Machine Transcrpt – Best Way to Build a Business
Cory Miller 00:13
Everyone, welcome back to another Business Value Academy webinar. I’ve got my friend and partner Jeff Meziere CPA, virtual CFO, entrepreneur, operator, husband, father, ordinary superhero, on here to talk about the best way to build a business. This has been on their mind. I mean, we’ve talked about this for several years now, Jeff, like, the ultimate way to build a business. And specifically like the last year, we’ve been like, this is it, this is the next quantum leap in our thinking about how we build and grow businesses.
Jeff Meziere 00:50
Yeah, this is like one of those, it’s just a mindset, right? It is a concept of embracing just a different way to think about your business as an asset.
Cory Miller 01:00
And, and, you know, I remember Jeff, back in the day, probably about 10 years ago, walked into a room that you’re in with eight other awesome men and women who are entrepreneurs in Oklahoma City. I remember the discussions, I was like, you know, before I walked in the room, I probably thought, Man, I’m hitting high score on my video game, coming on in my business, I’m doing great. I know a lot. And I got in there. And I started listening to the conversations and how you all were talking, I was like, This is next level, this is like I was down here at triple A, and now I’m up in the big leagues. But the way I feel about this, what we’re going to talk about, which is the business value mindset, is a quantum leap about how to think about businesses. And I just think as we started to talk about this and reflect on our own exit experiences, this is the only way to build a business.
Jeff Meziere 01:49
Yeah, I was kind of in the same situation for I mean, you talk about that, that peer group that, that you’re that you’re mentioning there. And it was like when I was in my business in the day to day, I was like the smartest person in the room, you know, and not to be arrogant about that. But I was the guy, everybody leaned upon me to like, lead the organization. And I get in a room with other entrepreneurs and other peers. And I’m thinking, Man, these people look at business. And I’ve learned so much from that journey, these people look at business in a completely different way. Right? Just the things that I’ve learned just by being associated with somebody else, and being able to share ideas and concepts and strategies and things of that nature. with people who could actually understand and grasp the concept. They got it right, they understood what I was talking about.
Cory Miller 02:35
Yeah, I, you know, I always equate business to video game. And I remember, like, when I was going on playing, let’s say Atari or Nintendo and stuff, someone would tell me about a move, I’d be like, Oh, I’m gonna do that move all the time. But it felt like I had just advanced the level. And this is for sure how I feel about this. So let’s, let’s dig in. And really, if you’re, if you’re listening into the live webinar today, or the recording, here’s what Jeff and I are going to be talking about. It’s it, if you boil it down to this, it’s have you as an entrepreneur can get everything you really want. And I underline that we and we italicize that on purpose, simply by changing your mindset, your perspective about how you think and build and grow businesses. This is this is how we do it now and how we teach it in the business value Academy as well. So, Jeff, we started thinking about all these things, we started comparing notes, other entrepreneurs ourselves, what do we really want a business? And this is partial list. It’s not the full list, but right, we all want money. What sticks out to you that you want.
Jeff Meziere 03:37
Yeah, I mean, it is it is time, right? Like how we invest our time everybody talks about, you know, when you think about growing a business, there’s there’s so often and it’s always cash and revenue and profit, but it’s not necessarily just profit within this business value mindset, it is the right kind of profit, right? It’s focused effort by the entrepreneur, you know, productivity and structure and how we spend our time, right? That’s that that cadence of of how we operate our business.
Cory Miller 04:08
Yeah, I can’t believe I left out time on this. But, you know, I think about this last one decision making, especially later on in my business, and you were walking with me through all of this, Jeff, even my group, you know, the decisions I was trying to make for the business became harder and harder and harder. Business became more competitive, the market did, customers are starting to shift a ton of money was in a market. And, you know, I think we’ve all for honest, have come to the point where we’re a little bit frozen on decisions, or those times where we’re like, we don’t know what the next step is in the future holds for us and everything. And I know this kind of mindset, this quantum leap, which is not a it’s a it’s a mind shift, change, perspective change. But what all this comes down to you and I talk about this all time for ourselves, and what we do here is we ultimately most of us, entrepreneurs are free Freedom Fighters, we want freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want to do it. Profit might, you know, it might look different, like I want to make a bunch of money, why if you really dig down, it’s like, well, I want to be able to build a house, I want to be able to sell the seas from Washington, this kick, by the way, about learning how to do a catamaran, and being able to do that, that’s part of our freedom. We want to do that. And I know that probably looks different for me to you, too. You know, I know we’re freedom fighters, we want our freedom. We don’t want to be chained to a desk. We want to do the work that’s passionate for us. And but how does freedom for you resonate? Jeff?
Jeff Meziere 05:40
Yeah, freedom for me is really all about time. It’s all about intentionality, right? Being able to do what I want to do, like I actually enjoy working in the business and doing things right. I mean, you know, I’m kind of a spreadsheet human, right. So I mean, finances come really easy to me, but I actually enjoy it. And that’s where I added the most value to the organization. I wanted to spend my time there, I really didn’t care to spend a lot of time in that HR function of dealing with some of those headaches that happen inside of the business. And it comes down to intentionality for me, I wanted the freedom I wanted a revenue. Yes, I wanted to grow something that was profitable, that we could end up selling at some point in time. And I look back on that, and don’t necessarily know that I had a great way of structure of intentionality towards growth. But for me, it was absolutely all about time. It’s the one thing that that each of us have a very finite amount of there is only 24 hours in the day, and how we spend that should be in a joyful way.
Cory Miller 06:41
So if that resonates with you, let us know in the chat. And as always, you can post questions in the q&a button there on the bottom of the zoom app. But let’s let’s talk about our stories connected to this. So Jeff and I had both had, we both build built multimillion dollar businesses, and we’ve sold multi million dollar businesses. And they’re drastically different. But I wanted us to share a snippet of our story. Would you mind sharing yours, Jeff?
Jeff Meziere 07:10
Yeah, as far as the growth itself, I mean, we we went from a very small single desk in the corner of a family pharmacy and grew that to a largest independent dealer of medical equipment in the state. A lot of challenges and struggles along the way, but pretty proud of that journey, focused on customer experience, and building really good healthy relationships with our referral sources, doing quality work for people, helping people and making money. It was a, it was a really good journey, along that way is that, you know, we ended up with a nice strategic opportunity at the end for an exit. And sadly, my story is part of the reason that we’re here today in this business value mindset. And trying to portray this this methodology is that by the time that I understood how my business was actually valued, it was too late, right? Like we were in the middle of due diligence. And an entity had reached out to us and said, We want to acquire your company, provide us the financials. And when I started looking at I was like, oh, man, there’s so many things that I could have done. Right? Had I known that that was the the lever that you were looking at that that was the one key factor that you were looking at, in valuing my company, I could have done so many things differently. to beef up that number specifically, right?
Cory Miller 08:37
Yeah, and it’s great because we’ve known each other for 10 years. And every time you tell your story, I learned something new. By the way, Jeff, I didn’t know it started out have a pharmacy. But I love entrepreneurs stories too. By the way, mine started in 2008. My full time one anyway, in a company called I themes built and grew it we did software for WordPress and in 2018 sold it to similar stores, you’re going to hear us unpack more about that and how it relates to the business mindset. And as we’ve compared our stories and talk to the business side mindset, we also go like we were doing some of this along the way. But this is more a unifying principle and vision, like a way to really build holistically. But in 2018, sold, worked for the acquiring company for about a year. And then left in 2019 to join Jeff on the new journey. Next chapter. My story, same thing. I was not prepared. I thought it was I had Jeff had already been through his exit. We had another friend. I had great counsel. We had advisors we pulled on but definitely was not prepared and felt like probably it was being pushed to the end. And it was it was miserable not because of the parties necessarily but just it was just a tough process to go through. And so as Jeff and I started to mess up our stories and kind of reconnected again outside of our Group we’re like, Hey, we got we got some stuff we want to share for other entrepreneurs. So we believe this is a fully, this is a game changer. I mean, we go if we could scroll back time, and both of us have this vision from the beginning, and this mindset, this perspective shift from the beginning, things would, things would have gone a lot better for us. That’s the one big highlight. But we’re using it with our members. And they can me, we’re using it with ourselves in our projects, or using it with other entrepreneurs and talking through that, in fact, even my own wife, and I’ve been talking through it and using this mindset, and it’s definitely a game changer. Next thing,
Jeff Meziere 10:38
I believe in this so much. I mean, I feel like this is the shortcut, right? That we’re the other entrepreneurs, like, if only I had this concept, this mindset, from the beginning of my involvement with that organization that we ended up selling. I left a lot of money on the table. All because I did not embrace this concept. I mean, this is absolutely a shortcut for entrepreneurs.
Cory Miller 11:05
I feel like we had to go through our experiences to get here, and our charges now to help others. But you’re absolutely right. So let’s share the mindset. Jeff Gordon, you want to talk us through this?
Jeff Meziere 11:15
Yeah, the business value mindset. I mean, really three simple concepts. My business itself is the ultimate product. The buyer, the future buyer of my business is the ultimate customer. And building for value is the ultimate way to do business strategy.
Cory Miller 11:31
So this is what we talked about every single meeting, we laid it off, Jeff is great to push us to Hey, we got to we got to come back to the mindset because this is our anchor. And I love that you said shortcut. It definitely is. It’s if you really look at it. It’s It’s not rocket science, I think we need to make it rocket science for some people, Jeff, because it’s too, it’s almost like Well, okay, but the idea here is we have products and services in our businesses. And typically, we’re like trying to match those up with the right messages with the right customers and audience and things like that. And system. This is taking it up that level. And going the business itself is the product, the person that will, you know, was across the table from us during ours is that ultimate customer. And if you can shift your perspective, and visualize that person across the table looking to buy your business and go in their shoes and saying, okay, here’s the things I would want to part of the business. If you just tip simply take a second and go, Okay, what would what would I want? That’s the best way. Okay, if Jeff has offered me a business opportunity, I’m gonna start asked some key questions. He’s offered me a business opportunity to buy his business. I’m gonna go where the financials look like, do another customer base, I’m going to ask these key questions. If you just think about that. Second, just think about somebody being across the table and going, I want to buy your business, put your shoes in them from the outside, in, what things would you want to be a part of the business? We’ll talk about key levers in a second, Jeff, but recurring income, we talked about that all the time? Would you want recurring income in a business that you’re going to buy that you could systematically there’s a credit card that’s being charged every so often, every month or whatever? That was almost like automatic revenue? You know, would you look at the recent performance of how the business is doing? I know, I think you’re actually looking at this right now, Jeff. And like, you know, these questions pop up about if you just take the buyer role for a second look at your business or another business. There’s key things you want if you’re going to hand over a substantial amount of money in exchange for it. And I did this last year to acquire part of the business too. And I like to only back down to these core things. But that simple shifts what we’re talking about right now, maybe we should make it rock sense. But that’s the shift, just thinking on the other side, outside in as a bar. Who would those bars be potentially and then consistently, regularly? What we did in the Business Value Academy help people do this every single month, every single webinar a couple times a month is billed for value. Jeff, we talk also a lot about the stock market. Now I will not even pretend to know I know the stock market. But I know one simple thing. Most of us know one simple thing and I want to get your feedback on this stock press. I could I could go to Google right now. Or even my phone and I can see Apple Google Walmart, their stock press within like a millisecond. Right. And we know this. I don’t even know how big the market stock market is just in the US but it’s got to be trillions. But they obsessively focused about one thing. stock price, what is the value of a share of stock and then we go to quarterly earnings you know way more about this, Jeff, but they go quarterly earnings call. That’s a big witness in our society. I think we all know like, oh, here’s first quarter second quarter, and they you’ll hear they get an earnings con is less whatever is because they’re obsessing This thing we’re talking about business value. And our shift, Jeff was, we feel like entrepreneurs are awesome, innovative, creative. We’re the ones that create jobs. Right. But we don’t talk about this until the very end like us.
Jeff Meziere 15:15
Yeah. I mean, I think it comes down to certainty, right? And allowing a buyer or at least taking a perspective, or you’re looking at it from a buyer shoes and saying, how much certainty is there in my revenue? And in my profits, right? That’s, I think, what exactly what the stock market does, when they are comparing on a quarterly basis, the performance that’s being disclosed during those earnings calls, compared to what the goals were, right, and how close were we to being able to predict the future, the more certain they are about that, the better off they can actually evaluate the value of cash in the value of $1.
Cory Miller 15:54
So that’s a little glimpse of the business value mindset is fairly simple. And we we repeat it over and over, because we want to be so ingrained in our mindsets and our perspectives owner, and then bleed out into our actions, that it’s just on, on repeat. So but it is, we know, a big mind shift change, and we believe you have to that’s step one, you got to embrace it wholly, holistically, that it comes out in your actions that you when you’re thinking about what you’re going to do next in your business, or how you do what you do in your business. You’re looking at it through the lens of the business value mindset about business, am I with this action, potentially growing my value or not? And that gives a lot of clarity, a lot of confidence to the decisions an entrepreneur makes.
Jeff Meziere 16:43
Yeah, and those those decisions revolve around people, product processes, every element of strategic planning that you would see in a normal strategic plan, every element should consider a buyers perspective, right? This big mindset here.
Cory Miller 17:02
Alright, so the first aspect, the first key of this is that you… This is how you can make the most time and effort of your time and effort and to make it focused and impactful while cutting out the busy work. A lot of times when we talk about an exit, Jeff, with the entrepreneurs we talked to and we work with, it’s that it’s always this, I’m on the growth curve, man. And I’m loving it. And we always go awesome. Like you had this this specifically we did this boot camp back in February, Oklahoma City. And you had this come up, we were talking about it. Can you share a little bit more about that? What you’ve heard in the feedback and what your counter is to that?
Jeff Meziere 17:42
Yeah, yeah. Help me understand the content.
Cory Miller 17:45
it’s the busy you know, we hear entrepreneurs saying, Well, I’m busy, like, I want my growth stage. Yes, I recently did not focus on the mindset.
Jeff Meziere 17:53
Yeah, like, I don’t have time, right, I’m so busy, I’m putting out fires every day. I’m built, I’m so busy building my business, that I don’t have time to pause and think about strategy, right? That’s so far in the future. As far as an exit, like, I don’t have time to do those things. And this is a this is a matter of changing your mindset. And changing the way that you do business a little bit, right, the way that you spend your time where it adds the most value to the organization. And it’s probably the most difficult thing to do, I think as an entrepreneur is letting go, we say cutting out the busy work, really what we mean is changing the way of your own behaviors, willing to change those behaviors, accept other people’s work, hold other people more accountable, right? And really just allow other people to help you succeed along the way.
Cory Miller 18:45
This gives me as an entrepreneur, focus this, these two words focus and impact. Like I know, when I come and work on my projects, if I’m thinking through the business argument, I’ve got a great focus, I know how to prioritize better. So it’s not just extra work. It could mean it could mean it doesn’t necessarily mean need to mean more work, but it’s the right and best work. This is why I think back and I go Okay, you know, there’s all kinds of things you can read business books in here and drone trimmers talking, you’re like, Okay, I got all these ideas. Now, how do I implement them all? This is a framework for what you said earlier for strategy for business strategy to go, okay. If I’m thinking about the buyer, and the business is the product, then if I look at this, I’m gonna do the right and best work because of it. So if I filter all my decisions through the about the concept of business value, then I’m going to do the most impactful work and it’s not going to be busy work because you know, it’s building to something. We’ll talk about key levers. We’ll talk about some of the steps and all that in just a minute, but it’s the right and best work. And we talk a lot like think about this for a second. You know, the stock market. So much money floating around there. obsessing over this right, but a valuable, valuable business. And that is an attractive business to buyers. If you do this, it’s also a great business for yourself. This is why we try to tell people it’s not just more workers busy work or anything like that. It’s it’s the right and the best work that we talked about. But because think about this, if you’re thinking about the person across the table, eventually, and we’ll talk about the inevitable exit. But if you think about that, you’re gonna hit the keys that are making a healthy, profitable, enduring business for you as entrepreneur. Now here now that you’re making progress toward those,
Jeff Meziere 20:36
Yeah I know, think about that perspective for just a second. Cory, if I, if I can, yeah, do you think that a buyer like on the other side of the table wants to come in and be so ingrained in the daily grind? Like most buyers are not interested in that they don’t want to come in and do the daily tasks of operations, they want to come in and invest in something that will return them mailbox money, right? That’s what we’re really talking about is like the value of the dollar of the investment, and how certain that return is for them. So they can predict that revenue of cash. And they can understand what their return on their investment is, right? They don’t want to be involved in website development, they want to buy a company that does website development. So every time that an entrepreneur is actually involved in that daily grind of developing the website, where are they spending their time, where’s the dedicated focus time and attention, where we actually spend thinking about long term strategy in value.
Cory Miller 21:34
So if you think about this from someone that’s wanting to invest you, if you think about your you want to minimize risk, but you want to maximize your return opportunity. And that’s Think about that. So for doing that, and positioning and preparing, and working on our company, with that perspective in mind, those are the same things that are going to make an awesome, attractive, valuable business to us. And we’ll talk about this, that we may not want to leave at some point, we hear people say that all the time, I don’t, I’m not ready to exit. It’s part of our stories, you know, but if you think about that, investors, buyers want to minimize risk, and maximize the return. So then when we talk about the key levers, you’re going to see how those those really kind of come to the surface, and might be more applicable in your businesses this moment, depending on what market what industry, you’re in, all that kind of stuff, what consumers you serve.
Jeff Meziere 22:27
this is where we also say you have to embrace it and be willing to shift your actions, right. Because when you start thinking, consider an outside buyer. You start thinking through strategy and say, Well, what would an outside buyer do? And then you have to ask yourself the question, Well, why am I not doing that now? Right? Why can’t I take those steps? Now? Why can’t I let go, right? So we have, you have to be able to embrace it, embrace this concept, but also be willing to change your actions.
Cory Miller 22:53
So you know, this is where we share our stories and parallels a part of the business value mindset. So I think about like, your eight or so started to have a lot of sleepless nights because for the first time, my career in my career, I the complexity, the competition that was in play. It was all fought to me. I was trying to think what do we do tomorrow? What do we do the next day? And I started to have a lot of sleepless nights because I didn’t know the answers to all those questions. I had great entrepreneurs great friends around me great counsel that I could seek out and did. But man this this worry factor at some point we had built to a certain degree I go, there’s more kids in their families, a part of our business then we actually have team members supported, you know, that are supported by our business essentially, like this a lot of responsibility. And then we had billion dollar competitors highly funded, well funded, well organized, focused competitors coming into the space, the market was changing, technology was changing. We had some legacy things that just a part of being a technology company. And so I spent a lot of sleepless nights for the vibe and thinking okay, what’s my next move as that buyer thinking way way bigger, okay, if who would be interested potentially in our company if I were this bigger company or some other acquire and looking at me, it just would shift my mindset and it would have helped that fog dissipate a little bit and go You know what, okay, I business is the ultimate product. The buyer is the ultimate customer. How do I shape and shift because those things that will be important to them are going to be important for the next steps of our business. I don’t know about you but I spent in that particular stage Jeff, so many worry filled days and nights. It became it became a problem. You probably remember this is probably feel sweaty.
Jeff Meziere 24:50
Yeah, it’s almost like the it’s like a fog right. If you look back on it, it was like these foggy days of, I mean, I can think through and remember, like having an entire To Do List, when I started my day, at the end of the day, I hadn’t checked one thing off, because of all the fires that were coming at me. And so my to do to do list, you know, was kicked down the road to tomorrow. And that’s the sleepless night, those were the sleepless nights for me is that, you know, going to bed and not having one thing that I knew I had to get done got done in that day, right? And it was just this. Now I look back and think, man, this is that shortcut for everyone. And how you operate and how you do things is that being so dependent upon yourself, and willing to let go, right, willing to change the way that you behave? And what you focus your attention on?
Cory Miller 25:40
Okay, so here are the steps and forms of questions that we walk people through in the Business Value Academy, and other entrepreneurs to first is, well, the first is the business value mindset, like you got to get in here, you got to embrace it, and you got to act like it. But then real quickly, we go What do you want? Is the entrepreneur, you know, at different stages of our career shift? We would have answered question that question, vastly different, I’m sure. Like even now compared to a year ago, compared to five years ago, all different answers. That’s why we ask these questions. This is not a set thing. It’s not set it up. That’s forever, because mine in 2015 was drastically different than it is today. As sure yours is. So we talk we start with the entrepreneur after the mindset and say, What do you really want what Think about your future as best you know, today, and that can and will change and that’s okay. Second is we we talked about Jeff, you’ve done your background is as a CPA, you still utilize those skills, keep your certifications up and all that. But you’re also a virtual CFO. And in addition to be an entrepreneur, and you put together this amazing course we have in the academy that helps you get to this range of value. But could you just share a second, while we talk about range of value, because everybody wants no, give me the number? I want to be able to put my stuff in and say it’s that, you know.
Jeff Meziere 26:59
You know, the one thing that you mentioned earlier, you talked about being able to log into your you know, you can get on your cell phone right now, right? And look at the value of your brokerage account. businesses don’t aren’t afforded that opportunity. Right? And you can’t I can’t tell you what your absolute value is right now. You can’t just see it real time, right? Like it’s not it’s not traded on the stock market. So this range of value concept is one where at least try to understand in what ballpark am I playing in right now? Once you uncover those key levers and trying to figure out that range of value, you know, is my business, which is probably my most valuable asset as an entrepreneur. What is the range of value? What is the low end? What is the high end? And oh, by the way, what are the elements that would put my business in competition at the higher end of that range? Right. So now I can start thinking through again, putting myself in that buyer shoes, I can start thinking through? How can I increase the value of my business, at least starting out with some sort of idea around business value? Is my business that I think, is it worth $300,000? Or is it worth 10? million? How do I know? Right? I mean, most most business owners really have no idea and concept around what the value of their business is.
Cory Miller 28:16
and more objectively to and that course is amazing. There’s spreadsheet, there’s walkthroughs, and there’s videos, everything to help you establish that, but it’s so key to know where your businesses are. Because we’ll both Raise your hands and get we had no idea. We know what we eventually sold for and the buyer, you know, accepted and all that kind of stuff. But we had no idea going into what is even reasonable. That’s why we say arrange to
Jeff Meziere 28:40
We also talked about range in terms of like we talked about in the automobile industry, right? I mean, you’ve got used car, what’s the value? Is it a beater value? Is it a decent value? Or is it a premium value? Right? And where is Where does my business? Sit on that range on that scale right now?
Cory Miller 28:56
Mm hmm. There we go quickly, you know, leveraging your expertise and experiences Jeff, into what’s the state of your financials? I mean, most of us, you taught me this word, Jeff, because I know it’s from painful experiences in the past. Do you have a shoe box mess, meaning like everything in this little box that is just so organized? If we’re being honest, most businesses aren’t ran as tight as they probably should, what? Specifically by financials, but this part is such a key part of everything related to business value. That is our third, actually, it’s our Ford support step is what’s the state of your financials. The idea is to get clean, clear financials. Think about that, though, Jeff, if they get clean and clear financials today, which is so key, sometimes you’ll be like, are you sure you want me to share on the subject because it feels like kind of beneath people? I’m like, No, no, don’t assume entrepreneurs have this part figured out?
Jeff Meziere 29:54
Yeah, clean and clear financials are the foundation of being able to make decisions, in my opinion, right? It is. Truth, right? You can tell a story you can craft a story all day long. But what does the financials tell you? Right? What does the data tell us around that? And it’s the first thing that’s asked for right? You talk about being in a buyers in a buyer shoes. If I’m going to go acquire a company, what’s the first thing that I asked for Cory? Oh, give me the last three years of your financial statements. Let me take a look at and see if I’m interested. Right. So again, cleaning, clear financials are not only an avenue to be able to provide data for someone to take a look and see if they’re interested. But it also is a good way to operate a business for good current day health in a way that helps you make better decisions.
Cory Miller 30:38
Imagine if you got in your car, you know, your truck, car, whatever, and you’re driving down in your fuel gauge is broke, and your speedometer is broke, you don’t know how fast you kind of have a hunch. Most entrepreneurs live in the hunch, right? We Okay, we made more than we spent this month. But when you put it on the opposite side and building the valuable business and attractive business, they’re gonna want to say, I want the indicators on this to work, right? I want to know if it’s full, or if it’s half full, or if I’m speeding, or the engines revving too high, or whatever it is. And that’s what good clean and clear financials do. And this is part of the good work, you also kind of sidebar to people that really want to take it serious. And your work as a virtual CFO, Jeff.
Jeff Meziere 31:21
Yes, certainly. I mean, it is all about those indicators. You talked about getting into a car. And if you think about it in terms of a business, an entrepreneur, most people don’t necessarily have those gauges, right, they might have one. And we all know what that is right cash in the bank. But beyond that, what are the other indicators that we should actually be looking at? Where’s our dashboard for that?
Cory Miller 31:43
So we talked a lot about financials, and then we start talking about the key levers. So once you get your range, and you get your kind of financials in a good, at least you’re starting in the right direction to get them even better than they are, then it’s the work of building that value. It’s the key levers, and we’ll show that in just a minute. But that you can start to pull to increase value. And this is where you do a real deep assessment and say, What are the things that we think on the other side buyer looking in, would want, and it’s probably the same things we want our business to, we talk in the academy, there’s a lot, there’s several people that have like, you know, professional services companies, and we talk about, you know, oftentimes that has a down effect of we’ve all we both worked in professional services. And how recurring income could come into play? How do you level that out more consistently, and grow it and build a snowball for some of the peaks and valleys? So we talked about the key levers critical performance to you know, evaluating someone’s gonna want to know, when they buy your business? Who are the people that make the work that you know, get done, that make the magic work? And and are they happy? Are they fulfilled? So we talked about those. And then once we’re kind of focused, some of our members say I’m 15 years out cool, at least you have something you’re always so good Jeff to say begin with end in mind. And when we get to this stage is when you’re close to like, Okay, I think I’m ready, then you’re prepared. You’ve done all these steps, you’ve worked on these things. And you get this last one, you go, okay, probably need a deck, a pitch deck, probably need someone to start talking to strategic potential buyers, and having those conversations and building those out. So those are you only see five here, but there’s really six first is embrace the basic business value mindset. Alright, second is bulletproof your future, even if you don’t want to exit anytime, Jeff, a lot of entrepreneurs we talked to you say and by the way, I was one of them. I don’t, you’re three, somebody goes, What’s your exit plan? I go, I was almost offended. I was kind of taken aback and I go, I spent my entire career trying to find the ultimate job. And I found it still see over themes time. Why would I ever want to leave that? Well, so we get the sentiment, I might not be ready. I’m on this growth path, whatever it is. But that’s the beauty of business value for building for business value is you don’t have to we’re not ever saying you do. We’re just saying we want you hundred times more prepared than Jeff and I were when that when that conversation came pertinent to us.
Jeff Meziere 34:21
Yeah, I can’t stress this one enough, right. I mean, I’ve heard it so often. The first objection that we hear is, you know, I’m not ready to sell, right? That’s so far off in the future. But man, it really snuck up on me right, this is where I’m saying take the shortcut with me learn from my own mistake here and be be better prepared. Once I was in the middle of that due diligence phase of an interested buyer. It was too late and I was just spending nights upon nights and you know, burning that Midnight Oil, if you will, in preparing documents to get ready. And I couldn’t grow I mean I now then I have the indicator What they were looking for, and it was too late, right? So I really wish I would have been able to go back and understand. If I would have known then what I know now, I clearly left dollars on the table.
Cory Miller 35:14
You said this earlier, Jeff. And it is true for my life, my business, I often refer to it as my 401k, my nest egg, as I was growing. Now, the money was in the bank. But what I was saying is, the value of the company is my nest egg. But I had no idea what it was worth, I didn’t have a range, I didn’t know the key levers. I didn’t know what people would want from the business necessarily. I hadn’t gone through a framework like this. But this is the thing, we kind of lay in hand and go, Hey, we’re entrepreneurs, and we love our fellow entrepreneurs. This is your most most valuable, valuable asset, you should treat it as such, like we both Jeff I know we put money with a financial advisor with the thought of this money, we want it to grow over time, so they’ll be there for us later on. But what’s crazy is as entrepreneurs, I love entrepreneurs, we’re the you know, I steam our fellow brothers and sisters. I call this Assad Freres in such a high way. But we neglect this side of it the business value because we think like we did, Jeff, that I don’t want to exit this is too much fun. We have friends we’ve talked about. And I’ve said like that he he does definitely does not want to leave. And we don’t blame him. He’s found the perfect situation, it spits out cash. It gives him fulfillment for it, and we get it. But we also go for our friends, that are entrepreneurs, we want them to grow their assets. And Jeff, can you talk about this, this is what we’ve kind of come to grips with both of us had to cross the threshold that there was an exit. But we coined this to say you will have all of this, every entrepreneur will have the inevitable exit. Can you talk more about a little bit about that? And what it means what the business value mindset?
Jeff Meziere 37:02
Yeah, the inevitability, right. Which means, you know, at some point in time, if you don’t find in view or not working towards an exit, the exit will find you, right, talk about it. I know, I use the analogy a lot about the bus theory. But what happens if I am hit by a bus tomorrow as an entrepreneur? You know, am I leaving my family an asset? Or am I leaving them a mess? Right, this one thing that was the most valuable asset that I have my business itself? And what is the value of that? upon my demise? Right? The inevitable exit, it might be for a number of different reasons, changes in the market, market position, strategic opportunity by a buyer and or ourselves. But if we’re not looking and being proactive around trying to find that exit, or at least building to it and being prepared for it, there will be a day maybe someone comes in just randomly knocks on your door that you had no idea. Are you prepared for it, because there will be an exit, every business comes to an end at some point in time.
Cory Miller 38:09
So that’s our story, you know, for me is I woke up one day and felt like things that almost changed. Now they didn’t change overnight. But that’s, you know, Stark realization, where you go Holy cow, like, everything has changed, I woke up and I feel like everybody’s certain all my competition surrounding me, I’ve got way more firepower. And that was my inevitable eggs that I thought I could just push renew on this thing. best job I’ve ever had profitable, love it, love my team love what I do keep pushing new, and what it’s like, oh my gosh, I don’t think I can do that. I’ve got to exit. And I didn’t want to I share that a lot that I didn’t want to exit. But eventually the inevitable exit happened to me. And what we’re saying here is that you prepare, you use this framework to build a better business for you now, even if you don’t believe, but that you bulletproof that feature that we’re talking about. I love this quote, Jeff, because I live by you know, I started really worrying about the future and those next steps. And I saw this and I thought there are some things I can control. That’s what I believe. We believe the business value mindset is so critical. This way to predict the future is to create it. And you create that feature intensely, consistently regularly with the business value mindset.
Jeff Meziere 39:35
Yeah, I think as entrepreneurs we bet on ourselves, right? That’s really what we do. We invest in ourselves. We believe that investing in our business is that is the the best way to build for our future. Right. Like we talked about that being the most valuable asset. And I think that I personally even to this day, I’d rather spend money and putting it into a business of value as opposed to the market. believe I can get more money out of it right from a value perspective. But this intentionality helps us create what that future looks like, right and build, when I embrace this business value mindset, I know that my dollars are spent in a way that increases value in the future.
Cory Miller 40:18
So aspect number three of the business value mindset is you can transform your business into something even better for everyone involved. A lot of times, Jeff, we’ve talked to people that go, I don’t have a sellable business, or they give us 15 reasons why they can’t, why you can’t sell it. And that’s the beauty of this. If you think like a buyer, you start to find those rough edges and smooth them out. We call them key levers.
Jeff Meziere 40:46
Yeah, I think when you start thinking through it, again, you’re looking at it from a buyer’s perspective. And you’re saying, and we’ve heard some of those people tell us, right, no one’s gonna buy my business. And I go, Wait, what Hold on, if I was a buyer, this is what I would be looking for. Well, if only this happened, if only you were not the only person who was doing, you know, website development. If you had a team of people doing that, now you’ve got an asset to sell, it’s something different. Maybe somebody is not willing to buy your business, the way that it operates right now. But what are the things that you can do where you actually have a better quality of life yourself, your team is happier. Your your organization operates more effectively and efficiently provides more value to your customers, which then attracts more customers, right? Now you’ve got an asset, now you’ve got something.
Cory Miller 41:36
So we use these this list, the 10, these 10 key levers, because they’re the most common that we see. And buyers would want we would want in businesses. And and that’s what we do every single month is come come back to these because they’re so critical to building a business of value, attractive, viable business. One that sticks out for me, Jeff is under dependence, like so much of it is like, if we ask people, okay, to switch the table, and to go or switch the perspective to the buyer and say, you know, if you look at it from a buyer’s perspective, they go, it’s too dependent on me, I have all these fires, I’m consistently put out, we’ve got stories like that, too. I’m too amassed, or I have this special magic that no one else has in the business. Oftentimes we hear it was sales, or something like that, specifically with the founder. I think there’s a magic quality that hasn’t been dealt can’t be delegated out. We talk a ton about that honor dependence, because it’s also tied to we’ve seen to add happiness in the founder fair, like, I don’t like my business, I don’t think anybody would want my business and you start to push in. And you see that they’re so intertwined in the business, that that’s probably why they’re they’re unhappy. Anything stick out to you on those key levers. You want to you want to come in on Jeff?
Jeff Meziere 43:05
Well, I mean, the financial record accuracy is one that helps me to be able to make better decisions, right, the way that I operate, how the organization operates, to make decisions, how they’re looking at actual payments, recent performance, corporate performance overall, not just necessarily financial side, but employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, things of that nature. Yeah, recurring income comes to mind, right? I mean, we talked about mailbox money. But if I knew that I had a high degree of recurring income where customers were renewing every month or renewing every year, that gives more certainty to a potential buyer. Right, as opposed to buying someone’s million dollar business that had one sale last year for a million dollars. Would you invest in that? I don’t know, man, that means that I’ve got to make sure that that sale that I had, that I can find one more customer at a million dollars, or did I have a million customers paying me $1 and every one of them debris new, right? So I mean, it’s just a different perspective to look at when you put yourself in the in the buyers shoes.
Cory Miller 44:14
So think it if you’re listening today, or from the replay, think of the questions that come out of this. So we use this these 10 levers to say, Okay, what is my competitive advantage? You know, think about that in terms of your business. And it helps you this, this, these 10 levers that go back to business value, help you ask those right questions, think about we talked about focus, clarity and confidence. Okay, I don’t have Do I have recurring income in my business as a part of minimizing risk for the investor and for you, if you have consistent automatic mailbox money that just said, so do I have recurring income in my business? No. Well, then the next question becomes, how can I create recurring income in my business that helps you now, to start to move toward that makes you build a valuable business but a better business for you in the here and now. And that’s the transformation. Inside Out. This happens, which when you embrace and filter your perspective, and your actions and your strategic decisions through the business fame on set. So this is what we talk about all the time in the in the academy.
Jeff Meziere 45:23
Yeah, and throw out a couple exclamation points of that you just just hit upon it. It’s good for the here and now. Right? It’s good for right now. And it’s great for long term and value, right? So again, it’s providing you more consistency around that the the income number and understanding what for being able to predict future revenue. Well guess what a buyer is also thinking the exact exact same thing and it reduces their risk and investment.
Cory Miller 45:52
You just use this to laser focus on those rough edges in your business you hate and think it through, Think it through from a better higher level, about how you would improve and send those out. So it pays off now, as you intentionally and consistently, this is why we have a topical webinar at the academy and we have an open our q&a in addition to our slack community, because you need to focus on this and we have this worksheet I’m going to share in a second that we talked about, that we give to our members every month, because we want you to have what is that? dedicated Thomas face. Jeff, we talked about this, when you and I have met for 10 years along with our our forum group that we had, it was the time and space we needed to think about our business on a different level. That’s what we try to do in the academy. With with this is put these things in front of you. So you’re if you’re like me, I don’t know about you, Jeff, but I’m not as disciplined. I’ll just chase the fire that’s happening right now, whatever. This is time space to put these levers in front of you and say, ask the questions, and I’m making progress on it. And this is the scoring sheet we give before our q&a. So you can get the actionable help you need and experiences from other entrepreneurs, not just us.
Jeff Meziere 47:05
Our members, my clients that I deal with on strategic planning in the past, all tell us the exact same thing, right? It’s this level of of inherent accountability by coming back giving you time and space within the Academy to come in and actually think through these levers and how it impacts what activities initiatives that I want to undertake in a long term fashion, right? This is not something we use come in and just flip a switch and everything happens overnight. But what is the intentional actions that we’re going to make towards improving our position and increasing our value, which is good for now. And great for later?
Cory Miller 47:45
I actually giggled, like the noun later candy because I was like, this is it. Now transform it now and bulletproof it for later. So I want to give I want to give everybody example, Jeff, and I’m gonna share this with you because I was like, okay, business value mindset. So, and I’ll actually share it was it was my wife, she’s an entrepreneur, she’s got a new business, it’s about four months old. And she said to me, she goes, Okay, we want to get three more clients. By the end of the year, I’m her acting temporary CEO, just trying to hang on to her coattails and helpers, best I can, but it’s mainly just trying to stay up. But she says I want three new clients by the end of the year. And so we started talking, it was like, Okay, this is fun. Let’s apply the business mindset to it. Who could potentially want to acquire this type of business? was my first question. Sure, thinking through and go, there’s this big company in the space that she’s in. Like, I could see them wanting that as a bolt on like a strategic acquisition to grow their revenue and everything. And instantly, it was like, we should go reach out to them. Now she’s nowhere close. She’s on the five year plan. Now we’re close. But that simple using the simple framework, okay, thinking through potential buyer switching the role? How could this be strategically advantage advantageous to them, in addition to the recurring income that she baked in, you think of her as our star client start star member, Jeff recurring income baked in from the beginning. And then all of a sudden, it was like, wow, we just went from about 511 and a half or so perspective, to 30,000 foot perspective and opened up something we wouldn’t have thought about back then.
Jeff Meziere 49:25
Yes, certainly, I think that we’ve had a lot of these conversations around sales pipeline within the within the Academy, in talking through predicting future revenue, right. How do you make your money? Where do your customers come from, and the activities that it takes in order to be able to generate revenue? And then we know right, this is that the leading measures if you will, have the understanding that the actions that I take today will turn into revenue in the future with some sort of predictability. So I love the sales pipeline conversation.
Cory Miller 50:00
You do see talk about it quite a bit lagging lagging measures too. And I love your work on KPI, and a lot of those conversations happen inside the Business Value Academy. So we’re back to this business value mindset, we try to give you the reasons why you should focus on it, you should shift your perspective forever, Jeff and I have this is how we build this business today. With the business value mindset, it’s not just a specific product that we’re doing called Business Value Academy, we’re gonna talk about in a second, but we’re thinking about my business, our business, is that ultimate product? Okay, how could we position it, prepare it and sell it someday in the future, for that ultimate buyer? And that becomes the ultimate business strategy. And that’s why we believe in the business value mindset for every entrepreneur. All right, so for savvy entrepreneurs, we we try to tried to convince you over and over the business value mindset, why this shift, you should embrace it wholly, and start today, thinking about the mindset for your business. Jeff, can you share a couple of things that we do at the Business Value Academy and why we formatted in that way to help entrepreneurs on this journey called business value?
Jeff Meziere 51:18
Yeah, I mean, first off is I hope that we’ve convinced you to embrace this business value mindset concept, in the way that you think through every aspect of your business. And for me, I think that we talked about peer groups being associated with like minded people, right. And so the peer group perspective for me of having a an opportunity on a monthly basis to come together and share ideas around the concept of business value is so valuable. Just having like minded peers, like minded entrepreneurs coming to the table, and talking about all things business value. It is wonderful conversations. People leave with golden nuggets on a monthly basis. We’ve talked about monthly recurring revenue, we’ve talked about quality of income, we talked about owner dependence. I mean, the list goes on and on and on of every angle and aspect that we talked about business value mindset. And I don’t think that you can’t not sign up today.
Cory Miller 52:20
To get a businessvalueacademy.com Click the join link, and we’d love to have you in the Business Value Academy. But if you have any questions, post this in the chat and the Q&A, and we’re here for you, but we hope to see you very soon in BVA.