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June 29, 2021

Mitchell Chi, A Revenue Expert With 7 Successful Exits, Reveals How To Succeed In Business And In Life (#61)

Mitchell Chi, A Revenue Expert With 7 Successful Exits, Reveals How To Succeed In Business And In Life (#61)

"Life is a journey. Don't be a hitchhiker." - Mitchell Chi
Mitchell Chi is a strategist with tactical results. As a revenue expert with consistent success in driving top-line growth, Mitchell focuses on helping businesses acquire a new account and increa...


"Life is a journey. Don't be a hitchhiker." - Mitchell Chi

Mitchell Chi is a strategist with tactical results. As a revenue expert with consistent success in driving top-line growth, Mitchell focuses on helping businesses acquire a new account and increase market share. 

Mitchell has sold important launch solutions for every firm he's worked for including Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft. 

'Using his proven sales approach and repeatable execution model Mitchell drives new revenues, acquires new logos, and evalangizes outcomes-based results with stakeholders, CEOs, and CFOs.

As an exceptional sales professional Mitchell was a top-five sales manager at Oracle Corporation and a top-two account executive at Infor Global Solutions.  

Mitchell was a former CFO at a global fashion manufacturer, a CPA for a Big Four firm, and a former trader at Goldman Sachs

 

The Deep Wealth Experience has you learn the 9-steps of preparation in 90-days. At the end of the 90-day,s you create a blueprint to help you optimize your business value. You also have the certainty of capturing the maximum value for your liquidity event.

SHOW NOTES

  • Why grit and tenacity are the keys to success
  • The common trait that creates the titans of business
  • Why you must plan for the unknown and what this one action will do for you
  • How everyone sells something whether you realize it or not
  • Why people buy from people and not companies
  • Why failure is a big part of creating your success
  • The five growing pains every successful company goes through
  • How the pandemic has forever changed how we buy things
  • Why Mitchell create Sage Professional Services and runs it like a Mission Impossible team
  • Why life is a journey and you can't be a hitchhiker
  • How successful founders release control so their companies can succeed and grow
  • Why business owners must let their teams fail so that the company can succeed
  • The importance of alignment through the entire company
  • How to embrace employees through transparency
  • Why you should not shop on price
  • How the 30-second rule tells you if you love your life and job

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. 

When it comes to your liquidity event, you have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. Enterprise value is created from preparation and not the event itself. 

Learn how the Deep Wealth Experience helps you maximize enterprise value. Master the same strategies our founders used to increase their company value by 10X. 

Access the same 9-step road map of preparation that paves the way for success. Enjoy the certainty that you'll capture the maximum value on your liquidity event.

  

Click here to book your free exploratory call.

Enjoy the interview!

SELECTED LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE

Sage Professional Services website

Mitchell Chi on LinkedIn

Mitchell's email address mitchell[dot]chi[at]sageprosrvs[dot]com

The Deep Wealth Experience

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This podcast is brought to you by the Deep Wealth Experience. In the world of mergers and acquisitions, 90% of deals fail. Of the successful deals, business owners leave millions of dollars on the deal table.

Who are we, and how do we know? We're the 9-figure exit guys. We said "no" to a 7-figure offer. Two years later, we said "yes" to a 9-figure offer.  In the process, we increased the value of our company by 10X.

During our liquidity event journey, we created a 9-step road map of preparation. It's the quality and depth of your preparation that increases your business value.

After our 9-figure liquidity event, we committed ourselves to help business owners dominate and win. The Deep Wealth Experience has you create a blueprint to optimize the value of your business.

Our solution is resilient, relentless, and gets results. Enjoy the certainty that you'll capture the maximum value on your liquidity event.

Click here to book your free exploratory call.

Deep Wealth LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE

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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

Steve Wells: [00:00:05] I'm Steve Wells.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:06] And I'm Jeffrey Feldberg. Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast.

Steve Wells: [00:00:10] This podcast is brought to you by the Deep Wealth Experience. When it comes to your liquidity event or exit, do you know how to maximize the value of your business? You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count.  Most business owners believe that business value is determined during the liquidity event.

Unfortunately, most business owners are wrong. Your enterprise value is a direct result of the depth and quality of your preparation. Who are we and, how do we know? We're the 9-figure exit guys. We said "no" to a 7-figure offer. Two years later, we said "yes" to a 9-figure offer.

Despite having the same people, the same company, the same services, we increased our business value 10 times.

How did we do this? We spent millions of dollars and years of time to uncover strategies that level the playing field. The end result is the 12-week Deep Wealth Experience.

We've created a proprietary solution that is relentless, resilient, and gets results. Learn how to master the art and science of a liquidity event. We've leveraged the same strategies that took us from 7-figures to 9-figures.

The Deep Wealth Experience levels the playing field so you can dominate and win.

Book your free call today to find out if you have what it takes for the Deep Wealth Experience.

Visit www.deepwealth.com/success to book your free call.

That's www.deepwealth.com/success.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:01:39] Welcome to episode 61 of the Sell My Business Podcast. 

Mitchell Chi is a strategist with tactical results. As a revenue expert with consistent success in driving top-line growth, Mitchell focuses on helping businesses acquire a new account and increase market share. 

Mitchell has sold important launch solutions for every firm he's worked for including Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft. Using his proven sales approach and repeatable execution model Mitchell drives new revenues, acquires new logos, and evalangizes outcomes-based results with stakeholders, CEOs, and CFOs.

As an exceptional sales professional Mitchell was a top-five sales manager at Oracle Corporation and a top-two account executive at Infor Global Solutions.  Mitchell was a former CFO at a global fashion manufacturer, a CPA for a Big Four firm, and a former trader at Goldman Sachs

Welcome to the Sell My Business podcast. Today, we have a very special guest for the community. Our guest has a success record that reads like an encyclopedia. More successes than we'll have time to talk about. But it's truly an honor, both for me and for the community.

So, Mitchell, I'd like to welcome you officially to the Sell My Business podcast. Thank you so much for your time today. And Mitchell, perhaps we can start with the story behind the story. Every successful story has one. What did you do to get you to where you are today? What's that story behind the story?

Mitchell Chi: [00:03:22] Yeah, it's an interesting story. Number one, Jeffrey. I'm pleased to be here. Thank you for inviting me and thank you for giving me some time to share. I don't know if it's sage or not wisdom, but yeah, the story behind the story is interesting. I started my career as an accountant with Pricewaterhouse.

CPA. I discovered after about two years, I didn't like accounting. It was very based on history. No offense to anybody that's out there. What happened last week? What happened last month? What the trends look like? And I was working very closely with Goldman Sachs and one night a senior partner at Goldman Sachs turned to me and just said that.

You must like history. And I said, how? I was 24 and lo and behold, I moved over to Goldman Sachs, had a great run there. I was an arbitrage trader, not when they hired me, but I did arbitrage from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. And at 31 I retired.  I don't know if you call that Jeffrey a successful exit, but that's the foundation of what's been driving me ever since.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:04:23] And Mitchell, we will get into that. And for the benefit of the community, what you need to know is that Mitchell has had 11 startups with seven successful exits. So, you've defied the odds, Mitchell. And let's talk about that for the moment, because success is not an accident. Success leaves clues. Mitchell, when you look back to those exits, the successful exits that you've had.

What did you do that made things work better or just had you cross the finish line that if you wouldn't have done that, it would have been a very different outcome?

Mitchell Chi: [00:04:54] Fantastic question. I always talk about grit and I talk about tenacity and I talk about the drive that people see the vision and the goal line. Steve Jobs failed over 300 times developing the iPod. He never said I'm not going to listen to people. I know this is going to work. At that time, Apple wasn't as big as it is now. You'll look at Tesla. There are common traits, even at the lower piece and across my 11 startups where the founder, I wasn't, the founder, had unbelievable vision, but more importantly, grit, determination, a laser focus on the end game. Sometimes to their own disadvantage.

But it always amazed me that's the common trait, Jeffrey. The common trait is the ability to stay in the game. No matter how bloody do you get. No matter what the score is, you're staying in the game and you're thinking about the end result. It's not that important where you start, but it is very important where you end.

Obviously, there've been some startups that have failed and can go back and do forensics on that. But grit, determination drive. Very important. And the last one is to surround yourself with people that play to your weakness. Never try to do it all. If you're going to try to do it all, that's going to dilute your focus.

Bring people in that are going to play to your weakness. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:06:27] Terrific wisdom in there. There's a lot to unpack. Mitchell why don't we start with this. And I'm all about grit and determination and tenacity and stay with it until you get it done. That's how Embanet my first company started. Had I given up in the early days, there wouldn't have been that successful nine-figure exit.

That was much later down the road. But Mitchell, on the flip side, I've been in situations where my grit. And my determination and my tenacity has worked against me. And I didn't know when to call it a day and I put good money after bad and some of my startups and, not a happy ending How do you know, where do you tell, okay, I'm on the right path. This is when to use my grit and my tenacity, or hey, let's switch gears here. What's the secret there?

Mitchell Chi: [00:07:12] Great question. I think some of the traits with startups when they get up and running, think of them as a toddler. They're running around their house. Oh my God. I'm touching everything. This is the world. Invincible. But the fact of the matter is aside from having people that are going to guide you, same thing with childhood.

You need to understand when to say my plan needs to be adjusted. There are a fair amount of companies and some of the startups I've been involved with, they didn't want to take any advice. I know this is going to work. A lot of that trait came from people that were not necessarily in sales but on the engineering or technical side.

And in that mode, those types of people are gifted and brilliant, but they always question I've invented the best mousetrap. Why don't people come running to me? And that's a very delicate time to coach and to try to get them on the right road, but to look at it in different ways and plan for the unknown. Typically, younger companies don't have that planning for the unknown

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:08:31] And I suppose we can tie that back into some of the people that you surround yourself with. But before we do that, let me ask you something that's back onto the grit and the tenacity side. What's interesting is you refer to yourself as someone who has the sales DNA within him. And you have a track record that shows that. You were one of the top sales managers at Oracle. In the early days when Apple was getting going, you were right there and had one of the largest dealerships for Apple. 

Most businesses, Mitchell, in my experience, you have very talented founders, incredibly smart people, but when it comes to sales, most businesses tend to fail the grade on the sales side. What's that missing link for most business owners that if they just change this, or if they did that, it would mean the difference of being the best-kept secret to being that successful business, changing lives, making a difference, solving problems.

Mitchell Chi: [00:09:28] To use your words, which I do love let's unpack that a little bit. You get to a point where everyone sells. I want to be careful with that statement, but everybody in the world sells. You sell to your children. And I'm not saying that it's a bad thing.

I bump into people and they ask me what I do. I tell them I'm in sales. And the first thing they think is three-martini lunch, this guy is on the golf course. He's shady, he’s going to sell me a used car. It's going to break down in two weeks. Maybe I did that once or twice in my teen years. But everybody does sell, that's putting your best foot forward.

And the bigger thing is believing truly in what your product is. So, if you look back at Oracle, I was with Oracle during the dot com fuel and the dot com bust. And it was very interesting to see the huge hockey stick, and then to see it evaporate and go downhill. Whereas pets.com these days shipping dog food below any retailer with free shipping.

But the fact of the matter is everybody does sell. And contrary to what you said, Jeff, I truly believe a CEO has to come from the sales side, has to. They're selling their investors. They're selling their employees. They're selling customers and they are the single visionary that younger companies are going to latch onto and say, this is a company I want to buy from.

I want to engage in this company. That's an important part of it. I think during my career. I was always looking back on it, focused on sales and marketing. I had one client of Sage recently say you're the PT Barnum. I don't know if it was a compliment. He says it was. 

The ringleader to really. Get focused, get the narrative down as something that's compact and easy to say realize that most people have the attention of a gnat listening to what you're trying to tell them. And it's important. You always turn that conversation around to it's all about you, Jeffrey. It's about you. And why do people do that?

Look at childhood. It's all about the child. It's all about the employee. It's all about those relationships that have a piece of sales in it, but it's also compassion, empathy, knowing when to have the right boundaries. You look at two kids raised in the same family.

It's like Trading Places. Once a tremendous success, same household. The other one is off the rails. You sit back and go, wait, what went wrong here? I don't know. I'm not that brilliant. I've raised six kids. So, I looked pretty good at 21 with a lot of gray hair. But I think that's the single comment to tell your listeners is that you need to take advice from experts.

You need to stay focused. You need to understand that whether you invented a product, invented a new service, have something that the market can't wait for. You need to realize and embrace that change is good. Change is good. And that doesn't mean you're not going to get to California on the airplane when you board in New York, but who knows if you're going to hit a storm in the Midwest, who knows if the plane needs to circle.

That pilot is always laser-focused on runway 32 and we'll get there. If I board a plane, which I'm going to do tomorrow. First time since COVID, but you know, if they're sitting around reading a map and they're confused and how am I going to get there? I think I'm getting off the plane. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:13:15] Some good advice for traveling after the pandemic, but that's a whole other conversation. And then I have a feeling we'll touch on that. Now you said something interesting Mitchell, and let's go back to that. Regardless of who founded the company. But the ultimate CEO needs to have a sales background in order to communicate, not just to customers, but to future stakeholders, or if you're having a liquidity event, it's really one big sales event or sales process.

And if you take that CEO concept, I would take it a step further and say one area where most business owners fall down is forget a CEO. They don't have the business run without them. And I was in that category for the first portion of Embanet. I finally learned that lesson a little bit late but did it. Better, late than never.

And I would love to hear from your experience, particularly now with what you're doing, because I know you're out there, you're making a difference with companies with Sage and you're offering how to solve problems for businesses. What are you seeing out there when it comes to businesses running without the business owner and how to fix that in your experience? 

Mitchell Chi: [00:14:24] That's a tough thing. That's an event that's very hard to let go. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple. He was fired. They had to go through that growing pain. They brought in the wrong CEO at the time, in my opinion, brought somebody from a consumer beverage company.

But Steve was out. He had taken that child as far as he could and needed somebody with the skills to take it to young adulthood. I could make the same statement for Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle. Absolutely brilliant. I'm still a huge fan of Larry, but he was fired and still the biggest stockholder. Still the biggest stockholder.

He got to a point where the board and the stockholders realized I needed a different person with their hand on the yoke if you're a pilot or the hand on the rudder to grow. And that's important and you're absolutely right. Jeffrey, the company has to be self-sustaining because a company is a living entity, maybe not human.

But it's a living entity. It needs food, it needs oxygen. And I call sales oxygen. It needs everything that a living entity would have. It needs the brains and it needs a nervous system. And we'll go through all the organs. Probably why I'm not a doctor, but it needs everything.

And if you get to a point running a company and developing a company where you're indispensable. You're never going to exit and maybe that's your plan. I have no problem with that. Never going to exit, but your life is going to be so chaotic. You won't have a truly life and work balance. I am on LinkedIn a lot. I do a hashtag. Do you work to live or do you live to work? There's really only one answer there. And the other answer tells me a tremendous amount about you. I live to work the a, okay.  I guarantee your family doesn't feel that. Things are neglected. And if your business, your entity can't stand on its own two legs, at some point, it still needs your guidance, as we all do. But that's a big part of it. Jeffrey, you had a very successful exit and I'm sure that the buyers of that exit wanted to be sure that the company could run without Jeffrey. That's not immediate. They might've said Jeffrey stay on for three months or three years or whatever. But stay here as an advisory board member and let the child go out and run or to get out on the pasture.

Let it fall. Failure's a big part of having a startup. You need to fail a lot. I hate to say this. I call it the 2% rule. If you're successful 51% of the time, I'll take you to Vegas and back you. If you're not successful 51% of the time that's a 2% swing and I think I'll wait. I think I'll wait before I back you or do anything. Those types of people need to understand. Failure is good. Every failure I can learn.  It's part of life. How'd you learn to walk? You stood up, you fell backward, you stood up, you fell forwards.

Your parents were kind of there. You hit your head, but after a while, you got up and you walked.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:17:55] Failure, I think is either underrated or overrated, depending on where you sit. At least for myself and my experience, my biggest success came right on the heels of my biggest failure. Because when things are working and you're successful, not that it's easy, but it's easy. Just things are working.

The winds at your back. Everything is good, but when it's not, and when you're failing and Mitchell, maybe you found the same thing, that's where your grit and your tenacity, your determination has got to come in. You got to find a better way. You got to find a way out of this. And usually, that's the path to success, but let's go back to your analogy of a business being a living entity and fully agree with that.

And back, to it being an infant to a child. And I know you have a thesis and you talk about this with the five areas of growth. Would love to hear more about that in terms of what are those five years of growth for our community, as it pertains to their business?

Mitchell Chi: [00:18:50] You know, I went to grad school and got my MBA many years ago. There was a book that really shaped my future. It was called Growing Pains. And Growing Pains, I believe is still on Amazon. It's probably in its 35th print edition by now, but it was fascinating to finish that course and really align a business with the growth of a person.

So, I've talked a little bit on the interview here Jeffrey, there's child, there's adolescence, there's young man or woman. There's a kind of the highlight of your life we'll call that really emerging success. So, there's five stages and those five stages, very much align with the way people run their life. I'm in the more, the Twilight of my life, although I don't feel it, but those five growth stages are critical because at every leap from one stage to the other is tremendous turmoil. I don't know if your listeners ever raised a 14-year-old girl. That's a tough one.

I'll take a boy over a girl. It's just my opinion. That's tough and you didn't give up and you stayed focused, but every time you make a leap and a growing pain forward. I love your thought forward, lean into the wind. You're going to take those challenges. You're going to take advice from people, doesn't mean you need to do it.

And you're going to get over that growing pain. There's five growing pains. They align with humans. Think about it in your twenties and thirties. I'm doing great. I'm moving up. I'm moving up the corporate ladder. I'm getting new promotions, but for you to move from that role into a leadership role, whatever the title is, that's a major gonna make it or not. And assuming you become CEO, you've got to make the transition and growing pain from CEO to board member to advisor, maybe with a different company. But those are the growing pains they really are. And I enjoy what I do.

I've retired twice. People always tell me why aren't you out fishing and golfing and enjoying yourself. I don't fish. You don't want to be on a golf course with me. You'll have to wear a helmet. People say how the ball get behind you? I don't know. But I really enjoy what I do. I truly enjoy what I do.

I think I'm dynamic and I'm driven and I love to seek growth. I've been around all the big pivots of technology, including the Internet. My wife and I were laughing the other day saying, remember, when you had that dial tone on a modem. AOL. The crackling. 

Growing pains. I love being around it. We're entering industry 4.0 now. A huge industrial change.

I would liken it to the printing press and industry 4.0 couldn't come at a more opportune time.  We will never return to COVID. Ever. Anything that you were doing in COVID wipe that clean. Employees are going to work remotely. They're not going to come back to the office. Maybe two days a week.

They love their lifestyle. And that doesn't mean they're lazy. You tend to work more when you're working from home. I work 10, 12-hour days. I'm sure you do. I know Jeff does, I think with me as a driver to maybe 18 hours, but nothing is going to be the same moving forward. I hope everybody realizes that. Even your products and your services will be different.

You look at the hospitality industry trying to get up and dust themselves off. Hotels are contactless. It is insane. I love it. But no registration. QR codes. You go to restaurants, QR code. There's the menu. We'll get to a point where now that is part of the lifestyle. You look at Amazon, 10 years ago to tell a retailer, what do you think about delivering a product two days from the time it's ordered?

What are you nuts? No way that could happen. Well, you look at the biggest threat to Amazon. Now is Walmart. They have the real estate they're going to clobber Amazon eventually, I've got positions in both those companies, but it's amazing to see the fortitude and the grit your listeners have, that businesses have.

Big and small. You look at Toyota. I just bought a vehicle for my wife contactless. We went for a test drive. They didn't even sit in the car and babble and tell me everything that's great about it. Here's the keys, please bring it back. My wife and I went off on, an hour test drive.

You never heard of that before. I asked another dealer, can I take it home overnight? Sure.  The worst transaction people hate is buying a car. I'd rather buy a house than buy a car. You're just worked over and bloodied. And that experience has gotten very smooth.

It's frictionless. And things are going to change. And in that change to get back on topic, it's important that they bring in people that have been there, done that, and can help guide a business owner or somebody that's got an equity stake in a company. So, you can properly adjust for the wind. Do this on your own you're in for a rough time. That's why Sage, my firm has had a tremendous demand since December. Kind of startled Jeff and I how did we get here? My wife definitely doesn't like it, three o'clock in the morning she'll wake up you're on your phone?

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:25:02] And so Michelle let's talk about that. And it's a nice segue into Sage professional services with what you're doing. And it's also a terrific way. If you look at your experiences. So, you've just walked us through the five areas of growth. It's not every day that you meet somebody who has seven successful exits. You've worked with some of the most successful and largest companies in tech.

You have the sales DNA and the numbers to back that up and prove that. So, you have terrific insights into this thing called success. So, when you take now the pandemic as businesses are trying to figure out this new normal, not only get things back on track but make up for lost time. How does that interplay into what Sage Professionals Services does for my business to catapult it to the next level?

Mitchell Chi: [00:25:53] So, really what we do is you think of Mission Impossible. You're either Peter Graves or you're Tom Cruise, depending upon your age. Whoever hires you they've realized that they need help.

They need help specifically on an initiative that an owner or a CEO has. And that initiative is on the shortlist of initiatives. It's not paint the gate, put up new signs, but there's a list. And the interesting thing is, we're very specialized in what we do. So, we bring a leader in, not a figurehead, but a leader in. I'm on my largest client right now as Chief Strategy Officer in North America.

There was never that position before. It is a project-based very specific mission. I've assembled a team to really focus on the initiative, cut through the barriers, cut through the problems because we've been there. We've done that. And to complete the mission. And in completing that mission we want to extract and get out.

What's happening is some of our clients say that was great. Let me give you another mission. I'm great with that. I'm great with it. Financially rewarding for both sides.  It's good learning for the CEO to say, we'll use CEO for now. Wow. I brought in a specialist. I brought in somebody that specifically works on ventricles in the heart.

I couldn't have done this. They came in, they completed the mission they got out. It's an interesting new offering. COVID has really latched on to this. We wait for the next challenge. We have an exciting group of specialists primarily through LinkedIn. That's my rich pool of open opportunities.

If you're on LinkedIn, I can go in and slice and dice and find the right talent for the mission. I have a biotech that wanted a CMIO in life sciences pharmaceuticals because that biotech just got approved by the FDA to bring their product commercial.

Most likely there'll be bought. Big pharma doesn't want to have that risk anymore. Their mission was very discreet. I need ads approved. I need to get DTC direct to consumer on TV. I gotta be sure the FDA approves all this. Oh my God. Oh my God. Help. And I've found the leader. On LinkedIn, found the leader.

He assembled his mission, Impossible team, and got out. That's the value. It's a lot of fun. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:28:38] So, Mitchell, this is fascinating. It's more than a recruiter and I know you make it very clear upfront. We are not recruiters. That's not what we're doing. Obviously, though talent is part of the equation here. So, is it you're finding the right talent, and then you're helping that talent with the strategy and the sales DNA to parachute into a situation to get the mission done successfully and then move on to the next one. Is that big picture-wise, what you're doing?

Mitchell Chi: [00:29:07] Some of that is I think the important thing, and you really nailed that. Jeffrey. Thank you for that. We're not a placement company. In fact, our contracts with my clients specifically say, you cannot hire anybody on my Mission Impossible team. Period. Can't happen. So, that becomes very clear cut of our role in our position on helping my Mission Impossible team I'm hiring experts, that have done this. A lot of times I haven't done it. I'll give them some advice on strategy or roadblocks, but like everybody else, I'll turn to other experts. It's interesting now because the four or five projects we're working on are all different. Mine is sales. Loving the role, I'm in.

I have a CMO, I have a sales intelligence software SVP of sales intelligence. Totally different role. And it's really fascinating. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:30:09] It's intriguing in terms of what you're doing. Now I know there's some business owners out there who were saying, yeah, Mitchell, that's great. And perhaps for these big pharmaceutical companies or these large Fortune 10 or 100 or 500 companies, that's all fine and good, but that's not my business.

 You know I'm a much smaller kind of entity and it's something that I probably have no business even doing in the first place. Why are they wrong in Mitchell? What would you tell them?

Mitchell Chi: [00:30:34] I only focus on the small and medium segment of the market. The larger tier-one companies they don't need Sage. They've got departments of marketing people and departments of salespeople and they don't need my help. In the band of under 10 million in revenue. and I don't want to cap myself. I really feel there's a huge demand. We are contingency only. So, think about it. I complete my mission. You're paying me. I don't complete my mission. That's the risk share that I have with my client. My client's saving a tremendous amount of money. A tremendous amount of money and time.

They don't have to hire people and see if they're right and see if their resume is a lie or the resume is truthful. They don't have to do any of that. They don't have to worry about 90 days later, I got to terminate this guy. They don't have to worry about he's missing my goal here. It has tremendous value to the small business owner to the point of guiding the business owner for a successful exit.

I have a very you'll see it soon venture capital banking executive coming on board that can renegotiate loans. Can deal with banks. He came from the banking industry. He's worked with venture capitalists and home offices. He's been there, done that.

He'll go on roadshows. He's tremendous. Now, why would you want to hire that person? That person on hire is probably $200,000 to $300,000 and we'll probably want a chunk of equity. Just come to us. There is our mission,

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:32:17] For our business owners out there. I hope you're listening really carefully. In the Deep Wealth nine-step roadmap, step number seven, isn't an advisory team and you have your advisory team for your liquidity event. But Mitchell, you're taking this to a whole other level.

And why not? Why not have an advisory team of experts on a mission-by-mission basis? Which when you add up all those missions, eventually will get you to your liquidity event and it'll get you there in style. A little bit of an intrigue there as we go with this Mission Impossible theme, but it'll also get you there with a higher EBITDA and just a better-looking liquidity event, every which way around, which is just a fabulous way to do that. 

Mitchell, how did you come upon this particular way of rolling out this service with Sage Professional Services on a mission-by-mission basis? We'll have some skin in the game because you don't pay us until we have some clearly defined goals that you can check the boxes on that were done.

And everyone now has really a vested interest to want to make this happen. How'd you come up with that? What does that look like?

Mitchell Chi: [00:33:26] Wow. How do I extract this? So, during my career, we go back over this, over and over again, but it is a theme. When I was at Goldman Sachs, you could not walk in with your presentation and your ask from the senior partners of Goldman Sachs unless you had two slides on the last time you told them something and what the outcome was.  They didn't want to hear from you.

So, if you went in there and said, hey, three months ago, I pitched you this. Oh, and it failed. They're done. So, that kind of fabric in me really crafted the offering. I've worked with startups on a contingency basis, not as an offering, just because I don't want to work a hundred percent for a company.

And that's part of the Sage offering is that my Mission Impossible team doesn't dedicate more than 50% of their time. And the leaders tend to really like that. They're more seasoned people that I don't want to work full time, but yeah, I'll work 50%. What you find is in the client I'm engaged with, I told them no more than 40% of my time.

Because I had this vision, but lo and behold, I'm probably dedicating 90% of my time to this client just out of the passion. And the founder of this company, it's a global supply chain company, wants to help me get other clients. Because he said, don't put all your eggs in one basket. That's how I started 22 years ago. And I understand that and I want to do the best I can to help you minimize your risk when your project's done. And you don't find that. People buy from people, Jeffrey. People don't buy products to companies. It just doesn't happen. People interact with people.

My biggest fear when I walk or drive out in the universe is all the people on their cell phones.  I was born and raised in New York City, the greatest city in the world. And by the way, there's only one New York City it's Manhattan.  If you look at that people are losing that whole experience, their heads down.

They're getting run over by a cab. God, stop. You're only here once.  Life is a journey. Don't be a hitchhiker. I'm writing a book right now with little excerpts on that, but don't be a hitchhiker in life. Steve Jobs would give $10 billion to have another year of life. I'm positive. You can't buy time. You can't buy a life. You're here once. And I love your mission what you do with these podcasts.

I applaud you for that. I really do, Jeffrey. How do you get the word out? It's hard. 

Podcasts are everywhere now. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:36:17] Thank you, Mitchell. And for our listeners, what a statement? Don't be a hitchhiker in life. So, simple, but don't confuse simple with simplicity. And so elegant. It's a powerful message. And Mitchell to back up what you said. I believe that not only do people buy from people, but given the choice, people prefer to buy from friends than strangers.

And so, for all your business owners out there, what are you doing? Are you that stranger that you're up against someone who's become a friend because they've hired the right advisory team? Maybe they've even hired Mitchell's company, Sage Professional Services. They're now competing with you.

Nobody is an island unto to him or herself. We all need help and the right kind of help, the more help that you can get with the talented people, the experienced people, the better off you're going to be. Your stakeholders are going to be including your employees and their families who are depending on you.

And quite openly the world because it's us business owners that really make the world go round. We figure out how to solve these problems and make it right for people and just make the world a better place. Not to get all corny here on you, Mitchell. But I really do believe that.

And you're doing some incredible things with that. Mitchell, let me ask you this. When you parachute into these companies with the Mission Impossible mandate here. On the flip side, what are they doing wrong? Are there two or three common characteristics amongst these companies that you're seeing time and time again, if they would only change this or not do that life would be better for them?

Mitchell Chi: [00:37:47] Some of it is the ability to release control. That's very tough. Especially in the sales side. Think of me opening up a hotdog cart and I've opened thousands of hotdog carts, but you're the hotdog manufacturer and you're going to get in and tinker a lot with that hotdog stand. And part of that is the release of that.

Like a child, when do I not stand my child up so he doesn't hit his head learning to walk? There's a part where you're gonna say, all right, there's a sharp edge there. Let's see what happens. So, that's number one. That's the biggest thing when we parachute in. 

The second thing is we have to have alignment from the whole company. That alignment is critical because the employees of any company can sabotage your mission and you won't know it. You just won't know it. And that is a horrific event.  You got the customer service rep hates their job. They get your customer on the line. And next thing you know, the customer says, I'm not doing business with you anymore. 

You've got to embrace the employees and the best way to embrace employees, I believe is be transparent.  Look, I'm horrible at this. I know Jeff's gonna laugh in a moment, but I'm horrible with details. You don't want me as a project manager, you don't want Mitchell Chi as a project manager.

You don't want me as a pilot. The plane will crash. So, I know my weakness and you've got to accept that and employees need to understand the strengths of why you're bringing in a specialist. My child's sick. I'm not going to go to my general practitioner anymore. I need an oncologist. I need a pediatric oncologist.

I need somebody that's done it thousands of times, I'm not shopping on price. I tell a lot of customers sometimes if you're shopping for the cheapest software, you're going to die. You're going to die. Because there are some events that you do not forsake cost. And I'm not saying go wild, but the way you shop for a brain surgeon, you better be shopping for experts.

And employees. They don't all have to be contract business. So, anyway, that's our mission and we're sticking to it. And as Obama used to say, because that's what I do. These are all things that drive my feet to the floor. I call that a metric when I talk to younger people. When I wake up in the morning, my feet hit the floor in about 30 seconds.

If you wake up in the morning and four hours later, you're still in bed, you hate your job. I'll tell you right now, you hate your job. Maybe I'll call in sick. Oh my God. I hate my job. I'll just leave you with that.  I'm passionate about a few things, but human development is very important to me.

I coach or mentor a lot of people, no fee. Just because I like doing it. Younger people, my wife always says you're on the phone two hours with that guy. Yeah. He's 21. It's his first job.  

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:41:02] It's interesting how you're giving it back, which is terrific. And Mitchell, you're leaving our listeners with all these statistics. You have the 2% rule, the difference between success and failure, that 2% rule. And now the 30-second rule of how long it takes you to get out of bed where your feet hit the floor. I love it. 

But let me ask you this Mitchell, as we begin to wrap up the podcast, there's one question that I love to ask every guest. And the question is this. Earlier you referred to one movie, I'm going to refer to a different movie for this question. And the movie is Back to the Future.

In that movie, you had this incredible car, the DeLorean car that could take you back to any point in history. So, Mitchell, I'd like you to imagine that tomorrow morning, you look out your door, you pass your 30-second rule you got out of bed is less than 30 seconds. You look out your window and there's a DeLorean car.

It's waiting for you. The door is actually open, waiting for you to go in. And now Mitchell, you go in the DeLorean and you can go back in time to any point in your life. Mitchell as the young child or maybe the teenager, the adult, whatever it would be. What would you be telling your younger self in terms of life, wisdom or lessons learned or, Hey, do this Mitchell or Mitchell don't do that?

What would that be?

Mitchell Chi: [00:42:19] Wow. That's probably one of the greatest questions I've gotten in my 69 years. And I've been through four wives, three wives. Oops. Three wives. Wow. So, what would I tell my younger self? Don't wait until you're 40 to get married. I did that. Regretful can't change it. I'm on this journey, not a hitchhiker.

I think I'd love to be in the fifties when the inventions were insane. Television? Going to the moon? Are you kidding? We're going to walk on the moon? Big thinkers. I tell myself that the younger me think big. Challenge, the impossible. Electric cars. Manufacturers have been trying that for 30 years.

Why did Elon come on the scene and nailed it? You get in a Tesla, you break your neck when you step on the gas.  It's pure power. So, challenge the status quo, Mitchell, young Mitchell child, or Mitch. Don't hitchhike. I hitchhiked and got married when I was 40. Don't do that.

Don't do that. I missed a lot. I raised my children when I was 55. I didn't want to go throw a football around. I don't have time for that. My ankle hurts. I just live it. It's a phenomenal world. I won't get philosophical on you, but sometimes I'll way out back behind my house and look up at the stars. There's probably a billion of me somewhere. And that light from that star probably doesn't exist anymore. That star doesn't exist anymore. 

Be engaged. Don't wait. Try things. Fail. You look at all the times great people have made advances and they failed. That's it. That's my soundbite exit. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:44:05] Some terrific wisdom there. Nuggets of not gold, but platinum, Mitchell. Thank you so much for that. If our listeners would like to get in touch with you, where's the best place online that somebody can find you?

Mitchell Chi: [00:44:17] Probably my email. I will tell you. that we are standing up a website that is going to be password protected. Because not everybody wants to reveal to people that we're on a mission. So, it'll be password protected. It will have some information on it, but the best way right now is mitchell[dot]chi[at]sageprosrvs[dot]com

S R V S is the acronym for services, Sage pro serve.com. And they can always reach me on my cell phone. I'm going to be careful. I don't want any warranty people out there to call me, but country code +1 4 8 4 - 4 5 9 - 2 9 0 0. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:45:06] Terrific. And Mitchell, I think is only appropriate with a Mission Impossible style of business that you have a password protected website. Why not. Love it! So, on that note, Mitchell, thank you so much for your time today and for being a guest on the, Sell My Business Podcast. And as we wrap this up, please continue to stay healthy and safe. 

Mitchell Chi: [00:45:25] Wonderful.