How to Exit Rich with Michelle Seiler Tucker

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This is a podcast episode titled, How to Exit Rich with Michelle Seiler Tucker. The summary for this episode is: <p>The biggest mistake that business owners make is that they don’t plan their exit from their business. People don’t think about the planning and preparation that goes into negotiating the sale of their business. Michelle Seiler Tucker—a mergers and acquisitions master intermediary, a senior business analyst, and the best-selling author of three books—outlines exactly what you need to do to get top dollar for your business in her book, “<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">Exit Rich</a>.” Michelle covers much of that process in this episode of&nbsp;<em>Negotiations Ninja</em>. Don’t miss it!</p><h2>Outline of This Episode</h2><ul><li>[1:55] Who is Michelle Seiler Tucker?</li><li>[3:57] The flip-flop of statistics</li><li>[5:46] Formulating an exit plan</li><li>[7:43] Michelle’s GPS Exit Model</li><li>[12:14] The 6 pillars of proprietary</li><li>[20:31] The 6 P Method to exit rich</li><li>[28:34] How to get Michelle’s book + membership</li></ul><h2>Connect with Michelle Seiler Tucker</h2><ul><li><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);"></a>&nbsp;(Get the book now)</li><li>BOOK:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">Exit Rich</a></li><li>Text “Michelle” to 888-526-5750 for more resources</li><li>Michelle’s&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">website</a></li><li>Connect on&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Follow on&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">Twitter</a></li></ul><h2>Connect With Mark</h2><ul><li>Follow Negotiations Ninja on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">@NegotiationPod</a></li><li>Connect with Mark&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">on LinkedIn</a></li><li>Follow Negotiations Ninja&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">on LinkedIn</a></li><li>Connect on Instagram:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">@NegotiationPod</a></li></ul><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(51, 122, 183);"><strong>Subscribe to Negotiations Ninja</strong></a></p>
The flip-flop of statistics
02:18 MIN
Formulating an exit plan
01:54 MIN
Michelle’s GPS Exit Model
03:54 MIN
The 6 pillars of proprietary
08:14 MIN
The 6 P Method to exit rich
08:02 MIN
How to get Michelle’s book + membership
02:12 MIN

Mark: Welcome to the Negotiations Ninja podcast. Where we develop and deliver the most engaging negotiation content and training in the world. We host negotiation experts, business people, and entrepreneurs, and discuss what works, what doesn't work, and how we can improve our negotiation skills. Negotiations Ninja listeners, you've got Mark here. Welcome to the Negotiations Ninja podcast. Today my amazing and incredible guest is Michelle Seiler Tucker. She is basically the leading guru when it comes to selling your business. She's written a fantastic new book, which I recommend, called Exit Rich. See, so many people push off planning the sale of their business until the last moment. They don't think about what it takes to actually negotiate a good deal of the planning and the preparation that goes into it. Michelle's actually written about that. She outlines exactly what you need to do to get top dollar for your business. And today we talk all about that in this fantastic interview. Enjoy this great conversation with Michelle Seiler Tucker. Michelle, how are you?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Mark, I'm great. How are you?

Mark: I am so great. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Thank you so much for having me. It's my pleasure.

Mark: Yes, I'm really excited, because not often we get to talk about how to manage an exit and how to make sure that you manage it profitably. I think it's generally speaking the last thing that people think about, but probably one of the most important things that people need to be thinking about. But before we get into our topic today, I'd love it if you could share with the listeners a bit about who you are and what you do.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Sure. So I am Michelle Seiler Tucker. I am an entrepreneur, I own many different companies and several different verticals. I've always been an entrepreneur. I did kind of get caught up in working for corporate America for Xerox for about a year, but then I went right back into entrepreneurship. I left Xerox and actually went into franchise sales, franchise consulting, franchise development. And then I transitioned into selling companies versus sort of selling small companies, like your restaurants, coffee shops, things of that nature. But then very quickly I transitioned into selling large businesses, 10 million and up, manufacturing, distribution, staffing, biz2biz, service businesses. And I also transitioned into fixing businesses because I realized that what Steve Forbes says is true, " That eight out of 10 businesses will not sell." So I'm like, " Oh my gosh, if I don't fix them, if I don't tweak them, if I don't grow them so they're sellable, I'm going to starve to death." So that's when I started really specializing in buying, selling, fixing and growing. So I bought companies and flip them. I partnered with business owners, investing my money, time, expertise, and resources to put them on a bill to sell plan. Because that's the biggest mistake that business owners make is they don't plan their exit. So that's me, I'm a Merger& Acquisition Master Intermediary, Senior Business Analyst, Best- Selling Author of three different books actually, and very excited to be launching Exit Rich.

Mark: Yeah, fantastic. And that's primarily what I want to talk about today. Something that you mentioned there that really piqued my interest, and I think we'll start there is, so many people don't think about the exit, right? They don't, when they start a business or even once the business is even mature, only much later do they start thinking like, " Okay, well I should start thinking about how I'm going to sell this thing." And then they get to the end and they realize, " Well, there's not much to sell. I've got something here that I haven't really nurtured and grown and put processes and procedures in place and right. It's not really a plug and play for anyone who wants to pick it up. So maybe for the listeners, educate them on why this is so important to start thinking about it right from the beginning?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Absolutely. And for me to do that, I like to provide a little bit of background if that's okay?

Mark: Go for it, yeah.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: So when I wrote my first book, Sell Your Business for More Than It's Worth, in 2013, and I did the research and found out that 85 to 95% of all startups would fail. We all know that, that's common knowledge that if you go into business, those first one to five years are the most risky. So 95% of startups go out of business. However, when I wrote Exit Rich in 2019 to 2020, so the exact same research, I learned very quickly that the business landscape, I mean I already suspected, but I learned that the business landscape has flip- flopped. So now it's only 30% of startups will go out of business. Only 30% of businesses will fail. Think of that, only 30%. It used to be if you could make it past five years, you're golden, right? But now out of 27.6 million companies, those businesses have been in business 10 years or longer, 70% of those businesses will go out of business, seven zero. That is shocking, you know? I was flabbergasted.

Mark: I want to pause this right here, because I think this is, like we need to really make sure the listeners are aware of this. So we've basically said that of the businesses that are going to make it for 10 years or longer, 70% of those businesses are going to go out of business?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: 70% are going to come out of business, that's right.

Mark: Outrageous, outrageous. That's wild.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: It's wild, right? It's like, it's hard to even imagine. There's 30. 2 million businesses in the United States employing over half the U. S. workforce.

Mark: Right.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: And if we lose small business, then what happens? We lose small business, we lose jobs. When you lose jobs, then you lose spending power. So it's very scary.

Mark: Yeah, and so let's dive into that for a second. There's when we think of the broader implications on the economy, on people's jobs and all of that kind of stuff, having an exit plan makes a ton of sense. But business owners aren't necessarily thinking about the economy and all that kind of stuff. What should they be thinking about when they're starting their business and they're starting to formulate a potential exit plan? And why is that so important? Because if they go out of business and there's nothing to sell, I mean, really that's their nest egg, right? I mean, this asset that they've built is now worthless.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: And that's why I wanted to give a little bit of background, a little bit of history. Because you know, those businesses that are going out of business, the 70% that's being forced to sell them for pennies on the dollar, closing their business, or even worse, filing bankruptcy. And that's horrific. I mean, you hear about the big box companies all the time, like Toys R Us went out of business, GMC, Kmart, et cetera, but you're not hearing about the private companies. So here's the bottom line. Business owners have to plan their exit. Whether you're starting a business or buying a business, you have to think about building a business that is valuable that buyers are willing to pay top dollar for. Sellers don't think about selling their business until they have to due to an internal or external catastrophic event. They call me up when there's a death, or there's a partner's dispute, or there's health issues. I had a little sweet old lady call me two months ago and say, " Can you please sell my husband's business? He dropped dead of a heart attack." Go, " Oh my gosh, I would love to help you." And she goes, " He left me with all this debt and I don't know what to do." So I started asking her questions. How many employees does he have? Zero, he has subcontractors. Does he have any policies, procedures, systems in place? Went down the line of questioning. He did not have a business, he had a job. So there was nothing to sell. And now she's upside down in debt. So business owners really have to think about their business as their asset, not their baby. And they need to build it to sell, if not for them, for their heirs, because catastrophic events do occur.

Mark: That's right. And so what are some of the common characteristics that you've noted in your research and in your work that business owners need to start thinking about making sure they've ticked off to make sure they actually have a sellable product?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Yep. Let's go through that. So, number one, I tell business owners, " Follow the GPS EXIT Model, the ST GPS EXIT Model," which is outlined in my book, Exit Rich. So this is a plan. What business owners have is no plan. So they're driving around in circles, driving up and down the financial hills, going nowhere. So this is a plan. So I want all business owners to pick a number. When you drive somewhere, what do you do? You pull out your phone, right? You plug in either a Google Maps or Waze or something and you plug in your destination. So we need a destination, business owners. We need an end game. We need a desired sales price. So plug in your destination, say, " Okay, I want to sell my business for$ 20 million." Great, we got a number. I don't care if you meet it or not right now. I just want you to have a number. So$ 20 million. Now, what does the GPS model need to know? It needs to know where you're starting from. What is your current evaluation? Do you know, Mark, that us humans go to the doctor. We get physical checkups once a year, we drive our car into the shop to get a checkup on our car. But business owners never get a valuation checkup? Most business owners have never had their business evaluated. I'm working with a company right now, has been in business for 40 years, never had the business evaluated. That is financial suicide. Business owners should have a financial evaluation checkup every year on their business, because there are events that increase value and there are events that decrease value, like COVID. So you need to know where you're starting from. So if you say, " Okay, I want to sell for$ 20 million," I'm starting at$ 5 million. Great. Now we're starting to plan. We need to reverse engineer it, right? So now we need to know, " Okay, if I want to sell for$ 20 million, I'm worth$ 5 million today, how much do I want to sell for?" I mean, what timeframe? Let's say you want to sell in 10 years. Great. Now who your buyer is going to be. Not buyer, but buyers. Because I can promise you, sellers come to me all the time and say, "I have a buyer." And I will bet money on it that that buyer will not close. So you always have to have backup buyers. So there's five types of buyers. So you need to know what type of buyers are going to buy your business. So if you're trying to sell a$ 20 million company, it's not going to be a first time buyer, because they won't be able to afford a$ 20 million company. And it's not going to be a turnaround specialist, because they buy distressed assets, they don't buy$ 20 million companies, right? So it's either going to be a private equity group, a strategic/ competitor, or a serial entrepreneur who chases cashflow. Those are going to be your three types of buyers. So now you'll narrow that down a little bit. Now you need to ask yourself, " Well, what's our financial criteria to spend$ 20 million on a company?" It depends on industry, but it really depends upon the numbers too. What does the gross revenues have to be? What does the EBITDA, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization have to be? To sell for$ 20 million you're going to have to be, have at least four to$5 million in EBITDA. Unless you're a SaaS company and you have some proprietary, then that might be a little bit different.

Mark: Then you can come on a bigger multiple?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Absolutely. We're working with a SaaS company right now that we're looking at 23 multiple, okay? But on average multiples in the U. S. are usually anywhere from one and a half to three and a half or four. However, the higher the EBITDA, the higher the multiple. Meaning, that once you start getting over that million dollars, $ 2 million, $3 million in EBITDA, then your multiples go over five. Under that they're probably under around three or four. Makes sense?

Mark: Very interesting, yes.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: So that's the GPS EXIT Model. Now there's one last step and oh, also, not only what is about financial criteria to spend$ 20 million on your company, but what characteristics are they looking to buy? What synergies are they looking to pay for? Because buyers will pay more for synergies then they will for EBITDA.

Mark: Explain that a little bit. What do you mean by that?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Facebook paid$ 19 billion for WhatsApp. WhatsApp was hemorrhaging. They weren't making any money whatsoever, but WhatsApp had a synergy. They had a billion users. Facebook looked at that billion users and said, " We can monetize that. We can align that." And so they went ahead and pay$ 19 billion for a company hemorrhaging money because they had a synergy. So when we talk a little bit about the six P's and we get into the biggest P, which is proprietary, I'll talk to you about all the value drivers, because that's where you sell synergies. And that's how you can demand a much higher price.

Mark: Well, we might as well dive into that now. So when we talk about that last P, let's dive into that a bit. Could you explain that for the listeners?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Proprietary?

Mark: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

Michelle Seiler Tucker: All right. Do you want me to start with the first P or just start with that one?

Mark: Start with that one, because I feel like this is really the crux of the matter. This is where you start generating a lot more money when you have that proprietary piece.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Yes. But if you don't have so many other pieces, you might not get that much money. So we'll just talk about that one, but let me talk about proprietary. So proprietary is the highest multiple driver. Proprietary can take you from a five multiple to 10 X quickly. So it's all about building the proprietary. There's six pillars to proprietary. Number one is branding. You have to ask yourself how well branded are you. The more branded your company is, the more I can sell your business for as long as the brand is relevant in the mind of the consumers. Does anybody want to pay anything for Blockbuster brand?

Mark: Valid point. Yeah, absolutely.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Zero.

Mark: Zero people.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Nobody wants to pay for Blockbuster brand. The biggest brand in the world is?

Mark: Apple?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Apple. Apple is the biggest brand in the world. Apple is worth$ 189 billion just for the brand. That's not including EBITDA. That's not including equipment, assets, real estate, inventory, accounts receivables. That's just the brand. So this is what I'm talking about. Proprietary is the highest value driver you can possibly get. Second thing is trademarks. Trademarks are very important, but most business owners make big mistakes with trademarks. They go out and start a company. What state are you in, Mark?

Mark: I'm in Canada actually.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Oh, you're in Canada? Okay. Okay, so I can't use that, so.

Mark: Pick one, doesn't matter. Pick California.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Somebody who wants to start a business, California. They go and they get a state trademark, but they never checked the federal database to make sure that company name is available.

Mark: Right.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: So they get their state trademark. They go into business. And then all of a sudden in five, 10, 15 years can go by and all of a sudden receive a cease and desist letter in the mail that says, " You have to stop using this company name." They hire an attorney. They'll spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars and they'll lose. And then they have to stop using that company name and they have to start branding all over again. So always trademark. I don't know how important that is in Canada, but in the USA it's everything. You need a trademark on your company name, trademark on your podcast. Trademark on your slogans. I trademark the inaudible 6Ps, trademark exit writ, trademark. Also patents. Patents are extremely valuable. Do you ever watch Shark Tank?

Mark: Yes.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: What questions does every single shark always ask?

Mark: Do you have any proprietary information, any IP, any patents?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Do you have a patent on that? Do you have a patent pending? Do you have a utility account? Do you have a patent? So patents are extremely valuable. We once sold a company, it wasn't making much money, for$ 18 million, because they had 18 patents. So patents are very valuable. The other thing that's valuable, an IP that buyers will pay more money for. So what I'm talking about right now is what buyers will pay more money for. Contracts. Let's say a franchisor has 5, 000 franchisees. That's extremely valuable. Manufacturing contracts, exclusive manufacturing contracts. Distributor, exclusive distributor contracts, vendor contracts. Client contracts are the most valuable of all because buyers will pay more money for that. We had an oil manufacturing business that we had a price in the 9. 8, $ 9 range. We had 550 buyers, narrowed it down to 12 letter of intents, 12 LOIs. We found a strategic that had a similar product and service. Our owner had customer concentration. 65% of their business was tied up in BP. The strategic wanted the BP contract because they've been trying to get in BP for decades and could never get their products or services in there. So they were willing to pay more money than everybody else. So they offered$ 15 million for a inaudible price for 9. 8, $ 15 million for 70% of the business, 65% higher than their pay price because they wanted that contract.

Mark: Yeah, for them that was a massive strategic move.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Massive strategic move. So when we evaluate businesses, we're looking for these types of synergies, right? Now here's the caveat to contracts. In the U. S. 99. 9% of all sales are asset sales, not stock sales. If the contract doesn't have the transferability clause, and I will tell you, none of them do, then the deal is going to fall dead in its tracks. Or we have to go back out to those clients and get that transferability clause. BP did not have a transferability clause. So we had to work with BP until we got it. So that's extremely valuable that buyers will pay more for it. Databases we already talked about. If you have a database with clients that can be re- targeted and repurposed, there are companies out there that will pay you a lot of money for your database. The other thing I call is IP real estate. So it's not your building or your land, IP real estate is let's say you have a skincare line and it's endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Do you think strategic that maybe has a diet company or has some other synergistic products would pay more money because now they're in front of Oprah?

Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Absolutely.

Mark: The celebrity endorsement counts.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Celebrity endorsements are huge, huge value drivers. So is being number one on any of the platforms. So let's say you manufacture furniture and you're number one on Wayfair. You're number one on Modern. Let's say you manufacture vacuum cleaners, and you have a unique patent and you have cornered the market on Amazon. Let's say you manufacture these masks that we all have to wear and you're number one on Etsy. So IP real estate really drives value. And at that point, yes, the EBITDA's still important, but the EBITDA is not the focus anymore. What's the focus is the synergy that that buyer wants to buy. And not only that, but we also know when we market companies, we know what our company is having. We know what buyers are looking for. So we help our buyers figure out how they can take advantage of economy of scales and how they can cut costs right away from buying that company, and doubling or quadrupling the EBITDA. Let's say you have a manufacturing company and they have distribution centers, but the company is buying them has distribution throughout the entire United States, they don't need their distribution center. Boom, you just cut that expense. You just doubled your EBITDA.

Mark: Hey listeners, I don't want to tell you about another company that I run called Content Callout. It is a thought leadership brand marketing company. Now what does that mean? It means that we take you as an executive or entrepreneur, a leader of a small or medium sized business, and we turn you into a thought leader online. We take your personal brand and we amp it up to 11. So that you can lead with confidence, knowing that people will recognize you, recognize your brand, and recognize your business, because of the thought leadership approach that you've taken on social media through content creation and content distribution, as well as engaging with all of your following online. How do you get involved in this? Easy, easy, easy. Just go to contentcallout. com/ getstarted. And you will see there three different options that will allow you to take your thought leadership brand for yourself and for your business to the next level. We are super excited to talk to you about this. We've seen some massive growth with the businesses that we've been working with. Very, very exciting time for us. Look at that, we appreciate it. Now back to your show. I love that you are so precise with the things that can increase the multiple of the business or make a business more valuable potentially, perceived value to the person who wants to buy it, where you're creating these synergies. That's the six P. Arguably one of the things that's really going to make a difference for you. But if you don't have a lot of the other things, the other five P's, sometimes that six P doesn't necessarily work out. So what are the other five P's that people need to think about, we don't need to get into a big lot of detail about it, but what are the other five P's, so that people can start thinking about it, " Okay, if I need to develop this proprietary stuff on the sixth one, what are the other things I need to think about?"

Michelle Seiler Tucker: The problem with me is this hard for me not to be detailed.

Mark: I love that about you. That's fantastic.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: So the number one P is people. You don't build a business, you build people and they build the business. You cannot sell a business if the business is 100% dependent upon you. If you're a dentist and you have a dental practice and you're the only dentist and you've been in business 30 years, your business is not sellable, because once I pull you out of the business, there is no business. You know, we have a fabrication company right now. Two owners, been in business 35 years, two partners, they're in their 70s, four employees. Very difficult to sell. And they're like, " Michelle, we can fabricate anything. We can make anything we want to make." I'm like, " Yeah, you can, because it's in your head. But four employees cannot." So they never taken the IP out of their head to put it on paper. So entrepreneurs need to focus on their strengths, hire out the weaknesses, make sure you have the right people in the right spot and ask the who question. Who opens the door? Who handles manufacturing? Who handles logistics? Who handles accounting? Who handles legal? Who handles environmental? Who handles transportation? You know who, who, who? The clue mark is, you should never be next to the who.

Mark: Love that, great line.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: You want to build a business that runs without you. And if you're going to try to sell a business for$ 20 million, you better have a level of management in place. You need to have a level of management, you have to have COO, a CFO. And you know, for some of those people that are really an integral part to the company, buyers, want to make sure they have an employment contract and non- competes. You'd be surprised how many owners don't have their key individuals have non- competes. Very important. Number two is product. Ask yourself. Product is huge because if you have the wrong product or in the wrong industry like Blockbuster, you could be dead. You know, there's a lot of industry suffering right now because of COVID. There's a lot of industries thriving right now because of COVID. So you have to ask yourself, " Is your product on the way up, on a way out?" Are you an Amazon? Are you a Blockbuster? And if you're a Blockbuster, then you really need to, not quit, don't quit. Align yourself with an expert that can see things more clearly than maybe you can because you're in the middle of it. You know, when you're in the middle of the fog, it's foggy. So I always tell my clients, " Ask three transformational questions." Amazon did this. Amazon asked themselves in the 90s, " What business are we in?" And they said, " We're booksellers." " What do we do really, really, really well, better than anybody?" " We do fulfillment really well." " What business should we be at?" " Oh, we should be in the fulfillment business." So those three questions transformed Amazon into out of a have small bookseller to a multi- billion dollar roll by conglomerate that they are today. So if your product is failing, you need to pivot, you need to innovate. And then so processes is the third P. We all know processes are important, right? But Mark, most business owners never think about process and until something bad happens in our company. You know, something bad happens, " Oh, we need a process for that." You really need to think about processes from the beginning of starting or buying a company. Did you ever watch the movie, The Founder? The McDonald's story?

Mark: I haven't watched yet. That's the Ray Kroc story, right?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Yes. It's based upon the McDonald's brothers and Ray Kroc. McDonald's brothers started McDonald's, not Ray Kroc. Ray Kroc is the one who blew it up. But back in the 40s McDonald's brothers said, " We want to open up a fast food restaurant." Because back then you had the drive ups and the food was always cold. It took so long, and the order was always wrong. So McDonald's says, " Here's our mission. Here's our vision. Here's our customer experience. We're going to design a process to achieve the customer experience, to obtain the customer experience." They said, " Our customer experience is going to be, they're going to get great tasting food fast and they're going to get it in two minutes or less." So they took all their employees out to an empty tennis court, took chalk, mapped it all out, did this all day until they figured out who's going to take the order? Who's going to toast the buns? Who's going to cook the burgers? Give it to the client in two minutes or less. Those processes right there, even though they've been tweaked through the years is why you can eat at McDonald's anywhere in the world and get the same experience. So here's the bottom line, processes have to be designed with the customer experience in mind. How many times have you dealt with a company like, " Oh, I'm so infuriated because their processes are terrible." Like PayPal. inaudible, you can get anybody on the phone or you were just hacked in Facebook and you can't get anybody to take care of it, you know? So processes must be designed with the customer experience in mind, not designed to alienate us. And it must be inaudible productive. And most importantly, they must be well- documented. You must have SOP checklist. Processes are huge. You're not going to sell a$ 20 million business unless you have your processes documented.

Mark: I love that line. I want to make sure I dwell on this for a second. Just to reiterate what you said, processes must be designed with the customer experience in mind. I think so many people try and make it easier for themselves and not think about the customer first.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Absolutely. It's all about them and their agenda. And then they wonder why they have no more customers. That's one of the reasons why 70% of businesses are going out of business, because they forgot about the customer. You know, how many times have you tried to call something and you've got to go through 25 prompts before you can even get somebody on the phone. And then I remember, I'm going to tell you really quickly, then I'm going to let it go. There was this retail business, a huge retail chain. Maybe I shouldn't say the name. Huge retail chain, ordered this Joy Box for us. Stand up Joy Box for a client of mine. They shipped it here instead of to my client's house. My assistant just said, " All right, take it back to UPS, ship it to the right address." Well, they don't do that. UPS ships it back to the warehouse for the retailer. So I went on the phone with the retailer saying, " We didn't want that Joy Box. It's the last one in stock." And we'll go, " Well go into the warehouse and get it." They go, " No, we don't do that. Goes to the warehouse and then it goes to substandard stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls and stores like that." What a terrible process, horrible process, right? So make sure you design your processes with the customer experience in mind. Number four was proprietary that we cover. Number five is patrons. This is your client base. You can't have a business without clients. You got to have customers. In the USA most businesses follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. If you lose a client, you can literally be out of business. So you want to have customer diversification, not-

Mark: You've always got to be working to make sure that you keep balancing out that 80/20, right?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Absolutely.

Mark: Because if 80% of your business is with one customer for example, when you lose that deal, that's catastrophic. That's game over.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Game over, like the manufacturing business that I sold, they had 65% in BP. I was fortunate enough to find the right buyer that didn't care because they wanted BP. But most buyers were walking away when they heard that. I had an advertising company, they have five clients. Listen to me, five clients. They were worth about$ 10 million. Their clients were casinos, but during the evaluation process, during the sales process they lost two of the five. So then they only have three. So you got to be extremely careful. It is a balancing act, absolutely. And then the last P, the most important P to all entrepreneurs is profit. We're all in this to make money. And you know, everybody thinks, when there's lack of profits that profits is the problem. Profits is never, ever the problem. Profits is a symptom. I'm not running on one of the other five P's. Like I have clients that come in and say, " Michelle, I have a profit problem." I'm like, " No, you have a people problem. You have a people problem. Or no, you have a process problem, because you're not inspecting your accounting and somebody is embezzling from you right now." And that happens over and over and over. I have one seller that was embezzled three different times with three different people.

Mark: Oh, thought she would have learned the first time, my goodness.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: So profits is never, ever the problem, it's always the symptom. So if you're a nonprofitable, go look at the five P's and see where you're lacking.

Mark: Brilliant. Michelle, this has been so informative. And I know that I've gotten a ton out of today's session. Now, there are going to be people that listen to this and go, " Okay, well, how do I get a hold of Michelle? Or how do I get a hold of this book? Where do I go to next?" So where do they go to?

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Sure. So just to let you know a little bit more about Exit Rich, my co- author is Sharon Lechter, who wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad with Robert Kiyosaki, New York Times five times best- selling author. She's also written several books in the Napoleon Hill Foundation. She is a CPA. She is a financial literacy expert to several different presidents. So she writes The Mentors Corner after every chapter. Also, the book was endorsed, Exit Rich was endorsed by Steve Forbes. And the foreword is written by Kevin Harrington, who is the original shark on Shark Tank. They can get Extra Rich right now. We're in the middle of pre- sales. They can get it at exitrichbook. com or Amazon, but it's less expensive at exitrichbook. com. So for$24. 79, you'll receive the email digital download right away. So you don't have to wait for the book to be delivered. Then we'll ship the hardcover to your doorstep. Then we'll give you a lifetime membership into the Exit Rich Book Club. So if you like what you're hearing here, there's more of me talking about all of this. Plus there's documents. So every business has to have documents to run a business, sell a business. So we have employee handbooks, non- competes, organizational charts, sample LOIs, letter of intent, sample purchase agreement, sample due diligence checklists, sample closing dots. These documents alone, Mark will cost you about$ 25,000 with an attorney. And you're getting all of that for $24. 79. Plus you also get 30 days free membership into my club, Club CEOs, where we do transformational questions, hot seats, Q& A's to help you survive and thrive on the other side of this pandemic so you took an Exit Rich.

Mark: I love it, fantastic. For the listeners, just so that you know, we will link out to that website as well as a number of other resources for you in the show notes. Michelle, thank you so much for being on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: You're welcome. Thank you. I have one other number that I can give you all. So all of your listeners can text me. So they can text Michelle to( 888) 526- 5750. And when you text that number and text Michelle, all of my social media and my websites will all pop up.

Mark: Amazing. Very, very cool. Thank you again, Michelle.

Michelle Seiler Tucker: Thank you, Mark. It was a pleasure being here. Thanks for having me on.

Mark: Hey friends. Thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with friends and colleagues so that they can benefit from it as well. If you find Negotiations Ninja podcast worthy, please go on to iTunes and give us a cool rating with a nice review. We certainly appreciate every single one that we get, because it helps us to understand who is listening, how they're listening, and what it is they like. If there's something that you would like me to discuss around negotiation, influence, or persuasion, give me a shout. You know how to reach me on social media, or you can get me on my website, which is www. negotiations. ninja.


The biggest mistake that business owners make is that they don’t plan their exit from their business. People don’t think about the planning and preparation that goes into negotiating the sale of their business. Michelle Seiler Tucker—a mergers and acquisitions master intermediary, a senior business analyst, and the best-selling author of three books—outlines exactly what you need to do to get top dollar for your business in her book, “Exit Rich.” Michelle covers much of that process in this episode of Negotiations Ninja. Don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:55] Who is Michelle Seiler Tucker?
  • [3:57] The flip-flop of statistics
  • [5:46] Formulating an exit plan
  • [7:43] Michelle’s GPS Exit Model
  • [12:14] The 6 pillars of proprietary
  • [20:31] The 6 P Method to exit rich
  • [28:34] How to get Michelle’s book + membership

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