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Jan. 20, 2022

Master Business Strategist Alex Brueckmann Reveals How To Create A Winning Strategy To Help You Capture The Best Deal

Master Business Strategist Alex Brueckmann Reveals How To Create A Winning Strategy To Help You Capture The Best Deal

"Life explains itself in hindsight, you can't plan for certain things." - Alex Brueckmann

Alex Bruekmann is an entrepreneur, author, executive coach and board advisor. He built, scaled, exited companies and led client projects across the world. 
His ar...


"Life explains itself in hindsight, you can't plan for certain things." - Alex Brueckmann

Alex Bruekmann is an entrepreneur, author, executive coach and board advisor. He built, scaled, exited companies and led client projects across the world. 

His areas of expertise, our strategy development, leadership development and entrepreneurship. His passion lies in helping clients build profitable businesses rooted in purpose. 

Alex speaks on the topics of international strategy and entrepreneurship. In his upcoming book, he presents a new framework called The Nine Elements of Organizational Identity, which helps people build better businesses. 

Alex is a storyteller with an academic background in general management with degrees from EBS University in Germany, Universidad ORT in Uruguay, as well as certificates from INSEAD and Harvard Business School.  

Please enjoy!

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SELECTED LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE

Alex's website

Alex's book The Nine Elements of Organizational Identity

Alex's LEGACY Summit

The Deep Wealth Experience

Book Your FREE Deep Wealth Strategy Call

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. 

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

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event. 

After all, how can you master something you've never done before? 

Are you leaving millions on the table? 

Learn how the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap helps you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.  

Click here to book your free exploratory strategy session.

Enjoy the interview!

Deep Wealth LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE

The Deep Wealth Experience

FREE Deep Wealth eBook on Why You Suck At Selling Your Business And What You Can Do About It (Today)

Book Your FREE Deep Wealth Strategy Call

 

Did you enjoy this episode of The Sell My Business Podcast? 

Please leave a review. Reviews help me reach new listeners, grow the show, and continue to create content that you'll enjoy.

Please click here to leave a review on The Sell My Business Podcast.

 

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. 

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

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event. 

After all, how can you master something you've never done before? 

Are you leaving millions on the table? 

Learn how the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap helps you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.  

Click here to book your free exploratory strategy session.

Enjoy the interview!

Transcript

[00:00:05] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

[00:00:10] This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

[00:00:16] Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life.

[00:00:22] But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

[00:00:43] I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a nine-figure offer.

[00:00:56] Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

[00:00:59] If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again.

[00:01:05] Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event.

[00:01:13] After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

[00:01:17] Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.

[00:01:26] At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

[00:01:32] Alex Bruekmann is an entrepreneur, author, executive coach, and board advisor. He built, scaled, exited companies, and led client projects across the world. His areas of expertise, our strategy development, leadership development, and entrepreneurship. His passion lies in helping clients build profitable businesses rooted in purpose.

[00:01:57] Alex speaks on the topics of international strategy and entrepreneurship. In his upcoming book, he presents a new framework called The Nine Elements of Organizational Identity, which helps people build better businesses.

[00:02:10] Alex is a storyteller with an academic background in general management with degrees from EBS University in Germany, Universidad ORT in Uruguay, as well as certificates from INSEAD and Harvard Business School.

[00:02:25] Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. And we have a terrific episode lined up for you.

[00:02:30] I want you to think about something as you think about the prospects of preparing your business for a liquidity event, I'm going to mention three words and those words are strategy, identity, and legacy. And perhaps one or all of those words resonated with you. And they're certainly important as you're preparing for your liquidity event, but how can we leverage that? And what does success really mean? And what can we do?

[00:02:54] Well, Look, no further than today's guests. I have Alex with us and Alex, welcome to The Sell My Business podcast. We're so, delighted to have you with us, Alex, why don't we start with the story behind the story? How did you get to where you are today?

[00:03:07] Alex Brucekmann: Thanks for having me, Jeffrey. And yeah, thanks for the question. It is a fairly unusual way that I went. I started out fairly young, living the dream kind of, in clubs, rock clubs. I was always very close to music and tried to make a career out of that as a semi-professional DJ and later as a radio journalist and a radio host, but that was mainly okay for me until I was in my mid-twenties.

[00:03:33] And then I was asking myself questions like is that what I want to do for the rest of my life? So, I started my first big career transition by going to university and actually studying so, back to school, back to university. And I graduated with a degree in Business Administration when I was 30. So, back to business and I saw how large corporations actually work.

[00:03:55] I started out as the executive assistant to a CEO of a division, one of the biggest media corporations in the world. And got into restructuring, reorganizing a business, selling off certain parts, acquisitions, and other parts. And I was always very close to the topic of business strategy through my studies and then on the job and developed throughout the years into someone who was really interesting in business strategy in a broader sense, not only for this particular company that I worked for.

[00:04:27] Which then made me become we are strategy consultant, a management consultant, and later an entrepreneur in that space founding my own company. That's how I came, where I am today.

[00:04:37] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know, it’s interesting when you worked in a large corporation, as business owners we are typically on her own, or we grow the business, but it's not quite as large, oftentimes as the really big corporations. And say what you want about the big corporations, but the one thing that they have going for them, the successful ones, anyway, they have longevity and they built-in strategies and processes that help keep them there.

[00:05:02] So, I'm wondering when you're in that big corporation, what would be some of the things that as you look back today, really stand out for you from a best practices or strategies standpoint?

[00:05:13] Alex Brucekmann: I think one of the first things that come to mind is professionalism when it comes to understanding that you're probably not in a really good shape to lead the strategy process in all aspects. That's when you understand that you need to bring in external experts, executive coaches that help you stay in the process, management consultants that bring in some specific knowledge in a certain area.

[00:05:37] You always need to lead the process as such, right? You need to own it, but you need to be aware that what you've been doing until today might not be what will make you successful in the future. That means you need to do things radically different in certain areas, and it's sometimes difficult to see what you want to do, what you need to do. So, from a professional standpoint, it's really nice to see how those companies are able to take a step back, acknowledge that they do not know everything that they need to know, and get that external input asking us, what is it that I don't know. And then probably the second thing, what distinguishes them from other companies, mainly smaller ones they have the funds to do that. It is not easy for an entrepreneur or a smaller company to bring in large external consultants or let's say specific know-how in a certain area whenever you need it because there is a price tag attached to that. But those large corporations they, first of all often do have a certain strategy department and they then know how to source and how to work with external partners.

[00:06:45] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, that's interesting. Let's talk about coaching for a moment because I know most business owners, whether they're looking to work with a company like ourselves at Deep Wealth and our nine-step roadmap, you're preparing to have a liquidity event that you can extract the maximum value for your company or not.

[00:07:01] Most business owners will say, Alex, that sounds really good. I'm just so, busy. I barely have time for myself. How in the world would I make time for a coach? And really what kind of benefit am I going to get from an outside resource like a coach? What would you say to that business owner, Alex?

[00:07:18] Alex Brucekmann: I've had this conversation so, many times that I honestly get a bit tired of that. The people that come to us, they are beyond that. We don't need to educate them about the value of having a coach because I would say people that are aware, self-aware and mindful, they know that even the very best ones need coaches.

[00:07:38] Take the world of sports, for example, take world-class athletes. They do have coaches. Why? Because those coaches help them maximize their potential. They can't run for them. They can't play for them, but they can help them tap into the space that they need to tap into in order to leverage their full potential. And if you come to me mentioning the word busy like I'm too busy for that.

[00:08:06] My answer is always busy is the new stupid. Busy is not something that creates value. Busy is just an excuse because we make time for everything that is important for us. And if my being busy is a result of me saying yes to everything. Instead of saying no to most of the things and being very specific about what you say yes to then you end up in that busy trap, the tyranny of the urgent is dominating your day and you don't know where to carve out the time in order to prepare for selling your company, in order to prepare for making the next step in your life.

[00:08:43] You need to understand that self-leadership starts with saying no to basically everything by default, you need to be super, super anal about the time and where you're invested in. If you take some of the most successful people in the world business-wise, and you ask them about their routine, their daily routine.

[00:09:02] You will understand that time is everything for them. They get up very early. They exercise rigorously in the morning, they read and they work and everything with intention. They are not busy. They know exactly of what the best investment of their time is. And therefore, they are so, clear about what they do and what they don't do.

[00:09:23] Let's be frank, the only resource that will never come back to you once you spend it is time. Money is abundance everywhere. You can get it everywhere, but time, once it's gone, it's gone.

[00:09:34] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, true. And before we dive into more of that strategy, let's talk about the ability to say no, whether you're a business owner or just people in general, what I often hear is you know, Jeffrey in my mind, I'm saying no, but when it comes time to put me on the spot, I end up saying yes for any myriad reasons.

[00:09:51] So, what would be some strategies, Alex that we can start using right away to help us say no and not feel guilty about it?

[00:09:59] Alex Brucekmann: I will actually say I will not talk about strategies, I will talk about strategy. The one and only strategy is your business strategy. The strategy that helps make you as a leader, as a business owner successful is not some tactics when it comes to time management, it's really understanding where you want your business to be in the certain period of time.

[00:10:20] Let's say you think about selling in three to five years, then in three to five years, your business needs to be at the absolute peak because that's how you maximize the value. So, in order to do that, you need to have a very clear picture of what that means.

[00:10:37] How does your business need to look like? Which clients, which contracts do you need to have it in your books at that point in time? How do your internal processes and structures need to look like so, that a potential buyer takes a look at them and it's like, that sounds professional? That makes sense.

[00:10:52] They have a CRM system in place. I can track what they've been doing. The knowledge stays in the company once the owner goes out and all of these things are super important for a potential buyer. And you need to think about that way ahead of selling or wanting to sell. So, when you structure your business according to that vision, to that three to five-year vision, how do you want your business to look like in three to five years?

[00:11:14] And then translate that into a strategic plan. Meaning now that I know how the business should look like, what do I need to do in order to make this happen? So, you reverse engineer from your vision where you need to invest your time and your money in over the next two to three years. And that defines where you invest your timing. And everything else is just a shiny object.

[00:11:36] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's terrific in terms of just simplifying it. And we're not going to confuse simple with simplicity, and it's actually a nice segue Alex, into what you do. So, let's put this out there. I'm a business owner. And like you were saying, I decided in the next three to five years, I'm going to have a liquidity event.

[00:11:54] Alex, I'm going to bring you onboard to help me. What would be some of the first things that you would have me do as a client and you're coming in there to ultimately help me maximize the value of my business when it comes time for my liquidity event?

[00:12:08] Alex Brucekmann: So, I think the first step that I typically take with my clients is helping them understand that I am not a consultant. I don't come in and tell them what to do. I come in and hold a space for them and help them through questioning processes to identify what it really is they want. And that is way more than maximizing the sales price, the business usually.

[00:12:29] You mentioned three words, in the beginning, Jeff, legacy, identity, and strategy. We go beyond the sale price of the company. We ask questions beyond that because there is a life after selling, why do you want to sell? What is it that you want to achieve with it?

[00:12:44] And sometimes people actually realize that they don't need to sell anymore once they are through that process because they figure out that there's a huge gas tank that they can hook up to. And all of a sudden, they have energy for the next 10 years. It's sometimes just as simple as that to identify, what is it that I stand for?

[00:13:05] What is it that I want my company to stand for? And why do I want to sell? Sometimes the reason people want to sell has nothing to do with rationality. It's purely emotional. It's fear-based, whatever it is. So, I help them go beyond that. First of all, and understand that. And if they still want to sell, we go into the trenches together and identify where are the pain points today in the company?

[00:13:33] What do we need to iron out? And how should the company look like whatever the timeframe is, sometimes it's just a year, sometimes it's five years. So, we create this vision together and make it as tangible and graspable as humanly possible. And then we reverse engineer key performance indicators out of that vision because a vision is often let's say a bit fuzzy, so, it's not very concrete and that's totally fine.

[00:13:58] It needs to be an emotional thing for you to read that you need to be like, yes, that's what I want to achieve. Not purely from a rational perspective, but also your heart needs to be there. And then we reverse engineer key performance indicators out of that vision in order to make it measurable over time.

[00:14:14] So, that you know, in the next six months, I need to see this and that KPI and move into this and that direction. If I don't see that something is off, I probably need to discard an idea and focus on something else. And all of these ideas are then the next step we ask ourselves, what do we need to do in order to move those KPIs into the right direction?

[00:14:34] For example, If we talk about maximizing sales price, it's always a good idea to have a big order book with a full sales funnel. So, how do you do that? How do you build this full sales funnel? What is it that you need to take care of? What are leading indicators? What are lagging indicators? How do you understand the dynamics from a pure number of perspectives of your business?

[00:14:56] And then you translate those numbers into concrete actions, concrete projects we call them strategic workstreams, like three to five of them. And in those workstreams, you would have projects that you actually do yourself, but also your team. And in order to move toward that vision, you put that vision into action, strategy into action. So, you link the vision through KPIs, to your operational work, to your strategic workstreams, and then you go full force and that's what you focus on and everything else you don't do anymore.

[00:15:30] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. And it just flows as a foundation one after the other, for a moment though, let's circle back to identity and legacy. And you said a few things that were really interesting when we began talking. And one of the things that you said is you're asking people why do you want to sell your business?

[00:15:47] And Alex you're so, right. I know at Deep Wealth we have our nine-step roadmap of preparation. When we walk someone through our 90-day system with a nine-step roadmap, the first thing that we're also asking them is well, now what? You sold your business, you've achieved your financial goals, your life goals, all those other things.

[00:16:04] What are you going to do now that has you feeling fulfilled and Alex, to your point there are some business owners when they go through that, they come up empty and they say, I don't know, what's going to get me out of bed excited or fulfilled or giving me a mission or a purpose. So, I'm wondering Alex, when it comes to an identity, when it comes to legacy when you've worked with leaders and business owners, are there some common areas where mistakes are being made as to how people think about their identity and legacy that you can share with us?

[00:16:32] Alex Brucekmann: The mistakes that are being made long before they try to sell the business. They often forget that there is a life outside of business. They're so, consumed by their work that they sometimes don't even have hobbies anymore. And that is something which is absolutely true, not only for business owners, but a lot for corporate managers, for example, 70 hours, 80 hours a week, they give it their all.

[00:16:58] They love it. It's not because they have to it's because they want to, but then at some point in time, imagine your company tries to go into a new area, new business segment, and they don't need you anymore. They sell-off that unit in the worst case, they make it redundant. What now? And the same is true for business owners when they sell their business.

[00:17:19] What then? So, the moment you think about selling your business, the moment you are in an organization where everything seems to work perfectly, ask yourself, who am I outside of that job? Who am I outside of my company? What is it that I want to be known for? If someone takes away that company. Because in the end, when you sell it, you take it away, you take it away from yourself and there needs to be something in place that is fulfilling.

[00:17:45] And that is a common mistake. I often see people just don't realize that they are more than just their business. If I talk to people that I meet somewhere very often, one of the first things that they would tell me is not whether they were a dad or whether they like riding motorcycles. They tell me about their job.

[00:18:01] It's such an important element of our individual identity that we forget that it's not the most important one. So, when you think about what next, what comes after selling my company? Understand who you are, understand which hats you wear throughout the day and which hats you don't wear, or you don't yet wear. Something that you want to be something that you want to become beyond money.

[00:18:27] Why have you gone into business in the first place? Was it to make money? Probably not. Most entrepreneurs that I know they went into business into building their own company because they were super passionate about helping a certain target group, often their clients. So, asking yourself, what is it that I can do after I sell my business?

[00:18:49] To ignite that passion again is super important. And very often this is just something beyond money. This is either they're passionate about helping their community prosper, or it is about creating a positive impact in the life of other people. It's not really about making money. So, when you go back to that origin of where you come from, why you went into business in the first place, you would probably find that spark.

[00:19:18] And for those of you who still have that spark, that is perfect because that's where you build on. If you want to sell your business, maybe it is because there is a new spark in you that you want to create more space for. So, just know what that spark is, know what that passion is, where it comes from, whether it's preserving the environment, preserving natural habitat, whether it's creating more social justice, whatever it is.

[00:19:41] It's very often something that goes beyond money.

[00:19:43] Jeffrey Feldberg: Alex your so, right. And for our listeners, I hope you're listening really carefully because what Alex is sharing, hey, that's from the trenches. And this really affects all of us because you don't learn this. You don't really see this in school. You're not seeing this in the books. No one really talks about it, Alex, I'll share a very quick story, a personal one.

[00:20:01] So, I started my e-learning company failed forward every day, stuck with it long enough the company became successful. And Alex, to your point, I was the company. The company was me. Eventually, I brought in a management team, but when I sold the company, I had never done what you're talking about right now.

[00:20:18] Who am I? Who is Jeffrey outside his company? Did fabulously well on the liquidity event. No complaints there. However, the next day when my non-compete kicked in and I couldn't go to the company or some of the team members were my friends and it was very awkward for us to talk. I woke up and said, what am I going to do?

[00:20:37] And I've heard this time and time again from business owners who have a liquidity event, they are fabulously wealthy, but nobody feels sorry for them that they're at home bored. No one wants to come out and play in the sandbox, so, to speak or the playground because they're busy living their lives, they're working or they're doing whatever they're doing.

[00:20:55] So, it's so, important that all of us figure out a life outside of the company, because the happily ever after that, so, many business owners that dream about that they think will immediately happen after a liquidity event, I've got news for you it’s not going to happen on its own. It takes work, effort, planning, preparation on your part to make that happen.

[00:21:18] So, Alex, you've created a really solid foundation for us of what we should begin thinking about in terms of our legacy and our identity, and that we are not just the business as part of us, but it's not and I agree with you. It's not the most important part. And for real, for most business owners, I think if they're honest about it, a business is a means to an end.

[00:21:38] You're helping people like you're saying. You're solving painful problems. I mean, that's what being an entrepreneur is all about in the first place. So, let's assume now we're working with you. We've covered off the legacy. We've covered off the identity and you shared what is our vision? And from that vision, we're going to get some KPIs.

[00:21:53] And from those KPIs, we're going to start building some strategies. So, I've learned over the years that oftentimes failure can teach us more than success. So, as crazy as it sounds, let's focus on failure for just a moment. When clients have come to you who are failing on the strategy side or the implementation side or putting those KPIs into action, where are the more common areas that business owners tend to fail in?

[00:22:20] Alex Brucekmann: I think one of the biggest areas that I've seen is certainly just being uncomfortable with it as such because it's nothing that you do on a daily basis usually. You are really, really good at what you do on a daily basis. That's the muscle that you use every day but designing and implementing a new business strategy, how often have you done that in your life?

[00:22:37] Let's be honest. And that simply means that you are not as savvy as you might want to be when it comes to strategy. This famous strategic acumen, the ability to think and act strategically. And I mean really in the sense of a business strategy, we are using this term strategy all over the place that most of the people don't even understand what it is, what does it mean? And that creates often that false security. Hey, I know what that means. I know what strategy is. I know how it works. Ah, sorry, but no, you're not because you've never really done it that way. Most likely.

[00:23:14] You've created strategies for your clients. You've created strategies for business plans, but have you really worked strategically towards selling your company before that? Most likely you haven't. So, ask yourself, what do I need to learn in the first place in order to make this a success?

[00:23:33] It's probably the most important step to avoid this common mistake of thinking that, you know, what strategy actually is and how you design and implement it. That's the reason why companies like McKinsey, Boston Consulting, and also, my company exist because that's what we do every day.

[00:23:50] That's our day-to-day business. That's our muscle, but we can help you stretch that muscle and become more comfortable using it on a day-to-day basis and thereby becoming more and more strategically savvy over a very short period of time. This is a steep learning curve for most entrepreneurs. And once you've avoided that pitfall of thinking, I know how that works.

[00:24:13] Then you are already on a really good track. Because most of the other mistakes that I've seen, they come from being blindsided on the strategic acumen piece. If that makes sense.

[00:24:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, so, true, Alex. And like, we're talking about offline, one of my favorite questions it's a rhetorical one. There really isn't an answer. How do you master something you've never done before? And the short answer is you can't, you haven't done that before. And Alex, that would circle back to your point of the power of outside professional advisors or coaches who someone like yourself, you do this day in and day out, and you can now come in and you have done this.

[00:24:50] You do this all day long, and that's where you can insert your thinking and your systems for me as a business owner, that helped take that to the next level. So, you've covered off that one point of you don't know what you don't know essentially. And let's look to the outside, we're going to be like a big corporation.

[00:25:06] We're going to bring in outside people. And I'm going to share that, whatever that cost. In the scheme of things for the additional value that you're going to get, the additional ROI that you'll receive the cost is a rounding error relative to the ROI on that. And that's why big companies are big companies because they're able to do that.

[00:25:28] So, you've covered that off with somebody. So, let's now look to success. And so, success, it's really daily habits that are repeated consistently. What would be some of the more successful habits or strategies, best practices that your top clients are doing that me as a business owner, I should be number one, thinking about, and number two, certainly asking myself, how do I implement them?

[00:25:53] Alex Brucekmann: I think the most important one in that context is indeed constant education. Asking yourself where do I want to be in three to five years? And what do I need to learn in order to be able to drive my company there? The funny thing about business strategy very often when you take a look at business strategies, and this is a pitfall, even for large corporations, when you take a look at those, they aren't really strategies.

[00:26:16] They are at best operational excellence plans. They try to do better what they've been doing. There is no magic ingredient in there. There's nothing that you go wow, that is a courageous and really cool move. There was nothing that lights me up as a consumer or as a client or someone who is maybe even a supplier for that company.

[00:26:40] And that's what strategy is. Strategy is not operational accidents. Strategy is something that when you write it down, it should scare the hell out of you because you don't know yet how to get there. Then this is a strategy worthwhile pursuing. Then this is a future worthwhile building. If it doesn't scare the hell out of you, it's not worthwhile building.

[00:26:59] And it's not a strategy because it's nothing new and business strategies, inherently building something that you don't know how to do yet. Otherwise, you would be there already. So, this is probably the biggest piece. If that's an answer to your question, Jeff.

[00:27:13] Jeffrey Feldberg: Alex. I love that. And for listeners, listen to how passionate Alex became when he talked about strategy, scaring the hell out of you because you don't know yet how to do it. And so, the question for our listeners, when you talk about your strategy, is it the same old, or are you getting as fired up and as passionate as Alex in terms of looking at how am I going to learn to make that happen?

[00:27:34] And Alex, let me circle back to a question that I asked you, but on the flip side, so, we spoke about what corporations do really well, the big ones to have them succeed. But we also read and hear about the Titans of business that have this spectacular failure and they just no longer are in existence. From your vantage point, as good as perhaps they were back in the day where is the point of no return that most big companies, they make these few mistakes that's the beginning of the end that we can learn from?

[00:28:05] Alex Brucekmann: I actually described that in my new book, that's coming out in 2022. There are some brands and companies that really everyone on this planet knows either because you have used their products for a long time, like Nokia, or companies that you've dealt with. For example, in the banking industry that massively failed to deliver on client expectations and were not able to build the future that they should've built in order to stay where they were on top of things, namely. And when you take a look at what made them fail, it's very often that success became their biggest enemy.

[00:28:40] They became complacent. Leadership was fighting over budgets. Leadership was more interested in creating their own safe space. Their own ego needed to grow and be fat. And when you take Nokia, for example, there's a ton of research about what brought Nokia to the downfall and the common denominator across all of the research that I've read in this context is Nokia started to be totally internally focused.

[00:29:10] They didn't really think about their clients anymore. They didn't really think about their competitors anymore. They were so, big. The option of failing never occurred to them. That's why they did not think about strategy in that context that we just discussed. What is it that we need to build? And then someone like Steve Jobs comes around the corner and does something radically different.

[00:29:32] And we all know where Nokia ended up. They are basically gone. No one's using a Nokia phone device anymore. There might be some, but you know what I mean. And this is probably the biggest mistake. This is your biggest enemy of success or future success is your past success. So, there is this sentence that only the paranoid will survive.

[00:29:55] And to a certain degree, you need to be paranoid. I'm not saying you should not enjoy the success that you created and not be proud of yourself, but at the same time, if you want to sell your company, all your past success doesn't count. Let's be frank it's about what do you build in those years leading up toward as you say, the liquidity event? So, this is something you really need to be aware of when you want to sell a company.

[00:30:21] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Alex you're so, right. And we'll look forward to your book coming out. It sounds fascinating because I like to say within your success are the seeds of your future failure. Because when we become successful, oftentimes we can lose that hunger, that willingness to take chances. We start taking things for granted, and then we all know what happens after that.

[00:30:41] So, it's ironic that success doesn't guarantee future success. And in fact, it's more likely to guarantee future failure. If you don't continue to innovate and to change and to begin to make that difference, find that new, painful problem that you're going to solve and create that market disruption. So, that's interesting of how we've gone full circle here, failure to success, back to failure. And one of the things that you said that is so, correct when you're having a liquidity event, your buyer knows what you did today. Your buyer knows what you did yesterday, and that's just really something that keeps you in the game, but it's not going to be a deal closer.

[00:31:17] Your buyer wants to know, hey, what are you going to do tomorrow and beyond? Because that's when I'm going to own the company and that's where I want to get my ROI back. I'm not a charity, I'm doing this to generate some kind of profit or ROI. And so, on that topic, Alex, as we look to the future for a business, what should we be thinking about as business owners to help us scale, to help us grow, succeed, and prosper?

[00:31:41] Alex Brucekmann: I always say, imagine you are the buyer, not the seller. Would you buy your company? If you took a look at it, would this be something you would be like, yeah, that looks awesome. They've done their homework. This company's in really good shape. So, ego aside just a very sober look at the business. Would you buy that? If we take our ego aside, it sometimes hurts because we know exactly where in German we would say where the rabbit lies and the pepper basically where the issues are. You can cover them up. You can compensate for them as a business owner, but the moment you step out, there's no one there to compensate for them.

[00:32:20] So, the issues will become very apparent, very quickly. Ask yourself, what would I do if I would buy this company? Where would I take a look at? What are the things that I am interested in? And that might bring you a step closer to that point where you can take a objective look at the business, but it's very, very difficult because it's your business.

[00:32:43] You own it with every fiber of your being most likely. So, when you want to sell, think from a buyer's perspective, not from a seller's perspective, and one thing that is you're probably not aware of the people that will buy your company most of the time, this is not the first company that they buy.

[00:33:01] They know exactly where to look at. They know exactly what to ask. So, if you want to sell a company and that this goes back to, what do I need to learn as a business owner, you need to learn about M&A. You need to learn how this works. The funny thing is that this is a finite game and there is one shot only.

[00:33:20] And you know that in finite games, there is a winner and there is a loser. They don't have any interest most likely to make you a winner in this process because there won't be a second round. You can't sell the company a second time. That's why you need to be prepared.

[00:33:35] Jeffrey Feldberg: And for listeners, wow listen to that, not gold, but platinum, that Alex is just sharing with us today in terms of those strategies and Alex, we'll start with one of the things that you said is you have to stop thinking like a seller. In our nine-step roadmap, step number three, the Future Buyer.

[00:33:52] That's exactly what we train people to do. You've got to tune in to the world's favorite radio station, WII.FM. The what's in it for me radio station but as a buyer, not a seller. And look at your business through a buyer's eyes. Look at the liquidity event through your buyer's eyes. And then Alex was talking about taking strategies and maximizing them for your company to take it out to the next level.

[00:34:16] That's step number two of our nine-step roadmap, we call them X-Factors where your taking areas that you're world-class and you're identifying them. You probably even don't know that you have them, but you identify these X-Factors you now take it out to the world. They'll help get you, new clients. It'll keep your existing clients and it impresses the heck out of your buyer.

[00:34:34] And then Alex, you also mentioned finding those, what we call skeletons in the closet, and that'd be steps, number four and five, where we're doing internal due diligence audits on our companies. We're putting our ego aside and we're taking a cold harsh look at, hey, where are the areas maybe that were not so, good and that we have some risks? But if you do that ahead of time and you show up with a clean slate, you remove the skeletons, you've put your Rembrandts out for public display.

[00:34:59] You're in so, much of a stronger and better position than you would be otherwise, Alex, because you're right. When it comes to selling your business, you've got one chance and you really want to make a count and the odds are not in your favor. Up to 90% of liquidity events fail. And of the ones that are quote-unquote successful most business owners are leaving anywhere from 50% to over a 100% of the deal value in the buyer's pocket. And they don't even know that.

[00:35:30] And so, Alex, when we look at something that you mentioned earlier, where you create this incredible business, you're looking to the future, you're now thinking like a buyer and you're looking at the days ahead.

[00:35:41] So, you've done your vision with your KPIs. Are there any insights that you have maybe of two or three things that really make a difference of how we take our company from A to B where B is so, much bigger and better than it would be otherwise?

[00:35:56] Alex Brucekmann: In addition to what we just discussed, there is not much left that I would add. If you master those first steps that we discussed, you are already so, much better than most of the companies out there. Most entrepreneurs that I met in my life; they are not strategic. They're operationally driven.

[00:36:12] They're busy, and they succeed very often despite the fact that they work as they work, not because of that. So, just imagine how much more successful you could be if you were more intentional about what you do about the strategy you need to build for your business. And if it's for at that point in time, I'm thinking about selling my company, I'm in the process of scaling.

[00:36:37] But at some point, in time, I will think about what's next. And when you think about selling your business, it’s really about maximizing the value. You said it, Jeff, there is this one moment. This one opportunity to sell and to make this a success you really need to have the best possible plan in place in order to achieve that future state in order to work toward that vision that you have and selling a company is often more emotional than it is a rational thing.

[00:37:06] So, the only thing that I would add here is prepare yourself for that emotional impact. It's like losing a family member, not necessarily because that family member dies, but maybe it's comparable to you seeing your son or your daughter getting married. All of a sudden you were not the first choice anymore, you know what I mean?

[00:37:26] It still exists. The company is still out there, but there is someone else who's now so, much closer to it than you are. And that is an emotional thing.

[00:37:36] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, true. And this is more on the art side of a liquidity event where it is such a personal thing. But for our listeners, I want you to think about what Alex said a moment ago that most business owners are successful despite themselves, that if they were to follow the strategies and the processes that Alex has talked about, and by the way, Alex does this in courses, in the books, his upcoming book, in his podcast, on his website, he talks about these things.

[00:38:04] He helps business owners with them that they could be maybe 10X, 20X, however many X better than where they are today, but they don't even know it. That's the irony in all of this and the Alex, I'm so, excited that you've been able to share some of these strategies and these insights of what we shouldn't be doing and what we should be doing.

[00:38:24] So, as we begin to wrap up the episode, Alex, I love to ask every guest, this one question. And I'd like you to think about the movie Back to the Future where you have this magical DeLorean car that goes to any point in time of your choosing. So, imagine Alex it's tomorrow morning, you wake up, you look outside your window.

[00:38:43] The DeLorean car is there. Door is open. It's welcoming you and you go into it and you can now go to any point in your life. Maybe Alex, as a young child or a teenager, or who knows when. What would you be telling your younger self in terms of, hey, Alex, do this or don't do that? Or life wisdom or lessons learned?

[00:39:04] Alex Brucekmann: Do I need to go into the past? Well, if I had to go into the past? If I didn't have to, I would definitely go into the future, I wouldn't go back and tell myself something. I would want to know how this planet, how this other society, how humankind looks like in 500 years. That's what I want to see, but if I had to go back, I would probably go back to my 18-year-old self, struggling with school.

[00:39:31] And not knowing whether dropping out would be a good idea. And all the fear that comes with it. And I would just say, trust the process, my friend, if you want to drop out, if you're meant to go to university, you will do that at some point in time. If the time is right for you at the time was right.

[00:39:46] You can't force certain things. If I had forced myself to stay in school and then go to university directly afterward. I would never have ended where I am today. I wouldn't have had the grades to study what I wanted to study. So, I would have studied some other stuff that I wouldn't have been passionate about.

[00:40:03] Maybe the passion would have come throughout the process. I don't know. But looking back to those past 20 years in my life, my adult life, maybe 25 years, adult life, yeah I'm a bit older than I think sometimes. I would actually not do many things differently because life explains itself only in hindsight, you can't plan for certain things.

[00:40:26] So, if you trust your guts, if you trust the process, you're on and you don't force things, I think this is the best advice that I can give people don't force it. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. And that is expected to when it comes to setting a company.

[00:40:43] Jeffrey Feldberg: What terrific advice, trust the process, enjoy the journey. You'll get to where you'll get to in hindsight, perhaps will make sense, perhaps it won't, it doesn't really matter. You got to trust the process. I love that, Alex.

Alex, I'm going to make this easy for our listeners because I will put this in the show notes so, our listeners can just point and click.

[00:41:00] If somebody would like to find you online and I will list your book and your courses and your podcasts and all those terrific resources. But if someone wants to reach you online, what would be the best place for them to do this?

[00:41:11] Alex Brucekmann: So, definitely can find me on all these social media platforms, of course, but the place on the internet, where everything is consolidated is my website, alexthestrategist.com, you will find all the links to social. You would find all the free resources from our intentional strategy toolkit that helps you basically create what you and I discussed today, Jeff. To additional articles that I publish and you mentioned the podcast episodes on my website and everything. So, there's a ton available on that website for free. You don't have to spend a dime for it alexthestrategists.com.

[00:41:47] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love it. You were even strategic in your URL way to go Alex. Well, listen, Alex, thank you so, much for taking part of your day and spending it with us on The Sell My Business Podcast. And as we've closed this out, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:42:02] Alex Brucekmann: Thank you very much.

[00:42:02] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

[00:42:06] Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.

[00:42:16] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

[00:42:21] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

[00:42:27] Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so, many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

[00:42:42] Kam H.: I 100% believe there's never a great time for a business owner to allocate extra hours into his or her week or day. So, it's an investment that will yield results today. I thought I will reap the benefit of this program in three to five years down the road. But as soon as I stepped forward into the program, my mind changed immediately.

[00:43:05] Sharon S.: There was so, much value in the experience that the time I invested paid back so, much for the energy that was expended.

[00:43:15] Lyn M.: The Deep Wealth Experience compared to other programs is the top. What we learned is very practical. Sometimes you learn stuff that it's great to learn, but you never use it. The stuff we learned from Deep Wealth Experience, I believe it's going to benefit us a boatload.

[00:43:28] Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

[00:43:47] Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so, different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

[00:44:11] It's five-star, A-plus.

[00:44:13] Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

[00:44:18] Deep Wealth is an accurate name for it. This program leads to deeper wealth and happier wealth, not just deeper wealth. I don't think there's a dollar value that could be associated with such an experience and knowledge that could be applied today and forever.

[00:44:32] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

[00:44:34] Please visit www.deepwealth.com/success to learn more.

[00:44:41] If you're not on my email list, you'll want to be. Sign up at www.deepwealth.com/podcast. And if you enjoyed this episode of the Sell My Business podcast, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Reviews help me reach new listeners, grow the show and continue to create content that you'll enjoy.

[00:45:04] As we close out this episode, a heartfelt thank you for your time. And as always, please stay healthy and safe.