From Main Street to E-commerce, Adam Lyons has saved and scaled over 1800+ small businesses since launching The Smart Blueprint in 2020. How? Well, his magic ingredient isn’t actually magic at all, The Smart Blueprint is a 5-step surefire process for...
From Main Street to E-commerce, Adam Lyons has saved and scaled over 1800+ small businesses since launching The Smart Blueprint in 2020. How? Well, his magic ingredient isn’t actually magic at all, The Smart Blueprint is a 5-step surefire process for business owners — many of whom came to Lyons during the rough times of 2020, (like the Dungeons and Dragons Hobby Shop in Bastrop, Texas, which grew by 36,000% in the middle of the pandemic!)
Beyond his own portfolio of growing companies, Lyons is an advisor for over 500 brands across the US and Canada. Lyons has been featured on the Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Forbes, and the NY Post. He has been awarded 2 different ‘Wicked Smaht’ Awards due to his innovative business strategies and multiple 2 comma club awards. Companies he has worked with include PepsiCo, Nike, Nescafé, Discovery Digital Networks, and many smaller brands.
Lyons created and developed his outside-the-box business system out of poverty and frustration. As an English immigrant, he started as a janitor– quickly becoming an accidental serial entrepreneur. Sixteen years later, the business maven and father of five lives with his family outside of Austin, Texas.
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Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0zsqy8V-Iw
Lane Carrick - serial entrepreneur and sold multiple businesses in his career: https://youtu.be/cAEGiqiieQw
Carl Allen - M&A Expert with Over $47 billion in deals: https://youtu.be/VIU2Lqj_FY4
Walker Deibel - the best-selling author of Buy Then Build: https://youtu.be/xoUH_Ixeook
Mike Mausteller - Business Coach, Executive Coach, Trainer, and Speaker: https://youtu.be/yYLEAfafxWc
Simon Bedard - Founder and CEO of Exit Advisory Group, M&A firm in Australia: https://youtu.be/obNiIbx5mJ0
Kison Patel - CEO and Founder of DealRoom and and M&A Science Academy: https://youtu.be/VR4nSM8HT18
Ronald P. Skelton - Host -
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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.
Hello, and welcome to the how to exit Podcast. Today we're here with Adam Lyons. Adam Lyons is an acquisition entrepreneur extraordinaire. This guy is a CEO of multiple companies advisor to a multitude of other entrepreneurs, and an absolute Rockstar. I'm honored to have you on the show today, Man, I'm really excited to have you here today.
Adam Lyons 0:25
Man, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it. It's gonna be gonna be fun.
Ronald Skelton 0:52
Yeah, it's not to be times I get a on the, on the show. And you know the guy in the background is got his two comma club awards and all the other stuff. And you've just been around and done a lot of stuff. And I know that a lot of accomplishments helping a lot of people. I've taken some coaching, advising where you're, you know, you'll pay for one guru, but you're in the middle of this helping his coach at us and having a meeting. So I'm, I'm glad to have you here.
Adam Lyons 1:12
Man, I, I appreciate it. Yeah, I, I realized align yourself with people that are actually where you want to be if you want to end up getting there. So I've blessed the last eight years of my life I've, I've spent around the right people. And it's got me to a position that I'm, I'm pretty proud of so far. And I'm nowhere near the end of my journey. You know.
Ronald Skelton 1:31
it's one of the reason I do this show, man, I get to hang out some really awesome freakin people. So, hey let's just start off uh, how did you get into this space? I you know, yeah, I was reading your profile a little bit. I kind a, I kind I got the background. But let's share with the audience. Like, I always joke around, like, you know, you were born, you ended up on my show? Could you fill in the gap in between?
I love it. Yeah, I mean, I was a janitor. And, you know, that's pretty much how I got started in life. My dad was a janitor, his dad was the caretaker on a ship in the Navy. So like, that's kind of in England that you'd kind of do what your parents do, unless you, you know, completely deviate. And 26 years old, I was sitting at the janitorial desk, and I was reading about dating. And I ended up becoming a dating coach ended up being actually one of the top dating coaches in the world. And I'm, I'm never going to forget the day that I got awarded number one dating coach in the world at this event I went to in Hollywood, I couldn't pay my mortgage. And it's kind of shocking to be an expert at something, and then realize you got no money. Meanwhile, there are all these guys that I knew were no good at dating, that were making far more money than me because they were good at marketing. So I started learning, marketing and following you know the, the kind of people that, that learn from the kind of people that learn from the kind of people you probably want to learn from the ones that can afford. And I worked my way up. And eventually I find myself being equal to people I'd hired to teach me. And they said, I can't help you anymore, you need to go to the guy I learned from his name is Roland Frasier. And so I signed up for anything, Roland was teaching, thinking that Anything's better than nothing. And it ended up being a course, on acquisitions, that I had no idea what I was doing, I just wanted to learn from this guy. So honestly, the first time I learned acquisitions, I had no interest in doing acquisitions. And then, three months later, I found myself in a deal that I, I was trying to get regular leads I was trying to negotiate where they would send me their leads. And they were in the middle of an acquisition. And instead, there was an opportunity to take ownership in the company. Because I'd gone through this weekend to training, I just, you know, put, put myself out there and, and did it and ended up with 50% at this company. And after that, I was like, No, I just gained access to 150,000 qualified leads, not only do I have access to my own 50% of them, and I can keep 50% of the revenue. From there, I was hooked, that was better than them buying ads that was better than begging for leads and, and like, you know, doing an affiliate thing. This was great. Just started acquiring companies. It didn't take long for me to realize that I liked doing that a lot more than I liked doing dating. So I still own my dating company, but is one of 16 companies that I own. In the last three years. I have helped, grow, scale, buy sell 1900 companies, either on behalf of myself or clients that have paid to learn from me or Roland or one of our associates, who I've then been brought on to help actually do the deal. And I've got to a point where I'm now addicted to wanting to see the guts of a company and I'm more than happy to help so I can see what goes on because the more my knowledge increases the better it is, and easier it is for me to help other companies on my own. So I get to benefit from that. So yeah, that's what I do.
Adam Lyons 2:28
It's interesting. The only thing I have in the dating space is that two things. When I, when I got married, my wife said, because you can throw these books away because I actually had like Neil Strauss, I think it was his name, the book he had on like, on their, on the on pickup artists and stuff like that. And I was like you don't understand, I didn't buy the books for that I've never had a problem with that. I bought them because the human psychology it takes to attract another person is the same, it takes the market, market. So just understanding what they were doing and how it played out. And the psychology behind it was really intriguing to me, and I still have them around here somewhere. And 15 years there on the shelf behind me. Like the watch, like I thought I've seen them I was like the wife You've been married for 15 years, you really don't need this. I was like no, and you understand that, like it's, it's a marketing book. It's, it's, it's a little dark marketing book, depending on how you're looking at it right, you know, but it's in the essence of anything, it's truly a marketing book. So
Well actually a lot of people don't realize that Frank Kern, who is regarded as one of the original experts when it comes to internet marketing. Frank Kern launched a program called mass control where the case study was on Neil Strauss his workshop.
Ronald Skelton 6:17
That's how I found out about it. Yep.
Adam Lyons 6:19
Okay, which is fascinating because I was involved in that original deal from the dating side of it, because the guy that put the deal together between Frank and Neil was the guy that voted me number one in the world. That was the first time I was, I was recognized. While that was all going on, I was right there, in the middle of it, and not the first time because Eben Pagan one of the, you know, again, original founding people of, of internet marketing was David DeAngelo, which was double you dating. I, I could go on and on about how many marketers got their roots in dating and then moved into traditional dating another one to Tai Lopez, who started in dating, and
Ronald Skelton 6:58
Adam Lyons 6:58
and used for dating, oh, yeah, Tai Lopez, he made his original millions from dating sites, and then use that I was actually in his house when he filmed that I'm in my garage video. And that was my first acquisition was a half of a company that Tai was letting go.
Ronald Skelton 7:14
So one of my biggest I don't know if I want to say this on the podcast, one of the biggest losses I've ever taken in my life is I came out of my master's degree, my MBA thinking I was hot shit, right, and I've got a master's degree in marketing, I'm going to do something with I'm gonna do my own thing, I had some money saved up. And through 401k, stock options, stuff from the.com world when I was in there. So I created an online dating service called honesty first.com, I got featured, as I was mentioned, in a couple of articles, like in Wall Street, I mean, I was getting people talking about it, because we were keeping people honest in their profile. And then I was out raising funds for my next run up marketing, I get kept and told by VCs that we really don't have a business, you have a software product, you probably should, you know, take your pet, I had a pending patent and some other stuff should probably take that and, and, you know, license it to these other guys. And I just didn't listen. And I spent high six figures, let's put it that way. Not quite seven, few years, but a high six figures trying to get this thing going. And unfortunately, was most valuable lesson I've ever, ever learned is you can't sell a market something they don't want. So I actually had did, I can't say who but I pitched two of the biggest online dating services out there the software after these VCs told me and I was thinking about shutting it down anyway. It's a chicken and egg problem. I couldn't get enough people on. Nobody wants to be the first one we saw on a dating site. Right? And, and I didn't, I didn't have enough funds to kind of just mass market this thing like eHarmony, I was out doing rounds of funding when eHarmony just got like $110 million. Right? I wasn't asking for anywhere near that. And I'm like, we're not going to fund you and have you go up against them. And the funny thing is, I pitched two of those big guys, and they're like, hey, look, we've already thought about this. And we, we surveyed our customers. Nobody wants to be kept on us and their profile. And I thought I'd solve the problem. And I saw what I refer to as the Mr. Potato Head problem, right? You go out on a date, and it kinda look like their profile, but some stuffs been mixed around and moved around and things are in the wrong place. Right. So but yeah, I learned an extremely valuable lesson and that is market fit. No, that's what I loved about this acquisition game. You're buying something that you can already see whether or not it has a market fit. You're not spending I spent two and a half, three years I had a whole team in India of programmers. I had people all around the world working for me, all remote. And before it was cool. This is like I moved in Oklahoma. I moved in 2007. So this is prior to 2007. Right? And I had remote, you know people all over the planet. helping me build this thing. And lesson learned is like if you don't have a way to test market fit, they can get really expensive. And, yeah, so.
Adam Lyons 10:02
So funny you say that because that is what I do now. I am my, my coal company, we own the smart blueprint. And it's a blueprint that we developed for a company to identify the demand inside the company, and whether we can create it after taking it over. So we'll often buy a company that isn't doing that great. Knowing that because of the smart blueprint, we've already done a market fit analysis and know whether there is demand if it was repositioned, and we'll go in and reposition a company and, and get all the profit.
Ronald Skelton 10:37
I need. Check that out. Because one of the few info products I don't own right, and my original before we moved here, I actually always do these in my podcast. And I always played over here, my left, there's a, there's a bookshelf I had there and I was like that bookshelf, right? There's about $185,000, and that's before rowland's and all these other courses. That was just my real estate stuff, right. But now I'm gonna check, I'm gonna check that out, just because my idea right now is, you know, I'm, I'm out there, I want a few businesses, I'm looking for acquisitions. But uh, like I have my wife and, and some other people wanting to launch a particular product. So I'm not gonna, I'm gonna find a company in that genre. Right, buy it and make sure they have the fun to test that product out. Because then it's, you've got revenue, you've got a you've got an existing customer base. You know offer it up, say, Hey, who, who's interested in product XYZ looks like this. And if you don't get some pre orders, you don't have to, like you don't have to put the six months to a year developing it and, and reaching out. I love this. I love this industry. I love this space. So
Adam Lyons 11:37
That is literally, yeah, that's literally what we do now. So we'll do that testing. And we know. So it's like, it's great, because the company will come in evaluation is just it comes in at like 3 million. But we know that it's operating at 5% profit. But they haven't created an optimized offer and haven't had a new offer for 18 months. When this situation we know we can go in do a proper market research what we call a customer insight report, analyze what the demand is work out how it should be worded. repositioning either identify a new product to be developed or sell some that already is their higher profit instant revenue. More often than not, we're capable of purchasing the company using the money generated from that new launch, which is insane.
Ronald Skelton 12:26
Insane right. So are you currently in acquisition mode? Are you still, are you-
Adam Lyons 12:32
I was looking at a hotel this morning. It's a hot springs in, in Idaho $7.5 million acquisition. I'm interested in it because it comes with water rights. It's got a spring, and I think water is really hot and will be over the next 10, 20 years. I like the location. Idaho is a a great location. Idaho is the number one state that people move to in the last couple of years. I've got a lot of a lot of friends are in the area. So I have a lot of my properties and my commercial properties. Everything in Texas. I like the idea of having something more north so I can have snow if I ever want snow. I assume Idaho have snow. I don't know how many percent it feels like it does. You know as an English person, I don't really know anything about American geography. But, but yeah, so that's what I'm looking at. I'm looking at this hotsprings right now. They offered me 40%. Actually they offered me 50% and I declined and said I want 40% But I want to work a bit less than than they wanted me to. So, So yeah, I'm, I'm always in some kind of acquisition mode. I'm looking at a $30 million package deal of two hotels in Austin as well. And I'm just I'm in a weird hotel mode right now. I don't know if I'm gonna buy one, but I'm in it and I'm looking at it. I'm, so yeah.
Ronald Skelton 13:50
(inaudible) I'm in a weird coffee mode. Like I don't even drink coffee. I took test that I have a gag reflex to flavored coffee but I love the smell of it. And I'm intrigued by the business like the people who love coffee. They could, they could actually be on their last you know, I just I think it's because my dad right? I grew up my father had a hot cup of coffee in his hand whether it was 110 degrees outside, or whether it was freezing cold, right? He drank straight black coffee and he just he, he had his Folgers, right? But people are loyal to coffee once you get him as a customer and you're doing them right. If you don't make him sick or whatever, they're buying that coffee till the end until their last breath right. So that's the intriguing part of it. But I, I ended up in a lot of like I never thought I owned a pest control company and one of my relatives begged me to take a look at it and I told him no for two years right and he called me said Hey Mike, the guy I'm working for is retired and I really liked you to take a look at this and I happened to be had just taken an acquisition to mergers like mini thing like that was just like an intro type of conversation course kinda like common like not as long but something kind of like rolling does it was like a two hour webinar. So I was intrigued by it. It started looking around business by selling these some of these pest control companies were claiming 30 to 40% profit margin, saying there's no way in hell so I started to research to find out that yeah, it's possible. So I was like, why am I telling this guy? No. So I ended up. That was my, I bought it, I still own it. I have partners in it. But uh, you No, End up, I say about it. We bought the equipment and stuff, it turns out the guy running it. It just wasn't as compliant as he probably should have. So we didn't want his liability stuff. And I didn't know what I know now. So I bought something way too small. That's the other thing I did on that one. But yeah, you end up in industries, like how am i How did I end up on this, this kick. But, you know, if the business has merit, I don't think the product is necessarily the like, you don't have to love the product. You just have to know it's a good business and it, it runs right.
Adam Lyons 15:51
Yeah, I, I that's, that's so true. And I think, like, and I've, I've consulted for a lot of people that I'm a bit different. I've got to a point where I make more than enough money that like I don't really need to work ever again. And so now I only do deals that I'm interested in. So I'm, I'm almost more driven by like, Oh, hot springs and snow. Great I'm in, whereas, you know, if there is something that generates money, I'm not as, as motivated. But again, it's funny, I was talking to some of my friends about this the other day, I'm far more driven by happiness and joy than money at this point. But five years ago, absolutely. It was the exact opposite. It was like if it make money I'm in. And it's just I think it's just where you are in life
Ronald Skelton 16:34
Is funny is I have the exact opposite reaction to snow matter of fact, we moved up into the redwood forest, I'm in the mountains over here. And my wife's like, you know, we have a tiny home, we can move anywhere, we want to move it right. So when we needed to come to California to help take care of family and be around family and just to be here, her family, I was like, we're gonna have to move pretty soon because I don't wanna be up in the mountains when it snows. So I started in the research, the average snowfall here in the middle of the mountains is zero. Right?
Adam Lyons 17:01
Oh my gosh
Ronald Skelton 17:02
There's no snow, if it gets it's just a mild temperature you're around everywhere else like I leave Oklahoma's 110 every day. And here, it's like 80, 89 are high. I think I've had one day since I've been here in the 90s. But uh, you know, it doesn't get that cold in the winter either. So I had the exact opposite. You know, if I, if I have to see snow, I expect to be in a hot tub with a glass of wine or a good stiff drink. So
Adam Lyons 17:26
Yeah, not that I agree. Yeah, like, I can do that for like, a warm, warm tea. You know.
Ronald Skelton 17:31
Adam Lyons 17:33
Yeah, I can do that.
Ronald Skelton 17:33
I drink a lot of hot tea. Cool. So one of the things I want to talk about today is I read an article that you put out on the acquisition, fishy nado magazine, and cool magazine great article, you are an out of the box thinker, man. And that's, that's what I love. I love. It's why like Jay Abraham, and these guys, and I don't know if you remember who Jay Conrad Levinson was the guerilla marketing. I was one of his coaches for a while actually, I was a marketing coach for him. And so I love that low cost, high impact out of the box thinking, do different things do things different. So let's chat a little bit about sourcing deals because man, you have a, a different you know, way of coming up with things to work on.
Adam Lyons 18:18
Alright, you want to hear what I'm actually doing? Because like what was in the article was like my suggestion for other people, not what?
Ronald Skelton 18:24
Adam Lyons 18:25
so Alright, so this is so in the article, it references a number of different outside of the box methods to acquire businesses. One of them it mentions is classic car shows. And the idea is the kind of person that buys a classic car is somebody who has already made money is already successful. And often later on in life, we're not talking like 80 but 50, 60. And it's kind of the age you start thinking about retirement, making it an ideal position to go and acquire businesses, you bond over a love of classic cars, which gives you a, a mutual rapport and hobby, which you know, from dating. From that point, you identify what industry you're in, you mentioned that you're acquiring businesses, they mentioned, they're thinking about selling and they're not sure what that looks like you're experienced, you guide them through the process, with no intention to buy it just hey, this is what it would look like if you're going to sell how to go about it, how to get good value, etc, etc. And at the end, they say to you, well, what would it take for you to buy it off me and (inaudible) you just got your deal. So it's a wonderful, wonderful system. So after seeing this happen a few times, like less than I could count on my hand. So when I'm talking about a lot, but the way my brain works, like you said, I like optimizing things. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I literally got a text message five minutes before we went live and you said to me, is this something that's hot in your mind? I was like, I don't know if I'm gonna get the opportunity to talk about this, but you gave it to me. So I, I have a (inaudible) I like nice cars and I bought a few exotic cars. I typically buy a Maserati because I have children and You know, they think of the Maserati is like the family man's Ferrari because you can put it's got four real seats, and you can put your kids in it. The problem is a lot of my friends who make similar kinds of money to me will buy the newest Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren every year. And I just don't like putting in effort for paperwork. It's so much effort to buy and sell a car, I can't do it. And I have ADHD. I'm going crazy. So I just didn't upgrade my car just kept the same car. And I think I upgraded it twice. Meanwhile, all my friends, I always want that same old car you had. And I, I also don't give into peer pressure. So it didn't affect me. But then it occurred to me that this classic car thing is a great way to get in with businesses. And I do like classic cars, I actually prefer them to like brand new cars. So I start thinking what is like the iconic, classic car. And I come to conclusion, it's a Shelby Cobra.
Ronald Skelton 19:00
Adam Lyons 19:00
and they sell for like a million bucks. A real one. And so I start really thinking outside the box of what I'm gonna do. And I find the man who has the current licensing rights to make new Shelby Cobras.
Ronald Skelton 21:15
Adam Lyons 21:15
Now, this, this guy or this company, it's a very small company that five employees, they've got the current license, but they don't have the manufacturing, licensing. So what that means is they can't mass produce cars not allowed to. Nobody can, but they can make one off custom. And they're real. Like, it's the actual Shelby Cobra because they've got the license. They've had it for 31 years. But they, they make like three or four cars a year. It's very, very minimal. The cars are unique in that they go up in value, which is phenomenal.
Ronald Skelton 21:51
Where this guy at?
Adam Lyons 21:53
He's, it's a great question. The company is based in South Africa. But, but they they have an American office that a few I think they've got like, one in Florida and one in Detroit or something. I'm connected to-
Ronald Skelton 22:07
I was gonna say I'm related I was related my sister's ex husband. This is a Oklahoma, my sister's ex husband, brother, Oklahoma thing is how we tell stories there he had one of the license. He built his Shelby cobras in his auto mechanic shop there in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And I asked him how you deal two year, one years, something like that. So what are those things sell for either two or three of them sitting up front. And he's got about 180 to $250,000 is what they actually sold for. And I was like, you've got to be kidding me. He's, I watched the process I'd stopped by, I'd see them up on the lift. And they did have the frame. And then they put it I mean, they built these from the ground up. And their
Adam Lyons 22:48
This is same company, because I'm looking in they've got a date, or they have or had areas in Oklahoma where it gets interesting is they actually assemble them in different places because they don't have the manufacturing. So the unique thing is you can't actually buy a car, you have to buy a body or the innards, and then you pay them to assemble it. And it has to be three transactions because they don't have the they're not legally allowed to sell you a car. They're just allowed to assemble one. So it's, it's very unique. And I, I don't fully understand it, because it's not the industry that I'm in. I'm just enjoying the process, because obviously I'm buying one. And the reason I'm buying one is I found that they made a one off very, very unique Shelby Cobra unique one. They made one that is a Tesla hybrid.
Ronald Skelton 23:37
Adam Lyons 23:37
Ronald Skelton 23:38
So I've been watching all kinds of videos on that lady people taking like, really classic cars and turn them into Tesla hybrids.
Adam Lyons 23:44
Right. And so they did one with a real so this is an actual Shelby Cobra with the licensed the insides are a Tesla. Modern air conditioning, Apple airplay, and does not 61.9 seconds, which is ridiculous. Well, so I contact them. And I'm like, I want to buy that car, the one that's in all the YouTube videos, the car, I want that one. And like, I'm blessed enough that I've been successful, I can do that. And they say no. We don't gonna sell you the one we made, you know. And they're like, there are other companies that have you know, knock offs. Like, no, no, no, on that one. So I get chatting to this. It's the vice president of the company I'm talking to his name's Todd. And so I get chatting to Todd. And we're like laughing and um, you know, negotiating like, this isn't about money. It's, you know, and he says, well, listen, we've got spare parts that we bought at the same time in case we needed secondary parts. I'll build you a new one. And you can have the sister to the original. And I was like now we are talking. So it's been a three month process so far that we're five months ago, like you said, because they got to put it together. They sent me pictures of the body and everything like you know I've got the body and going through, the whole thing is going to be a stupid amount of money in and will probably end up being worth close to seven figures, not seven figures, by the time the whole thing's done. And I'm over the moon, I'm super excited. But where this comes into the acquisition is the car so unique, that I have a publicist team. And I'm already prepping them on writing articles about the sister to the other guy. And there's going to be enough differences, one of the big differences is mine will have a roof, it will be the convertible, Shelby that they have got the cloth roof and everything. So it will look different. And of course, mine will be a lot more modernized than that one, the insides, everything's all my creature comforts, because the whole point is, I'm not gonna buy new cars here, I'm just gonna keep this car forever. That's the plan. And it appreciates in value every year. So I'll always be able to sell it in the future. If I want, I want, but I'll be able to. And so the whole point is, this is my acquisition thing. So when I go to a car show, it won't just be a car at the car show, it will be the car at the car show. Now in order to pull that off, I would have to already know the people that run the car show. So a year ago, in preparation for this strategy, I found the guy that organizes all the car shows in Texas where I live. And I helped him out with about two or three different problems he had. And now he knows me by name. So I'm going to contact him and ask him what it's going to cost me to sponsor his car shows and show off my car at his events. Now, I suspect based on all the favors I've done, and it won't cost me anything, and he'll be happy just to show off my car, show my car on the show on some kind of trailer that makes it look cool, or what have you that my publicity team can get behind. Now, this is a two fold plan, fold. Part A is create enough of a, a an interest around it, that my media team can run that in magazines, to show off a cool car, specifically to increase the value of the car to guarantee that it goes up every year. Because it's so unique, in addition to generating interest from other people at the show that are likely to be prime targets for acquisition. So it's a, it's a two fold approach. But it shows what happens if you take a concept and really fulfill it because it's one thing to go to a car show it's another to sponsor the car show and be the main car at the car show to drive the conversation to you to acquire that what you want. I will literally be asked by the owners of the car show itself and the press. What do you do for a living?
Ronald Skelton 27:37
Adam Lyons 27:39
Oh, I'm always looking for businesses to acquire.
Ronald Skelton 27:41
I get it. It's the peacocking. Right the, the Neil Strauss peacocking. Right, you're actually is that what they called it? If I get the name right
Adam Lyons 27:48
That's in the book. That's what it was. Yeah, we it's funny. We never did that. We were always against that. But In business. Yeah, do it.
Ronald Skelton 27:56
You know, people see me all the time. They say like, you, you were kind of a uniform, prior military. So I'm always gonna black shirt on, I've always got tan pants on or black sweats. If I'm running around here, I buy the same I'm really boring and clothes. You ever see me go to a business networking or a high end event? You know, I have my Robert with a club and Bobby, my $300 shirt and alligator boots. And it's just where I'm out. And I want people to come up and talk to me. And I have the ability to afford such this. I just don't find enjoyment in it. And in the same realm is like You, you shattered one of my myths. I always like people say why don't you have high end cars or whatever. And the joke is because I think they depreciate in value. I drive an old beat up farm truck that you know, has 300,000 miles on it. When I'm in Oklahoma. Here I, I got you know a bought a car or getting a car from one of the family members that it wouldn't bring it and we have an old Ford Focus. They're horrible investments I world. I love what you're doing with it in the fact that now you're using it as a lead generation. So my other problems with having high end cars is I have a tendency. I'm an adrenaline junkie by previous trade race motorcycles fought full contact for a while before I blew it my knee got fat 60s knee surgery, the I mean, I, I really I, I liked the adrenaline rush of things. So if I've got a car that says it goes 160 on the speedometer, I've got to see at least once, right? So
Adam Lyons 29:21
I, I love that and I'm with you. I agree. And I it's funny you said because I used to do my class as well. I still I just still do. So it's like I get it. But what I find fascinating is I live just down the road from the Austin f1 track.
Ronald Skelton 29:37
Adam Lyons 29:37
And another part of my acquisition strategy. I'm going to ask them if they want to parade the car at the start of the f1 because it's silent. And it will be really unique to see a classic shall be driving around a track with silence out.
Ronald Skelton 29:53
I'd seen two Tesla's race on a YouTube video there today and they were racing and it sounded like, like you know that wind up sound And when they were going down, you can hear the stickiness of the road better than you can hear the engine does this thing went down on the videos like they were on a drag ship race. And that was unique, right? I like, I like watching this stuff. But uh, no, the, the coolest thing I ever owned as I was, this is years ago, and we're way off topic here, but I love this or it, it will tie it back in here in a minute. I actually, I was, I was married once before I met my wife Currently we've been married for about 17 years. And we've been married for 15 and dating for 19. She has a she'll correct me so we gotta get it straight. Anyway, before that. I had old a pathfinder I had unleashed I took it in to trade it in. And I was looking at the Corvettes that they had on the, on the they had like the 50th anniversary or something. I forget what year it was, but there was the anniversary Corvette. And he was about 65, 70k was all it was. So I called her up and I told the wife at the time I was gonna buy a truck. And I called her up Sunday. I you know what, I'm not gonna get a truck. I think I'm gonna buy a convertible Corvette that their anniversary series is out. And I've always wanted one. And, you know, she's she gave me the old line. If you buy that stupid thing, and I'm leaving whatever, you know, you won't be divorced, but by the end of the month, so I got off there. Luckily for her I test drove it and I didn't I wasn't comfortable. You know, it's just some sports cars, you're just really comfortable and you kind of fit in the drive the respond. It felt, it felt like it felt like driving a frequent race car. It was real stiff. And I've, and I've driven effort adrenaline junkie stuff, I've driven race cars, I've raced motorcycles and dirt bikes, mostly and stuff, but it just kind of had that feel to me, it just wasn't something I wanted to drive every day, it's something I'd want to go out and see how fast I could go in it. So I decided I wasn't gonna get it but because she said that I had them custom build a truck. So I bought a big white four by four custom truck with a Corvette Vortech engine. And there's a place in California that you can buy them off the short, the showroom for floor and they'll go to the factory. I don't know how they pull it off, but that you can pretty much ask him to do anything you want to one. So I bought a truck that had that motor in it that high ZR whatever it was moto in the Time Out 550 600 horse at that time was impressive. Anyway, pay it's almost 80k about 78,000 for this truck. And I come home and it's lifted. I can't even get it in our garage because I live in this high end luxury apartment. And I had one of those things. I had a parkas thing outside. Right. And, you know, we ended up divorcing a couple of months anyway. So unfortunately, at that time, I couldn't afford the truck. I hadn't heard the alimony, I had a pair so I do have to give him the truck back, which was cool, because they loved it. They never came after any money or whatever. Because I'd given him like 20k down. Right? They ran that thing to auction and made a profit, I just called them up said, Look, you know, I'm not gonna pay this payment and my alimony at the same time and have a place to live here in California. But uh, yeah, that's the coolest thing I've ever had. I've had that Harley's and some other stuff. But, uh, I have to see how fast things go. But I love how you're taking something that you're passionate about you like, and figuring out how do I make that make sense? You know? So now I have to go get a custom chopper because I've always wanted another bike. And the wife's like, that just doesn't make sense if I can make it a lead generation for my business, and it's a business expense.
Adam Lyons 33:17
Right? I mean, if you think about it, the guys that ride those choppers, especially on the road trips, they tend to be older, successful business owner. Oh, yeah.
Ronald Skelton 33:25
Yeah, I'm not looking to the, you know, it's funny as I'm in the acquisition mode, like doing big roll ups, I trim this way up because they, they people tease me. So you can't show up to an acquisition meeting looking like you should roll up on a Harley. I was like, Look, I own a Harley, it's a wife wouldn't try to talk me out of it. So I've had a few in my life. I've actually rode from Virginia Beach to La once, just, just because I could. So eight and a half, nine days, just rode from Virginia Beach to Redondo Beach. So let's jump back into the acquisitions and mergers were a little off track. But I just love that, you know, the out of box thinking, what else out of the box? Can somebody do? If they're looking for deals? We had a business networking thing. And the biggest question people had is, where do I start? What, what industry do I pick? Or, or how do I figure out you know what to buy? So what's the thought process?
Adam Lyons 34:16
I think, you know, if you, if you're motivated like me, and it's like, I want to own this, that's fine, but you tend to make less profit, they don't make as much it has to be a passion thing. If, if you just want money, it usually makes sense to pick some kind of industry that, that is required. So like service based industry, plumbing, electrician, something like that. And what's great is those kinds of industries. The owners tend to be the trades people, they don't tend to understand the business. So they'll often be very happy to, to sell it on because they've got an implant once they quit. they retire that's it. They shut down the business, the end. Some of them try to hand it over to people but it doesn't tend to go well. You, you can have a lot of luck by let's just say for example, you find a plumber. In their 60s, they've got maybe an apprentice, the apprentice is quite new, not very good. And but they've got a bunch of customers that are in town. And you can find a smaller plumber who's newer. And you can say to him, Look, I'm planning on acquiring this, this other company, would you be down to merge, and, you know, I'll give you this company is like three times bigger than yours. So I'll give you 1/3 of the company, you'll do all the plumbing, and I'll handle the marketing, now, you got yourself a business partner, you can get them to pay a third to get in. So you've got that can be a deposit, you can do two thirds on owner finance, to pay out the, the bigger business over, say, five years. So they've still got revenue coming in. They take the deposit, which is 1/3, from the new plumber that's coming in with you, the new plumber has now got access to a business three times larger now, but they don't know how to use it. You do the marketing, you fix customer service, bring in a receptionist, get it all growing, maybe find some other small plumbing companies consider a roll up, you know, and put a training system in to train them by apprentice, etc, etc. Now you've got yourself something that you know, maybe in year one, it's just paying back the original owner, and you're not really making much. But 234. As you get growth, you've got some real cash flow coming in. And after you stop paying out on the fifth year, or maybe you negotiate to close sooner, and before you know it, you've got a ton of money. So that's a great plan. The question is, how do you meet the plumber? Well, one easy way to do it is to just find your trade shows, right? There'll be there'll be a plumbing convention, there'll be a electricians convention, and no one really wants to go to them. They're usually in like a little Sheraton hotel or something like that. No one ever really wants to go, but you go along, and they will be there. And they're not the exhibitors, the patrons are the ones walking around. And the way to do it, is to actually become a panelist and be a speaker at the event. And the best thing to speak on is how to retire as a plumber, and get paid for your business when you're the only employee. Because that's, that's tough. And in your 60s when that's you that's, that's what you're thinking about. You're like, well, how can I do this, and that's going to bring the right people in the room, maybe they'll only be 20 people in the room. You know, everyone ever talks about 200 use a tiny, but everyone in there is your target audience you have essentially qualified for what you're looking for. And now you can tell them, the best way to do it would be to find somebody that's willing to, to do it on payment over time, because you can't just leave tomorrow because the whole business shuts down. And you talk them through it.
brilliantly. I love the trade show, say I had a real estate investment firm. And one of the ways we'd find houses is anytime of the in town. They had the home and garden shows every year. So people would go there to fix up their house, right? They walk around and meet landscapers and stuff. And, you know, I'm a big old guy, right? I'm 5'10 350 on a good day, right? So I blow my knees out and getting all this way. But uh, so I wear at least a 5x Hoodie. So we made hoodies up for myself and my whole team. We bought don't fix it, sell it, we buy houses. And we just go, go to these trade shows and walk around and talk to the different vendors and stuff. And we'd get two or three, four or five leads every time we went for people going, Hey, I've got a house I'm trying to fix up I might just sell it what? How does this work? Right? And I got in trouble. What's because we made these big balloons probably the size, I don't know how five, six times the size of a basketball, right like a big balloons. And on the balloon that heat we filled them up on the helium that said don't sell it, fix it. We buy balloons by houses, we tied it to the back of our hoodie. So when we're walking around this huge, you know,
Ronald Skelton 38:49
200 vendor trade show, there's the balloons above us that said, this guy by the head, one of them said this guy buys houses, right had a little arrow pointing down and stuff. And, you know, the tradeshow said, Yeah, you can't do that, you know, they run us off. But, you know, that's the guerilla marketing that, you know, what does it cost us? 35 bucks a hoodie 40 bucks a hoodie, you know, for each of us to have one, maybe maybe 50. And then the balloons, you know, 10 bucks apiece, I think that was cheap to actually have balloons printed out and we found them online somewhere. So for 250 bucks, I had four of us walking around trade shows, and we were getting deals like you know, land and houses and stuff. I don't think you have to do that. It may be in the business buying realm. You might lose little credibility if you try something cheesy. But I love your idea of just being the Speaker of the show. Right?
Adam Lyons 39:36
Thanks. Yeah, it works really, really well. You know, from, from my perspective, and you know, it, it might be a bit cheesy, but I've, I've seen people pull off cheesy as long as it isn't direct, I think you know, cheesy and indirect or you can be serious and direct right? So if I'm going to be a panelist I can say hey, I help people sell their, their business when they effectively work zero because if they quit there is no business On the other hand, you can walk around with a giant balloon that says after 1900 companies that advice for in the last three years, maybe too much on Bloomberg, get the idea. I'm looking to give free advice. And I'm, I'm, I'm an introvert that doesn't say hi, come talk to me. Well, maybe yeah, maybe I'm an introvert that doesn't say Hi. Come talk to me. But trust me, I'm really smart. I
Ronald Skelton 40:25
thought about doing it just like, you know, who buys businesses and have little arrows points down says this guy, right?
Adam Lyons 40:32
Yeah, I just I think I agree. I think acquisition would have to be less direct. You'd have to make it like not about spying businesses. So yeah, like I'm an introvert, but really smart. Say hi, and see what I know. I think that's where I would go. So people are going to go Oh, I love that idea. But yeah, I would never talk to anyone if I didn't have this. And it's easier to have a stupid balloon that I can't see. That makes them come talk to me. Because I am an introvert. Haha, I come across extrovert but I'm an introvert. And I think something like that really well.
Ronald Skelton 41:01
And you know, what's funny is, I ended up knowing one of the guys on that trade show now so that I, I didn't because I'm friends with him. I never pulled those stunts after he took over. But we still weren't our hoodies, but we didn't try the balloons or anything like that. So the other thing we used to do, I used to raise money, crazy stuff like that. When we were raising money for, for our real estate investment group, we would go to the the boat shows, and I'm talking to Oklahoma has boat shows where they have 150 foot yachts and these things I don't I think the tournament take them to Grand Lake, which is one of our biggest leads, and they sit there and just spin circles. Like they just turn the thing around and turn around. Because I don't know how, like these things are like their full blown multimillion dollar yachts and tradeshow. But we would go there, you know, and we would dress up, you know, and stuff like that. But we'd often have our hoodies that said, you know, real estate investors seeking. seeking or real estate investors, you know, seeking and other investors or, you know, something, I forgot what it said, but basically said, we're looking for money, right? And, you know, I, I have no (inaudible), you know, you're walking through these guys, and they're buying multimillion dollar boats and you're wearing a hoodie that says, you know, put your money in real estate talk to me, I think it's what it said. You know, and people go, Hey, I've always thought about real estate, what do you know about real estate? You know?
Adam Lyons 42:16
Yeah, I just Yeah, I think that's great. I, I love the I love the idea, you just give me an idea that I'm going to attempt as well. I am, I'm running a, I'm speaking at the trafficking Conversion summit this year.
Ronald Skelton 42:27
Oh Yeah, Cool
Adam Lyons 42:28
-main stage. Thank you. I'm super excited about it. I've been trying to speak. I mean, I was there on the first event. And so it's a big deal for me, I spoke last year, but just for five minutes this year, that can be a whole hour. And so because of that, I've decided to get a trade booth. So I've got a massive booth. And I've been designing it. And I got a whole bunch of ways to make it stand out. But it occurred to me that might not be okay, if you walk around with helium balloons, but it might let me attach them to the booth. So I'm just, I just made a note to tell my team, Hey, see if we can attach giant helium balloons to the booth.
Ronald Skelton 42:59
You know, now they have these helium balloons, just so you know, there's these really cool helium balloons or remote controlled (inaudible), they're not on a string. And they're kind of like a look at look this up because you can have them printed on his stuff. And they'll hover in a certain spot like that, or don't they have a GPS number or something, or they'll fly a certain pattern, but you can have it if it's moving, like our natural human instinct. And you get, you get this from all the dating stuff you do. There's a lot of stuff that's just natural motion attracts eyes. It's a anti predator predator thing that we have cycles psychologically. Assume one is your thing your companies has to do with human psychology, right? Yep. So that so motion, I think if you get it to move around, even if it's just like, you know, there's like the dancing goofy guy. If you get something to move the balloon around and cause motion up there, people will just naturally have to look up and make sure it's not, you know, a pterodactyl coming down at them. So
Adam Lyons 43:52
love it. Yeah, that's a great freaking idea. I love that.
Ronald Skelton 43:55
Cool. So, man, just there's so many things, rip 40 something minutes, let's make sure people know how to get a hold of you. What are you're interested in? Why would somebody contact you if they've got something? What are you looking for in this world, man?
Adam Lyons 44:08
Yeah, I mean, at this point, I'm, I'm kind of a big fan of like, you know, help others. And then you know, reciprocity kicks in and kind of like kicks back, I actually wrote an entire huge blog post that breaks down like a lot of our methodology of once we acquire a business, how we grow it. If someone's listening to this, and you know, they want to grow their business certainly make more money. It's free. You don't even have to opt in, you can just like go to it. If you're cool with it, I'll give you my personal cell phone, you can text me and I've got a mini automation when somebody texts me, it is me. It's not like some kind of weird shortcode number, but I put an automation on for the legality of data collection. So that's a pretty cool thing. But my phone number is 512-957-3141 That's the Austin area code 512-957-3141. And you just sent me a text message, just say hi there. Thank you. have you know a little bit about yourself, if you actually just say, Hi, I won't know who you are. And then you'll go through the mini automation, and just request the link, and I'm more than happy to send you this breakdown. It's how we do time management in the new company, how we hire, fire, and how we work out whether the offers there. And I'm more than happy to give that to people I find in podcasts, it's a bit easier to have like a real personal connection, because your phone number isn't like on the internet, you know, it's like, it's someone kind of has to watch 45 minutes, right, to get it, so
Ronald Skelton 45:30
I'll put it in the show notes if you want, I think,
Adam Lyons 45:33
Ronald Skelton 45:34
number a 214 no, no. Okay, this number that's in the show notes right now, but I can switch it up and actually have my assistant put your other number in the show notes whenever you want.
Adam Lyons 45:45
Yeah, that'd be great, man, I appreciate it. So that's, that I'm on like, every social media site, I'm at the Adam Lyons, t h e Adam Lyons. And, and yeah, and then you can just go to the smart to blueprints.com a whole bunch of free assets on there, go get them, we do a web site analysis, we'll analyze your website and you know, let you know how your offer looks from our point of view. And you know, how profitable we think you are, and take it from there.
Ronald Skelton 46:11
Awesome. And I really appreciate all this. What is if, if you could leave somebody with one or two takeaways from the show, what would you what would you say? I mean, what's the like what would, what would you want somebody to know about Adam Lyons and what he can provide for you, or?
Adam Lyons 46:27
Yeah, I think, I think the real thing that I specialize in is lifetime value. Not calculating it but increasing it. You know, there are really only two ways to make more money. And it's either sell something that you've already developed to a bunch of new customers, which seems to be most people think it's done. But the smart companies, they focus on selling something brand new to people who trust them. And in the Forbes did an article in the companies that offer upsells, something like 70 to 80% of all revenue comes from upsells. When you imagine there are so many companies out there that have a single products, and they struggle. And if they only had a sequence of upsells, the revenue would go through the roof. In, in some of our highest markets, our lifetime value is in the 30,000 Plus and growing because of our, our method. And if I list to you the most successful companies in the world, they all have an upsell sequence from Amazon to Apple, Nintendo, we think it is big classic brands, Nike, that have been around a long time, they constantly upselling you, McDonald (inaudible) your fries with that everything these companies do is about upsells. And yet whenever I meet new entrepreneurs, or even people doing acquisitions, they're so worried about what has happened in the company over the last three years. Whereas the only thing I want to know is Have you had a full up sell strategy? If not, do you have buyers that are happy and actively buying. Because if you've got a good buyer base who liked the product, and you do not have optimized upsells and lifetime value, I know I can come in, run some customer insight reports identify exactly what else they wanted to be sold, develop it, affiliate it joint, venture it sell it to them, and the revenue goes through the roof because there's no acquisition cost. So that's the big thing. And if you think like that, you can do anything, and even, even the car I'm buying is on, is on the same concept. You know, I'm analyzing how much it's gonna cost me not seven figures, but we're getting up there. If that gets me a business in a year, it was worth it.
Ronald Skelton 48:46
Absolutely. The, you know, I guess your acquisition costs or your customer acquisition cost is sunk into a single event. But what is one of the word I'm looking for? Not the reluctant hero or something, but you're the center of focus when you take that somewhere that is like that's, that's gonna cause people to talk cause people to you know, you know ask questions. I mean, I love cars, classic cars, I pull up beside somebody and like they're driving an old convertible or something. I'm like, oh, man, cool car. Did you build it yourself? Did you buy like, I'll chat with them, right? You check. People with classic cars get chatted up. So it's just, that's just gonna happen. So you supply.
Adam Lyons 49:31
I know that with Maserati, because people do come and stop me and talk to him about it. But as time goes by and the car gets older, less and less people do it. Whereas the classic car, it's got the classic body it's that's the key.
Ronald Skelton 49:43
So awesome, man. I don't even know where to go from here. I'm having a blast. I'm looking at the clock one man, we're running out of time. What would you say have your top three tips for actually having somebody grow their business? Right I mean, if you?
Adam Lyons 50:01
Yeah, actually, that's easy. We have, on average, at the moment, the last couple of years, 600,000 companies a year in America, shut down. With an added 200,000 on top of that, for COVID related shutdowns, which is crazy 800,000 businesses, approximately in 21 shutdown in America. What's fascinating to me is there are three major reasons that account for the majority of all of those shutdowns. And when I stand in front of 1000s, of business owners, and I say, tell me the reasons they can't answer. And I'm not surprised that you have a qualification in marketing, because you listed the number one reason at the beginning of the show, because to you, it's clear and obvious because you've studied it. But most business owners what I call accidental business owners, myself included, unless you've sat down and actually studied it, you don't know. And the three major things that will shut down your business in reverse order, is number three, you don't have the right team. Number two, you don't have a cash flow system. It's not sales, it's a system. And lastly, there's no product demand for what you're selling. Which is the biggest of all. When I go into a company, the three things I assess is one, they have a good team and that the team toxic or that you're doing stuff, two do they have a system of cashflow, that's positive three, do people want what they're selling. Right. And that's how I fix any business. That's how I've managed to help 1900 companies and people that aren't How do you help 1900 companies? I start by sitting down and being like, there are three things it Do you suffer from any of these problems? And if they say yes, I say great, within five years, you have a 50% chance of shutting down, because that's the numbers. It's like 49.85% chance of shutting down within five years. If one of those problems persists. You have to stop all through.
Ronald Skelton 51:53
You know when I was doing the marketing coaching thing and, and one of the things that I was shocked to find is people really undervalue their own loyal customers, meaning that I, I had a couple customers, you know, clients of mine, and I was like, you know, what do your customers think? Oh, they absolutely love this man. No, no, they, they chat us up. They bring us referrals all the time and stuff and they sell them one thing. And I was like, do you understand that these people if they really, if you're if they're that loyal, and they really love what you do, and they love your customer service? Almost anything you sit in front of them, if they need it, they're gonna get it because they you've already got that they're either hard to trust. What do you why aren't we looking at something else that, that fits it Well, I know how to make the good, you know good digit widget, right, that I know how to make X. I don't know how to make anything like that. And so I, I think that's one of the biggest things I think that can straighten out some of these cashflow issues and stuff like that is like you know, who do you have in your customer base that are just love you so much that if you, if you painted a banana pink and told them it was yours, they would buy it? Right? It has to be awesome, you created an almost every company, if they're not out there really messing up has at least some of their customer base. They're just that loyal and that, you know, you know, into him.
Adam Lyons 53:12
Ronald Skelton 53:12
Cool. Man, we're running out of time here, and, and we're gonna have to cut this off. I absolutely love this. I love catching things. I've watched a lot of stuff where you're on the stage, I'm on your newsletter and stuff. If you guys are out there, hunting him down, get on his newsletter, it's just packed full of stuff is sight. You just you put out a lot of content. You're a man after my own heart, I'm a real big believer, the reason I do this podcast, everything else I lead with value, right? When I get off of every phone call, I actually do a self evaluation that I add value to that guy's life and I wasted freaking time. Right? We just exchanged you know, you know, you know exhausted air, you know, bad smelling breath and did not, did not get anything done. And it impacts me if I can't think of like high added value to others. And I really see that in you. So I want to, I want to acknowledge you for that and appreciate what you're doing for the communities and business owners and stuff out there. And people really need to, to catch on to what you're up to. A lot of people have heard of the, you know, the Jay Conrad Livingston's and the, you know, Jay Abraham's and that stuff of the world, but, I mean, you're up there out there and, you know, start speaking on the same stages as these guys and have that and have just really great info. So, and, you know, I, I think you're a little bit of an unacknowledged warrior out there that you know, I know you've been on a lot of shows and a lot of, you know, TV stuff, but I can't save enough. You know, not too many times. I get people on the show where I'm kind of the fanboy type of thing I got out of on the call. So I appreciate you having you here, man. And this was fun. I really enjoyed this. I picked up I'm going to try and use. My wife gets back here in a few minutes I might talk her into see you If I can't buy something, but she probably tell me no.
Adam Lyons 53:56
If I can help you with anything, just ping me reach out. Okay.
Ronald Skelton 55:08
Cool. Hang out for a second. And we're gonna end the show. And that's it, guys. Thank you for being on the show, and we have a great day. Hey, it's your host, Ronald Skelton. I want to thank you personally for watching the show today and invite you to call our new hotline 918-641-4150. That's 918-641-4150. Call us and tell us about our show, ask questions, suggested guests or even tell me about a business you have for sale and we'll reach back out to you. Again that number is 918-641-4150. Call our hotline leave us some information. Thank you. The investors and entrepreneurs professional mastermind. The investors and entrepreneurs professional mastermind combines that additional peer to peer mastermind introduce first in Napoleon Hills famous book Thinking Grow Rich. With accountability partnering, where your peers help you ensure that you set goals take action and get results. If you want to scale blow past roadblocks and achieve success faster than you might think is possible, I suggest you take a visit over to tiepm.com That's T i e. P m.com. And check out the investors and entrepreneurs professional mastermind.