Transcript of Efficiencies Expert Jason Helfenbaum On How To Increase Your ROI Through Training And Efficiencies
Strategic Change Leader Jim Barnish Reveals How Your Business Can Grow Smart And Grow Fast

[00:00:05] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

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Welcome to episode 80 of the Sell My Business Podcast.

Jim Barnish is the Co-founding Managing Partner of Orchid Black. Jim is a strategic change leader with over 15 years of leadership experience in global and integrated operations. M&A and strategic go-to-market planning.

Drawing on deep operational and investment experience at startup and scale up businesses, Jim has created and curated a collection of proven data-driven processes and methodologies to help companies build a scalable and fundable, VC ready solution with accelerating organic growth.

Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. And for our listeners, I have a question for you. Would you love to grow your business? Would you love to have organic growth? Would you even love to take your business to the next level? I mean, after all, isn't that what we're always thinking about and dreaming about as business owners?

So, Jim, welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm so, delighted to have you with us before we get going. There's always a story behind the story. Jim what's your story? How did you get to where you are today?

[00:02:45] Jim Barnish: Great to be here, Jeff. Simply put I'm obsessed with growth. Always have been, always will be. Personal growth, career growth, business growth, even planted an orchid grove, which is the mantra behind the part of our name. My business story really started when I was 15 grinding away at the growth of my family business.

We grew to about a billion in enterprise value. I was there for about the first half of that, and I didn't have much at 15, other than a learner's permit and a ton of uphill learning. But my focus was entirely on growth, via acquisitions and integrations into our existing businesses. Over the years, this obsession just simply matured helping dozens of companies unlock growth beyond simply acquisition around organic growth. And two decades later, 30 acquisitions and an immense amount of organic growth. I am focused relentlessly on helping founders in technology tech-forward companies maximize growth and their own enterprise value on the path towards exit.

[00:03:38] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim, that's quite a story. And I know for some of our listeners, they're hearing this and saying, well, okay, from $40 million to a billion dollars, Jim, good for you. We're so, happy for you, but that's just way out of our league, all these strategies and tactics to grow to that level.

Why would you tell someone that the strategies that you deployed could work for anyone, even if they're just starting out?

[00:04:02] Jim Barnish: There's a reason why we serve technology companies between a couple million and 50 million at Orchid Black. And that is because that is typically the hardest ramp towards growth from what we've experienced That's also where we've done the most and achieved the most. So, that 40 million to a billion is certainly something that is impressive, but getting to that 40 million wasn't something that I was a part of. And so, what I love is when I moved towards that early growth stage and got passionate about you know what we're building and identifying that fit. Then ultimately, driving product-led growth and, sales and marketing-led growth for companies that are in that same position. How do I maximize the value of my company when I've already built a strong company and by all measures achieve some level of success, hit some milestones, missing others? And that's why we exist is really to focus on helping you to understand how much you can increase the value of the business and make it worth so, much more.

And then also help you do it. And it is achievable. It does require, you know, an ideal client profile. It does require building for scale and it does require the desire to not build a lifestyle business and really build a scalable business. It can be a grow smart and grow fast mentality, which is what we really focused on bringing to the market.

[00:05:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim wow thanks for sharing. There's a lot to unpack there. Before we talk about both growing smart and growing fast, can you let us in on your company, name Orchid Black? What's the name all about and how did you come up with that name?

[00:05:34] Jim Barnish: Thank you for asking. Really passionate about it. Cause it's not where we started. It was a rebrand. And we were getting a lot of feedback from our customers, that our brand was sounding very stodgy and traditional, and not innovative and fresh and growth-minded, which is what we're bringing to the market.

And so, we took that feedback. We really thought about what it would take to have our brand work for us. And we thought about what we do is essentially help companies grow smart and grow fast. We thought about this mantra in the marketplace, around the unicorn. These billion-dollar companies that you need to have a ton of money poured into them in order for them to reach that mark and ultimately in order to do it that fast you do. But what if there was a different model? One that was more like an orchid that was focused on becoming really durable and strong and also growing to new heights, but doing so, requires, tender love and curation and that's really what we focus on and why the name became Orchid Black.

Because we help those companies, we search for those rare orchids that we can help grow the most and that we can help curate and ultimately prune towards the best they can be. And also, that we only help companies who are in the black, rather exclusive in terms of who we take on and so, the name Orchid Black, with orchids being such a rarity and black orchids being the most rare of all, just really sat with us in terms of the value we were bringing to the marketplace and the amplification of the companies that we're working with. And what we wanted to do to really make a difference in the world, which is what brands are all about at the end of the day.

[00:07:02] Jeffrey Feldberg: And for our listeners, I really hope you're paying close attention. Because what Jim was sharing is pure gold. In previous episodes on the Sell My Business Podcast we've spoken about both the importance of your narrative and your brand. And listen to what Jim was sharing. He's come up with a brand that plays right into his narrative and everything gels together. So, Jim, congratulations on that.

So, now why don't we go back to what you're talking about earlier in terms of growing both smart and fast. You mentioned that you only work with a select number of companies and you're looking for specific things and you know what, Jim, I'm a big believer that we can learn from success, but oftentimes we learn more from failure.

So, Jim, when you looked at the companies that you're saying no to. There must be some trends or patterns that you're seeing of why they're not growing in the right way or why they're not being smart so, I’d love to hear what some of the top mistakes that you're seeing with the companies that you're saying no to.

[00:08:01] Jim Barnish: Yeah, it's a great question. I'm going to separate this into two categories. The first is pre-product market fit and the second is post-product market fit. The first category is, as you can imagine, doing things that make them feel as if they've hit their product-market fit and trying to scale the business too early.

And that is a major issue from both the capital perspective and the wasting of capital. But also, from an alignment and company growth perspective. And in that category, our focus is on helping companies get aligned to where they're actually at from a business maturity and growth perspective.

And helping them to really understand who their ideal client profile is, where the market is, what the problem they're solving. And connect their messaging and their theme to the market. So, that they're able to then scale once they have validated and gotten to that product-market fit.

That's that category that one's the most simple, it's really making sure that you've validated that you are in the right market, your message is resonating with that market, and that the market is beginning to pull you in and you're getting repeatable market, repeatable customers from that market.

The second one is that post-product-market fit, which is really simple in nature in a lot of ways but has a lot more problems and pain points associated with it. It could be, really not understanding what pricing you need to be serving the market with. It could be not understanding how to create more of a predictable growth engine through an SDR and account executive model.

It could be really not understanding how to create a conversion funnel that starts with awareness and ends with a buy cycle from an inbound perspective. But ultimately a lot of those challenges really rest from just not having growth experts on your team and also really needing some operational fundamentals to be able to ready and feel that growth once the time comes to be able to scale the business.

[00:09:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim, thanks so, much for sharing and you did just an excellent job of outlining the typical mistakes that we can make as business owners. So, I'm now going to put myself in the shoes of a business owner. So, let's suppose for just a moment that I've been in business for a few years, it's probably just myself and a few other people and we're getting out there. The business is profitable. We have a bit of a name. We have a few clients, but wow. It's a slog. And growing the company, having that happen quickly, that's just a challenging thing to do is not coming along as quickly as we would like.

So, for our listeners who find themselves in that kind of situation, and you now enter the picture and you start working with them. How do we, what do we need to do to change our operations, or what. Can you share with us what we need to do to either change our operations or how we're marketing or what we're doing on the sales front so, that we can welcome growth and ultimately success much quicker?

[00:10:34] Jim Barnish: We were brought into one tech company by a founder who had bootstrapped his business for about 15 years and had good business, good customers, but the growth was flat-lining and he wanted to exit, spend his next chapter enjoying life and investing in other companies. But the company's current valuation of what the market would have accepted for just wasn't acceptable to him. He tried his usual ideas to generate new customers since he had already validated product-market fit, but they weren't working like they once had. His revenue and cash flow projections were starting to get worse. Obviously, signs that his valuation was on the decline as well. And so, when we came in, we focused on leveraging our methodology to really crack the code on that growth. And in less than a month, we put together a roadmap on how to increase the value of his business over the next 12 months.

He was so, pleased with the roadmap and strategy work and how quick we were able to diagnose what he needed to do, that we stayed on to lead the execution of this roadmap alongside of him. And in seven months, we actually were able to increase the value of that business from 23 million to 36 million and sold that business to a strategic buyer.

So, everybody won big and that's really a commonality around being stuck at some growth milestone. It's okay to notice that you've gotten the business to a certain point, but that there are other things that you may not have tried and that you may just not know that are going to unlock that value, that are tested and true from other go to market strategies that have worked in the past. '

[00:11:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim. Congratulations. That's absolutely terrific. I always love to hear these kinds of success, stories of how you came in and you really saved the day and began to make things happen. And so, Jim, just so, we can understand when we're having an engagement. When we're having an engagement with orchid block.

Can you run us through the entire lifecycle of what you'd be offering from beginning to end? Because it sounds like the whole gamut there but I don't want to assume so, what would that look like?

[00:12:25] Jim Barnish: It was really hard for us to imagine starting out, being able to find out very quickly in a couple short weeks, how to make this worth a lot more. And there was nothing in the market to do that. So, we created an organizational 360 perspective platform that allows us to get an objective lens into a company's true potential. And so, we wanted to do that by not necessarily creating something like a million-dollar McKinsey project over the course of to 12 months, but something really simple, comprehensive, a way to tell founders what they needed to hear within a few short weeks.

So, we offer a value creation assessment that is a systematic look into a company from every angle, strategy, talent, revenue, product, operations. We spend a lot of time and energy figuring out exactly what is needed in order to grow that company and where we be able to take it, were we to engage with them on the execution front as well.

It gives founders a roadmap, if you will, to get a certain amount of value creation done if they are to walk away so, that at the end of the day, they've got something really meaningful that they can go ahead and either execute on themselves or bring someone in to execute.

If we believe that we can have at least a hundred percent year over year value creation impact on that company over the next 6 to 36 months we will offer to come in and also play a role in that company in a very upside performance-focused model, that is really exciting on the backside of that VCA. Essentially once we know what a company needs, we're then able to leverage our playbook or our how to operate alongside founders to be able to maximize the value of that business.

[00:13:59] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim that's terrific. So, sounds like you're coming in, you're creating this growth roadmap for the founder that they can then take, or if they really like. Jim that's terrific. Jim that's terrific. So, it sounds like you're coming in and you're creating this growth roadmap for both the founder and for the business. And at the same time, if you really like what you're seeing in the business, you'll actually jump in with both feet, right alongside with the founder, and help them grow that business.

And then it sounds like once the business is growing and things are really clicking away, you're going to be there in terms of a merger and acquisition to help with some kind of exit or liquidity event. So, how do you play a role in that perhaps you can walk us through what that looks like for you?

[00:14:43] Jim Barnish: A little bit different depending on the company and what the exit looks like or what the exit strategy is, but ultimately once we run that VCA put together that growth strategy and then execute alongside the team. We're in there for as short of a time period as possible, quite frankly, until the company is in need of full-time resources to take our role and able to execute the rest of the plan on their own.

We are not there as your forever team to keep charging retainers and things like typical consultants will do. We're there to ultimately just be partners, get you stood up help you execute against the plan, and then fill in the right full-time resources at the right time that are able to execute against the plan alongside of these founders and their teams.

And so, we're really gap fillers, growth gap fillers, at the end of the day, that are just set out to maximize the value of folks' business, give them the roadmap and then help execute until there's a need for full-time talent in the business.

[00:15:34] Jeffrey Feldberg: For listeners here's a rhetorical question for you. How can you master something that you've never done before? And the short answer is you can't. There's so, much riding on the line. This is the biggest, largest, most important financial decision of a lifetime when it comes to having a liquidity event or selling your business.

So, Jim let's tie this all together now. Based on what you've done with Orchid Black and the strategies that you've created. What would you tell our listeners in terms of two or three things that they absolutely should be doing? And then on the flip side two or three things that must be avoided at all costs?

[00:16:11] Jim Barnish: Yeah. That's a fun one. So, I'm going to share a story about my time early on in the family business, a time where we didn't necessarily have a strategy or an exit and acquisition strategy of our own. We acquired a couple of companies that were a bit beyond what were within the strategy that we had created. Companies that were logistics, technology, supply chain companies that were a little bit off of the beaten path from where we were traditionally acquiring other businesses.

But we loved innovation and we really wanted to, and when I say we, I should just say me and I really wanted to have that impact. And, I was this you know, I knew more, right. I knew more than the experts that were on the team and that we were bringing in and ultimately those two acquisitions ended up falling flat.

And I still get messages to this day from folks who were in the middle of those acquisitions that ended up in a really good spot a couple of years later, but really did not love the fact that we didn't abide by what our strategy was and we brought on things that were outside of it.

And so, whether it's acquisitions or growth, I would say, create a strategy, align the team to it, and obviously iterate and build on what you've created your strategic narrative around. But don't veer from it. And don't think that you know better one day, because you woke up and have this great idea. Connect it to the strategy, make sure that it's something that's valuable, and align the team around it because that actually caused a lot of heartache in the family organization because of that.

So, that's on the don't do side. I've got a lot of those. But those have led me to where I focus today, which is, on a really knowledgeable and do side, which is that starting a business isn't easy and growing a business is even harder. When you really do have a focused approach towards whether it's acquisitions or organic growth, or just playing, building a product. Building for that exit building for where you think the acquire, whether that's private equity or strategic trade sale, whatever it might be is incredibly important to connect to your strategy and is indispensable as it relates to what that valuation is that you get on the other side of the exit because companies will pay a lot for things that are beyond just simply a multiple of EBITDA.

They were looking for a transferrable value that is able to add and make a difference to their strategy, their talent, their revenue, their product, and their operations. And that is so, important to keep in mind as you're building towards an exit.

[00:18:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim there's a lot to unpack there, but why don't we start with this. You bring up a terrific point. How many times, and we've all been there before, where we come up with what we believe is an absolutely fantastic strategy we think is going to win the marketplace. We spent all kinds of time and money creating that strategy for growth with the mission and the vision of where we're going to be taking the company. And then nothing happens. It just sits there.

So, Jim what can we do to ensure that everyone is aligned around the vision? Everyone feels that we're in this together. We're going to go out there on a daily basis where we're focused on the vision to grow it, get out there and make things happen and achieve the goal?

[00:19:10] Jim Barnish: So, a strategy isn't just a book that you place on the wall. A strategy is a focused roadmap for where you're going and the point around a strategy isn't necessarily the strategy itself, but rather the creation and the discipline that comes with coming up with it and aligning the team around it.

And when you do it right, that intimately connects to an operating model and there's a lot of operating models or systems out there. We've got a few that we prefer that we've combined into our own customized version of an operating system. Combines the likes of things like EOS with V2 MLM, and a lot of the really, meaningful operating models that are out there that are great for growth-stage businesses.

It includes things that matter, and that should be continually monitored, and includes operational methods for how you're going to get things done. What are you going to do? And they actions assisted. It includes measures and in cadence of those measures of what you're looking to achieve and really keeping an eye on those on a regular cadence.

And it focuses on not letting it just be a strategy or a roadmap, but really having the team who created that strategy rallied around it. And it boiling down all into the actions that are associated with building your business. And so, I guess the short answer to that is it's basically just a living, breathing document. That is what you're doing day to day and how you're building your business. If you're doing it right.

[00:20:30] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love it. And so, often when we speak to business owners at Deep Wealth, their Achilles heel, the one thing that they're just not getting, where they want to maximize enterprise value is that the business doesn't run without them. So, the sun, the moon, the earth, and all the stars are revolving around the business owner and the future of buyer is either going to walk away or is going to say, this is just too risky for me. And either put a penalty that lowers enterprise value or have that E word an earnout.

So, Jim, why don't you share with us what a business owner can start doing to ensure that the business does run without them?

[00:21:08] Jim Barnish: Starting a business is not easy and growing it is even harder. And if you answered no to that question, that it does not run without you, you're probably at a similar point to where I was when I hit the darkest point of my own founder journey, which is a medical term called burnout.

It's something we don't talk about as founders because we think it makes us weak. We think it makes us indispensable. And it does, but It doesn't make us weak. It makes us human. And it's a lot of times it's hard to recognize it because startups and growth-stage businesses are just simply supposed to be hard.

But ultimately it causes an impact on the business and on your personal life. And that's why on the business side, it does get those discounts associated with it. If you are key to running your business, or if anyone in your executive team is indispensable because people are meant to create and people are meant to build, and people are meant to drive talent around them and be human. And ultimately what's supposed to happen in the businesses is that these things are supposed to take shape and that people then become process and process becomes technology. And all of these things connect to make people less and less indispensable. My own burnout was so, hard. It ultimately took me taking a step back and doing a couple things.

Number one, hiring an executive coach, which was one of the hardest decisions that I had ever had to make. Number two, developing a set of systems to help manage burnout. And it was affecting my personal life. My fiancé will tell you that's for sure. Along with the ability for my business to grow. And ultimately, it's okay to take a more human and less superhuman approach, which is really just the right mindset.

[00:22:46] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim, it sounds like there's another story behind the story in terms of the journey that you personally went through with your own burnout. It'd be great if you can share some insights of how you actually got there. And in addition to the executive coach perhaps you can share with us what we can do to learn from that experience to protect ourselves to ensure that we're not burning out

[00:23:07] Jim Barnish: I went down the entrepreneurial path because I wanted to create true wealth and legacy and financial freedom for my family and help other founders do the same. But that goal runs into a crossroad when you're too overloaded or burned out to spend time with the people that matter most and to ultimately drive your team towards being better, not necessarily getting stuff done, but driving them to be a better team. And too often I would find myself in the office or having to excuse myself to take a phone call I be spending time with the people that matter most of my life or, giving people the right guidance, the right leadership to become better versions of themselves in my own company.

And you can't do that if you're hitting that point of burnout. I mentioned an executive coach, shout out to my coach Mike, he's been incredibly instrumental in helping me to take a step back and look at how what I was doing was affecting my business and the way that I was working even without telling people to work harder was affecting the were working in my own business and being less strategic and being less growth-oriented. And it was a really hard lesson to learn that not every hour means more productivity. And so, I started doing things differently, whether it was with my team or with my family.

Carved out time for the people that mattered most. And ultimately the business and my personal life has seen a tremendous amount of growth from it.

[00:24:27] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim, thanks so, much for sharing and just being open and vulnerable with us. So, let me ask what on paper is a simple question, but in reality, it isn't.

So, you found that you were burning out and you're in a challenging situation. But you were smart enough to recognize that, hey, I don't like what's happening here. I don't like the person that I've become or how I'm living my life. So, Jim, what were some of the strategies that you did that allowed you to carve out that time and still have the business run without you and not only run without you but to grow and prosper?

[00:24:58] Jim Barnish: I think one was really taking a look at where there were gaps in the business from a talent perspective that were causing some of that. One of my blind spots over the years was that I've always wanted to do everything. I was so, confident in my ability to deliver results and grew so, close to, the clients that I was serving, that I wanted to personally ensure everything was done perfect to my level of satisfaction. That's just not scalable. An example in Orchid Black even was that my co-founder Steven and I looked in the mirror about what we were both great at and where we should focus our time to best serve our clients and it was clear that we needed another experienced founder and process thinker to bring sophistication to our internal operations.

And if we could find someone who also had experience working with clients that would be a huge bonus. And ultimately Steve had the perfect person in his contact list, Howard, our third partner is, all the things I described and more and performs all the internal work for our business, but also lends his perspective on client matters.

But really most importantly it allows for Steve and I to focus where we're best suited to drive the growth in our own business. And that has been instrumental to align strengths with jobs to be done. And it has been instrumental in terms of really driving a more sophisticated and an exciting and scalable level of growth within our own company.

[00:26:16] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, that's terrific because you're really eating what you're baking. And I assume you're also taking the same strategies and approach and helping the people who are working with Orchid Block, the different founders and business owners to do the same thing. But for the business owner out there, Jim, who's saying, hey, that all sounds fine and good, but I just don't have the budget to expand my team. And I not only don't have the budget, I just don't even know how I'm going to do this.

Jim, what advice would you give that business owner who finds him or herself in that situation?

[00:26:47] Jim Barnish: I would say first, take an honest look at the type of business that you want to drive. Because if you want a lifestyle business, and you're really comfortable with whatever the distributions are or the business that you've built is, that's okay. And you don't need to be a high-growth company or a growing company.

If that's something that you're unwilling to or unable to invest in that growth. If you are willing to invest in that growth, there's a number of ways to not have to bootstrap a business. Raising capital, whether that be equity or debt is always an opportunity. There are more and more different ways and avenues to get that done.

Obviously different terms that come with those, but lots of different avenues to be able to achieve something like that. And then there are also innovative ways to get growth done. I mentioned our model that is really strongly performance-based where we take a large percentage of our compensation as equity or as upside, some form of performance-based incentive within the company. And we do that because most of the companies that we work with, although they are in the black typically, they don't necessarily have the most cash on hand and cash is king in a lot of ways. And so, there are always innovative ways to get things done, once you decide to invest in growth. It's just a matter of making that decision. And if you ever need help along that path, I'm happy to use any of my office hours to have a conversation around that with anyone who's listening.

[00:28:05] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. That's terrific. Jim. Thank you for the kind offer and for our listeners, I will put all of this in the show notes, just to make it easy for you to reach out to Jim and ask those questions. But Jim, I'm wondering as we record this episode, we find ourselves at an interesting point in time.

With the Coronavirus pandemic, it's forever changed business norms and societal norms. So, Jim, with this in mind what should I be thinking about as a business owner, as I look to both growing and marketing my business? How have things changed today versus where they were before the pandemic started?

[00:28:41] Jim Barnish: It's a loaded question because there's a lot to it, but I think one of the most important aspects around it is that remote work is no longer an option. It's a requirement. Within technology companies. Millennials in the workforce were generally driving people in that direction anyway. But ultimately, we learned a lot in COVID about how little or how unable a lot of companies were at being able to have their workforce be remote and set up for what an event like COVID might drive. As you're thinking about building the business, it's always important to think about what life looks like outside of the office.

And making sure that remote work is an option. Remote work is part of the day-to-day. In fact, in many cases, it may be entirely remote if you're set up the right way. With the exception of obviously, having people get together at certain points in time is more of a comradery activity than anything else.

And that's number one is really making sure that you're set up for remote work, just the ability of people to get things done by providing them the right equipment. All the way through having the right systems and technology in place to be able to facilitate that level of remote work.

Also, accept the status quo as your nature for whether it be growth or just, in general, the way that you're perceiving the way that market conditions currently are. The most turbulent times often breed the most resilient companies. And so, I think you're going to see it of really interesting companies come out of the other side of COVID. But the majority of them it's because they took time to focus on what the other side of COVID would look like and how they'd be able to serve the market in a more meaningful capacity.

When you're in those types of times, really dialing in on what you're trying to achieve and how that connects to market activity is important and so, whether it's something like COVID, that's driving a more remote workforce, or it's something completely different that happens next year, always be ready for market conditions to affect strategy and to affect the execution of the way you grow your company.

[00:30:34] Jeffrey Feldberg: And for listeners out there, I really hope you were paying attention to what Jim, so, eloquently said. Because Jim it sounds like from what you're saying, businesses need to be more compassionate. More compassionate in terms of the need of their employees, where we are open to employees working from home or doing the remote work because perhaps remote work is better for some than it would be for others.

And whether as a business owner, you are in favor of remote work, or you're not, I think it's safe to say that remote work it's here to stay. It's not going anywhere, but Jim you also said, we need to be compassionate in terms of what are we really doing in the marketplace? Who are we helping? Who are we serving? Is it actually needed? And what does that look like?

Because here's the thing. And I'm going to go back to the Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation. If a business was prepared before the pandemic came around and as crazy as this sounds that business could have had a liquidity event during the pandemic and it would have had an enterprise value that would have been higher than before the pandemic. So, if you missed out on that opportunity lessons learned, but you can now look to the future and say, hey, let me be prepared because I can't time the market, but I can choose when I do go to market.

So, Jim, with that in mind, I'm wondering what you're seeing when it comes to a liquidity event now because of the pandemic.

[00:31:58] Jim Barnish: Essentially the valuations today in the environment today have some of the highest multiples on companies, especially tech companies, and a lot of that is going to change and that's something we must recognize.

At some point, they're going to be going back down. We don't know when, but they are. The multiples right now are absolutely higher than they have been in quite some time. And that never stays the same for long. They're overinflated in almost every aspect from a technology company perspective. And it is something that must be kept in mind, not necessarily to drive day-to-day decision-making but to drive exit strategy and exit planning.

And that's especially important, given the nature of what we do and the work that we do with clients because we're planning towards an exit within the next three years in almost every capacity. And as we're thinking about what exits look like for the companies that we're serving; we think about a number of things.

Number one, what is the time to exit and the horizon for where the most amount of value is going to be? Are there any bridges that we're going to need to be thinking about from a capital perspective? And should we raise any capital now based on that, the road towards value, if you will, a value creation roadmap? And then ultimately what is going to need to be done outside of that day-to-day strategy to augment new multiples that are going to be hitting the marketplace. And what do we need to do to plan for that?

And so, these are conversations that we're involving other experts in. We're bringing in accountants and attorneys and folks that are the trusted advisors that are in many cases, the ones bringing us into these companies to make sure that not only the business wealth side of this is planned for correctly, but also the personal wealth and personal legacy, if you will.

And ultimately most of the founders that we're working with are in almost every case first-generation wealth. So, it's especially important for them to be able to leave the legacy that they've been looking to and, in many cases, started a company in order to provide.

And with these changes in valuations, it's always important to keep in mind what that timing is for the exit and make sure that all of the experts in that transaction are being leveraged to increase the value, not only for the business exit but the value for the personal exit and legacy as well.

[00:34:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim that truly is some words from the wise. And it's interesting that you mentioned that because step number three of the nine-step roadmap is all about the future buyer. So, Jim, it sounds like with transferable value, what you're really talking about is from the buyer's perspective, how the buyer views the business. So, practically speaking, what does that mean for our listeners when it comes to transferable value?

[00:34:23] Jim Barnish: We look at it in a pyramid and that pyramid is the reason that multiples exist for things like the LinkedIn transaction from Microsoft. There is an intimate connection to all of the levers in building a business. The same way that we look at building a business and exiting a business. There is a strategy that you build. There's a talent and team that you hire around that strategy. There's a product that, that team builds. There's a revenue function that drives growth around that product. And then there are operations of how you really manage the table stakes of the business.

And most people think about value and exits in a sense of just that operations and revenue. What's my multiple of EBITDA? What's my multiple of revenue? What is that going to look like? And at the end of the day, as you start to work up the pyramid of product and then talent, and then strategy, the reasons that people are getting such crazy valuations, aren't just because of getting a 21 X multiple on revenue. It's because they formed that pyramid of transferable value to not only have the table stakes operations, not only have that revenue-driving force and multiple revenue kept in mind, but also the product and as that product relates to the company that is acquiring it. Are there any economies of scale within that, that are more meaningful, and is the team even more valuable on top of that? And then at the top of that pyramid, is that strategic value that inspiration, that, that reason for being that is ultimately a major driver towards having some level of a moat that, that separates you from not only the competition but separates you generally in the market.

And that strategy, whether it be a moat around data or a moat around some competitive advantage that is really a difference-maker for you, there is a level of strategic advantage that sits on top of that pyramid. That is why people are willing to buy companies, not just focused on getting companies that are being sold. And there is a very big difference between being bought and being sold.

[00:36:19] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Jim for our listeners what's the difference for you between being bought and sold?

[00:36:24] Jim Barnish: That difference is simply needing a sale versus somebody seeking you out because they really need you and really want to purchase you. The same way that, you really do anything as a human.

It's the same philosophy. It's the same thought process that really humans go through. That's exactly what businesses go through as well. And we need to admit that to ourselves.

[00:36:43] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim once again, thanks so, much for being spot on as usual, because as a business owner, we have to stop being selfish when it comes to the sale of our business, we need to take ourselves out of the equation and put the future buyer front and center. And we need to ask ourselves what's in it for the buyer? The more that's in it for the buyer, the higher your enterprise value is going to be. And that creates a win-win for all around.

So, Jim, as we begin to wrap up this episode, I have a favorite question that I'd like to ask every guest. And I think you have a leg up on me because you shared offline that you've listened to some of the episodes.

So, you've already probably heard the question, but what the heck, I'm going to ask it anyway. So, I want you to think about the movie Back to the Future. And that's where you have this magical DeLorean car that can go back to any point in time. So, Jim, I want you to imagine you're looking out your window and the DeLorean car is there. The door is open.

It's waiting for you to go in. You hop into the car and you can now go back to any point in time. Maybe, Jim, it was when you're a child or an adolescent or a young man or whatever it may be. What would you be telling yourself, Jim, in terms of, hey, do this or don't do that or life lessons learned? What would that be?

[00:37:58] Jim Barnish: I refer back to a famous Michael Jordan quote, that "talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." I used to be the do it all founder, the one who starts working at 5:00 am and turns the computer off at three. Gets a couple of hours of sleep. The grind never stopped.

It was exhausting, physically, mentally, spiritually. You name it. And if I didn't, who would? I had co-founders, employees, but every time I unloaded one responsibility, I would take on 2 or 10 more and it was unsustainable until I really stopped trying to be the driving force behind everything in the company.

I think Michael Jordan in the 80s as scoring champion versus Michael Jordan in the 90s and 2000s. Really thinking about building and growing and ultimately winning championships. It was a very different and hard lesson to learn but doomed to repeat itself. And it was a lesson in letting go by putting the right people in the right places and letting them grow and ultimately you can be a leader, but don't always need the ball in your hands.

[00:38:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim, wow thank you so, much. Some words for the wise and not only were you vulnerable there, but I want to thank you for being open and vulnerable throughout our discussion today. As we begin to wrap up this episode if somebody would like to find you online, what's the best place?

[00:39:12] Jim Barnish: So, finding me on LinkedIn is always easiest. Jim Barnett Jr. You can also find me at Grow Smart, Grow Fast on LinkedIn. If you prefer, a more personal reach out and you don't use LinkedIn regularly, feel free to email me also at JB[at]Orchid[dot]black would be happy to use whether it's from LinkedIn or through email, any of my office hours, which I have every week to just see if I can help, whether that's as part of our family at Orchid Black, or as part of a referral or, a little bit of advice I can give you that's free of charge.

[00:39:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: Jim, thanks so, much for not only being generous but also helping to pay it forward with your office hours. And Jim, I see that you truly are a reformed guy with your office hours because you're not cutting into your personal time. So, you're definitely talking the talk and walking the walk.

Jim as we wrap up this episode, I really want to thank you so, much for spending part of your day with us on the Sell My Business Podcast. And as always please stay healthy and safe

[00:40:05] Jim Barnish: Thank you, Jeff.

[00:40:05] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

[00:40:08] Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.

[00:40:18] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

[00:40:23] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

[00:40:29] Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so, many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

[00:40:45] Kam H.: I 100% believe there's never a great time for a business owner to allocate extra hours into his or her week or day. So, it's an investment that will yield results today. I thought I will reap the benefit of this program in three to five years down the road. But as soon as I stepped forward into the program, my mind changed immediately.

[00:41:07] Sharon S.: There was so, much value in the experience that the time I invested paid back so, much for the energy that was expended.

[00:41:18] Lyn M.: The Deep Wealth Experience compared to other programs is the top. What we learned is very practical. Sometimes you learn stuff that it's great to learn, but you never use it. The stuff we learned from Deep Wealth Experience, I believe it's going to benefit us a boatload.

[00:41:31] Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

[00:41:49] Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so, different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

It's five-star, A-plus.

[00:42:16] Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

Deep Wealth is an accurate name for it. This program leads to deeper wealth and happier wealth, not just deeper wealth. I don't think there's a dollar value that could be associated with such an experience and knowledge that could be applied today and forever.

[00:42:35] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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 As we close out this episode, a heartfelt thank you for your time. And as always, please stay healthy and safe. 

This podcast is brought to you by the Deep Wealth Experience. In the world of mergers and acquisitions, 90% of deals fail. Of the successful deals, business owners leave millions of dollars on the deal table.

Who are we and how do we know? We're the 9-figure exit guys. We said "no" to a 7-figure offer based on 3-times, EBITDA. Two years later, we said "yes" to a 9-figure offer based on 13-times EBITDA.  In the process we increased the value of our company 10X.

During our liquidity event journey, we created a 9-step preparation process. It's the quality and depth of your preparation that increases your business value.

After our 9-figure exit we committed ourselves to leveling the playing field. The Deep Wealth Experience helps you create a launch plan in 90-days. Our solution is resilient, relentless, and gets results. Enjoy the certainty that you'll capture the maximum value on your liquidity event.
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Strategic Change Leader Jim Barnish Reveals How Your Business Can Grow Smart And Grow Fast