Michelle Seiler Tucker, CEO at Seiler Tucker, with a lot of titles and expertise under her name, calls herself the ‘Best kept secret’, and always says titles don't matter, results matter. So, in this episode, she shares how she helps entrepreneurs #getnoticed and exit the business rich with her book Exit Rich, and keeping it confidential.
Who doesn’t want to exit a business rich and noticed, right?
Michelle, has helped a lot of entrepreneurs sell their businesses successfully, but learn how she does this confidentially and still emphasise the importance of transparency. She also shares about her 6P’s to help you build a business as a sellable asset, and talks about her book the Exit Rich.
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Welcome to this episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur. Today, I am delighted to have Michelle Seiler Tucker, joining me from New Orleans. Welcome, Michelle.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Thank you, Jim. Thank you so much for having me. It's Mardi Gras right now in New Orleans.Jim James:
Oh, And I would love to come over for Mardi Gras. It sounds like just the biggest party in the world.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
It is a huge party and it's fully a big party right now. Cause it's been shut down for the last year due to the pandemic.Jim James:
So I'm sure everyone's party. But, you know, there are business owners out there hopefully who are having a party. And help us to understand how, you, as an M&A expert and author of the book, Exit Rich, how you help business owners to, to get noticed? Let's talk about it.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
So, well, the why we help business owners get noticed. There are so many steps before getting noticed. Then we help prepare the business for salary package, a business for sale. We work with business owners to make sure they're building their business with the proper infrastructure and what we call the 6P's. But as far as getting noticed, it's kind of difficult as the slippery slope, Jim, because most business owners don't want to be noticed when you're selling. Confidentialities. Everyone's number, number one party. They don't want their employees or their clients, their vendors, or landlords. They don't want everyone that they do business, but knowing that they're for sale, that they're on the market. And before you and I have jumped on this podcast, I have a very nervous seller. It is like, 'I don't want my investors. I don't want my clients. I don't want anyone to know.' And so it's really not getting that business owner noticed because you can ruin your business if you breach confidentiality. People don't like change. Employees don't want to know that the owner is selling because they're fearful that they're going to lose their job, they're fearful that the new owner's going to take away maybe certain benefits, change pay, be difficult to work for. Clients think they know the owner is going to come in and not provide the same level of quality, quality customer service. And so it's usually the best kept secret that a business is selling their business. And so it's really difficult. Well, we never, ever showcase that business with proprietary or information. We always go to the market without any proprietary details, without anything that will give it away. We are extremely cautious because if we've breached confidentiality, and employees later find out it's for sale, customers, et cetera, then they could literally put them out of business. So we get the business notice, like I said, it's, it's very difficult process, but we get them noticed without anyone ever known the company name, the company address, known anything proprietary about that business in a way we do that is by blind mailings, telemarketing, listings, business site listings that we utilize. And, we send out blind teasers to gauge interest, what someone's appetite, to see if they have an interest to sign a nondisclosure agreement, go through the qualifying process, financial qualifying process, and move on to get more information, to find out who that person is. But in the beginning we get that list that that engagement, knowing that company knowing, and without breaching confidentiality, which is not easy.Jim James:
Yeah. You know, and that's a really fabulous start to the podcast because this assumption that everyone wants to get noticed. But there are times, and especially if you have a listed company, there are quiet periods as well, aren't they, where you're not allowed to talk about provisional earnings. Michelle, how are you helping companies to prepare to be seen, to look attractive? Because there's two elements on there. One is they need to look as a, as a company that's going somewhere and then you've got the transaction part of communication.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Yeah. So, so let, I do want to make one more statement about getting noticed, because a lot of business owners don't really know who to call or who to hire when they go to sell their business. And some of them will hire a real estate or you should never hire a real estate agent to sell your business because real estate agents models, their model is the more you tell them what you sell. So they stick a big sign in your front yard, they put it on the MLS. Everybody knows about it. They conduct open houses. So you want to make sure that you hire the M&A expert so they, they maintain confidentiality throughout the process. So as far as the transaction go, how do we make it look pretty? Well, you know, how do you put lipstick on a pig sometimes I've been lots. And what we try to do is not cover anything up. We want to tell the truth. We want to be transparent. We want to tell the good, the bad and the ugly. We want to talk about the skeletons in the closet upfront. You know, we really want to work with our, our business horrors. I had a putting the business on the market because we want to clean up some of these things. That there's a pending lawsuit, but there's a worker's comp issue, that there is some employment scandal. We want to try to clean all that up before we go to market. So we're telling a story about what did happen, but not what's happening today. So we really want to package up business in the best light, but we're going to do it with full transparency. We'll always go into childhood truth.Jim James:
Wow. Yeah, there's a lot in there. So a little bit of, sort of, so is that a redecoration? I mean, are you going out and looking at things maybe on Glassdoor, for example, that are not favorable or, know, say old employee post.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Yeah, absolutely. It's current stage in a house. You know, when you want to put your house on the market, a, a real estate agent will come in. If it's a really good real estate agent, you know, there's good and bad, will come in and work with a stage or a stage with themselves and really show your house in the best possible light. Get rid of the clutter, get rid of the junk, you know, make it look like you have no kids. And, so for a business, depending upon the size of the business, if it's a small retail business, like a coffee shop or restaurant and clothing store, something like that, you know, we really want to dress up the curb appeal. Want to make sure to signage is visible. We want to make sure that the windows are, are clean up further. If it's a larger business, like a manufacturing plant and trucking company, something like that, we want to make sure that the business looks as good as it possibly can for warehouse, or for like I said, a trucking facility, or a manufacturing plant. And then we want to make sure that we're working with that owner to dress up the staff, make sure that they're in proper attire, make sure that, that they look good. Make sure everything's clean, you know, make sure everything looks good on the outside. But on the inside, we're working with the business owner to really clean up those 6P's to make sure they have the right people in the right seats, to make sure they have management teams in place. Because Steve Forbes who endorsed EXA registers 80% of businesses will never sell. M&A source in America says 90% will never sell. That means you have a 10 to 20% chance of success. If we don't work with you on the inside and out, the probability of you selling your businesses is slim to none. So we want to dress up those 6Ps and build that infrastructure to make sure that your business is shown in the most possible light as possible. That's where we have an exit, we have a road to Exit Rich program that we really work with our clients, maybe one to two to three years before we put their business on the market, because this stuff takes time. You know, you didn't go to business overnight. We're going to fix it overnight.Jim James:
Interesting. Now, you've, you've mentioned there are 6Ps in the Exit Rich, a book, which you, you authored with, Sharon Lechter I believe, who is the co-author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Just share what are the other, what are the other Ps.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Sure. People are number one. So, you know, the number one reason that businesses are not sellable is number one, business owners don't find their exit. They wake up one day and go, 'I can't do this anymore. I have to sell my company', and it can be health issues, partner disputes, divorce staff. It could be this pandemic we've been limited for the last two years. It could be the employee market and not lying to deal with employees anymore. But you can't wake up one day, expect you're going to maximize value. It never happens that way. So you got to plan your exit from the beginning, like Stephen Covey says start with the end in mind. The number one reason that businesses owners don't sells because a businesses is a thousand percent dependent on that owner. You want to make sure you have the right people in the right seats. And you want to ask the who question. Who opens the doors? Who runs customer service? Who runs those quality control, marketing, legal, accounting? Who handles manufacturing, distribution, et cetera? The list goes on and on, Jim. Your name, Jim should never be next to that 'who' in your company. You want the business to run without you. That's People, Product is next. In America it used to be that started to a great risk. You know, 90% of Starbucks, we've got a business in the first one to five years. Guess what? It's not started to great risk anymore. Only 30% of startups are going out. Now, out of 27.6 million businesses in the United States, 70% of those businesses have been in business 10 years or longer will go out of business. They are going out of business. This is your product. Your product, your industry, your service. You have to ask yourself. Are you at the top of your game? Are you an Amazon and you're in your prime? No pun intended. All your blockbuster and you're about to go out of business. The number one reason businesses are going out of business all around the world and they're exiting poor and not exiting rich is because of lack of aim. A-I-M. Aim is 'Always Innovate and Market.' Business owners stop innovating, they stop marketing. Now they want to continue to do things the way they've always done them. You either growing or dying, Jim, there's no in-between. That's your product. Then you have Processes. Most business owners design their concept, this is around the owners agenda. A doctor's office. We're trying to take our daughter to a pediatrician, the hours are 9 to 4, Monday to Friday. When is my daughter go to school?8:30 to 3:
30. You know? So you gotta look and ask yourself, ask yourself, ask your clients, what are the three things we want our clients experience when they do business with our company? McDonald's did this back in the 40s. They said we want our customers to experience great tasting food that's hot, in fact, 30 seconds or less. Those processes were designed in 1940s. That's why you can eat at McDonald's anywhere in the world and get the same experience. You got to have those SOP checklists. You gotta have employee contracts. You gotta have those non-competes. Then you have Proprietary. Proprietary is the highest driver. It can take you from a four multiple to an eight to 10 to 15. These are your contracts. These are, these are the more well-branded you are, the more I can sell your company for. Apple is the largest brand in the world where over $389 billion. That's not assets, inventory, anything else. Database was a huge. Facebook paid $19 billion for that. And WhatsApp was hemorrhaging money but guess what they had. They had a billion users. Patents are huge. If you ever watched Trump Tape, The Lion's Den, or any of those shows, they always ask about patents, contracts. But the biggest mistake business owners make with contracts, is they don't have the transferability clauseses. This contract is transferrable upon the new entity, because 98% of all selves in a backdoor are asset sales, not stock sells. And you have celebrity endorsements, you have what I call digital real estate. If you have a betting company and do you have a radio personality that talks about your sheets and look how joyous they are, your fellows, etc. They can only endorse one vertical at a time. Somebody else is going to pay huge money to get that real estate because you can't get it as long as they're endorsing your company. So there's so many things that build up value, that really can take, because again, when we do about, when you look at evaluations, it's not just about the numbers it's about the synergy. It's about those proprietary assets that really drive value. And then you have Patrons, which was a fifth P. This is customer concentration versus customer diversification. Many businesses in America follow the 80-20 rule, where 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of clients. If they lose any of those clients, then their business can, can go, you know, it can be tanked really quickly. They can lose revenue, they can lose deep in it. And I can basically be out of business. And then the very last P, the most important P to all of your listeners, Jim, is Profits. The reason I put profits last is because profits is never your problem. Lack of profits has never your problem. It's the symptom of not helping the right people in place. It's a symptom of being in a dying industry. It's a symptom of not having a processes all buttoned up. Not having checks and balances. You know, three unapplied companies in America get embezzled and every single year, because owners are trusting, but not verifying. They don't have the right systems and processes in place to make sure to protect their money. So lack of profits is never your problem, that's a symptom of.Jim James:
Wow. That's an amazingly, you know, comprehensive view there, Michelle, of, of all the things that one needs to do if you're preparing. Now, what I also love is what you talked about in terms of kind of the, the ramp, the one to three years to get the business, kind of, packaged. It needs to be profitable as you say, but to be packaged as well. Can you just talk us through the process, in for example, creating investment memos. So you've talked about the, the process of maybe farming out and putting out that this business in this sector, in this location is available. What about stage two? Once you've got people interested, can you tell us a little bit about what needs to happen from a communications perspective there?Michelle Seiler Tucker:
So, so once we have people qualify, cause qualified is the big key here. And once we've qualify them and they're interested, and then we send them what we call a perspectives, it's also called Sam Confidential Information Memorandum. And once they go through that, then they typically will let us know if they're still interested or not. They'll send us a list of questions and we really prepare the buyer and we prepare the seller. So before they get on the phone together, they typically are having a call before they have an insight meeting. And especially on the larger transactions. Smaller transactions, a little bit different, but we want to, we want to prepare the buyer to make sure, you know, that when you're asking questions, let's skip those questions ahead of time. Let's make sure the seller has time to prepare. Let's make sure that we're not getting into negotiations because that's our job. Let's make sure you're not insulting the seller by saying, 'Oh my gosh, I hate your location. I hate your building. I hate that site. Because that happens all the time. You know, we want to set the buyer up for success of building a good relationship from the beginning and then sellers who really wants to help them be able to communicate and be transparent because a lot of sellers are like, 'I don't know how to tell them that.' I'm like, 'yes, you have to tell the truth.' You tell the truth in a positive light. This happen because no consensus is perfect. Yeah, I'll have skeletons. Every girl has hair on it. You wanted all the truth, you gotta be crystal clear, and you just got to do it in a positive spin. And then we also make sure that they know not to communicate without us. We are the experts, we're the advisors. A lot of times deals are made based on emotions, not logic. So a lot of times are buyers or sellers talk to each other without us being present. Buyers misinterpret it. They misinterpret something sellers say, sellers misinterpret some buyers say. Look, it's a common problem in America, in the world. You know, if we all have better communication, we want to have most of the problems we have today in the entire world, right. So we want to make sure that everybody's heard and understood. And so that's what we have to get past and all means because I've literally have had those fall apart because a buyer called the seller without getting us involved. And if seller didn't like the buyer, because they misinterpreted something they said. And we want to make sure that everybody's heard and that it's clear and it, and that no one's misunderstood. Does that make sense?Jim James:
Absolutely. Absolutely. So having, if you like a, an objective party brokering, the deal in, in every term is really, really important from a basic communications point of view.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Yeah, it's kind of like we're advisors, right? It's probably like an attorney. I mean an attorney is representing you. Attorney is going to say, don't talk to at the robber sitting in a divorce, the robber sending you in a criminal matter. They're representing you in maybe a patent issue or trademark infringement. They're going to say, 'Don't talk to the other side without your attorney present.' Well, same thing. Don't talk to the other side without your advisor present, because we're there to make sure that the T's are crossed and I's are dotted.Jim James:
Exactly. Exactly. So, so you're obviously, you know, looking at your bio, you've got an M&A emerging acquisitions masters into majory. Oh, it's a title. So you've got a professional qualification. But how have you in New Orleans being building your brand as an entrepreneur? Because you've also got stakes in multiple companies, Michelle. So, share with us how, as an entrepreneur you've been getting noticed as well. Cause that's really interesting.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
So I am from California, just to throw that out, Long Beach, California. But yes, I'm emergence acquisitions, master animator, a senior business analyst and a bunch of other channels behind my name. What matters is results. I always say titles don't matter, results matter. We are results driven. We make sure our clients get results, or they don't pay us. We're probably the only M&A advisor out there that doesn't charge retainer fees. But how, how did I get, are you asking me, how did I get know, how did I get.Jim James:
Yeah. I mean, I love the Exit Rich. I love the look of that. It's fantastic. But yeah, tell us, because as a, as an entrepreneur, you've obviously carved out really fabulous niche.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Jim, I call myself the best kept secret. I was always the best kept secret because remember, selling a business is confidential, it's not selling a house. So we would go out and sell businesses, but there's seller financing, there's earn out, there's all kinds of different creative financing that is involved. So the buyer doesn't want us to tell anyone about the sell because they don't want the clients and everybody to find out. Sellers want to keep a company jolly, cause they want it confidential, cause they want to make sure they get paid. So I can't talk about it. So I've been able to sell businesses from millions and millions and millions. I help business owners retire rich, I can't about it until after so many years. And if it's a public, though, you can talk about. If it's private, you can never talk about it until you get everybody's permission to do so in writing. So back in 2013, I met, I went to a conference and met someone there that says you should write a book. And I'm like, you know what? I was a writer when I was a kid. I love writing poetry and short stories and venture. Right. I should write a book. So I wrote my very first book in 2013, called Sell Your Business For What its Worth, and I self publish. But that one's a huge game changer for me. That just really opened up the world because nobody knew who I was. And the bigger issue of not knowing who I was was business owners didn't know that there are business brokers that are smarter as acquisitions advisors. They exist. You don't have to go to real estate in that, on attorney and a CPA to try to sell your business because they're not experts in selling companies. So I really wrote the book to educate the marketplace of who we are and what we do, and there's a better way to sell your company. And I wrote the book for branding purposes, you know, to get recognized, to get noticed, for lead generation. And it really, really helped. And then Exit Rich is my third book now, and I've got a couple more coming out, but Exit Rich is also a game changer because now I have a publisher. I have Sharon Lechter as my co-author. And Steve Forbes endorsed it. Kevin Harrington, the original shark on shark tank wrote the foreword. So it's a huge game changer. We're in the Hudson bookstores in airports all around, in 90 different Hudson bookstores in America. So if you go by Hudson pickup Exit Rich. And we've got so many been on over 300 podcasts because of it. So you write a book, you launch a book, you get on podcasts, really get your name out there, you get your brand out there. And, but for me, it's not just about becoming, being recognized. For me, it's about making a difference in the world and really changing the landscape of business.Jim James:
Well, you know, in just 20 minutes, Michelle, you've changed my awareness and understanding of my landscape. If you want to find out more about you, how can they do that?Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Sure. So there are several things. Number one, I encourage everyone to about there and get pickup Exit Rich. Exit Rich is not a business on selling the business. That's where people, that's why everybody tends to get confused. Exit Rich is all about building a sellable aaset. It's about building a business that is abstainable. They continue to grow without you that you can continue to scale. And when you're ready, you will actually have an asset to sell. So you can pick up Exit Rich. If you're outside of America, go to Amazon because of the shipping hops. Go to Amazon. Inside the America, you could go to a Hudson book, story books, a million, any of your favorite bookstores. Also, you can go to Amazon and you can go to exitrichbook.com. Yes, you haven't had to tell you this really quickly, we are giving away free. So anybody buys Exit Rich, shows me a receipt, if you buy anywhere else, other than the exitrichbook.com, you get a lifetime membership into the Exit Rich Book Club, where you get video content, we doing deep dives and these different strategies and techniques, but more, there's documents, documents to operate your business like sample SLP, policy and procedure manuals, non-competes, sample letter of intents, prospectuses, due diligence, purchase agreements, closing documents. All these documents would cost over $50,000 and all that is available for you. For your review and your download when we buy Exit Rich. And that's in exitrichbook.com. You can also take the 6P quiz at seilertuckeracademy.com. And my main website is seilertucker.com. And then don't forget to listen to Exit Rich podcast where we talk about million dollar ways to know your exits.Jim James:
Well, Michelle Seiler Tucker from New Orleans. I nearly said New Zealand. In New Orleans, my landscape ships, there was a much, I'm in different continents. Michelle, thank you so much for sharing a amazing amount and how you've gone and built yourself into becoming such a recognized entrepreneur and helping so many of us around the world. Thank you so much for joining, Michelle, in the show.Michelle Seiler Tucker:
Thank you, Jim. Thanks for having me. I had a lot of fun.Jim James:
Yeah, me too. Thank you so much. And so I will put all those details in the show notes around Exit Rich and Michelle Seiler Tucker. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Unnoticed Entrepreneur with me, Jim James.