She's into investing and still have companies that she's invested in. Right now she has about 9 companies that are doing great and still growing. Oh and she loves a good laugh!
Instagram is @heysharonbrown...
Ronald P. Skelton - Host -
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Ronald Skelton: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronskelton
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call our hotline and leave a message: 918-641-4150
Ronald Skelton 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the how to exit podcast where we introduce you to a world of small to medium business acquisitions and mergers. We interview business owners, industry leaders, authors, mentors and other influencers with the sole intent to share with you what it looks like to buy or sell a business. Let's get rolling.
Hey, everybody, today I'm here with Sharon Brown. Sharon Brown is an investor at Angel Investor too. She's into Mergers Acquisitions, and, and you're actually a speaker, you speak on launching products and growing companies. And I had the fortunate benefit to be in a couple of your meetings, the networking with other investors and stuff, and really liked the path that you're on. So I invited you here to share that with everybody. So this place I always like to start is just kind of, I want to say your origin story, kind of, you know, I don't ever ask people like don't go away back. If you have a painful childhood. I'm not trying to do memories or anything. Yeah, I don't want to pull off any scabs. This isn't a psychology type of you know, I'm not a we're not getting into any type of, you know, self help or anything. I'm not going to cure anything. So, but yeah, if you could tell us a little bit about, you know, who is Sharon Brown? And what, what, what's, what's behind you? What are your what do you want to accomplish in life?
Sharon Brown 1:37
Yeah, it's a thank you for having me that we kind of hit it off. And we came to the last investor, a mutual cocktail, so I get a chance to spend some time together. Yeah, we realize we have the same sense of humor, which was really important, I think.
Ronald Skelton 1:53
I love a good laugh.
Sharon Brown 1:55
I love a good laugh. But definitely the best apart is what I love, I love a really sharing my background and advisor expertise to help businesses grow in the middle market area. And you mentioned an important thing. I am quote unquote, Angel, wish I was an angel investor, I do have a portfolio, which I'm really proud of companies that I still invested in, but I actually no longer.
Ronald Skelton 2:28
Sharon Brown 2:29
So I have about now about nine that are doing the thing growing, and I'm still seeing some great of returns in in traction with those. So it's exciting. And everything from SAS is what I'm really into. But I've invested in the nutrition space, as well as delivery. Last Mile. I just find it fascinating. So that's been a great space, as well as AI. And so the you know, and wearables. Definitely a couple things as well. But right now, it's all about investing in different areas. And I'm going all in terms of investing in middle market. Tech and non tech products and services is really where my background is. So I don't have a lot of fun with that. So right now, yeah, it's fun
Ronald Skelton 3:25
awesome. And I see you're also a speaker. So if, if somebody wants to have you come out and talk about growing a business, or, you know, we'll talk a little bit later about growth through acquisition, because that's what we do here. We're about mergers and acquisitions. podcast, but uh, you know, what does that look like? Is that something you're still doing there, too, if somebody wanted you to come out and talk to a group and help move them forward and the conversation of, you know, growth through acquisition or growth through a product launch? Or?
Sharon Brown 3:56
Yeah, my, it's an interesting thing I used to do so much speaking, because I enjoyed it. And then it got to the point where it almost became, you know, overwhelmed your life. And I realized, Okay, I've got to sort of get off this trail. So I still enjoy doing it depends on what the ask is. But one of the sweet spots for me is about product launches, and sharing the framework even that I've, I've shared with many, but have used to really grow and develop billions in products and services, tech and non tech. And so one of the things that I always sort of make as an important keynote, is if you don't know what your product or service looks like, in the very beginning, and not in a theoretical sense, but if you really don't know what that thing looks like, you can build a world of difficulty building. And so imagine what that is if it's a tech product, but even if it's a non tech product or service, and so what does that look like. And then another thing that I always speak about are I boil down over the course of my trajectory of my career, there really are five different types of products and services. So you want to know, which are you in? Are you focusing? Because that's about once again, knowing what it looks like. And that's about knowing ultimately how you're going to scale and exit. So I'll just quickly show those, you know, is it a widget or service type of product service? Is it a fixing, diagnose? Is it IT are systems, uncharted territory, that means something that has never been done before? And I've had my share of those? And And then lastly, is it mission critical, meaning if this thing isn't, isn't put into place, it's gonna break things, or you've been a customer service light years, or you're going to get sued? So those are the things that I don't often have a lot of a lot of fun.
Ronald Skelton 5:56
So you pique my curiosity and the uncharted territory? Because one of the things I find is a lot of entrepreneurs believe they're on an island of one they're in uncharted territory. Nobody's done it like this. And that's a double edged sword in my world. I think that we have a lot of history. As far as business, you know, Mr. History since the since cavemen were doing, you know, trading of goods for furs or whatever, up until now. So if nobody's done it yet. It better be a technology player, something that's just invented in my world, I What is your thought process on the it's truly unique? One of a kind, nobody's ever done it.
Sharon Brown 6:39
It's an idea. 100%, right. One, the logical question is, well, have you researched the market thoroughly enough? But honestly, I can say, from my perspective, and having lived in the tech world for decades, shall I say, you can have something that is uncharted territory in terms of that doesn't mean the universe has never seen it. But is there a variation of that? Is there a feature, twist. And then just to add on to that, maybe it is actually new to your organization, or to your portfolio of products and services, Uncharted Georgia, that's a whole different dynamic in terms of what does it look like just scoping it out, laying the foundation, know what those major components are clear around those deliverables, and ultimately, getting to this attraction.
Ronald Skelton 7:38
Center State is one of the things I'm hoping to do, or planning to do, I'm on a big project that lasts another 29 months or so. But afterwards, I think we're going to do a little world travel, and in my mergers and acquisitions role, I think I want to look for companies out there that are doing really well in similar markets, European markets, and even you know, South African markets and Dubai, but just things that are really doing well with demographics that I can match in the US and then bring that product or service here because I've know somebody that does it in the product space. And he does really well with it.
But yeah, so when somebody says it's uncharted territory, a lot of times there's a reason why it's Uncharted. So I'm intrigued by that. So
Sharon Brown 9:55
Just to peel that layer back a little bit though. The emphasis is on. It might he knew to your market and your particular slice of the market or just to your customer base. So to the point of it, it's not necessarily that attuned to the universe. And a great example of that is AI. So maybe you're bringing in an AI component to a service, a module, that completely uncharted territory in your organization, how are you implement that, to sort of make sense. So those are the types of examples. And the one place that I love to share with, with folks about that, since my background in technology, I took a detour after the first that.com bust, to actually I launched a skincare line, and no background experience in that area became wildly successful. To my surprise, we were actually in the future than Grammy gift bags, we were in the luxury hotels, four seasons, because of a spa back bar, as well as retail. So uncharted territory for clearly my organization at the time, but then what I soon realized, you've got to keep that cranking, you're not just gonna get rich off of selling, you know, cleaning, or whatever it might be. So the twist, and the reason why we became, you know, featured in all different types of international media is because I launched something called Black Diamond truffle, and actually infusing Trump black truffles into the product. So that was completely something I can say in the universe at the time was not done.
Ronald Skelton 11:38
Sharon Brown 11:39
So you can get my point that different?
Ronald Skelton 11:41
Sharon Brown 11:42
Framing it. And really, the bottom line is, what does it mean in terms of producing.
Ronald Skelton 11:47
And I can see you using that to really develop your unique selling proposition, right. You know, even if it's not necessarily like the whole thing's unique, you brought something into it to make it stand out. I can get behind that 100%. So
Sharon Brown 12:06
I'm not sure that I'm seeing this in my investment, right now is, as an investor, I, I have actually a really long background in e learning. And so one of the things that's come up is what's happening in the world have a level of really being able to search through video, and audio and get right to a specific place in that video audio with a person speaking. And so the uncharted territory in some of the conversations I'm having on potential investment targets are monetizing that. And I'm actually bringing that to the table amongst other things. So that's it's completely shaping that particular industry.
Ronald Skelton 12:56
If you could fix the healthwell, Otter transcribe stuff, I'd be awesome. We use it. We use it extensively in one of my projects, and it's not very accurate.
Sharon Brown 13:07
Ronald Skelton 13:11
But, uh, awesome. So one of the questions I always like to ask is, knowing what you know, now, what is one big I guess, myth or, or fallacy that's kind of inset in the in the space that you're working in? That just isn't true. And you wish it would go away? Right? Almost every industry almost every space has this, like overlying myth that it's either real easy, like real estate, right? I did. I've done a lot of real estate and it's, it's get rich quick. I actually, I'm working on a book called Get rich quick, my ass. But you know, it's not it. It's a business. And but there's I think every industry has has this. I want to call it over buried or over shadowy myth that just isn't true. Do you think of inside of the space you're in now? Or are there any, you know, common, held beliefs that just aren't true?
Sharon Brown 14:11
I love that you asked that. And I have one that will probably make you smile as a fellow investor. Someone reaching out to you. And because you're an investor, are they willing to give me millions of dollars? I'm just gonna give millions of dollars for their business. It's a complete fallacy in terms of understanding what an investor wants, needs and expects, and how it's really more about a partnership. And getting us understanding the value of the company. And then how it's going to be paid for is a whole separate conversation. Yeah, that's the thing.
Ronald Skelton 14:53
It's interesting that I get that one too is like, well, I want your money but I don't want your advice. And I was like, Unfortunately, my advice comes away before my money. Right? And maybe one of these days I'll have I'll have stupid money, but I don't have stupid money yet stupid money is where I was like, you know, I believe you could just like, oh, that sounds a great idea. I'll throw some over there. But uh, right now I'm still at the stage where I'm cautious about what I get involved with when I put my time in on. And I got to believe in the people number one, and a lot of people, they think it's like, they pitch their idea, their idea, their idea. And I was like, I'm not really that interested in the idea until I kind of know we're who you are what you're up to. Right? What have you done in the past? If you haven't done it, that's okay. Who do you have on the team that has, right, I'm working on this huge international project that we've never created a half billion dollar company. But we will find some people that did, because that's critical. Like to have people that have, you know, I believe in trailblazers, but also believe in, you know, there's usually if you're smart about like, you know, hiking and uncharted territory, you probably get a guide. Right, so you don't get lost, right. So I'm speaking on guides and stuff I see, you know, I see you leading these happy hours. And you're just a natural leader in the communities that you partake in? Do you do mentorship and stuff like that? For the for the premier investors, you know, when you invest in somebody who's an investor, mentor relationship? Or is it? Okay, they're already doing something? Great, I'll put some I'll put some time energy and a little bit of money in it, but I don't need to mentor them.
Sharon Brown 16:36
Yeah, thank you. For that. 100% It depends on the circumstance, I'm, I certainly expect that. That is something worth my time and energy. And thereby, if I'm an equity investor, that sure I dedicate time each month, well, certainly that's a thing. But there are some who are skilled furlong, quite frankly, and so they need less or require the care to have, you know, maybe a little bit less than that I've just come across one particular was actually looking to acquire in a digital marketing agency, as a back office, not not for anything other than but really part of my back office, the one of the things that I uncovered is that the owner really, quite frankly, just wants a mentor, she just hits me. And that's not quite what I'm looking for. And at that point, I'm thinking about, just hire an employee, rather than one of the the counter author she came back with was, will you just build the business together, you know, just actually build a whole new business? That's a completely different thing. So So I think, you know, I'm definitely not on that scale from from an investor standpoint, happy to build relationships with friends, but in terms of investing, it's about going all in and reacting to that give you what I call my team, you know, my connections, access network and expertise.
Ronald Skelton 18:12
Yeah, awesome. So along the way, I, you've done some of the we both hired similar mentors in the past, so I'm aware of some of the mentorship but other resources like I'm an avid reader, I'm actually rereading Perry Marshalls 8020. And funny thing is one of I'm friends with somebody that knows him really well. And he recommended another book that Perry did this, the 20% of the 8020 book is what he how he proposed it, and I ordered it not even looking at it because somebody said read it, and I read a lot. And it turns out it's really thin, like I don't think to say that but it's like, it's you know, he did that it's the 20% of the you know, 8020 rule, but like what resources or books or something made a real difference in where you are now that you would recommend every entrepreneur go out and read study or understand.
Sharon Brown 19:06
Oh, great, I love that question. For me, one that I just got through within this past COVID is up is not how such a you know, thing that right?
Excellent. It is really enough. For anybody listening. Don't think it's so obvious, you know? And of course, you're going to read through things yourself. Yeah, that makes sense. Really, you and I have digital emergent so I have a lot of things highlighted. You're going to be amazed at areas in your life where they are, you know as a business owner, An entrepreneur, you are an investor, you're going to find areas in your life where you are have clear lessons from that book that are just going to surprise you. And I will say for your audience, anybody that gets in touch with me will give them you know, some way of connecting, I probably have, I will, regardless, I will give that 40 of those electronic versions of that book away.
Ronald Skelton 20:44
Let's try to edit something and I ended up so how do they get ahold of you? So I normally have a little scroll thing. I'll put it underneath there. But for those of us listening to the podcast, what's the way they could get a hold of you and to, you know, find out more information about you or take you up on your offer there?
Sharon Brown 21:02
Oh, absolutely. So to two things, one, you can always go to Sharon brown.co.co not com. So Sharon Brown that CO. And then another thing that I'm I'm actually holding myself accountable to is actually starting to be more active on my Instagram. Horrible, so find me on Instagram and actually DM me then for for that resource. You can just say you heard about me on how to exit Can you would like a copy of the house only have about 40. So first come first serve on that one. Okay,
Ronald Skelton 21:40
it's interesting is I do get marketing broom, it's a newsletter for the marketing. Anyway, they were talking about, or one of the newsletters I was on this morning is was talking about Instagram and how they are using it to grow their business and stuff. And I thought, Man, I spent a lot of time on the other ones, I really should check that out. So it's funny that you bring that up now, because I was really like, Okay, I've got an account there, I don't use it much, I should go check it out. And they recommended doing kind of a search on like entrepreneur or whatever your target is, and, you know, seeing how easy it is to make connections and reach out to influencers and you know, critical people in that industry. So
Sharon Brown 22:24
I tell you, it's such a brilliant thing. So one, I gotta tell you, I've been all in on Facebook for years in my business, and we're in investors value, and I get it, get it. However, one a part of my invest investment portfolio, we've leaned into the dog vertical, as well as nutrition, etc. And so one of the things that I part was a group that has over 400,000 Instagram followers, and it has been our lightning rod of, of just awareness of how I was able to get sponsorship within like three weeks of after acquiring, because all they cared about was Instagram, they didn't care about the Facebook. And that was that was sponsor and partner at the partner after partner I it's almost like a complete reversal of everything I thought and believe around social media spaces that Instagram really does have a specific view and we also have ticktock etc. But so for my business account several different business. We're doing great, but my own personal account, I've been pretty horrible at it. So I need to
Ronald Skelton 23:40
Sharon Brown 23:41
Ronald Skelton 23:55
This young guy looks at me and says, What are you doing on like, you know, how do you market your business? So we're using LinkedIn and Facebook, and that's how we're reaching out and stuff. He goes, those are for old people. Don't you guys have any customers that are in their 20s? And I started thinking that's not true that I realized, you know, it might be so I started looking at the demographics and Facebook in the LinkedIn, the predominant, you know, demographics is 40 plus 50. Plus, you know, the young people get tired of mom and dad seeing what they're up to when they post stuff and they moved off.
It's funny is a you know, like he said, Well, Facebook's where I go to talk to my grandparents. This is what he said. I was like, Oh gee, thanks. I'm only 49 going on 50 Like I resemble that remark.
Sharon Brown 24:57
Resemble and we're proud of it. I'm at instagram.com Hey, hey, Sharon Brown just can't get a Sharon Brown. So
Ronald Skelton 25:04
Oh, cool. Hey, Sharon Brown, I'll look that up. So maybe you and I can we can start chatting on there. Now start a conversation there. That'll be fun. Give me Give me Give me some friend on there. I know.
Sharon Brown 25:17
One good friend, that's all starts with it.
Ronald Skelton 25:20
You know, it's interesting, if you have an interesting conversation people will want to join in. So I'm not even sure like, I have to do the research on it, you know? But, uh, I will, I'll get active there, too. So we talked about the books, we have similar reading things. What about people are there? What are the three most influential people out there that have impacted you? In any space in entrepreneurial ism, right?
Sharon Brown 25:48
Yeah, the one, the one that comes to mind. First is Jean Sullivan. She was a VC. Chanel doesn't just retired from her original business that she was part of, but is now still investing in other areas. But she really was the one that got me clear on the possibility of beating investment. And that's where I started in terms of wanting to be an angel investor, and going to ask the meetings, and things like that really excited. And then the other is Tom topic, he was my professor at Stanford grad school. And just once again, you got me thinking in a whole different way around the investment community. And pretty phenomenal in terms of when you think about how things really transpire for you. I've always been like an entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, we hear that term all the time, but legitimately cranking out the next thing cranking out the next thing. And it comes to find out the thing that really fueled me the most was being able to share those experiences and be able to make a mark in any particular industry, and now to be able to do that on scale. And so that's where it all starts from. And then of course, I think you and I share our admiration for rolling Fraser anymore. So that's never been asked before. So I'm surprised I came up with that pretty quick.
Ronald Skelton 27:22
That's cool. So I we all have, you know, people that, you know, we look up to that we, you know, that we, you know, model our business after it you know, I I think it's was it Anthony Robbins, Tony Robbins or one of the guys that says success leaves clues, right. There's a bunch of people that say it, but I'll remember who originated it. But, you know, I, I get that. I like that you had people that are just not in the limelight, just the authors of books or PR, or mentors, you've hired at Teach a particular one thing, right. I like that you have people that are influential to you that are tighter to your circle, because a lot of people they just don't well, this talks about, you know, who not how long ago Dan Sullivan, you know, the book he wrote was awesome. I was like, Cool. If you ever met him really? Well, no. And I was like, what I'm looking for here, right?
Sharon Brown 29:24
it's interesting thing that you you were raised, because, you know, in some ways, there is a distinction between somebody you just giving money to, to Who do you do really as a as an, you know, a mentor, you know, and something I often thought about, I've never really took that role seriously, and really seeking out mentors and advisors early as I should have. I mean, honestly, that even when I had businesses that were on the cusp of getting to a sort of a success point, and I really should have looking into finding a mentor and advisor, I mean, not just someone you pay money to, right? Because we all know, anyways, happy to take your money, right? You really, you know, pick up the phone and to or connect on an email, whatever it might be, and just even carve out time passes from Stanford. That was one of the Stanford dropout. That doesn't mean I didn't finish grad school, I did finish grad school somewhere else. But I was actually getting a second degree. Because of his influence, I realized, what am I doing? Why am I do I really need a second master's degree, like really, and so you realized sometimes you've got to, you know, recognize, you don't know what you know, little, and then seek out those people with whom you can really go the partnership. So even if that's an investor, that's also an advisor, someone who can just roll the sleeves and talk shop to an indie guy, or just a company to guide you.
Ronald Skelton 30:58
Cool. So one of the things I like to we've covered a little bit here, let's, let's talk a little bit more about growth through acquisition. You mentioned it on your website, I'm a big fan of that. As well as how I'm going to grow a few of the businesses I own is bolt bolt, or what I call bolt on, or full blown acquisitions that are, you know, of my size or larger. What's your take on growth through acquisition, like, you know, growing your company through acquiring others,
That's exactly how I feel. About this did years ago,
Sharon Brown 31:45
The amount of things that I've grown from the ground up is just insane, and just smacks of just hubris and stupidity, like, why you didn't, if I knew that was an even thing, and like that was completely a blind spot just made me consider that as an option. So my takeaway for that is, of even if you're someone that's not an investor, part of your community, look for areas where you can partner with a JV or whatever it might be to build something greater than you can and faster than you can on your own. And it's exactly that you'd be surprised at, at what you end up growing in the end, and how fast you can actually grow and scale.
Ronald Skelton 32:33
And if you look at how the big guys grow and do what they do, right? There's growth through acquisition, right? If you look at Google and Apple stuff, they're buying companies weekly. Right? It's crazy the pace that they're, they're buying companies. And if you look at a lot of times, they're they do grow through acquisition just to grow and to have new products, but a lot of theirs is acquisition of talent. Right? They, they may or may not necessarily even need or one. I mean, they've got programmers, they can develop anything they wanted in house. But finding great people. You know, there is a model of growth. We call it they call it Accu hire or something like that, where you're just acquiring the business because of the people it has and their abilities. So have you looked into that, or,
Sharon Brown 33:25
Oh, you are speaking my language, my friend that has been that is I will share just an interesting story for me, over this period this past year, I put in place I kind of let go and skill down to another company had to be all in in terms of investment. So that's really all we do.
And having the right people and putting in the right types. As I like to say, the market turns around and cranking doing great doing great. I had three key people who are lost because of COVID effect in their families or something. And it's Oh my heavens. And so you realize that how much of the benefit would be to have you know, growth or growing your team through acquisition versus distinct people who represent world or you know, hiring them out the old fashioned way as a as a select to say, so that is something very much interested in looking into. I'd like for it to be less of a headache and sort of just have that part frankly, just make things a lot easier. Yeah.
Ronald Skelton 34:43
What's the biggest area inside of mergers and acquisitions that you're curious about? Like you're still I mean, there's so much in this space, right? I don't do any LBOs currently, but I read a lot about I'm going to study that enough to know that that's not my not where I want to be, But what areas of the mergers and acquisitions space buying companies selling companies intrigue you the most and you're still you're still perfecting are still learning, right? You're still staying on that learning curve, to make sure you know that new area.
Sharon Brown 35:16
Oh, man, I can't even say to do and I think it's all of it. I mean, there's a distinct difference from what I've spent since 2012. As an angel investor, we go all in just two years ago to what I call an investor. It's wildly different. So yes, I've, I've had some success, I've had an exit as a as an angel. And I really love that part of what I did. But it really is a whole new way of thinking and being and setting things up in the right way that I want them to be. Because like you, I have on my horizon to do some world travel. I want to make sure you know, life is, you know, riding smoothly, then I'm freed up to do the things that I really want to do.
Ronald Skelton 36:11
So for our listeners, right, the listeners are on here, they're here because they're either wanting to buy businesses, or they're considering selling theirs. And if you're considering selling your business out there, either one of us are very interested, you can contact Sharon or myself. You know, that won't hurt my feelings. Either way.
I got I have plenty, there's plenty out there. So if you resonate with what she's saying, and stuff, reach out to her about what business you have. And if it you know, if it lands with me that I'd love to. We both have a huge network. So if we're not the buyer, we definitely know probably somebody who would be, and I'll speak for myself, but it doesn't bother me to go, Hey, this is a right fit for me. But let me reach out to my network and see who can help you out. And I imagine from your personality, you'd be in the same, you know, quite a bit already. Yeah. So that's cool. What would you what would you consider most important for somebody who's listening to this and they're thinking about, okay, I want to do something else, or it's time to retire and I need to sell? What do you think's most important for them to start getting into order
Sharon Brown 37:26
your financials. Nice. having those conversations, and lucky I get it, I've been that entrepreneur and Neff stuff, all kinds of ways and places. Just start that process now. And more importantly, take the step where it doesn't have to be all on you.
Fine, find out who you can just give your your bookkeeping over to and get that straight, then it goes to an accountant to get that straight. But really, that is everything you want to be to a place where you get on the phone, if you call me, contact me, you contact Ronald. And we say, Yeah, great, let's let's connect one of the key persons, we're gonna want to see what we're looking at, let's take a look at your financials. So you want to be able to just send someone a link up those financials into, you know, wherever, wherever you're asking him to do, and you're done. And so not having to just have to figure out where stuff is. And it's all on different systems. And it's and that's just going to frustrate you, it's going to delay the process. And let me emphasize, it will delay the process, beyond anything that's necessary. And so just my encouragement is just to start that process. With recognize you're not alone, in how, you know, frustrating, it can be the best at your expertise. Don't do it. It's not your expertise, hire somebody, you know, for a few bucks an hour to just get the bookkeeping in order. So it's a pretty self of that and then and ultimately get your business sold. So you can move on to the things that really matter.
Ronald Skelton 39:14
Going back to the who not how, right, the we're not authorized to promote dance. We're not affiliates or anything else. But we're both big fans. I think that finding out who to do your accounting, if you've been doing it yourself is critical. Your accounting your numbers is as much a part of selling that business or more than almost anything else. Right? You could have the greatest people in the world. You could have a business that's been in your family for dozens of years. I have an example. Right. I looked at a company last year. They've been in their family for 60 plus years. And the typical story is the first generation builds it the second generation maintains it and the third generation starts to destroy That's, that's kind of the path they're going down Now by no fault of their own.
Manage both because one was efficient, and really good about keeping the profit margins, right. And the other one was, you know, give everybody a cell phone pay for everybody's, you know, lease payment, or whatever they were doing. It was just crazy, where that money was going. And I wasn't certain at the end that there wasn't something else going on, because they've had they had some history. Hopefully, they're if they're hearing this, I'm not saying your name for a reason. But there was some history in their family with embezzlement and I wasn't positive that, uh, that wasn't happening. The books were such such a shamble. You couldn't tell. And that's not okay. Right? You know, so we went in, we did make an offer on it. Well, we went in and like $1, down, we'll take over your debt. And the first 45 days, I'm going to bring a team of forensic accountants and we're going to fix your books, we're going to clean them up and make them right, it's going to cost me some money.
But if I, if it's too messed up, if they can't fix it, I get to hand it back to you in the first 45 days. So I had a rollback clause or an unwind clause that said, you know, you know, I might want my dollar back. Everybody has goes to their closets, or they say skeletons in their closet. But, uh, you know, not everybody funny. Yeah, so I'm a big believer in that. The second thing I would say, for a lot of operators is if you think you're a critical part, like the, the one of the ladies running this, she kept telling me, Well, I don't think this business could run without me, I was like, then you don't have a business you can sell, right. And as funny as the people who really say that are the ones that probably I can replace fairly quickly. They're not as critical as they thought they were. And then the other hand is like, you know, I have a lot of guys like, Well, anybody can run this, and I start realizing that they have a deep personal relationship with every single client. And their unique selling proposition is weak enough kind of things like commodities, even the pest control business I was telling you about earlier, before we get started the recording, that's almost a commodity. So if a business owner is got a deep personal relationship with it, and that business owner leaves, there's a good chance that those guys are gonna go find somebody else at the cheapest, and hopefully like him, as opposed to, you know, sticking with the brand or the name or anything. So, yeah, um, there's that. But I think the two things that I think people should really focus on is make sure your financials are sellable, right, we do our math, you know, most of the valuation models that we'll come up with are based off your your earnings and your income, your profits and stuff like that. So it's critical if you want, if you want a decent price for your business, you probably ought to have your financials nice and clean. And the other thing is, it needs to be it needs to rectify, or you call it, what's the word, I'm looking for? Your tax returns on a on a look like your business, and we need to be able to verify it somehow. And that's one of the biggest problems I see with a lot of small business owners is their tax returns say one thing and their business books say another and they're not reconciled? They're not they're not fixed. I mean, they're not I get it, that you run them differently. But the process should be that you have when you're your tax accountant, does your tax a night that your taxes that goes back to your business account, and you can see the correlation between the two that there's there's adjustments made and things are fixed, and, and correct i don't say fix, because that sounds like it could be shady. There. They're Correct. Right there. They're accurate. And that's, that's one of the problems I see. The other one is build your management team, right. And the way to do that is I forgot which one it was one of the books I've read recently talks about, if you're ready to sell,
Tell everybody you're going on vacation in like 30 or 45 days, take a week off. And then don't don't let him like if it's not burning down, don't call me. Right and then we'll come back and see what's on done and then train somebody how to do that. And then you know, wait another 30 days and take a week and a half off. And he said, you know that the process is by the end of the year while you're prepping yourself to be, you know, acquired, you should be in the office, you know, one day, two days a week at the end of that year, and everybody else should be running that show. That's when you can prove to an investor like us that we don't need you around as most of the time on acquisitions, we're going to need you around for two to three years hit certain goals, there's going to be like burnouts and all kinds of crazy stuff, if you don't have that done, right. If you're a critical player, then we have to phase you out. And I would rather meet a business owner and see a business where they've already done that. They've built a team, they've trained a team, they phase themselves out.
Sharon Brown 45:40
There's actually a statistic of all these things, you know that this is a statistic that businesses where it's not only dependent, actually perform X percent better, and I don't want to misquote the percentage, but I actually I will post that on my Instagram.
Ronald Skelton 45:59
Awesome. All. I'll find you there. There.
Sharon Brown 46:01
Yeah, exactly. It, it's phenomenal. When you see that kind of thing in black and white, that it's not just, you know, for example, Ronald's shirt is not just sharing these things, as if, you know, you're the, you know, great uncle or scolding people to get their financials, right. There really is legitimate business sense around it. And so one of the things I think, could be circling back, why is that the case for maybe whatever percent of businesses that are just having difficulty keeping their financials and more, sometimes it just goes down to shame, you know, and the challenge of getting that together and you're commingle your personal words and business, fix that, you know, just take one step, and then another step, and then another step. But 100%, what you're highlighting for one is bang on, and there is a metric to prove that you can actually earn more when you try to sell your business, not the focal point.
Rate? Ah, so for buying and selling? How to exit would be one and what I what I mean by that is, we talked about that financial piece of it, but knowing what that looks like to you, no one on board, if you will. And so beyond just your financials, what does that process look like to actually transition that to a new home? And have you thought about those things just sort of reach they do by listening out there. And maybe having that sort of checklists, would be one of the most, I think kind of fun pieces that I always see Val and I acquire, specifically a tech business is that it is all over the place in terms of onboarding systems, some people. And so I have it down pat, for at least for my my, my group here, but I would like to see some uniformity in terms of how people think about that. Because once again, those are the type of things that create delays, and even delay, you getting your email.
Ronald Skelton 48:46
And then I guess I'll end on the note where I honestly think if you do a little research and you understand your industry, and what people are paying for businesses in your industry, you could significantly increase what you get for yours by changing some minor things. So if for instance, I'm in this big, huge marketing rollout, where we're buying marketing agencies all around the world, and systems and processes are one thing, but recurring revenue revenue that you can count on is much more attractive than one time fees. And I've seen some agencies that are having a real tough time right now, because they were on fee based and not, you know, not a monthly retainer, not like a regular thing. And all of a sudden, their biggest clients don't renew because they're cutting back for a little while or something. And that could happen on you know, monthly too, but it's a lot more impactful when you're thinking you're going to get a big $25,000 renewal check or $50,000 renewal check than it is from you know, what is that $2,000 A month or something you know, that you know is removed. So understanding how your business is our valued, like does monthly recurring revenue have a higher multiple than standard revenue? It depends on it like the SAS industry, if you're not doing software as a service for those who are not in tech, if you're not in a multi billion or yearly annual, like if you're not doing a subscription based model in that space, you're cutting yourself short, because that's one of the reasons they're so sexy for US investors is, it's guaranteed revenue every month. So I don't know what your what's your opinion on that? I mean, I don't I don't know too many sasses that tried to use a different model I've seen too. And I'm like, What are you doing? Right? Like they went on, like a retainer model. And they basically you pay a one time lifetime fee, and you never have to pay them again. And I was like, Yeah, you're gonna wish 12 months from now, you're gonna wish he hadn't done that?
Sharon Brown 50:55
Yes, not that one yet? No, you're, you're spot on. And I would just add to that, there's even other recurring models beyond just a subscription model to consider. And that even steps you up even more in terms of what as an investor, we would be looking for. So yeah, a lot of opportunity there.
Ronald Skelton 51:14
If you can show me your product lifecycle, and that you have an escalation inside of it, that you know, somebody comes in at one price, and you grow them, encourage them and scale them up to a much more exclusive price model, product and service. I'm intrigued by that, but that's just kind of where I resonate, right? You know, I love recurring revenue models, and I love you know, models where I can improve what I'm offering you. And it helps your life to be better, because it's a better higher quality product, but I had to charge more. So I get more value out of my customers, because I'm delivering more value. That's that's the tree that's intriguing to me. And there's a lot of industries, you can do that there's a lot of that's why you see almost all software as a service, you have the standard plan, and then, you know, the average plan, and then the business plan, right? There's a reason why some people need more features. And those features take more time for that company to support program, track grow, you know, make sure they're what the customer needs, so they deserve more for it. But uh, yeah, I appreciate your time today. Is there anything? Is there any finishing notes? Like, one more time, tell us how we can reach you?
Sharon Brown 52:19
Oh, absolutely. Sharon brown.co. And then on Instagram page, Sharon Brown and the getting even that. So my my to do is I'm definitely going to post that percentage in terms of I'm talking about for your business, but also feel free to reach out to me. Hey, Sharon Brown on Instagram and DM me and I'll get you a copy of it. The Who?
Not how as well as you can also do it on the chairman Graham ducks. Yeah,
Ronald Skelton 52:49
I would not miss that opportunity. If I didn't have a copy of that sitting there. You know, the other 40 finish up this interesting thing that I was told I actually have a performance coach who is now a friend. So he started off as my performance coach keeping me at the top of my game and now we're really good friends. And he's still he's still bust my but. You know, every once in a while just just like he's a retired Marine or not retire I guess. Marines never retire. He's he what he was an active duty Marine. He's now now he's a civilian. I don't know what that proper phrase is. They get offended if you call him a retired Marine or something. But uh, anyway, he, it was him and one other guy. They said, Well, you read five, six books a week sometimes because I drive a lot and listen to audio books, he says, but you don't implement the stuff. So it that took that to heart. So now instead of I take I focus on one subject for about a month to two months, I really study and implement it, like the 8020 rule with Perry Marshall and his new book, and the who not how I did those back to back because they build on each other. And I'm out interviewing VAs and virtual, you know, like, who can I bring in to do some of the stuff that doesn't require my time. But I need I need done I do it every day. Or I should do it every day. Sometimes I drop it because there's more fun stuff to do than what I should be doing. So all those I'm looking at all those, you know, I used to have the model used to joke around even this guy would outsource brushing my teeth if I could get somebody show up my house at the right times of the day. But uh, I got it. I fell out of that some somehow over time. And I'm really getting back into like the who, not how and there's a subject there's a thing in that book that's called an impact filter, it is critical for the who not how it outlines who you're looking for what you want to do, what are the measurements of success or failure for them? And then what is the impact on your life? If you did it? What's the impact on your life if you don't do it? And what's the impact on the world? If you do it? What's the impact on the world if you don't, and that's that's a critical thing to do it I write those up. Now I actually keep my SDN stack over here underneath the stuff on my desk. If I'm going about to hire somebody interviewed somebody I made sure I have an impact filter written and I give it to him because this is what you're going to be measured against. Because this this is what I'm looking for. Here's here's how I'm gonna. There's eight points on there to measure success or failure, here's what you're going to be measured by. And, you know, are you willing to accept this? You know, and they get you get buy in from them on that. So this I've read the book. It's the first time I've done this, so,
Sharon Brown 55:18
yeah, but I love it. You retain some good nuggets out of there too. So that's fantastic.
Ronald Skelton 55:18
Cool. Well, I think we'll wrap it up then and I appreciate your time.
Everything in my office over?
Sharon Brown 20:32
Only through through Amazon. Got that, but you have to probably be a US in the US, unfortunately for that, but I'll be happy that I built it.
Ronald Skelton 23:43
It's interesting is I actually had a a friend of mines teenage I think if I call him a teenager, he's probably 18 or 19 Now, but uh, still in the teens, I'm getting old, everybody seems young.
Sharon Brown 24:31
Right, exactly. I hear that that's the thing. We're younger people don't like oh, it's it's jumped the shark. So now let's move on to another.
I'm a full time not doing it sooner.
Ronald Skelton 47:09
Absolutely. So we're running close to time here in the live classes, the questions I always like to ask is, we've asked a lot of questions. We've talked about a lot of topics. But what's what's one or two questions, I should ask like, what's one or two things you think, man, if you're buying a business or selling a business, we should really spoke about X or Y.