Transcript of Efficiencies Expert Jason Helfenbaum On How To Increase Your ROI Through Training And Efficiencies
Successful Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, And Philanthropist Sam Duboc Reveals Proven Strategies For Creating Massive Success

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

[00:00:10] This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

[00:00:16] Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life.

[00:00:22] But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

[00:00:43] I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a nine-figure offer.

[00:00:56] Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

[00:00:59] If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again.

[00:01:05] Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event.

[00:01:13] After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

[00:01:17] Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.

[00:01:26] At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

[00:01:32] Welcome to episode 89 of The Sell My Business Podcast.

[00:01:38] Mr. Duboc's career is marked by his passion for entrepreneurship, his ingenuity, and corporate and community leadership. He is president and CEO of Elkland Capital Inc., a family-owned investment firm with a current portfolio covering a wide range of industries, including, but not limited to health sciences, clean energy, marketing services, and technology. Mr. Duboc is also the chair and CEO of MindBeacon, behavioral health companies that deliver evidence-based therapy through clinics and a digital platform. As a co-founder, Sam successfully built EdgeStone Capital Partners, one of Canada's leading private equity firms, which has managed in excess of $2 billion for institutional and high net worth investors since inception.

[00:02:30] Prior to this he was a managing director at CIBC Capital Partners and co-founder of the Loyalty Group Inc. now called LoyaltyOne, the parent company of the Air Miles Reward Program.

[00:02:44] In 2013, Mr. Duboc served as a Clifford Clark visiting Economist and Special Advisor on Venture Capital for the Department of Finance Canada, leading the team in designing and implementing the Government of Canada's Venture Capital Action Plan. Throughout his career, Sam has served on the boards of numerous companies including but not limited to Business Development Bank of Canada, Porter Aviation Holdings and Stephenson's Rental Services.

[00:03:12] He currently serves on the board of directors of MindBeacon Holdings Inc. and Avanti Logixx Inc.

[00:03:19] A dedicated and active member of the community, Mr. Duboc is a co-founder and former chair of Pathways to Education Canada, an internationally recognized and award-winning nonprofit organization focused on improving the lives of Canada's disadvantaged youth and their communities through educational attainment.

[00:03:39] In addition to his work with Pathways, Sam is the co-founder of LEAP: the Center for Social Impact. Sam is also the former board member of the CAMH Foundation and the Rumi Initiative and a member of the World's President Organization, The Chief Executives Organization, and Ontario's Panel on Economic Growth and Prosperity.

[00:04:01] Sam holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University, magna cum laude, and Tau Beta PI and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2000, Sam was recognized as one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40, and in 2005 was chosen as one of the 10 Most Influential Alumni of the Program.

[00:04:22] Mr. Duboc is a recipient of an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Toronto Chapter. And Ted Anderson Community Leadership award from The Canadian Venture Capital Association.

[00:04:35] Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. We have today, an action-packed episode for you because we have a business owner who's with us and you'll hear him in just a moment who has defied the odds.

[00:04:47] Firstly, anyone defies the odds when you have a successful liquidity event. But to do that again, you're just off the charts and I'm excited to have you learn some of the success strategies and the little-known strategies that help get you from zero to hero.

[00:05:01] So, with that said, Sam, Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast.

[00:05:04] An absolute pleasure to have you here. And Sam, why don't we start with this? There's always a story behind the story. What's your story in terms of what got you to where you are today?

[00:05:15] Sam Duboc: So, listen, first of all, thanks very much for having me. I'm excited to be here. And that generous introduction felt like it was written by my mother. So, appreciate all of that. You know, where I am today and where I've been in the past are different things. I go back to the number of businesses that I've been in and sold, whether it was Air Miles, whether it was EdgeStone, whether it's My Beacon, which we haven't sold, but we have taken public.

[00:05:34] So, it's a little bit of a change in ownership and a dramatic change in how we think about it. There's been a number of things that have gotten me there, but perhaps most interestingly are impactful. I would say to me personally was the story of the EdgeStone transaction and how we got there and what we were doing.

[00:05:50] And interestingly, that story behind the story had probably in fact, for sure more to do with what was going on in each of ours lives and in each of our stages of life, that it was really in the business economics, and the business transaction. The business transaction was a terrific transaction. I'm not minimizing that.

[00:06:08] And for sure, when we sell a business and we sold lots at EdgeStone you have to look at the economics and you have to make sure those things work. But really it was a story behind the story was what each of us were trying to achieve in our lives. And really what everyone was trying to achieve in their own personal lives and how people were going in different things. And we were at different stages, you know, whether it was, our kids were different or whatever else. We all had different things. You know, one of the issues for me quite frankly, was my youngest daughter.

[00:06:35] We're blessed with four children. I remember saying to me she really doesn't remember seeing me much and that came out in a conversation over vacation. And when it really caused me to reflect back on what I was trying to achieve with my life and what I wanted to do, and I've since gone on to work in the government as visiting economist and I've started charities, things like that.

[00:06:55] It came to me that, you know, I was so, maniacally focused that I was absolutely missing the forest for the trees. And so, the story behind the story of that was really focused on that. Fast forward today, I would tell you that I may have missed the forest for the trees when I sold EdgeStone, because what I didn't realize was how much it was part of me and how much, you know, notwithstanding a terrific financial transaction and other things I was achieving is that you know, when you're so, deep into something and you're so, focused on it, sometimes it's hard for you to divorce that deepness and that focus from what's going on.

[00:07:30] So, when people talk to me today about selling your business, you know, when they're trying to achieve this, you know, my first comment is, hey, take six months and think about it. Think about whether or not you're going from one thing to another. What are you running to? Not what you're running from, what are you trying to achieve?

[00:07:45] And what's the portfolio of things and don't minimize other stuff. Now, the reality is I would sell it again. I have a great relationship with my kids and I achieved all of that. I may have done it differently for sure. I think I would have done it differently, you know, my number one thing and in our family is number one by a mile is that it allowed me to, first of all, be financially secure, second of all, to have the time and be able to justify the time and in my own sort of like Type-A personality.

[00:08:15] To spend time with our family and our kids. And I'm blessed because I have a great relationship with my wife of 27 years and our kids. We're all very tight. And I don't think that would have happened had I stayed so, maniacally focused on the business. And so, really the story behind the story, Jeff, in a sense was not a business story.

[00:08:32] It was a personal story.

[00:08:34] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know what Sam, it's so, interesting. And thank you for sharing that. There's a lot to unpack there. A lot of wisdom in regards to what you went through at EdgeStone. Why don't we look at first, the business side, and then I'd like to circle back on the personal side because there are some powerful lessons that you're sharing. For our community, just from a high level can you share with us, Sam, how you got into EdgeStone and what was it that when you look back now at your exit that really stood out for what you were doing that really had you have a successful liquidity event?

[00:09:05] Sam Duboc: We had great partners and there were eight of us, I think that were partners of the business at the time. Gil and I were the senior partners along with Steve and Brian and other partners were there as well.

[00:09:20] And, you know, it was really number one is we fundamentally build a great business and a business that made sense and a business that was well-functioning. And you know, every business has its ups and downs and, you know, and I can improve on anything, but in the end, it was a very good business.

[00:09:39] A good market, a growing market, and one that we had positioned well to sell. And secondly, you know, as we've looked back on it, what we did is we made sure you know, we had a saying an EdgeStone is when we had a portfolio company is you raise money when you can, and to sell when you can, you don't raise money when you want to.

[00:09:55] And you don't sell when you want to necessarily, because those things frequently don't overlap. You know when you're on a wave and the tide is in, you need to take advantage of the tide. And I think that's one thing, business owners in my experience, I talked to a lot of them don't really think about, they don't think about what is it looks like today versus tomorrow versus the others?

[00:10:13] You know, if you sell a business and you're in a high, multiple part of the market cycle and you decide you don't want to sell it. And then two years later, you want to sell, when you're in a low, multiple part of the business cycle, you know, you can't make up for in earnings you can't make up for a multiple, it goes from 8, 10, 12 to 4, 4, 6.

[00:10:33] You simply can't make up for that in earnings. And so, you know, what put us in the position was, is we got ourselves in a great business. We knew what was going on. And we also knew that we were in a market cycle that would allow us to realize we won. And importantly, we didn't sell the whole business.

[00:10:47] We maintained a strong part of it. We thought it through and we're ready when the market was ready.

[00:10:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: Now what's interesting Sam with that is you started off by saying there were eight partners. And I know for many business owners just having one partner can sometimes be a challenge and you hear all these horror stories, but you had with yourself and seven others, eight in total. What was that secret sauce on the partner side, in terms of how did you know someone would make a good partner for you?

[00:11:13] And what were some of the things that you all had to do to make that partnership work?

[00:11:17] Sam Duboc: So, we had clearly defined roles. You know, my role was X, Steve's role was Y, Gil's role was Z, you know, Brian ran our venture funds, et cetera. We had clearly defined roles. I was CEO of the business you know, Gil was Chief Investment Officer. We also had, you know, different levels perhaps of partners you might say, but we all tried to work together in a very much of a consensus.

[00:11:39] Number one and number two is, you know we always talked about our failures and our successes. We didn't have your failures and your successes, you know, but my role was no different than, you know, frankly the person that was at our front desk. And in fact, I tell the story often is that whenever we'd see a new company to invest in, we would go talk to, it happened to be a woman.

[00:11:57] So, we go talk to her and we'd say, Hey, what do you think about these people? And she essentially had a soft veto because we knew if someone was going to treat the person that welcomed them into our business and our offices poorly, we didn't want to be partnered. We didn't want to be investors in their business.

[00:12:12] We don't want to be partners with them. So, it was very much of self-respect and mutual respect that we had going on and it was really radical candor and for some admittedly too much candor, but it was radical candor so, that people knew what they're talking about, never personal, never personal, but people were not only permitted, they were encouraged, strongly encouraged to speak their minds. I'm proud to say at the time, you know, I think three of the eight were women and diversity was something we took very seriously back in the mid-two thousands and cause it gives better answers. I think that kind of thing was really helpful in making it work.

[00:12:45] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, it sounds like culture was key for you. You had a culture of transparency and not personal, but just talking about performance, what's working, what's not working, what, the change and that culture was really front and center for you, your partners, and the entire team. How was it Sam that you created a culture, which sounds like it was just thriving and rich in just having that kind of supportive environment?

[00:13:08] Sam Duboc: You know, I look back on it and it was a good culture for us. But you know, you've been in businesses, you know nothing's ever perfect. It didn't work for everyone our very open and transparent culture. And we just tried to live it.

[00:13:18] And we tried to tweak it and change it as we needed to change it. And people that liked it were long-term with us and people that didn't like that kind of thing moved on to extraordinary successful. In fact, one of the things I'm absolutely most proud of somebody asked me today.

[00:13:30] What's one thing I'm most proud of is the EdgeStone diaspora is senior across a number of businesses now. We had just wonderful people who came and went for their own reasons and super wonderful people and super successful. And many of them are running big businesses today at big investment places.

[00:13:47] So, we're very proud of that. And certainly, I'm very proud of that as one of the founders

[00:13:51] Jeffrey Feldberg: Much to be proud of. And you know, it really says something about a company and a culture where really people self-select the company. And hey, here we are. Here's who we are. If this works for you. Terrific. And if this doesn't work for you, we support you, best of success elsewhere. Go find your success where it's going to work for you.

[00:14:07] And there's a lot to be said for that. And so, I'm wondering now from business owners. It's really, when you look at a liquidity event, what we find at Deep Wealth with our nine-step roadmap and we're helping business owners go through the process that a successful liquidity event is more on the art side of things.

[00:14:23] You know, it's not a complicated formula in some spreadsheet that's really telling you the answer of how to get that out there. And I want to circle back now on your mindset on the personal side. Because you've been very open and, you know, thank you for that. And you shared how, at one point you realize that you were the business, the business was you. You were so, into just achieving and that type A personality that you shared and just getting to the top of the mountain, but you took a step aside and you said, you know, what do I want to continue doing this?

[00:14:53] And is this for me? And for a lot of business owners, that's a real challenge and sometimes the lines get blurred. Was there something over the years or a turning point for you that had you take a step back and say, okay, now's the time let's look at having a liquidity event?

[00:15:11] Sam Duboc: Oh, I wanted to keep doing it. I just want to do it in a slightly different way. As part of a bigger organization. I was very excited. The people that we exited to I thought absolutely it would be a wonderful marriage and we could keep going. But having the support of a bigger organization. And that really was one of the key aspects of it.

[00:15:27] And as part of the bigger organization would allow us to build our staff and it would allow us to build people underneath us a little bit more, that would then permit those of us that were 90, 100 hours a week in the business to maybe be 60 or 70. And that's what we were trying to achieve.

[00:15:40] And that's why we sold it to a company and we all stayed with it. In fact, I'm still tangentially with it today, Gil and Steve are still with it as we bought it back in 2012. So, we never left it and we didn't want to leave it. What we were trying to do was to create as part of a bigger business to try and satisfy our personal needs, but also try and satisfy the business needs.

[00:15:58] One of the key businesses in private equity investing is sourcing. And we were convinced that by aligning with the company that we aligned with that, that sourcing network would be terrific. They were absolutely helpful in that. And you know, we went into it that way.

[00:16:10] Now, of course, in the intervening years, 2008, 2009, 2010 happened. You know, no one could predict that much, like people that did things in late 2019 couldn't predict COVID by any stretch. So, what I would say is the personal side, it was both personal and business. Our business, Jeff was about people.

[00:16:27] We were a people business. Our assets rode the elevators and every day in those days, and today you don't ride the elevator, but our assets showed up for work every day. And so, it was important that we took into account what worked for us and what didn't work for us. You know, we weren't going to go sell, lock, stock and barrel and walkaway.

[00:16:44] That wasn't us. That's not what we wanted to do, but you know, we had to think about what was important, not only for the business but how it overlapped with us. And I would say for people that perhaps own their own businesses. And, you know, as we look at the MindBeacon story, you know and we have great investors in MindBeacon, both now in the public and the private, we had great investors as well.

[00:17:03] You got to work. See what works for everybody and where they're at. You know, a classic instance in private equity, for example, as you have issues with funds, timing out, LPs wanting the return of their funds. Well, that impacts what you do in the private equity business. And you have to take that into account.

[00:17:19] You know, my single biggest message on business owners is you got to do you, but when you do you, you got to make sure you think about you today and you in five years.

[00:17:29] And I don't think people think the five-year thing very often.

[00:17:33] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's wise advice. And for our listeners out there, I hope you're listening carefully because you know, all too often a business owner, when it comes time for a liquidity event, to your point earlier, Sam, they either missed that window, whereas the opportune time to do that. But when they do that, they never really thought about life afterward.

[00:17:51] And what do you do? Because the business was really everything. And that can be a bit of a tough adjustment, but let me ask you something. Being in private equity, you were on both sides of the table. You're buying, you're selling, I'm sure you saw many business opportunities and some were attractive that you move forward with and others simply weren't.

[00:18:08] So, for our business owners that are listening out there. As they think about their business and they're looking to grow it to scale it. And perhaps at one point, look to lock in their financial future and have some kind of an exit or liquidity event. What were some of the characteristics or traits of the businesses that you invested in that you would recommend for our audience to follow in terms of building a terrific company?

[00:18:35] Sam Duboc: So, what we look for is we look for a company that had great business fundamentals that were not reliant completely or majorly reliant on an individual. People change, bad stuff happens. People get sick. People get hit by cars. People have family situations that go awry. What we really looked for is businesses where great management was super nice and super important to have, but the business fundamentals could run it. I think Buffett once said you have to structure. I'll paraphrase it, you want to be in a business that even a moron will run because someday one will. I think, and that's, he didn't use the word moron.

[00:19:09] He used a different word but I think that's number one we looked for and Gil was really good at that. My partner was I think the best private investor in the country. Really good at understanding the business fundamentals. And then we'd look for people who we're looking to achieve what we wanted to achieve.

[00:19:23] You know, too often business owners go and sell it and listen. It's hard once you sell your business to stay as motivated and involved, we saw time and time again at EdgeStone, and I've lived it personally. Like it's, sometimes it's hard because it's not yours any longer. And so, that can be really hard on people until you've got to find people that are in the same frame of mind.

[00:19:42] And you know, this concept of I sell my business and walk away. If that's your concept, then you have to prepare the business to be super successful without you, because the next owner will want a business that's super successful without you. If you don't prepare your business ahead of time, this is why, you know, I think if you're considered selling, I think you have to start years before and really think about how you want to position your business and what people will buy.

[00:20:08] If that's what you want to do and what you want to achieve in your life. You know I was never a big at that. And I've learned that the hard way and, in a while, on time ago is that if you don't think through it and think about what you're trying to achieve over the long run, you won't be prepared for when the opportunity presents itself.

[00:20:23] So, number one is, you know, and this is where I think, you guys can be so, helpful to business owners that are stuck is you don't bring someone on or don't get advice right before you're going to sell. Start thinking about it well in advance. So, you can position your business to be ready when the buyer is ready.

[00:20:40] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know what, for our audience, this is absolute pure gold in terms of what you're hearing. And you're hearing it from a very successful business person in private equity, as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, all rolled into one. And that really is that preparation ahead of time of preparing your company to run without you.

[00:21:00] So, in other words, you could take a six-month vacation, not check-in, but you have such a terrific management team that the business is just humming along. Because what you just heard Sam say is really thinking like your future buyer or your future investor. It's what they want, not what you want.

[00:21:16] And all too often as business owners it's selfish of us to not think of the buyer's point of view and to just think of it from the seller's point of view. So, Sam, some terrific insights there, but let's flip that question now. So, you shared terrific business fundamentals and business running without the owner or the founders. On the flip side, what would be some dead giveaways of, hey, this business is not for us. We're just going to keep on looking at other opportunities?

[00:21:43] Sam Duboc: When you see an owner-operator, that is a hundred percent focus, that when you talk to the customers, it's all about the relationship they have with that potential person or that potential person has a specific skill set. I think you got to be really careful on what you are doing. And so, you've got to make sure that the business again, can survive without them.

[00:22:01] Number one, number two is businesses grow or decline. They don't really hold still because eventually holding still businesses will be overtaken by something else. So, we always look for things that were growing. The third thing, which I'll flip it a little bit on its head is if it wasn't that, then we had to look at something where we thought this is just materially messed up.

[00:22:21] Like we did buy a business where the owner was basically out of it and had with almost no oversight what we thought was maybe lacking management teams. So, again, great fundamentals of business, bad management that always struck us as great fundamentals and great management.

[00:22:38] If it's growing, it's even better. Decent business with great management that's not growing that fast. It just goes to show you maybe they've hit their peak.

[00:22:45] Jeffrey Feldberg: Interesting. And so, on the flip side, and this is what I find from most business owners who have had some kind of successful exit, it's the post-exit life. Life after the liquidity event, that is the biggest challenge for them and the happily ever after that so, many business owners hope for and dream about and think of when they actually get there, it isn't there and it can be quite a challenging time.

[00:23:08] It sounds like your journey was a little bit different, and I'm wondering if you can share with our community, if you're preparing for a liquidity event and as you know, at Deep Wealth, we're big proponents of preparing years in advance. You've put the time in, it's been years that you've been preparing while you're preparing for the liquidity event for your business, what would you suggest that someone can do to prepare for him or herself for life after the business if they're not going to be staying on to optimize a life of happiness?

[00:23:35] Sam Duboc: You know, when I figure it out for myself, I'll let you know. It's tough. You know, I have been a member for years of YPO and they run literally seminars, days and days of seminars for business owners about preparing for life after, or how to deal with your life. You know, Jeff to be honest with you, I know very few business owners that did a good job at preparing themselves.

[00:23:54] That's not what we're about. We're entrepreneurs, we are about their business. Everything's our business. And got to prepare and got to do that. I think of it in the constructs of business, family, personal and everyone over-indexes on the business has either a very tolerant or a rough family.

[00:24:08] Big entrepreneurs and then under index on the personal, and that's just a bad combination. And that's really, as I was talking to earlier, you know, my realization, I was really under indexing on the family. I then focused on that I didn't spend enough time on the personal. And I would tell you a hard, good learning of mine is, you know, how do you prepare for life when you know, If you're maniacal in your business, and I was Type-A. Hundred percent is you sometimes lose the personal identity from the business identity.

[00:24:37] And when that ends, as you point out, that's very tough on a lot of people. In fact, my experience is most people.

[00:24:43] Jeffrey Feldberg: I am with you. And I put myself in that club. I don't know if it's a club that you and I would have chosen necessarily, but I know after my exit some of the most challenging and difficult times came after the exit, because you're exactly right Sam, the business was me. I was the business. I had these daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly rituals that I had just become accustomed to.

[00:25:06] And then there's something called a non-compete and then there's something called not being in the business day in, day out. And it's just a very different life. And certainly, looking back for myself, it would be looking to while running the business as hard as it would be to begin to make the time and find the time for other activities that would lead to fulfillment and would be a runway to latch onto after the liquidity event.

[00:25:30] Sam Duboc: And you know, the common wisdom on that. I'm so, in agreement with the common wisdom on that is take your time after you sell your business and allow space and time to adjust. And by the way, the common wisdom is common cause it's right. It's absolutely right. But for an entrepreneur who wakes up Tuesday morning with a blank calendar, it's awfully tough to do that in the moment. This is when you get in theory and reality the same, in reality, they sell tomorrow.

[00:25:57] You know, this is where the theory of, oh my God, I'm going to have Tuesday free. And the reality of having Tuesday free are very different but super important, it's not unlike, it's a loss. You have to go through the grieving or the adjustment process to get there. And I think one of the things that I hope I'm better at now than I'm older because I'm much, much older than a lot of your people listening is it's okay.

[00:26:21] It's okay to feel these things and it's okay to feel a little bit lost and it's okay to be looking for stuff to do. And it's okay to actually just read a book on a Tuesday afternoon, but you got to allow that process to happen. Now, some people sell their businesses and say, listen, I've got a year.

[00:26:38] My non-compete will be off and I'm going back into that business. That's a great plan, especially if you're younger, you know if that's your plan great. And I would urge you to try and construct a plan, but a message for the audience is it's okay to be a little loss afterward, because the reality is you are in with the significant majority of people, not the small minority of people.

[00:26:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: I am with your wholeheartedly. You know, it's interesting when we walk our business owners through the Deep Wealth Experience, which is a 90-day system, the nine-step road map. The very first thing that we do before we even begin, we talk about the ending, life after the liquidity event the post-exit life. And Sam, to your point, one of the takeaways that we urge everyone to think about and to build into their plan.

[00:27:18] Take at least a year, maybe more after the liquidity event. Invest all your money in some kind of boring term deposit or something else. And just rediscover who you are, because you're going to change as a person. Life is going to change. You're going to find new aspects of yourself and slowly begin to acclimate yourself back into the new life, whatever that looks like, wherever that takes you. So, I'm absolutely with you on that. Of course, I never did that and it's learning from the trenches on that one and the mistakes that we make, but it's something looking back that I certainly would have done knowing what I know today.

[00:27:51] So, it's some terrific advice that you're sharing out there.

[00:27:54] Sam Duboc: You know what Jeff, you said so, well, you got to do you. You got to do what works for you, but there are some commonalities across this. And one of them is the one you just said, and that is don't, you know, I say don't for me, my natural twitch was to rush into the next thing. It's the wrong twitch for me. But if someone else's for them might work.

[00:28:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: Exactly, be uniquely you, there's only one of you. Play to your strengths and whatever works for you works for you. I happen to be similar to yourself. I rushed into something right away, not the best decision, paid the price on that one. And many lessons learned. But let me ask you something, Sam.

[00:28:29] So, earlier you're talking about business, family, personal, and there's this notion out there that yes, you can have a balanced life and all those three areas and life is great. I never found it myself. I'd love your take on that. And how did you deal with that and how are you dealing with those three areas in terms of some kind of a balance or what works for you?

[00:28:48] Sam Duboc: It's the rare entrepreneur I think that can have a balanced life and succeed. My experience, I've not seen very many people that I would say have a balanced life in any one moment.

[00:28:57] For me, it was, you know, emphasizing, still staying very involved in, heavy in the business, which we were after our exit, but emphasizing family a little bit more. That for me was to try and create a little bit more of a balance, but this I would say that you can have a work-life balance that is perfect. When you look back on your life as a whole, I hope we all achieve some of that. If you look at any particular slice in time, it's not the way it works. My experience is there are times, that you know, they're just like there's times to snow ski there are times to water-ski.

[00:29:29] I don't want to sound like a song, but there are seasons of your life, and focus on what's important when you need it. The kids were there for 18 years and you know, they typically don't want to hang out with you a lot when they're 13, 14, and 15 at night.

[00:29:41] But you know, they're important times and it's a short period of time when you get to spend time with your kids. And I got lucky because I got to do that.

[00:29:48] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sam so, well said, and for listeners, Sam's life strategy is the right strategy. And really, it's like, you're saying Sam, in your experience, in my experience, I'm right with you. It's more of a blended life, and the seasons for different parts of your life, different times, you're going to be spending more time in one area than the other, but you all make that work.

[00:30:06] And speaking of making that work, Sam. You along the way, knowingly, unknowingly knowing you, I suspect it was very much knowingly. You found the secret sauce of Sam in business because you've had success after success and not to downplay any of the challenges that you would have had, and that you've worked through.

[00:30:25] When you look at the different successes, just from a macro level now, a very big picture. Are there certain best practices or strategies that you applied from one business to the next that were working for you time and time again, that you can share and recommend with our audience?

[00:30:40] Sam Duboc: First of all, you've been very generous for talking about my successes. We're not talking about my numerous failures. So, you've been very kind to that. I'm not sure I agree with what you said, but I think there are two things certainly that have worked for me.

[00:30:50] I can only speak what's worked for me. And again, you got to do you. Number one is, and it gets your work-life balance. What I'm in something, no one works harder. Maybe a couple of people work harder, but not a lot. I make my point to just work harder than others. And I think that creates opportunity. You see more, you do stuff. If you're in it, you're in it to win it.

[00:31:12] And you've got to go. Second thing is, there's an interesting study that I just recently read, I don't know when it was done, to be honest. Where they took a hundred lucky people who consider themselves lucky enough and a hundred people consider themselves unlucky and they did a whole bunch of experiments on them.

[00:31:24] And one of them was they would walk, unlucky and lucky people down the street. And there'd be a $20 bill on the street. The lucky people over 85% picked it up the unlucky under 20% picked it up. They repeated this a number of times. And one of the conclusions of the authors was that the difference between lucky and unlucky is that people kept their heads up and were open to new opportunities.

[00:31:41] And one of the things I've been fortunate to do is to keep my head up and see opportunities very little of what I've done in life has been you suggest plan knowingly. I think the more important thing is to keep your head up. Keep your head up for opportunities. That doesn't mean run to the next one.

[00:31:55] It doesn't mean, you know, whatever, but keep your head up. And the third I said there were two there actually three is that if you look at people in my business and I keep in touch with a lot of them lightly in touch, I should say is the people that I think by and large have been most successful in life are the ones that stuck it through the downtimes.

[00:32:11] That's stood with stuff during the troughs. So, they were there to witness the peaks. They weren't trying to jump from peak to peak. What they were doing is they would stay with it longer. So, stick with it is critical.

[00:32:23] Jeffrey Feldberg: Love it be in it to win it was the first one that you were sharing of just working hard. And if you're there and that's what you're doing. Keeping your head up for new opportunities to see what’s there. And I would also add to that perhaps it's even a mindset. And this is just my interpretation of the study that you're talking about.

[00:32:41] I'm not surprised that the people who thought themselves lucky found the $20 bill on the floor. I'm a big believer that mindset, the thoughts that we think our inner thoughts create our outer world and we can leave it at that. That's a whole other discussion, be open to opportunities and then just the grit and the tenacity of hey, go through those tough times. It's those tough times that really shape you to welcome your future success that perhaps we're not ready for, because we have to go through this tough ordeal to figure things out, become a better person, a better leader, and then move on to bigger things. So, some terrific insights there, and some lessons learned, and some strategies for our audiences.

[00:33:18] So, Sam, let me ask you this. The pandemic with the coronavirus took the world by storm. And just when we think we're turning a corner, we seem to find ourselves back in it, from a business side of things. What are you seeing in terms of the days ahead for us? Any insights and suggestions of how this has changed the business landscape and what we should be thinking about on a go-forward basis?

[00:33:41] Sam Duboc: Yeah, there's nothing new. I think that I would have to offer in what is a crowded field of opinion on what the world looks like. So, nothing new, the only caveat I have on whatever went and talks about the new world, I've now listened to the new world speech about four different times in my life.

[00:33:59] I go back to when people were raising money in 2000 and they were valuing their companies on millions of dollars per PowerPoint slide deck. I literally had somebody value their company that way.

[00:34:08] You know, I think there are new technologies. Just look what we're doing now. You and I have to be on video, but I know this is an audio podcast. It is clearly changes everything and changes a lot of stuff, but it's going to go back, but the fundamentals of building a great business, building trust with your clients.

[00:34:23] Making it so, that people want to do business with you delivering real return on investment and value for those people. Being someone, they can trust. You know, my partner, Brian Kurban calls it the pastoral passion experience, speed smarts, and trust. Those qualities are qualities that will live long beyond in-person meetings or Skype, zoom meetings, or conference calls, or even someday when we get to telepathic meetings, those values will live beyond the how, the what is important.

[00:34:55] Jeffrey Feldberg: Very interesting. We're back to almost where we started and that’s fundamentals. Just the fundamentals are the fundamentals, regardless of what's coming through or what's going to be, or what hasn't happened yet. They're going to be the ones that we're going to stay with and continue to rely on. So, it's interesting Sam, as we begin to wrap up the episode, I have my favorite question that I ask every guest.

[00:35:14] And the question is this. When you think of the movie Back To The Future, there's the magical DeLorean car, which can take you to any point in time. And so, Sam imagine now is tomorrow morning, you look out your window, the DeLorean car is there. The door is open, welcoming you to come on into the car and you can go back to any point in your life.

[00:35:35] Maybe it's Sam as a young child or an adolescent, teenager. Whenever what would you be telling your younger self in terms of life lessons, wisdom, do this, don't do that? What would be some of your wisdom that you'd be sharing with your younger self?

[00:35:52] Sam Duboc: So, it's interesting. I thought you were heading down a path where you'd say when would you go back? Where would you go in your life? And my answer was I'd shut the door and go play golf. I wouldn't go back. Always forward. Because anything you change in the past would have ramifications.

[00:36:06] I was married once before and people say that was a mistake you would do it again. No, absolutely would do it again because if I hadn't done that, I would not have been in a position to meet my current wife. I wouldn't change anything, honestly, even though I've made huge mistakes and like all of us you know, unfortunately, I've had disagreements with people we wish we hadn't had and all that kind of stuff, but that's just part of life.

[00:36:24] What I would say, and we try and say it to our kids is, and I hate to make it so, colloquial, but you got to do you. Yeah, this is not my life. It's your life. It's not my business. It's your business. I can only share with you experiences I had, which of course are colored and impacted by my own history, my own feelings of the past.

[00:36:44] Everything I've gone through, which you didn't go through. You know what I would do and what you would do is what I would do in someone's situation is irrelevant. You know, we said our kids, listen, you've got to be honest and open. You got to be honest with yourself. You're not going to be happy and you're not going to fulfill yourself if you're not honest with yourself.

[00:36:58] If you're trying to go into a job, just because you think this is what mother and I want you to do or whatever else, no, you go into where you can do it and where you think you'd be happy. And ultimately, I think Jim Collins actually came up with a very interesting paradigm where you'll be successful in the intersection of what you're really good at, what brings you the reward you want, and what you love to do? And that's where those three circles overlap is where you'll find success in your definition. Because my definition, for instance, the intrinsic reward, my definition of that reward is not yours. So, really understanding what your reward is.

[00:37:33] This gets back to what you guys do in your practice, and that is starting with, what do you want out of it to the entrepreneur? What are you trying to achieve? What's your intrinsic reward. And I think that's such an important part of your nine-step process that I think it needs to be emphasized.

[00:37:48] Like it's just super important.

[00:37:50] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, Sam, on both parts. And I just love what you said to me. The first part is, hey, my shining moments, my not-so, great moments that really made me who I am. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for that. And I accept that as painful as some of those things may be, and I embrace that and I'm just moving forward.

[00:38:06] And that in and of itself, I think is a terrific life lesson, but you gave us some added value and you didn't stop there. And you said just be you. And I couldn't agree more with you. I think that is such wise advice. And I said it in a different way, we're really coming from the same place. I've always felt that each of us has our own gift to take to the world.

[00:38:26] And it's up to us, number one, to find that gift and then to bring it out to the world and deliver that value and do what we're supposed to do for being here in the first place. And I think your insights and your vulnerability and being open have just been terrific. And on that note, I really want to thank you for coming onto the podcast.

[00:38:45] If listeners want to reach you, or if they have questions, is there a good place online that they can find you.

[00:38:50] Sam Duboc: I'm on my LinkedIn. You can email me on LinkedIn. My work email address is sam[dot]duboc[at]

[00:38:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. And for listeners, we'll make it really easy for you. We'll put in our show notes, all the links. So, you can just point and click and save a little bit of time with that. Well, Sam, as we wrap up the interview, thank you so, much for taking part of your time today to be with us on The Sell My Business Podcast.

[00:39:10] And as always wishing that you say healthy and safe.

[00:39:13] Sam Duboc: And thank you for having me and to you and your listeners. The same. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Take care.

[00:39:18] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

[00:39:21] 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.

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[00:39:36] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

[00:39:42] 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.

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[00:41:48] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

[00:41:50] Please visit to learn more.

[00:41:56] If you're not on my email list, you'll want to be. Sign up at And if you enjoyed this episode of the Sell My Business podcast, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Reviews help me reach new listeners, grow the show and continue to create content that you'll enjoy.

[00:42:20] 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.

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Successful Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, And Philanthropist Sam Duboc Reveals Proven Strategies For Creating Massive Success