“Good CEOs are an inch deep and a mile wide. CEOs need to hire people that are a mile deep and an inch wide in everything.” - Saud Juman
In his more than 20-year career as a business owner and entrepreneur Saud Juman has worked through every possible b...
“Good CEOs are an inch deep and a mile wide. CEOs need to hire people that are a mile deep and an inch wide in everything.” - Saud Juman
In his more than 20-year career as a business owner and entrepreneur Saud Juman has worked through every possible business challenge in a variety of industries from designing unique products, developing new markets, creating corporate culture plans, recruiting and building a world class team.
Navigating through significant growth, change, and executing a highly successful exit. Saud himself has grown, run and sold a multinational business called a policy medical that developed numerous hospital data management systems trusted by over 3,000 healthcare organizations. At the beginning, Saud ran policy medical from his mother's basement while he developed and perfected his proprietary product Policy Manager, and also pounded the pavement for sales.
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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: [00:00:05] 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.com to find out how you can master the strategies to grow and extract the deep wealth from your business. Visit www.deepwealth.com.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:29] In his more than 20-year career as a business owner and entrepreneur Saud Juman has worked through every possible business challenge in a variety of industries from designing unique products, developing new markets, creating corporate culture plans, recruiting and building a world class team.
Navigating through significant growth, change, and executing a highly successful exit. Saud himself has grown, run, and sold a multinational business called Policy Medical that developed numerous hospital data management systems trusted by over 3,000 healthcare organizations. At the beginning, Saud ran Policy Medical from his mother's basement while he developed and perfected his proprietary product Policy Manager, and also pounded the pavement for sales.
Saud welcome! We're delighted to have you. First and foremost, a congratulations is an order on your exit. Job well done.
Saud Juman: [00:01:26] Thank you. Thank you so much. Pleasure to be here.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:01:29] One of the missions that we have here at Deep Wealth is to educate business owner before they sell their business, on what they need to do to not get ripped off and to maximize the value of their company.
Before we get going, why don't we take a step back and tell us a little bit about yourself and your story, how you got to your exit itself. And then we can take things from there.
Saud Juman: [00:01:52] So I actually started the business that I sold in my twenties and it was a longer journey that spanned over 17 years. Prior to that, I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I was an entrepreneurial kid doing different types of ventures. But in my twenties, I found myself gravitating towards trying to make money, in nontraditional ways.
So, in university I was in a completely different industry than for the company that I ended up selling. And that industry, it wasn't for me, I felt completely out of alignment with that type of business that I was in during my university days.
I ended up stepping away from that business, even though it was quite lucrative. And it was making pretty good money for me at that time. And going inwards inside of myself to really ask myself, what is it that I'm supposed to be doing at this point in my life?
And what I came up with is something in health. I wanted to start some type of venture within health to improve people's health. And that could have manifested itself in me trying to become a doctor, becoming a nutritionist, opening a gym, any number of things, but that was the seed or the kernel that led towards me founding the company that I ended up selling.
Steve Wells: [00:03:04] So tell us a little bit about that. What was their product and service?
Saud Juman: [00:03:08] The company was called Policy Medical and it was geared towards hospitals and I found and niche while I was working at another startup tech company when I was younger. I found an opening in the market that had not been served. There were these number of documents within the hospitals called policies, policies, and procedures.
So, policies are everything from your time off policy from HR to how to disinfect a scalpel after surgery. And I found that these documents were being managed manually still in binders and shelves back then. And there was a strong need for some reason, I didn't really understand the need of that at that time, but I knew there was some kind of driver for these hospitals to get these documents in order and start managing them correctly. So that was the original product to manage that particular type of document.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:04:00] Saud it was quite a journey for you. You went from zero to over 3,000 customers that you were serving. How did you go from zero to hero? And when you were building the business along the way, did you have any thought of an exit, at one point or what was going through your mind at that point in time?
Saud Juman: [00:04:23] It definitely didn't feel like zero to hero during, and even afterwards. and really it wasn't, a hockey stick curve.
There are lots of ups and downs, and in fact there were, there were a few critical chapters and that whole 17-year journey where we could have gone bankrupt at that particular time. It was an incremental process, slowly building the business up, finding our way.
The great thing about it is it was a great education for me, that was one of the main reasons I kept at it. The number one reason it was to serve people to improve their health, because there was a direct line between what it is that company was doing.
I could draw that line. And you mentioned zero to 3,000 hospitals, but the metric that I was chasing and we got to that metric sort of halfway through the journey was 1 million patients. I wanted to be able to impact the lives of 1 million patients a day at all of the hospitals that we served. And that was the metric more than money that I was actually chasing.
So, when we got to the million, then, you know, we kind of upped that number along the way. But, the other reason I kind of stuck with the businesses, the education, I mean, what I learned in terms of business is probably way more than I did at business school and I also learned how to hopefully avoid certain mistakes along the way, and saved myself a lot of time and not to get 17 years in subsequent journies to, to execute what we're able to execute.
Steve Wells: [00:05:57] Well, it sounds like you had a very successful journey. So somewhere along the way, what made you think about exiting or selling the company?
Saud Juman: [00:06:08] The first thing was. The company was started with myself and another guy. We were co-founders and then probably seven to nine years in, we decided that we were going to break up. So, we went through a business divorce where we decided that we're going to part ways. And that was the first really hard thing in that whole journey, partying ways.
And you would think it would be amicable because I wanted to stay, he wanted to leave, but it took us almost two years to figure that whole process. So one of the things we didn't do that we did last minute and that I did later on in the journey and every other journey that I've been part of since, is to make sure at the beginning to set up a shareholders agreement, a partnership agreement, some kind of document that outlines if or when we disagree on things, here are the rules of the game. And it keeps everyone in check. So, we didn't have that. We were just two young guys that started it. So then when it was time to break apart, you need to figure out how it is that we're going to break up. Once that happened. And this is kind of leading towards your question about an exit.
I was left with a hundred percent of the company, which I felt was going to be great, but then I realized that the company was essentially a lifestyle company. Which as you know, I started it as a single guy. Then I had it when I was married and then I had it when I started having kids. I had fallen into this groove of, I have this business.
It provides for me and my family, which did not appeal to me. I actually wanted the business when I started it to be this high growth, high impact company that is serving a greater mission than just me. And then I started to look for mentors and wisdom in terms of how to grow it really, really fast.
I ended up spending a lot of time in Silicon Valley, in the Bay area, in California, going there seeking expertise. And that's where I found a few mentors. And those mentors started to expose me to a world and a mindset that I wasn't familiar with, which is to scale the company and run it as if you're going to have somebody coming in to do due diligence within the next two to three years.
So, you're kind of doing that with your mind and your brain, but in your heart, you're running the company and building a culture as if you're going to have it for the next 30 years. So you're almost embracing the business with the best of both worlds, one with like the care and love as if you're going to have the soup for generations, but also starting to run it and having the company grow up.
If you will, from a child to an adolescent, to a young adult, to a fully mature entity to have the corporate governance and everything else, a grown-up company needs to have as if somebody comes in to do due diligence, they would need to see.
To be honest, I never actually, in the early days pursued an exit, I didn't start it with the idea to exit.
Because that was the first office for five, six years. My mother's basement. There was no strategy. We just went from week to week, month to month, trying to build the business, listening to the customers and building a better product. That was the game plan. And then it just grew from there.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:09:26] Saud, you mentioned so many wonderful insights for our listeners. One of the things I want to circle back on is something that you said and at Deep Wealth, it's really our core philosophy. And it sounds like you, you did this, that you, on the one hand you ran the company, like you would keep it forever, but on the other hand, you ran it as though you're going to sell it tomorrow. And it's, it's a little bit of a juggling act that keeps you on the straight and narrow and, and keeps you honest in terms of doing what's best for the company, which is terrific.
So, a lot of business owners don't either like to reach out for help or they think they're too busy for help, but clearly in your case, when you reached out for coaching and for some assistance, it was instrumental in terms of what happened next with your exit.
So, can you talk to us about that decision or what made you say, Hey, I need some help here. Let me speak to some people who can guide me through my blind spots. Let me get some help with that. What led you to that?
Saud Juman: [00:10:28] Well, like I think my personality is one where I'm always really open and I'm open to learning.
And I always assume that I don't know a whole lot. I think I read somewhere a long time ago that a good CEO is an inch deep and a mile wide and him or her, what they need to do is they need to hire people that are a mile deep and an inch wide in everything. So, me being an inch deep and a mile wide, I needed to start surrounding myself with really, really, really smart people.
It was a family member of mine who is very, very high up in the financial world in terms of being a CEO. And he brought coaching to my attention years and years ago, we're out having dinner and he said, you know what? Your pumping is going. Why didn't you? I got a coach and I said, a coach, why do I need a coach?
I said, it's business. And then he paralleled it to sports because I am big fan of playing sports. And at that time, I was a pretty high-level martial artist on the side. So I would compete in tournaments and competitions and things like that. And he asked me a question that totally hit it home.
He said, would you step in the ring to compete without your coach in the corner? And I said, come on. Of course not. And then I got it. Oh, I wouldn't. Just me knowing that my coach is in the corner and overhearing his voice while I'm competing and fighting, but he's in the corner of the ring makes a huge difference.
So that's when I started experimenting with coaching and coaching gave me some benefit. However, it was mentorship, which is the difference between coaching and mentorship. It was mentorship that really added a tremendous amount of value to me and mentorships to me, it's somebody that has the same values as you, but has achieved things you have not, that is going to help you out through experience and advice with no strings attached, no equity, no money, nothing exchanged.
It's a very pure relationship. So, a friend of mine back then, this is maybe 2011. I was at a personal barbecue and I was talking to him. And he had just exited a great exit. And I said, what made the biggest difference? And I said, don't give me that stuff that I already know, like, what don't I know. He said mentorship.
I said really mentorship. He said, yeah, because if it wasn't for my mentors, we wouldn't have saved this amount of time. So, I said, how do I find a mentor? And he explained his formula for mentorship, which I simply "R&D'd", which is rip off and duplicated. I just ripped off and duplicated the exact formula where I went and I searched for two mentors.
I looked for an industry specific mentor for me, that was somebody that was, it was, it was within Healthcare IT, specifically somebody that was impacting hospitals and patient safety and regulatory compliance like that specific. And then I attached a dollar figure to that mentor meeting that I wanted that industry specific mentor to have achieved an exit of X or, revenues of X. So that was, that was the first mentor I was looking for. And then I was, and I was willing to travel anywhere to find that mentor. And then I looked for a second mentor, which is a general business mentor. That general business mentor didn't need to be in my industry.
But they really needed to have the same values personally that I did. And I looked for them having a higher revenue level than the industry specific mentor. And the formula is contingent upon the following that if these mentors were to ever meet and mine ended up needing, we all have egos, no matter what we think, right.
Minimizing the evil doesn't work, it's just directing it in the right way. So when these two mentors met, the idea would be. The general business mentor, his ego would be neutralized by the other mentor’s industry specific knowledge and the industry specific knowledge is a, mentor's knowledge. His ego would be sort of neutralized by the sheer size of the general business mentor's empire.
So that's what I was looking for. I'm a big believer of the power of your thoughts not to get too esoteric in this interview, but you know, one of the books that you read regularly is Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich. and you know, I, the one thing I singularly wanted at that point in the business was to find these two mentors in some way, shape or form.
And I ended up finding them and connecting with them. And they're the ones who started to teach me about scalability. Teach me about the potential of an exit. Teach me that, you know what, these revenue levels and projections that I'm looking at. None of those are, those are too small. I need to think bigger much, much bigger, right?
So, they got me thinking in terms of growth year-over-year, you need to be growing by two to 400% over a year. When I saw it, you know, I never met people like that. So, they're the ones that really, really pushed the envelope for me. both those mentors.
Steve Wells: [00:15:57] You know, that's fascinating and at Deep Wealth, so much of what you said, are the exact things that we communicate to the people we help.
And you've already walked down that path. We have some words. We use Chief Exit Strategists and your exit team really. You've what you're describing in your mentor relationships are part of that team that you realized early on that you needed to get to that other level. I mean, without that you probably wouldn't have probably accomplished as much as you would have.
And, if you have anything to say about this because I wanted to just go back one second. A lot of people get bogged down in thinking about mentors or people that can help you in thinking about the exit, but. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but let, let me hear you if this is true for you, how did you find thinking about that?
Building it, looking at your, at this kind of strategy that you're working toward, how did it actually affect the day to day business? And, I'm assuming it was positive
Saud Juman: [00:17:00] In the grand scheme of things it was positive. However, positivity doesn't mean it was not hard or it was not painful.
So, when I started to adopt the reality that the business needed to start to grow up and quite frankly, I needed to start to grow up as well. It started to become painful for the business as an organism and painful for me as an entrepreneur. For the business, it became painful because some of the human capital that we have didn't cut it? They weren't a sit and more, and, I guess, you know, there's another senior entrepreneur than I am. You know, she puts it upgrading talent, you know, we had to upgrade some talent, and a lot of that wasn't really harsh. Some people ended up leaving on their own. Some people we had to replace because as the business got to higher revenue levels and started to operate differently some of the people that we hired under a different recruiting process before, which is very loose, very organic based on gut feel like that type of stuff, entrepreneurial stuff, as you started to grow up, it didn't fit anymore. So were with the people that was some of the pain. What helped were the processes.
You know, the, one of my mentors, all of a sudden, there's the 3Ps. He needed the product. You need the people, then you need the processes in that order so the process, I could already start at the scale and grow up. So that was there. Then we needed a people. So that was the next big, step and the pain that we went through.
And then you needed the processes in place, which is where this whole growing up and behaving as if you're going to move towards an exit in the near future, because some of those processes that need to be in place, we didn't have before. For example, you know, our financials we're in the early days, notice to reader type of financials done by any general accountant.
But now when we're thinking about maybe an exit could be an option, one day, we had to go and get, we decided to go for audited financials. And then we decided, you know what, instead of just getting your cousin Joe's accounting firms audit them, they technically could. I think we need to use an accounting firm that would be respected by anybody looking at the company.
So, we hired one of the big accounting firms to actually do our audits. That's us. That's just an example. Another example of the company growing up is we would occasionally have board meetings when something tenuous or difficult or dramatic would happen in the business, but we didn't have a regular rhythm or cadence of board meetings, board meeting minutes, these types of things. So, we started having regular board meetings and figuring out, you know, who's going to be part of the closed board meeting, who's going to be part of the open part of the board meeting, et cetera. We started very early building out a data room years before we even needed it.
So, when the exit started happening, the PE firm and the investment banker, all these people that were involved in the deal. They were like, wow, you have all this stuff done already. You said. Yeah. And what it was is a, I forget the name of the vendor, but you know, a lot of acquisitions that use this one tool for the data room, this one company.
So it was, it was a pretty easy job to just port everything over there in the structure we already had for the data room. So, all of that happened over years of probably four to five years of the company growing up. Now probably the most difficult was the last one, which is me. Me moving from entrepreneur to CEO and a lot of entrepreneurs maybe listening to this certain are probably not going to agree with it or throw their hands up or some may in their heart feel like I need to do that, but I don't know how, but I had to admit to myself that the entrepreneur that was needed to light the spark and start that business is not going to be the same one that needs to handle a potential exit one day it needs to be a CEO.
I imagine a bridge in my mind on one end was me as the entrepreneur. Then there was this bridge and on the other end of the bridge is the CEO me, learning all the skills and all of the behaviors I need to do to be a CEO.
And that's what I did. It's really about 12 months to do that. And a CEO behaves very differently and runs the company very differently. A little less on emotion and more on data.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:21:29] So Saud let's do a quick recap here before we dive into the exit process itself.
So, for our listeners, take note, Saud started in the basement of his mother's home and almost went bankrupt, figured things out and then had a decent lifestyle, but it really wasn't what you wanted. It, you began to focus on growth.
And then you focused on growth, got some mentorship, and you went from an entrepreneur to a CEO and you had a near nine-figure exit. And so, a near nine figure exit is not a mistake. A success is not a mistake. Success is very deliberate actions. So, talk to us about the exit process itself.
So, once you decided, from your mentorship and as you were growing the company, you know what, it's going to be time at one point for me to sell let's, let's go through this exit process. What was the process like for you? Why don't you share with our listeners, what were some things that worked really well for you?
And then to flip it? What would be a few things, knowing what you know, now that you would do differently?
Saud Juman: [00:22:36] In order to get to that point, you have to have something that people want to buy. That's key. And I know that's, that's probably common sense. But I, I talked to a lot to entrepreneurs these days and they're not doing that.
They're not building something, a product really valuable or a brand that's very sexy, that would be attractive to buy. So that was very much in my mind, five to six years before the exit. And I went through a very methodical process. First, it was reinventing the product, then it was making sure to turning our clients into stands.
And these are just things I'm saying, like there, there are actual processes that we put in place to get that product to ship on time, then there were actually the processes we've put in place to turn clients into fans. And what, and one of the big pluses of that is our role for all business went up like crazy.
We had clients referring other clients, competitors' clients, leaving to be part of this tribe that we were building. Because we had all these fanatical hospitals that loved us. So, but that wasn't just a loosey goosey type of thing. There were actual processes and work to be done to get to that point. And then the final phase was actually we did away with it, traditional sales strategy and even deleted any non-educational content on the website we got rid of.
And we only started churning out educational premium content that would educate the market. Which led to, exponential growth in terms of inbound leads and sales and all that stuff. All of that had to have happened in order to catch people's attention.
So, the exit process itself, I would say the things that worked really, really well. First of all, even though I had mentors and everything else that they were instrumental in educating me on the following and pointing to people to talk to was how does an exit exactly happen? I didn't really know, because I never went through one like that before, so I didn't know who needed to be on my team to make this thing happen.
So, I learned that, okay, you need a good lawyer. Had one already needed a good accounting firm, Had it. but I didn't know what an investment banker was. Right. I know I asked friends of friends that are investment bankers. And the only thing I know about them is they all seem like they make a lot of money, but that's all I really knew.
The word investment banker to me is if you've ever watched the show, Seinfeld, and, Kramer is using the word right off to Seinfeld. In one episode, he's like, Oh, that's a write out. This is a write up. That's a write off. And then at the end of the episode, Jerry tells Kramer where he's like, you know, I don't even know what that word means to you.
And Kramer doesn't know what the word means. He's just using it. That was me with investment banker. But then I found out that this investment banker was key, a key person to make this deal happen. Right. Yeah. Found out that he, or she's essentially like a real estate agent for businesses. and the thing I did really well, I think is finding the right investment banker.
Because I needed to find somebody that had deep knowledge of mine sector, specifically somebody that did a number of deals already that represented both buyer and seller, so they could bring a good list of prospects to buy the company that I didn't have, or even if I had them on my list, they would be able to establish a rapport that I couldn't. To be honest, whoever I had on my list already, we had such interest to buy the company. There was there wasn't anyone new, they added to the list, to be honest with you.
And then they're like, well, there's no one else to add. We know all these people are ready. My key kind of ingredients to find the right investment banker, they should be super-duper specific to your industry. So, it came down to pretty much two firms. And then I picked one and I think I picked correctly.
The other thing. we did really well for the exit process that happened actually three years before the exit process, which is the preparation for a fictitious potential exit. And a lot of that came from my mentors telling me, you should get this in place. I mentioned some of it in the interview already, the audits, the board meetings, the data room we were building.
The other thing that one of the mentors told me I should do and I always rolled my eyes at this and I find it so tedious, but it was invaluable in the exit. And I tell some of my friends that have gone through exits after me, I've kind of guided a bunch of people through exits and I tell them to do this, they said, Oh, we already have this. And it's a contract spreadsheet. So it's pretty much a listing of all the client contracts you have in an Excel spreadsheet. But the way we had our client's spreadsheet set up our contract spreadsheet is we didn't just have the name of the client. We had the name of the client.
Exactly what type of client it was. Was it a hospital? Was it long-term care? Because it could be different all the different, important elements of the contract. It was listed in the spreadsheet. So, I can go at a glance and see what is going on with any given contract. The reason that was important is that was part of the majority of the due diligence questions we would get.
Hey this contract, but that contract, when does it renew or they would say this little clause, how many contracts have that? How many don't again? The speed at which we were able to answer those due diligence questions, allowed the deal to move faster and increase their valuation because it built a stronger rapport between the acquirer and us, because we were able to not spend days or weeks coming back with answers.
They'd ask us a question, but like, Oh yeah. Here's the answer I had a lot of that has to do with that contract spreadsheets. and I think the final thing that is very unconventional that worked for me is I speak a lot about mentors and having the right team and everything else, but I'm going to contradict myself for a second.
If you're going to go through an exit, I have this technique I learned from a mentor whenever I have to go through a negotiation or something where I'll sit in a dark room with no stimulus, no computer a laptop phone or anything else. I'll turn the lights out. I'll sit in a chair; I'll close my eyes for a couple hours.
And I will just think about the problem and what the solution could be. And that's how I get my answers. So, before the exit, I did something similar and I asked myself, what are my deal breakers? And I wrote them down on a piece of paper and I stuck it in my wallet.
I was 17.5 Years running the company. So, I wanted all out. I just wanted to leave, at that point, I wanted a great home for the company that was, but I was looking for that, but I didn't want to be tethered to the company in any way. So, I wanted a complete cash deal. The second thing that I wanted was a very fast transition time for myself personally.
And the last thing that was a deal breaker is we had a number of our engineering team that ended up emigrating to where our main office is from Brazil. But they didn't just come for a job. They came to start an entire new life. So, they came with their wives.
One guy came with his dog, like all sorts of stuff. So, I wanted their jobs to be protected. So, if an acquiror did not want to take on our engineering team and our Brazilian team that was kind of going towards getting their citizenship to start this great new life in Canada, then that was a deal breaker for me.
And there were numerous times in the deal where one of those three things was threatened and I just responded with, okay, I'm just going to keep running my business then. And I would communicate that through the investment banker, because his job was to be bad cop. His job was to deliver the bad news for me to the acquiror.
Steve Wells: [00:30:05] When I hear what you've done, it is so similar to our experience and it's on track with what we teach, other entrepreneurs.
Getting the data room ready. I mean, how important that was for your experience and you saved a lot of money. Definitely a lot of time. And, and then you, you had the chance then to look at, I'll know, call them skeleton Tim's, but you got to get your data together in a clean way.
So, your people around you, your investment bankers, didn't have to see the messy process. I mean, once you've got things cleaned up, I'm sure that made you look better and getting yourself your head right away from being an entrepreneur to a CEO. So, the company can run really without you in the entrepreneurial, mode.
You really made yourself less valuable because your goal was not to sit there and now run another company for five years. You wanted to be out. So, he didn't one that you didn't want them to buy you and the company, just the company. And, so many of these principles are what we teach.
It's just, it's just fabulous to hear. How that worked for you? there's so many things we could talk about. I know Jeffrey, you will have some questions, but I'm interested to see what you did with your employees that were around you, how you communicated or didn't communicate, or when you communicated this process to them.
Saud Juman: [00:31:22] Great question. So, this actually ties into what Jeffrey was asking, you know, what didn't work so well. So, this, this is one of those areas that didn't work so well. and perhaps some of it, has to do with my own core competencies. You know, my core competency in business is, marketing sales, exponential revenue, growth, those types of things.
Yeah. And I'm a fierce competitor that parallels most of everything I do to sports. I'm not the people manager per se. So, having said that what I chose to do, and a lot of entrepreneurs ask me. If I'm going through an exit, should I tell my people or not? Should I just fully transparent?
We have town halls about everything that's going on or not. I chose the latter. I chose not to tell most of them anything. I did enlist the help of a small handful of people, two people within the company that they would keep things confidential and they also had their hands, within access to any of the data that we needed. If I needed an extra pair of hands to help out. So, I had a closed, very small, closed circle of trust, but beyond them where all the other employees and I chose not to say anything to them.
Just until probably a week or less before the actual transaction date was going to happen. And that, that may sound heartless and cold to some people that think that is. But the reason, the intention behind that, why I chose to do that is because it was very clear to me early on in this whole potential exit process.
Things change drastically at any given time, even in the 11th hour. And I didn't want to worry people, or excite people, one way or the other that something is happening, something could happen and it didn't happen. I want it to communicate it to people, to my people that here's, what's going to happen when I knew a hundred percent.
Here's exactly what's going to happen. Good, bad or ugly. It didn't happen that way though, because word got out, word got out, you know, through some people that were privy to the private data. I guess there must have been out for dinner or drinks or whatever it is socializing and this one individual started telling people what's happening, the types of discussions we're having. And that's where it started to get out. And word got out two months before the actual transaction was supposed to happen. And two months before, we're exclusively dating one party. That's a time where your kind of commit to one party and that's what it is.
We had closed the door to all the other people that were interested and we said, okay, this is the one potential that we're going to pursue to the end to see if it's going to happen or not. And it became really, really difficult because people were super worried about if they're still going to have their jobs or not.
We had employees that were part of an ESOP employee stock option program. they were, some of them were calculating what their sheriffs could be worth. Others, all of a sudden it didn't care about shares, wanted to know if they can get more rights, all this, you know, some elements of greed started to come into it because word got out too soon.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:34:28] Saud, it's always a challenge. And we struggled with the same thing and for the listeners that are out there, what Saud did was the right decision. Saud, what we even recommend is until the money hits your bank to then tell the staff, because there are so many ups and downs.
Exactly like you shared Saud, from the employee perspective, when they know the company's being sold or they think the company's being sold and it hasn't happened yet. In some ways it's almost like torture for them. Am I going to keep my job? What's a new owner going to be like? Am I going to have to move?
How is it all going to work out? And so from that perspective, we always recommend at Deep Wealth and through the Deep Wealth experience, when you have certainty, when you know the deal is done and exactly as you pointed out Saud, in mergers and acquisitions, until that money hits the bank, the deal is not done until it's done in the 11th hour.
As you said anything, and everything can happen. And so, our advice is, when that money hits the bank, then you can tell the employees. So, Saud you, you mentioned that that was one of the things that didn't go as well for you and, and quite openly, something that was out of your control. Sometimes that happens.
I'm wondering though, if you could go back to the Saud who is going through the exit process, or just before you started knowing what you now know, what would you have done differently or not at all?
Saud Juman: [00:35:56] I think it would be not to take the business so seriously. People say business is business. Personal is personal. And I do agree with some of that. I think there's too much expectation these days of workplaces to deliver on personal goals for people. But as an entrepreneur, the two impact each other so much. So, the advice I'd give to myself is, Hey man, it's just business. It's just a business.
It'll be gone one day, good or bad, take a deep breath. It's not the end of the world. If it succeeds. Great. If it doesn't, don't worry about it. And not lose sight of, personal life, because for me, one eye that I took off of the ball that it, I didn't really realize the gravity, any impact of it until after the exit really was my marriage.
I always thought, you know, if you looked at my calendar and you asked me, Hey, do you have great work life balance prior to me selling the company? Actually, let me qualify that prior to due diligence, because due diligence, it's just like, it's insane. Like you just consumed by it. But prior to the actual exit process, I would say, yeah, I've got a great work life balance because at that point I was working six or seven hours and then I would be around my family, my wife, my kids, and everything else.
Well, my brain wasn't, my brain was always tethered to the business. And I wasn't fully present, you know, with the kids and especially with, with my wife so, one advice I'd give is, Hey, disconnect completely when it's family time. And the second thing I'd tell myself is, for me because remember I, I chose to become married and then my wife and I had kids and everything else, you know, we chose all of these life goals is to not forget how much of a vital, an enormous role a spouse plays in achieving that success. It's not a little thing. It's not like, Oh yeah. They kind of helped out with the kids or it's 10%. No, in my case, her role, her, her role in the success. So, the exit was at minimum 50% at minimum.
And in retrospect, her job was way harder. I mean, we have four kids. Four kids in six years, they were born. So, to be handling all of that, while I'm focusing on the business was way harder than me growing the business. The advice I would give to myself as acknowledge her throughout the process.
Don't try to make up for it after the exit.
Steve Wells: [00:38:26] Is there anything that you would, do differently in the actual exit process or the preparation or the selection of the team? Is there any area where you think maybe you didn't extract the maximum amount of value or maybe it was a very close call or maybe something you caught at the end that really saved you, reducing your value?
Saud Juman: [00:38:46] I think, I think there's one area which was understanding the variation of our contracts a little bit better, because even though we had that contract spreadsheet, I told you about, the fact that the business spend such a large time, you know, 17.5 Years meant that we had. Legacy clients and different clients on slightly different contracts, which led to some confusion when trying to figure out, what's the book of business that's actually left for the acquirer to collect on.
We had a clause in there where we're allowed to increase the annual rate. Clients are paid by a certain percentage, but depending on the negotiation of the client at the time, they could lower the percentage.
Getting a handle on the contracts, you know, one of the mental notes I made to myself is spend a little bit of time, a little bit of money, get your contract sorted out, great upfront, and all clients pretty much sign the same template.
If we deviate, it's got to be organized in a great way ahead of time. I would actually start the data room. If I were to start a company right now today, I would start the data room today.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:40:00] Saud you are preaching to the choir. It's a page right out of our book because we say the same thing of, Hey, before you do anything, prepare yourself for an exit, go through a mock exit.
Like what your mentors were sharing with you, your own virtual data room, audited statements, having your exit team prepped and ready.
Saud Juman: [00:40:20] One thing that's coming to mind as well is triage your strengths and weaknesses, and just be honest with yourself.
So, I told you my strengths before sales, marketing, clients, et cetera, et cetera, the areas that just don't excite me as much. Finance and operations. So, I had to learn in that journey of becoming entrepreneur to CEO, I had to educate myself very, very well on finance and operations, which I am now, but I still don't like it.
So, I ended up bringing in a couple of years before the exit, an interim temporary CFO guy. So, we had the, we had the large accounting firm. We had an, another accounting firm. We had a bookkeeper, we had different layers already, but I brought the CFO individual and that had done a number of exits already in Silicon Valley.
And he was so invaluable. He was able to slice and dice our data. Financially during the exit process for the acquirer to understand. In fact, I think he allowed them to have way more trust in our, in our numbers because he was able to speak a language probably higher than them. and even our investment bankers.
So, I would say, identify who that CFO could be when you need him or her. Right. If you're all ready to finance ops kind of founder, and you're weak on the sales and marketing end, are you to identify that earlier on. Just be honest with yourself though, don't fool yourself that you're great at everything.
Because you're not
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:41:49] Absolutely. One of the things that we have here at Deep Wealth that we share from episode to episode, when the team works the dream works and that's exactly what you had done on your side. So, Saud, as we begin to wrap things up here why don't you tell us what are you up to now?
So, you have this fabulous exit and you a achieved a wonderful milestone. You did a social good for society with what you were doing for the hospitals to help them out. And you've had a, a wonderful journey and an exit journey that's now behind you. So, what are you up to right now? What are you doing?
Saud Juman: [00:42:23] The company was sold at this point, maybe 24 months ago. And the advice I got from my wife, firstly, and then I was at a conference and the advice I got from an entrepreneur that has gone through 12 exits. He said, look, you, had a very good exit. Not everyone gets a good exit.
He goes, take time off. I said, how much time did you take off? He says, take a year if you can. So, I said, okay. So, I took the year I took an entire year. I slept. Spent time with family healed, rested. And that friend that told me to do that. He said somewhere in the year, you moved from a human doing to a human being.
And, and I felt that shift somewhere at month, six or seven in my time off. And you've been doing to a human being, just being, and then when that years wrapped up, I had to shake off the rest a little bit, and I want it to become more operational. So, over the last 12 months I've been doing a certain amount of hours too entrepreneurs that are asking me for mentorship or coaching or even, speaking. Sharing in that way, helping people adopt the systems and processes that I use to grow and exit. So, a small percentage of my month is meant to do that. And then started writing.
There are two books that I'm working on right now. One is more of a personal book about my story and the other one is, is more of an entrepreneurial book. And then recently over the last six months, I've gone full-fledged back into ideating in terms of what another new venture could be.
So, I've identified a few sectors that are fun for me, and it's probably in tech. I haven't landed at exactly what the one idea is going to be, but I'm a focused person. I've had many other entrepreneurs come in and say, you know, do I want to be part of a group of angels? Do I want to be part of venture studios of different groupings?
And I thought to myself, nah, I'm a simple guy. I want to found something. That's going to do another social good. Go deep into it, grow it and try to accomplish what I did the first time that maybe a little bit bigger and a little bit faster.
Steve Wells: [00:44:27] Fabulous. I enjoyed the interview. is there anything that we have not asked you or some points you'd like to make to those would be, entrepreneurs who are looking at an exit, that you'd like to share?
Saud Juman: [00:44:40] A reminder, you know, are there three things that mean a lot to you that are deal breakers or deal makers. Because I think it's important to know those, to write them down and to have them handy because they're going to be several times in the process where people on your own team, will try to persuade you that that's not the norm. That doesn't happen. Things don't happen that way.
When I kept on saying, you know what? Sorry. I want all cash. You know what, sorry, I want a quick turnaround time. I kept on hearing. It doesn't happen that way. What I learned about a hold back, you know, there's a hold back and it goes in escrow and everything else. And I'd say, yeah, you know what? I don't, I don't want that.
And I would hear that doesn't happen, but you know what? You figure out a way to make it happen for me. Cause I kept on saying I'm just a simple kid from a place called Scarborough, which is a pretty rough neighborhood in Toronto. And I said, I don't understand all this stuff. I just know what I have on my piece of paper here.
And that's what I went along with. and you'll, you'll be tested, but kind of go back to those things. Go back to those, those three criteria that are unique to you and my Brazilian team. It's like, even if they gave me triple the amount of money that I got, and those guys got sent back to their country, It's not worth it to me.
It's not worth it. Like they had, they had two have stayed and they all, they all stayed and you know, they're all citizens now.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:46:09] It's a wonderful story. All the way around Saud. Congratulations on that. One last question and we ask every guest who we interview.
Knowing what you now know of running a business, growing a business, selling a business. If you could tell yourself to do this one thing, no matter what, what would that one thing be?
Saud Juman: [00:46:31] Don't listen to anyone else other than yourself, because know, I'm not talking about your ego. I'm talking about close your eyes, quiet down, whatever you got to do and listen to your internal voice.
That's the voice you need to be listening to. Don't listen to anyone else. Because I wasted way too much time listening to it. Friends, family, even these days people close to me who don't get me. They don't get how we operate. Right? Meaning that, you know how many times family has told me, what are you doing? This is a big mistake.
You need to find a nine to five job. This is a huge mistake you need to work somewhere at a big company like that still comes up in my life day to day. And I think to myself, Nah, you just, don't now I'm 43. I'm like, you just don't get how I operate and have that comfort. But when I was 23, I wish I had that.
Because my rhythm was work, meditate. My meditation was shooting hoops. Work. Meditate. I'd go shoot some free throws, work, lift weights, and meditate, the shooting hoops or lifting weights, all that stuff. That was my thinking time processing the work I'd be working, then it'd be letting it sink in a little bit, getting new ideas, go back to work.
But I had that noise around me saying, questioning, this is not traditional. I don't know what's going to happen here. This might be a train wreck, but just listen to yourself. Don't listen to anyone else.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:47:55] Terrific advice and much needed advice particularly today. And one last question for you, Saud. If someone wants to find you and reach you. I, and just see what you're doing. Where's the best place for that?
Saud Juman: [00:48:09] I guess three places. I'm on Twitter, I'm @SaudJuman. you can search me on LinkedIn as well by my name Saud Juman, and my website, which is www.saudjuman.io
Steve Wells: [00:48:20] Saud thank you for your time today, your valuable information that is going to help a lot of business people. We really enjoyed it and we wish you the best.
Saud Juman: [00:48:29] Thank you so much.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:48:31] Congratulations. You were terrific.
Saud Juman: [00:48:32] Thank you.