Transcript of Efficiencies Expert Jason Helfenbaum On How To Increase Your ROI Through Training And Efficiencies
Tim Fischell On Inventing The Future And Welcoming Success

[00:00:00] 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. 

[00:01:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: Dr. Tim Fischell is professor of medicine at Michigan State University and Medical Director of the Department of Cardiovascular Research, as well as Director of the Interventional Cardiology fellowship program at the Borgess Heart Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has an active practice as an interventional cardiologist at the Borgess Heart Institute in Kalamazoo.

After receiving his medical degree from Cornell University Medical Center, Dr. Fischell completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard University, and then completed his cardiology fellowship and interventional cardiology fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center.

He was on the faculty at Stanford for five years, and then director of the cardiac cath labs and interventional cardiology at Vanderbilt University from 1992 to 1996. Dr. Fischell is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine, and interventional cardiology. Dr. Fischell is an active inventor with more than 100 issued US patents.

He has served as principal investigator for five National Institutes of Health grants, as well as several other research grants. Dr. Fischell has research interests in vascular biology, interventional cardiology devices, such as stents, and renal denervation, and has presented more than 200 papers in the United States and abroad. A member of the editorial board, of Cardiovascular Revascularization Medicine, Journal of Invasive Cardiology, and the Journal of Interventional Carademydiology.

Dr. Fischell has authored more than 120 papers. He is a founder and a CMO of Ablative Solutions and CEO and Co-founder of CrossLiner Inc. And is a serial entrepreneur and founder of eight other medical device companies.

He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Thorax Center Andrius Gruntzig Award for the inventor of the year in 1997, the CRT 2015 Innovation Award, and is a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors.

Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. And for our listeners out there, I have a question for you. Have you ever heard of the saying that when your work is play and your play is work, that's really ideal, that's how you optimize your life for happiness?

But how many times have we heard that? And we say well, doesn't happen. Or it's only in the movies or can't be true? Well, I have great news for you. It's absolutely true because the guest I have for us today, that's exactly what's been happening and Tim has an incredible journey and track record of success, but also passion and changing lives and making a difference.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Tim, Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. You know, Tim, there's always a story behind the story. And I'm wondering what got you to where you are today?

[00:04:48] Tim Fischell: Thank you, Jeff. And thanks for the invitation. I'm glad to join. You know, there's sort of two sub-stories of my story. So, first of all, I'm an Interventional Cardiologist by training. And that's some of the best training that I could ever hope for at great institutions like Cornell and Harvard and Stanford.

And that sort of set my medical career on path. And I'll come back to that maybe in a second about how I chose to do what I do as a doctor. But I think the other more intriguing part of my path actually relates to my entrepreneurial interests, which really go directly back to my father, Robert Fischell who's you know, my inspiration as an inventor.

He is a physicist engineer. He's received the Presidential Medal of Honor for Science and Technology, a very accomplished fellow on the Ted Award, Woodrow Wilson Award, da da da. My father is very accomplished. As an engineer and physicist invented things like the first satellite-based navigation system for the US Navy.

Gravity stabilization for satellites. And then he got into biomedical, invented the rechargeable pacemaker, and with Al Mann founded Pacesetter, which became what is now Siemens, a rhythm management group. Yeah, he and I joined together after I joined cardiology and became a cardiologist to work on stents and atherectomy.

We invented brachytherapy or radioactive treatment, and a radioactive spent founded a company ISIS. Which we eventually sold to Johnson and Johnson, and then designed the stents for Johnson and Johnson becoming the world's first drug-eluting stent, which is the Cypher Stent. He did a variety of other things, including closed-loop brain stimulation to treat seizures, which is now a publicly-traded company called Neuro Pace.

And a variety of other things. But I would say my father got me into this concept of invention and taking problems and solving them and creating new technology. So, I'm inspired by my father is sort of the path to that. We're still fortunate to have him around he's 92, you know he's less active in his profession, but still doing pretty well.

[00:06:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow, Tim that's quite the amazing story. And what's really interesting about that is you've taken your passion and that's helping people and through the medicine and becoming a doctor and going through some of the top educational institutions along the way that we have, and you didn't stop there.

You kept moving that forward. But I'm curious when you look back to growing up as a young child and with your father and you look to your father, who's doing some incredible things out there that has really made a difference. What do you think worked for your father that was impressed upon you that you've now taken forward to continue that legacy?

[00:07:26] Tim Fischell: I think my father, you know he had this ability to hear a problem. And visualize an answer or a solution. Actually, probably one of the most famous stories that I like to tell, which was presented when he received the Woodrow Wilson Award, they put a drawing that he put up when he worked with the Naval Ordinance Lab in Silver Spring, Maryland, which where I grew up, across the street, it's now the NIH. And he was a physicist there working on with the Navy. He was walking across the lawns one day, probably looking at a slide rule. Again, he was such a nerd and he tripped over one of those sprinklers that pop up, you know those metal things that stick up and sprinkle.

And he looked at it, he goes, and he went home and drew Rainbird pop-ups sprinkler heads. He never did anything with that. That was 15 years before Rainbird. He invented hydraulic topping up sprinkler heads. I'm giving you a sense of the way his mind works. He sees a problem. He trips over a sprinkler and invents a solution.

So, that's sort of the mindset that I go into work every day is looking to see where there are issues, problems, things we could do better technologically to improve the care of patients for example.

[00:08:45] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so, what's interesting with that really at the heart of being an entrepreneur, in this case, you're in the medical profession, you're a doctor, but at the heart of it, you're finding a painful problem that's affecting people, you're passionate to solve it. You come up with a solution and then you go ahead and you take that to market. But for a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs, Tim, you have a gap. And your father was busy doing other things. So, we'll let him off on the sprinkler solution that he never brought to market.

That would have another huge success. He was working on, you know other huge and instrumental kinds of projects. So, he's off the hook on that one, but for most business owners, you have that gap, they identify the problem, even come up with the solution and then nothing happens. You've avoided that.

Or maybe there've been times where you've gone through that but having said that you come up with a solution you've taken it to market. You've been successful. What's made the difference for you that ensures that you actually crossed the finish line and you achieve your objectives and your goals?

[00:09:46] Tim Fischell: No, that's a great question. So, you're right and I give lectures about innovation and entrepreneurism you know, WMed and Western Michigan, and Michigan State and other places. And the connection has to be, you see a problem. You don't stop until you realize or create some solution to it. And of course, you then have to say that is a significant problem.

This is a really good solution. And now I'm going to take it to the next level. So, it's the now I'm going to actually make this happen. That's actually the hard part. Sometimes the idea or the solution can be relatively easy, but how do you translate the idea into reality? And that's where I think people get tripped up.

 Doctors, in particular, they may have a really good idea. They come to me, they go, you know, Tim, I have this idea how do I make this happen? And so, you need to begin to create an infrastructure of connectivity. For me, for example, a lot of the things I've done in the last 10 or 15 years, I'm connected with an engineering company out in California.

So, when I have these ideas, I can take this. I can create without too much funding. I can create prototypes of the concept and hold it in my hand, show it to other people and then take it to the next level. Is this really a good solution? Yes, or no? If you say, wow, that's pretty cool. I think we could build this.

We could build it better. We can make this work and then you have to begin to have the infrastructure and the wherewithal and the connectivity to then know what are the next steps. So, a lot of it has to do with raising money to be fair. And that's the place that a lot of people get tripped up.

Even if they have the infrastructure to create a prototype, how do you then build a company around it? So, you have to have legal help to create the corporation. You have to be able to create domains and have connections into the media. You have to have connections to funding, whether that's angel networks or venture networks et cetera.

So, you need to have a network, people who can build it, people who can fund it, people who can do the quality controls, people who can do the regulatory work in the case of medical devices, for example. So, that gives you an idea of how you have to think about moving these things forward.

[00:12:07] Jeffrey Feldberg: Love it. And for our audience, this isn't just theory that Tim is talking about. And as you heard in the intro, Tim has over a hundred patents that he's done. And so, he knows a thing or two about this, but Tim what is fascinating to me is really when you think about it, you're heavily involved in startups and you'll take a project from the beginning and you'll take it through to the end.

And maybe it's not so, much of a startup at that point, but then you begin that process again. And so, whether you're a startup, whether you're an established business, the one thing that they all have in common is you have to have some best practices, some strategies that are going to help you grow and enter new marketplaces and make sure that you're profitable.

And Tim, I'm wondering when you look at your startup life over the many different ventures that you've done. Some have probably worked better than others. When you think about that, are there two or three strategies or best practices that stand out for you more than others that you continue to do again and again?

[00:13:01] Tim Fischell: Well, I think, you know, again in the medical field, but this applies to others. So, one practice which is harder to do these days is the creation of the technology. Maybe it's not taking it all the way to the finish line. But then working with a major strategic company, a big company, you basically sell the asset perhaps in a licensing deal.

So, we've done some of that and you basically have someone else actually manufacture it. And maybe that's usually say a royalty deal and maybe you get some money upfront for the acquisition of the property, the licensing of the patents, and maybe there's a royalty on the end of it.

 So, that's one strategy that, you know, actually we've done very successfully for two or three projects. The next strategy is to take it to a next level where you actually commercialize the device, you build it, you've got regulatory approval, you commercialize it and you try to build a sales organization to the point where people can see outside, you know in the strategics can see this is a product that has a market.

You've shown it, you built it, you sold it, you passed, you know, de-risked it regulatory. So, it's always about now de-risking for the acquisition. So, you have to prove to the acquirer and this goes for all businesses that you can build it. It's approved. It's gotten through the regulatory pathways. People want to buy it.

There's a market. And this thing is going to grow and then you can trigger perhaps an acquisition if that's what you're looking for. Now, the third model, and we've done that model, by the way, a couple of times probably the best example recently is when I invented what's called Ostial Pro. This is a device, a nitinol device to position stents, coronary stents at the opening of the right corner, or the left-main. And we did that and we were bought by Merit Medical about eight or nine years, ten years ago. So, that's sort of the next-level model. And then, you know there's the full-blown model, which we haven't done very much. 

And it's a harder model where you take that and if you think it's a big enough product, you actually take it to the market. You build the whole infrastructure, sales, marketing. And you say, you know what? We're not going to get what we deserve for this, from an acquisition. We're going to take this into the public market. And today there's quite an IPO appetite interestingly for medical devices, which 10 years ago, that space was totally dead IPO.

And today we look at a company like Shockwave, which does a balloon for the coronaries I use it occasionally which, you know, emit sound waves to break up calcium, really cool invention, they're selling it. They went public and they're losing 25 million a quarter and they have a market cap of $7.3 billion.

I mean, that's sort of an outlier if you will, but it gives you an idea that if you build something that has the potential to have great value there is now even for different markets, the chance to go into the public market.

[00:16:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, Tim, what's interesting is you've outlined three strategies that you've pursued over the years. And one is you create something and you license it to a much larger company who can then take it out. And perhaps you're getting some royalties or you have other financial arrangements. The second one is you're bringing in a strategic buyer and then the third one is doing an IPO.

And so, I'm wondering as you're creating and building a company or a product, what are you looking at that has you say, Hey, I'm going to put this one in a licensing situation, or, you know what, this is really big. This is going to go into the IPO. Are there some kind of performance indicators or some kind of stress tests that you're putting on the different products that they give you a sense of this is the direction that I'm going to go with that?

[00:16:47] Tim Fischell: Yeah, I think you know, different technologies lend themselves better to different strategies. So, you know, a really great example of a licensing play that we did. We built the first metal-reinforced sheet, my father and I to put in leg arteries because they wouldn't kink, non-kinking sheet.

You know, we didn't have a company. We were both working full time in what we were doing. And so, it's a matter of bandwidth. We didn't feel like building a company for a commodity product. But we needed a big sales organization to take this next generation sheet and sell it. We licensed that to AERA, which is now Teleflex.

And they sold, you know, over 15, 18 years of the patent life, they probably sold $200 million worth of this, maybe more of the sheets. And we received royalties, you know, it's a decent deal, not going to retire on that, but it was, you know that's a really classic licensing.

And you take something bigger. One of my biggest things I've been doing the last 10 years is called Ablative Solutions. This is a way to do what's called renal denervation. I invented Chemical Renal Denervation. So, you go in the kidney artery, you deliver 0.6 ML of alcohol to kill the nerves around renal arteries, the kidney arteries, in order to lower blood pressure, say 20 points with a relatively simple, safe 40-minute procedure. That's a big market. Treating high blood pressure in the world, which a third of all adults have high blood pressure. Not that all of them would be a candidate for this. And this is a multi, multi-billion-dollar space. Only player in it right now, Medtronic and possibly Otsuka Pharmaceutical we are the only other company, this is a big deal if it works.

We're in our pivotal trial, this is not something we would license. We're either going to get acquired for a very big number. Or you take this public, like a Shockwave, because this is a multi-billion-dollar upside in sales for this type of technology. So, those are too big to license.

[00:18:49] Jeffrey Feldberg: Tim, that's interesting. And it's actually a nice segue into the next area that I wanted to speak with you about. I mean, you're a serial entrepreneur. You've sold so, many of your inventions, and devices, and companies. And our wheelhouse here at Deep Wealth, it's all about preparing for a liquidity event, whether that's going public, whether that's having a full exit, whether it's a partial exit, you're raising capital to grow.

The one thing in common is the higher your enterprise value the better off you're going to be. And we have our nine-step roadmap that walks business owners. How you do that and how you come out ahead of the game. Versus most business owners, 90% of liquidity events fail and anywhere from 50% to over a hundred percent of the value of the business is left in the buyer's pocket.

So, Tim, this isn't your first rodeo. You've been through this a number of times, sitting across the table from you are really sophisticated buyers, very large companies. They do this all day long. And here you are, you've done this time and time again. What's worked for you to make sure that you're getting the absolute best deal when it comes time to sell some of your companies or the products.

[00:19:56] Tim Fischell: Great question. The more I've been in it, the more I realize you can't come from a position of desperation. So, number one, you have to be confident that without a buyer, you can take your company to the next level. You may be looking for an acquisition.

And actually, my most recent company called CrossLiner is a great example. This is a fabulous new next-generation technology and what's called guide extension. We have built it. We're commercially manufacturing it, we thought we would exit this early because it's really cool. And it's you know, in today's world, they're going, you know, a lot of the big companies want something that's virtually immediately accretive to their bottom line.

And so, if you come early today, you say we're two years away from launching this. I go, yeah, that sounds cool. Okay. I'll come back later. And so, we did we'd come back later. I'm not going to mention the strategic and they go, we really like this. We're going to offer you X and we're sitting here, really?

That's about half of what it's worth today and a quarter of what will be worth a year from now. No, the answer is no, we're going to keep going. We have funding. We're going to raise more money. We're going to take it to the next step until we get to a point, we think it's worth aligns with what you think it's worth.

And so, the more you de-risk the venture meaning closer and closer to selling it, or you want to de-risk it more, go out, create your sales team and sell 30 million of the product in the first 12 months and get all the customers going, oh my God, this is the best. Now the multiple that number they offered you a year ago is now 4X, what they offered.

 Now they're going to offer you 4X. And now you say, okay, now we're getting closer to a deal that makes sense. And then you don't get that. You have to be willing to keep building your salesforce and build up to 60 million a year in sales. Now they either come back to you or you in today's world and med-tech, maybe you even try to go public.

So, you have to call their bluff. They're always going to try to undercut. You as the owner, you're going to try to get it for half of what it's worth. Now, there's a point where half of what it's worth, it's still so, much money and say, okay,

[00:22:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: Love it. And for our listeners, I really hope you're paying attention because Tim was just sharing absolute, not gold, but platinum, as I like to say, in terms of his insights. And Tim, you said you can't have desperation. Another way of saying that is the one who cares the least is the one who wins when it comes to negotiations.

 And you're going in there. Okay. you know, if we do a deal today, great, and if we don't that's okay, too. But the other thing that Tim shared, and this is where most business owners, they just miss it altogether. Tim is not thinking like a business owner. He's not thinking like a seller. He's thinking like a buyer. And multiple times you heard Tim say, how can I de-risk this?

How can I put myself in the buyer's shoes and demonstrate that this is the best thing since sliced bread? And this is why they absolutely have to have it. And if they're not ready today, I'm going to listen to them, not take it personal. I'm going to hear what they're saying. I'll perhaps adjust to what they're doing and I'll keep on growing it until it's at the point where they see it as an all upside, no downside kind of situation.

And then you move into do the deal. And it's a lot of patience and a lot of vision, but you know that's terrific. And it begs the question, Tim, you've done this multiple times. And I don't think I'd be off base and saying, you probably could have retired many years ago, but you haven't. So, what keeps you in the game?

Because you hear both sides of the stories of business owners who get this fabulous offer and they're riding off into the sunset, that's it. You never see them again, but that's not you. Why is that and what keeps you going?

[00:23:48] Tim Fischell: I think it comes back to the very first comment you made in the podcast, which is When you know work is play why would you stop playing? I mean, when you love what you do and you're getting better at every year at some level. It's not about the money and knows it's not always about the money.

Of course, we all want to be successful. And the world uses our success in terms of, you know, whether you have enough money to retire when you're 55 or 60 or whatever it is. For me, success is creating things that can help doctors treat patients better, easier, safer. I get a lot of reward out of doing with my own hand’s procedures and helping people feel better. Save a life.

But when you can amplify that in my space, by putting a tool in the hands of 10,000 interventional cardiologists and amplifying what you've done and to improve patient care. That's more gratifying almost than the individual patient surgery that I might do. Knowing that I have, you know, change things.

So, I think it's the opportunity to change the way medicine is practiced in a positive way for the benefit of the doctors and the patients. That drives me.

[00:25:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's wonderful. And it's a way of paying it forward. It's a way of making a difference at scale and you love what you do. And it goes back to that passion and really you found your gift and you're taking that to the world, time and time again. We should see more of that, but unfortunately, we, don't, it's a unique story and it's wonderful to hear and is one of the reasons why I am really excited to have you on the podcast that you can share with our listeners, how you're doing that, why you're doing that, what they should be thinking about when it comes to their lives.

And so, speaking of that, here's my next question for you. You are busy, you have many responsibilities, different organizations, and you're coming up with these inventions, but you found a way that most business owners just miss the boat on. And that is, you're not getting bogged down. You're not the only guy who's running the company.

You have other people in there who are doing things for you, so, that you can continue to do what you do. What are some of the strategies that you're using? Because this is the one area, as I like to say, if there's one skeleton in the closet that can really bring down the enterprise value or even kill the deal, it's that the business doesn't run without the owner. And most business owners are in that situation.

And unless you tell me otherwise, I'm taking the position that you're not, that's not a skeleton that we're going to find in your closet and the business is running without you. How are you doing that and what does that look like?

[00:26:23] Tim Fischell: That's a great question, Jeff. So, it's all about, you know, it sort of sounds, trite, team building. I cannot do all of this. I mean, CrossLiner', a great example. Starting with an engineering team. I had two or three amazing engineers. I have an MD partner then, you know, we got further along.

I have to bring in a commercial manufacturing team. I have to bring in a regulatory team and I'm handpicking the people out of the regulatory who I think have the most talent. So, there is a thin slice and on-the-job hand selection of who I want to be on the team. And all of this is actually focused on the next step, which is, for example, CrossLiner I think I may have to take this commercial. I've already been recruiting for the last year a fellow who's amazing at launching the sales and marketing teams for medical devices. The timing could work out perfectly. He's going to probably be leaving, selling his company by the end of this year. And then I'm trying to entice him to be the new president, possibly CEO of CrossLiner to run the organization.

So, it's, again, that's going to be the big delegation from me. I've been CEO in the startup phase, and I'm going to delegate to someone who can actually take this commercially. At the same time, I've identified my head of quality out of the regulatory teams. I will hire her full-time. She's already agreed.

I've already lined up my engineering fellow who came out of the engineering group. He's now consulting. He'll come onto my team, full-time. As I moved toward this vision of what this company looks like, I am constantly looking at the landscape for the best talent to create my team.

[00:28:05] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Tim, that really raises some terrific points. And firstly, congratulations that, number one, you have the vision to do that and you have the discipline to do that. All too often, business owners don't want to give that up. I need to be the sun, the moon, the earth, and the stars when it comes to my business and no one can do it better than I can.

And so, I'm not going to have everyone just come in and I'm going to stay in there. But you've recognized, hey, I can't do it. I'm not going to be the best at it. Maybe I don't even want to do it. And you're bringing in the right people. But let's not talk about that today. Let's go back to when you didn't have the success record that you have, you didn't have the reputation that you have today and you didn't have the resources that you have today

How are you achieving that of bringing people into your companies without the capital and the name and the reputation? How did that work? What was your secret sauce back in the day?

[00:28:53] Tim Fischell: Passion, you have to really believe in what you're doing. So, I mean, if you come in and go, you know, I think this could be pretty good. No. We're thinking of making a new restaurant, there's a need for it. If you truly are this is going to be the best restaurant, you know, in Minneapolis or wherever you are.

We're going to change the way food is served, you know, whatever. If you have a vision and a passion, even without a track record, you can attract people who will want to share the vision and the passion. And of course, there's a selfish thing. They want to join a winning team. Everyone wants to be on the winning team.

You have to convince them you're a winner. You're going to create the winning team. They want to be on the winning team. No, you know, it'd be like in the NFL, you got a great coach. One of the reasons that great coach has remained great coaches is the players want to come to play for him because they know he's a winner and they're going to be a winner and winning breeds winning.

[00:29:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, true and it ties into the culture and you have this great idea. You have this passion, you have this vision and that's all fine and good. But if people get there and it's a toxic culture, well guess what? They're not staying. They're going to be off to the next big vision and someone else's idea and off they go.

So, I'm wondering when it comes to culture, what have you seen over the years that you've just repeated time and time again from one venture to the next because it just works and it creates this rich and thriving culture that everybody wants to be a part of and they enjoy working in that environment?

[00:30:27] Tim Fischell: Another great question. And how you build teams. You have to give credit and recognition to the team members when they deserve it. So, a lot of leaders want to take all the credit for everything all the time. That's not a leader. The person who leads the successful team is like, man, you nailed it. You are the best.

I love what you did on that project. I love the way you designed that new tip. You killed it, man. You know you got to give the credit, the positive feedback and conversely, you must find the weakest link in your organization. This is something that people don't like to do, but there are people who you think are good and they come in they're not cutting it and you give them a chance, but you have to communicate that clearly to them, what they need to do to come up to speed, to be on the team.

They fail again. You have to be willing to cut people loose. And we knew that. I fire groups, I fire people. Even our engineering team, there was a fellow who's heading up our organization out of the engineering team. And he just, I mean, and it took me, you know, four or five months to realize just how much he was setting us back and ultimately, and politically correctly, by the way, you move them aside.

And you bring in the talent to replace what you've lost with them and what you need. So, there's always a shuffling of the team to create the winning team.

[00:31:59] Jeffrey Feldberg: Tim, it's so, true with what you're saying, but I want to ask you a question because I know myself as a business owner, as a leader, I've never got used to having to fire somebody. And for me, I find that one of the toughest things that I have to do because it's not just ell on a spreadsheet. We're talking about a person someone's life.

They have a family, they're friends with people in the company. They are a part of the company. And you know, maybe they're not cutting it on the performance side, but there's that human aspect to it. So, from leader to leader, perhaps you can share with me, how do you get over that emotional hump, and for a lot of business owners, it's that emotional hump that have them prolong making that tough decision. Everyone in the company knows it has to be done. They even become resentful that it hasn't been done. And you start getting a very negative cascading effect. So, what's your secret sauce there on, I know I have to do it. I'm going to do it. And you know, just getting over that negativity around that?

[00:32:56] Tim Fischell: Yeah. You know, you have to do it in a very personal communicating way and try to depersonalize the transition. In other words, you're a good person, I really like you, but you know, there are certain things that we need in this company and I just feel like we are not doing what we need done in this role.

I'm happy to support you, as you move on. You don't just say, you're an idiot you're fired. Get out of here, pack your stuff. Security will be escorting you out. You do that and that creates a toxic culture. So, there are ways of letting people go that are kind and gentle or even subtle. The way I got rid of this engineering team is I sort of just moved all the job description to the manufacturing group, to another independent consultant, to the point where there was nothing left for him to do. And he realized, okay, I'll do other projects now, I guess. You know, so, their way of doing it suddenly where you don't hurt anyone.

[00:33:53] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's being smart. It's being insightful. It's being caring in what's otherwise a challenging situation. And so, I'm wondering when you've built the teams and what's interesting is I'll use a sports analogy. Once the team's in place. You're not just saying, okay, teams in place. My job is done. Everyone's going to go do their thing.

You're always what some people will call top grading, taking a look. Okay. Are we doing okay in that area? Maybe we can do better. Perhaps I can get some new talent in. And so, you're optimizing performance through the team. When you've had situations when a strategic buyer has come in, how has that worked in terms of having the strategics primarily kept the people in place? Have they displaced the people and given them packages? What does that look like by and large?

[00:34:39] Tim Fischell: You know, obviously every situation is slightly different. It depends on how the strategic is incorporating the technology into their company. So, it is not at all unusual for this strategic to incorporate into their company. For example, Ostial Solutions two of our best salespeople who really understood the product were hired full-time by Merit.

I mean, there was no more Ostial Solutions we got bought, and yet we have the strategic bringing on board, some of our key employees. Other times, you know, you're working as almost a subdivision under the strategic where you're still, I mean, fully functional, your entire organization stays intact and run by the management team.

We envisioned something like that for example, with Ablative Solutions, it's so, big and it there's so, many moving parts and we have 50 people running the clinical trial. If a strategic were to come in today and do a deal. I would think 90% of the Ablative Solutions team would stay intact under the current management until there's a full transition to a commercial launch.

In which case some people would incorporate into the big strategic, some would move on to other opportunities. Every situation is unique.

[00:35:56] Jeffrey Feldberg: What was interesting and for listeners, I hope you're paying attention to this because too many business owners, Tim, when we put them through the Deep Wealth Experience, that's our 90-day system. You learn the nine-step roadmap of preparation. I hear all too often, well Jeffery number one, I know who my buyer is going to be.

It's going to be a strategic, I don't think I'm going to hire a CEO or president. Maybe I don't even need a management team because the strategic is probably going to have all those people anyways. So, why spend the time and money, and maybe that's going to be a liability against me. And two things to that.

And Tim you've shared your experiences with that. And it really goes to the point. You don't know, who the buyer is going to be until the deal actually closes. Maybe it's a strategic, maybe it's not, but Tim, to your point, what if you have better people than the strategic has? What if the people that you have the strategic wants to incorporate into their organization?

And so, when you look at a liquidity event and your enterprise value, my thesis is whatever the cost is of a CEO or president or a management team relative to the enterprise value. It's a rounding error. Look at it as insurance, and it's going to cover you in either situation and why not just get the best possible talent when and where you can.

And speaking of talent, let's talk a little bit about today because the business environment has changed with the pandemic. How has it affected your groups and as remote work come into play, and how are you dealing with that?

[00:37:22] Tim Fischell: Yeah. You know, most of what I do is virtual even in a company like Ablative Solutions where we're running clinical trials and we have probably 50 or 60 people working for Ablative Solutions right now. I'm currently CML. I was CEO for about eight or nine years, we have a great CEO.

She's fantastic. And she and I have a strong partnership in moving the company forward.

Yeah. So, the pandemic of course influences different companies in different ways. I think a lot of people have had an influence. Most of my companies are virtual anyway. And so, although we miss meeting together as a team, you know, like Ablative Solutions, we would have an investigator meeting with, you know, 50 investigators in the team.

We haven't been able to do that. That hurts the endeavor. And also within the team itself, having, you know, the team meeting personally, and now we're just starting to have some of the executive team. We've had some executive team leadership meetings back in person again, and you realize you really miss that.

So, I think the COVID has had an impact, although working virtually as possible having zoom meetings, we know are pretty good. There's still only about 80% as good as hashing things out in a conference room with your colleagues and your team. So, I think it's had a negative impact overall, obviously other things like enrollment in clinical trials where they've shut down elective procedures in Europe, in the US. Those are direct impacts of COVID on things like getting the, you know, the mission accomplished.

[00:38:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: Challenging times, but all we can do is adapt and change and show up and do the best that we can with that. And I think that's a really a good transition, Tim, for the next question. As we begin to wrap up the episode, I want you to think of the movie Back to the Future. And in the movie, you have a famous DeLorean car, which can go back to any point in time.

So, imagine now it's tomorrow morning and you're looking out your window. The DeLorean car is there. The door is open. It's waiting for you to come on in. You hop into the car and Tim, you can go back to any point in your life, Tim, as a young child, as a teenager, whatever it may be. What would you be telling your younger self in terms of, Hey, Tim, do this or don't do that?

Or life lessons or lessons learned, whatever it would be. What would you tell your younger self?

[00:39:40] Tim Fischell: Buy Google at 50 bucks a share. Obviously, a time machine would make things a lot easier. I don't want to sit here and make it sound like I haven't made mistakes. I have a lot of mistakes in my life. Whether it's investments that went wrong or decisions I made that went wrong, hiring the wrong person.

We all have, we could go back and correct any of a hundred different errors we've made along the path part of living. I think overall the general message to myself at a younger age would be to stay the course. you know, there are specific things where I would say, dad, could you please put right the claims in the stent patent a little better?

You know, that became a big issue, you know, in our patents issued on stent design for the patent, wasn't written as well as it should have been. We invented it. We didn't claim it so, the devil is always in the details and sometimes you don't know the detail until you realize how that detail failed you later on.

So, that's the time issue and I'd go and correct some of the patent claims or, you know, obviously I would like to go back and then bends things that other people have done. That was awesome. I wish we should have invented that.

[00:40:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love it. I love the passion that's coming through, you know, doctor, entrepreneur inventor, the changer of the social fabric of society. You're doing all these things, but it all comes back to you. You just love what you do. And for our audience, you don't have the privilege of seeing Tim like I am, we're on a zoom call and he's just all smiles and he's animated as he talks about this.

And you don't see that all that often. And it's been an absolute pleasure, Tim, to have you on the podcast. And I'll put this in the show notes. We'll make it really easy for listeners. They can just be a point and click. If somebody would like to get in touch with you, what would be the best way?

[00:41:27] Tim Fischell: Yeah, I think I'm available on LinkedIn. I get a couple of times a week. I have people reaching out, wanting to connect. So, if there are people, you know, for whom. And these stories resonated in a way.

Or questions they'd like, feel free to reach out. I almost always catch up on those eventually and we'll reach back.

[00:41:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, Tim, that's terrific. I know you are incredibly busy and appreciate you taking time out of your day to be on The Sell My Business Podcast, sharing your passion, sharing your secret sauce of what's gotten you from here to there, and I wish you only continued success and your ability to really make a difference and change lives for the better.

And on that note, I'll wish that you stay healthy and safe. Thank you so, much.

[00:42:07] Tim Fischell: Thank you, Jeff. 

[00:42:09] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

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Tim Fischell On Inventing The Future And Welcoming Success