Buying, Selling, and Fixing with Michelle Selier Tucker
August 4, 2021 | Episode 5
Buying, Selling, and Fixing with Michelle Selier Tucker
August 4, 2021 | Episode 5
Becoming Legends brings on someone who might be familiar to many of our listeners, the incredible Michelle Selier Tucker. Michelle has a huge range of expertise and specialties and has been working in business acquisitions for a bit more than 20 years. That means she brings just an incredible amount of expertise and real-life experience to the table.
As always, Eric goes back to the Batman Story and asks Michelle about how she came to do what she does. We learn about how Michelle might have been destined to do what she does straight from childhood, and how she earned the nickname ‘The Closer’ in her first job at Xerox.
One of the things that really makes Michelle stand out is that she isn’t the typical executive or entrepreneur. She’s not interested in all the meetings or and other conventions of business, she just wants to get things done.
Michelle and Eric also talk about Michelle’s latest book, Exit Rich. While you might think that Michelle would be talking about selling businesses since that is what she does, but that’s not the goal. Michelle wants Exit Rich to help you build sustainable business assets that will help you create assets other entrepreneurs want to buy.
Learn about how the business landscape is changing, and how the market is better than ever for entrepreneurs. But, it’s not all sunshine and roses, Michelle also talks about the changing trends and how established businesses might have to fight to stay relevant these days.
Business success isn’t one size fits all, but Michelle Selier Tucker has some business advice that will work for anyone.
Eric: All right. We are back with Becoming Legends. I am your host Eric Grundhoefer. Today with me I have a very special guest, Michelle Seiler Tucker, you can find Michelle at SeilerTucker.com, or her new book is coming out June 22nd. It’s called Exit Rich. I want you guys to go to ExitRichBook.com to find that book. Michelle, thank you so much for being here. I know you’re slammed. I know your schedule is so busy. I know it was like a lot to get you here. So, I really appreciate you and your time. Thank you so much. How are you doing today?
Michelle: I’m doing great. Thank you, Eric. Thanks for having me.
Eric: Yeah, absolutely. That’s fantastic. So, as you know, the podcast is called Becoming Legends because I want to introduce to my audience what people are doing to get them to the next level. And clearly, if you just do a simple Google search of your name, what you’ve done online for yourself and branding is just phenomenal. I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It was another reason why I was very excited to have you on today. So, I just want, if you could just give everyone a little background of who you are, what you do, and how you got this successful today, that would be fantastic. I just want someone to take a little something that maybe they could reverse engineer back from that, and then they could steal it from you and it might help them.
Michelle: All right. So, I’m Michelle Seiler Tucker, mergers and acquisitions mastery intermediary, senior business analyst, and a bunch of other acronyms behind my name. I’ve been in this industry a little over 20 years, I have personally sold over 500 companies. My team altogether we’ve sold over 1,000 in pretty much every vertical. On average, we get our clients about 20 to 40% more than what the business appraises for. We close about 98% of all deals. I write. How did I get into this industry? Well, that’s a great question.
Eric: Yeah, exactly. [crosstalk] That’s what I was curious about.
Michelle: Yeah. I mean, as a little girl, my mom always tells me gosh, Michelle, as a little girl you never played with dolls, you never played with toys. All I did was walk around with a notebook, and I’ll walk up to perfect strangers and ask them, “Hi, I’m Michelle. Who are you? What do you do? How do you do it?” And so I’ve always been curious as a kid. And so I always knew I was going to be a writer because I love to write. I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur because I don’t like anybody telling me what to do. And I always knew that I would do something with people because I love people. I’m a people person. So, I’ve owned many different businesses in different verticals. And I did go to work for Xerox. I did get a job. And I was at Xerox for a little over a year. My name became the closer at Xerox because every time they couldn’t close a deal, they’re like, “Well, get Michelle. She can close it. She closes everything.” It’s like get Mikey, he’ll eat it, he eats everything.
And then they promoted me. So, I got a promotion within six months to regional vice president for Xerox, so I was over 100 sales reps. And then I realized right away that I hated it. And I hated it because I like to solve problems. I’m solution-oriented. I like to build relationships that last a lifetime. I don’t like meetings, corporate meetings because I feel like you get nothing accomplished. [crosstalk] And then I just have a meeting, schedule another meeting. And so anyway, I ended up leaving Xerox, and going to the franchise sales, franchise development, franchise consulting, and I started my own franchise practice, and I was equity partner with different franchisees. But so many buyers kept asking me, Michelle, do you have existing businesses? I’m like, “No, I just have franchises.” And I’m like, “Why do I keep saying no? I shouldn’t be saying yes, yes, yes.” Law of attraction. So, after hearing that for a few times, I’m like, you know what, I’m just going to start a mergers and acquisitions business. And that’s really what I did. And that’s how I got started. That was a little over 20 years ago.
Eric: Absolutely phenomenal and been growing ever since. Right?
Michelle: Yes. Growing ever since. Yeah, absolutely.
Eric: I want to pivot real quick. That’s an amazing story. I absolutely love that. I want to pivot to this book, because this book is coming out soon, and I would love to — I can’t wait to read it. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m going to preorder it right after we hop off here. It comes out the 22nd. Tell me what this book’s about and what it can do for people.
Michelle: So, Exit Rich is all about — People think, oh my gosh, it’s about selling businesses. No, it’s not. It’s not about selling a business. It’s about building a sustainable scalable asset, so when you’re ready, you have something to sell. Steve Forbes endorsed Exit Rich and Steve Forbes says 80% of businesses will never sell. 20% — So, that means — I mean, you have to think about that. If you’re a business owner, you should be really — that should register with you and you should be asking yourself, oh my gosh, 80% of businesses don’t sell. That means when I put my business on the market, I have less than 20% chance of selling. So, Steve Forbes endorsed Exit Rich saying it’s a goldmine for entrepreneurs as entrepreneurs leave way too much money on the sale of the business. Plus, Sharon Lechter is my co author at Exit Rich and she also wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad, You remember that little book called Rich Dad Poor Dad?
Eric: Yeah, I love that book. It’s on my shelf right now. Honestly, I check it out every now and then, skim through like once a year.
Michelle: And she’s a New York Times bestselling author five times. We’re trying to make her number six with Exit Rich, and she is a CPA financial literacy expert, the advisor to many different presidents. She writes the mentors’ corner after each one of my chapters. Plus, Kevin Harrington gave us a glowing recommendation. He wrote the foreword. He’s the original shark on Shark Tank. And then of course, we have Brad Sugars from Action Coach and Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, all the greats gave us some wonderful testimonials. But Exit Rich is all about mindset, changing your mindset, because most business owners have — A lot of entrepreneurs think they have a business, but what they really have is a glorified job that they go to work at every day, versus a business that works for them.
So, Exit Rich is all about how to — It’s like Stephen Covey says, start with the end in mind, how to plan your exit from the beginning, because one of the number one reasons that businesses don’t sell is because business owners never think about their exit. They never think about selling the business until a catastrophic event occurs. And then all of a sudden, they’re like, Oh, my God, I need to sell my business. And then they’ll come to me, and they’ll say, I need $10 million. I’m like, well, your business is worth 100,000. You’re not going to get to a million. So, Exit Rich is all about figuring out your endgame, figuring out your destination, what you want to sell your business for, and then figuring out who your buyers are going to be, and build that business to meet that buyer specific criteria, so they pay you top-dollar for your company.
It’s also all about mindset, figuring out, what is your seller’s sanity check, what are your objectives, what are you trying to accomplish. And then it’s about the five different types of buyers are negotiables, non-negotiables. And then we go into the infrastructure because this is where a lot of business owners get this wrong. You know, they’re focused on sales and marketing, you got to be focused on also building an infrastructure. So, we really spend a lot of time on what I call operating your business on all six cylinders, all six Ps. And so that’s the first half of the book.
Eric: I love it, I love it.
Michelle: And then the second half kind of gets into evaluations, business evaluations, packaging, negotiations, due diligence, closing, and then we have content in there about building to sell.
Eric: That’s absolutely amazing. Okay. So, everyone that’s listening right now that is an entrepreneur, that as a business owner, that maybe some are just starting out, maybe some are little seasoned, let’s use someone like myself that has similar experience as me. I’ve been doing this for seven years. I also, I’ve worked for companies when I started, but I knew when I was younger, that I cannot stand working for someone else. I do not like to follow other people’s directions. I have to do things my own way. But one thing that you said piqued my interest, I have never once thought about leaving my company.
So, if you’re talking to me, and I’m your demo, like what are things and some tips that you could say to people, and obviously, they’re going to see him in the book, so I don’t want to give any secrets away right now or anything until they get that. But what are some things you can say to someone like myself who’s never thought about that, that can give them some just tactical advice to start setting up for the future? Now, my first question would be, when would I even consider leaving the company? Is it when I’m older? Is it when I don’t feel like doing this anymore? Or is it, I should be thinking way further ahead than that and planning that immediately?
Michelle: This is your company, right Eric?
Eric: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Royale Reputation
Michelle: Well, you’re the typical client.
Eric: I don’t know anything. Great.
Michelle: That thinks they’re never going to leave their business, that loves what they do, they never want to leave it. When should I sell, when I get older, when you’re tired of it… That’s the worst time to even try to think about selling your business. Because by then your business isn’t doing well. Think about this. When you get burned out, and you’re not passionate, you’re not interested anymore, the business is not going to do as well. And most business owners never think about selling their business until a catastrophic event occurs, internal or external. Internal is health issues, partners [inaudible 00:09:19], divorce, theft, burnout. And external is this pandemic we’re in. So, you don’t want to wait till you get to that point. That’s the biggest mistake that business owners make. So, Eric, if you were my client, I would be saying we’re going to plan your GPS exit model. We’re going to be like Stephen Covey and start with the end in mind, and we’re doing that now. And so if you want to drive somewhere in Tampa, what do you do? You pull out your phone, you go to Google Maps and what do you plug in?
Eric: Wherever I want to go? Okay, like a restaurant.
Michelle: The destination.
Eric: Yeah, exactly. Okay.
Michelle: If you don’t plug in a destination, then what happens? Where are you going?
Michelle: So, what do you think happens to business owners?
Eric: They’re going nowhere. No, it makes sense.
Michelle: They’re going nowhere. Business owners don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan. They don’t have a destination. They don’t have a destination. And the business landscape has changed dramatically. It used to be that 90% of startups will go out of business within one to five years. When I wrote Exit Rich and did the same research, a hundred of the business landscape has flip flop. Now only 30% of startups are going out of business. About 27.6 million companies, those businesses have been in business 10 years or longer, 70% are going out of business, 70. [crosstalk]
Eric: Oh, wow. That’s shocking.
Michelle: So, you don’t — That’s right. It is shocking. And you hear about the big public companies all the time. [inaudible 00:10:39] Kmart, Steimer, Disney stores are going out of business. [inaudible 00:10:44] is closing down 1,500 locations. But guess what? Media doesn’t talk about private companies. They don’t care about us. And you know what? There’s so many private companies that are exiting poor, selling for pennies on the dollar, or even worse, filing bankruptcy. So, you don’t want to become part of the 70% statistic, and you don’t want to become part of the 80% statistic of businesses that never sell. So, you don’t want to wait to get older, Eric, or you don’t want to wait till you’re burned out. So, you want to, number one, figure out what is your destination? What do you want to sell your company for? Pick a number, Eric. I’m going to make you do this right now.
Eric: All right. Let’s go a billion.
Michelle: A million?
Michelle: Oh, a billion. Great. All right. So, that’s your destination. And you know what? Everybody gets hung up on a number, don’t get hung up on the number. You came up with it right away. So, what is the GPS exit model need to know now? It needs to know where you’re starting from? What is your current location? What is your current evaluation? What are you worth right now, Eric? Do you know?
Eric: No, I have no idea. [crosstalk] See, so I am your typical client.
Michelle: Exactly, you have no idea. You’re like every other business owner.
Eric: Maybe we should talk after this. You got me thinking now. Like oh my gosh.
Michelle: You see? And that’s what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to get business owners to think. And you’re going to be one of those guys that comes to me, what do you want to sell your business for a billion and you’re worth a million. So, your destination is a billion, but you have no idea what your business is worth. So, the GPS exit model is all about what your destination, where are you starting from, what’s your current evaluation. Now, how long have you been in business?
Eric: Seven years. I think this will be eight coming up in August.
Michelle: Okay. So, have you ever had a business evaluation?
Eric: No, I have it.
Michelle: No, of course not.
Eric: I know. I’m like failing miserably at this test right now. I feel like I’m embarrassed.
Michelle: You’re not failing. You’re just like everybody else.
Eric: Okay. Thank God. It makes you feel a little better that I’m not the only one, honestly.
Michelle: So, look, you’re already seven years. [inaudible 00:12:42] the guy the other day has been in business 40 years and never had a business evaluation. And it’s crazy to me because we go to the doctor once a year to get an annual checkup. We take our car to the mechanic to get an annual tune up. But we take our most valuable possession, which is our business and we don’t get an annual evaluation checkup. That’s financial suicide. So, you’re never going to get to the billion, especially if you don’t even know where you’re starting from. So you got to figure out, you got to get an annual evaluation checkup, you got to do this every year. Why every year? Because there are events that increase evaluation or events that decrease evaluation. Pandemic is a perfect example of that. Yeah, exactly. So, most business owners never get that done. So, let’s say you want to sell a billion, let’s say you’re worth a million. We got a ways to go. What’s your timeframe?
Eric: Okay. So, say — Actually, I would lean on you towards that, honestly. Because if I’ve never planned for it, I’ve obviously never pictured it.
Michelle: And that’s what I do, is I work with my clients to picture it to say, okay, you’re young, how much longer do you want to do this? Do you have another masterpiece in your mind? Because a lot of entrepreneurs, they want to get out after maybe seven to 10 years because they want to go out and create their next masterpiece. So, you have to think about, well, what’s my objective, what do I want to do next? I want to keep this business till I get older and then I want to retire and travel the world, till I want to start another business. And that’s where time comes in.
Eric: Yeah, exactly. What about someone like myself? So, this, and again, pivoting just a little bit, but it’s off the same topic. So, someone like me that, yeah, maybe I never plan to retire. But at the same time, I also have two, like, I have 11 year old and a six year old and a nine month old daughter and I fully — So, I have another business that’s about to be — like start under construction next week. We move into the place soon. And then that is just the beginning of like a six phase thing that I have for the next 10 years. But what I’m doing right now is I’m building a legacy. So, I have a plan and it’s all under this Royal brand. So, something like that, that I’m trying to leave my kids, I still think and agree 150% that I need an exit strategy. But what if my exit strategy was always I want to give that to my children. Now, is that bad?
Michelle: What if your children don’t want your business?
Eric: That’s exactly why I think you’re right, you need to plan on them not wanting it at all.
Michelle: You need to plan on them not wanting it. Because the good old days of businesses used to be handed from generation to generation are long gone. Less than 10% of businesses are actually handed to the next generation, because kids don’t want our business anymore. They want to go create their own masterpiece. I have a 10 year old daughter that’s like I’m not doing what you do, I’m doing something else. So, plan for them not to take over your business. And here’s the bottom line. If you’re building a business, that you think you can sell for a billion dollars, or whatever your number is, and you decide not to sell, guess what you have? You have a sustainable business that you’ve scaled, that’s highly profitable, [crosstalk] so you’re leaving it in a lot better hands, there’s no downside. But there’s a much bigger downside if you don’t plan your exit. I just had a lady call me from Texas, her husband dropped out of a heart attack.
Eric: Oh my gosh.
Michelle: She said he left me with a mountain of debt. She knows nothing about the finances. She said can you please sell his business? And I said what is it? And she said construction. And she said he’s been in business forever and he’s got a great company, no employees only subcontractors, so he had a job. No processes. People is my number one P, process is my third P. No processes. So, all the data is in his head. All the data is in his head. So, when he died, the business died. That’s what you don’t want. You don’t want that. You want to make sure you set your family up for success, and you build a business on what I call the six Ps.
And the six Ps is people, you don’t build a business, you build people, people build a business. Product, you got make sure you’re in a thriving industry, not a dying one. The number one reason 70% of businesses go out of business is because they stop innovating. Lack of aim. Always innovate and market, they stopped innovating and they stopped marketing. Blockbuster, what do they do? They had an opportunity to buy Netflix twice and they didn’t do anything. Toys R Us didn’t do anything in 75 years. So, people, product, processes, proprietary is the number one value driver. Propriety is all your proprietary assets. And then patrons and then profits. So, you want to build a business on this infrastructure. So, if you have health issues, if something happens, if you say I hate this business now, I want to do something else. Or your kids are like, “Daddy, I don’t want your business.” And yeah, then you can sell it. Otherwise, you don’t want to get stuck in a position where your kids say I don’t want your business. And guess what? Nobody else wants it either.
Eric: Yeah, exactly. So, no, I like that. I mean, it makes sense. I like the analogy that you use where it’s like you go to the doctor, you get a checkup once a year, right? You make sure that you’re healthy once a year. So, you need to be doing that to your business because you’re thinking long-term just like you’re thinking long-term for your health, your mind, your body, your family and all of those things. So, I think that that is fantastic. Michelle, this has been like seriously one of the most eye-opening and amazing meetings that I’ve had. Thank you so much for being here. Guys, everyone, her book comes out. It’s called Exit Rich by Michelle Seiler Tucker. You can go to MichelleSeilerTucker.com, that’s ExitRichBook.com to get the book or preorder the book before June 22nd. Michelle, thank you again. I appreciate you. You’re amazing.
Michelle: Wait, wait, wait. Can I tell all of your listeners everything they get if they preorder?
Eric: Absolutely. Absolutely, please.
Michelle: Okay. So, if you preorder, like Eric said June 22nd, if you order before, or on June 22nd, after, forget about it. But before or on June 22 at ExitRichBook.com $24.79, we’ll email you the digital download immediately will ship the hardcover to your doorstep for no additional shipping costs to anyone inside the United States. We give you a lifetime membership into the Exit Rich Book Club where there’s video content of me doing deep dives in these different techniques and strategies that we’re talking about here today.
Plus documents, documents to operate your business, documents to sell your business; sample policy and procedure manuals, employee handbooks, noncompetes, sample letters of intent, purchase agreements to sell your business, due diligence checklists, closing docs. All the documents you need to operate and sell your business are there for your review and download. This will cost you over $50,000 if you want your attorney to recreate. I know because I’ve spent the money to create it.
And then we also will give you a 30-day free membership into Club CEOs. Club CEOs is entrepreneurship mastermind where we ask the tough questions, we do Q&A, you get my time, and we really help business owners pivot and think about long-term thinking about the exit strategy so they can build that sustainable, scalable, sellable asset all for $24.79 at ExitRichBook.com.
Eric: That is amazing, and that’s such an amazing value. Guys, you go to ExitRichBook.com, that’s Michelle Seiler Tucker. Michelle, thank you so much. I appreciate you.
Michelle: Thanks, Eric. And we need to connect.
Eric: Yes, we do. Hold on, don’t go anywhere.