About the Host
Ryan is an entrepreneur, podcast host of the show Life After Business and the co-owner of Solidity Financial. Having personally experienced the hazards of selling a business, he joined up with his friend Brandon Wood to educate others on the process. Through their business (Solidity Financial), they provide a platform for entrepreneurs called Growth and Exit Planning that helps in exit planning, value building and financial management.
About the Guest
Walker Deibel is an acquisition entrepreneur. He has co-founded three startups and acquired seven companies. Walker is the Managing Director for Centra, which currently owns and manages three companies. In addition, Centra is a partner in over a half dozen firms covering: distribution, manufacturing, education, childcare, film, and television production, enterprise Software, online content, and eCommerce.
Walker is the bestselling author of Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game. He holds an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis where he received the Declaration of Accomplishment in Entrepreneurship from the Skandalaris Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a Certified M&A Advisor, former SEC licensed stockbroker and helps online entrepreneurs exit their firms as an advisor.
If you listen, you will learn:
- Walker’s business background.
- Why it is harder to build a startup from scratch.
- The 3 types of startup entrepreneurs and the difference between them.
- What is an acquisitional entrepreneur?
- The 4 types of businesses in the Acquisitional Entrepreneur Matrix.
- Why Walker likes to focus on online businesses.
- Why you shouldn’t assume a business’s circumstances till you get all the information.
- How to recognize opportunity and take advantage of it.
- The lessons Walker learned from the sale of his first company.
- Why you need to sell your business before it peaks.
- The types of businesses that Walker really likes to buy.
Walker Deibel: Startups fail, so you know, as entrepreneurs, you know, what can we do to address our pain of the fact that you know, starting a business from scratch is actually a punishment for not understanding statistics pretty well, right? So my solution to that problem and just in my own life has been to buy existing companies and then build them from there.
Announcer: Welcome to Life After Business, the podcast where your host, Ryan Tansom, brings you all the information you need to exit your company and explore what life can be like on the other side.
Ryan Tansom: Hi guys and welcome back to the Life After Business podcast. This is episode 122 and today's guest name is Walker Deibel and Walker has a, an amazing track record and he's got a philosophy that I think is absolute genius. So before we get into what we're going to be talking about today, a little bit of background on Walker is he has pretty much coined the term acquisition entrepreneur. He co-founded three startups and acquired seven companies. And then right now he's the managing director of Centura, which is currently... He manages and owns three companies and Walker just released his best selling book Build and Buy: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game. He just got named by Forbes as one of the must read books of the year and he and I dive into a really interesting topic that I think is extremely important for you. Whether you're going to be buying companies or selling companies.
Ryan Tansom: This is how the game is played and Walker's theory is that to go acquire a company that has cash flow, has customers. You can do so many different things with it because you're building value on top of something that's already existing. But I think what is a big takeaway for you while you're going into this episode is if you're thinking about hitting a certain valuation in your company, organic growth might not be able to get you there. And if you can do strategic things through purchasing companies that have product and customers and different competing or or correlating in strategic areas that can fit on top of your current business. It'll accelerate you to able to get to the cash flow and to the valuation that you potentially want before you exit. So whether in the near term or you're going to be buying a company or selling your company. This is an important episode because it really dives in and gives you a little bit more exposure on how value is perceived and it should give you some good ideas that if you've got a couple years and you've got some cashflow and your current business to bolt on additional businesses could accelerate you to your growth and your eventual exit so you can hit the valuations that you want and need. So I really hope you enjoy this episode with Walker. He's got a ton of good insights and a lot of gold nuggets as far as how to build value. once you buy another company. So if you're the buyer, you're going to one that wants to increase value so that way you can hit your targets, but it's also what some potential buyers going to eventually want for your company when you eventually exit. So I really hope you enjoy this episode. Walker's got a bunch of golden nuggets and a bunch of really good strategic ways to be thinking about value in a company, whether you're buying or selling it. So without further ado, here's my episode with Walker.
Announcer: This episode of Life After Business is sponsored by GEXP Collaborative. Their proven process gives you clarity on all of your exit options and how those options impact your financial success, timing and future happiness. Sell your company on your timeframe to the buyer of your choice at the price you want.
Ryan Tansom: Walker, how you doing?
Walker Deibel: I'm so great, Ryan. Thanks for having me.
Ryan Tansom: I, uh, we were kind of rallying back and forth and some other topics, but you know, we've got a lot to talk about today because I think there's a lot of common interests. We have you guys, crazy experience and I'm personally just super pumped to dive into a bunch of it. So for the listeners that aren't too familiar with you or your book yet, or you know, some of your past, Walker, maybe just take us back to your past. How did you, what are some of the big milestones that got you where you are today? And like, how did you surround yourself with all this world of the being an entrepreneur?
Walker Deibel: Okay. So let me start with, you know, maybe let's keep the end in mind a little bit. I, you know, a lot of people for the last, let's say decade have often called me an entrepreneur or a serial entrepreneur, but I never called myself that. Right? And the reason why is because every time I started a business from scratch, uh, I never was able to exceed that million dollar in revenue mark, right? Um, this is where, you know, the startups I'm involved in where I'm the co-founder, right? So, um, the way that I found luck along the way was kind of by buying businesses that were already there and then kind of, you know, innovating them with my skillset, right? Taking them to the next level or, or whatever. And I guess in one instance or not, right, I mean even just keeping it as it is and as a holding.
Walker Deibel: What got me to this, you know what, when I started calling acquisition entrepreneurship, which I, I think that term sort of popped up a couple of places at the same time, but I didn't know it. So, you know, as far as I knew, I coined the term right? But so from, you know, where I was to becoming an acquisition entrepreneur, the milestones along the way kind of went like this. I had a startup with another guy, two other guys really in um, business school. So I got my MBA at Wash U in St Louis and we had um, a technology, um, we had licensed the technology for point of purchase advertising and this technology was, it was 2003. And the technology today is known as Real 3D. Like when you go to the movie theater and you put on the clear 3D glasses, right? So that didn't exist in 2003. In 2003, it was like the red and blue stuff. Right? Totally. Right. So, so, um, and whether that same actual technology became 3D, I actually don't know, but the point is, is we had this in 2003, four point of purchase advertising and we were deep in conversations with Walmart.
Walker Deibel: They wanted to roll it out to a number of stores if not every store. We were deep in conversations raising capital. Um, we didn't need that much, like a million to a million and a half we were trying to get. And uh, we were finalists in, you know, probably, you know, one of the biggest, you know, business plans, startup competitions in the regional midwest, anyway.
Ryan Tansom: Which one was that?
Walker Deibel: Well, it's the Owen Cup out of... in Alarik Center. But, so basically, um, you know, we, we were deep in this and it was one of these things where I was doing it while I was an MBA student. And um, the month of graduation, it all came unraveled and basically the licensing fell apart and we didn't have what we thought we had and it was retracted. And what they didn't say was, hey, we're gonna go make Avatar with James Cameron, right? But then it was, you know, this sort of like really innovative idea, like getting product market fit, like more stressing out about how we're actually going to execute the product and then it all kind of fell apart, right? So this was my first startup experience. As you know, a lot of famous entrepreneurs say, hey, it's all about at bats, right? So I'm like, Hey, no problem. Startups fail. We all know it. Just put that failure feather in my cap and move on, right? So was one of these things where I, I knew that I could, that there was a way to buy a small business and when I went out into the market in 2004 to try to figure out how to do it, I was in my late twenties. I really had no money of consequence. Uh, you know, and what I was met with was a truly opaque market that was fragmented and just had this huge range of, let's just say talent and quality in terms of brokers, right?
Walker Deibel: And today I know that, you know, a business broker, an advisor, an investment banker, they're all the same thing, you know, and, and it just depends on how it's actually being executed. Back then, I didn't know the difference. Right?
Ryan Tansom: Oh, by the way, there's a lot of people that don't know the difference of what people are doing and executing on.
Walker Deibel: Right, right, right, right. So it's one of these things where, where it was in 2004 where I was looking for the book that I didn't have. I'm looking for that high quality resource to help me navigate this landscape. And um, I ended up failing trying to buy a business and it kinda went corporate for a while. But, um, I released the book, uh, by then built how acquisition entrepreneurs outsmart the startup game. Like what last month. So it's been a long journey. But, uh, that's, that's, that's...
Ryan Tansom: No, and that's awesome.
Walker Deibel: And that's what. And that's the journey is what we're here to unpack because you know, how like, you know, obviously enough in the 14 years he ended up launching it, you know, what, what you learned in order to actually um to put it all together. And you know, I, I think it, it is a challenge. I'm just curious, Walker, because like so many people. And I think I saw that you're in EO and there's a lot of EO listeners or Vistage listeners and I think there's a lot of people that struggle with that. You know, that million dollar mark if they, you know, if you think about this, like the probabilities of starting, what is it like how many of the 80 percent are out of business in year five and then how many get to above a million. It's just like why? It's like, why would you ever try?
Walker Deibel: The thing is with those numbers, like if you talk to real entrepreneurs out there doing it, they don't believe those numbers. Those are like the US Department of, forgive me, I forgot, but you know, all that means is that there's a legal entity that's open and sitting there. Right? So I'm starting to interrupt. Go ahead.
Ryan Tansom: No, no, I think it's. I think you're right too because like, yeah, and it's funny because some of the stats that I usually throw out is there's 27 million companies in America, but 10 million of them are incorporated LLCs from Legal Zoom from someone that charged $2,000 for a picture right here.
Walker Deibel: So we'll, let me think of it like this, like, like if there is a better way to start from scratch, the best way that we've ever come up with his venture capital. Right? So in other words, you know, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm going to go and get VC money and you know, on average I get it. So now on average I'm going to get somewhere between 60 and $70 million in cash, right? There's a 75 percent chance that my startup is going to go completely to zero. Right? So that's that. And that's the best way, right? Venture capital is a business model for venture capitalists.
Ryan Tansom: Totally, totally not even for the investors because the venture capitalists had the lowest amount of risk in that situation ever.
Walker Deibel: That's right. That's right. And you know what, what do they say? They're sort of back of the hand is one's, one is going to really make it, you know, whatever 10 x or whatever, two or three of them are going to break even and the rest, you know, whatever. Right.
Ryan Tansom: So Walker, I'm curious as we kind of go, what, what is the biggest challenge? Why is it so much harder to start than to buy and what are some of the fundamental things that you see as constraints for these entrepreneurs that are like, that are hitting that million dollars or whatever it is. I mean, what is it capital? Is it resources? What are some of the big things that they have issues with it that you see?
Walker Deibel: Well, the research will tell you things like product market fit, not enough capital, you know, whatever the thing is is you know, not enough capital is, is the reason. In other words, if you had enough money to do whatever you want it for as long as you needed in order to pivot no matter how many times you needed to in order to establish an infrastructure that then could provide profitable revenue, then we'd all get there eventually. Right? So for me, it's that product market fit. And I think that, um, you know, trying to create a market from scratch is incredibly difficult.
Walker Deibel: Let me tell you a story. So, you know, as a co-founder in a, um, a, a, um, an enterprise SaaS business that was basically a mobile application for the enterprise and we had recruited the consulting division head of, of really of the product. We were trying to upset from Microsoft to be our CEO. We went through one of the top 10 accelerator programs in the world. We were oversubscribed. Our Dev team was, was currently building mobile software for special OPS teams for the US government. We brought, we brought in a CTO of a fortune 500 company to work with our Dev team one on one and had them on board as an equity advisor. Uh, we, we had an all-star team and we're fully funded, right? Nine months later we were completely out of cash even though we had Beta programs running at, you know, half a dozen big brand names that you would know.
Walker Deibel: Right? And the thing was, was that, you know, the Achilles heel of our entire model in my mind and in retrospect, and if any of those people are listening, I might be wrong, but you know, my take on it is we would show it to the users and they would jump up and down and freak out and they're like, how do I get us? And the problem was because it was at the enterprise level, we had to, we had to put it, we had to install it at the enterprise level if we just gave it to, to a personal user on their ipad, for example, the, the, the companies, um, sharepoint system would, would perceive it to be a virus and it would, it would shut down and lockout everyone nationwide. It didn't happen every time. But it did happen like, you know, two or three times out of 10.
Walker Deibel: Right. And so we couldn't just open it up on the APP store and start helping people solve that, their individual problems. Instead we were taking this really lightweight, you know, thing and, and basically trying to sell it to COOs of major organizations for a per user, per month fee. Right now if you're a coo of a major corporation, you've got two or three things you're trying to get done and you know, trying to make, you know, your team incrementally more, more happy with like a lightweight cheap thing is not something that's going to move the needle for your career. So I think at the end of the day we needed to, we needed to figure out how to get around our model and reach the individual users because that would have worked. But I'm out of money.
Ryan Tansom: Well it's so crazy because like totally get it. I couldn't have imagine... Selling enterprise stuff to people that there's 17 layers of buyers. It just sounds like a horrible situation.
Walker Deibel: And that's where the trends are right now. That's the adolescent trend right now. Right. You know, enterprise level SaaS.
Ryan Tansom: So then which makes it, it makes a ton of sense to me. And so then I've what I've noticed too Walker, so you had like, I've kind of got like the two different buckets and actually you and I were talking about John Warrillow and I'll maybe you steal or relay the, uh, his kind of philosophy and these psychographics where there's the, he calls them craftsman. I don't know if you've heard this one. I don't think he's got it. One of his books or his material, but there's craftsman are essentially solopreneurs, right? They've got, they just pay for their, their income through their craft. And then there's a lot of those people that's the 10 million people that we were talking about. And then you've got a mountain climbers which are VCs and they're just, they're serial entrepreneurs. And then there's the freedom fighters and the freedom fighters are mid-market companies. And what he, what he actually noted with these people is that their level of funding is actually different. All these freedom fighters are usually single or partnership owned. It long holds no family, that kind of like the EO/Vistages the kind of the audience here. And then there's the mountain climbers which are vc backed, you know, exit strategies, SaaS, tech, that kind of stuff. And um, what I find is interesting kind of taking your scenario where you were intentionally doing this stuff. I don't know if you've found this in this kind of dove tail into even parts of your book and your, um, your kind of mission statement, but it's like, do you see like that freedom fighter graphic, that bucket, as people that kind of accidentally became entrepreneurs for the most part?
Walker Deibel: So I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Ryan, what's your question?
Ryan Tansom: My question is like, is like, okay, okay. That's a good... so...
Walker Deibel: I guess what I'm thinking of is the emyth, like I'm familiar with what you're saying.
Ryan Tansom: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So that's like along the emf line of like, we're like, I find a lot of these people were like, so it's not the. Okay, here I'll piggyback it off. Your story is that, you know, there's someone that had a job at corporate America and then one of their customers, so if you need this, you did this, I'll buy that stuff from you and then immediately you've got a million dollar company or like you know, someone was in the right place, knew the right manufacturer, got that Ip and like blew it up on Amazon or. So it was like, that makes sense.
Walker Deibel: Totally, totally. I guess this is what I would say. Let me compare it to that. It's like it's one of these things where, you know, if I meet another person who is an entrepreneur and starting their business and I say like, oh, that is great. What? You know, what's your product? Oh, we're an SEO firm. I just want to pull my hair out. Like online marketing is booming. Yes, there's an ongoing demand for it, but it's like there's already, you know, I don't know, 30, 40 of those companies, like in St Louis alone. I'm sure I'm exaggerating, but I think it's more than that. Yeah. Right. But the point is, is there's so many of them that it's a perfect acquisition entrepreneur sort of story, like I feel like a roll up could be, could occur at any sort of local level or even regional level depending on how they're getting customers. So on the surface, even like, you know, five years ago, you know, starting an SEO company sounded really sexy.
Walker Deibel: It sounded like, wow, they're really, you know, they know what they're doing, this is cool. But, but they were popping up all over the place and it was like, well, uh, you know, you don't need to do that. You can actually go buy an seo firm for preload multiple. It just kind of get going right away because of all the people that start them and then get burnout or get to your point, right? It's like, I know Seo, I get one customer, next thing you know, I get two more, I lose one, I get two more. You know, at the end of the year I've got 12 customers. Right, right, right.
Ryan Tansom: So then let's, let's, why don't you give the listeners your definition of acquisition entrepreneur, how you got to kind of got to that and some of the big characteristics of that philosophy. Sure.
Walker Deibel: So, you know, at the fundamental level is simply this, you know, startups fail. So, you know, as entrepreneurs, um, you know, what can we do to address our pain of the fact that, you know, starting a business from scratch is actually a punishment for not understanding statistics pretty well, right? So my solution to that problem and just in my own life has been to buy existing companies and then build them from there, right? So in other words, all we're trying to build the fundamental thing that all entrepreneurs are trying to build is a new infrastructure that can generate revenue, that the gross margin supports that infrastructure. In other words, I want an infrastructure that can produce profitable revenue, right? That's it. That's all we're trying to build because the minute you can start, you stop focusing on cash flow and you start focusing on how many people you can help. That's the moment of success for an entrepreneur, right? By buying an existing company, you can acquire a firm that already has product market fit, it already has cash flow, and then you can build it from there.
Walker Deibel: And that can look so many different ways. Right? I mean, you know, it just depends on, on your skillset and the opportunity at hand. Let me give you one example. As our software startup was kind of falling apart and running out of cash quickly, a broker who I had worked with to help me. Um, well, ironically enough, the first company I sold, I sold it to an acquisition target. And, um, I, I, you know, I don't want to say that my, my, my vision for the company was, was so intriguing that he decided he wanted to buy our company, but you know, uh, that's what happened. Right. And um, so I called the broker that helped with that or he called me. The broker called me and he said, hey walker, how's that startup? And he said, Oh, Gary, it's rocky. He said good, there's a perfect business.
Walker Deibel: You've got to see it. It's a great fit for you. And I was like, oh my gosh, what's going on? So anyway, I looked at this company, um, it had a printing component to it, which kind of made the hair on the back of my neck crawl. You and I were both in the printing industry. We know how cut throat that can be. Um, but the sort of son of the founder had eliminated all of the printing equipment and sort of turned it into this, you know, sourcing and fulfillment center. And he had this kind of like DOS-era system that was spread out across all these customers. And um, you know, conceptually it was, it was great. It was just very dated and kind of needed to be upgraded and user friendly. It was not user friendly at all. I ended up buying the company.
Walker Deibel: I ended up using the cash flow of the company to build out a proprietary ecommerce system that we then rolled out to all the existing customers. And within nine months we had almost 20,000 users on our new software system. This is exactly what we were trying to do at the startup and couldn't get done. And then you look at the economics and you started thinking, wow, it's more affordable, it's more accessible. All these baby boomers are retiring on and on and on and buy then build stories started coming together.
Ryan Tansom: For me, which it's. I literally saw me in a coworking space right now because I floated around the twin cities and I just, I mean, you have no idea how many people are like, Oh yeah, we've started this fund. And I'm like yeah, you get like 50 grand and we're going to buy companies. And I'm like sure you are. But I think the seriousness is like there's a lot of people talking about it these days because, and I don't know if you've found those numbers, but there's about four and a half million companies out of the mid-market that are going to be transitioning over the next five or seven years. So it's like a huge number of these people. And so what maybe what we can do Walker, because I want to, I want to kind of split for the listeners who are on either sides of these. And I would actually argue that the listeners should be on both sides, that you're going to have people that are potentially getting ready to exit. And so I think that there's a, what your knowledge base in your experiences, like what are the things that you're doing as a buyer, what are you looking for that they can potentially help themselves, but then also on the flip side, so you know, what, what should they be aware of and what are your big red flags, why you would do a lower multiple and all those different things that you're doing that they're not. And if someone's got a little bit more runway and wants to instead of potentially, you know, instead of acquiring someone, do it to your own business, right? Because they might maximize the value of the business. But then also on the flip side is some of these companies, I think for them to get to the multiple and the valuation that they need, they need to go out and acquire companies before they sell it. So I think it's, ah, that makes sense.
Walker Deibel: Oh yeah, totally.
Ryan Tansom: We can take it any direction you want. But I think no matter who's listening, they'll bend the benefit from it because I think whether you're buying on or the buy or the sell side, this is so important to you and how you're viewing these companies.
Walker Deibel: So, okay. Based on your question. I've got like three answers in completely different directions, but let's just start with, I need to unpack what you said a little bit because now I do help online entrepreneurs exit their business and as I talked to them, you know, I kind of helped them with, here are the things that are going to drive value in your company, on the acquisition entrepreneurship side. And when I'm buying that, you know, I think that you can look at an opportunity any number of ways and you simply need to categorize it. Right? So let's start there. Um, it's, it's something that I call the acquisition entrepreneurial Matrix or the AE matrix, right? And basically there's four different types of business profiles that allow a buyer to build value. The first is going to be eternally profitable. This is the sort of, you know, HBR, a profile that came out of a well Harvard and they wrote the book on how to buy a small business based on this eternally profitable kind of model number two is the turnaround. Number three is high growth and number four is a platform business. Okay. The internally profitable business is one of these where the goal of the acquisition is to reduce risk. It's like I've never bought a business before. I don't know what I'm doing. I should probably shouldn't say it like that, but you know, it's sort of like, I'm just looking for that thing that's going to have like zero technological threats moving into the space.
Walker Deibel: You know, I always think of um, you know, like snowplowing or corporate window washing or something like this. Something where like, you know, you just look at it and say, I have no idea how that would actually, you know, you know, there's no layer. Yeah, I mean it's just sort of like. Right. So you buy that kind of a business and, and you just sort of work that eternally profitable kind of model hoping to get, you know, hoping that your business is growing at one or two percent rather than declining one or two percent. But if it declines, don't worry about it because it's going to come back up and just kind of float around neutral, right? So no big growth opportunities, but you can really hang your hat on this right next is the turnaround. This is gonna be um, you know, there's varying levels of this.
Walker Deibel: Everything from like, you know, whatever I'm going to, I'm going to bail them out on the debt, on the front steps of the courthouse and take over this business to just kind of trending down and like will be in trouble soon. Right? I mean, these are the kinds of things that, you know, you pick them up for low multiples or, or even the debt on the books and, and, um, have an opportunity to turn the company around, usually benefiting from the infrastructure and revenue that's already there and just kind of right sizing the business. Right? On the other side, you've got high growth. You know what I always think of in this situation, you know, I always think about these really high growth software as a service companies, right? Things that, you know, they're catching on real quick. They're multiplying fast. There's not a lot of operating expenses and so it's growing, let's just say 30 percent or more year over year over year, right?
Walker Deibel: It's going to carry a higher multiple, but as long as you can keep that growth going, it's actually a low multiple, right? I mean, it's kind of, it's kind of the catch 22 as a seller, which is, well, when do I actually sell because I'm going to make more money if I hold onto it. Right? Lastly is this kind of platform model with this is in my mind is you know, if you're going to be a successful entrepreneur, you've got an idea, you have a skill set already intact and when, when every single business that you look at that's for sale or not the, the addition after you buy it, that makes a difference is you. And so by applying your skillset, your drive, your ideas to a business that can be acquired and then either you know, turned onto a new trend or taken to the next level would. However, whatever that looks like. To me, that's the platform model and it sort of provides both maximum value and maximum growth. Those are the kinds of things that you know, I look for when I'm looking for a business, I usually look at my skillset because I'm going to buy and manage it myself or if I'm, if I'm scaling acquisition entrepreneurship, I will look at, okay, here's my manager, what type of business will fit them.
Ryan Tansom: Yup. Yup. And then also probably in-line with all that stuff, I'm assuming you're looking at the different cross pollination of services and products and all that kind of stuff because you could probably cross, you know, you could have a platform business, but then you're taking maybe, you know, one of those lifestyle businesses and applying it to some of the other stuff and the whole, the whole machine gets a bigger growth.
Walker Deibel: Great. Or something like that from silly. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, what you're talking about is, you know, synergies, right? Or, you know, strategic acquisitions I guess. Yep. So it's one of these things were, let's, let's jump back, let's go back to the printing company. I know we were both in that space. So, you know, what the company had done before I got there was try to hire sales reps with the existing books of business. Right. They could then sort of bring over your trigger out. I'm ensure industry again in the nineties, one of these eternally profitable types of companies. Right? So maybe not by the late nineties, but anyway. So, um, the trick with that is it never worked right? Like the, the customers of that sales rep never came over and I tried it a few times as well and like four times and it just never worked.
Walker Deibel: And, and I was like, well, what is this? And I started looking at the data and you know, I don't have that on hand, but basically, you know, some large amount of customers call it 80 percent feel like their sales reps don't understand their business at all, nor do they really truly understand the value that the company is providing though the operations of the business are what that customer is ultimately buying. And that sales rep, you know, sure they've got the relationship, but like they're not, they're not the provider of the value. Right. But you know, if a sales rep leaves, um, that company is at risk of losing, you know, on the high end, call it 10 percent have, you know, that sales reps customer base. So yet again, it occurred to me in the printing industry that it was like, well, wait a minute, if we acquire a printing business and retain all the salespeople, you actually get effectively 100 percent of that, of that business and that is actually the best way to grow. And if you start to break down the economics of how acquisitions work, it's actually cheaper than hiring a sales rep anyway or it can be right.
Ryan Tansom: Right. So, I mean, I had so many. I got somebody's sales wrote stories. I don't even know how to start a different podcasts. Um, why you don't want to be a sales manager. I want to buy the company that manages those salespeople. Right? Exactly. Well, and let's take it, let's take the, the, the, the train of thought that we were kind of going on on buying companies to get your eventual exit because we can tee tee off the interview with things. If you're going to be selling things you should be really concerned about or looking at because you're going to be a target at some point and why you don't... But like as far as the buys that I think, you know, there's so many of our clients at these and, and people that I talked to were when there are a lot of those people that are pretty much in that bucket of internally profitable. But what, what I see is that, so if you think about the numbers, let's say you're a $2,000,000 company, you're making 10 percent IPA, 200 grand, you know, there's not a lot of wiggle room or cashflow after the salary's not. So it's literally a lifestyle business where they're probably working a lot into the whole John warrillow built to sell all kinds of stuff and you know, when they run these numbers and I've done a couple other interviews about how to back into what your. Essentially your passive cash flow needs to be there so significantly off walker that it's like they can't sell because if they sold after taxes after this, they're going to walk away with four or 500 grand and have two or three years of income. Right. So, but if I were to chug away, kind of like you were saying, doing certain things, I, I mean, I'm still not going to hit my goal with the three percent growth or time percent growth that I'm doing right now because my, I would need to do so many things to get to my, you know, three to $5 million net that I need. So what are some, when you think about these people, how, like how should you be, how should they be looking at potential acquisitions to bolt onto what they're doing?
Walker Deibel: Yes, I guess I would say there is growing through acquisition is a fantastic reality for those that have founded basically, you know, I mean first you to start with the downside. I mean something like, um, and I'm reaching back into my mba days, but it's something like almost 50 percent of acquisitions fail to materialize the value they thought they were acquiring. Right? I, you know, and, and as someone who has made strategic acquisitions and bolted on, you can't, you can't ignore the complexity of merging two companies together. No matter, no matter how insignificant it appears to be. Um, it's, it's, it's, it's a project, so, you know, when I, when I look at companies that are like, oh yeah, you know, we've got, we just fun, we just got a bunch of funding or whatever the reason is and we're going to run out and you know, here's our quota, we're going to buy a company a month, you know, for the rest of the year.
Walker Deibel: To me that just is insane. Like maybe they can do it and I honestly hope they can, but it's one of these things where to me it's, it's a one at a time kind of thing. Like you've got to be able to merge them correctly. Obviously the thing, you know, look part of the why. So I helped online entrepreneurs in the lower middle market exit their companies. Okay. And part of the reason I do that, there's a couple of reasons. One, there's not a lot of people and online businesses like the EBITDA you just said, you know, based on that, on that high revenue number, you can get that kind of be, but at a significantly lower revenue number in the online world, which has three. [Ryan interjects: It's wild actually, right?] Number two, I'm in the areas where I work. I don't get a whole lot of like corporate acquisitions and we do, we get private equity and things like this, but, but the thing is, is that even when that happens in this space, there's no heads rolling, you know, there's no like, oh yeah, we're going to buy this company and clean out the, the, the operating expenses by firing these 20 people.
Walker Deibel: Like I don't have to deal with that, which is beautiful. It makes it makes my life so wonderful. Right. But obviously those are the types of things that can really, you know, uh, uh, maximize the, the acquisition. Yeah, I guess it's, if you look at operating efficiencies, if you look at, at the end of the day, I guess that's it. Um, I, I bought a company once where I walked in and I met the seller and within, you know, one second I knew that I absolutely was not going to buy this company. It was one of these where I met the guy and I'm like, this is not gonna work, you know, whatever, but I, you know, driven a while to get there. And so I couldn't say like, oh, I forgot, I've got this call with Brian, I got to go there and I'm, and I'm looking and I'm talking to the seller and I'm sitting there with a package in front of me and then all of a sudden I had these two things kind of went together and the seller was talking and I'm looking at the P&L, you know, the income statement. And then I start asking questions about the income statement back to the seller. And I start to realize in my head, the seller is the problem with the business. Right? And I wouldn't even have considered this as a turnaround. It's just that all of a sudden I realized that there was so much operational inefficiency going on that simply by getting in there and operating it properly you, it was you, it was going to make it significantly more profitable, but a company is going out looking for another company to acquire. They either need to look at, okay, do we want to accelerate what we're already doing, we want to kind of catch a different trend over here in our industry and try to catch the, the other side of that bell curve while it's still small.
Ryan Tansom: Well and then you know, to, to piggyback off of one year other account as too is like it is, you know, like what you did with the printing businesses. Can you go buy a customer base and so you've got, let's say it's making five percent or whatever and maybe it is running fairly efficient and, but is there something else that you can bolt on top of that would, that would double the growth, right?
Walker Deibel: Yeah, let me give it to you like this. So the first company I bought was a book printing company. Okay. And um, I, the week I bought at the Amazon kindle came out now, now listen, it's not like I didn't see it coming, you know, I mean, there's a lot happening at that time, but actually what I saw was that people were starting buy books online. And sure enough, when you looked at the, at the empirical evidence supporting the trends in the industry, yes, Amazon was making a lot of headlines, but they, like, first of all, number one, the print book printing business was still over $100 billion in revenue. Like, you know, I mean it was huge. And obviously the trends were moving a different way with this new technology, uh, ebooks, right? But people were ordering books online and then they were being printed at low runs and, and, and, you know, keeping inventory down or even print-on-demand for, for like JIT, just in time, shipment, even single copy, right?
Walker Deibel: Look, we all know that exist today, but like, you know, that that wasn't so clear, right? Remember that was, let's say 15 years ago, 12 years ago. So, um, it's funny things where I bought the company, I knocked a wall down over in prepress, um, I put in three digital printing presses and then went and same thing, I turned around and told all the existing customers, hey, we've got this new thing we're rolling out, you know, it's going to be jit, keep your inventory low. Ah, and you know, within 18 months it was over 20 percent of the business and it's one of these where the printing industry is extremely fragmented. We were not on the map and we went into a rough time where a lot of printing companies were going out of business. Like a lot of them, right? We were, I'll just say flat during the great recession and the banker actually my banker at the time looked at me and said, hey, flat's the new growth model.
Walker Deibel: And he just was true, if you remember those times. Right. So those were just happy you are unfolding. Right? Exactly. Like I was like his crown jewel of that, but it was, it was one of these where every other owner of a printing company, with all due respect to them, it was a bunch of gray haired, you know, that cat guys with deep pockets complaining about how it wasn't the 1990s anymore. Everyone in my age group or our age group was running from it. They're like, no way. That's like, if you want to be sexy, you go on the other side of print. This is not where you want to be. But the truth is it was the best time since Gutenberg to try to make something of the company. And after about 24 months of implementing that, we were one of the largest, 1.5 percent of printing companies in North America.
Walker Deibel: And yeah, I mean it's just, you know, this little thing. Now I got to a point where I looked at, okay, now I need to take it to the next level. I'm going to build this system. Or people can get instant quotes online and then, you know, these custom quotes for their custom projects and then there's going to be a little green button and their email and they just upload their files and then we rip it and then they approved the proof and then it. And then if it's color and black and white, it goes onto the different presses automatically and in a crisis thing out. And it was like, it was a seven figure build out. Right. I mean it was so, so I knew I could buy a book printing company cheaper than that. Right. So when I went out on a and a half year search, looking for, okay, where is that digital book printing facility out there that they've hit their limits, but you know, for me, I need access to that, to that workflow and you know, they can't... they've hit a glass ceiling and can't get into my world. So, you know, where is that opportunity? And that it was that effort that ultimately led to um, to the exit of the company.
Ryan Tansom: Well, which I don't want to, I want to touch on the second two is like, so what I find interesting Walker is like, you know, this whole eos traction movement and the Rockefeller Habits and working on Your Business and in the e myth and all this stuff that's been going on for the last decade or so. It was like this. What you just described is like all that the business owner should actually be dealing with is my, in my truest opinion, right? We're like, yeah, you should be looking at your business as an asset. As long as you got cash flow to hire the people. Then those strategic decisions and those things that you're just talking about is all that you should be doing to be able to grow and to do the things that you need to do and I'm curious as you were doing that because you said it was a two and a half year search for that kind of topped it off with new, which will to the ultimate exit is what are you doing all of this in light of. I'm trying to hit a specific event or specific valuation and I've got a potential couple exit targets in mind, like, how were you like, balancing that eventual situation to harvest the value with what you were doing. I mean, did you think about it?
Walker Deibel: I did, but the time was very different. You know, mean the economic landscape today is thriving, right? Um, and it's one of these things were at that time, uh, that was not the situation, you know, and I wasn't looking at it in terms of, you know, I've got this target because I was in my thirties, you know, and I knew that I wanted to build this company. I knew that, uh, I felt it was the best time since Gutenberg to actually make a significant difference in that industry. And I truly believe that every business out there has an opportunity and it tells you what to do, right?
Walker Deibel: I mean, if you look at a business, the growth opportunity of that business is very clear. You know, buggy whips, you know, I mean, we always use the like, oh yeah, let's go in the way of the buggy whip. Well, all the buggy whip companies were actually car parts distributors, so they did just fine after the buggy whip dropped out and they were probably the manual, you know, the, the main manufacturers, right. Which I think then switched into wheels and such. But, uh, the point is, is if you look at, you know, I'll throw another name out there, Jim Collins, he wrote that book, um, how the mighty fall, right? And the, and the subtitle is like, and how the others, you know, thrive or, you know, the subtitle sells the book and, you know, we don't want to learn about failure. But anyway, the point is, is that we all believed that these startups are the ones that dominate new industries.
Walker Deibel: Right? And it's real easy to look at examples that it's very clear like Amazon, right? Or, um, I guess apple, right? I mean, you know, this kind of a thing, but the empirical evidence suggests that although entrepreneurs and their startups help create and launch the new industries, probably those with VC backing, those one out of 10 that really make it, it's actually the existing companies that make the leap to the new trend that end up dominating that industry.
Ryan Tansom: It makes sense to me. Well, just about the sheer quantity of the main street businesses that are out there. I mean it's like half of our GDP are privately held family partnership businesses.
Walker Deibel: Right. So, so to pull it around and say, you know, I mean, your, your question was sort of like what was my, what was my north star and that in that, at that time. And it really was, you know, this is my opportunity, this is my business. Um, you know, I had whatever 50 families that I was responsible for and people that, you know, I mean, you know, that, but it's like people that don't have that experience, they don't understand it. Like, it's, it's, that's why ego exists, right, is you've got a lot of people depending on you. This was my opportunity and my future and this was the trend that needed to be conquered. This was the challenge that I had. So who did.
Ryan Tansom: So how did that whole process go? Did someone knock on the door or did you know?
Walker Deibel: Oh, no, no, I looked at 27 companies over two and a half years, most of which were not for sale. Right. And at the end of the day I found, I think I can be transparent about this. I found Publisher's Graphics in Chicago and um, we reached out to them. They were not for sale. Um, and it was like, oh my God, this is the perfect company. I mean, they had this, they had a, um, an IT infrastructure that, you know, just the workflow was everything I wanted. It was, um, I can't think of the word in my head, but it was, it was the most substantial in the industry at the time. And I thought there was only two companies in, in really the world that had mastered print-on-demand, turned out there was three and a, so Publisher's Graphics hadn't absolutely nailed all of the infrastructure I was trying to hit. And um, after talking with them for about four months, uh, the CEO of their said, listen, everything you want to do makes perfect sense. And I want to do it. I just want to change one thing. I want to buy you. No problem.
Walker Deibel: You know what I mean? Here I am, you know, I'm like 35 years old or whatever in the printing industry. And, and, uh, that was fine. Now listen here, you know, I was like, look, this is my vision and I don't care who executes it. It doesn't have to be me, doesn't, it can be you. I don't care, right? I just, as long as it happens, right? So, um, that was an exciting time. And I learned another lesson, Ryan, at that time, which was, you know, when you get to, if you wait until the end of your career to sell your business, you are going to be totally surprised what it's worth, right? In other words, you might have a number in your head, but there's a 100 percent chance that number is wrong. Right. It's just, you know, on which side is that. And I will say I started using a broker because they started to approach business owners, uh, without a broker first and just said, hey, let me know, let's talk.
Walker Deibel: I want to buy you. And 100 percent of them when in 20 times EBITDA. And it was just like, okay, that's not how this works, you know, when you've got, I've got everything to gain by educating you on how this works, so you're not going to listen to me. So I ended up, you know, utilizing a broker and using, using someone else to help.
Ryan Tansom: Did you not use a broker to sell to that guy?
Walker Deibel: No, I did because, because I eventually used, used a broker to help me with outreach. And it was basically that he would call in and say, listen, I've been specifically asked to call you by this buyer who has engaged me, they've covered my fees, you know, so it's not one of these like, hey you want to sell your business? Like I can help you. Like I got buyers, I handpicked them and found them and he would reach out.
Ryan Tansom: So what was the, what was some of the things and I think it's, it kinda comes to that point where, where it's important for these listeners what was going on by all the reasons I really highly suggest that people should be going out and looking at ways to accelerate their growth and value by doing what you're talking about. It's a no-brainer. But there are a lot of these people, if most of the listeners are baby boomers and, and other people are just in light of what you're trying to do. I think it's kind of both ends of the spectrum. What did you learn over that experience of selling that you realized like how the value is applied? You know, even though you had bought companies, Walker, was there things you learned that you were not aware of when you were the ones selling?
Walker Deibel: Let me think. I mean, you know, I, I think the big thing was, was that, you know, it's one of these things where, you know, the day I sold, I had no debt on the business. Right? And that was great. But um, what I learned was that at my, at the time of my exit, which again, I built this great thing and not by myself, it wasn't a, you know, I mean we had a team of great people and we and we've really executed very well. And what I learned was the value of my business, you know, because it was in this mature market was going to be pretty much the same when I was 35 and when I was 65. Right. So for those that wait and just sort of hold on to their business and, and, and kind of stopped growing and get comfortable, I would say it's at that moment that you should really sell because you know, you need to, you need to continually be moving on.
Walker Deibel: And uh, that was, that. It was that insight that, that, you know, kind of. I eventually turned into, okay, I bought a business and then I was like, okay, well how do I scale buying businesses? Right. And then I started using managers to buy more companies that I didn't have to run. That make sense?
Ryan Tansom: It does. And it's, it's interesting. I've got this friend who just sold his company for a significant amount of money and he articulated the way that you, when you said a new did it a pretty good job too of saying it's, it's a way to continuously move on because essentially you've got a bond that's gonna clip away at what, four percent over and over and over that you're locked your, your, your capital is locked into and tied up in and working in some of it. But what he said is, he goes, I can get seven years' worth of income today and then roll it into other companies that then I have other shareholders and other people boosting my capital for me.
Walker Deibel: That's right. That's right. A great way to put it. That's right. That's right. That's exactly it. And so, yeah, and after I sold my first company, that's exactly what I did. I ran out about six more.
Ryan Tansom: Six more companies? [Walker interjects: I did.] What were the, what were the different, um, and what was the strategy behind the different companies and was it a big holding company that you would wrap them all into?
Walker Deibel: Sort of the, the brand that, that I guess holds them all as a Sentra. It's just my, it's a name that means nothing to anyone else but, but, um, uh, the strategy was again, just looking at my skillset and, and you know, this and the opportunity that a company has and then looking at, you know, I would, I would, um, find and meet managers that I would want to employ and then use their skillset and match it to a growth opportunity. So today I own companies in ecommerce, manufacturing and distribution. Super Cool. I want to jump in here, but you know, I'm going to finally have leopard. Something keeps Kinda. It's kind of circular circling around me and I'm not sure when it's going to come up so I just want to throw it out there. A lot of times people that are exiting a business, you know, they, they have this mindset of like, oh, the goal is to sell it when it's, when it's at its peak and it's worth it's absolute maximum amount.
Walker Deibel: Right? And I think that two things happened. One, if you actually get to that peak, it's not worth quite as much. Okay. And number two, a buyer is going to understand that it's at that peak and they're not going to pay as much for it. In other words, when you're selling a business and when you're buying a business, the big overlap is there's gotta be a very clear growth opportunity? The best, let me say like does the best acquisition entrepreneurs will find and see the opportunity that the sellers don't necessarily see. Okay. The point is is that, you know, if, if you completely maximize a run and there's no money left on the table for a buyer, you're not actually maximizing the sale of your company because when a buyer comes in and they want to be able to see, oh, there's more money on the table and that's going to push the value up. Right?
Ryan Tansom: Yeah, makes a ton of sense. Because if you know, you don't want to be the one. Well actually here's a great story, an analogy and I don't know how many people know about it, but like, so there was a private equity firm that bought Blockbuster and ran them into the ground. They bought, they bought blockbuster and random into the ground because they literally just, it was straight line man, because that was the top right. So blockbuster hit their top and then they just like the private equity firm, which is just pure numbers. They said, okay, how many late fees are out there? How many rentals are out there? And then what's the. It was literally liquidation value, but they bought it, but it was just purely a numbers play, but that was it at that. That wasn't max value whatsoever. I mean it was just, it was almost liquidation value in the marketplace.
Walker Deibel: And can I tell you, I mean, you know, we look at, we look at a company like blockbuster or like Borders are like, oh boy, they really messed it up. Well, I mean the reason Barnes and Noble, you know, pulled ahead and Borders, went out of business was because borders outsource their online ordering the Amazon, so they gave up online or the online ordering of books, which was the big future trend. If you look at Blockbuster and really drill down into the technology that crippled an entire industry, it was dvds and the US mail. [Ryan interjects: Isn't that funny.] Whoever bought Blockbuster, I hope they're not listening.
Walker Deibel: They missed out on like again, like to, to, just to draw an analogy, you know, the biggest time since Gutenberg, like the greatest opportunity stints like online home since home video, right. Was simply making that leap from retail stores to your mailbox and they just failed to do it for whatever reason. You know.
Ryan Tansom: And actually let's expand on that for whatever reason because I think in this, I think it actually even it proves your point of acquisition even more, Walker, is that 70 percent of Blockbuster's revenue came from their late fees. So they literally, physically couldn't do what Netflix was doing because Netflix said I'm going to go in and charge 10 bucks a month. So like they would be cannibalizing their own profits and their own shareholders because the market was shifting so they wouldn't have either. They should have gone out and bought people to get into that space. But like when you look at the P&L, like they can't do it because they're paralyzed, but whereby where they get their profits and you know, my old industry got that, had that problem, which is, where's the, where's the problem with this or this profit center? It's a copier, managed IT, software when the route is, like, what I would we have done at the last part is its profit per customer who gives a shit what they buy, right? That's right. But on some of these corporate do accuracies of people just like, you know, arguing internally because of their bonus structures.
Walker Deibel: Well, let's talk about John warrillow again. You know, this is the automatic customer. I mean this is, I mean again, it's just something that they didn't see. And, and um, if you had the blockbuster brand, right, and you could buy the blockbuster brand, then there's no other company that could've competed with Netflix once Netflix really got going yet Blockbuster was the only one, you know, they just missed the opportunity they didn't make. They didn't make the leap to the new trend.
Ryan Tansom: So as we're kind of wrapping up here, if you think, you know, I think for the listeners who are going okay and get all this and made it all make sense or to a certain degree, um, is, what is it like, you know, when you're going in there, what is your kind of maybe two cents of when you're looking at a business and you're valuing it and like, you know, you can kind of tie it back to Warrillow or any of the other people, but the value building because it's all, you know, as a buyer, it's just the rest of the value drivers, just also a risk factor. So like what are the things that you look for and that you will increase your value that you will pay or decreased. I mean is there some big glaring things that you kind of wanted to say, hey, keep thinking about these things as you march towards an exit.
Walker Deibel: I'm not blaming, I'm not like a value buyer or anything like that, but paying big multiples just scares me period. Right. And a lot of high growth companies, you know, they, they get a lot of attention and they're really sexy. They dry, they push big multiples. Those scare me to death. I, it's just not my thing. At the same time, you know, drastic turnaround is not my flavor either. I think that I really look at the market and as an advisor for online businesses, I, what, what I love about it so much is that you learned that the market, the customer feedback loop and the market on online businesses is very fast, right? I mean, you know, no, we sell like, you know, 90 percent of our listings in 90 days. I mean just is so fast because they're easy to transfer, they're easy to validate, they're easy to operate compared to you know, 50 employee manufacturing company or whatever.
Walker Deibel: And what I learned from that is that the, the, the market is just brutally honest. And I think a lot of times you'll find a buyer who, or I'm sorry, a seller, I'm switching gears now to the buyer and I'll be talking to a seller and it's, it's or, or their or their broker. And I start to figure out like, okay, a couple of things. One, they are trying to present themselves as if they're in an adolescent market and like push this, this multiple, which actually makes no sense at all. Right. And they might be able to push that kind of a multiple to a strategic buyer, but understanding that you're not a strategic buyer, really important, just because you know, they're kind of pricing it one way doesn't mean that you have to believe in it. I'm not saying, you know, go out and get a deal all the time. I'm just saying be the buyer that you are, okay. Don't, don't pretend like you're a different buyer because you can really bring yourself with that.
Ryan Tansom: That's good feedback.
Walker Deibel: Yeah. I had one other thing and I, Ryan, I can't remember what it was.
Ryan Tansom: It's good feedback walker, because I think whether you're buying or selling, I mean as an entrepreneur you should technically be. And maybe it's honestly just simple as this, Walker, is like this is the game that entrepreneurs should be playing, right? It shouldn't be arguing about your KPIs at your management team. Like, this is the, this is what entrepreneurship is and whether you're buying or selling, it's the same stuff. Right? And what happened that people just don't ever think about it or listen or do it and then they just get blindsided because they don't know what the market's talking about and so they're just totally out of whack with what they want, what they're thinking.
Walker Deibel: And one more thing, right? I mean, the other thing that I look for, and this is, this is um, you know, maybe I should have announced it on a podcast, but I always try to look for, you know, the fundamentals of the business and I look, I look for really truly like kind of old economy style fundamentals. And then I want to be the person to kind of bring the new economy to it. Right? But other words, if I can find that company that it hasn't really been on the, it hasn't really taken advantage of the Internet yet. And you know, consider the $10,000,000,000,000 in business volume that needs to change hands. And all the boomers that own these companies, you know, they put a lot of them, a lot of them, you know, or you know, whatever. They don't have a lot of debt, right. They haven't, you know, really hustled for a decade because they're comfortable, you know, maybe they're making whatever their number is, $200,000 a year, a million dollars a year or whatever it is, and they're just kind of cruising along, putting their kids through college and, and living the good life. And you know, when it comes time to sell, there's going to be a huge opportunity for the person that has that skill set that can come in and just, you know, upgrade the business. And that's kind of what I look for. That's my, my sort of recipe.
Ryan Tansom: No, I think it actually, it speaks to the kind of, the reality of what it is. And I almost, I honestly, that's the interesting dynamics and my dad and I had walker because you know, like, okay, are we going to dump another $2,000,000 into this company for managed IT service? And he's looking at me going, you're crazy. I want my money, I'm like, But, come on, this is going to be cool. So like, you know, I think a lot they do lose the fire in the hustle and the return on the capital investments that they're going to. I mean are they going to see that for the timeline that they want? And that kind of goes into your kind of the. I think that's an interesting overlay and I don't, I don't know if that's something that you've kind of articulated yet, but like you have the growth, you know, where they're at in the industry and the growth, but then you throw on that the timeline of the, of the entrepreneur and it can tell a lot too of why those things haven't been upgraded and done because I mean it just makes too much sense.
Walker Deibel: Right. I think that most overrated question is why are they selling? You know, everyone's always like, oh, they see something around the corner, there's a snake in the bushes or whatever they're selling because they build something of value and it's time to exit. At the end of the day, that's what's happening.
Ryan Tansom: Right. I love it. So as you're wrapping up your walk with all the different things that we've talked about, your whole book, which everybody will have links in the show notes, everybody's got to go out and read it, you know, if there's something from the book or from the podcasts or something we didn't talk about, and yet you don't want to leave the listeners with it, what would it be?
Walker Deibel: Oh, I don't know. I guess I'm, you know, I'm a, I would say I'm going to buy then build.com and check it out. I think um, you know, I've got the book out there and put a little course together and my goal is, my long-term goal is that, uh, you know, if I can, if I can generate enough interest, uh, with, buy then build, I want to build out a complete community and then eventually marketplace. So get a hold of me or learn anything about anything that we're trying to get done and said by then bill.com.
Ryan Tansom: That's awesome. That's awesome. Walker. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Had a blast.
Walker Deibel: Thanks Ryan. I Enjoyed it.
Ryan Tansom: I really hope you enjoyed that episode. Walker. I think it's something that you should really take the heart whether you are planning on selling your company and not doing any acquisitions. It's a really good lesson to be learned about how someone's going to perceive value in your business. But I really do think that the big takeaway is I would challenge you to go onto a brokerage website, whether it's a sunbelt in your local marketplace or any brokerage site. Start looking at financials and start looking at a business from the eyes of a buyer because not only are you going to learn a lot about your business and what you should be doing inside your business to pitch it and get it ready for an eventual exit, whether that's third party or internal, but it's also gonna help you and strategically get you thinking about how you could bolt on additional value using your cash flow, potentially some financing to accelerate your growth, your cash on your evaluation because someone else is got to their peak and they're ready to tee off to you will. Then you can take that the customers cross sell and just do a bunch of different things with their business because of your platform that you've built. Go on Amazon, go onto Walker's website, check it out by his book. Learn a lot about it. Reach out to him or reach out to GEXP if you want to know more. So if you enjoyed the episode, go onto itunes. Otherwise I will see you next week.