Categories
Deal-Driven Growth

Franchising, Raising Money, and the Deal-Maker’s Journey

Automotive expert Kamran Saleem has over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He is skilled at raising money, franchising, and navigating the deal-maker’s journey! Kamran studied Business Management at Aston University. He is the founder Motoserv UK, a sales and service organization.

Early Ambitions

Kamran has always loved cars. He notes that, growing up, his parents were accountants. This led to being surrounded, early on, by entrepreneurs and business owners that his parents worked with. From restaurant owners to commerce and trade businesses, he feels lucky to have had so many early inspirations.

As a result, Kamran feels that becoming an entrepreneur himself wasn’t a question of “if”, but of “when”. While studying Business Management at Aston University, Kamran’s early work was connected to financial management and office-related roles. Upon graduation, he joined the family accounting firm. However, he found that all of his clients and connections had pressing questions beyond the numbers: they needed to know things about their cars!

After giving out a great deal of advice, Kamran ended up becoming a deal packager and set up a brokerage. This allowed him to earn commission from banks and auto sellers. Quite quickly, he was making more money with his automotive connections than he was working for his father’s firm! Although he was still years out from franchising, he was on the way towards his own business.

Early Deal-Making & Growth

Kamran remembers being around 16 and buying a camera and laptop. He went around and took pictures of menus and food at restaurants, and started writing things up online. His clientele quickly grew, and he was charging a few hundred pounds to put up their sites. He completed around 50 in the first year, which set him up for ongoing entrepreneurial success.

Now, Kamran is located in the UK. He works in the automotive trade, with both servicing and sales, with the company he founded, Motoserv UK.

Early on, this required raising funds. He put together his concept, and worked to do so via private funding to get off the ground. He also took on quite a bit of debt to get started. Kamran noted that, in the UK, the automotive trade has a tendency to struggle. With all those industry failures, finding a backers for his idea was quite difficult.

Another hurdle? His age. Kamran was still in his 20’s, and didn’t have a proven track record for taking on something this large. Those factors, coupled with the industry he was trying to enter, would have made it easy to get discouraged. He kept working hard, however, and was able to find an investor who believed in his vision and was willing to take a chance.

Securing Funding

Kamran’s business plan was an essential part of securing that early funding. He was able to demonstrate how his vision for the organization met the lender’s criteria and lending sensibility.

He also attributes his success to personal networking. By leveraging personal recommendations from financial industry professionals that he had met and grown relationships with via networking, he was able to take an extra step in demonstrating his credibility.

Once he had a seat at the table, Kamran also needed to be able to sell his vision. Being able to communicate the passion, drive, and energy he had was a major part of closing the deal.

Because of the uniqueness of his business model, Kamran notes that many potential investors felt that it wasn’t going to be sustainable. In fact, many predicted it would all fall apart with growth! He notes there is some wisdom to their feedback, as the business has required a lot of him to maintain and scale. In fact, he’s been called a “professional juggler” by his accountant because of how many balls he has in the air with the business!

Flexible Growth

Because of the nature of the industry, Kamran has needed to stay flexible over the years. He shares he has refinanced, paired everything down, and restructured a number of times.

However, his willingness to work through the financing process has also allowed him to take his monthly payment from being over 20,000 pounds per month, to being 6,000. Although there were some early payment fees, the business absorbed them in order to make moves that would benefit them in the long run.

Freeing up that extra cash flow has enabled him to grow and expand in ways he couldn’t with the higher payment plan. Kamran shares that he is always looking at options and possible end games. He has a real genius for seeing where profit could be made, and how things could be copy/pasted and regenerated into new businesses or profits.

Expanding Into Franchising

Having opened the original branch in Solihull, he’s since seen the organization grow via franchising. Kamran notes that a major part of growth has been the development of relationships.

MotoServ UK is well aware of the lifetime value of customers. This can mean not emphasizing “money today”, if it means off-putting customers or losing later business. Instead, the focus is on how they can best serve, stay top of mind, and become a part of people’s lifelong automotive journeys.

After all, car repairs, purchases, and sales are an ongoing aspect of many people’s lives. For success, you have to think beyond simple services and consider the big picture.

Kamran has also implemented a subscription model, which helps to stabilize income in an industry that can have wide ranging fluctuations across seasons and time periods. His deal-making journey is inspiring, and he shares great information in this episode. Definitely listen in for his thoughts on retention as well — he is a master of the game!

Listen to the full episode and learn more about deal-making, franchising, and more! Just head 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. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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

 

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

5 More Steps Towards Deal-Making Success

As I discussed in Episode #134, there are 10 steps I consistently promote for deal preparation and readiness. Combining these steps will lead you towards deal-making success! Having already shared the first five, in this solocast I’ll focus on the five I had left to cover. Listen in to learn about how you can take advantage of the repeatable, scaleable deal-making opportunities.

The First 5 Steps Towards Success

Our first five steps from the last solocast were:

  1. Know Why You’re Making the Deal
  2. Determine Who You Are Targeting
  3. Build Your Value Proposition
  4. Get the Right Resources in Place
  5. Choose a Deal Model

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that one yet, please do! Those first five are really the foundation you’ll want to ensure you’ve set before you move forward.

Step #6: Choosing a Deal Structure

A lot of people want to jump to this step first! They’ll have a deal on the table, or be considering a deal, and they’ll already be focused on their structure. It’s always one of the first questions I get!

When asked, however, I always bring clients back to steps 1-5 before I spend time on establishing structure. If you don’t know the basics, like why you’re making the deal, what the value prop is, and what resources you need in place, then you’re not ready to be establishing a deal’s structure yet.

Finally, you’ll want your deal model in place before you choose a structure. The model gives you a template that allows your deals to be scalable and reproducible, which is key to making strong deals.

Once you know your model, then you’re in good shape to start structuring your deal. This includes legal documents that reflect that deal structure. We can take care of all of that before a deal is officially taking place. Even if the deal is already underway, we always encourage clients to use this opportunity to let us draft a series of template agreements that can be used going forward. The advantage to having these template documents is that you put yourself in the position to make powerful deals (and take fast action) in the future.

Although there are many more details regarding deal structures, this is the basic overview that will help you understand why it’s not a first step.

Step #7: Enter the Due Diligence Phase

General due diligence takes place even before you have a deal in place, and includes how you find people and what you need to know about the industry. It might also include locating conferences, finding professionals you’d like to work with, such as lawyers and brokers and bankers, and preparing internally for the deal.

If you’re already in a deal-making discussion, you’ll also want to do the necessary due diligence with your possible partner. You should thoroughly check any person or organization you’re considering making a deal with, whether it’s a joint venture, acquisition, or something else altogether.

Other areas to do your due diligence include legal, financial, cultural, systems/integrations, technological, investment approaches, and more. Be sure to think through what your situation calls for!

Step #8: Start Negotiating

This is an area I’m passionate about, as witnessed by my best-selling book, Authentic Negotiating, and the many podcasts I’ve done on this topic. This includes both actual negotiations and the process of getting the deal officially closed.

If you have a few deal-making templates based on your structure, for instance, this may be where you make some tweaks and customize the deal to the person or company your working with. Although you need to remain open to who you’re working with, you also want to balance your own needs and process against that. 

Ideally, you won’t fundamentally alter your deal-structure during this process, because you want to be able to use those templates to make deals scalable and repeatable.

Once negotiations are done, ideally your lawyers are able to complete it easily using the templates you’ve already put in the work to create.

Step #9: Think About Positioning

Once you’ve closed your deal, you’re not done yet! (Even though it seems like it might be.)

Even before you close the deal, you want to start thinking about positioning. This includes how you’ll announce the deal within your industry or marketplace. You should think through how you’ll want this communicated, and how you want it to be received.

If you’ve completed a merger, for instance, you should be communicating about what major partners may be staying on (or leaving), how you’re going to talk about it, and what you want the market to know from your part of view. You may also need to consider how your deal partner would like this positioned.

In addition, you’ll want to consider internal positioning. Often high-level executives are at the deal-making table, but there are many employees and personnel who are going to be impacted as well. How can you position the changes well and create employee buy-in so that you can retain (or begin creating) a strong shared culture.

Your people may be worried about increased workloads, new technology, changes to the pay scale, or decreased opportunities for promotion. Positioning is a way to address these things and create positive momentum.

Step #10: Start Integrating

Acquisitions, mergers, and many other deals require many parts, pieces, and team members to integrate. From choosing a cohesive CRM to selecting a method for communicating between team members or closing out a sales process, you’ll need to ensure that you have a strong integration plan.

Affiliate deals, joint ventures, and more also require integration because they’re asking people to work together. So many clashes, including technological and financial, can keep an otherwise great deal from succeeding. It’s vital that you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure that you’ve planned for your deal to last long into the future. 

When you follow these deal-making steps, you’ll position yourself for long-lasting, successful deals. That’s the best way to ensure ongoing success.

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. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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

 

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

Preparing for a Strong Exit

Jay Offerdahl and his father, Brad, founded Viking Mergers & Acquisitions in Charlotte, NC in 1996. Now, Jay is the president, and he specializes in mergers & acquisitions, customized exit strategies, succession planning and seller representation. He’s a master of preparing businesses for a strong exit! In addition, Viking Mergers & Acquisitions also handles divestiture services for the mid-market company. They have dedicated and experienced advisors, and a passion for serving business owners. 

Since 1996, Viking’s team of professional advisors have successfully closed on sales of more than 600 businesses. Their team is uniquely positioned to help you navigate through a successful transaction. The majority of their advisors are former business owners themselves. They have been in your shoes and they know the unique challenges of buying and selling a business.

Listen to the DealQuest Podcast.

Following in His Dad’s Footsteps

Growing up, Jay remembers his dad buying and selling large machinery. Like many kids, he gravitated towards wanting to do what his dad did. Later, when his dad bought his first company and got into entrepreneurship, that appealed to Jay as well. He seemed to always believe that his own career would somehow connect to what his father did.

And, ultimately, it has! Not many people have actually co-founded a thriving business with a parent, but Jay and his dad have had great success with Viking Mergers & Acquisitions

By the time he was preparing to graduate from Appalachian State University, Jay did some job hunting and interviewing. However, he didn’t spend much time as an employee before becoming an entrepreneur. Like many, in hindsight he can see that he was spending way too much time working in his business. 

Having learned so many lessons about building a business from the ground up, Jay is very aware that his own experiences have made him especially successful at working with other entrepreneurs and business owners now.

First Deals

The first deal Jay remembers being a part of was setting up a candy store kiosk in a local mall. He thought he’d hit paydirt at 22 years old, and was thrilled to get started. Now, he laughs a bit about that and has fond memories of his humble beginnings.

One of his major takeaways is that there is no substitute for hands-on time on the job. You have to get in the trenches and learn what works and what doesn’t.

In every business he’s been a part of, Jay has seen things that really work, and things that don’t. He’s had to learn what his own philosophies and processes will be, and also what he doesn’t want to be part of his business.

Intentionality plays a large role in this, and that same intentionality has been a major part of determining who he serves, and what kind of deals he’ll take on today.

I Don’t Live to Work

Jay shares that he doesn’t want to get on a plane unless he’s doing it for leisure. He doesn’t want his advisors to have to do so either.

As a result, Viking has intentionally chosen to craft a business model that allows them to serve well, without pushing them to revert to “working to live”. So far, it seems to be working well!

Because of the nature of their work, Jay also shared that a “repeat” client might be someone they see every 10 years! Their clients are doing transactions, and in some ways the work that Jay’s team is doing is transactional as well. That doesn’t mean they aren’t building relationships, of course! It does mean, however, that they aren’t generating ongoing revenue from subscription-type models that enable you to build profits from repeatedly working with the same people or groups.

Instead, they have to continually pursue new deals with new organizations. After all, how many times does a single entrepreneur or owner have a company to sell that’s valued in the millions, or tens of millions, of dollars?

Why Do You Start a Business?

Having seen hundreds of transactions over the years, Jay notes that many entrepreneurs lose sight of the fact that the successful end to their business is to sell it for a profit. No one will be here forever, and the options available are to either close up shop, or to sell.

Being prepared to sell can ensure that your work will live on, and can also prepare you to enter your retirement years with a solid footing.

It’s essential that you’re thinking about the right time to turn equity into cash in your pocket. Some of this is based on feel, much like the stock market. 

Jay also jokes that nepotism can create problems here. It can be tempting to simply hand over the business you bootstrapped from the garage in its early days, but it’s often not the most helpful way to ensure success. He compares it to buying your teenager a brand new sports car on their 16th birthday. You could do it, but it’s likely not a great investment.

Instead, he recommends that you secure your own retirement first buy selling your business, then taking a percentage of those proceeds and use it as a down payment on a smaller business that you can plan to coach your heirs through building on their own.

The reality is, 2nd and 3rd generation businesses have profoundly poor outcomes. Some of that may be connected to the idea that a business should just be handed over to the incoming generations, without making payments. 

In fact, Jay notes that when his dad was ready to retire, he bought him out. It’s a legally completed deal, and Jay did have to take on debt, and risk, to make it happen. However, he thinks that’s an important part of ensuring that he’ll show up, go the extra mile, and be committed to achieving success in his own right long into the future.

The Deal-Making Table

Jay believes that a buyer is paying for what the seller has accomplished, but is buying because they see the opportunity to realize greater success. If a company seems perfect, that can also mean there is little to no room to actually grow, which is actually a downside.

I’ve seen deals fall apart because the buyer is attracted to a company, but isn’t able to see margin for improvement. There can be a sort of ceiling, or cap, that makes a potential sale seem less attractive, and that’s something to be aware.

Funny enough, even though growth margin is a good thing, sometimes the person selling their company can get offended or upset if weaknesses (which are also the growth areas) are named. The ego can get involved and want to insist that nothing is a problem.

Plus, going to market can feel emotional, even when ego isn’t a problem. Your business is incredibly close to your heart, and is often something you’ve poured years of sweat and tears into. Jay counsels clients to really focus on creating consistent results that are intentionally designed with an exit strategy in place. That way, you can go out on your terms, rather than having the sale dictated to you.

Do Your Due Diligence

Professionals know what buyers are looking for. Jay and I are both very familiar with what sorts of questions are going to come up. We’re also skilled at helping you navigate them.

As Jay notes, due diligence and preparing to sell can literally feel like a second full job. If you’re not prepared for that, you can quickly become overwhelmed. Due diligence is the opportunity for the buyer to really assess their risk. Understandably, most of them want to dig into the minutiae in order to ensure that your business will be a good fit for them.

No one wants a lemon, and failure to do due diligence can result in deals that should have never happened.

Listen in to learn more about Jay and I’s thoughts on due diligence and preparing for a strong exit.

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. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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

 

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Acquisitions and Exits

When Jessica Fialkovich sold her first business a decade ago, she had no idea where to start. Fortunately, she was able to exit successfully and then buy her next business. For almost ten years, she has built the fastest growing and most successful business brokerage firm in the U.S. But she also realized that business owners that came to her firm to sell were often not prepared. Although thousands of experts will teach you how to start a business and how to grow one — very few will teach you how to sell. So she decided to pull back the curtain about how the business sales process works and give buyers and sellers the tools to successfully (and profitability) complete transactions, including acquisitions and exits.

Jessica is passionate about small business and the entrepreneur community, and holds board positions for Entrepreneur’s Organization and The Fight Back Foundation. Over the past 7 years, her team has completed $250 million+ in transactions. This includes working directly with over 1,500 business owners, being involved with 350+ deals, and giving over 10,000 entrepreneurs guidance about buying and selling businesses

Early Aspirations

Jessica grew up on a horse farm, and dreamed of being a large animal veterinarian. After experiencing blood, however, she realized she didn’t want to go into a career that involved surgery.

Eventually, she moved on to an early high school job as a telemarketer at a gym. She was able to close a few memberships, and was proud of her success. (She also remembers how scary sales felt to her at the tie!) Those are some of the first deals that Jessica remembers donig. It reminded me of some of my early deals with gyms. When they first moved to a 30-day subscription model, some people thought it was ludicrous. After all, they had previously had people locked into annual contracts!

It was a great move, however, because people were more open to entering into a contract that they felt they could end if needed….and hopeful enough about their habit changes that they would tend to maintain the membership anyhow!

Lessons Learned

Jessica started her first business in 2009, which was mid-recession. Her and her husband had seen friends do well with wine, and they decided to open a wine tasting bar in Naples, Florida.

They quickly got into luxury wine dealing, including bottles that sold for $25,000 each. In addition to being a great business, they got into at the right time. As online wine buying started to take off, they decided to close their physically located business and relocate to Colorado.

When she started asking around about how to sell a business, she was only able to find one person to guide them through it. Although it was a great deal (60 days, all cash, 2 weeks of training), Jessica also felt that she had done a lot of the leg work. The broker wasn’t that involved, and a lot of the process steps, like due diligence, fell to her.

A Whole New Industry

The experience showed Jessica that there was an entire industry that was going largely untapped and unnoticed. 

After all the work to start, launch, and grow businesses (things there was plenty of support for in the market), there was little guidance for how to exit one well. No one seemed to be talking about it, which piqued Jessica’s interest.

Upon moving to Colorado, they launched their business brokerage firm there. In the process, Jessica decided to pull back the curtain about how the business sales process works. Her desire was to give buyers and sellers the tools to successfully (and profitability) complete a transaction. 

I’ve seen this as well; too often, we’re not taught how to create enterprise value and position ourselves for a strong close.

Business Brokerage Market Research

In the process of doing her market research, Jessica found that the acquisitions and exits process always tended to be similar, but the experience could vary widely. She wanted to bring support and assistance to every level. After all, many business owner’s retirement was tied up in the sale of their business.

Jessica set out to deliver investment banking level services for small businesses. One way this was accomplished was by providing their brokers with a whole back office team, including buyer reps and other resources. This team approach was designed to offer the ultimate support and comprehensive services.

One reason that services had tended to lack in this industry is that larger deals are more lucrative for brokerage firms. 

When the deals and organizations involved are smaller, Jessica shares that they have to be much more process oriented so that they can close more deals than a larger firm would. Last year, in fact, they closed over one hundred! One positive thing about this business model is that their risk is much more diversified.

Working at that scale also means that processes are key.The back office and admin team allow the brokerage team to do more deals, while still providing highly personalized services.

Starting as a Franchisee

When they got started with the brokerage, there was a defunct office in Colorado that they acquired. Their growth continued as a result of ongoing acquisitions. Eventually, it led to offices in Dallas and Vegas.

Jessica notes that the franchise’s owner had a very similar outlook in terms of where the industry was going. In addition, he emphasized process and resource pools as well. Being able to work with offices across the country has helped Jessica and her team access necessary resources and continue to position themselves well in the current marketplace. 

Scaling and fast growth have been beneficial outcomes that have resulted from the systems and expertise of the network as well. Jessica notes that, whatever deal comes up, she knows there is something in her network that will be able to offer guidance if she wants extra support.

Once you understand how to operate a business within an industry, deal-flow naturally comes to you. Jessica notices that many opportunities have come to them as a result of their reputations as top-performing franchise owners.

A Tale of Two Markets

After the last year and a half of chaos and pivots, Jessica feels that she’s seeing two markets emerge.

On the one hand, it’s a buyers market in many regards. In terms of picking up second and third markets, or breaking into an industry, well positioned buyers are making gains. Because of low performances over the last 18 months, many industries are more accessible than ever. A deal that would normally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a buyer could happen today for fifty.

Alternately, industries that remained stable or performed well during the last 18 months are in a seller’s market. There is a lot of money being poured into garnering deals in industries that have proven to work. Lending has also  been more available than it sometimes is, which allows sellers to walk away with much more cash than normal.

In terms of industry, Jessica notes that the winners and losers have been very clearly defined due to the current economy. 

To hear more about her thoughts on acquisitions and exits, as well as on today’s market, listen in today!

 

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

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

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Deal-Making Like a Producer

From Broadway to broadcasting, Dean McFlicker’s unique trajectory gives him a one-of-a-kind perspective, as he combines his creative prowess with business acumen. Dean has produced for NBC, HBO, CNN, E! NewsDaily, Good Morning America and more. As you might imagine, he’s been involved with a lot of phenomenal shows! Dean helped launch countless hits as Senior Vice President of Promotional Programming at NBC as well.  Those include This Is Us, The Voice, America’s Got Talent, The Biggest Loser, Friday Night Lights, and all of NBC’s live musicals. What a resume! (And this is just a glimpse of the work he has done.) If you want to learn about deal-making like a producer, listen in now.

I always love talking with folks who are coming from creative backgrounds. They often offer a new perspective on deal-making. (Also, shout out to former guest Li Hayes for connecting Dean and I!)

The Curved Path to Success

Dean notes that, like most people, he’s been on a curving path to success. 

As his ambitions and opportunities have ebbed and flowed, he’s gotten to experience many elements of the performing and entertaining world. It all started, however, with Dean being what he described as a “ham”. He was one of those kids who just always loved to put on a good show!

Early on Dean would create a script, produce it, and sell tickets. He’d also round up all the neighbor kids to be performers. Apparently he’s always been a director and producer at heart! In addition, he did his own performing. From his backyard start he moved on to Hollywood, singing, dancing, and acting. (He was an original cast member in the Disney musical Newsies. Apparently it’s actually more popular now than it was when he did it!)

Although his early days were in front of the camera, he was eventually happy to make the move to being behind them. It was a slow transition, moving from choreography to directing and working his way up. Part of his success came from being open to many opportunities. Dean often said “yes” to joining new projects and trying new things, including being an assistant writer, director, and producer for various shows.

Early Deal-Making

Dean considers his early backyard theater productions to be his first deal-making experiences. From wrangling neighbor kids and getting them to do what he wanted them to do, including getting them to take on parts and show up for rehearsals, to getting supplies for sets and costumes, Dean was practicing his deal-making savvy early on.

So much of what Dean was doing in his backyard required him to bring together key people and form relationships. In fact, it required many of the same skills that would eventually make him an excellent creative director. 

Now, Dean notes that what he does is really the art of bringing together all of the different disciplines to make one cohesive entertainment package. That’s just like business, where you bring together many disciplines (budgeting, marketing, sales, HR) to move your business forward. For that reason, Dean thinks a good producer is a lot like a CEO, as both are responsible for bringing together all of the different elements of an organization.

The Art of the Creative Deal

Dean notes that deals are definitely an art, and they can come together in many different ways. For example, last year he produced the world’s first Minion’s Holiday Special. This brought together multiple large entities (Universal Pictures, Illumination Studios, and NBC Television). As you can imagine, with that many players involved, deal-making is automatically involved.

Now, Dean also has his own production company, McFlicker Media, where he also produces for businesses. After all, great story telling isn’t limited to entertainment. At the end of the day, it’s also the heart of marketing. When producing for businesses, marketing related deals might include bringing in the perfect celebrity endorsement, or involving the star salesman for a particular division and making them part of what’s happening.

As an example of another sort of marketing deal, Dean shared that when you’re watching a movie, you’ll often see many different “vanity cards” denoting various film and production companies. In exchange for what they’re offering behind the scenes of a film, they’ve made deals that guarantee they’re getting seen and acknowledged as well. All of those sorts of industry norms are based on deal-making, including alliances and endorsements.

Not Just Features and Benefits

Part of marketing and experiencing organic growth revolves around telling the story. It’s not enough to just list features and benefits and expect to make a sale, or to close on a deal. 

Dean says that he sees the act of storytelling in a business capacity as being another form of producing. In business, as in life, you get to produce the story that you want to see unfold. Much like in the movies, this can be done really well, to great success….or really poorly, for a complete flop.

A natural fit that matches the product and audience while tapping into something true and relatable is the most powerful way to experience organic success. When you do this right, you’re able to build meaningful relationships. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I strongly believe in relationships as being an integral part of deal-making!

We are Conscious Creators

Although there are things that happen outside of our control, I very much believe that we are conscious creators in our own lives. We have an exceptional amount of power to consciously create in our own lives.

About 10 years ago I was at a business event and one of the sessions I went to was about living your ideal life now. It was encouragement to stop working so hard now and putting off all these things we are going to enjoy till “later”. Instead, we can find a way to create and live our ideal life now. That was a huge mentality shift for me, and it’s altered my life over the last decade.

Dean’s TED talk, How to Get What you Want: The Producer’s Perspective is very similar! In it, he shares that you can consciously take charge of opportunities and make decisions that allow you to create your best life and business now. One way that Dean does this is by using the narrative perspective, as well as other key film and television points that can be helpful in any situation.

(Listen in for two of his top tips now; you’ll find them around minute 20!)

Integrity is Key

One important note on using narrative and story is that they must be real and authentic. Anyone can create a story….but if that story is used to fool or deceive someone into making a decision or entering into a deal, they won’t want to work with you again.

As he’s moved into working with more corporate clients, Dean has found that assisting them in creating truthful, compelling stories has been a key part of his work with them. In order to have customers return again and again, they need to know that you’re being honest.

If it comes to light that the story you told was really just a story, and that it doesn’t align with the sort of culture or values that you had been presenting, you’re going to have problems! Whether that means losing customers or seeing a deal slip through your fingers, you’ll definitely experience fallout.

Dean has such an amazing background, and his episode is so interesting!

Listen in to the full show to learn more about his work in advertising, and the tips he has for using deals to decrease overhead and uplevel opportunities.

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. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Deal Preparation: 5 Steps Towards Success

When I do whiteboard sessions with my deal-making clients, I frequently cover 10 specific steps that help us move towards success. This process is especially key for those who want to be part of ongoing deals. As I’ve seen, the more deals you have going on, the more important it becomes to be strategic and follow a process that works for you. Ready to uplevel your own deal preparation? Listen in to the whole episode, or read on below!

(I’ll cover the first 5 steps today. Stay tuned for my next solocast to get the other 5!)

1. Know Why You’re Making the Deal

Before you get in too deep with any deal, it’s essential that you have a fundamental understanding of why you want to pursue this deal. Is this about growth? Diversification? Furthering your purpose? Positioning yourself for further acquisitions?

The reality is, some of us are motivated to enter into deals for all the wrong reasons. I’ve watched people make deals that increase revenue while actually reducing profit. Some deals are driven by ego rather than anything truly meaningful. As much as I love deals and am a huge proponent of them, I think we have to understand that they aren’t always the best idea.

Finally, when you understand your why, you can communicate that with your partners and other stakeholders. That includes lawyers or negotiators, like me, that are involved in the deal.

2. Who Are You Targeting?

If you’re doing multiple deals, you need to have a target in mind. A haphazard search or method for connecting just won’t cut it, especially if you’re serious about making deals a sustainable part of your future.

Who are you looking for? What are your criteria for your potential targets? What are you trying to add to your business?

Whether you’re looking for acquisitions or affiliates (or something else altogether), it’s key that you take the initiative to understand who they are. In addition, you should understand how that pertains to your why.

3. Build Your Value Proposition

We’re all used to differentiating ourselves from the competition in order to generate sales or gain traction. However, we don’t always think about creating a value proposition for our deals. Doing so makes sense, though!

If you know your why, and you know who you’re targeting, you should be able to communicate why doing the deal holds value for them. What makes it worth their time? Why is this going to be in their best interest?

Just being “nice” people, or having a great company, doesn’t cut it here! Also, the deal structure or model is not the value proposition. (Those things are what you create to deliver on the value prop itself.)

So, what’s the value? Why is this deal, be it an acquisition, affiliation, joint venture, or something else, worth bringing these particular parties to the table? When you’re clear about this, you’re able to both qualify amazing partnerships and disqualify those who won’t be a great fit.

4. Get the Right Resources in Place

Before you create your deal model and choose a structure, you need to identify and get in place the correct resources. This can include internal resources, human talent or skills, capital, systems or processes, information needed, and relationships with 3rd parties. I encourage clients to do a resource map to tangible write down what is already in place as well as what is needed.

In order to be fully prepared for a deal, you need to know what you have and what you need.

5. Choose a Deal Model

First off, deal models and deal structure are not the same. (I’ll kick off the next solocast with more on the distinctions between the two!) 

Your deal model is how you’re going to do these deals. For example, in a licensing deal, you may have an exclusive or a non-exclusive model. Within those categories, there are more you can break the deal down into. From expectations around the number of deals sold, to clarifications on geographical boundaries, these factors are part of the deal’s model. 

The goal here is not to create a “menu” with a bunch of listings. Rather, the goal is to develop a model that keeps things consistent, scalable, and usable as you grow. The more deals you do, the more important it becomes to have clarity around your own deal models.

As you build your model, you can take into account your why, who you’re targeting, and what your value proposition is. In addition, it will be based on what resources you have in place. The model ties all of these elements together and sets you up for deal-making success!

If you just do 1-5, you’re on your way towards becoming an excellent deal-maker! Stay tuned for 6-10, where I’ll deliver more on structure.

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. He is deeply 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

A Deal-Making Salesman

Carson Heady is the best-selling author of the “Birth of a Salesman” series. He’s consistently ranked in Top 20 Sales Gurus in the world and in the Top 50 Sales Authors on LinkedIn. Carson has held senior leadership and sales roles across four companies, including AT&T and now Microsoft. He’s currently the Sales Director for Microsoft Health & Life Sciences. In addition, he has extensive experience in operations & regional sales leadership, strategic planning, motivational management, P&L, advertising, marketing, and more. Along the way, Carson has proved that he isn’t “just” a salesman. He’s become quite a pro at the complexities of deal-making as well.

You can listen to our full interview here.

Sales vs. Deals

Long time listeners might be curious about why I’m bringing on a guest with such a dynamic, sales-based resume. After all, I frequently make the distinction between “sales” and “deals”. The reality is, they are different!

However, organic growth from sales and deals is not mutually exclusive. Here on Episode 133, I’m excited to bring Carson in to share more about how sales and deals can work together to benefit an organization. (My last guest who was a pro in the sales space was Daryle L. Johnson on Ep. 82.)

Getting His Start

Looking back, Carson notes that he definitely wasn’t planning on sales as a kid. In fact, he had pretty normal childhood ambitions of being an astronaut. (He also remembers wanting to be a writer, which is a dream he did achieve!)

After college, with no real plan for what he wanted to do, Carson ended up in a sales role. He had actually thought was going to be more customer service related. However, it was a very one-call-closed transactional based environment when he started. As he worked his way up and learned more, however, he realized how much nuance there could be. This was especially true in longer-term sales cycles.

As he developed her expertise beyond simple sales, Carson recognized that the “art of the deal” was really about alignment, milestones, and bringing along the right people. Now, he appreciates the distinction between sales and deals. He also believes there is a place for both.

Carson’s first remembered deal was from when he was at AT&T. They landed a large advertising deal with a big name. He remembers lots of different cooks in the kitchen, with many factors and stakeholders involved. The deal’s complexity was part of what helped Carson personally pivot away from the transactional, one-and-done model of sales as he learned more about the bigger picture.

Comparing Sales to Deals

To Carson, a traditional sale usually occurs when there are few barriers to entry, and the entire situation can quickly be surmised. Senior influencers or the board don’t need to weigh in as heavily, or at all, and things can move relatively quickly.

Sales tend to be quick, straight forward, and needs-based.

Deals tend to have more complexity, involve more stakeholders, require more planning and approvals from higher levels, and may take much longer to complete. (Although, of course, there are always exceptions!)

The major differences Carson sees between sales and deals, however, is the relationship factor. With a deal, you are embarking on a mutually beneficial relationship between parties. There are aligned synergies and an intent to work together beyond the moment of completion. Carson and I agree that a future-based expectation for relationship and growth are a major part of what sets deals apart from sales.

Strategic Resources & Deal-Making

As a trusted advisor, Carson notes that his deal-making experience has sometimes included bringing in other resources and organizations that might technically be considered competitors. As a result, he’s developed a very robust partner ecosystem so that solution implementation can occur in many situations.

This fits into the larger Microsoft world, in which the platform has been intentionally developed as an open-source provider. Rather than being the only solution, as a company Microsoft meets people where they are and strives to enhance and work with what clients already have in place.

When looking at deals, this “open-source” concept has served Carson well. He’s open to the major players, connections, collaborations, and resources that others at the deal-making table express an interest in bringing in, and he’s willing to find ways to work with those factors to improve the deal for everyone.

In fact, he can think of deals he’s been involved with that have included 12+ other parties. Ensuring alignment and being able to coordinate bringing all stakeholders together is a major part of creating deals that last.

Deal Transparency

Carson is a major believer in deal transparency. As he’s been called in to finalize deals that have drug out long past their expected closure dates, he’s found that his ability to clearly understand both sides of the table has been key. In addition, he’s able to surmise not only where the other side is, and what they may be struggling with in terms of budget or priorities, as well as what his own organization’s needs are.

He sees himself as both an evangelist and an advocate in the deal-making process. Part of that is always looking for ways to create wins for everyone involved. By putting all of these various factors into a holistic approach to creating a deal that will be a win for everyone, Carson has set himself apart as a really powerful deal-maker.

In addition, I’ve noticed that the best dealmakers are creative. Holistically looking for ways to add perks, create leverage, and build wins for everyone is truly a creative aspect to deal-making.

I really enjoyed Carson’s perspective during this part of our interview; I’d encourage you to listen in here.

Birth of a Salesman

Carson has always enjoyed writing. When at AT&T he was writing a newsletter column that was heavily oriented towards sales, and realized he could write a book. Of course there are already thousands of sales related books out there, so he wanted his to be different.

After writing Birth of a Salesman, which is sort of a book-within-a-book containing both a narrative-style approach and sales principles, Carson pitched it to 1,692 publishers and agents. About 15 actually read the material, and 6 offered to publish it.

Although he hasn’t sold enough books to retire, Carson considers this publishing experience to be one of the best experiences of his life. The relationships formed have been incredible, and, in fact, he can track back his Microsoft offer to connections and opportunities that were open to him as a result of his book.

The overall impact on his career has been phenomenal. It’s also continued building, as he’s been able to publish additional books as a result. His latest, Salesman on Fire, has been the best selling so far.

Carson notes that he’s worked with publishers, agents, and self-publishing opportunities throughout his career. However, he actually got his start by purchasing a book on writing and publishing books and using the tools he was reading about! At the end of the day, almost no one is making enough money on publishing deals to retire (barring major exceptions for well-known authors). However, authors are often able to leverage their published books into larger deals pertaining to speaking, teaching, consulting, and more.

Don’t miss Carson’s thoughts on leveraging social media and influencers, as well as distinguishing between sales and partnerships, which is towards the end of the episode!

LISTEN 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. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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

 

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

Providing Value as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Ramon Ray is a leading expert on small business success. He inspires and educates thousands of business owners every year through his content, events and media interviews. He’s also a four-time entrepreneur who has sold two companies, and a best selling author. His latest and fourth book is Celebrity CEO, all about personal branding. Ramon has shared the stage with many leading business thought leaders, including Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, and Gary Vaynerchuk. Most recently, he’s been named as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Oracle NetSuite. Ramon has also been married for over 25 years and has two adult children. Listen to our full conversation now, or read the show notes below!

(He also shared about influencer and sponsorship deals back on Episode 3 of the podcast!)

Bit By the Entrepreneurial Bug

Ramon was born in the Midwest. From childhood he loved to tinker, play with electronics, and read books. As a young teen he moved to Brooklyn, New York. You can say Ramon’s part “well-mannered midwestern” and part “action-oriented” New Yorker. He studied business administration in college, and one of his first jobs was as a temp staff member doing clerical work at the United Nations. Ramon went on to serve at the United Nations for over 10 years, and was promoted to administrative officer. There, he managed the administrative functions of the NY Office of a UN Agency headquartered in Asia.

While at the UN, Ramon was bit by the “business bug” and started a few small companies. By day he worked hard at the United Nations and by night he worked on his side businesses. This included attending networking events and producing many of his own successful events. Eventually, he left the UN and became a full time entrepreneur. Although Ramon enjoyed rubbing shoulders with diplomats from around the world, his passion was entrepreneurship. His business education and thirst for entrepreneurship was nurtured through the pages of Inc Magazine, Black Enterprise, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Ramon credits much of his education and business influence to many New York area business owners, including Yacov Wrocherinsky. 

The companies Ramon started include a small tech consulting business, Small Business Summit (an event company co-founded with Marian Banker), and a well-known blog, SmallBizTechnology.com. Ramon eventually sold the Small Business Summit to another event company. In 2019, he sold SmallBizTechnology.com to a publisher. Smart Hustle Media, Ramon’s latest passion, allows Ramon to combine his love of entrepreneurship and small business success.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence: New Opportunities Emerging

Earlier this year, Ramon joined Oracle NetSuite as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. He notes that many business-related brands are looking for mini-influencers. In commercial spaces, there are a lot of major influencers for products like clothing, makeup, and more. But in the business space specifically, things begin to narrow. There are a few big names that tend to dominate the space, and then a much larger middle ground. That’s where Ramon sees himself; as a small business influencer in that middle ground.

That’s where Oracle comes in. They have a board, of course, and they spend marketing dollars. However, they realized they didn’t necessarily have that strong personal, or human, element. They needed someone who could be themselves and do their own work, while also adding to who they were and how they presented themselves. As they say: As part of our commitment to provide the resources and expert insights needed, we’re excited to partner with Ramon Ray, entrepreneur and founder of SmartHustle Media, as our first Entrepreneur in Residence. In his new role, Ramon will work closely with our team to help us inspire, educate and better serve business owners and entrepreneurs.”

Because Ramon had already built a relationship with Oracle, he was able to identify areas in which it would make sense for them to partner together. In fact, he was the one who proposed the Entrepreneur-in-Residence title as part of the shift in their relationship! There have been huge benefits for both sides — definitely listen in to hear more about these dynamics.

Building the Trust Factor

As Ramon shared about the ways in which his role with Oracle NetSuite had evolved, I was struck by how essential the trust factor had been. He had shown up as a speaker, gone live, offered feedback, and engaged with the organization on many fronts, over time, before taking on this larger, extended position.

Approaching the company and trying to start with where he is now probably wouldn’t have garnered much interest. By finding ways to engage while consistently providing value, Ramon set himself up to broker a larger deal when the opportunity arose.

He also had other strengths on the table, both tangible and intangible. Email lists, social followers, and a list of reputable connections, interviews, and appearances were key parts of demonstrating his value in the marketplace. Intangible components included his reputation, capacity to continue growing and expanding, and passion for entrepreneurship and small businesses.

That trust factor allowed Ramon to negotiate a profitable deal that allowed both sides of the table to feel excited about their future together. (Listen in to hear Ramon’s thoughts on the “perfect deal”. It includes a consideration of the payoff for BOTH sides.)

Structuring the Deal

Ramon’s deal with Oracle is structured annually. As such, it consists of a variety of “buckets”. For instance, he’s been leveraging relationships with other existing brand ambassadors and influencers. That includes actively identifying ways they can work together, collaborate, or otherwise bring something new to the table. Ramon is also actively involved in helping the organization work on utilizing their brand story. And, of course, he’s a major part of events as a speaker and influencer himself.

One major intangible benefit to Ramon is the credibility provided to him through a deal of this nature. He has been able to remain independent as an entrepreneur, while also receiving the backing and support of a larger organization that instantly adds authority to his name. Although he had done quite a bit of work with Oracle NetSuite in the past, becoming their Entrepreneur-in-Residence was a major shift in that relationship. 

At the end of the day, Ramon keeps coming back to the power of showing value. Value, value, value. You can’t beat showing up and providing value to anyone, at any time. 

No matter what negotiation you’re heading into, knowing that you’ve provided value and will continue to do so will set you up for success.

If you’d like to find out more about Ramon, head over to www.smarthustle.com OR check out www.ramonray.com.

Listen in to the full episode to hear more!

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

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

 

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Repeatable Processes For Organizational Success

As CEO, Martin Hershberger has scaled two companies to 8-figures and beyond. As a small business owner, he’s sold to Apple, HP, and American Express, to name just a few. He has spent the last fifteen years of his career consulting for businesses in the 5-50 million dollar range. Today, he helps business owners and CEO’s prepare for successful transitions by developing and executing strategies for repeatable processes that lead to profitable growth.

Martin believes that many change initiatives fail because they only offer partial solutions. He’s developed a framework that allows every element of an organization to get into sync and support strategies, leading to success. As Martin knows, all too often people underestimate the profitability you can grow with repeatable processes and solid systems. (A few weeks back, DealQuest guest Joel Block talked about the move towards subscriptions. This is a classic form of repeatable processes that lead to profit!)

Early Deal-Making 

Martin shares that being a business consultant wasn’t on his radar as a kid. In fact, he wanted to be a baseball player for the Red Socks. Although that never came to be, he’s pretty happy with how things turned out.

Martin was part of a team of three that shut down a supercomputer division of an organization. As part of that experience, he negotiated settlements for over 300 members. He notes he learned a lot about negotiating there! 

Upon starting his own company, he started signing major deals quickly while experiencing rapid growth. (Their first deal was with American Express!) Of course that feels amazing, but that kind of expansion early on can also lead to all sorts of struggles as well. Martin notes that there were often logistically difficult clients and a lot of specific needs that had to be met as part of these deals. Learning to navigate those was a major deal-making feat that required ongoing strategic planning.

Early Partnership Mistakes

Now, Martin works with industrial manufacturers and supply chain strategies. He notes that he transitioned from corporate to consulting as part of having experienced downsizing in the 4 billion dollar company he was working with. As part of his services for them, he had brainstormed solutions to major problems; problems he realized that everybody was having. He put together his own business plan, based on his prowess at solving systems problems, found a partner, raised funds, and launched his first company.

Building a partnership and raising funds were two major deal experiences he had early on. Martin notes he was incredibly naive when it came to raising capital, and that ultimately it would have been difficult to choose worse partners! Because of how he structured those early deals, Martin ended up with negative net equity almost immediately. Although he was able to sell to major corporations (like Apple and HP), he found he was having to do major “explaining” when it came to his balance sheets. 

Martin’s strategy was always to cash out of that business within 5-10 years. Unfortunately, with five offers on the table, his early investors wouldn’t accept any of the proposed deals. Having come out of the mainframe business, Martin knew that electronics prices were going to fall. As a result, he wanted to be able to get out of the business while it was at a peak, rather than waiting for prices to lower. Eventually, he ended up cashing out; his investors stayed in and ended up losing ground with failing internet sales.

Navigating Those Dotcom Bubbles

I remember the days of the dotcom bubbles and crazy inflation as well! Martin noted that the investors passed on a 20 million dollar deal for the business, because they just *knew* the company would be worth over a hundred in another 5 years. 

In my own 30+ law career, I saw clients navigate huge amounts of money, and put major deals on the table. I also remember how inflation rates were such that you could generate huge revenues but never make any profits. A client of mine was in exactly that position; even though there was a massive amount of money involved, he wasn’t taking anything home. Since then, he’s been able to create businesses that actually create more profit; on the flip side, he’ll never be able to sell them for the kinds of money that his early business went for.

Martin notes that he was seeing those same things, which is what motivated him to sell his shares and move on when he did. His original partner was able to do all right as well, and they left the investors behind to wait for those phantom larger numbers.

Building Partnerships

Although his investment partners didn’t work out, Martin notes that his early business partner was a great fit. Their skill sets and abilities complemented each other well, and they were able to work together to create success. Between them, they had a strong understanding of what they were looking for in a business.

Looking back, however, Martin also notes that they had a verbal understanding rather than a written one. Even though things ended well, that was more luck than anything. If there had been problems, it would have been really difficult to navigate them since nothing was in writing. Now, Martin would never do that again!

Finding That First Deal

When Martin was getting his business started, he knew that everyone was going to be worried about working with them. After all, no one wants to be the first to work with a new company, no matter how innovative their ideas are. (Or maybe especially if their ideas are innovative!)

Their first deal was based on a combination of solid systems, great salesmanship, and strategy. Martin knew that the client wasn’t going to be able to find anyone else who could offer what they could in terms of shipping. In fact, he sent them to FedEx to ask about their options so they could hear it from them themselves! He’d have them go there first, then he’d get them at the table and present his own value proposition.

Martin notes that he had some advantages here. He deeply understood the problem, and he had an excellent value proposition. Because he understood the larger picture that the industry operated within, as well as the more specific picture of how he could shrink a particular company’s pipeline, he was well positioned to make deals. 

Not many people can say that, as a competitive advantage, they actually sent people to the competition to learn exactly what their options were!

Repeatable Processes & Systems

Creating repeatable processes and systems makes a major difference when it comes to selling out or making deals! Martin’s philosophy is that any company should always be ready to sell if needed, and part of that means having systems in place.

An early client had commented to Martin, “You know, when I want to sell my company, no one wants to buy it.” Why? Because he wanted to sell in a downturn. By having systems and processes in place, as well as a transition plan in the back of their minds, business owners can actually position themselves to sell when they have the most leverage. (Which is much better than having to settle for what you can get in a buyer’s market!)

This is achieved by preparing yourself personally and your business organizationally to be ready to sell. Too many owners have a vague idea that of course they’ll want to get out at some point….but when they feel ready to sell they are so enmeshed in the business that it’s not clear what would happen if they left it.

Repeatable processes, clear systems, and the understanding that you will have to leave at some point can help remediate this. Martin recommends that business owners focus on repeatable success, which comes from systems and processes!

Listen in to the full episode here to hear more insights about repeatable processes and systems. They are the force that will enable you to exit when the time comes!

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. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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

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

Breakthroughs In Health & Deals

For over three decades Dr. Patricia Boulogne has helped thousands of people solve their lifestyle medicine problems & have health breakthroughs. She helps her clients who are sick, overweight, and tired finally release lifelong weight problems, chronic diseases and genetic disposition to restore energy and vitality! Dr. Boulogne accomplishes this by making sense of complex and challenging problems and situations quickly and with measurable results. She’s also the author of the bestselling book, Why Are You Sick, Fat, and Tired?.

Her services are truly unique, as she uses Functional Medicine to target the root of a problem and doesn’t chase symptoms or ignore important signs that may become a disease that will kill you. Genes can’t be changed. However, you can change the message genes receive from the environment. Diet and lifestyle medicine solutions tailored to what counts: Results.

Early Dreams & Deals

For a whole lot of people, what they’re doing is not what they expected to be doing when they were kids. Pat is no exception! Although she often played doctor (and was never a nurse or a patient), she doesn’t remember ever exactly saying or thinking that she would be a doctor one day. She did, however, always enjoy science and running little experiments.

Now, Pat has her MA in Oriental Medicine. She is passionate about working with patients to help them heal lifestyle related problems.  (Listen in to learn why drinking hot tea can help cool you down!)

The earliest deal Pat remembers was running a lemonade stand near her house. She’d purchase the lemonade and supplies, and even put up signs directing traffic from a nearby shopping mall. Later, she moved into shoveling snow and babysitting, both classic early entrepreneur adventures.

Stronger Than Medicine (And Adversity)

 Pat shared that, at the moment, she’s busy rewriting and upgrading her existing course, Stronger than Medicine. This is geared towards busy female executives who want to increase their ability to be present and connected rather than overtired and stressed.

This connects to a lot of Pat’s work; she started in chiropractic care and loves helping people heal without relying on traditional medications or approaches.

One of the things I talk about is how anyone in any kind of business can make deals. Pat’s early chiropractic experience is a great example of this. She started out working with someone who had a great model for an office. After about a year, Pat had her husband start looking for potential practices coming on the market.

Initially, they attempted to get a conventional loan, but they didn’t have enough credit. Finding out they couldn’t qualify for a $25,000 loan was extremely demoralizing! It felt like such a small amount of capital, with a clear conversion into a business — but the answer from the bank was no.

As a result, they pivoted towards an SBA loan. They were able to piece the proposal together and fill in gaps, and the money came through. (Listen in to hear how the bank still tried to withhold funds, and why silence can be so powerful!) By the end of the year, the business had revenues 6x what Pat and her husband had purchased it for. In fact, she was able to purchase needed high ticket equipment with cash.

Selling Out & Moving Up

For the first 4-5 months after buying the business, Pat and her husband were on their own with the business. When they had made the purchase, the office was seeing about 30 patients per week. By the end of the year, they were seeing 125.

Their growth came from networking and doing in-office talks. They made growth goals, and Pat managed the practice by statistics. She knew what their goal was for the week, and she always kept at least 20 cards on hand. From canvassing the local health food stores to visiting area college campuses, Pat was motivated and determined. The practice continues to grow, at an average of 15-20% per year.

Eventually, they hit the cap of how much they were able to take on. This also coincided with Pat’s divorce, leaving her to run the practice solo after buying her ex-husband out. She shifted into hiring the right people that would allow her to continue running the office. (Including her handy Post-It note CRM system.)

Pat also started doing interviews and engaging with media and other groups. She spoke to her local Rotary and Lions Club, and visited any club or organizations that would have her. This organic growth sustained her practice and enabled her to flourish. It also set her up for a very successful deal when it came time to sell the practice.

When it came time to sell, Pat started looking for the right person to handle the marketing of the practice. She had a full assessment done, and was able to sell within 3 months, which was incredibly fast for the industry. (Plus, she got the full price she was asking for.)

Organic Growth & Final Sales

Although Pat grew the practice with the intention of keeping it, it was a huge relief to be able to sell it when the time came.

A powerful lesson illustrated here is that there are no downsides to organic growth. While Pat was actively working, organic strategies increased her revenue streams and success. Those increases greatly impacted her assessed value, and likely contributed to the quick, full-priced turn around when it came time to sell.

Being able to leave her business (at profit), allowed Pat to step into the next part of her journey. Her writing, courses, and consulting work are driven by her passions, and she’s so glad that she did not tie herself to a private practice that she was never able to leave. Too many business owners tie themselves to businesses that no longer bring them joy or profit; properly preparing to exit can help you avoid that!

Overall, the deal came together quite well. One note: Pat shared that there had been no clause to prevent the buyer from pre-paying. He made a final large payment unexpectedly on Dec. 27, which wreaked havoc on Pat’s taxes that year. If she could go back, she would definitely have addressed that contingency!

To learn more about deal-making in the healthcare industry, listen in to the full 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!