Episode 1: Why We All Should Have An Exit Mindset (Transcript)
[00:00:00] Rem Oculee: Welcome to the exit mindset podcast. I’m Rem Oculee. I spent years researching and studying exit strategies to improve businesses. And I’m here to help you increase profits, increase your company valuation and get you more work-life balance.
[00:00:25] Today we’ll be discussing what this podcast is about and what the exit mindset is. Now let’s talk about why I created the exit mindset. So years ago I started one of my companies at the time and I had a new concept and I thought, let me just start from the ground up, begin the process and get that company going.
[00:00:47] So I started, and in the meantime, I had a friend of mine- a good friend of mine that was out of a job. He was laid off and he said he was looking to do something. And I said, look, I’m starting this whole new business. Feel free to [00:01:00] hop in and be part of it. And he said, he’d love to. He’d want to. He’s excited.
[00:01:04] He was very excited about it. And I said, okay, great. So as all of you know, starting a company from the ground up is a big undertaking and there is a lot of work to be parsed. So I continued working and working, working, but one thing I’ve noticed over time is that he wasn’t doing anything, but I was so busy doing what I’m doing.
[00:01:23] Then I sort of paid attention to it. So as the company got off the ground, and we started doing business- at that point, when business starts to happen, he started showing up. And again, when you’re friends, you let these things go. You don’t pay too much attention to it. You kinda dismiss it. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that friend and partnerships are completely two different things.
[00:01:48] And one better be careful how to approach friendship and partnerships, but that’s a subject and a topic for a different time. So the company [00:02:00] began operating and- you know, I took it from a place where it was doing nothing to a place where it’s selling a significant amount of product. And we went on and on and on- was successful and it was fun at the time.
[00:02:10] And we were doing all that business and things were rolling and, and, uh- you know, one day I was you know about to go on a trip with my partner at the time, and I just walked into his office just to talk to him about something about that particular trip. And he wasn’t there. He had- But as I was leaving, I noticed something on the desk- a stack of checks. I said okay, where are we getting those from?
[00:02:34] So I pull the stack and I start ruffling through it, just looking and looking. And no- next thing I know, I see a check in his name. I’m looking- that’s odd, and I keep ruffling and I see another check in his name. So every few checks I’m seeing one here, one there- and then I’ve noticed a check with a company name on it, but there’s something odd about that company name. It was slightly different than our company name and I’m going, [00:03:00] what is that?
[00:03:01] Is it just a typo? So then I kept going through the checks and I found that exact company name was there. The wrong company name. So it dawned on me, probably there is something going on in here other than the fact that they made a mistake, and there might be another company in this process. So what I figured is that obviously customers were writing checks to his name.
[00:03:21] And then I figured out eventually that he actually had another company set up with a similar name to ours. So when the customers were writing the check, they were thinking they were writing it to the right company. You can understand, after that, pretty much that blocked the whole relationship, the friendship, and the work relationship.
[00:03:38] You know, we went through a process of, uh- of figuring out what to do, and I had control over the company at the time. So I decided to just unravel that- the whole thing. And because it was so intertwined with his- with his work in the company, I decided to basically sell it and move on. And I had other ideas that I wanted to do.
[00:03:57] So I went out there to sell the company and I talked to a [00:04:00] number of business brokers, people that had interest in buying it from me. One thing I found out is that the price that they were offering me for the company wasn’t anywhere near what the company should be getting for it. I mean, certainly, we were profitable.
[00:04:14] Despite the fact that he was taking money from the company, we were still doing good. The books were good in terms of numbers and their product being sold. And uh- we have a profitable situation, but when it comes to buying it, it was a different story. We- we were just getting pennies on the dollar and I couldn’t figure it out.
[00:04:35] After a while I realized this isn’t going to go anywhere and I embarked on a search to figure out what is it that made that company valued less than what it should be. And I spent years researching, looking at and working with and talking to business brokers, people that have businesses and sold them, did research on [00:05:00] how people sell businesses.
[00:05:01] So I find there’s a couple of ways to look at this, which is- one of them is to go to the textbook classic way of business valuation or go to the real reasons why my company did not sell for the price that it was worth- in my opinion, at least. And what I distilled from the process is three principles that I believe are the key reasons why you would have a harder time getting the right price for your company.
[00:05:30] Then if you apply those three things and those things are from the trenches. So they’re not conventional. And I’m bringing you that information to help you in your business and to be able to create a better model for yourself. Now, we all know there’s no perfect model in business. Business is business. And if there’s one specific way of doing it, somebody would write a book about it and everybody would be successful, which in then means nobody would be successful.
[00:05:56] The reason for that is that anything that’s easy and [00:06:00] widely accessible to everybody in the world and can be done by anybody is not worth that much. The reason you’re able to be successful and the reason you’re able to be distinguished in what you do is because it’s not easy. And anyone in business knows that. You’ve seen the battles you have to go through.
[00:06:19] You’ve seen the difficulties you gotta go through every day, and every month, and every year. And you see the challenges and these are the things that make business business. So needless to say, I went out there and did research and work and got here. So what I wanted to do really is convey to you all that information, what I’m trying to do here in this podcast- and in my book, the exit mindset, which is coming up in the next few months- is to give you the distillation of that experience that I had.
[00:06:53] To give you the things that I’ve learned and to show you the things that work- that I’ve seen them work. And not just that. [00:07:00] I have tons and tons of information from numerous business owners, CEOs, people at high levels that I learned from.
[00:07:09] And I got a lot of information that I correlated to the subject of how do you make your business better and how to exit your business with a higher valuation. But the bigger revelation in this whole thing is what I discovered in that journey. It’s that while I was looking to figure out how to sell my company for a higher price, I realized that the crux and the mechanism that creates that better exit are the very things that make the company more profitable, and a better company, and a better model.
[00:07:40] These are the very things that gave me more freedom. These are the very things that created a better scalable model. So when I was doing that- I was doing that with one of my companies. I realized I liked the company so much, and maybe I’m not thinking too much of an exit. But I find that whenever I ran [00:08:00] into trouble in terms of a bump in the road, or in terms of being mired into the business, I realized that I forgot that mindset- that exit mindset that I had one time when I started- when things got better.
[00:08:14] So I started thinking, well maybe the purpose of the exit mindset is not necessarily to sell the company only at a better price, but it’s more important to create a better model. And that model would get you a better stream of revenue and even more time. So what I started to do actually is take the process and sort of reverse engineer it.
[00:08:43] Using the exit mindset as a basis for improving your business is what this methodology is all about. Now the methodology might appear to be very basic, but the foundational underpinnings of it are fundamentally sound, [00:09:00] and they make massive shifts in your business if you apply them correctly. Now like anything else out there, if you do not think about it, if you do not interpret, if you do not use a certain degree of mental power and exert energy on figuring out how this could apply to your business, you’re not going to get the rewards.
[00:09:24] Let me give you an example. If you play sports, people that play sports know that it’s work. It’s training. It’s processing the same moves over and over again until they become proficient at it.
[00:09:39] You see many of your friends, many coworkers, many people, you know, that like a sport- gonna go play a little bit, exert very little effort to make it work, and they wonder why they cannot be a player in that sport. It’s pretty simple. [00:10:00] You didn’t keep trying, keep at it, keep creating mental distinctions, trying to interpret the moves to make them work with the way your body works.
[00:10:09] In this case, you must interpret what I am telling you here into your own model. It’s a feedback loop. You have to go back and forth until it starts to gel. So when it gels, it gels massively, and the results you create are enormous. How does that work? So how does the exit mindset apply to the company from the 44,000 view?
[00:10:36] So the way it works is this way- is that you position everything in your thinking with the three principles I’m about to give you. When you start thinking about it, you’re going to have more time. You’re going to find that you’re gonna get more profit, but subsequently, the company will have a higher valuation.
[00:10:54] The key to this is that you gotta think of your company from a buyer perspective. [00:11:00] Let’s say you are working in your company, and somebody has come to you and says, I want to buy your company. What do you think they’re going to offer you for it? Probably gonna have an inflated number, or probably have a realistic number, depending on the way you think.
[00:11:16] Many people have an inflated number just because they feel that all the years, all the time, all the energy they put into the company over the years, the fact that it- it’s making money, that it’s worth- worth a lot. And I’ve talked to a lot of people that tell me that exact thing. And most of the time, when you look at it their company’s not worth – not even a fraction – of what they think it is.
[00:11:39] And here’s where the problem lies. Because people don’t know what they don’t know- which means they don’t know that when a buyer comes in, that the price is going to be significantly less when it’s offered to them. Then they assume that everything is okay. Now let’s not even mention the fact that [00:12:00] they are running a hamster wheel in the company. They’re just working, working, working. They are not getting the results they’re looking for, meaning in terms of profits.
[00:12:11] And they find themselves constantly under pressure. And to top all that the company would not sell for what it’s worth after they’ve done all the work. And the problem with that problem is that the final result, the scorecard doesn’t come to you while you’re working. It comes to you at the end, it’s a scorecard by definition- meaning that you could be working your company for 30 years, or you could be an executive in a company for 30 years.
[00:12:39] And you realized the company never got to where it needed to go, because you did not execute with an exit mindset. You executed with a day to day mindset. A mindset that’s- that’s designed to solve problems. And that’s what business owners are good at and just- Let’s [00:13:00] face it. Let’s be real. A lot of us are in the business of solving problems.
[00:13:06] We’re able to solve problems that other people break at just looking at. And when that skill is there- which not many people have- we take- to take advantage of it because we feel like we’re accomplishing things that others don’t, and we feel that we’re getting somewhere with it. However, to me, this is a tactical skill.
[00:13:26] It’s not a strategic objective. The strategic objective is to achieve a company that can exit with the highest possible value that you can get out of it. Based on your true work, based on your efforts, based on its profits, based on positioning, based on a number of things that you’ve done over the years to make it worth what it is.
[00:13:49] And I call that intrinsic value versus perceived value. So intrinsic value is based on your feelings about the company. Intrinsic [00:14:00] value is based on what you think it’s worth. Now let’s talk about perceived value. Perceived value is what the buyer sees. He perceives the value of the company to be as such. Because the company’s got intrinsic value that you’re aware of, the buyer might be aware of that and might take advantage of it.
[00:14:26] So the buyer might see one or two things. The buyer might look at your company and put a certain price on it. That is- in their mind is realistic. That’s what it’s worth based on X, Y, and Z. That’s what it’s worth. There’s another situation where the buyer looks at it and knows that there’s intrinsic value in there that is camped.
[00:14:47] That is not manifested. That is not clear. And that has not been exploited. So what do they do? They say, okay- uh, look for my uh… perceived value- And they won’t tell us [00:15:00] perceived, they just say from a valuation standpoint, uh- your company’s worth this much. And that would be one 10th, let’s say, of what the company’s worth, but they know if they take the company and improve certain things in it, they’re going to be able to get 10 X from it.
[00:15:18] And they know the effort to do that may not be as significant as it appears to the business owner. Or they know that the business owner has overlooked it. And now the business owner, because they have no choice and they wanna sell the company, they would say, sure. Okay. I guess you’re offering me one 10th.
[00:15:37] The other guy offered me one 10th. Third-person offering me one 10th. Nobody’s offering me two 10th. Therefore I’m going to give it for one tenth. And to me that is sad. That is not what you want. You really want all the efforts- all the years you spent on building your company. To be worth what it’s worth. You want [00:16:00] to be proud of what you’ve done. By the way, part of that pride is the valuation you get from others.
[00:16:06] So that’s a number. Sometimes you can take your efforts and quantify to a number by how much it is worth. And something that’s worth a lot will give you a sense of pride, and will give you a sense of accomplishment and also makes- makes it worthwhile. Not to mention all the financial benefits you would reap out of creating a model that is giving you more money for the exchange that you’re giving for the company. A model that gives you more money for an exchange for the company that you’re selling out there.
[00:16:36] That is some of the thinking and there’s plenty of it to go around. When it comes to the exit mindset, there’s plenty of thoughts- concepts that we’re gonna go to overtime. This is just hardly the beginning. The exit mindset involves every aspect of the company. Every way you can look at it. However, it uses very simple levers. And lots of times [00:17:00] people think that more complex things are the way to get things done.
[00:17:05] It’s more complexity, bigger projects, more concepts- you name it. Whatever it is, you’re going to find that people think that is the key to making things happen. And the truth of the matter is, this is furthest from the truth. Sometimes the simplest levers are the most important. I’ll give you an example.
[00:17:27] Simple case and point: if you play hockey you really are playing with two things, a puck and a stick. That’s it. You’re not playing with anything else. However, by manipulating those two items to get the puck into the goal is where the art is. You don’t have to study formulas. You don’t have to study how the body mechanics- you know, how many units pressure per inch to apply to the puck.
[00:17:56] You need to practice the fundamentals of [00:18:00] attempting to get the puck into the goal. And if you keep doing that over and over again, while moving, you’re gonna get better at it. You can read books and theories and you’re not gonna get it. They’re not gonna get you any better, other than using the basic fundamentals and playing hockey.
[00:18:19] This is the same. The three principles that we’re about to talk about are foundational. And you’ll find that to be very, very powerful. So in the next podcast, we’ll be talking about these three principles and we’ll start talking about how you could apply them. And I’ll warn you right now. This is a journey.
[00:18:38] This is not a one, two, three. If you want one, two, three, probably this podcast wouldn’t be very beneficial to you. Because you’re going to take something that requires continuous- continuous application refinement. It’s sort of like, you wanna be- again, if you’d go to the hockey metaphor – you wanna be a hockey player and you wanna walk into the ring once, [00:19:00] play a little bit and go home, and then declare yourself a class A hockey player, be able to play in a field or a ring in front of many, many people. You’re not gonna do that.
[00:19:12] It’s not gonna happen. You wanna get good sums of money for doing that? Good luck. Nobody’s done that. And if you look at all the successful people that have done something, they’ve done it by repeat application of one thing. In martial arts, there are only two moves.
[00:19:28] There’s a punch and there’s a kick. There’s nothing else. Yet, there are infinite applications to the art of fighting. You could go up, down, sideways, different angles. Success is the continuous practice in those arts. So anyway, your business is the same thing. It’s the same way. Your company needs application of principles.
[00:19:54] And then refinement of those principles. However, you have to be on the right principles. If you’re getting into the wrong principles, or- or [00:20:00] if you’re getting diluted principles, or get principals that don’t help you. They just kind of add a tactical- something to your company. You’re going to end up with a situation where you’re not gonna get to the thing you want out of your company. Ultimately, you and I know what you want at your company is a great business, a great company.
[00:20:17] And if you’re an executive in a company- running the company, you want your stock options. You want your boss to look at the company to acknowledge your contribution. You wanna be able to take the company to the next level because you probably have- whether you have stock options, whether you have- you know, a stake at growing, whether you have a career to manage- the same thing applies.
[00:20:36] You use those principles to help your company get better. It’s foundational here. Action is everything. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. I’m Rem Oculee. I’ll see you on the next episode.
[00:20:52] Mae: You’ve just listened to the exit mindset podcast with Rem Oculee. If you haven’t yet subscribed or followed, please do so in your podcast listening [00:21:00] app. Or better yet, visit exitmindset.com to join the conversation, access the show notes, and discover our bonus content.
[00:21:09] Lastly, we want to help as many business owners as possible. If you know anyone that could benefit from the information given in this podcast, please feel free to share it with them. Until next time!