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Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Deal-Driven Growth

Strategic Partnerships in Wealth Management

When Lisa Rapuano was twenty-five years old, she managed to talk her way into an investment management position at a startup in Chapel Hill, NC. As the third employee of Franklin Street Partners, Rapuano wore many hats and handled everything from reception and IT to sales and marketing; 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.

Facet Wealth is an RIA that focuses on people with less than a million dollars in investable assets, and that is important to note because $1M is not a significant amount of capital in this industry. Their niche encompasses thirty-three million American households that have between $100k-$1M in investable financial assets, most of which are excluded from the traditional, holistic financial planning side of the business.

A Market-Cooperative Business Model

As CFO, Lisa Rapuano describes Facet Wealth’s business model as market-cooperative because they are driven by highly efficient, back-end technology that enables their financial advisors to provide a wholesome customer experience to lower net worth clients. As a result, peripheral partnerships are developed with other RIAs that focus on more complex investment strategies. Facet Wealth takes the segmented clients off of their partners’ hands to provide adjusted white-glove service without sacrificing the partners’ consumer relationships or causing them to use company resources disproportionately.

If RIAs make too many exceptions for less wealthy clients, their businesses won’t work because they aren’t set up for that. Too many advisors are trying to be all things to all people, but the most successful ones define their niche very clearly and Facet Wealth has done exactly that. Because financial advisors are inherently helpers, Facet offers a way for them to provide less profitable clients with a solution instead of segmenting and leaving them to fend for themselves.

Referral Partnerships and Revenue Replacement Opportunities

Deals are a driving force behind Facet Wealth’s success, and 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 partner signs a solicitation agreement with them. This offers Facet’s partners a way to continually serve the segmented clients while 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 their client relationship, but Facet sets terms for how long the revenue will be replaced after the client transitions to them; this is the most transformative for advisors.

Facet Wealth as a Partner

Facet also has a couple of different ways that they’re willing to work with financial advisors who are considering M&A activity on their own. One stage that they can help with is the preparation for M&A. If you enter a partnership with them before you go to market, Facet can acquire your smaller clients to create more capacity, raise margins, and improve the overall value of your business. Another stage where Facet is a great partner is for buyers in the midst of a transaction. Part of the deal might be very attractive, but if there are smaller clients that aren’t a great fit, Facet can help take them off your hands.

There is a lot of consolidation taking place in wealth management and investment management, and it is largely because of the natural evolution of the industry. But, advisors need to consider whether or not they are adding value to their clients, and if they are charging a fair price for the services offered. Personal service is expensive, but it is one of the current trends in this day and age, and companies like Facet Wealth are making it a fundamental part of their strategy.

Click here to listen to Lisa Rapuano’s interview on the Fueling Deals podcast.

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!

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Authentic Deal-Making Deal-Driven Growth

The Seven Figure Club

Back when Julia Pimsleur was attending film school at La Fémis, she discovered an affinity for entrepreneurship while orchestrating international producer conferences on campus. Pimsleur took the initiative to manage all of the logistics, marshal resources, educate paying attendees, and ultimately reap the rewards of her events. It was an experience that enabled Pimsleur to discover a new skill set, and she used it to pave the way for her career as an entrepreneur.

Learning on the Fly

Julia Pimsleur’s first major role as a business leader was with her company Little Pim, a children’s language learning program that she was able to grow into a multi-million dollar company. It was a difficult journey with tremendous obstacles, but all of the challenges and failures provided her with an arsenal of personal experiences to bring her audience. Pimsleur is maximizing the impact of her lessons she shares in the Million Dollar Women book with her Million Dollar Women Masterclass, where she coaches female entrepreneurs and teaches them what it takes to hit $1M in annual revenue.

She didn’t go to business school or come from a finance background, so she was forced to learn everything on the job, but the success of the Million Dollar Women Organization shed light on the need to reach a larger audience with her lessons. Pimsleur created an online group-coaching program to make the obstacles she faced more surmountable for other women under similar circumstances. In four months, students can learn how to restructure their organizations, so that they’re doing less work, improving their close ratios and scaling their businesses faster.

Strategic Deals for Small Businesses

A lot of the work with women entrepreneurs is focused on mindset because there are major hurdles with mental conditioning that must be overcome to achieve success. After that, the MDW programs cover the following: finances; sales and distribution; making deals; raising capital; marketing; efficiency, being in powerful networks. Million Dollar Women rounds all of the bases and covers these topics strategically, but bear in mind that all of the content is coming from someone that lived through them. Pimsleur had to distill everything she came across so that she could teach herself effectively, and you don’t have to be a savant or a prodigy for these tactics to work for you.

Strategic deals played a significant role in rocketing Pimsleur past the seven-figure mark because she was always looking for opportunities. At Little Pim, she was able to partner with PBS to develop a language learning game that created a strategic alliance worth hundreds of thousands. This is the main reason ‘mindset’ is the pinnacle of Pimsleur’s program; doing deals means figuring out where you can be the missing piece in someone else’s puzzle. If you are not trained to actively seek these opportunities and prepare yourself for when they are presented, you will not experience success as a woman entrepreneur, and Pimsleur’s programs are determined to disrupt that.

Why Not Me?

Many entrepreneurs simply feel like they’re not ready, but Pimsleur encourages everyone to stop waiting and jump in feet first. When you get to see other people do it, it’s a lot easier to ask, “why not me?” and that is why it is so important to build the right network. Pimsleur helps entrepreneurs surround themselves with other business owners and dealmakers who will amplify their potential. It doesn’t take long to realize that everyone around you did not achieve success without a long list of failures, and once you start to accept failure as a part of the process, the hesitation and fear begin to fade away.

Listen to the Fueling Deals podcast episode featuring Julia Pimsleur’s interview about The Seven Figure Club.

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!

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Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Entrepreneurial Freedom

As the CSO of Popdog, Niles Heron embodies an entrepreneurial spirit driven by freedom and the ability to control his own destiny. He has witnessed successful careers built under the restraint of golden shackles, but when the going is tough and failure is imminent, Heron finds comfort in the fact that his decisions yield the final outcome. Wealthy and untethered is the name of the game, and Heron has lived by that notion since he started his first internet radio business at fifteen years old.

Popdog is fundamentally focused on content creation and consumption in the world of live streaming, and they provide services and technology to some of the top content creators in the esports and video-on-demand spaces. This includes analytics tools that better portray their value to brands for sponsorship and monetization, and management services for nearly the top 40 content creators in the gaming industry.

Organic and Inorganic Growth in the Startup Space

Heron’s experience with accelerator programs in Michigan gave him a lot of access to early-stage startups where he found inspiration in nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs, but a lot of businesses try to raise money to solve problems without finding a proper product-market fit. This led Heron to realize that his true passion was not in raising capital, but in helping people make their products work. As a result, Heron shifted his focus to consulting and built a powerful resume that paved the way for his future endeavors.

“If all you need is money, you can go to the bank, but what you need is proof that your business works.”

There are many types of deals out there and organic growth has to be the foundation, but once you’ve found the actual customers for your actual product, you can start augmenting. From this position, you have the ability to force growth in any number of directions, but if you go in all directions you will grow much slower. If you’re trying to scale, you need to pick one direction and understand that this is where investment really matters.

The reason you need to have one customer is so you can comprehend why you don’t have two customers, and if you can’t answer that you might as well have zero. The whole point of the partnership is to expand your customer base by deepening the relationship with existing customers or finding new ones. Demand limit is important to consider but if you can’t figure out why you’re not acquiring more customers, the partnership grows frail.

Doing Deals vs. Adding Value

People don’t go and seek deals because they often don’t understand the problem they’re trying to solve when they get the deal. The reality is that you can’t do deals if you’re not willing to be extremely self-critical. On the other hand, if there is no natural limitation set, deals become arbitrary since your focus should always be getting more customers. Unfortunately, that is not the way most businesses work since the markets have become over-saturated.

Before this episode, Niles Heron never saw himself as someone who does deals, but he always identified as somebody who seeks to add more value by any means necessary. Whether he is helping someone generate organic growth or finding a partner that can provide the means, he stresses that anyone trying to “do deals” should really be focusing on how they can add value. This requires time, but if you strive to accomplish something a “deal” is just the facilitator.

Click here to listen to his Fueling Deals podcast episode.

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!

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Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth News

Why the $150 million Fiduciary Network lawsuit ‘could get very ugly’

Charles Paikert‘s article in Financial Planning reminds us that deals don’t always end with feelings intact. The recent sale of Fiduciary Network and the following $150 million lawsuit by Mark Hurley against Emigrant Bank “could get very ugly and drawn out.”

“This is a complex case that, if not settled sooner, could take at least several years to litigate,” says Corey Kupfer, an attorney specializing in RIAs. “As the case is based upon allegations of a series of alleged actions by Emigrant Bank to scare off buyers and suppress value, there will be a lot of discovery necessary to determine the facts that might support those claims.”

What’s more, Kupfer adds, “when you add the clear animosity between Howard Milstein [principal of Emigrant Bank] and Mark Hurley to the mix, this could get very ugly and drawn out.”

Read Paikert’s full article and more of my commentary 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!

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Deal-Driven Growth

The Ideal Deal Partner

One of the recurring themes that comes up time and time again across the episodes of the Fueling Deals podcast is the importance of finding the right deal and the right deal partner. It is a topic I’ve revisited multiple times, because the importance of this step cannot be overstated.

Not long ago, I invited my friend Mary Ann Buchanan to join me on my Fueling Deals podcast. Mary Ann is the CEO and co-founder of RIA Match, a service that helps pair financial advisor firms with willing deal partners. Mary Ann’s company has more than five thousand clients all over the nation, and she is experienced in connecting her clients with the right deal partners. Mary Ann truly understands why the numbers don’t always tell the full story, and she helps her client firms look past the financial appeal of a deal to see the many other important key factors that need to be considered.

In our episode of Fueling Deals, I speak with Mary Ann about the role culture plays in making a good match between deal partners, and we discuss some of the deals Mary Ann has made in her own business that have helped RIA Match accelerate its growth. Mary Ann shares some surprising statistics about the financial advisor industry and discusses the work her company does for its clients in areas like succession planning, mergers and acquisitions. Mary Ann is truly an expert in the art and science of finding the right deal partner that meets an organization’s needs.

It’s More Than Numbers

As we’ve established before, numbers often don’t tell the whole story. A deal may look profitable on paper, but it can easily cause more negative effects on your firm than positive ones if the only thing you’re looking at are the financials. Culture is the other secret ingredient of a great deal, regardless of what kind of deal you’re considering. In the case of a merger or acquisition, a good culture match ensures that the merged teams can work together productively. In the case of a strategic alliance or brand deal, a good culture match can guarantee that both deal partners are on the same page about the goals of the deal.

In every case, compatible culture is at least as important as the financial impact of a deal. Identifying any cultural conflicts with your potential deal partner is a necessary step that needs to be completed before you agree to any deal. You will save yourself a lot of headache later by taking this key step now.

Understanding Your Firm’s Needs

One of the ways in which Mary Ann’s RIA Match service helps its client firms is by assisting them in understanding their unique needs and then pairing them with a deal partner who can satisfy those needs. That truly is the key to a great deal. By clearly articulating what you are looking for and what you hope to accomplish from a deal, you can have a much better sense of who would be an appropriate deal partner.

During our conversation, Mary Ann 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. Things like geographic location, number of clients, what technology is being used, and what sort of growth trajectory you are looking for are all things a potential deal partner wants to know about your organization and things that you should consider in your own deal partner to help evaluate if the deal is the right one for you.

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!

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Deal-Driven Growth

3 Keys to Negotiating Success

Do people take advantage of you?

Do you let your emotions get in the way of your negotiations?

Do you want to be a better negotiator?

Corey Kupfer has negotiated successful deals for over 30 years as an entrepreneur and lawyer, and is committed to inspiring authenticity in business. Kupfer runs his own firm, Kupfer & Associates, PLLC, and founded a speaking, training and consulting company called Authentic Enterprises, LLC. He’s the author of Authentic Negotiating: Clarity, Detachment & Equilibrium – The Three Keys to True Negotiating Success & How to Achieve Them.

I recently spoke with him about the three keys to authentic negotiations.

My teachings, based on over 30 years of day-in and day-out professional business negotiating, are mainly focused on the personal and deep internal work you need to do to become a great negotiator: Clarity, Detachment and Equilibrium (or CDE). A lot of negotiating training is on the level of techniques, tactics and counter-tactics. Some of those are very manipulative, lack integrity, and are ultimately ineffective – so they should never be used. Some are okay, but they are not at the core of true negotiating success. At best, they are good to know as additional tools beyond the deeper and more important work of authentic negotiating. Without Clarity, Detachment and Equilibrium, tactics and counter-tactics will be of marginal impact at best.

Read the rest of my article and tips at skipprichard.com.

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!

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