- “Not how much I sell, but how much I make.”– Chris [14:39]
- “A negative experience can be so costly we must understand what our options are.”– Chris [8:04]
- “People tell somebody what to do, but you have to tell them what to do and the why they need to do it.”– Chris [22:14]
How to Start, Scale, And Sell Your Business
What defines an entrepreneur who is able to start, scale, and sell an extremely successful business? Business development requires more than just a strategy; it requires a good plan, a good team, and sufficient financials.
In this episode of the Page One Podcast, Luke Peters speaks with Chris Gules, a veteran entrepreneur and sales expert with multiple successful ventures. He has done it all from how to start, scale, and sell your business. He grew up as a leader in an entrepreneurial environment and used his skills to build multiple companies while maintaining a social conscious to help others. He explains how after scaling and selling a high-performing business, he is now focused on helping other entrepreneurs walk the same path.
Listen in to learn how trust and communication between you, the business owner, and your employees affects your business positively. You will also learn about the power of using technology as a tool to help work on your business.
- How to use technology to create a business system that is based on bettering customer service and experience.
- The importance of effective message communication within a business to move forward faster.
- The value of investing in technology as an essential tool to scale your business.
- Understanding the factors that define the multipliers that make your business sellable.
- [1:45] Chris narrates his entrepreneurial journey that started at a young age before he started growing and selling companies.
- [4:00] He explains how he started a business with a plan of selling it and worked towards ensuring its success long after he exited.
- [5:37] How he utilized his ability to start and scale a business before selling to his advantage of financial freedom and early retirement.
- [7:06] How his former company used technology to better transportation logistics.
- [13:02] How to start and scale a business with the right plan, team, and financials if you want to sell it later.
- [16:25] How Chris helps business owners realize what their maximum gains can be on scaling their businesses in all aspects before they can sell it.
- [18:44] The business development strategy that he uses to help business owners work on their businesses.
- [20:49] The importance of communication and trust between the business owner and employees to help move the business forward.
- [26:15] How to utilize the appropriate technology to help scale your business exponentially.
- [32:53] Chris explains the factors you should put in place before selling your business, plus how he sold his business with a nine PowerPoint slides presentation.
- [40:20] He shares why Carpe diem is his living philosophy.
- [42:36] Why a portion of your proceeds and energy as an entrepreneur should go to charity.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Page 1 Podcast, a podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from digital marketing, sales channel strategies, influencer marketing, best in class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate sales. Now here’s your host, Luke Peters.
Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on the Page 1 Podcast. I’m your host, Luke Peters, CEO of NewAir Appliances and Retail Band Digital Strategy Agency. In this episode, you’re going to learn from Chris Giles, who has it all on how to start, scale, and sell your business. Chris grew up as a leader in an entrepreneurial environment. He used his skills to build multiple companies and all the while maintaining a social conscience to help others. Chris has built multiple companies from the couch and then sold them, allowing him to retire. He currently helps companies be more successful, working with them directly to build their world. He does all this while growing a wonderful family and lots of friends. Carpe Diem is the philosophy he lives by.
Luke Peters: Chris, thanks for joining us on the Page 1 Podcast.
Chris Giles: Wow, that is a wonderful introduction. Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Luke. It’s nice to be on. It’s nice to be talking to everybody out there and I hope everybody out there is having a wonderful day today once we get around to talking to you. So let’s go.
Luke Peters: Awesome. And Chris, we’re going to talk about a lot of the things you’re doing with your new business, where you’re helping other companies. But why don’t we back up a little bit? I want to learn a little bit about the businesses you have started and sold, there in the logistic space. Would you mind giving the audience a quick breakdown of those companies so they know your background?
Chris Giles: Absolutely. It’s interesting. I grew up in an entrepreneurial environment, as you mentioned. My father was an entrepreneur. So I was always surrounded by it. I had my own entrepreneurial experience during university, like most of us tried. I had a fencing and deck business that went on three years and it was fantastic and really enjpyed it. So after university, I realized, and obliviously beforehand, that I was going to be an entrepreneur, but I went and found out what industry it was going to be in. I fell into logistics and really enjoyed it. Enjoyed it, worked for a number larger organizations, Yellow Freight and Direct Transit and other organizations, learned a lot. And then I realized this was where I was going to play my cards for being an entrepreneur and I started my first business Connect Logistics in 1999 with a partner.
Chris Giles: I think we’ll get into a little bit more about how and why I started it, but it was the idea of I really felt there was an opportunity where communication had faltered in that industry. I think communication is really what logistics is. People think it’s the movement of the product. It’s the understanding of the movement of the product that’s critical. So I built that company fairly successfully. As we went and grew that company, we discovered that my partner had a terminally ill daughter and some other things that were going on. So, I wanted to grow exponentially in the business and he would like to have kept it the same. So we created a great by sell agreement where he kept the business and I went on to build another company, Dynamic Connections.
Chris Giles: It worked out famously, where he was able to have a successful career and that business went on to become very successful. Dynamic Connections was grown with an office here in Toronto and an office in California, all build on technology to try and take the customers, the shipments that they did, and provide communication and a complete understanding as to where the product was and what was happening, not only with the product but also with the customer. And so used a lot of technology to try and build a better interface, and grew it exponentially and then sold it in 2016 to a gentleman who still owns it and is going on to great success.
Chris Giles: That’s an overview. I didn’t want to take up too much of your time. But any questions, I guess?
Luke Peters: Yeah. So, at Dynamic, give us an idea of for how big you scaled the business, either revenue, number of employees, just so the audience has an idea there.
Chris Giles: Yeah. So, we were growing exponentially at the time I sold in 2016, which of course was the best time to sell. And it was related to growth in California actually. So, we had started with an office here in Toronto, just myself and three people to start us off and because I started a business before and done a logistics company, we went after it really hard and exponentially grow the number of employees as well as the revenue we had on an annual basis by a considerable percentage in the first three to five years and kept growing up ’till we were about 30 employees and we were above 25 million dollars in revenue when we sold it. Then the expectations were we would have been probably around 30 to 35 by the time we hit 2020 with the growth we were seeing in the states with our new office in Long Beach.
Chris Giles: Along the way, the best thing I really enjoyed about it I think is being able to start a business like Dynamic Connections, having the opportunity to almost restart your career, which is what I did after Connect Logistics. I really did it with all the right things in place. I built the plan before I even started. And even the cell of the business came down to knowing exactly what I was going to sell it for, how I was going to sell it, and who most likely would buy it and why they would buy it. So, because we started the business with that plan already in place, it was a really fun journey. It took us eight years to do so. And our profits were extraordinary, our people were extraordinary, and the plan is still working today where the company is extremely successful.
Luke Peters: What a great story. And why did you sell, Chris? Was there a particular reason? Chris Giles: It was always planned to sell. Yeah, I figured out when I built the first business and we decided to sell it, I realized that was the best way to go about it. Not many people could build a business from scratch. And if you could build a business from scratch and build it up to a certain point, people would pay a fair bit of money for. So, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I sold it to have the opportunity to be able to do whatever I wanted, which started on November 1st 2016.
Chris Giles: It’s been an interesting journey being financially set up now in life. But you still have great desire to do a lot. So, now what I’m doing is I’ve moved on with the factories, trying to help other entrepreneur be able to control their destiny and be able to build their business. And I felt when I was in Dynamic Connections, I had complete control of my business because I had this very much definitive plan that I started at the very beginning that I was executing along the way. So, now I’m just taking that same sort of planning and technology ideas and understanding of, maybe I would describe it, the basic business principles. And now I help people at the Faktori to do it. That was an exciting transition that I was already doing as I was in the process of selling Dynamic Connections. So, I realized I could transition to my new world and that’s what I’m doing now.
Luke Peters: Yeah, we’re going to talk all about that. Before we let this go, just so we can understand a little bit more, were you guys doing LTL Freight? What type of logistics was Dynamic Connections doing for customers?
Chris Giles: You bet. Yeah, throughout my experience, I touched all parts ocean freights, to a courier, to LTL, to truckload in my career. As my two companies primarily worked on LTL and truckload. We didn’t work as much with the ocean freight as we thought, that was quite saturated, but we were very successful both from the LTL and truckload. It’s such a challenging business, logistics. The business that you’re in or the business that other people are in, there’s just so may variables that are involved in logistics. One of the greatest thing I’ve been able to do is help advise other companies how to choose their logistics. It’s funny how we choose it. Many people just choose it based on price. I try to help educate it that really the price of your transportation should be a very marginal part of your overall cost of [inaudible 00:07:57]. Yet the price of experience, a negative customer experience, or for that matter, a negative experience, can be so costly. We must understand what our options are.
Chris Giles: I think most transportation decisions should be based on the amount of communication they’re going to receive and the understanding of the process, the way the logistics company works. And I found I was able to do that most effectively with an LTL and a truckload format as opposed to the over the seas or for that matter, courier. So, we grew exponentially with a lot of, I would describe it, information transfer, that helped our customers be able to take care of their customers more effectively as we were not only a conduit for the freight but also for information to their customer which reduced conflict and increased our relationships.
Chris Giles: That sounded like a lot there. I just looked at myself there. Luke Peters: No, you hit a good point.
Chris Giles: Let me explain how we did that. Let me explain that. Because that sounded almost like a mystery but I’ll explain. Our philosophy was that if you’re selling an appliance to a customer, that you checked with us how much it cost, and then you would send the information, within your system, you decide to go with the company XY and they’re going to make a delivery to customer A. And of course, if it delivers perfectly, customer A is of course happy and pays what he’s supposed to pay. If anything goes wrong, the customer negatively thinks about, A, most likely the trucking company, but most importantly, your company. And we always felt that was an issue. That you didn’t make a decisions to make a mistake. You made a decision that you would meet our criteria and do it.
Chris Giles: So, how we did it is we used technology. As soon as a shipment was originated, we sent information directly to the consumer, letting them know it was coming and how we were acting as a partner. Immediately taking responsibility that we had taken the shipment over. Then proceed to provide them information or updates directly to them as well as to the consumer, as well as the final destination deliverer. We also sent too a little survey that they did, either a yellow, green, or red happy face. With this, we were able to build our customers database that we were able to tell them there was a problem with delivery within seconds of there being a problem and people were attacking the problem. As opposed to 98% that went well, they knew about them too, but the ones that had a problem, we were able to put everybody’s attention on it as quickly as possible. I think that’s what people need to think about logistics: how do they identify a problem, and how do they fix it.
Luke Peters: Yeah, no. I mean, I’ve been dealing with it for almost 20 years, so you’re spot on. Obliviously I only see it from the outside, so we’re tempted to make our decisions based on price. But I can tell you, shout out to ocean freight, there’s a couple different ocean freight companies that are doing it right now, but the data that you can now get that you couldn’t get before with a lot of these ocean freight companies makes life completely different. You’re choosing a company because you can see where every container is, deliveries can be planned out in advance way more, and then even all the [inaudible 00:10:50] in the local side if you take them that far to your warehouse.
Luke Peters: And there’s so many costs involved that you can cut out. And also you’ve got to staff up sometimes if there’s a lot of containers coming on one day verus another day, and just being able to see that and have that visibility ahead of time and also just integrating your-
Chris Giles: 100%.
Luke Peters: … yeah. So, you’re speaking my language. I totally understand what you’re talking about.
Chris Giles: And when I was doing this too as well, Luke, the technology wasn’t as much. So, we were actually having to do psychical labor to go call the trucking companies to get the information then put it into a program that allowed us to give all the information directly to the customer. And that allowed us to almost jump ahead to the Uber we’re at today where it would be posted on a map. We were faking the technology existing to the carrier by using the phone or, I would describe, rudimentary work. In the end, what we ended up doing was building that as technology improved along the way. We built that into the technology and [inaudible 00:11:41] right into their system. So, I think where it’s going in the future will be and should be complete visibility. And the way it should work in the future would be very much like Uber operates with your car coming. Where is my stuff. You should all know your location of your stuff is at all times.
Chris Giles: And I don’t mean own it like you have to look at it, but if there’s a problem, it identifies it to you. That’s the way our system worked. So, if you received an email from us and it was covered in red, you knew you had to respond to this one. Other than that, they were buried in just a regular text. But you knew this one arrived at the red alert, Luke, please call us. We have an issue. And you knew right away what the problem was.
Luke Peters: You’re a smart man because you built in technology into a really … At least from the outside, a lot of these shipping and logistics companies are not known to be technology companies and you probably helped yourself on your valuation I’m sure.
Chris Giles: It did, yeah.
Luke Peters: Yeah. What a great story. So, right now you’re helping out other business owners with Faktori with [inaudible 00:12:44] and we’ll have the spelling of that in the show notes for everybody who’s listening. But the theme of this is how to start, grow, and sell your business. So, why don’t we start with this question which is starting a business from scratch, what are three or four key things that one needs to do when they’re getting started?
Chris Giles: That question, I thought I’d break it down to three things. Plan, a team, and the financial. And within that, there’s of course subsets. But it’s as simple as, when you start out, what is your idea. And within that idea, what is your sell of what you’re going to sell to customer? Please explain it to me. Who are your customers and how plentiful are they? How are you going to attach yourself to them? What are the financial you’re going to need for not only start up, but how are you going to hit these growth expectations? And the final thing is, where do you fit into the future? Because if this is a short term thing selling, for example, at this point, providing PPE to everybody in the planet, which may or not be a big seller five years from now for example, that’s not a good idea.
Chris Giles: But the idea, in many cases, can be built around the following: a plan that concludes how your product is going to fit into the marketplace, how your people are going to fit into your plan, and how your performance is going to be measured, from everything from the activities to the results. And if you think about that from a logical stand point, it seems relatively simple. And within that, the people, they’re either going to be building the business or taking care of the business. Which ones are the most valuable and how are going to get them and where are you going to get them from? These are things that I think about. Every time I coach a person, we try to find the person they want to hire in the future today, so we can find out how we can get to the point where that person wants to join the company. I think you should think about that before you even start the situation.
Chris Giles: And the final part is the financial. And really, it’s an understanding of your basic costs, should be understood at all times, in relationship to your profits. So, everything should be related to, “If I sell this much, I make this much.” Not how much I sell, but how much do I make? Now, that doesn’t always apply. In some cases, we talk about the technology sector right now where they just need customers and revenue. That’s a different marketplace. I don’t know if the same things apply. But in most cases, like yourself, you need to know what your costs are to get started, to be able to bring on the right amount of inventory, to put out the right amount of marketing, to get the right amount of people to [inaudible 00:15:08], the right amount of customers, which will generation certain amount of revenues and therefor your profits.
Chris Giles: So, I always think about it: what is your plan within that, how are you going to build that team for the future, and the financials. And I break them into other sub-categories. It seems when I talk to most business owners, they’re quite often talking about the problem they’re facing today. And they don’t realize they need to fix and work on this almost like they would their child’s future. And nothing in their child’s future is left to happen, but rather everything is planned out and the same should be done for a business.
Luke Peters: I like that quote. You really look out in the future. You’re absolutely right, a lot of entrepreneurs are just thinking about-
Chris Giles: 100%.
Luke Peters: … Although that does go back to your philosophy of Carpe Diem. But we’ll talk about that later. But no, I can tell you’re very methodical. Do you have any standards? The next question I was going to ask, tell me about how you got your company started off the ground, but we already went through that. So, maybe we can talk about a client company that you’ve worked with. Profit margins range so much from industry to industry. Are you coaching clients that they have to hit a minimum margin? How does that look as far as coaching clients on profit margins and things that can hit that?
Chris Giles: Yeah, it’s funny you say that, because you’re absolutely right. Depending on the type of situation, it can change. It really comes down to if you’re running a business, if you’re an entrepreneur running a business, and that’s generally who I deal with. Let me just back it up a little bit to have you understand. Here at the Faktori, for you guys, it’s like a shark tank. We have a show up here called Dragon’s Den. And it’s the idea of an entrepreneur coming into your business and helping you. We all know as entrepreneurs that sometimes it’s bright white and everything’s great, and sometimes it’s cloudy and overcast and we cannot find our way. We talk to most people, they don’t know what we’re going through. You know, “You got enough. What do you want more for?” They don’t realize your problems. And so to be able to talk to a fellow entrepreneur who’s been through that and understands. And that’s what the Faktori’s all about.
Chris Giles: You mentioned the name. So, we changed the C to a K because it was all about knowledge. So the more knowledge we could get out of you or give to you and help the person become more successful. And we changed the Y to an I because we believe that every single person is their own factory and they make their own stuff, and some of the things people make the best stuff in the world. And if you don’t prove the way you work as a machine, as a unit, as a producer, you become more successful, you feel better. If you fail and you feel bad, especially as an entrepreneur, it’s extremely painful us. We’re very unique characters. So as such, we try to make sure that I try to help them to understand what their maximum game can be. And that can be in the form of, “We need to get more revenue to buy a better machine that will help us become more successful.” Or in the case of software, “We need to improve because we need to hit a threshold of 10 000 customers, then we start making profit.”
Chris Giles: So, I’m actually open to the concept but it’s really all the same situation. How do we improve our plan and goal setting? How do we improve our team. Break down the financials, not just on the profits, but what activities need to be taken, what resources do we need to have available, and how fast can we do this? That’s where I spend a lot of my time is how fast.
Luke Peters: Well, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about scaling. Obviously, that’s part of it: how to start and then the next part grow and then sell your business. So, on the growth part, maybe you can give an example of common themes you see about scaling companies that you work with. That’d be fun to hear. Either themes or an individual story.
Chris Giles: The things I look for right away, the things I ask question about, and I think everybody should ask these questions, how do we do our business devolvement? How do we do our business development and how good are we at it? And I always ask people to measure between one and seven. How’s your sales force, one to seven? Who’s your best sales guys, one to seven? Who’s your worst? Why haven’t you fired him? And they go through this whole exercise where I’m basically firing these questions at these poor owners and they’re starting to feel that they’ve been, as you mentioned, dealing with today and not dealing with what’s happened yesterday and the future, what’s going to happen.
Chris Giles: So, once you understand their business development, that’s an interesting that I put all my energies into because I realized that sales, growth in business, solves most problems. You can hire better people if you have more money. And then I ask people to look at their process. How do you do something? How fast is something that’s going wrong brought to your attention? How much is it noticeable that something went wrong? Or is there no process and people just do their own thing? I always try to find out if an owner is working in the business or working on the business. So, ones that are working in the business, generally the process is flawed. The ones that are working on the business, the process is strong.
Chris Giles: And the final thing is, we look for one or two people we can develop. That’s it. I feel this is usually a ratio. If I can find one or two people in the organization out of 10, 15, I think we can do something with them, build around them. And so those are the things we look for quick. And then the longer term is just improving things overall where I try to bring in technology and really make it so the managers of the businesses, whether it be the owner or the manger, manages the process. And we just continue to, I would describe it, recalibrate it as things happen. So, it’s initially a puncture and then we look to just massage it from then.
Luke Peters: No, that makes a lot of sense. You start with Vis Dev, you look at the process, and then you look to develop people. Tell me about what are the typical roles, again it’s just fun to hear if you work with a bunch of companies, is it always a sales role that you’re trying to develop? Does it vary? It’d be interesting to hear what roles you end up spending more time on.
Chris Giles: I generally would say in the businesses devolvement customer experience roles including, I might add, because of my experience, I do work with a fair bit of logistics companies as well, is having them understand how to sell their freight to a carrier. For me, to be fair, almost all language comes back to sales. That’s how I look at it. I believe everybody’s selling all the time, just some people are better at it, okay. And so the idea being is that I don’t generally deal with administrative or financial people for obvious reasons, it’s not a strength of mine. I generally deal with, I would describe it, management, owners, sales, customer experience, and I touch logistics just [inaudible 00:21:35].
Chris Giles: If it would be a, I would describe it, somebody looking to improve lean performance in their factory or to maybe improve their warehousing, I’m not an expert. So I’m very careful to stay in an area. But what I do do, whenever I train companies, is I try to get every single person to realize that if you have a message to provide, provide that message captured within a clear, concise communication that allows us to understand the it’s both confident, competent, and has clearly understanding what you need us to do so we can move forward faster. That’s a larger part of what I think is lost. People forget they have to, they don’t get to tell somebody what to do, they have to tell them what to do and then why they need to do it. And I feel, especially as an owner, that’s something they don’t often do as well.
Luke Peters: That’s such a great point. I’ve learned that over the last couple of years. You’ve got to give them the why because otherwise they have no context.
Chris Giles: They need it.
Luke Peters: Yeah.
Chris Giles: It’s hard for them. I always say that owners that are mad about their employees and I’d say, “Okay, do you really feel that guy’s out to get you? Is that what you’re thinking? Because if that’s the case, let’s go them him. That sounds terrible. Or if you maybe think he can’t figure out what you want which is probably more likely. You’re not clear on what you want. I just asked you to lay it out for me. You can’t lay it out. So, that guy’s going to obviously fail.” And I think that’s what I think is most important. Whereas if you can give them the what and the why then you know what you want and you know how you want it done, you know what the result is and it’s easier for everybody to be successful. And if it’s a repetitive action, you should be able to do that. If everyone’s a new situation, then you want to train them how to develop their own understanding of the why. But the why is necessary.
Luke Peters: It’s such a good point. And we’ve done a lot of employee surveys and we got best places to work for last year. In these surveys, you learn because the employees, they’ll come back and the say, “We don’t know what’s going on.” Or, “We need better communication.” Or, “We want to understand what the company goals are.” And that’s where really explaining the why and everything I’ve learned, because there’s all these things about improving culture and the free food is honestly not as important as people having friends at work and people know the communication and mission and direction of the company. Those are the things that I found I think are going to create more understanding and a better culture. Communication and knowing the why is key. So, it’s a great point you bring up.
Chris Giles: You know, it’s funny, whenever I design my companies, from the Faktori, I explain the [inaudible 00:24:03] or Dynamic Connections. It was funny, not only do I design the name of the company to make it successful but I also design the business card, I could do the whole sell every single time from just the name or the business card. I could sell my company where the person would buy it. And I think that’s what I think people need to understand. They probably know it that deep as an entrepreneur, and I’m sure you do as well, you feel it.
Luke Peters: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Chris Giles: Well, you’ve got to give that same feeling to them. [inaudible 00:24:33] successful for you. Yeah, it’s interesting. When you do do that for them, I’m sure you have some in your office that just bleeds your colors, right [inaudible 00:24:46] but they bleed your colors. They’re irreplaceable. Love them.
Luke Peters: It makes life a lot easier too. I wish I learned a lot of these things quicker. It just makes life a lot easier when you are able to step outside because then you have the team doing things that maybe you were doing in the past and it’s a function of that communication and that trust.
Chris Giles: Yeah. I always looked at it like this, if you’re the owner of the company, which is therefor you are responsible for the vision, direction, the planning, the execution, really for all intents and purposes, all those things. How are you doing? How are you also doing at the same time? Because really if it’s not scalable to other people or to other circumstances and you’re doing it, then I believe, in many ways, you’re limiting your capacity. And if you’re not limiting your capacity, then you are 100% limiting your employees capacity. Whereas if you allow them to be successful or fail and help them along the way, we have growth, we have exponential growth.
Luke Peters: It’s so true. And you talked about, on scaling, you mentioned technology a couple of times. Why don’t we dive into that. Maybe an example. How are you adding technology, just as an example with a lot of companies, software is a difficult process and usually it’s going to help out in operations, it’s going to improve efficiency. Is there a specific type of software? Love to hear more about that.
Chris Giles: Yeah, why don’t I even just go through a few of them that I find very helpful? Luke Peters:
Chris Giles: These are the one things I coach people on. Are they plugs for the companies or are they really plugs to help the owners? I’d say the plugs to help the owners. And I’m here to help the owners. I believe the corporate world is one thing and the entrepreneur world is another thing. And the tools that we use in this world can really help us to give us that freedom and flexibility. So, for example, most of them ought to be build around mostly sales, process, customer experience, what I would say. But there would be a [inaudible 00:26:49] for, for example, sales force is the foundation of every one of my businesses. Every one of my businesses was built on sales force. I am a firm believer that is the absolute best product out there. The way they lay everything in. It’s kind of like the app store on Apple as far as I’m concerned. I’ve dealt with other things. I’ve managed other situations. I’ve participated now in hundreds of different companies that have many different products out there. But I love sales force, three cheers for and what they’re doing.
Chris Giles: But a company that’s using tools like a tool called Calendly which let’s you set appointments with people, that allow you to give the impression that you care about the person to let them do that. Or another product called Vidyard, which is phenomenal for sales, which allows you to email. So, you send an email and a video and you can see where they watched it, what they thought about it, [inaudible 00:27:33] book an appointment, all kinds of different things. Or the likes of Slack or Hunter that helps you find people’s emails on Google, where you can go find people’s emails you want to contact because it’s so hard to get a hold of people. Or for that matter, I think, of course, one of the best tools out there in LinkedIn. I’m a firm believer, and I try and coach people, I coach to join the groups and their things and to be on that LinkedIn to find out what products are coming out within your industry.
Chris Giles: I’m working with a construction company right now. They service the construction industry and I’m working with them to try and improve their process system. [inaudible 00:28:10] but I’m working with them, but the owner’s very strong. And the way we’ve been able to find the technology and what he’s found and just from how wide we’ve looked at, because I looked at a few what I wanted to have happen for him, and it has been remarkable. So, I think it’s industry specific. For you, it might warehousing, controlling your logistics. For this person over here, it could be how their people talk to a customer service experience and catalyze information. But I think technology, you should be pressing.
Chris Giles: I’ll give you two examples. One is an example at my last company, Dynamic Connections. Remember I talked about how the people had to call all the carriers every morning to get the information, and it would require about 25 people to call from 8:00 in the morning until 11:30. It was the most stressful thing of the company. We received misinformation. We received the wrong information. It just was a catalog of errors it made. And it wasn’t always my people’s fault, it was just the telephone game, I guess you’d say. But I do feel that it was a poor experience for the customer, until we finally put it into a website based application with the carriers plugged in there and we rewarded them by putting the information in there with more freight and paying their bills faster, and so therefor they went there faster and give us the information. And they updated it perfectly exactly where the person was right where we wanted it. Because we made it easy for them through technology.
Chris Giles: And that information would transfer right back to our database and be available to our customer with an instant. And they would then be able to receive an update. So it was the idea of before we pushed the information, now we alott two parties to come together in the same place and they deposited the information. It was easier for them. Another situation is related to a [inaudible 00:29:45] customers managing a sales [inaudible 00:29:47]. And before, he didn’t like them, now he finds out the guy he didn’t like the most is working the hardest for him. Those things that you have to be able to measure.
Chris Giles: Sorry, I didn’t finish on that thing. So, of the 25 people that had to do this for five hours, by the third day we were down to two people having to make calls within about an hour and a half.
Luke Peters: Oh wow. That’s incredible.
Chris Giles: Everything else become technology. It was remarkable. I’d never seen anything like that happen before. That’s actually what sold our business, is that technology. That was the key, that everybody realized that this is worth more money. Look at what he’s got here. That’s where I say technology. Look for it.
Luke Peters: Yeah. You got sales force in Calendly and Vidyard, Slack, Hunter, LinkedIn. I think you pronounced it Vidyard, we’re looking at a similar video product, it’s interesting you bring that up because it’s great, you can record whether it’s pitch or maybe show a new product and you can send that out to your buyers or potentially a potential new customer or a lead. In our business, it’s more that you’re building relationships with buyers. So, in this world, we can’t fly over there as easily or at all right now, it’s huge. It’s a great idea.
Chris Giles: It’s funny, Vidyard is actually a product we started to use. I actually trained their sales team, as a matter of fact. It’s a remarkable product. I am a huge fan of that product. Whether you buy that product or another one, definitely get this in your arsenal. Every company needs this. You know Zoom is? I think Zoom is awkward. And I love Zoom. We need it. But before, in a meeting, you could doze off for a second, you could zone out. You can’t do it in Zoom, right.
Luke Peters: No.
Chris Giles: You can’t. They’re watching your face.
Luke Peters: It’s draining, yeah.
Chris Giles: It’s harder. It’s harder. Zoom’s harder than a regular meeting. But what I love about the Vidyard, that email that everybody else sent, and then all of the sudden, here is Luke Peters with his beautiful smile and face and if you do it correctly, you’ll get that customer’s attention. And you can, in a minute and 10 seconds, get across an email that will allow the person to understand the value in why you wish to speak to them. And so I highly recommend for everybody out there invest in a Vidyard or something similar. And I know with Vidyard, they even have a free product you can try for free. So, you can do it for free. It has some limited capabilities than the regular product. But even the regular product’s inexpensive versus the value. Your return on investment’s immediate.
Chris Giles: Yes, for your league, Luke, you buy that product. It’ll change your business.
Luke Peters: Awesome.
Chris Giles: Yeah.
Luke Peters: Well, let’s talk about the sale of your business. Again, got a lot of business owners listening. I got so many questions about it, but how did you manage the sale of your business? Did you get a banker? It sounds like, initially when you talked about it, you even had a plan and you knew who the buyers might be. Did you go right to who you thought was a synergistic buyer? It’d be great to hear some details about that.
Chris Giles: Yeah, no problem. In fact, I have a very definitive plan. If you don’t mind, I’ll just explain it a little bit.
Luke Peters: Sure.
Chris Giles: Because I think this was an awesome experience. I think the opportunity to sell your business is a remarkable situation. And of course, there’s factors. There’s the multiplier, okay. Which is usually created for something, either the [inaudible 00:33:14] or revenue or whatever the case may be. And you want that multiplier to be as large as possible. And the multiplier is usually as large as possible based on the fact of what your product is and how that product is received in the marketplace. If it’s extremely unique or it’s extremely valuable to marketplace or the world, yes of course the multipliers go crazy. In most cases, most businesses don’t have that opportunity to have that 50 multiplier. It’s not going to be possible. They got to work with the more realistic three to five, five to ten, somewhere in that neighborhood, right.
Chris Giles: Now it becomes maximizing that. And the only way to do it is a full plan. You have to build it around the following things again: what have you done and what is your plan going forward, the future we talked about. You already know that. When people bought my businesses, they knew what they were going to get. They knew what the future would hold because we already had been building the past that was building the future. The second thing was the team. You didn’t have to love everybody, but you needed to love some people that they were going to love to. That was probably the most critical thing. They needed to trust somebody. They needed to be really somebody that was just remarkable. Just like some in your organization, I’m sure. You would say that [inaudible 00:34:22].
Chris Giles: And the final bit of it is there can be no mistakes in the financials. There can be nothing. So, for example, of financials, it was funny, and I’ll get to who I sold it to in a second, but when I went to sell my business, before I started Dynamic Connections, I wrote in the same book that I used to start Dynamic Connections, I still have the book, I wrote down what I was going to sell the business for and I anticipated it would take me 12 years to get to that point and I knew how much revenue I would need and how much profit I would need and I knew I would sell it for a certain multiplier. I didn’t know at the time it was going to be sold based on technology. But I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. I just didn’t want to do this for the rest of my life. I wanted to do something different. But this was a way to get that much money that quick.
Chris Giles: And I set about it with that goal in mind. And it was always talking about it. Even my employees knew I was going to sell the business because I’d already sold one. So it was interesting, most owners keep that secret. I would go to conferences, here’s a key thing, I’d always bring a couple of my key guys with me so we could be seen as a team, and it was two guys that they bought the business off of. That’s who they bought. Because those few guys were always around. They were always know. They were known commodities. Not just, “I am the owner and the rest of these people just work for me.” It was like, “Yeah, this is my team.” And I was always trying to make it so that we were just equals. I never saw myself as the boss. I saw them as the boss and me in charge of them.
Chris Giles: Remember, the people by the financials, there can be no mistakes. The people, they need a couple of them that they can trust and rely upon. They’ll want their own anyways. And then it becomes the plan. And so what you do, and I’d recommend it for everyone out there, you should have a PowerPoint built up today or tomorrow that says the following: this is our UVP, or why we were started or why we exist, this is what we have done in the past, one or two slides, this is why our team is strong, this is the financials in one slide, and the last slide is how much money you want based on the multiplier that you list out right in front of them. And that’s how I sold my business with nine slides. I sent it over to [inaudible 00:36:27]. People kept asking, were interested in my business, I would say, “No problem. I have a PowerPoint. I’ll send it to you.” And I’d send over this PowerPoint, and of course, they were always like, “Well, we got to get into this deeper.” Nope. We negotiate from that point right there.
Chris Giles: For some people, they were gone right away. They didn’t want to participate which is a lot of the problem with people. They get excited [inaudible 00:36:47] get them excited and then they realize there was nothing there anyways and then they can’t really sell it [inaudible 00:36:53] caught up in something. So at least with this way you control it and you have a strong idea before you get there of what they’re going to do. And that’s probably the thing that I, A, help people with and B, was number one the most successful part of my selling of my business [inaudible 00:37:11].
Luke Peters: Man, good for you. That’s awesome. And yeah, you put yourself in that position where it was in demand. It sounds like you’re able to send that to several people, and then one of them understood it and that’s what happened.
Chris Giles: Once you put yourself out there that you’re willing to be sold and you communicate [inaudible 00:37:28] in the right places. It’s a bit tougher now because there’s not trade shows and stuff like that. That’s where I used to do it, trade shows. I would make it known. I’ve had people use a business broker with different levels of varying success. I’ve had some people use lawyers with different levels of success. Accountants are usually fairly good to help them sell their business because I find the accountants approach it a bit more pragmatically. The business brokers kind of want to get paid for their efforts not really understand the owner. It’s very emotional for the owner. But I think it’s all about you. People think they want to sell their business, and I would hazard to most people, you be careful what you wish for.
Luke Peters: And why is that?
Chris Giles: Because you’re going to have to [inaudible 00:38:07]. Because, again, if it’s entrepreneurial person, even when it might be multi-generational, you are definitely of a different breed. I don’t mean that to mean that other people aren’t as good or different, I just mean that we are usually willing to fight through a lot more adversity than other people are. We are usually very active. And whether we’re type A, B, or C, D, whatever, we are very omnipresent in most situations related to our business. 24 hours a day for us in most cases, we think about it or aware of it. And all of a sudden, you take that away, while you may have money, you don’t have a lot to do. You lose a lot of your identity. You lose a lot of your perspective. And for a lot of business owners, they struggle with that.
Chris Giles: It’s funny, I was listening to Barack Obama’s book and he talked about act 2. Now, it would be a perfect example. Not to diminish the president of the United States, but the idea of once he was finished, he kind of reach the pinnacle, right. If you build a business, you’re able to sell it, get lots of money, you’ve kind of climbed them out. You’ve done way better than everybody else has. Now what do you do?
Luke Peters: Yeah. And what did you do? How were your next six months? Did you fall into that space where you were like, “Well, I need to fill this void.”
Chris Giles: No, I built myself a super cool office, first and foremost. So, I had like a bat cave that I work out of. A real nice place that I get to work out of because I knew I wanted to be a business man. I’ll probably own about four or five more businesses. I’m currently advising on a half a dozen right now that I may invest in. And so it’s the idea that I knew I was going to be going back in it. Which is exactly why I created the Faktori. In most cases, what I’d recommended, I’m only 55, so I feel like I’m a bit young, if you’re 70, of course, you can stop. But if you’re able to sell when you’re younger, then money doesn’t buy you happiness. That’s an absolute cliché. Who you are as a being, what you are, what you do. What you do is what you are, not what you have.
Luke Peters: That’s a great way to say it. I’d love to finish hearing a little bit more of your philosophy. Carpe Diem is the philosophy you live by. That’d be fun to hear from you. Explain why and how that’s improved your life.
Chris Giles: Yeah. Well, I guess one of the things that has always been important to me is just having fun. Carpe Diem is seize the day. It’s on all my license plates, it’s all over my office, it’s in my lifestyle. I don’t have tattoos but if I had a tattoo it’d be right across my back-
Luke Peters: That’s funny.
Chris Giles: And it’s the idea, every time I walk up to my cars, I look at the Carpe Diem and I say to myself, “Okay, here we go.” And it’s the if not, why not. I talked about my former business partner’s daughter. She had a terrible disease she had. She would kill to have this day if I’m not going to use it. Or this guy over here that kid’s got cancer is in the hospital, he would kill for his kid to have this day if I’m not going to use it. That’s kind of weird, but that’s kind of how I look at it, that I better get the most out of today and do the most I can for others in most cases. I really believe that the most I can for others allows me to feel more successful. Especially me. I’ve got a lot. I’ve managed to be okay. So, I’d to take care of others.
Chris Giles: So, Carpe Diem just makes some sense. And the idea of how did I become successful and did I have to give up my kids? I’m like, “No.” I saw the world as 24/7/365 and I just fit it in. I never missed an event with my kids. But I might have to go back to the office from nine till midnight or I may have to work on Saturday or whatever. But I always figured out a way to stay omnipresent in a situation. One of the key things for me as an entrepreneur is I always attached to my business via my cellphone. So I was willing to take a call 24 hours a day, but I didn’t feel I had to be present to be omnipresent. Basically, I’ve been having a blast. I think I live a good life. I’m the lucky one.
Luke Peters: It comes through in your emotions in your voice and really such an inspirational way to end this, but if you’re okay with it, Chris, you do have another really cool story. Are you able to tell that story about-
Chris Giles: Yeah, Rebecca?
Luke Peters: Yeah, exactly. I think the audience would love the hear that story.
Chris Giles: Yeah, this is it. I think this is what business is all about is using whatever strengths you have. And I say business, that’s what this is all about, business. But of course, it’s our personal professional lives that intermingle. So, as I mentioned, Doug, my former business partner from a few businesses ago, his daughter Rebecca was born with a disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which is like a Lou Gehrig’s disease for children, and it’s a terminal disease. And at the time, it was very terminal and there was three types and it was horrible. And when this was diagnosed for Doug daughter, of course, we decided they were going to do everything they could. He needed all the help he could get. We were going to support him.
Chris Giles: But then there was a run that was decided by his sister. She came up with an idea for a 5k run. I was asked to be an MC and help out. We tried hard. We worked hard at this run. And there was also a dinner. We became close with the whole society because there was a bunch of volunteer parents that were just fighting like crazy for their kids, harder than an entrepreneur would ever fight. For a woman and man to fight for their sick child, there’s nothing like it. They’re ferocious. They’re wonderful. They’d do anything they can for that child. And the child’s fighting ass well.
Chris Giles: And so, over time, we kept raising money and doing everything we could, getting sponsors, there was an American Association [inaudible 00:43:53] that were working so hard. And in the end, we donated the money. And this was back when stem cell research was becoming somewhat popular. And I believe the gentleman was in Maryland actually, a university in Maryland, and they’d now come up with a cure. So, had we not pressed so hard to get every dollar and dime we could from every single event and donated and volunteered, do everything we could to get … selling auction items, or live auction items, or ask for donations from a local grocery store, we never would’ve made it maybe. We don’t know which dollar was critical.
Chris Giles: But now, because of that, there’s a drug called Spinraza that a child that has SMA can take and lead a relatively normal life. And it could literally change the course of history. So while I want you to be successful in business, if you’re an entrepreneur out there, sales force is a good example, they do it, I’ve always done it, a portion of your proceeds should go towards charity. But a portion of your energy should go towards charity as well. Because we’re the ones who can help some of these charities, to help some of these people that need our help become more successful. From this point forward, I created the Make a Difference Movement which is the idea that how much you can make a difference for somebody is really important, but most importantly, let somebody else know how they made a difference for you and you’ll recognize how much that’ll make a difference for you and for them and for other people as they pay it forward.
Chris Giles: That one little act has changed so many things. And to be honest with you, I attribute that being that MC at that run as probably one of the accomplishments of my life that we helped to participate in changing the course of history for helping [inaudible 00:45:30] that drug. I’m so pleased. And for cancer and for everything else, I reckon that we continue to do the same, to try and change the course of history on all of these problems by helping these people that need our help and support. That’s my story.
Luke Peters: It’s such an awesome story. And you know, to whom much is given, much is expected, and it’s a great way to finish the podcast. Everybody here has to stay involved and thanks my friend Chris for hopping on.
Luke Peters: How can listeners find you, learn more about you? Maybe they can go over to Faktori. We’ll have that in the show notes. I know you’re active on LinkedIn as well. Those are the two primary areas?
Chris Giles: Yeah. I would think LinkedIn’s probably the best. I would put out videos every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. They’re either motivation or tips for business people. Great for your sales people to watch. Great for your team to watch. Generally, it’s all really positive. And I’d just like to say, I’m so blessed to be in the spot I’m in, helping entrepreneurs. And for all of you that are out there, may be feeling a bit of stress right now with COVID, maybe feeling overwhelmed, maybe up against it. I’d certainly support anybody that needs help. But I want you to know, you have it in you. You got it. So, you can reach out to me at the Faktori or LinkedIn. You can probably put those links in the podcast, but I’d be here for anybody if they needed any assistance. And as a coacher or a mentor even, just even answer a question. That’s just the way I operate.
Luke Peters: Well thanks for that, Chris. And I just want to thank everybody for listening to this episode of the Page 1 podcast, sponsored by Retail Band. I hope you enjoyed the interview today. Really, really appreciate your reviews if you can hop on over to iTunes and leave us a review and looking forward to you guys joining us on the next interview. Thanks everyone.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Page 1 Podcast with Luke Peters. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes.
Speaker 1: Want to double your online sales? Check out www.retailband.com. And don’t forget to join us next week with our next amazing guest.
Get a FREE evaluation of your online sales strategy
Contact Chris Giles: LinkedIn