"In order for us to help others, we need to first help ourselves. " - Rolando Gadala-Maria
Rolando Gadala-Maria is Founder and CEO of Visage Capital Group. Rolando has more than 35 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur. He brings a unique set of skills and experience that include founding new businesses, investing and restructuring existing businesses, Mergers and Acquisitions, business strategy, and business growth models.
Rolando and his team created a proprietary deep analytical process that identifies perceptions of value from different buyers and sectors. Rolando helps clients maximize their exit value by preparing these companies to have the right positioning and alignment.
The end result is that Rolando never sells a company until its value is maximized for shareholders and optimized for the buyer.
Rolando's deep conviction is when the homework is done extra value is always added.
This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. Are you thinking about selling your business? You have one chance to get it right and you better make it count. Learn how the Deep Wealth experience helps maximize company value before you sell. Master the same exit strategies we used to increase our company value 10X with our 9-figure exit.
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Steve Wells: [00:00:00] This is Steve Wells.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:01] And I'm Jeffrey Feldberg. Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast.
Steve Wells: [00:00:06] This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth.Are you a business owner who is wondering how to either grow your business,sell it, or both?
Or maybe in today's environment,you're wondering how to make your business pandemic proof. Visit deepwealth.comto find out how you can master the strategies to grow and extract the deepwealth from your business. Visit www.deepwealth.com.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:26] Welcome to episode 19 of the Sell My BusinessPodcast. This episode is a solo run with me as Steve Wells continues to enjoyhis much-deserved time off. Today's guest is a treasure chest of information,wisdom and insights. Rolando Gadala-Maria is founder and CEO of Visage CapitalGroup. Rolando has more than 35 years of experience as a serial entrepreneurand brings a unique set of skills that include founding new businesses,investing and restructuring, existing businesses, mergers and acquisitions,business strategy, and business growth models.
Rolando and his team created aproprietary deep analytical process that identifies perception of value fromdifferent buyers and sectors. Rolando helps clients maximize their exit valuethrough preparing these companies to have the right positioning andalignment.
The end result is that Rolandonever sells a company until its value is maximized for shareholders andoptimize for the buyer. Rolando's deep conviction is when the homework is done,extra value is always added.
Rolando, wonderful to have youwith us today. Very excited about the interview that we're about to have, butwhy don't we start with you telling us a little bit about your background andhow you got to where you are today.
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:01:58] Thank you, Jeffrey. Glad to be here. I startedas a serial entrepreneur. I graduated from college in the US. I am originallyfrom El Salvador, Central America. but I lived in Miami for many, many years.And when I graduated from college, I decided that I needed to be anentrepreneur.
So, I went back to El Salvador.I founded that my first business and, four years later, I just got offered tobuy, and I sold it. and then that time I thought I had gotten a good price, butafter learning all these stories from other friends. I realized that I couldhave potentially got a much better price than I did. So, I said I am going tofound a new company. Three years later, I had a competitor from another countrytrying to buy. And I said, no, and our plan is to keep on growing veryaggressively.
And, that, attracted a couplemore buyers to the table and I ended up selling it for three times the value incomparison to multiples of the first company. So, I said, there's somethinginteresting here. And then I started that consulting company that evolved intohelping businesses to grow and I'm helping them after two, three years, to anexit.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:03:09] That'swonderful. Before we get going your company name, isn't just any company name.There's a story behind that.
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:03:16] Sure,absolutely. Several years ago, I wrote a leadership program it's calledAwakened Leaders and the whole purpose of the program was to expandconsciousness to higher levels.
I believe, we have the capacityas human beings to discover many things in life. I mean, discovered becausethey are just simply covered. And when we take that cover away, we discoveredbeing, and that's when we have the wow moments and the eye openers on manyaspects in life, including business.
So, I put that philosophy intothe core of my company. And when I was creating the company, I said this has tobe completely aligned with what I believe on some of the essential factors thathave to be there, is the capacity to have a very clear vision of what you haveto achieve. And so, I came up with this word that I derived from the oldFrench, "visage." As you knowvisage in French means face, but the origins of that word in the old Frenchmeans the capacity to visualize so you're able to manifest.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:04:20] It's wonderful. And so, Visage Capital Groupis your company name. Rolando what's interesting. You've been on both sides ofthe table. So, you're a serial entrepreneur. You had businesses, you builtbusinesses, grew them, you sold them. And now you're on the other side of thetable where you're helping other business owners take their business and helpthem realize their dream when they exit that business and they sell it,
Having been on both sides of thetable, if you could go back to your younger self when you're building yourbusiness, what would you tell yourself before you sold it with what, you knownow that you would have done differently when you went to sell?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:04:58] I think one thing that is very important thatI missed on the first two exits is to take a very deep dive into my company,try to understand the true potential it has.
Try to position it in a way thatis highly appealing to potential buyers. And not only in my sector, but also inparallel sectors, that the company could have much more value than for somebodyin the same industry.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:05:23] Rolando, you bring up a terrific point. And Iknow offline, we were talking about this. When I speak to business owners andyou're speaking to business owners, everyone thinks that they know why a buyeris going to buy their company and what they're going to do with that company.
But in many ways, that's amistake because you never know why a buyer is buying a company and the value ofthat, they're going to place on that. So, to the business owners that are outthere that are saying, yeah, you know, maybe my competitor is going to buy me,or I know why this potential buyer is interested in my company.
Why should they stop that lineof thinking?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:05:58] Yes. One of the basic principles that we applyJeffrey, is that nobody knows their companies, as the owners, themselves.That's a rule of law that we apply. But as an addition to that there's threeareas of information that we need to analyze. What we know that we know. Whatwe know that we don't know, which is easy to understand and then we just learnhow to learn it. And then what we don't know that we don't know. And that'swhere the majority of the information is and what we usually do when we aretrying to help our clients is to invest in their companies as well. The firstthing we do is take a deep dive into the company, take a deep dive into thesector itself.
We analyze the trends, thedifferent threats that could be and the opportunities this company may have.And we do it in a very deep way. That process takes between two and threemonths only that process. But what comes out of it is a completely differentperception of the value of the company.
Having said that, during thepast 10 years, many sectors have been disruptive, highly disrupted, bytechnology. And that disruption is what led us to create a new division in ourcompany, which is simulation. And we have a team specifically appointed tounderstand how innovation could impact the companies we invest in and thecompanies we help grow.
This process it's also quite interestingbecause especially now. The COVID context we are living in is acceleratingtechnologies much faster than they were before. We truly believe that this isgoing to be a completely new world after COVID in a positive way. There aresome social dynamics that are changing consumer habits, consumer behaviors.
Some of them have alreadychanged. So, we're going to live through the largest need for reinvention.There's nothing that's going to be more aggressive in businesses than the needfor reinvention, probably more than in the past 100 years since the industrialrevolution.
We had that challenge beforeCOVID with technology and leaving a lot of jobs that need to be retrained. Nowpost COVID it's even more intense. So, most companies will have this strongneed to reinvent themselves before going to market.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:08:30] What's interesting is there's a huge marketdisruption that's happening every day because of the pandemic.
And I know going into that youand your team, developed a proprietary process where you would look atcompanies and identify their strategic advantages and how you can help yourclients get the highest value when they exit. So maybe we can tie the two together.
What are some of the typicalmistakes that you're seeing business owners make that would help them if theyknew it ahead of time, they can work on that so that when they're ready fortheir exit, they're further ahead?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:09:05] Yes, it's one that, groups together, manyothers and that's the capacity to adapt to new changes. So, capacities are keyin this vision. There's nothingpermanent, other than constant change.
Right now, changes are happeningmore and more rapidly so companies have this great challenge to adapt and lead.But in order to adapt and lead they need to learn how to adapt themselvesbefore they can adapt the company. So, it's a dual process that we run in parallelwith, a mentoring program that we put together with the client and working withthemselves as well as the company.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:09:42] In thementoring program, what would you have them do differently?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:09:45] Well, first to analyze the paradigms,understand that we are slaves of our own habits and all of our habits are loyalto our comfort zone.
So that limits a lot of freedomof action and freedom of thought that we need to implement them. That drives alot of creativity. Once we break those patterns. How to become free, and beable to think way beyond our vision.
The second is how to developtrust. Trust is the mother of all values. To have trust in what you're doingand understanding that trust that initiative comes together. We can measurerisk and potential success from a completely different angle. So, we apply allthose formulas into the business and make it fit in order to make it aligned.
I think that's a key word inthis process, alignment between the shareholders’ value, the company value, themarket value, and the product itself. The product has to make sense to theconsumer. The consumer is changing so fast. I read a research paper many years ago, that was probably five, sixyears ago that said most consumer products in the market. I think they wereabout 80% of them. They never went to reinvention. They lost their purpose oftheir existence and being in our state of the market because it'd be push andpull marketing strategy either by mortar retailers or by e-commerce.
But there are few products thathave been reinvented,
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:11:14] Rolando it's interesting. When you talk aboutloss of purpose, one of the things in the Deep Wealth experience that we focusa lot on, the business has to run without the business owner.
And for better or for worse,many business owners say, well, why? I should be at the center of everything?I'm the best at what I do. I know more than anyone else in the company. So, Ithink it'd be important for our listeners to hear from what you've seen fromboth the seller side and from the buyers who are coming into to buy thecompanies.
Why do business owners not wantto be running the company? Why should they get in inside their mindset that thecompany has to run without them? From your experience and from your insights?What would you tell business owners?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:11:58] I would say that it depends on their talentsand capacities is some of us have capacities to become entrepreneurs and to begood entrepreneurs and some, some others have the capacity to be very goodmanagers.
A very few have the capacity tobe both. I remember the best businessadvice I've gotten in my years. I was very young, 27 years old, I was in theprocess of selling my first company. And, I happened to, to be in a dinner withone of the most successful businessmen in Latin America.
And I asked him a question. Isaid, I would love to learn from you what is the key factor to be verysuccessful in business. And he said something that still resonates in my mind.He said, make sure that whoever you hire is by far more intelligent than you.So that gave me a lot of clarity because and a lot of understanding on mylimitations, because when we are driven by our own success, we miss a lot ofissues because our ego gets inflated that we are capable of doing a lot ofthings. I'm doing more and more, and it's not about doing more. It's aboutdoing it right at the right time with the right energy, with the right team.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:13:15] And so talk a little bit about that. So, youhave a founder of a company starts the business that has a vision, has aproblem that he or she is passionate to solve, becomes successful, hascustomers that are being helped. What advice do you have for that businessowner now that they have a successful company? How can they start to withdrawthemselves from that process to go back to what you said, you can be asuccessful entrepreneur or a successful manager, but not both?
Most business owners, they'reentrepreneurs, they're creative, they're driven, they're change makers. Theycreate market disruptions. How can they get back to the entrepreneurial stateand away from the management state?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:13:57] Get a very strong board of advisors.
That's for me a key component.We have a very strong advisory team, and we always try to get the best of thebest. We don't cut corners when we hire advisers. I only can afford to have thebest of the best. Otherwise the risk elevates too high.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:14:17] For ourlisteners how do they know who would make a good board of advisor? What,qualities in a person. Should one be looking for in a board of advisor andwhere would you find board members?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:14:30]There's some companies that specialize system in structuring boards.
We do it out of necessity fromour clients. The process that we use when aligning a board is to make sure thatwe have identified clearly the needs of the vision that each advisor needs tohave. And then we go out and try to find the talent that fits that need.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:14:52] And so once a business owner has a board ofadvisors set up, in your experience for Rolando, how often is the board meetingand what would be some of the issues that the board would be overseeing?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:15:05] What I've seen most commonly is that the boardof advisors meet every quarter, four times a year.
They usually do a two-daymeeting and now with COVID we can do it online, of course. But it doesn'trequire more than a meeting per quarter, because you are only discussing highlevel issues, high level needs and high-level strategies. You don't go into theday to day management.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:15:28] I'mcurious, would there be one or two areas that companies need the most help inthat you see time and time again? And what would those areas be?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:15:37] I think the most challenging one is to try tochange their paradigm.
Everything else falls into placeonce we have achieved to change their paradigm and they know their businessvery well. I'm very impressed where we invest in companies where we can have acarry on the Delta, that we help them grow. I've been very impressed with theknowledge that they have in the business, but I'm also surprised on when we runthe process through the high-level team, all the value that we create in thatprocess from a visa perspective.
We unpack a lot of opportunitiesby, by developing the process.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:16:12] That's terrific. When you talk about theparadigm and you talk about the vision, a lot of people, I think that the valueof a company, is a simple formula in a spreadsheet and that's it.
I think if you're doing things right, and whenyou go to market, it's how you position your company. It's the vision, it's theparadigm that you're portraying to the future buyer. It's the hope that you'reable to give to the buyers of why you can help them solve their next problem.
Some of the accounting peoplemay disagree with what we're talking about here, but in your experience isvalue simply a formula in a spreadsheet, or is there more to that?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:16:52] It's much more than that. In a nutshell, thevalue of a company is just the capacity the company has to get cash flow in thefuture. That's this idea that a formula, but this can be seen through manylenses. If, if you're a financial buyer where you interest is just to buy thecompany for as low as you can, so you can resell it for as much as you can,then there's a formula. You will discuss and fight about the formula. But ifyou look into the value that your company can provide to potential buyers outthere, strategic buyers. And what do I mean by strategic? It's that it's muchmore than just what the company can be able to do on its own business model.
Some companies are worth muchmore because of the platform they provide to potential buyers than the currentcash flow. that they have. This canmultiply by many, many times the value of the company. And then you have amajor transformation that some companies have the potential to do it and thisis to transform the company from a classical model to a digital model.
Digital companies, onlinecompanies, most valuations are measured on a multiple of revenue instead of amultiple of EBITDA. So, if you can transform a company whose business model asis right now will be valued as a multiple of EBITDA. And then you go onbenchmark what that multiple is in the market, and you transform it into adigital company that could justify the multiple of revenue formula.
Then you multiply by 10, 20, 30times some of the times, 100 times the value of the company.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:18:34] And so Rolando, look, let's talk about thatbecause I think the timing for that is perfect right now. We've had a hugemarket disruption. Everything is up for grabs with the pandemic that's goingon. Earlier you mentioned that there's different types of buyers and dependingon the buyer, it's going to affect the kind of value that's there.
But let's circle back tosomething that you're just saying right now, because of the pandemic, onlinetoday's is more important than it's ever been. And so what I'm hearing you sayis that businesses that can get their service from in-person into the onlineenvironment. If they do this well enough, they can move from multiples based onthe EBITDA to revenue, which is significantly higher.
So why don't we talk a littlebit about how does a company do that? Most business owners are thinking, I'mjust trying to say a float, never mind going digital, or going online. Thisalso goes back to why it's important that the company runs without you, so thatyou can have the vision and the time to go into new markets.
But where would a business ownerstart today? If they don't really have an online presence at all, or they justhave a minor online presence, how could they start that process?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:19:46] The main purpose is to transform the companyfrom an organic growth model to an exponential growth model.
And we know that exponentialityis what drives companies to be valued, at multiples of revenue, and that's whatmakes it attractive for many buyers as well. Not only strategic, but also financials.Because some financials in this digital world can be very strategic.
Going through that process isvery important. I haven't seen one single company that is not using technologyas a tool for growth.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:20:19] What I think is interesting is because of thepandemic what wasn't acceptable before is now not only acceptable, but peopleare expecting change. And so, if business owners are able to go online and dothings that they weren't doing before, that helps with the market disruption.
You had mentioned differentkinds of buyers. For some business owners who are just beginning the process ofselling their company, they may be asking, well, isn't it just one kind ofbuyer, just a company that wants to come in and buy my business? For someonewho's just learning about mergers and acquisitions, who are these differenttypes of buyers and what differentiates one buyer from another buyer?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:21:00] It's a very, very good question. Jeffrey, wehave two types of buyers, the financial buyers and strategic buyers. Afinancial buyer will try to buy your business for the least potentialprice. They take possession of a companymay be readapted, and then they try to reposition the company to strategicbuyers.
So, what they bought for 5X,they are selling it for 20X in three years. What we do with our clients is dothat process in a very transparent way. Transparency here is very importantbecause when we are measuring the valueof a company we don't do as a company valuations on purpose, we have thecomplete financial team that could do it, but we don't do it because we trulybelieve it is a conflict of interest for us to do the evaluation and thenconvince them that's the value that we are going to take them to market. It's not right.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:21:48] You've talked about the two kinds of buyers.You have your financial buyer; you have your strategic buyer.
Let's talk about a company likeyourself, Rolando, and what you do. I know when I was looking to sell my own company,there’s just too many to choose from. And you start to ask the question, well,how do I really know who's the best? One tip that you gave, which is veryinteresting and not a lot of investment bankers do this. You refuse to do yourown valuation on the company. And instead you look for a third-party valuationto keep it independent at arm’s length with you and your customers.
That's important because itgives everyone a benchmark of what the company's truly worth. And that's notfor your agenda or anyone else's agenda it's for what's best for the company.What else would a business owner want to look for and on the flip side, whatshould you be on the lookout for someone to not hire if you're seeing certainkinds of activities or characteristics?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:22:43] I think depends on the needs of each owner.Some owners are just looking for a quick and fast exit.
They just want to addtransactional investment banker who may just position the company as fast aspossible and, just take it to market them and sell it, but they will not bemaximizing the price. It makes a lot of sense to take this deep dive and, andthen decide. Stage one. Let's take the data back together and run the process.Some of them said, you know what, I don't want to sell it now.
The growth that I perceive afterthis process. I want to leave it.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:23:14] You talk about stage one of doing a deep diveand showing them where the value is and the clarity of the vision and what thatlooks like for them.
When you've done that, whatwould be the next stage after that, in your process?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:23:27] Alignment of the perception of abuse, becausewhen you go to market, most potential buyers have a different perception ofwhat the company could be worth to them.
So, aligning the perception ofvalue and understanding how the buyers perceive the different values. One company could be a perfect fit for onesector that has a specific perception of value or to another sector that has acompletely different one.
We had cases where we investedin companies that during the process, took us three and a half, four years togrow with them. When we go to market and we run the process, we have soft bidsbecause we have so many interested buyers.
And then we're surprised thatthe final buyer ends up pays up to four times with we have estimated at thebeginning. And I remember one time I was in the dinner celebration of the newowner that had bought this company and asked him how come you pay that much forthis company? And he said, you know what, Rolando, I would have paid twice whatI paid because they have a specific permit to do some things across countrieswithout paying taxes. So, this allows me to have a platform that minimizeslegally a lot of taxes. That we hadn't seen in the perception of value exercisewe did, otherwise we would approach most multi-regional companies that wouldhave fight for this company.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:24:49] Sometimestruth is stranger than fiction and it just goes back to what we were talkingabout earlier. You just never know why a buyer sees value in a company. Youshould never assume and you can never guess. And so, I'm interested to go backto your process. What about stage one? You're doing a deep dive on the vision.
Step two. It's the alignment forthe perception of value. Is there a stepthree to your process?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:25:13] Well at the end of the step two, which is veryimportant is that we don't only want to reinvent company for a betterpositioning. We want to strategically reinvent the company, which is different.We're putting the whole formula of strategy into the, into the component ofrestructuring the company.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:25:31] Tostrategically reinvent a company, can you give an example of what that means orwhat that would look like?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:25:36] Yes. We put all the different sectors and howthese companies within each different sector, could be of value by reinventingthemselves and how this company can help through the reinvention process. So,we don't only work with the selling company where we have invested, but also,we work very closely with the buyers and explain to them how they can by usingthis reinvention, reinvent themselves and grow even further.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:26:08] Rolando, what I think is key here for ourlisteners. And listeners listen up because this is really important for you.You know, you think, you know your business and you probably do, but you don'tknow what you don't know. And so, here's a great example. Rolando comes in andhe puts you through a proprietary process that's going to change your company.Maybe the core of what you do is the same, but your outreach to the market, thesectors that you're going to, the vision that you're communicating. That islikely going to change and change for the better. And one of the Rolando that Ihear time and time again, well, I can just sell my company on my own.
I don't need any outside help.What we're talking about right here, is proof enough that while yeah, youprobably could sell it on your, but you're going to take a significant discountversus bringing somebody like yourself in who's going to just see blind spotsthat business owners don't see.
And clear that up and lead theway for higher value. Now speaking of value Rolando. One of the things that Iknow you do is you look at different kinds of business models and look to alignthat with what the company is doing and what makes most sense in the market. So,what are some of the trends right now with business models?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:27:18] I would advise them to take a close look attechnology. Technology may help him tremendously. If technology is developingmuch faster than we think that we can even imagine I have in my desk, which Ihaven't been in five months, because of the COVID quarantine, is a sign thatsays, if it already works, it's already obsolete. So, we have to develop avision that is beyond our current understanding. This is a process that allows usto dream and when we go into that process of trying to visualize what theconsumer would love to have without them understanding what they need, which isthe interesting part, then you can come up with ideas and then you go out andleaping knowledge is already there to put it together. So, there's a lot ofcrazy stuff going on right now with the world regarding technology. It's easyto structure and adopt the processes and products with the technology.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:28:23] And what's amazing with what you're talkingabout with the technology and the business models.
Ultimately that comes back to leadership andleadership of the business owner leadership of the team. You have a lot to say on leadership andyou've written a lot about leadership. Talk to us about your leadershipmentoring program, and what your takeaway is for business owners, what theyshould be thinking about as leaders within their company and their community.
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:28:48] Thank you, Jeffrey gladly. I think it'simportant that, in order for us to help others, we need first to helpourselves. And that's a basic principle in life.
Sometimes I make mistakes, butthat's good. Everybody makes them, I don't judge or criticize mistakes on thecontrary that's the only thing that makes us learn faster than anything else.As long as we see them as opportunities for growth. The program has sevenforces that we develop as human forces, as capacities that we can have asleaders.
The first one is to make sure weacquire freedom. We need to be free of many things that were just sold to us.They were not our ideas. Because we went through an education process since wewere born, which, wasn't even an education process, it was an inductionprocess. Education comes from the Latin, which means to bring from the insideout.
And we have not going throughthat process. We were inducted just the opposite with, information, lifeprinciples that we needed to follow. So, when we start developing our curiosityon how life works, then we started are there to empower ourselves to thinkdifferently.
We take a look at ourselves. Ihave a game. I always play with my son. I say, I catch myself. I catch myselfconstantly doing this. So, we need to become aware of our own limitations andour own habits so we can change them. And then the spectrum simply opens upinto creativity and potential solutions.
Then we have to develop trust,which is a key factor. Trust promotes a lot of economic development. When you cross someone, the transaction thatyou do with him, you do it 10 times faster than you could. If you don't havethat element of trust in place. We'veseen economies, economies that where their population has high levels of trust,the economic development grows two or three times faster than in othereconomies where culturally there's no trust or very little trust.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:30:44] Trust is everything. And having been on bothsides of the table, Rolando perhaps you can emphasize to our listeners if abuyer doesn't trust you as a seller is done, it's game over.
You can have the best company inthe world. But either the deal isn't going to happen, or there's going to be asignificant discount on the value because the trust isn't there. During theexit process what should a seller be doing to create a sense of trust?
You can trust me. I do what Isay. I say what I do. What would that look like?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:31:14] Doing two things, basically. Number one.Understanding their needs. I'm getting to a very open and sincere conversation.What the buyer wants, what they need, what their interests are. That's numberone. And number two is to be empathetic with them.
And that's probably the mostimportant one. I'd be most powerful. We need to get into their shoes so we canunderstand it in a deeper way. And most times the mistake that we all do is tryto get into their shoes without taking ours off first. So, we need to take offour shoes first before getting into theirs.
That means having the Liberty ofchanging the paradigm so you are open enough, open minded enough. Be in theirshoes. So, it’s a collaborative process that goes, through a very specificmethodology until we reach on the end, which is the last one. That force isrespect.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:32:00] Well, that is amazing. And before we talkabout respect, just with the trust, I really like what you said about trust ofunderstanding their needs and being empathetic. At Deep Wealth, we call thattuning into a very specific radio station, WIIFM what's in it for me radiostation, but not from you as a seller, but what's in it for the buyer.
If you can understand what yourbuyer needs, you can be empathetic to that. And you can also speak to that needin a way, like you said, Rolando, that builds that trust and can make all thedifference. When you think about this, the leadership model that you just spokeabout with the seven attributes, I mean, yes, it applies to a business, but italso applies to us individually to make us a better person, a better leader, abetter father, a better mother, a better member of the community.
Rolando, as we begin to wrapthings up here, I'm wondering from all the things that you've seen, if youcould take two or three best practices. Pieces of advice that you would give tosomeone who’s beginning the process of thinking to sell the business.
What would that be for you?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:33:08] First of all, before taking your business forsale, interview as many people as you can, investment bankers, advisors thatgive you not only options, but visions on how to build the process. That's veryimportant. There are transactional investment bankers there are consultingcompanies that help position your company as well.
Get as much advice as you canbefore you think it to market and make sure that then you make each and everyone of them sign a non-disclosure agreement, because this should beconfidential. When we take our company to market, we never say it's for sale.This is key because at the end, we don't know what's going to be the rightformula for the seller.
It could be a marriage.Sometimes they ended up buying the buyer. So, because this is strategicallyexponential restructuring. So, get as much advice and get into a process oftaking this deep dive with somebody you trust and, see the options that youhave.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:34:04] It speaks to something that a lot of businessowners believe, but for me, it's a myth and that is an unsolicited offer. So,someone comes to you gives you an offer. You haven't prepared the company,maybe it's your competitor and they want to buy you. A lot of business owners willsay, terrific.
Look how much time I've saved.Look how much money I've saved. I haven't prepared my company. I don't have topay commissions or anything else. It's a lot of money I'm just going to sell.And from what we've been speaking about, that's really not the way to go. Itit's the way to go with if you want to have a lower value. If you want to leavea lot of money on the table, it's the way to go.
But not if you want to maximizevalue. So, when you've been out there and now, you're interviewing as manypeople as you can, in terms of advisors to help you with the exit process. Onceyou've done that, what would be the other one or two things that you wouldadvise for our listeners of what they should be thinking about when sellingtheir company?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:34:57] Try to understand what is going on in theirsector, how the sector is being disrupted. Some entrepreneurs have not evenseen. I mean, it happened to me a few years ago. I had not seen a majordisruption of what's going on in a business I had. The sector itself globallydisrupted and imploded. It didn't even explode, it imploded from a global saleat that time on that sector, I think they were around $1.7 trillion and droppedto $150 million.
So that's a massive implosion.We didn't see that. So, it's important that you keep on trying to understandwhere the market is going. That's key.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:35:39] Terrific advice. So just to recap here,everyone needs to work on him or herself, just to be the best version, the bestperson that you can be.
And that's going to certainlyhelp your company on the exit. And then when you're going through the exitRolando, to what you're saying, speak to all the advisors, take a look atwhat's going on in your industry, any possible disruptions, and then prepare,prepare, prepare. So, I'm wondering Rolando, if somebody wants to find youwhere could they find you online?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:36:08] The name of the company is visagecapital.com.They can reach out, through the email in the website and we'll be more thanhappy to see how can we help. And we always help, Even if we don't get engaged,we always help them either when referring them to a company that we think isgoing to be a better fit than us, or if we can help in the process be justrestructuring or reinvention, or putting up a strategy that makes sense forthem, or taking them to an exit. More than happy to help.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:36:36] That's terrific to hear. And the one questionthat we like to ask every guest on our show is a little bit of a wide rangingone and Rolando this could be from a personal perspective. It can be from abusiness perspective, it's whatever you choose. And the question is this. Whenyou look back at all the things that you've learned over the years, if youcould give one piece of advice for our listeners in any area for anything, whatwould that piece of advice be for you?
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:37:07] Keep learning and have fun in the process.Lifelong learning is a key self-initiative that we all must adapt. I wasspeaking to a president of a university, a very well-known university two weeksago, and because of everything that's going on, he shared with me that they areconsidering in a different model where instead of, students paying a big lumpof money, at the front end when they go to college, not charging during theeducation process for college years and then just take a carried on theirfuture income. I love the concept because that's truly alignment. They have completealignment of interest. The university will always be there for you as a mentor,and you will always be in a process of constant learning.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:37:50] That's amazing and terrific life advice that onboth the personal side and the business side will serve everyone verywell. Rolando, thank you so much fortaking time out of your schedule, to speak with us and really appreciate bothyour insights and your wisdom that you've shared.
Congratulations on your successto date, but I'm also going to wish you a congratulations on your futuresuccess because you're doing some terrific things and I'm very excited for you.So, on that note, thank you so much for your time and the interview today.
Rolando Gadala-Maria: [00:38:21] Thank you, Jeffrey. Thanks for what you'redoing.
I think you're helping a lot ofpeople going through a successful process the right way.