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Flipping Businesses with Carl Allen

SHOW SUMMARY:

Normally, we talk about real estate but today's show is a little bit different. A lot of people I have coached and mentored ask me about business in general and these people actually have some businesses other than real estate that they already have started or purchased. In this episode, I found the right guy to answer some of those questions.

Carl Allen is an entrepreneur, investor, and corporate dealmaker. Carl has worked on transactions worth over $50 billion, including over 250 acquisitions and sales, together with more than 100 capital fund raising projects. Carl has analysed thousands of businesses, big and small in 17 different countries and across nearly every business sector including technology, pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics, engineering, manufacturing, aerospace, consumer goods and services, business services, retail, professional services, finance, packaging, and corporate clothing.

Carl has a solid reputation as an investor and corporate dealmaker, having worked for Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, Forrester, and Gartner. He has advised some of the world’s largest corporations on investments, acquisitions, disposals, and restructuring. Carl has also assisted hundreds of business owners in raising both equity and debt finance.

Stay tuned as Carl shares his knowledge and wisdom on buying, growing, and selling businesses.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Who Carl Allen is
  • What made him quit his job
  • How he ended up with his first business acquisition
  • On creating his own coaching program
  • Ideal size of a business he might want to acquire
  • Market statistics
  • What they look for in a business
  • Leveraged buyout
  • Why he built a program
  • Buying ready-made businesses
  • Things you must do when buying and/or selling a business
  • Grooming a business to sell
  • Things to be aware of
  • Reasons why businesses buy other businesses
  • The end goal and his strategy
  • Marketing
  • Where they get their deals

Quotes:

  • "Buy businesses, not start businesses."
  • "It's really important when you do sell and you have an offer and you're going through the transaction that you keep your foot in a really hard floor and keep driving the business forward."
  • "It's all about your network.”

RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS SHOW:

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Larry: Welcome to the Brain-Pick-A-Pro show live from Lake Wiley, South Carolina and all the way across the ocean from somewhere in the UK is my good friend, Carl Allen. Now, this is going to be a little bit different than a lot of the training, the Brain-Pick-A-Pro’s that we’ve done because normally we’re talking about real estate. Right, guys? But I’ve had a lot of people ask me about business and we talk about growing a business of real estate and there’s a lot of people who I’ve helped coach and mentor that they actually have a business other than real estate that they’ve already started or maybe purchased or maybe they have a business that they want to sell. So, I searched high and low and I found the man, the legend, and the myth, live here today is Carl Allen who is, I mean, this guy has been responsible for hundreds of transactions, $50 billion in transactions and everything from big, small in multiple countries. Everything. So, I’m just really excited to have him on. And we’re going to do a follow-up webinar. Just remember this. We’re going to do a follow-up webinar with some detail, not that this is not going to be detailed but we’re going to do a follow-up webinar with some more in-depth training coming up in the next few weeks probably. Right, Carl?

Carl: Absolutely. I’d be happy to do that.

Larry: Awesome, awesome. So, Carl, why don’t you first start out and tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Carl: Sure. So, I’m Carl Allen. I live in the City of Manchester in the UK. I also have a house in Florida and I spend a lot of time down in Australia as well. I’ve been a dealmaker, I’ve been a business buyer, a business seller. This is my 26th year, so I’m almost 48 next month. And I grew up on Wall Street. So, I left University in 1992. I went to work for Bank of America, so I was brokering, you know, really large deals; the likes of IBM, GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin. So, I kind of went through the whole Wall Street thing and then I left about 2002-2003. I went to business school in Chicago, did my MBA and then I spent some time in private equity doing deals. I invested in a business software company which we then sold to Hewlett-Packard. So, I went to Hewlett-Packard along with that deal and I was one of their mergers and acquisitions director, so I was flying all over the world doing, you know, massive, massive deals. And then, massively changed just over 10 years ago. It was February 1, 2008 and I was in a boardroom in Moscow, I was buying a business with HP. And my wife was 36 weeks pregnant with our son Josh and we thought it was fine for me to travel, and then, I got the dreaded phone call. You know, the phone rang, it was my wife. She’s like, “Oh my God! I’ve gotten into labor. We’re going to have the baby. You got to get back.” So, I have my phone, my wallet and my passport, and literally, I ran out of the building, ran into the middle of the road, hailed down a cab which you shouldn’t do anywhere especially in Moscow. I got to the airport, I got on the plane, flew home and I literally ran into the hospital about 5 minutes before my son came out. So, he came out and I sat there cuddling this little guy and I just thought I couldn’t do this anymore. You know, I just don’t want to work for anybody else. Whilst investment banking, corporate M&A are very lucrative employment but I thought that was the trigger that said, you know, well I haven’t been an entrepreneur and I’m going to do this for myself. So, I quit. Quit on the spot and—

Larry: Wow!

Carl: I was going to take a year off but after three weeks of diaper changes and walking plans, I thought I got to get back to doing something. So, I decided in 2008 I was going to be a broker. I was going to broker small business and my first client was a $5 million transport business, quite large business, close to where I live in the UK and I went to see them and, you know, we signed a contract and I wrote the prospectus for the deal and I marked it. They said, you know, go get us top dollar for this business. So, I found a buyer who we’re going through the deal and the night before closings—so I’ve been working on this deal for like three months, the night before closing one of the brothers called me up who owned the business and he said, “We’re pulling the deal.” And I had, you know, $400,000 commission waiting for me on the closing of this deal. He said, “We can’t close the deal because the buyer has just come in,” and he said, “Tomorrow, we’re going to fire all the employees. They’re going to change the name. They’re going to ship the site now. They’re just going to relocate the operations to their own entity which was about 200 miles away.” So, I went down and I sat in the guy’s kitchen and he said to me, “You know, what do we do? Can you go and find me a buyer that’s not going to fire my employees, not going to treat my customers in a bad way and just going to have the legacy of the business that I’ve built,” and I just said, “I’ll buy your business.” And he said, “What, are you crazy?” I said, “I’ll buy your business.” I said, “We’re not going to get anywhere near the price that the corporates offered, but if you let me leverage your finance sheet, let me finance your trucks and your real estate, then I can raise enough money to give you a closing payment and then I’ll pay you some money over 3 to 4 years.” And the guy hugged me and he said, “If you can do that, in 30 days we’ll give you the business.” And what I also said is, I said, “Well, accounts for my lack of experience in the sector and I will give your general manager, your finance guy and your sales guy, I’ll give them all 10 percent of the ownership.” So, I’ll have 70, 10 percent for each of those three and we’ll run the business together. And that was my first individual no cash-down business acquisition. And we owned that business for three years. We doubled the size of it and yeah, I made quite a lot of money when I sold it.

So that gave me kind of two big brainwaves. The first one was I knew that there was going to be thousands and thousands and thousands of these people but when they’re ready to sell their business, they don’t want to sell to a competitor. They want to sell to somebody that’s going to be a safe or a hand that’s going to look after the business that they bought. And then, so I started doing all these deals and then about two years ago, I was just inundated with people saying “Hey, can you teach me how to do what you do? I’m buying flip real estate,” or “I’m a financier,” or, “I’m stuck in a 9 to 5. I want my own business. I don’t want to start one. I’d rather buy a business already that’s profitable. I don't know how to do it. I don't know how to raise the money. And I don’t have any money to personally put into the deal.” So, I created my coaching program. So there’s over a thousand people all over the world in that program now in 13 different countries, mostly in the US, the UK, and Canada but in other countries like Australia. So, I’m coaching and I’m mentoring these people just to follow my proprietary, you know, 10-step system for buying businesses no money down, and that’s the system that I’m going to teach your audience, Larry, when we do the follow-up webinar.

Larry: That is great. That is great. So, Carl, tell us a little bit about what is the ideal size of a business that you might want to acquire or a person might want to acquire. Because you're probably not talking about, you know, Fortune 500 companies. You're talking about middle America or anywhere in the world actually, but businesses that may have anywhere from X to X number of employees and X to X revenue.

Carl: Yeah. So, great question. We typically filter on revenues. So, generally, we’re looking at businesses that are generating annual revenues between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000. And I’ll tell you why. There’s two reasons. So, if you want to buy a business that’s smaller than that, then typically what you're doing is you're buying a one-man business.

Larry: A job.

Carl: Yeah. So, you're buying a job and that business doesn’t have any processes, typically doesn’t have a management team. You know, it doesn’t have all the infrastructure that a larger business. So, for that reason we kind of don’t really start until around a million dollars. If it’s kind of $600,00, $700,000, $800,000 and it’s got all those things in place then we’ll definitely look at that. A lot of the reasons why we stop at 5 is because once you go over 5 million, there’s a lot more competition for buyers and a lot of the kind of the psychology changes. Because what’s interesting, if you look at the market statistics, as of right now in the USA and Canada, there are 2.44 million businesses for sale today and according to Forbes Inc., Wall Street Journal, BizBuySell.com, only about 1 in 13 of those businesses are actually going to sell in the next 12 months. About 200,000 businesses a year change hands.

Larry: Wow!

Carl: So, that’s 1 to 5 million level. When you go above the 5 million level, then those businesses are large enough for, you know, if it’s a $10 million deal then a $50 million business will go and they’ll buy it. Whereas a $50 million business, you know, won’t buy a $5 million business. It’s too small. And when you're doing deals, it takes the same amounts of time and effort to do a large deal when it does a small deal. So, that’s why we stick to the kind of 1 to 5 range, and we’re typically looking for businesses that are good businesses but the owner is motivated to sell. Typically, retirement, they could be sick, they could be dying in some cases. They could be bored, frustrated, burnt out, run out of ideas, you know, doesn’t matter what it is. And you go back 20-25 years ago when I really first started in this business, it was typical especially in the US for a mother or a father to kind of hand the business down to a son or daughter, but that’s changed massively over the last 20 years because a lot of children now, they want to go to college, they want to be bankers and lawyers and doctors. You know, they don’t want to run dad’s $3 million engineering business in Idaho or in Pennsylvania. They don’t want to do that. So, all these owners, you know, they don’t have an exit strategy. They don’t have a way to be able to get out of their business and retire. The statistics are incredible. According to Forbes, there’s 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day in America. Every single day. And 19 percent of them own a small business and they don’t know how to sell their business. They don’t know the process. So, what I’m coaching people how to do is I show them where to find these deals, I show them how to vet them, I show them how to build phenomenal rapport and relationship toward the sellers and how to negotiate these. It’s what we used to call in Wall Street a ‘leveraged buyout’, so an LBO.

Larry: Right.

Carl: And basically, buying a business using the business’ asset turned into cashflows to finance the deal. We make part of the payment at closing, which is the day we take ownership and then we make the rest of the payments overtime using the cashflow that the business is generating from its continued operations. So, that’s in a nutshell what we do.

Larry: Man, that is huge. It sounds really, really complicated but I know you have simplified it quite a bit, right?

Carl: Yeah. I dumbed it down because what was amazing about it was when you're an expert in something, you know, this is the only thing in the world that I’m really good at buying—buying businesses, growing businesses, selling businesses. I’m really good at that; I’m terrible with everything else. You know, I’ve been doing this for a long, long time but it’s only when I started to break it down into a process that somebody just with, you know, basic business experience could follow and model and emulate and be successful. When I broke that down into a process, a unified process, it actually made me better at what I did; made me more systematized. It allowed me to look at a lot more deals because I was following the formula and all other documents and models and templates that I created for my audience that they needed to be able to plug and play and do this quickly. When I started using my own stuff like that, I actually became better at, you know, what I do. So, that’s what I do and I absolutely love it. And people ask me a lot of the time, you know, “Why did you build a program?” And for me, it was two things. It was to empower entrepreneurs all over the world to buy businesses, not start businesses. Because again, the statistics are they’re absolutely terrible. You know, Michael Gerber who wrote The E-Myth Revisited (it's the best book I’ve ever read by the way), he’s worked with hundreds of thousands of startups over 40-50 years and he tells us that 90 percent of people that start a business will fail inside the 10 years, 50 percent in the first year alone. It’s so much easier, it’s easier, it's quicker, it's far less risky to go and buy an existing business that someone has built but doesn’t want anymore because that business has all the things that started but don’t have. It has cash flow, credit, premises, equipment, employees, customers, suppliers, reputation.

Larry: Revenue.

Carl: Revenue. When you start a new company, you don’t have any of that stuff.

Larry: Right, right.

Carl: And it goes over 7 million Americans in 2017 went and started a brand-new company. Unbelievable.

Larry: Wow!

Carl: Yeah. And 96 percent of them will fail. You know, they’ll lose money, time. It’s crazy. And I had been interviewed on The Brady Home yesterday and they said to me, “So give us an analogy, Carl, about why you would buy versus rather than start one. You know, give us an analogy.” So I literally that morning, but we just got Tesla over here in the UK. We’ve never had Tesla before. It just arrived so I just ordered a Tesla. And you know, did I go and buy the glass wheels, the body work, the seats, the battery? And then did I figure out, you know, how do I put it altogether and make it work? Or then I go to the dealership, order one that they’ve built and find and sit through them. That’s what I did and that’s exactly what I do when I buy businesses. I’m buying a ready-made business that someone has built, is operating, it’s profitable; it can certainly grow and improve and, you know, we do all that as part of our work. And then we use that business asset and the cashflows it generates to generate the financing and to be able to do that deal. And there’s so much financing available in the United States. It’s insane. I wish we had the financing mark in England and in Australia that we have in the US. There’s trillions of dollars out there to buy businesses but most people, they just don’t know how to do it. So I’m just trying to connect the dots with my expertise and my process.

Larry: That’s great, that’s great. I’ve heard a lot about if you're ever going to sell your business or if you're building a business to sell, there’s certain things you need to do. So, what are some of those things because we have a lot of people on here watching that, you know, maybe they already have a business. Maybe they’re, like you said, they’re a tired business owner, they’ve run out of ideas. You know, they want to move on and do something else. I mean, I’ve taught a lot of people real estate that have owned, you know, pizza franchises, fast food franchises, that have owned manufacturing business, engineering companies and farms. What are some of the things that you recommend people do to prepare themselves to be able to sell the business which at the same time it will also tell people looking to buy one what they need to be looking for.

Carl: Yeah. So that’s a great question. And I look at 50 to 60 deals a week, and 90 percent of the deals that I look at, the businesses are not ready to sell so, you know, point number one that you must do when you're selling a business is, get all of your ducks in a row. So get all of your administration sorted out. Get all of your financials organized. Any buyer is going to want to see your last three years of financial accounts, your last three years of tax returns. They’re going to see all the material contracts that are inside the business, any shareholder agreements that you've got, you know, your articles of association, all that stuff. You know, get all that. Get it all together so then, you know, if I’m selling my business, and Larry, you want to buy my business, you know, and you're saying, “Hey, I want all the information,” there you go, quickly, takes 5 seconds, it’s all in one place. You know, it’s astonishing what happens. I was in Orlando a couple of weeks ago on vacation and one of the guys in my program, Ed who’s near Miami, he calls me up and he said, “Hey, I’ve seen this business. It’s a $20 million dollar construction business in Orlando. It’s like 2 miles from your hotel.” I was at the World Center Marriott. He said, “If I drive up, can we go and see it?” I’m like, “Sure! Let’s go see it.” So we went in and we’re looking at this business and the accountancy deal in that business was basically shoeboxes, all the pieces of paper.

Larry: Wow!

Carl: You know, there was no proper accounting system.

Larry: For a $20 million business.

Carl: A $20 million business. It's just crazy. So, getting all that stuff all lined up so that you're making it really easy for a buyer to kind of, you know, look at the numbers and look at the business is really, really important. The second thing, and this is probably even more important is, as I mentioned before, typically with smaller businesses, is most really small businesses, they’re impossible to sell because you don’t have a business. You have a job in your own business. So if you were to leave that business, then your buyer isn’t going to be able to operate it because all the systems and processes are in your head, all the relationships with you, there’s no infrastructure, there’s no systems which make the business work. So, that’s the second most important thing. And then there are lots of ways that you can quickly groom a business for sale. So, you can put in some growth strategies, you know, you can amp up your marketing, you know, and really get ready. And then what sadly happens in a lot of deals is when a business does list for sale and buyers start to look and they make an offer and then they sign an LOI which is the kind of document before you close, and then the buyers are going through like the due diligence, you know, checking up the business does what it says and then lawyers, the attorneys, they’re drawing up the legal paperwork, during that process what happens is the seller, they take their foot up the gas and the business performance starts to come down. So, it’s like the relief. They’ll press this off the shoulders, I found a buyer. Carl is going to buy my business, he’s going to take it over; I don’t need to worry about this stuff anymore. And, you know, the performance of the business drops. And the only thing that happens then is when we come to a close because the numbers have come down, I’m going to be renegotiating the terms based on a kind of underperforming business. It’s really important when you do sell and you have an offer and you're going through the transaction is keep your foot, you know, really hard to the floor and keep driving the business forward—really, really important.

Larry: And that’s really, really important, that’s really good. I’m glad you mentioned that. It reminds me like in commercial or multifamily real estate, it’s all based on the income. I’ve seen multifamily property owners that know they’re going to sell the business, they will continue bringing in the real income but they’ll stop making repairs, maintenance, that sort of thing in the last, you know, three months, six months to make their income look much higher which that’s going to make their value look much better. What are some things that you can let us know to be aware of as far as, you know, expenses or things to look out for when somebody is trying to sell their business to make sure they don’t get taken advantage of.

Carl: Yeah. So it’s kind of slightly… so I love the real estate analogy there with kind of repairs and expenses. I think that’s, you know, a great point that you just made. In the business sense though, it's kind of a little bit different, almost kind of flips around because what you probably shouldn’t do during that period, and we’re only talking about 4 to 6 weeks.

Larry: Right.

Carl: Look at the timeline of doing a deal. You know, you make an offer and you sign the exclusivity document which is called an LOI and then you basically got 4 to 6 weeks where you’re raising the financing, you're doing the legals, and you're doing the due diligence. It’s quite a short space of time. So, in that period whilst you’ve got to keep your foot to the floor as a seller, what you should also then not do is do anything drastic. So, don’t go out and hire a whole bunch of new people. Don’t go and buy a whole load of new equipment. You know, don’t change up and dramatically increase your marketing spend because your buyer might have different ideas and different thoughts about how they’re going to do that, and especially if that buyer is another business because one of the reasons businesses buy other businesses is, you know, you can double your revenues overnight by buying another company. And when a business buys another business, there’s a lot of cross-selling that you can do. So, if a computer software company bought a computer services company, they can sell the software, the services, customers and vice-versa. Then as you bring those two businesses together, you can take out of a lot of that duplicate cost and as the buyer, the cashflow is going to go up so they’re getting a kind of a better deal and that’s also why competitors trade buyers, other companies will offer slightly more than we will as individuals because they’re able to get those synergies out of the deal. Although most small business owners, you know, they don’t want to sell to a competitor because as I mentioned before, they don’t want their business destroyed, their employees let go, and everything changed. They’d rather sell to somebody that’s going to look after the business and take it to the next level.

Larry: Sure. After all, it was their baby, right?

Carl: It was their baby. It's like you’re selling your children and you want to make sure that they’re going to be well looked after and not completely destroyed. And, you know, they’re very notorious for, you know, they look at all these deals, they sign non-disclosure agreements, they get all the customer lists, employee lists, the revenue numbers. Then they’ll go and handpick and steal the people in the marketplace. It's sad but it happens every day. And I’ve seen a lot of great businesses destroyed. You know, I made an offer on a business in January. Great business in California. A great business in California, in LA. And I was about a million dollars shy of a competitor that wanted to buy it and the guy just said, “You know what, love you, Carl. You'd do a really good job with this business, but I’m going to sell to the trade buyer.” The trade buyer never even completed the deal. He went through the due diligence, he got all the data. He stole 40 percent of the customer base and 35 percent of the best employees, and the business died in a space of 3 weeks.

Larry: Wow!

Carl: And the guy got nothing. He had to close the business down, liquidate it. Because the buyer had come in and just raped and pillaged it, didn’t even buy it. You know, came in, he got all the data, killed the business in the market. You know, he was spreading rumors on social media his business was in serious financial peril, so customers were fleeing, employees were leaving, and he was just there welcoming them into his own business. So, sadly that happens. So as individual buyers doing these types of deals, you know, we offer a much safer, much quicker, less risky way of buying a business. We're not offering the big valuations but from my research, 79 percent of sellers, you know, cash isn’t top of mind when they sell. They want that safe, trusted individual or individuals that will come in and, you know, just treat the business with some respect and take it to the next level. And the sellers that I deal with, you know, they’re cheering me from the sidelines. The last business I bought about three weeks ago was a media company in Burbank in California, just near the Hollywood Hills and I’ve actually kept the owner on two days a week to do some business development work for me and she’s just cheering me on from the sidelines. She’s just so thrilled with the deal and that we’re keeping the legacy and the branding of the business alive. You know, to her that’s all that matters. You know, she’s 62 years of age and that’s what she wanted.

Larry: Wow. That is great, that is great. Tell us a little bit about what is the end goal because like you've talked about buying a couple of different businesses in the US. You're in the UK and you've talked about Michael Gerber mentioned the difference between a job and a business, right? And I love Michael Gerber as well. In fact he wrote the foreword to my first book.

Carl: Wow! Awesome.

Larry: Yeah, that was pretty cool.

Carl: Cool, cool.

Larry: Yeah. So, tell us a little bit about what is the end goal because I know you're not buying yourself a job; you're buying the business as a business owner that already has employees that run the business. So, what’s the goal? I mean, are you looking at a 3-year hold, a 5-year hold? Is it ultimately the cash-out or bringing other partners? Or, what’s the goal?

Carl: Yeah. All of the above, Larry. So, I’ll give you some examples. So, I either all or I’m invested in 17 different businesses right now. They’re in Australia, the UK, Ireland, Germany, and the United States so in Florida, in Boston, in LA, in Texas, and in Scottsdale, Arizona. So, I’m not active in any of my businesses at all. I’m not an owner manager, so I’m an owner investor. So, when I do deals, in some cases the seller stays on and runs the business for me. In other cases, I’ll promote, you know, a key member staff, a key number 2, and I’ll gift them a small piece of equity to be able to drive that business for me. I’m not paying for my equity because I’m doing ‘no money down’ deals. You know, I’m not buying shares and so I can give some of my equity to other people. And what I’ve started to do lately as well as I’m scaling up, is I’m partnering with other people. So, I’m even partnering with people in my own coaching program. So, they’re finding deals and then they’re coming to me and saying, “Hey, I want to partner with you 50-50. If it passes my test, we’ll do that deal.” The LA media deal was just like that. I partnered with a guy called Paul Hollins. He came into my program about three months ago and then the next four deals that I’ll close in the next 6 weeks, they’re all kind of partner deals as well. So, my strategy is I’m not flipping. So, I’m technically business flipping but I’m not flipping in like three months or even, you know, back-to-back transactions. You know, I tend to hold on to my businesses for at least a year, depends how they go. If they absolutely fly out of the blocks and, you know, somebody comes in with a crazy offer, you know, if we start to annoy our larger competitor in the market and they come in and they want to take us out, you know, we will sell subject to them protecting the legacy of the business. So typically, that’s our model. It all depends. You know, I’ve owned businesses. I’m still in a deal that I bought 7 years ago. Yet the business I support in LA, I could sell that business tomorrow and I make 7 figures for two months’ work. But I’m probably going to keep, I’ll do it for a little while. But that’s part of the fun. And what’s amazing is most of the businesses that I buy and most of the business that I see, and this is kind of very typical of your kind of baby boomer owned brick and mortar businesses in the States is, you know, you go and see them or you have a Skype call with them and, you know, you say to them and say, “Hey Larry, what’s your marketing strategy? How do you get leads into your business?” And they go, “This is what’s great about our business, Carl. We don’t do any marketing!” It’s all word-of-mouth, it’s all referrals. It’s all repeat customers.

Larry: Right.

Carl: And they think that’s cool. It’s really cool for me because I know that as soon as I become the owner and I put in some new age marketing, leveraging social media and all of the marketing steps that I know, you know, we can very, very quickly scale our business. And that’s all kind of upside which the seller hasn’t brought in because a lot of them, you know, they were just happy kind of taken over, low growth, didn’t want to do anything really sophisticated. Yeah, so this is a lot of fun.

Larry: I love that. You answered my next question. What’s the first thing you do to increase the value of that business so you can sell it in a year or two or three—and it's marketing. I love that. So, I have one final question for you, is where do most people go to find these businesses for sale?

Carl: So, here’s the mistake most people make. Most people only owe to business brokers. So, they’ll go to a business broker and that’s where most people fall down because the way the business broker market works—and it’s a shame really—is 90 percent of business brokers, sadly, you know, they’re not very good but they’re actually immoral in a lot of cases. They will go out, they will look at a business, they’ll promise some crazy valuation just to get it on their books, get the listing fee which can be $10,000 a month in some cases. And the average broker will only sell 1 in 20 businesses. So, we steer away from brokers, apart from brokers that have deals that have been on their books for a while and the valuations have come down and they’re prepared to talk sensibly about doing the deal. So, we get most of our deals through networking and through leveraging social media, going to networking events, and basically it's all about your network. So, I’ll give you an example. Market data tells us that about 80 percent of people that sell a business, a small business, don’t list through a broker. They’re afraid of the competitor dynamic and they don’t want to pay the upfront fees. So, if you’re a small business owner and you're not going to list through a broker, you tell four people. You tell your spouse, your bank, your attorney, and your CPA. So, forget the spouse. What we do is I teach people how to build those networks, how to penetrate those networks and get into conversations with all of these kind of deal intermediaries because they can be excellent referrers of opportunities. You know, even talking to everybody that you know in business, you know, customer, suppliers, partners, JBs, the previous people that you work with, everybody knows businesses that are for sale but are not listed, they’re off market, so those are the best deals to do because, you know, let’s say Larry you wanted to sell your business, you’ve not listed it, you talk to your CPA. I’m networking with that person, he gives me to you, we agree a deal. You know, I don’t have any competitive buyers because I’ve been brought to you, we’re doing a deal. There’s nobody else in that deal negotiating against me.

Larry: Right.

Carl: So, it’s how we do most of our deals.

Larry: That’s great, that’s really good. So, as we’re mincing the time or two already, we’re going to have an upcoming webinar. We don’t have a link for it right now but hopefully by the time you see this, there’ll be a link below this video or on the social media page for this video, but you’ll also be getting emails from us as well. So, Carl, tell us a little bit about what are they going to learn on this webinar that we’re going to do coming up?

Carl: I am going to teach them. I’m going to give them my proprietary 10-step business buying system. It’s in its 26th year, it’s done over 300 transactions, over $52 billion in deals done. A lot of them were big Wall Street type deals but that’s where I cut my teeth. I was able to kind of boil all that down into a very simple 10-stage process, you know, what to do with each step of the way so that the people can model it. I’ll teach people the most important thing when you're doing a deal is deal specification. You know, what and what type of business do you want to buy. Is it something that you know, something that you’re passionate about? Do you want to be the owner-manager or the owner-investor which makes a difference on your location? And then, I’ll teach my deal origination methods and show you how to prepare for a first seller meeting once you get an opportunity, how the numbers work. You know, people think… this is what’s so funny. People think to do these types of deals you’ve got to come from Wall Street or you've got to have an MBA from Harvard. You know, I got all that stuff. But doing these deals it's like high school math. If you can add or multiply by 3, you can do these deals and, you know, let’s talk about where the financing is for all these deals and then I’ll even teach people how you can go and find, it’s what we call contingent fee advisers. So, once you've got a deal and it needs transacting and papering, I’ll show you how I can get an attorney and a CPA to do that transactional work for you but then you only pay them when you close the deal. So, it takes all the risk, you know, out of actually doing this. So, I’ll teach them my whole system. It takes me about 90 minutes to go through it. So, make sure they’ve got notepads and pens, take a lot of notes. I’m going to go through it pretty quickly but it’s really good stuff. There are a lot of people, hundreds and hundreds of people that have watched the training webinar that I will deliver and they’ve gone away and made some deals.

Larry: That’s awesome.

Carl: And any other touchpoints from me or anything like that. So, yes, it’s cool. I’m happy to do that.

Larry: That’s great, man. That’s great. I’m looking forward to doing it. We’re going to be sending out an email soon and I know the 90 minutes is going to be phenomenal because I already have a page full of notes right here just from today. So, I’m really excited about that. So, Carl, thank you so much for being on. I really, really appreciate it and I’m looking forward to doing the webinar soon and everything you have to share on that as well. Thank you so much for being on here today.

Carl: Thank you so much for having me, Larry. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.

Larry: Awesome. Thanks a lot everybody.