market, and they can do that by stepping up their marketing and brand presence.

Hoping to gain a partner, start a joint venture, enter into a strategic alliance or sell your company? Marc recommends that you work with a branding and marketing expert sooner than later. Certainly make sure you have a strong online presence before you start putting out offers or bringing people to the table.

And speaking of the table… When you go to make a deal, you have to consider the perspectives of everyone involved. Yes, that includes the CEO. But it also includes the people in charge of sales, marketing, and branding. And everyone is looking for reasons it might not be a good idea, reasons it might not work. If you have a poor online presence, you can expect there to be conversations about that. At the very minimum, someone will have the due diligence to say, “We’re going to have to sink time and money into laying a groundwork that doesn’t exist yet.” I’ve personally seen that be an issue during negotiations. It can literally result in a less lucrative deal for the company.

Create Synergy and Position Yourself for a Strong Deal

Another great way to think about your marketing and online presence is as a key to your corporate culture. A website or social account is a great way to actively show what kind of culture you’ve built, and how dynamic your business is. That also means it’s a great place to create the synergy for a strong deal.

However you desire to position yourself or be perceived, a solid online presence can help make that a reality. When done right, you can artfully reveal exactly who your company is. You can profile how you relate to your target audience, and why you’re positioned to be an industry authority. Those are all excellent things to have established long before you sit down to make a deal!

Again, you have to remember that the first thing an interested party often does is Google your company. And no matter how much of a positive impression you or your product may have made, it’s really hard to overcome what Google turns up. Of course, we’re not talking about inflating your company. We certainly aren’t misrepresenting who you are. Ideally, your online presence is a robust extension of your culture, values, product, or means of service. It’s vibrant, it’s clear, and it’s directly connected to who you are.

It’s Worth the Investment

That’s why it makes a difference to work with a true branding or marketing professional. It’s a field where you get what you pay for. It’s worth investing here in order to put your best foot forward in a digital age. Essentially, you have to have your ducks in a row. To start with, you have to have the product, the service, the quality support, and a great team. Marc uses the analogy of icing a cake.

When you buy a cake, you don’t look at the cake inside. You look at the frosting. It’s your first impression; the thing that makes you go, “I want that one.” Now, if you take a bite and the cake’s stale, everything goes downhill from there. Marketing and branding can’t compensate for a mediocre business. But when you have the business foundations down, they can be a really fun way to top things off. You can use them to create synergy and set yourself apart as a top candidate to anyone in the market looking to make an acquisitions, merger, or other profitable deals in your industry.

Marc and I also had a great conversation about customer service. We discuss how creating great customer experiences can build the foundation for strong deals. To hear more about that, listen in over on the podcast!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Conversations About Difference Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Finding Valuable Deals that are Worth Pursuing

I am so excited to share this DealQuest episode with you! Stephanie Scheller is the founder of Grow Disrupt, a San Antonio-based training organization for small businesses, and an accomplished speaker who has been behind-the-scenes with more than 2500 companies in the past five years to analyze & address their sales, marketing & systems! Her wealth of knowledge is especially useful when it comes to finding valuable deals that are worth pursuing!

Stephanie is a TEDx speaker, a Forbes 30 under 30 nominee, a 2019 New York Life Woman of the year Nominee, a two-time best-selling author, an entrepreneur, a coach and a trainer and dedicated to teaching the same skills that allowed her to build her business from scratch and walk away from her corporate job in less than five months. It is abundantly clear why I’m so excited to have her as a guest!

Grow Disrupt: Decreasing Overwhelm with Connections

Stephanie notes that when it comes to business, there are so many experts and self-proclaimed “gurus” out there. It’s very challenging to find people who actually give good information that is currently working.

A lot of small businesses get stuck. They get bad information, and then they get so overwhelmed with trying to either use that information, or find a new person with better information, that eventually they just kind of give up on follow through. We all know that doesn’t work if you’re going to run a business. You’ve got to have business skills as well as technical skills and you know like

So my goal was to be a gatekeeper so people could come to me and get connected with solid industry leaders that could really provide the guidance they needed. Eventually, Grow Disrupt turned to events as their medium of choice; they would bring in the people who not only know what they’re doing, but also know how to break it down in a way that makes sense. It’s vital that these guests can provide strategies and information that will work inside multiple businesses; global application is key!

Finding Valuable Deals

This may not seem like the ideal time to be knee-deep in the events industry! Stephanie shares that Grow Disrupt adapts as needed.

Right now, for example, they’re doing a lot of events online. Because they’ve positioned themselves as a brand that people can connect with, they’ve been able to make the pivot and continue serving their ideal clientele. This has been made simpler because Stephanie is a connector; she isn’t just signing contracts and creating growth for herself. Instead, she’s making deals that are based on trust and that grow from relationships.

As a connector myself, I know what a great skill this is when it comes to making deals. Before a transaction can occur, a relationship has to be made!

(Speaking of the event industry, you can go all the way back to episode three of the DealQuest Podcast to hear my interview with Ramon Ray if you want more information about deals and events!)

When Stephanie creates events and brings in experts, she tends to focus first and foremost on what her audience needs. They’re looking to accelerate their growth, shorten the learning curve, and uncover problems they don’t even know they have. By connecting with the experts that Stephanie brings them into contact with, they are able to identify what they most need to work on next. Often, these are problems that they have been unable to identify themselves, which means they’ve often put time and resources into trying to fix the wrong things!

Stephanie shares a great example she recently discovered in a violin lesson (I’d invite you to listen in to the full episode to hear about that real life example of fixing all the wrong things!)

Desperate Deals

Stephanie shares that one of the keys to deal-making is that you can’t be negotiating from a place of desperation.

When you’re just trying to get sales going,you tend to be desperate for the deal to go through. But here’s the thing: this deal is not going to save your business.

When you’re making deals from a desperate place, what you’re going to end up getting is a deal that’s not in your best interest. Stabilizing your sales funnel and using marketing to drive leads into that funnel will allow you the space you need to really negotiate and make deals from a place of power.

I love that Stephanie talked about this; something I talk about in my negotiating book is that if you’re in a place of scarcity, desperation, or fear, you’re going to be making wrong decisions. Great deals don’t come from a bad place!

Stephanie also mentioned some big ideas about taking a paycheck and getting a profit distribution from your business.

That ties in so well with last week’s episode, where Mike Michalowicz shared about his work with Profit First and Fix This Next.

Leverage Organic Growth With Deals

If you’re doing it right, you have organic growth from your sales and marketing as the base. And then you leverage that growth with deals. You’re able to use your organic success to enhance your negotiating position, which enables you to release the desperation of “needing” the deal.

Making deals from a place of strength also makes it more likely that you’ll be able to create ongoing relationships. The best way to do this is to start with a continuation of each relationship in mind. This requires honesty. Ideally you’re entering into deals that further your business without threatening to overwhelm it. Ideally, you don’t want a single deal to comprise more than 25% of your business, because you have to recognize that there are hundreds of reasons that that deal could end. Things change, clients’ needs change, the economy changes, your connection leaves the company. Too many companies become complacent and overly reliant upon one or two really large clients. Then if you lose them, you risk losing your business.

I completely agree with Stephanie’s thinking here. I’ve been in business for 35 years, and I feel like we do great work for people. We rarely have any issues with clients. However, we still lose clients for other reasons; by reducing our reliance on a small handful of clients, we strengthen our overall business and approach.

Stephanie shared about a contact that was making $250,000 a year from three clients. With no warning, she lost two of them overnight. It wasn’t anything she did “wrong”; they were bringing it in house because they got acquired by a larger company. Her business had relied on three contracts; they were good deals, but she could have lost everything by over relying on them and ignoring organic sales and marketing that would have enabled her to have more diversity within her business.

To learn more about leveraging deals while organically growing your business, listen in to the whole episode here! You can also learn more about Stephanie over on her site, www.growdisrupt.com.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Conversations About Difference Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Key Decisions During Challenging Times

In this week’s episode, I break down the key decisions that we all need to make in these challenging times. The insights I offer on this topic come out of my own experience in dealing with challenging times in the past. For instance, coming through previous recessions and Superstorm Sandy.

Leadership Opportunities

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, I think we all have an opportunity to really look closely at two key decision points. The first one is:

Are we going to let these challenging times of crises get us down and derail key decisions?
Will we allow them to adversely impact us in terms of our mental state, our spiritual state, or our emotional state? Or are we going to find a way to rally?

During difficult times, it’s imperative that we stay positive and look for opportunities to excel. That may mean we need to pivot in our businesses, or use this time to develop new offerings for our clients. At an absolute minimum, it means we need to find new ways to stay in contact with clients by finding our own space of attraction and service.

If we don’t do that, we can easily end up in a place of fear and scarcity.

I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of leaders who have rallied, and leaders who have floundered. In fact, both things are happening in the extremes right now. And of course you know certain people in between; treading water and getting by. You get decide what kind of leader you will be! You can make key decisions that will allow you to grow, even through difficulty.

The Power of Positive Entrepreneurs

What I love about entrepreneurs is that, in general, I find them to be generally more positive and optimistic than many other types of people.

They are used to being innovative and finding creative ways to make things happen! And it could be that optimism comes more easily in times of crisis because they’re in control to a greater degree than those who work for others. Being an entrepreneur is different because you have so much agency. Instead of wondering if you’re going to get laid off from a job, you’re able to gear up and create change. But you an only do so if you’re maintaining a positive mindset!

As a business owner, what you’re dealing with is your business. You have the power to make changes or pivot as you see fit. And entrepreneurs clearly take advantage of this ability! In every down time, there are always companies that come out of it stronger than before. Why?

Because they are empowered to create changes and adapt.

Some businesses will use the crisis to figure out how to become more efficient, how to make different offers, and how to produce products that are more appealing to their clients. Some of the most successful companies throughout history, going all the way back to the Great Depression and beyond, have been formed out of downtimes in the economy.

It all starts with whether you look at everything as an opportunity. You can choose to approach this challenge with an open mind, equipping yourself to not only survive, but to thrive.

Stand Strong

Are you constantly asking yourself how you’re going to put the best spin on this?

Are you searching for how you’re going to use this time most effectively?

You have to understand that if you’re in a place of fear or scarcity or lack, if you’re sort of shutting down and letting things affect you, it is going to impact your business. Mindset is everything. If you focus on scarcity, you are more likely to have that come into your life. Choosing to stay positive is one of the most key decisions you can make.

When you focus on positive ways to serve your clients, serve humanity, serve people, you empower yourself.

If you focus on making a difference, being there, and supporting others in these times — that will shine through. And you’ll make an impact on not only your own life, but the lives of others.

Because honestly, whether you worry about it or not, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. So much is outside of your control. When we can get to the point where we are only focusing on the things that we can actually do something about, and not worrying about those that are outside of our control, that’s when we have the opportunity to be in our best position.

So that’s the first fundamental decision you have to make. But you’re not in it alone!

To help leaders in maintaining this positive outlook, I’m bringing entrepreneurs and business leaders together on Zoom calls where we can support each other. The goal is to maintain a positive energy, keep a growth mindset, and share best practices and while in community. The previous calls have been really amazing, and I would encourage you to join us if you haven’t yet!

Key Decisions Include How You Will Serve Others

The second big decision that I want you all to think about is this:

Are you looking for positive ways to serve?
Really consider: are you finding ways of just being there as human beings for each other? How are you actively supporting others in ways that are unrelated to making money or building your business?

And how are you serving your clients and being a resource to them, while also continuing to get paid a fair value for your services?

We all want to be people who make a difference in other people’s lives. It’s vital that we do so in ways that are fair and in keeping with our morals,values, and highest ideals. In these times, especially if you’re facing scarcity, fear, or worry about money, your decisions can get clouded by need.

I know what it’s like to sleep on an air mattress in my office, because I gave up my apartment during the 2008 recession. I know what it’s like to go into $325,000 of debt trying to make it all happen. These are hard times for many businesses, and I understand all too well what that feels like.

But what I also knew in that time was that it was vital to handle my business with character and in alignment to my true values. This is vital; no matter how hard it is, you must act on principle and maintain your core values.

So, how are we going to carry ourselves in these challenging times?

If we have an opportunity to still be in business and sell services and products, are we going to be gouging prices?

Or are we going to charge a fair price, are we going to actively look for ways to be of service? Can we look for ways to still uphold our value for the services that we’re providing, but also accommodate our client’s needs?

Let’s Talk Deals

There are going to be a lot of deals to be had in any kind of down economy. And we each have a choice: you can leverage and take advantage of somebody, or choose to be fair with somebody.

Because yes, there are the “distressed assets” – whether it’s property or business valuations that are tanking – and people who are afraid and may even feel desperate. Some investors will jump on the chance to leverage short-term profit. But others will operate from a place of integrity, a place of character and balance an appropriate adjustment in price and terms with a longer term view that takes into account relationships, valuing talent and fairness under the circumstances.

If you’re entering into a deal, you must consider your legacy and reputation. Not from a place of ego, but from a place of building the kind of business that you can be proud of once this crisis has passed. Certain key decisions regarding deals can leave you worse off down the road if you don’t consider values and relationships.

Be very sensitive about taking advantage of others in the business world; don’t be someone who leverages people’s misfortunes for your own gain.

Remember, most deals are either the start, or the continuation of, a business relationship.

A company might take a deal in the short run, because they’re desperate. They need the money. But if you demoralize everyone involved, is that deal going to work out for you in the long run? Probably not. It’s not going to work out as well as if you had done it the right way.

There’s a difference between right-sizing a deal, and trying to leverage somebody’s misfortune just because you know they don’t have options.
There are ways to structure deals where you can respect both party’s risks. For example, you might commit to a purchase price based upon today’s valuation, which may be down from yesterday’s. But you could also give the ability of the seller to earn some upside if, over the next number of years, the business comes back to where it was.

Then you’re paying for revenue and profits that you will get, but only if you get them, and the deal works out fairly. This is far preferable to trying to leverage somebody at the bottom, and then keeping all the advantage of the upside for yourself.

Long Term Relationships

Doing an honorable deal in times of crisis increases the odds of the seller (and the seller’s team) becoming good employees or minority partners, depending upon how the deal is structured. It makes it more likely you’ll have a deal that will work in the long term. Just from a pure business point of view, it makes sense.

But it’s more than business.

I happen to believe that when we’re out of alignment, even if our actions initially make us more money in the short run, we create problems for ourselves in the long run. Don’t get me wrong: It’s absolutely the time to look for opportunities.

But you have to consider how you’re going to take advantage of those opportunities. Are you going to do so in a way that honors your values?

Key Decisions Provide Both Opportunity and Challenge

So this is our opportunity. This is our challenge. How are we going to stay in a positive mindset while we seek opportunities that are aligned, while also being mindful not to take advantage of people? How are we going to serve others? You can listen in to more of my thoughts on this over on the podcast.

I want to say I’m here as a resource. If anybody’s struggling, or anybody wants to talk through a few things, let’s connect. If you’re wondering: How do I take advantage of opportunities in this market without doing it in a way that’s not aligned? Reach out. I’m here for you.

Earlier I mentioned the Zoom calls, which are free; please join us there. They are going to bring the community together, help us stay aligned with our values, and help us make key decisions and stay positive in these challenging times.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Negotiating

Transforming Small Businesses Into Highly Profitable, Great Places to Work

This week I was honored to interview Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist™ and author of the How to Hire the Best series. She is also the founder of Tap the Potential, a business that specializes in transforming small businesses into highly profitable, Great Places to Work, then sending business owners on a 4 Week Vacation to celebrate that accomplishment.

How to Hire the Best

Dr. Sabrina has been coaching small business owners for over 15 years. She transitioned from her psychology practice because she wanted to work in a field with clear results. Small business coaching gave her that!

With her company, Tap Your Potential, she gets to work with top-tier small businesses and entrepreneurs. The business owners she works with are intent on building highly profitable places to work that do NOT depend on their constant present and oversight. This enables business owners to have more freedom and actually enjoy living their lives. When the business can run profitability on it’s own, it’s much more likely to be well-positioned for an eventual sale when the time comes.

Dr. Sabrina’s interest in authoring the How to Hire the Best series came about as a result of her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges. She realized that these hiring challenges were constantly interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability.

Eventually, her work catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses. Regardless of what hiring challenges those businesses were facing, How to Hire the Best philosophies were able to make a difference and transform their businesses. This work also established Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures. Businesses who hire the best benefit from highly engaged team members working from their strengths.

The philosophy of Tap the Potential boils down to this: work should support life, not the other way around. This connects to my own belief that every business should be a lifestyle business. A healthy, profitable business should be supporting your life, not taking it over.

Creating a Sustainable Business

Dr. Sabrina’s upcoming book is all about how work supports life, not the other way around. She is on a mission to end the hustle and grind mentality and disrupt the dominant discourse about what it means to be a business owner and entrepreneur. She believes there is too much focus placed on growing top-line revenue, and not enough on margins. At the end of the day, she points out that it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep!

The focus should be on how much of our revenue consists of profit, and how much life our business gives back to us and our team members. After all, if we are building businesses that are not sustainable, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Work sustainability is a huge concept to dig into. You can start by asking yourself:

Is it sustainable to work 90 hours a week?
How sustainable is it to sit at your desk behind a screen for hours and hours on end?
Is it sustainable to be the only person who can keep the business running?
At the end of the day, no!

Laying awake at night worrying about cash flow and payroll while chasing bigger deals just to keep it all afloat is NOT sustainable. The real focus should be on increasing profits and margin, not just pulling in high dollar deals.

Creating a sustainable business is also key to creating enterprise value for an eventual exit deal and being freed up to have the time, focus and creativity for deal-driven growth.

Transforming Small Businesses: Optimize Success and Focus Your Time

Dr. Sabrina has run her business on 20-25 hours a week for the last 15 years. Every single year she’s grown her business by 30% or more (other than the two years she took a step back). She had to be highly focused and productive in order to maximize those working hours.

She understands there are limits on her time, and she has to be highly selective about where she put her focus and energy. By letting go of the day-to-day distractions and focusing on the most valuable uses of her time, she has seen massive success in her life and business.

The flexibility to be highly focused and work-oriented while also raising her children and parenting, was key in Dr. Sabrina’s success. I realized during our conversation that some of my own most effective hires have come from giving employees the flexibility to work at the times that make sense for them.

One way to create flexibility? Focus on employee results, rather than hours behind a desk.

Dr. Sabrina shares that all of her team members are virtual, part-time workers. Everyone works flexibly, and she understands that work can get done alongside the other priorities that people have in their lives. She also creates clear work/life boundaries for her team. If she sends emails or Slack messages after 5pm or on weekends, her team knows that she’s doing so because those things were top of mind for her, not because she expects them to drop everything and respond.

So many entrepreneurs are currently running remote businesses, either by choice or due to the Coronavirus. A common question she keeps hearing?

How do we know our employees are getting things done?

Hours vs. Results

She recommends shifting the conversation to results. Know what results you need from each team member, and communicate them. If they are getting those results, then they are doing what needs to be done. The details of when and where they are working aren’t relevant if results are happening.

Hire great people. Trust them as professionals. Hold them accountable for results.
When that is your method, you don’t need to micromanage or hover over anyone’s shoulder.

Recently, a lot of managers have been forced to put aside their micromanaging ways. Will this last when employees return to the office?

Post-Coronavirus, Dr. Sabrina believes that there will be micromanaging leaders who simply return to their old ways. However, she suggests that thoughtful leaders who are paying attention will recognize the benefits of running virtually and releasing control. If they are wise, they will find ways to reevaluate what work has to happen in the office, how important it is (or is not) to clock in and out at rigid times, and how flexibility can enhance everyone’s performance. There is going to be a desire to maintain some elements of this new-found ability to accomplish at least some work from home!

In addition, we can consider trust, which really is the foundation of all of this.

When we can extend trust to our team members, we’ll get better results and behavior in return. If you’ve strategically hired the best, extending trust causes people to step up and work harder for you. When team members feel distrusted, they become fearful of making mistakes, and are unlikely to operate above bare-minimum baselines. Trust creates better interactions, more safety, and more support. And those are the conditions that are required for anyone to create their best work.

At the end of the day, your team members are your biggest investment. Treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve!

Profitability Vs. Revenue

About 5 years ago, I shared with Dr. Sabrina that I read the book Profit First. (I had no idea that Tap the Potential was a Profit First business!) This is a great resource because it has you break things down in a way that enables you to not only pay yourself, but also have profits within your business. Too often, we are operating under a self-created cycle of stress, debt, and uncertainty.

It doesn’t need to be this way! Every check that comes in needs to be segmented into taxes, operating expenses, owner’s pay and profits. This will lead to greater clarity about what your margins are, and allow you to operate with more breathing room. When you can stop accumulating debt in your business and finally gain clarity on your profit margins, you can focus on growth that truly matters.

Hiring in a Down Economy

As we’re experiencing a down market, hiring and profits are changing. Many organizations are scaling back in order to focus on the sweet spots in their businesses, and this may involve hiring decisions.

With a clearly defined sweet spot, businesses can let go of all the extraneous elements. Growing from this spot decreases overhead and “drag”. The resulting layoffs can mean the market is saturated with A-players who are looking for a new position.

Dr. Sabrina recommends that, as an entrepreneur, you have a “shopping list” handy. This list will help you consider your long term vision, and what you will need to fulfill that vision. From platforms, tools, and new hires, you shouldn’t be making decisions based on what you can get a great deal on. You need to consider your business’ long term impact and needs.

It’s also key at this time to position yourself as an employer of choice. You can interview amazing people all day, but if your organization isn’t set up to attract them, they won’t accept your offers. Work to build up a presence and communicate the sort of environment you provide for employees.

Another recommendation? Don’t use the “opportunities for advancement” line. It’s vague and meaningless. Set yourself apart from other organizations by creating a clear, results-based path towards growth. You can start an A-player around the 65th percentile of pay when you can show them the clear path to the 90th percentile.

Dr. Sabrina also recommends that, at the end of an interview, you give candidates you’d like to hire a sheet that breaks down their advancement path for the first 18 months. On the back of that map, include testimonials from current employees about why they love working for the organization.

Payment Structures

In structuring acquisitions, an earn out offer is a common way of increasing purchase costs while also protecting the buyer if profits don’t manifest as expected. Dr. Sabrina’s hiring plan for A-players essentially creates an “earn out offer” for new hires.

Employees who rise to the challenge and perform well are rewarded, and if the results don’t come through, the pay rate remains stable and payable for the business owner. Back-end upsides help mitigate risks for both parties, which is key in establishing trust and bringing in top candidates.

If you attempt to take advantage of the current down markets by hiring an A-player at a low rate of pay, they may accept your offer…but they will jump ship as soon as possible when the market turns! They will know that you took advantage of them when you had the chance, and they won’t remain loyal to you when the field clears and they have more options.

Another option in this market is to bring new employees on as part-time, remote employees. They can start learning the business and going through the training process, which is a great way to get them started without committing to a full-time hire.

No matter how you go about it, be sure to consider how you can add value to both your organization AND your new hire.

Transforming Small Businesses Without Entrepreneurial Burnout
So many entrepreneurs are operating under a high-risk of burn out. Dr. Sabrina urges you to put your own oxygen mask on first, and don’t forget to take care of yourself!

You can take a free assessment to determine your level of burn out here: www.tapthepotential.com/assessment/. This assessment also serves as a screening tool for what you need to work on next. After all, you want to impact both the quality of your business AND your own life.

Listen in to our full interview here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 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 if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!