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    The Shift from Business to Investing (on the Founder Podcast) Pt.2 - July ‘23 | Ep 607

    enSeptember 16, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Shifting from running a business to making dealsLook for committed founders with significant earnings and a strong desire to scale, prioritize the founder relationship, and be prepared for compatibility checks.

      When it comes to investing, the mindset shift from running a business to making deals involves looking for companies with significant earnings (EBITDA of $2-$10 million) and founders who are genuinely committed to scaling their businesses. The founder's coachability, big dreams, and willingness to grow are crucial factors for successful investments. Traditional private equity firms may focus more on majority ownership, but Acquisition.com prioritizes the founder relationship, usually holding minority stakes (33-51%). The success of the deal depends on the compatibility and shared vision between the investor and the founder. Red flags, such as a lack of coachability or hesitation during the process, can lead to deal termination.

    • Finding the Right Founder: Assessing Personal Motivations and Business PotentialLook for founders driven by growth, impact, and self-improvement, and assess business potential for focus, honesty, profitability, and growth path.

      Identifying the right founder for a business involves assessing both their personal motivations and the business's potential. From a personal perspective, looking for individuals driven by a desire for growth, impact, and self-improvement, rather than solely by money or accomplishment, is essential. This can be identified through their language patterns and goals. On the business side, red flags include a lack of focus, dishonesty, lack of profitability, and a lack of a clear growth path. Ultimately, it's crucial to find a founder who is honest, coachable, and committed to the business, with a clear vision for its future.

    • Striking a balance between involvement and delegation in leadershipEffective leaders identify issues and opportunities, admit weaknesses, and delegate responsibilities. Small businesses have lower valuation multiples than larger companies, so realistic expectations are key.

      Effective leadership involves striking a balance between being involved enough to identify issues and opportunities for improvement, while also being willing to admit weaknesses and delegate responsibilities. Exaggerated language and unrealistic expectations can be red flags, and it's important for business owners to have a clear understanding of their business's value and growth potential. Additionally, having a larger team to help build a business can lead to greater value, even if it means giving up a larger percentage of ownership. A common misconception is that smaller businesses with lower sales and profits have the same valuation multiples as larger companies, but this is not the case. For businesses with less than $10 million in sales and $2 million in profit, the median trading value is only 2.5 times the profit. Therefore, it's crucial for business owners to have realistic expectations when it comes to valuation and growth.

    • Seller financing and its impact on business valuationBuilding a valuable business takes discipline and focus. Seller financing is common, but it means buyers don't add value, and sellers' valuations are based on total enterprise value. Entrepreneurs must stay disciplined, focus on building assets, and resist distractions to succeed.

      Building a valuable business takes time and patience. According to the Small Business Administration, over 80% of businesses are sold with some form of seller financing, which means the seller carries a note for a portion of the sale price. This means that the buyer is not adding any value to the business, and the seller's valuation is based on the total enterprise value, not just their personal effort. With median valuations and seller carry, the price for half the business can be as low as 1.25 times the annual revenue. However, many founders have unrealistic expectations about their business's value based on their input rather than the output. It's essential to build an asset that can grow independently, but entrepreneurs are often impatient and distracted by new opportunities. To stay disciplined and focused, entrepreneurs must learn to say no to shiny objects and resist the temptation to pivot too frequently. This requires self-awareness and the ability to differentiate between opportunities that add value and those that are merely distractions. It's a challenging trait to master, but it's arguably the most critical factor in entrepreneurial success.

    • Evaluating a business with a long-term perspectiveAfter achieving product-market fit, entrepreneurs should assess if they'd dedicate the next decade to their current path and if it aligns with their ultimate vision. Caution against distractions and maintain focus on the long-term goal.

      After achieving product-market fit, entrepreneurs should evaluate their business with a long-term perspective. They should consider if they would dedicate the next 10 years to their current path and whether it would lead to their ultimate vision. Entrepreneurs should be cautious of distractions, such as quick money-making opportunities, which could detract from their long-term goals. Maintaining an unshakable faith in the vision while being paranoid about the present is crucial. Jim Collins' juxtaposition of hope and paranoia describes this balance well. Entrepreneurs should focus on their ultimate vision and be dedicated to playing the long game. Switching from a business to an investment mindset is a significant change, but combining both strategies can create a unique investment thesis.

    • Finding agreements within a defined box for investingInvesting requires a new perspective, patience, and creating opportunities, not focused on immediate results.

      When it comes to making deals as an investor, it's not just about getting a yes, but rather finding agreements within a defined box that makes sense for you. This transition from business ownership to investing has been challenging, as the results are not immediate, and feedback loops are long. Investing requires a new perspective, being aggressively patient, focusing on creating opportunities while not being overly concerned with the immediate results. Additionally, the growth of this podcast relies on word-of-mouth, so the only ask is for listeners to pay it forward by sharing it with others. This principle of being aggressively patient applies to both owning a business and investing, and it's not limited to entrepreneurs.

    • The power of consistent focus and the compound effectFocusing on a specific skill or business consistently, even during slow growth, can lead to exponential results in the long run. Different businesses have unique growth trajectories and challenges. Embrace the pain and challenges as part of the process, and trust that long-term success will come.

      Consistent focus on a particular skill set or business, even during the early stages of little to no growth, can lead to exponential results in the long run. This concept is known as the compound effect. However, it's essential to understand that different businesses have varying growth trajectories and pain points. Some businesses, like info businesses, may offer quick wins but limited growth potential, while others, like software companies, may require significant upfront investment and patience before experiencing substantial returns. Additionally, it's crucial to shift your mindset from focusing on absolute growth figures to relative changes and percentages. Comparing the growth of different businesses at different stages can lead to disappointment and frustration. Instead, embrace the fact that pain and challenges are inherent parts of the growth process, and they may manifest differently depending on the nature of the business. By choosing to endure the pain now, you can reap the rewards of long-term success.

    • Partner with an established business for successConsider partnering with an established business for potential profit, but carefully evaluate the context and your qualifications before making a move.

      Starting a business from scratch may not always be the best option, especially for those without prior experience. Grant Cardone advised a young entrepreneur to find an established business and partner up with its owner to leverage the compounded success that has already been created. This perspective aligns with the idea that making money in later stages of a business can be more profitable than in the initial stages. However, the context of the advice is crucial. For those with business experience, partnering up with an established business can be a valuable opportunity. But for those without experience, it may be challenging to convince a business owner to let them in, and attempting to buy a business without proper knowledge and analysis can lead to poor decisions. Overall, the advice to partner with an established business and participate in the upside is a valid one, but it requires careful consideration and the right context.

    • Invest in what you know and leverage skillsSuccess comes from investing in familiar areas and developing new skills to expand opportunities

      Investing in what you know and are skilled at can lead to greater success. Grant, with his long-term real estate experience, felt comfortable putting all his eggs in one basket and managing his investments. On the other hand, Dave, whose skills and experiences were all in business, found it easier to recognize risk and value in businesses than in other types of investments. He recommended focusing on leveraging existing skills and developing new ones to expand investment opportunities. Most businesses eventually become investment firms, reallocating capital within their own operations and making strategic acquisitions. The challenge lies in building the necessary skill set to reach that level.

    • Learning the game of acquisitions for business growthGain experience and skills through employment or entrepreneurship, look for accretive acquisitions, and keep pushing through tough times for potential business growth.

      Successful businesses eventually become investment firms and it's essential to learn the game of acquisitions to unlock greater upside. This can be achieved by gaining experience and skills either as an employee or an entrepreneur. Once you've positioned yourself to add value, look for accretive acquisitions or opportunities to allocate capital for higher returns. Remember, most people quit right before they're about to succeed, so keep pushing through tough times. For those interested in following Grant's advice, check out his podcast, "The Game with Altra Mozy," available on various platforms. And for businesses looking to grow significantly, visit acquisition.com for potential assistance.

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