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

Finding Valuable Deals that are Worth Pursuing

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

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

Grow Disrupt: Decreasing Overwhelm with Connections

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

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

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

Finding Valuable Deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Desperate Deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leverage Organic Growth With Deals

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

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

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

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

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

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Deal-Making

Learn From Your Deals

We have already explored a lot of different ways that you can grow your business inorganically through deals. This time, I want to look at deals on a more personal level. I have done many deals and negotiations for other people as an attorney. But I’ve also done them for myself as a dealmaker. Some have gone well, while others provided great lessons. However, every deal has increased my capability as an entrepreneur, investor, partner and attorney.

Lessons of Early Entrepreneurship

I was familiar with entrepreneurship by the age of fifteen when I started my first business and managed real cashflow. I built a book of accounts and a team of employees, and we distributed flyers and other marketing materials for local businesses. It yielded roughly $300 a week and provided my first lesson in doing deals. The experience didn’t sink in until later. I didn’t recognize the monetary value of the accounts themselves. I didn’t even think about selling them but, instead, just closed the business when I left for college – a lost opportunity and good learning lesson.

In college, I managed to strike a deal with Clare Rose that gave me one of two distributor’s slots for beer kegs on campus. That provided a variety of perks, as I’m sure you can imagine. But in undergrad, law school, and beyond, the enterprise mindset was always present. Whether I purchased equity in small businesses or pursued side projects like real estate, I was always looking for new ways to do deals.

Higher Stakes Deals

With great opportunities, you need to act quickly, and I lost a few of those when I was younger due to a lack of capital. Partnerships can be restrictive, but they can also be a solution. I went into a real estate partnership and raised a fund so we would have money available to be able to act quickly on good deals. However, in real estate deals, everyone is exuberant when things are going well and they run away when a down market hits. We had to pull out of those investments after the investors refused to double down during the recession – another huge opportunity lost.

There are significant challenges for dealmakers of any experience level, but they will always prepare you for the next opportunity. Whether you are doing deals for your business or on the side, there are lessons you can take away from my mistakes and successes alike. Those lessons have led me to a number of deals that have been very successful for me. If you are interested in hearing more about some of the deals I have been apart of, listen to my podcast episode, Growing as a Dealmaker, with Corey Kupfer.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership

The Echelon Partners Deal and Dealmaker Summit

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Echelon Partners Deal & Deal Makers Summit, which was an invaluable experience as both a speaker and an audience member. Echelon’s summit focuses on doing deals in the RIA space, and it was kicked off by expert sessions with 30+ industry experts, enabling us to provide audience members with a half-hour to pick our brains, get to know us and explore any topic that piqued their interest.

Kickoff and Buyer/Seller Challenges

The expert sessions and the dinner that followed were great opportunities for the conference participants to get acquainted with the experts, speakers and each other and network. The next day opened with “Buyers of the Round Table,” featuring Rush Benton of CAPTRUST, Dave Welling of Mercer Advisors and Kurt Miscinski of Cerity Partners discussing the low cost of money and the growing volume of deals. The panelists talked about the challenges associated with evaluating cultural fit with a focus on getting a collective buy-in from leadership and the rest of the team. One of my favorite quotes from that panel is that “culture cannot be acquired or mandated, it must be embraced,” which highlights the problems many executives face with integration. Check out the podcast episode to find out who said it.

Other areas of focus included buyer and seller challenges. On the seller-side, the panel explored why people sell and how selling to a bigger firm can solve problems with time management, talent acquisition, and growth. On the buyer-side, they talked about whether or not it is a seller’s market, why sellers are leaving money on the table, and the impact of funded buyers with impatient capital who are overpaying for deals. The discussion of whether or not we are in a deal bubble in the RIA market and what is contributing to that capped off a well-rounded discussion.

Keynote Debate

The next session was the keynote debate between Pershing’s Mark Tibergien and Echelon Partners’ Dan Seivert which has been a staple of the conference since its inception. Regardless of whether or not Mark and Dan actually believed the stances they were taking, they conducted a formal debate of seven different topics such as “the ideal way to grow with recruiting vs. acquiring” and “sharing synergy value and how it is split.” After each debate topic, they opened it up for questions and discussed their real views on the same topics which provided a lot of insight into the way they see deals.

Additional Panels and Final Thoughts

Following a short break, the conference transitioned to a panel format with the first discussion being centered on working with private equity investors and included Jeff Dekko of Wealth Enhancement Group, Jim Gold of Steward Partners, and Larry Roth of RLR Strategic Partners. The next panel focused on recruiting and breakaway deals, and it featured Bill Willis of Willis Consulting, Jeff Bischoff of Old Greenwich Consultants, and Robb Baldwin of TradePMR. Last up was an interview format of Manny Roman of Pimco on the people’s side of dealmaking.

Next, Dan Seivert took over with a solo session on deal structures, valuation, and transaction trends. Dan discussed the net reduction of advisors each year, the stage where there are peak margins, and what private equity firms are looking for before they invest. We moved back to the panel format in which I was one of the speakers. The topic was the “Battle of the Outside Council,” where Ted Cohen, Chris Frieden, and Dave Mrazik and I conducted a negotiation of a purchase agreement live for the audience. It was a phenomenal experience in which we addressed topics including purchase price adjustment, non-competes, reps and warranties, and employee agreements. Each of us took one buyer-side and one seller-side issue and got into an actual negotiation with real-world scenarios. It was lively, fun, engaging for the audience, and we received great feedback and were told that it was a very highly rated session.

Finally, the last section was on financing options for fueling deals. The panel included Aaron Hasler of SkyView Partners, Ed Swenson of Dynasty Financial Partners, Dustin Mangone of PPC Loans, and Rick Dennen of Oak Street Funding, who talked about capital availability in the market, types of deals they fund and who they focus on.

The event was a tremendous success with great networking opportunities and quality speaker from whom the participants learned a lot. I would highly recommend checking it out next year, and if you haven’t already, tune into the latest episode of my Fueling Deals podcast for a detailed breakdown of valuable takeaways from the conference.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Deal-Making

Overcome the Hand You’ve Been Dealt

Cindy Watson is the founder of Watson Labour Law and more recently, the creator of Women on Purpose and pioneer of the Art of Feminine Negotiation Program. She is keeping the momentum flowing with a scheduled book release this year where she will be launching The Art of Feminine Negotiation: How to Get What You Want From the Board Room to the Bedroom.

One of the things that prompted Watson to pursue this journey of Women on Purpose and the Art of Negotiation was her experience growing up in a rental apartment complex in a tough neighborhood. When she was young, Watson developed a strong passion for creativity and the arts. The only problem was since she came from a family of low financial status, there was a lot more pressure for Watson to capitalize on her strong academic performance and pursue a traditional career path that would guarantee a higher income.

Climbing the Ranks

Now she is based professionally in Toronto as a practicing lawyer, with her own firm close to the town she grew up in. Law is the first field she ever started a business in and Watson claims that “sometimes ‘not knowing’ is the greatest gift we can have.” Although she knew essentially nothing about running a company, her blissful ignorance allowed her to leave a job she was unhappy with to start her own firm. Looking back it seems like a preposterous idea, but that leap of faith ended up serving as a foundation for many great accomplishments to come.

Luckily, everything fell into place because Watson was able to own her value. A lot of people coming from the background she has are either really driven or feel like they’re not enough. Factors like, background, gender, class, race and other things can have a significant impact on what people can accomplish, but most people don’t realize that they can form a conscious decision to fight the circumstances. Women, and particularly women of color have so much more in terms of generations of conditioning, and they are set off with a distinct disadvantage even as early as kindergarten.

Step Into the Arena

When women step into their natural, feminine, intuitive negotiation styles, they can be more effective negotiators than professionals who use typical, masculine negotiation tactics. It can be a real advantage since most people don’t expect women to be good negotiators, especially when considering the expectation that negotiating is all about the bark and the bite. This connotation causes a lot of women to believe that they cannot be good negotiators because they lack the strength to be aggressive and assertive. But assertiveness is only one factor in negotiation among other key components like rapport building, empathy, flexibility, intuition, trustworthiness, and the list goes on.

It is not a question of capability, it is a question of mindset because most of the key successful negotiation attributes are traits that are traditionally considered to be feminine. There is no benefit to overcompensating so you can fit into a perceived “man’s world,” and luckily we are starting to see a generational shift in our society where this is changing. There are two types of negotiations: One will be the start of an ongoing relationship, and the other is a one-off situation that affects your reputation and karma because it is a small world. Real power is being able to use restraint when you don’t have to use it and that is the mark of a mature and experienced negotiator.

In this episode of the Fueling Deals podcast, Cindy Watson joins host Corey Kupfer to tell her story and talk about some of the negotiation wisdom she brings to female professionals through her conferences and book.

Click here to listen to the episode, and make sure to visit fuelingdeals.com for more informative episodes on growing your business inorganically through deals.

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Authentic Deal-Making

No Margin, No Mission

When Dennis Miller was growing up, he dreamt of coaching a college football team to The Rose Bowl, but you might say it’s because nonprofit consultation and training wasn’t necessarily a booming industry at the time. Fifteen years ago, he started a business doing exactly that and lives out his coaching dream in the medical field instead of on the turf.

Dennis wanted to do something new but he wasn’t sure what it was until he was approached by someone from the regional American Cancer Society who asked him a lot of ‘how-to’ questions about building his board and brand etc. Miller had twenty-five years of experience in the healthcare industry and eventually oversaw two large medical centers where he further developed this skill set. A light bulb went off after that conversation and his new endeavor as a consultant began.

The Nonprofit Search Group

Dennis Miller’s company, The Nonprofit Search Group, specializes in executive recruitment for nonprofit organizations that are seeking presidents, CEOs, and other candidates for high profile positions. Miller has a lot of experience as a CEO with his first title at only thirty-seven years old, so he acts as a coach for clients across a wide array of industries to help them facilitate and achieve their strategic vision. On Miller’s end, this is primarily accomplished by increasing performance on the board level and C-level so that they can have a bigger impact on their community.

Deals in the Nonprofit Space

There are plenty of deals that go on in the nonprofit space, and Dennis Miller encounters these regularly. How you ask? One example would be Miller stepping outside of his label as a recruiter. If one of his clients is looking for a CEO because they are struggling financially, Dennis might recommend that they consider a merger to become an affiliate of another organization with a stronger financial standing. Then he helps facilitate this deal with the two organizations, and continues his search for a CEO. This puts all three parties in a stronger position to succeed, and it is a pure means of inorganic growth.

Mergers and Acquisitions, affiliate agreements, strategic alliances, and arrangements between for-profit and nonprofit organizations are some of the most common deals you see in this space. The reality is, “no margin, no mission.” A lot of nonprofits are starting to recognize the importance of operating more like a for-profit business, because although everyone means well you have to bill and collect to have the means to make a difference. There is a stereotype for nonprofits but it takes real business skills to make one of these organizations successful. Nonprofit is your tax status, not your business.

Down, Not Out

Take it from someone who went from being homeless to one of the youngest, top hospital executives. Dennis Miller was not a good student and he grew up with a lot of hardship and adversity in his household. He couldn’t get into a college and after facing a massive downward spiral, he eventually self-admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital. When he finally started to get on his feet, Dennis’s dad had a bad day and threw him out of the house where he ended up at a dead-end job, living in a boarding house.

After writing every college in the state, Dennis Miller committed to Rutgers, graduated top of his class in two years, then went to Columbia. Miller’s perseverance and determination to charge through obstacles are at the core of his business practices and clients have told him that “you can see our future before we can.” In this episode of Fueling Deals, Dennis Miller shares his story and talks about nonprofits as a business. Click here to listen to the episode.

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Authentic Deal-Making

The Inspiration Behind Launching More Than 50 Tech Startups

As a kid, Peter Dolch always wanted to be a Sci-Fi author. But, as summer approached and he prepared to start his first book, Peter’s father told him that he needed to make money instead. Dolch had no idea that starting his first business that summer would redirect his energy, and lay the foundation for a career of 25 years in managing and launching technology-based startups. Today, Peter Dolch still serves as the Managing Partner for one of his first endeavors—Thaumaturgix, Inc. (Tgix)— a boutique software development and infrastructure company that was twice ranked in the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies List. But, more rewarding than growing Thaumaturgix was the opportunity to help others get on their feet.

During that twenty-five year period, Dolch found inspiration by helping launch over fifty startups, a couple of which were incubated in his office. This inspired him to step back from active engagement with large client projects so he could focus on early-stage startups as a mentor and strategist, sometimes playing a more active role. By offering all of these services, Peter was able to gain equity in the companies he worked with, but it took careful evaluation to put himself in a position where these equity deals were lucrative. Incubating companies was a way for them to try and monetize underused resources while creating new opportunities to grow Tgix inorganically.

Finding the Right Fit

CheetahMail was one of the deals that paid off, and once it was ready for sale they agreed to an exit plan of $36M. However, not all of Peter’s deals work out this way. Regardless of his efforts to critically vet startups based on what Tgix could offer and how the startup’s mission aligned with Dolch’s goals and resources, things happened that were beyond his control. Dolch learned a lot from those failures, but the biggest takeaway is that there are a lot of external factors out of your control that doesn’t necessarily reflect your business decisions. Nevertheless, Peter has defied the odds of startup success because when you are investing your own money and resources you have ultimate control over the deployment of your funds.

Now Peter Dolch is also the Managing Partner at AEON Foundry where he continues his work with budding entrepreneurs in New York City. This position brings new challenges since the outside funding brings more expectations for returns from investors and the dilemma of having capital deployed versus making good business decisions. Peter has a methodical approach to finding new business opportunities, and an open line of communication between him and his veteran investors maintains a productive dialogue where decisions can be made with more efficiency.

At AEON Foundry, Peter has very clear expectations set out with his investors and he is upfront about the fact that the money will be locked up longer than typical capital. But he explains the binary nature of these startup investments, where the business are either going to do really well or flame out. In the long run, with the right investment choices, you’re likely to benefit significantly more from the exit of one or two of the successes than what you lose on the ones that don’t make it.

Angel Investors

Peter also discusses the angel groups he works with and what they do. There are numerous ways for entrepreneurs to go out and get funding, but angel groups try to streamline this process by holding events like accelerators, incubators, pitch events, etc. With these opportunities popping up constantly in Manhattan, investors can focus on a specific vertical that fits their investment strategy. Dolch prefers to work with other people who he can depend upon to do their due diligence, which is why he joined the New York Angels. If an opportunity comes through New York Angels, there is a rigorous vetting process followed by a presentation to the broader angel community.

If you are thinking about investing in similar opportunities, it is important to identify whether or not the company is able to use the cash to achieve an inflection point that dramatically alters the valuation, or positions it to do so. Even if a company has a successful business, there might be an opportunity for them to grow faster – so do your due diligence, and find a deal that resonates with, and is authentic to, you.

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Authentic Deal-Making

Strategies for Business Growth in a Good Market

The U.S. economy is still rising, and business leaders across the country have experienced a decade of increased confidence and optimism. The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in half a century, and the GDP has seen a steady increase for the last ten years as well. During periods of expansion, a myriad of new business opportunities arise, but the majority of entrepreneurs who focus only on organic growth can only take full advantage if they are willing to step outside of their comfort zones and devise a new plan the includes learning how to do good deals in strong markets.

In this week’s episode of Fueling Deals, I lay out a strategy for using inorganic growth to rapidly expand your business in an up-economy. Inorganic growth requires foresight and planning because even with a strong market, there can be major hurdles to finding the right opportunity. Without knowing what to look for, you may fall victim to the pitfalls and challenges – like losing deal discipline – of doing business in a strong economy. That is why I am discussing the special indicators and gaps that I look for when identifying the most lucrative deals under these circumstances.

Identifying Opportunity in a Strong Economy

Consumer confidence, unemployment, availability of capital, and the stock market are all great indicators of where you stand in the business cycle. But, it is difficult to bet on the market, which is why I want you to look to do deals in every phase of the economy. In a previous blog and my last Fueling Deals solocast, I laid out thing to consider for doing deals in a down economy, so this time we take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum in this week’s episode of Fueling Deals.

In an up-market, the availability of capital, cost of capital, and relaxation of investment criteria provide a strong base for crafting a deal-based growth strategy. These circumstances shift the balance toward the entrepreneur and businesses getting the investment due to fundamental supply and demand but also due to the pressure investors often have to deploy capital and get returns.

More money with fewer restrictions can be extremely lucrative, but I must stress the importance of defining strict criteria for your deals to avoid getting into trouble. If you identify opportunities that allow for shortened pathways to fruition, a good economy will only accelerate that process whether it is M&A, joint-venture, strategic alliance or anything else. If, however, you unconsciously bath in the available capital without considering its contingencies and requirements or you take too much money too soon, you can easily make a bad deal.

Deals rooted in synergy and recognizing additional efficiencies and opportunities in a target company will play out faster when the market is up, but if you overpay in any market, it is a bad deal. You need to know your objectives and the upsides going into it, and if the deal is fundamentally sound, you will have enough cushion to ride it out even when a recession hits. I hope the insights in this episode will help you compose a plan of attack for business growth in a strong economy.

For more informative episodes of Fueling Deals that can help you grow your business rapidly and inorganically through deals, please visit www.fuelingdeals.com.

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Authentic Deal-Making

The Changing Face of Wealth Management

The business world has changed in some dramatic ways due to the emergence of modern technologies. The old ways of doing deals are giving way to modern sensibilities, expectations and strategies. How do you make sense of it all?

Meet Dan Seivert, founder and CEO of ECHELON Partners, a leading investment bank and consulting firm in the wealth management and investment management industries. Dan is an expert at dealmaking and helping his clients navigate, strategize and complete deals.

On this week’s episode of Fueling Deals, Dan discusses some of the major changes that have taken place in the wealth management industry in recent years, and he shares his thoughts on the modern face of dealmaking. He shares how the emergence of wealth tech and the prominence of venture capital and private equity are reshaping wealth management as an industry. I hope his wisdom offers you valuable insights that you can apply to your own deals.

Equity Compensation and Wealth Tech

One of the topics Dan discussed during our conversation was equity compensation and its role in an overall compensation package. He shared how his firm, ECHELON, helps organizations strategize and develop equity compensation plans. In Dan’s view, equity compensation can be a wonderful offering for the most valuable talent within a firm, but the offering should be tailored to each firm’s unique circumstances.

Dan also discussed the increasingly important role of wealth technology to the industry at large. As technology has disrupted modern life in general, wealth management technologies have disrupted the wealth management industry. There are key firms who have led the charge, and it is important for any wealth management firm to stay current on the latest tech and trends to remain competitive.

The Age of Private Equity and Venture Capital

Another primary trend Dan has recognized is the growing prominence of wealth management firms being backed by private equity and venture capital investors. This infusion of investment money into the space has certainly altered the way many firms do business.

However, many private equity firms are now competing with one another to enter the space. This increased competition is great for wealth management firms and is exerting force from the other direction, and it is beginning to raise the bar of entry into the space.

As a key player in the wealth management industry and as someone truly experienced in deal-making, succession planning and equity capital, Dan Seivert’s wisdom is invaluable for anyone working in this industry. If you’d like to learn more about Dan Seivert and ECHELON Partners, you can visit their website at www.echelon-partners.com. To find out more about ECHELON Partners’ Deals and Dealmakers Summit, please visit www.dealsanddealmakers.com. For more informative episodes of the Fueling Deals podcast like this one, please visit us at www.fuelingdeals.com.

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Authentic Deal-Making

Finding Funding Sources for Your Business

One of the major challenges many entrepreneurs and new business owners face is in finding the needed funding to invest in their business and help it grow. Not everyone qualifies for a bank loan, but finding alternative sources of financing can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know where to look.

That’s where Kedma Ough comes in. Kedma is a “small business superhero”, author, fifth-generation entrepreneur, and an expert in helping small business leaders and entrepreneurs locate funding for their businesses. Kedma has helped more than ten thousand such business leaders deal with the challenges of entrepreneurship, and she specializes in connecting them with creative funding solutions tailored to their needs and situations.

On this episode of Fueling Deals, Kedma discusses how she first got involved in her work after a divorce and a bankruptcy left her struggling to find funding for her own entrepreneurial endeavor, and she shares the kinds of innovative funding solutions she helps her clients pursue. I know that Kedma’s words of wisdom will be immensely helpful for your business.

The Catch-22 of Getting Credit When You Have None

As a fifth-generation entrepreneur, it was no surprise when Kedma decided she wanted to start a business of her own. The challenge came when she needed to raise start-up funding for her bed and breakfast spa idea. Without current employment or credit to lean on, the bank unsurprisingly denied her request. However, Kedma’s tenacity was a tremendous asset, and she learned how to work around her limitations.

Today, Kedma works as a “small business superhero”, to help other entrepreneurs access critically needed funding through highly targeted sources. The seemingly inescapable trap of needing to have money to get money is one that Kedma is very experienced in helping her clients navigate. Her Target Funding methods help entrepreneurs find multiple funding sources that are tailor-made for their businesses.

Target Funding

As an example, during our conversation Kedma shared the story of a recent, highly targeted funding source looking for new, African American-owned for-profit legalized marijuana businesses in Portland, Oregon. This kind of very specific targeting means that there is reduced competition and businesses that apply have a high chance of being approved. The specific “variables” that make your business unique are also the ones that can help you access business funding from surprising sources, if you know where to look.

One type of funding Kedma touched on specifically during our conversation is called a “forgivable loan.” In this situation, a qualifying business can take out a loan and, should they meet the specific stipulations outlined in the loan agreement, the debt will be forgiven at the end of a specified period of time. Kedma gave the example of a $25,000 loan for a daycare, requiring the daycare to hire and employ five daycare attendants for a minimum of six months. By fulfilling the criteria, the loan would functionally turn into a grant with no repayment requirement.

These remarkable and innovative funding solutions are exactly the kind of superhero work Kedma does for her clients. If you’d like to learn more about Kedma Ough, please visit www.kedmaough.com. To learn more about her book, Target Funding, and the remarkable resources it contains, visit www.targetfunding.com. For more informative episodes of the Fueling Deals podcast like this one, please visit us at www.fuelingdeals.com.

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Authentic Deal-Making

Being a Dominant Force in Your Industry

Mergers and acquisitions aren’t the only types of deals that can help your business grow inorganically, and sometimes it can be helpful to think outside the box. Creative deal-making can supercharge your growth, if you can identify and capitalize on opportunities.

Damon Gersh is a master of recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities like this. Damon is the President and CEO of Maxons Restorations, Inc., an innovative leader in the property damage restoration industry. Damon is a winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Fast Company Award for Leadership, and Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 awards. Damon is also a Past President of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization New York City Chapter, the co-founder of the Gathering of Titans annual entrepreneurial conclave, and the co-founder and Past President of Restoration Affiliates, LLC.

In this week’s episode of the Fueling Deals Podcast, Damon and I talk about some of the innovative and creative deal-making strategies he has employed to turn his business into a leader of the restoration industry. Damon shares how having a passion for his work and aligning his values to his business decisions have helped him create some unique and powerful alliances with competitors in the industry, as well. I hope you are able to learn much from our conversation.

Finding Your Choke Point

One of the keys of Maxons Restorations’ success was when Damon identified and capitalized on the “choke point” of his industry. For the restoration field, this choke point is found in the availability of experienced and capable people who know how to clean up after major disasters. When the 9/11 attacks rocked New York City, Damon recognized that there would need to be intense cleanup efforts for a long time, and he locked down as much of the experienced crews in the city as he could with exclusivity agreements.

Doing so allowed Damon to ensure that the available talent in his field were working for him during the cleanup process, and his army of 1,600 employees were major players in Manhattan’s restoration efforts. This gained his company a significant amount of brand awareness and national recognition. Damon strategically used deals to strengthen his company while shutting out competitors.

Partnering With the Competition

Following the 9/11 cleanup, Damon recognized another opportunity to use deals to help position his company. He formed Restoration Affiliates as a partnership with major competitors from diverse geographic regions as a way to refer clients to other organizations working in areas where Maxons does not operate. Damon realized that the industry is stronger together and was able to unify many players in the industry under one umbrella, despite earlier similar efforts that had failed in the past.

While it may sound counterintuitive, strategic alliances with competitors can often be highly beneficial to all parties involved. Maxons gives and gets referrals through Restoration Affiliates, and they are able to partner on projects too big for competitors to handle alone. As Damon demonstrates, there are many possibilities for deals that can strengthen your company outside of standard mergers and acquisitions. The key is to be flexible in your thinking and recognize opportunities for such deals when they appear.

If you’d like to learn more about Damon Gersh and his company, Maxons Restorations, please visit www.maxons.com or call 1-800-3MAXONS. For more informative episodes of the Fueling Deals Podcast like this one, please visit us at www.fuelingdeals.com.