Episode 34: Merging Your Company with Aaron Paul – Full Transcript
Jordan Ostroff 0:00
So in that case, this this was a little different. In that case, what I would probably do is I would probably bring case studies and discuss how they would be handled. Okay, so I would do hypothetical handoffs, which sounds like a waste of time, it couldn’t be more valuable, right. So I bring a case and I’d be like, hey, this lady just received $10 million in inheritance. This is how much she has, how much she makes is what she does. Let’s talk about how you would handle this.
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Jordan Ostroff 1:24
Hello and welcome to Let’s get up to business. Joining me today again, is Aaron Paul, but now have Solutions Group accounting and Solutions Group wealth management. Welcome. Thank you. It’s good to be back. It’s audio and video recording.
Aaron Paul 1:39
I know I’m trying to get him both down at the same time not
Jordan Ostroff 1:41
talking Well, for both the camera and I’m
Aaron Paul 1:44
not used to this last time it was just audio so I’m adapting but I’m gonna be back. We’ve grown Yeah,
Jordan Ostroff 1:49
things you know,
Aaron Paul 1:50
things have changed. It’s been awesome here.
Jordan Ostroff 1:52
What I want to do is I want to get a fake divider right here. So it looks like we’re in two totally separate areas. Oh, so I could be in like Chicago, right. I mean, I guess the The background would be I don’t know. Anyway. So last time you’re on, we talked about your former company since since then, you have merged, you’ve grown, you’ve changed names, you know, walk us through that process.
So I was hunting for an accounting firm, to potentially purchase. Realistically, when you’re doing as much financial planning as we are, are we I guess you could say we were. The accounting is something we leaned on heavily. And to be honest, I’m sure as you know, delegating at all, as a business owner, normally isn’t something that goes well, it can be very difficult to find good folks to delegate to especially when a lot of your answers are derived from that other firm. So I would be looking at accounting firms to help give us answers on things or to clarify or to give some sort of advice. And since they really didn’t have any skin in the game, their answer would either be half ass, or they could give us a wrong answer, or they wouldn’t read exactly what I sent and they go, Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was this but I’d already given my Advice. Usually I’m saying. So it was it became a little bit of a hindrance, and it was growing pains. So I went out to find an accounting firm that I could buy, or at least partner with. And through that search is when I found Solutions Group accounting firm, with Nate green and Robert crews. And honestly, I guess like most good relationships, I didn’t go into it knowing that I was going to merge. I obviously they weren’t selling, but I wanted what they had. So after going back and forth and sharing cases organically just by referral, Nate, who’s the founder Solutions Group and myself, we really kind of said, You know what, we have to do business together, because neither of us had met anybody like each other. It’s like kissing 1000 frogs, and one of them’s who they actually say they are. So we went kind of kept trying to figure it out. And you know, he wasn’t going to give up his brand. And I didn’t want to give up my brand. But we kind of came to the conclusion that if we just went under one brand to be better for everyone,
so that’s what we did. So and I take no credit for this. Despite having Robert and Aaron on the podcast, I had nothing to do with this. So I’ll take no credit or no credit is earned.
Yes, he is. He was a little bit of a conduit. And it’s such a small community that I think everybody has a hand in it to be honest.
But I appreciate I was being serious. Yeah. So but I and I appreciate the I think so region. So walk me through what a vertical integration is.
So vertical integration is essentially taking all of the best features of both businesses and merging them. So for us, there was already a wealth management firm in place at Solutions Group, Nate and Robert were intelligent businessmen and seeing their opportunity to grow into that space much like I was trying to do in reverse to get into accounting. They went and got their securities license in order to own that firm, and they actually started wealth, the wealth management firm Solutions Group wealth management, realizing immediately after they started it, that they needed a rudder. They need some Want to run it and that they didn’t want to, nor could they with the amount of workload they had. So the vertical integration comes in where I was basically looking at what they already had in place. And if I didn’t have something better than we would go out and together, figure out what that what whatever we were looking at needed to be, if I had a good, better version, and they did that I bring my version if they had a better version than me, then we’d use theirs. And we would just continuously go down the list until we essentially created the perfect operating agreement or the perfect working model of what those two businesses should do. In addition, typically when you sell a business, sometimes the name will drop off, sometimes you lose employees, but a lot of times the essence of the company is lost. So if the firm buying the other firm, a lot of times it will be almost like Walmart buying a mom and pop home, you know, hardware store. There’s nothing from that hardware store is going to translate. It’s gone. They’re just buying that market share. They’re buying that location, whatever it is, but they’re not buying it for the mom and pop. They’re not buying it for the client. Intel necessarily, they’re not buying it for, you know, the assets of the company, they’re doing it to get competition out of the way, right vertical integration, at least from our standpoint was we they wanted the mom and pop they wanted the clients, they wanted everything that we had to offer, and I wanted everything they had to offer on the accounting side. So for us, it’s like two rivers coming together and creating one bigger river versus, you know, one river getting swept away and not even be able to see the difference. So if you ever seen a river from above, you see the colors. I don’t feel like that was a good analogy. But
I like that we use the analogy of rivers and also of Walmart and in the same like two sentences. So what’s the difference, then what’s the horizontal integration?
So horizontal integration would be for my understanding, it would be more taking over certain it would be moving in other aspects of the same business, but not holistically taking over the market share of the initial business. So it would be Like taking over a hardware store with the intention that that hardware store would be able to move into screening closures or something like that, like they’d be moving into there to get to another place vertical integration is to take over the actual business itself.
Gotcha. So you, you all are in a position where the the foundation was there is really just putting the two houses together.
Yeah. And to be honest with you, I’m not 100% sure that either the descriptions I just gave you are factual and in a dictionary, but that’s exactly the way I pictured it. And that’s exactly the way I had been selling it to everybody else. So if I’m incorrect, because I was thinking the same thing, but
I was just going to defer to you as the Yeah.
And I’m going to tell you the best guests that I got, but I know what vertical integration is horizontal integration. I’m stumped on, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. Okay. And by that, I mean, I could be wrong.
Well, it’s this isn’t live. So all right, good.
We can just edit Still, if I’m wrong, we can just doctor that up. We’re gonna leave it
that’ll be the thumbnail forever.
Yeah, I’m not easily embarrassed. So you guys out there off the cuff know what horizontal integration is? power to you. It’s not live.
Okay. Right, they’ll just come in later. So,
but the essence of what you’re asking is essentially we didn’t, it wasn’t a fire. So like, I didn’t need to merge. I had no intention of merging. I wouldn’t have honestly. And Robert is one of the best humans that I’ve ever met. But I didn’t meet him first. I met Nate first. So,
Nick I the one that never met Nate.
Well, he’s, I guess, infamous in, in nature. And
he’s mysterious. Yeah. He post some wonderful pictures on Facebook. He does family photo shoot and his kids and everything.
That’s really what he does. Now. I’m just kidding. Yeah, he does a ton more than that. But I never had any intention of merging to get this topic to move past it. I never in my life. We didn’t need to. And for my, for my world, if you don’t need to do something in business, you don’t do it. I needed an accounting firm that I could trust. That’s as far as I got
well, but not needing to do it has the potential to make it the best possible.
And to be honest with you, that’s not something that I took to heart before and now you’re 100% right.
Me, it’s registering. Not strength or weakness. So, I know you look, let’s do contact information. So we’ve got a listener, they know they need accounting hell, they know they need financial planning, they know they want the concept, both those being the same thing or only one, whatever it is sure, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?
So I would say email. And it’s I’ll give you my personal email, I guess would be the easiest and if you want to get sent to a different department and you know just let me know and I can direct you to the person that would be applicable but it would be a Paul at Solutions Group wealth.com or a Paul Solutions Group accounting. com. couldn’t be any easier. Solutions Group is pretty straightforward. So spelled properly
Yeah, spelled properly z is silent. Exactly.
The numbers in there also something but no, but it just solutions, good wealth or accounting, and it’s a call my phone number which honestly, I don’t, I wouldn’t even really work that well. I prefer that they just do email. So just cut that out. I just prefer doing
okay. And that’s telling mark to cut this out, which isn’t going to happen. We’re just going to go forward with it. So perfect. The the dismissive wave to our producer will will be left in for YouTube’s eternity.
Aaron Paul 10:04
Excellent, no worse. So
Jordan Ostroff 10:07
Alright, so we’ve got the the concept of the merger, we probably have the right definition of vertical and horizontal integration, but we’ll find out. And last time, you know, you talked about wealth management, advising stuff and weight, you know, things for business owners to consider. So I wanted to bring you on today for different topic, you know, I wanted to talk about that merger from a business owner perspective. You know, at the end of the day, there’s only like five or six different ways to grow business. Those just get done in you know, millions of different ways. One of those being, you know, merging or acquiring competitor. So, from the business owner perspective, kind of walk me through the the next step in that process. I mean, step one was finding an accounting firm, not necessarily merge. But once you’re there and you’re having that conversation, kind of walk me through, you know, what in that initial conversation triggers, merging being the right outcome.
Okay, that’s a really loaded question.
Thank you. That’s,
that’s the whole. That’s like saying, well explain to me how you knew you loved your wife. Well,
Aaron Paul 11:08
you were sitting there. No, I mean, like how you know, it was love that But anyway, I’m just I’m just messing with you, but
Jordan Ostroff 11:14
I was right. I mean, I can tell that story. I mean, I know the exact moment we were at Halloween Horror Nights, okay, in line to go into a haunted house we had been dating for not very long. And I had eaten one of those turkey legs. I was trying to go low carb and that was like the only thing that wasn’t like covered in cheese or french fries. Yeah. And so I ended up like a bit in this turkey leg and it just juiced everywhere like it was. Thank god This wasn’t first date, but it was like, I don’t know, fifth or sixth date. And so my then girlfriend then fiance now wife, just without without missing a beat, ran over, grabbed a bunch of napkins brought him back to me and and help me clean myself off. And in that moment, I was like, Man, this is. This is the one right here. Wow.
It’s very similar to how Tony Soprano knew that he was in love with his wife, Carmela. No, it was anybody Watch Sopranos you’ll understand. So how did I know that? Okay, so the criteria that what Okay, so I met Nate, I knew that I potentially want to do business with these guys. So I don’t know how right you so you’re saying how did I know everything else that surrounded it to make it a merger,
ya know, because obviously, you know, merger a buyout are gonna be your last two possibilities. There’s going to be partnerships, there’s going to be joint ventures there’s I mean, there’s so many other ways to get two businesses together. So I guess let me flip the question then walk me through why you guys didn’t do a similar pairing and instead went with a full on merger like kind of explained to me Okay, I guess as best as you can you know, how you got sold on it or why you guys and do something easier? I think it’s probably the fair way to phrase it.
So I’m very big picture. 10 moves ahead type of guy. So I realized that the firm like every business had limitations, and I was going to have to overcome those
Your firm their firm both.
Now I realize both okay, but at the time just myself, right? I’m very self critical. Huge fan of Jocko willings Extreme Ownership basically anything that happens in business is my fault.
I was realizing it. I mean, it has to be
otherwise you make more
mistakes if you think it’s somebody else’s fault. I’ve never met a whiny person that was successful.
not successful. Now I’m not talking rich, successful, like has a business and grew it to something. I’ve never met someone that whined and complained about their situation. And it was actually successful. Successful people go well, this is what it is. Let’s get through it.
Yeah, I mean, I guess like, you know, you got to trust one person. But again, that’s well, you’re not successful. Right. Right.
So and I don’t mean, dumping 100 million with your friend and he goes and starts Uber, right. I’m talking personal successful. That’s an oxymoron to me. But the way that I the way that this went, I think the easiest way to roll into this is once I met Nate and I knew there was an opportunity, how did it go from knowing that these were good guys to actually merging our firms together. So the way that that went was mainly looking for people that see success as their duty and not an option. That was my number one thing was, the more the morality and the sentimentality, and everything that I was picking up from Nate was that he didn’t have $1 figure in mind to be content with business. It was a certain percentage of market share, or it was, you know, it wasn’t a once I make $5 million, I’m done. It was I want to offer these 10 services to every community that we can get in and do it in such a way that we’re actually helping people. We’re making money, and we’re creating value for other firms. That was huge to me, because that’s my mindset. I’m not interested in $1 figure, I’m interested in the process and the journey.
Okay, so so you all had harmony from a very thousand foot viewpoint on the way to run a business successfully.
Yeah. And I can tell you how many people I’ve ever met that actually embodied that
I’m not talking about to take your us off.
It would be I’m talking personally no not read a book about not Ray Dalio or Warren Buffett, I’m talking personally have met sat down and got to know. I could probably count on one hand, maybe one in a couple fingers on the other hand, okay. All right, in my life.
So and Aaron has 10 fingers. I do. I did a video actually, you can confirm that. Yeah,
I do. I have 10. So it was it was eye opening. And I guess through success, you learn not to get excited. That’s the number one thing I’ve learned through successes. If you think it’s going to happen, don’t treat it like it will or it won’t. Pretty much so i don’t i don’t when I saw that. I didn’t want to get excited me like all right, well, let’s figure out we can do emerge. So I want then that immediately makes me go Okay, now I need to dig even further. Because that either means that this guy is exactly who he says he is. Or he’s very intelligent and knows how to make it seem that way. So now I need to do my homework. ask the right questions. Look at the right places for my experience of looking at what helping other companies Probably 10s and 10s of them not gonna say hundreds but a lot of other companies seeing what they were they’ve been burned, you know, the yarns that people give you an, you know, basically go through all that. And at the end of it, I need to look back and go, Okay, what doesn’t fit? Is there anything that I see that’s not going to work for us? Is there any lies that I see yours only to cedars or any wall, you know, pulling being pulled over the eyes, and then identify if those things are enough to stop me from moving forward?
Well, so trust but verify. I mean, you’re, you’re like the government. Yep.
Yeah, trust, but verify. So that process included things like morals. Right? is I mean, I’m not saying I would test him, but I’d be like, Hey, you know, if we have this situation, how would you handle it? And I’d see if he would go toward what was better for us or what was better for the client, just by nature. And of course, I’m here so he went, what was better for the client, family values, where he wanted the business to go, how big was too big how it was? There ever such a thing as too big for him? What sectors of the market did he see himself wanting to get into? So those were the biggest things for me because I was leaving a partnership that had limitations. And I didn’t want to get into another one. Because I didn’t need to at this point. I mean, there was no need for me to make this change. So if this was a frog kiss, and it didn’t work out, stays as a frog, but every step that I took kept getting me more and more sure that this isn’t a fake.
So it’s business dating
Aaron Paul 17:30
it hundred percent. Yeah. 100%
Jordan Ostroff 17:32
See, I like that you guys had those sort of conversations there the beginning because I feel like you know, business law and family law are really the same thing and most people don’t have that conversation and that’s the problem.
And another thing was discussing what our divorce would look like.
Right? Well, I mean, of course that’s
but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do that.
No, I mean, I we have many clients that right
for I’m telling you, most of them probably never discussed. It’s like not having a prenup, everyone ago we’re in love. We’re never gonna get divorced but like, but if you do you need to have a plan.
Well, the easiest way to give me like five figures of funds is break up a business with no plan in place to have it broken out beforehand. The funny thing though, is so divorces and business breakups. Really, the more successful you are, the worse it is to break up. Right? There’s more assets this right there’s more, you know, if you if you go into a business that fails, the split up is easy, because there’s nothing
correct. Yeah, that’s true. So we discuss things like the divorce. Yeah. And even in discussing that I was using emotional intelligence to be able to identify what kind of person he was. So if basically, if I would have said our but let’s talk about our divorce, if he’s like, well, we don’t need to discuss that because we’re not going to get divorced. Then I know he doesn’t know as much about business as I do, because nobody in business would say that, right? The first thing that somebody said they said that to me, I would immediately be able to quantify their intelligence of like, Okay, this guy is smart. He’s experienced because he knows that even If we don’t ever get divorced, we have to have an exit strategy, right? And also the way that that is negotiated will tell you a ton. So I went through, right, let’s see what that would look like. And the the realistic and this is not the way to say it. But he was so realistic in the way that we would leave. It was very amicable. I could number one tell he was successful, because he wasn’t trying to take everything you can typically tell someone starving, they’re like, well, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just take 90% of what you brought in like, what you’re not doing that, you know, he’s like a take what you leave, you know, whatever. It was very fair. Yeah. And it told me a lot about him as a businessman, him as a person, what karma meant to him, how he would how he handled divorces in the past, which Luckily, he hasn’t really had any but, you know, he had previously written a contract or an operating agreement, because obviously Robert Cruise’s a partner and he was very open about explaining to me what that divorce, looking like what it would look like. So in the transparency and understanding of that really showed me a lot about his character. But even further was, what do we spend our money on? What don’t they spend their money on? Why? Where do they get their business from? What happens if their business stops? What are they going to do? Have they ever been in a position in this industry where business didn’t just roll in where they had to go hunt for it? How did they hunt for it? What type of people are they when they get frustrated? You know what I mean? Could everything could be perfect, but if he gets the slightest bit frustrated and starts flipping over desks, well, that’s not a good environment, you know, how do you how do you figure that one?
I mean, jumping right there. You know, it’s it’s one of those things where you don’t measure your true friends in the time of success, you measure the time of failure, I would give him an up I would.
Kind of sounds manipulative, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to be a little bit to be able to get a forecast of what’s to come. So I would say, Hey, I just want to ask your opinion. So before we ever merged, I call him I’m like, Hey, I got an advisor. Here’s what they’re doing. How would you handle it? And if he’s like, oh, why would go tell that sob to get well that I know that he flies off the handle? Or if he’s like, well, what can I think about it for a minute and give you a call back and then if called back and had a really sound way of handling it. Obviously he wasn’t emotionally in the moment. So I couldn’t take it. 100% right. But the way that he handled the way that his advice was to me, was farther than I thought. So it was more than just do this, it was, hey, this guy probably feels like this. And that would make me feel like this, but I can’t show him that. So I would do this, which would be a happy medium for both. That shows me a lot about his intelligence and negotiating skills about kind of like dating. You don’t want someone that’s like, you know, flies off the handle and isn’t, you know, reasonable. So if they’re like, oh, if that happened, I would handle it like this, you can get a good insight. Unless the person is a sociopath into they’re telling the truth, and that’s how they would really handle it.
So sort of off topic, but sort of on topic. Have you seen the new Natalie Portman? perfume commercial? No. Okay. It’s basically a domestic violence relationship in the span of a 32nd performing perfume commercial. They like they’re screaming at each other and then she like, walks away and then she comes back. She’s What would you do for love? And every time I see it, I’m like not there’s a clinic or something. I don’t want to go 90s with Brad Pitt. I don’t even know who it is. I don’t know who the guy is. I don’t know who that is. But exactly you talked about is how they’re marketed. It will, it will make you scream at your significant other over it. But anyway, no, I’m with you. So I like the idea. You know, you give them the hypotheticals.
Aaron Paul 22:21
I would also ask employees,
Jordan Ostroff 22:24
employees of theirs.
Yeah. I mean, you have to learn how to ask you can’t walk in and be like, Hey, is needed dick. Like, you have to be like, Hey, I just what’s your biggest challenge? with like, Oh, well, our phone system? Have you brought up tonight? Yeah. And he told me to go to hell. All right. Well, now I’m getting some negatives. Or if they’re like, Well, our biggest our biggest issue is the amount of referrals that we receive. Okay, well, that’s not a problem. Like, well, it is when you have the amount of volume. Well, does Nate hire more people? Oh, yeah. Nate always hires more. He’s great. It’s not him. Was there anything you could say that you wish you did better? So these are the types of things I’ll ask employees to see. And then I’ll also start Figure out which ones are loyal. Because if there’s seven people on a firm, and five of them say that Nate’s the worst person ever, and the other two are like, no, it’s great, I’ll know that they’re either personal friends or the drinking the Kool Aid. And then I won’t really ask them as many questions, I’ll focus on the other five, they’re being more honest. It’s honestly like whack a mole. You have to figure out where you’re headed. start finding the places it’s like, it’s like playing zone defense. You need to look at every player on the field and be like, Okay, I need to immediately figure out which ones are the biggest problems and identify whether they’re really issues. And if they’re not, then move to the next one. And eventually, when I identify all players on the field, if everybody is the way I need them to be, we move forward.
I think that’s a man defense. Well, that’s not the zone coverage. And that’s man coverage.
Well, you don’t when you’re picking one person zone will be like, I have to pay attention to these three people, right?
Oh, see, I’m taking a step further. I’m like, Oh, that’s the ACE wide receiver. I need extra coverage on him right there.
Okay, so it’d be zone until you identify and then it’d be man and then you back off and kind of go back to zone and see where everybody is and then go back to me So,
but then also Walmart and
Aaron Paul 24:03
river, correct? Correct. All right, skip these tallies.
Jordan Ostroff 24:06
So look, I’m not going to ask you what, I’m not going to ask you the specifics. But I’m going to assume that there were some
answers that weren’t exactly the way that you wanted. Not necessarily red flags, but I can’t imagine it was perfect. Because if it is, I don’t think that’s realistic. True. So how do you I mean, is the next step then to decide what’s what’s a deal breaker? What’s you know, the next step is to decide whether the person has the tools to listen and allow me to help them fix it. Okay, it will be identifying whether that person is moldable to take what he’s learned in his experiences and allow me to share mine and be willing and comfortable with listening and appreciating that I may know something that they don’t that’s probably the On one of the underlying tentpoles of what I’m doing is seeing if that person
is going to respect what I’ve built, and will shut up and listen, when I say, Hey, here’s another way we could do this. And instead of them waiting the talk, they’re listening. And if I feel like they’ll listen and that my opinion will be heard, I’m willing to not overlook but I’m willing to accept with flaws. If they don’t have the ability to do that. Even if there aren’t any flaws, I probably wouldn’t have done it because there will always be challenges to face, right? And if they’re incapable of listening, or if it’s always a me show when I don’t care, and I don’t listen, you know, everybody knows a teenager that doesn’t know what on doesn’t listen. If that kid doesn’t start to listen, he’s never going to be great.
And actually, the police if you can hear them, they’re going to get that teenager. They’re looking for me, Listen, they’re looking for me. Um, so I want to the problem that most of our clients have, though, is sort of the reverse. You know, you have this merger, this new partnership, something like that. In the beginning. Everyone’s like, Oh, no, I don’t want to be too pushy, so we can do it that way the other friends like No, I don’t want to be pushy, like, well, what if we could do it this way? And and either nothing gets done or the person who’s pretending to be overly type be about it just it festers?
You know, I think that’s a lack of intelligence. That’s a lack of What do you mean? Like intelligence should rule in the fact that you shouldn’t be good. You should be able to articulate what you feel is the best strategy and listen at the same time. Meaning if you think so in the beginning, you don’t want to be too pushy, right? Because that’s what you’re saying. And one person’s like, Well, what do you think and what we can go with your idea with North my idea?
Well, I’m not I’m not saying that’s the way to do it. What I’m saying is the biggest the biggest problems that we see are when you get that moment and it’s a new partnership. It’s a new joint venture, it’s a new whatever, that nobody wants to be overly assertive. And then either things don’t get done the right way or somebody starts you know festering problems. Because they weren’t assertive on at the beginning. So like, how do you? How do you try to make the best decision as to whether the other person really is willing to listen or if they’re just being overly passive to not make problems at the beginning?
And maybe the answer is? That’s a good question. That’s a good question.
That’s I mean, that’s, that’s a tough one. That’s the key. That’s the answer to business pretty much. It’s one of I mean, that’s one of the questions is almost impossible to answer. But the best, the best dad that I could take at it is, if you’ve analyzed your partner correctly, you should know whether or not they’re being just passive and trying to keep the peace or whether they’re just going along with you and they don’t or whether they just are waiting to do their own thing or whatever the strategy is that they’re trying to implement by not speaking. I don’t have that I don’t I’ve never had that. Like most of most of the partners that I’ve had or people I’ve worked with Are businessmen and women, their alphas and they’re successful. Those three together will typically be a respectful meeting of minds were intelligent people’s opinions different. And all of them are said, we wait for each person to say it. And then we find either a middle ground or we choose one of the strategies that’s best. Because at the end of the day, if it’s better or worse for the client, it’s our obligation to fix it. Right better or worse. If we could be offering better we have to do it. If we’re creating a situation where we’re offering a subpar product, we have to fix it. I’m not going to sit back and be like, Well, you know, I want Lucille to get her say no, I mean, yeah, okay, let me see. I’ll say what she’s saying. But if I have an opinion that I think differs, I have to say it some obligation. And I think what
we just put I think what Aaron just put there is one of the most cogent points we’ve ever had on this podcast. Okay, you know, it is it is in strife or disagreements are important. It’s the strife that they create. That’s the negative correct because if one person is always right and the other person provides nothing to it. That person doesn’t need to be there. You need to have the
yeah and some of the greatest advancements in my career have been through adversity. And that doesn’t I guess that doesn’t come across as good as I meant it to but what I mean is like HPL my last partner I think some of the biggest leaps in the ability to help clients in our market share in the footing in the industry, whatever it may be, would be me having a point or me approaching a situation her having a difference of opinion and then me respecting what her opinion is but trying to explain why I felt mine was better for the situation. us we never got an argument It was never never yelled or screamed, but it’d be I can’t relate to you not understanding what I’m saying even though you don’t have to agree. Sometimes they you know, they don’t understand what your angle is, we would leave amicably but at all And then come back together. And then I would think about it, they would think about it, and then we meet. And if you’re with the right partner, they will always come back to the table. So even if I come back and like, Listen, I thought about it for 24 hours. And I still think that I’m right. And here’s why. You have to, you absolutely have to, because if you don’t, you’re creating a situation where you’re allowing a subpar product to be issued simply because you don’t want to argue with your partner. Right? You have to argue with your partner. I mean, it’s an N word argue, is not maybe the right word. Whatever it is, debate, debate, disagree. I mean, you know, go out and throw a football at each other as hard as you can’t, whatever. You have to be able to butt heads and create friction, right? They say diamonds are made by pressure. Well, just some of the greatest things that I’ve had in my career. And some of the greatest things have been advancements in my firm had been through multiple minds disagreeing and fighting it out to the point where we actually came out with a better product than any of us thought and we were closer for it. Because then it’s like, all right, we know we can get through this. So Next time, if we have a disagreement, we’re going to remember this and be like, well, this isn’t the end of the world, right? You’re at the other side of the world. I’m at the other side of the world. How are we going to meet the middle? I don’t know. But I know we can do it. And we have a track record of doing so. So let’s just keep plugging away until we find a spot that we think works. And if you can do that, that’s what turns into business love. That’s like the I cannot trust a little more. Because they were honest with me. There’s like an argument or a disagreement their spouse, as long as both sides are being 100% open about how they feel. At the end, even if they’re not happy with the outcome. They should have that calming emotion of art. Well, at least I know that they’re not hiding anything that we can communicate, and that we really do have a relationship to build on. Because even though we disagreed, they wouldn’t then being that honest and fighting like they didn’t shows me they care. That’s all I need. Everything else can be fixed.
It’s interesting. I had a professor in law school that said something about that. So he stuck with me. He said, you know, in 99% of your cases, a true win is both sides leaving a little bit disappointed.
That’s a really good way to say the 45 seconds what I said, that was a perfect way to say, exactly right.
I’ll take no credit for that also, just to
that’s, that’s really good.
It’s true. So to go back to so you’re, you know, you’re, you’re vetting each other your business dating, you’re doing all that stuff. I mean, the next step really, is to put pen on paper and get some stuff written down.
The next step is to do cases together and see how the person acts in an actual case setting. Okay, so I want to, I want to date, right, so basically, everything we’ve been talking about if we’re, if we’re putting this in one analogy of dating is staying up till three in the morning talking on the phone, or going to a movie, right? you’re interacting with that person to see if you jive. Once you decide you jive. You don’t then go get your marriage certificate, right? You actually have to start dating and then start introducing each other’s friends and then Start maybe moving in together a little bit and then then get to that stage or I don’t know. I mean, maybe some people get married right away.
But I don’t think they don’t live in sin.
Aaron Paul 33:08
Jordan Ostroff 33:11
sorry, that was pretty funny. So, this this is 2019. Right? Sorry. So it’ll probably be 2020 by the time anybody sees this, alright, so I’m a little behind myself. But in all seriousness, you guys choose to live however you want. But if we’re talking about in the sake of business, as soon as I realized that staying up till three in the morning talking on the phone that this person
getting back to that same analogy, I don’t mind if people in school see us together, right. So in the beginning, you may not want everyone to see you because you don’t want another off the market yet. You know, I’m saying that’s the talking that I’ve been talking about thus far. When I actually start sending cases to them and they start sending cases back. That’s like moving in together. That’s like seeing if the person is a slob that’s like seeing if they only shower once or twice a week when you would have not maybe known that before or seeing if they kick their dog when they get angry. Or if they don’t, you know, if they don’t never leave their apartment and you like going out all the time. So you get to see the morals and the day to day of that person.
But so but you’re sending them accounting work, or that you’re sending them accounting work, and they were sending you financial advisor. Yes. So that’s a little bit different than our normal situation, because really, you kind of go back to the business broker issue, where like, if you’ve got two law firms that want to partner up to do the same work, you know, how do you you can’t really send cases back and forth, because then you’re waving the white flag that something’s happening, you know, the
well, then maybe in that case, see, that’s where law always gets me because it’s a little bit I guess, it wouldn’t even just be law, because it’d be like if I was merging with another financial advisor. Right, right. So in that case, this this was a little different. In that case, what I would probably do is, I would probably bring case studies and discuss how they would be handled. Okay, so I would do hypothetical handoffs, which sounds like a waste of time, it couldn’t be more valuable. So I bring a case and they’re like, hey, this lady just received $10 million in inheritance. This is how much she has, how much she makes is what she does. Let’s talk about how you would handle this, like I want to be walk through what you and your team would do. And if they’re like, Oh, 10 million annuities all the way and be like, well, that’s a huge red flag. Now, I’m glad we talked about this, let’s look at another case. And I’m immediately writing down, they probably don’t know what they’re doing, or they’re 100% for themselves. And I would, but I would make sure that I brought such a variety of cases, or my case would be, you know, folders or for you guys be cases that they couldn’t hide from themselves. So I would bring a gamut. So even if they were trying to come across as though they were better than they work, right, right, because everybody, when they’re dating puts their best foot best foot forward. I would try to cut through that narrative to find the truth by bringing certain cases that would be so different, that hopefully would catch them off guard or they would really revert back to who they truly are. It’s hard. I mean, it’s really tough.
And so just to jump in, I mean, you got to look at it from the standpoint of selling a house versus selling a business. You know, you sell a house? What’s the first thing you do you get that giant sign on the front lawn, right? And then you know, there, you give pamphlets out to all the neighbors and you post it on Facebook selling the house, who wants to buy the house who wants to buy the house, from a business, when you are brokering a business, you don’t want that information to get out. Right? nor the bottom line, it can hurt customers, it can hurt employees. So it’s always interesting to me, I truly believe that Business Brokers have the hardest job, because you’re selling you’re trying to sell something secretly in 2020 or 20, whatever. So it’s sort of the same from this standpoint. I mean, you can’t really, you can’t really share a merger. It unless you’re vertically integrating to share the opposite stuff to each other.
Right. So yes, that is correct. And it is extremely difficult for businesses that are courting each other to do so quietly. It can be done right, but it can be difficult. Getting a little more specific to make sure whoever’s listening to this, get some meat out of it. If You’re going through all these steps, you should be evaluating on a constant basis to make sure you’re not wasting your time. I’m by no means saying that everything we’ve talked about since the start of this podcast until now should be done for every candidate. You should. I mean, there should be different thicknesses of screens that this goes through. Right? So like imagine it’s like a colander, the first colander should have holes in it the size of a football or soccer ball. And then the next one down should have a hole the size of a grapefruit and then the next one, and eventually, it should go down. So Fine, that in each one of those is a layer and if they don’t make it through those layers, you don’t go to the next step. Because if you did this for every company, you’d be I mean, you’d waste time. So if they don’t make it past the first one, you move to the next one, you kiss a lot of frogs, but it’s the ones that get all the way to the thinnest colander. The ones that are your actual candidates, and each one of these is a screening process you should be dating, you should be screening each other. And if I was always told if anybody ever comes to the room, they’re not taking notes to try to sell you So if I’m ever sitting in a room talking about a potential merger, and the person doesn’t have notes, they’re trying to they’re not interested in here. They’re not interested in writing down what you have to offer. They’re trying to sell you on them. That’s not a good businessman.
Well, then we went to, went to go see Gary Vee speak, and they had the whole thing that every guy was like every millionaire, every billionaire that I know always keeps a notepad, they always they’re always ready to write something here. I didn’t say that. So and then the other thing, I want to kind of jump in on a pro tip here. Don’t be afraid to walk away at any step. Don’t sit there and think well, because I’ve spent six months vetting these people, because I’ve done this because I’ve done that if I run away from this red flag, that’s failure. I mean, really, that’s success. Because Lord knows what, you know, if you’re going to put the mask over those words, Lord knows what’s going to happen six months a year, two years down the road. Good point.
Don’t Don’t also be afraid to make the jump as long as you’re prepared. I mean, I think you and me both have facilitated or at least in Probably, I know I have at least five people in the last year to go out on their own. And every one of them, I wouldn’t have encouraged them if I didn’t think they had what it took. And every one of them has been ecstatic and successful. So
Well, I’m glad you added that part I. Yeah, business advice should never be one size fits all that I say that as one size fits all as a generalization about not generalizing. But yeah, no, I mean, it’s, you have to do what’s right for you. You have to find the type of business that’s right for you. You have to find the partner that’s right for you. You have to find the business you’re acquiring that’s right for you. You have to find me there’s so many things that are going to be specific which is why like I mean, we talked about this as dating you know, that’s that’s not nobody is right for everybody. Everybody is right for somebody. Yep. Hopefully. I mean, I guess maybe there’s somebody out there who’s right for nobody, but
yeah, probably somebody who’s negative. They typically don’t seem to get much successful but
misery loves company. So they just find another person who’s just as negative and they can sitting side by themselves crying and bitching about everything. I don’t have a lot of those folks around me anymore. So I don’t know where they congregate. Well, they can’t get in your past.
That’s really deep. Wow, that is very good. That should be a on my wall somewhere. But I think the, and I want to get back on track to make sure that this is getting valued everybody. But I think the biggest reason why I actually merged was because I trusted my gut. And over time, I feel like the best businessmen in the world. their gut has been trained so well that they don’t need to evaluate as deeply anymore, that they can kind of run through all these permutations at like internet speed, and be able to figure it out. But we’re still learning at least I am. And I mean, I want to be a student till the day I die. But most of the great businessmen that I’ve met their criteria is constantly evolving, but they’re really just looking for people that they can bring into their camp. They’re going to do what they do. 80% is good. And hopefully be able to delegate off to them. Yeah. So whether that’s a partner or whether that’s having, you know, an associate or doesn’t matter if you’re going to add people to your group, they have to be morally in line with what you’re doing. And they have to be able to follow through with the work.
So we’re getting close to the hour mark, I want to make sure that we, you know, put a not put a pin in this topic that we really get through it. So what what’s left in this process? I mean, you’ve you’ve vetted, you’ve sent cases back and forth, you’ve gone through it, you know, you’ve you’ve checked the red flags, you put them through the wringer on, you know, trust, but verify. And then what? So,
I the two biggest things, and this is going to end it really well. I think hopefully you guys get some value in this. The two biggest things is I want to know what success looks like. So after we get through everything, after we’re, you know, we’ve done our cases together, we’ve handed off I know their morals and everything we talked about. I then want to sit down and say okay, what does success look like for you personally and as a firm Meaning, how many cities do we want to be in? How many buildings do we want to own? Are we going to be leasing buildings forever? Are we going to start building our next building? Are we going to buy it? Are we going to get extra space? And leave some of it out? Are we going to open up another company in the same realm of what we do in a different realm? Do you want to grow into other businesses? I want to see what success looks like for In my case, and a green Robert Cruz.
So when you’re asking that are you mean? Are you talking about 10 goals? Or no, I’m talking about paint a picture as in depth as possible.
I want lifelong partners. So I want to make sure that what I’m striving for, isn’t further than where they were striving.
I know. But that’s what I’m saying. Like, are you talking about that? Is it picking the 10 most important goals over the next x years? Or is it painting the picture of success as in depth and detailed as possible? And let’s see how close our pictures are. I think both okay, because to me, it’s exclusive and inclusive.
So I think it’s both but more on the 10 goals side. Okay? Mainly because I would be giving specific things because obviously, if I said that to someone, they’re gonna look at me and be like, What do you mean? What does success look like for me? So I’d say, okay, in five years, what do you want next year’s numbers to be for the company? It basically what I’m trying to identify is, when do they say, All right, I’m rich. That’s it. Done. Not doing anymore. I don’t open up a new arm of the firm. I’m going to start backing off. I’m going to start hiring people to replace me. I want to know when that is. Okay, because if that’s too soon, everything I just did is gone. He says I don’t just want a partner in that firm. I want to align with partners that I can grow into every other facet of what I want to do together. Could it still work if they only handled that one section of my success? Yes. But in this case, I just so happen to find partners that would allow me to do what I’m currently doing as well as possible and grow into a bunch of other ciliary areas of finance and or accounting and just businessmen things in general that I can’t talk about that they want to do too. So basically I want to see what their stopping point is.
But But backup me with me here so when you’re talking about everybody’s financial definition of success, like you want a number I don’t want it to be I always want more honestly at each yourself
I don’t I might my perfect answer would be is I asked for a number and they don’t give me one that’s really in my heart what I wanted
really yeah, see I want a number
but see the number
Yeah, I maybe I’m maybe I have yet to grow. And maybe one day I will want to number but as of right now, if I said to whoever Yeah, right. I want to know what it what it would take for you to be successful and then start to throttle. off? And I would want that answer to be. I honestly have no idea what that number is, I want these things. I don’t care about the dollar amount. I want options. I want to be able to do this. I want the company to be at this point, I want this many employees, I want to be in this many states or whatever the answer is so right. I’m not saying but I don’t want them to say 10,950,000. You know, I’d want them to say there is no number it’s, I want these things in place that for me a success, not a number.
Yes, yes, yes. So what I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t want somebody to answer to be I always want more.
Great, I want it to be
great. If it’s not when I have you know, $50 million in the bank or whatever I want it to be when the business can run without me when I can take x vacation, you know, but like, you want a goal on the same picture there.
I just didn’t want $1 number. If I asked for $1 number I want them to give me situational successes. So yeah, exactly what we’re talking about. I want to know what
the I haven’t I haven’t dollar number in my situational success to you though.
And me being a financial planner, I do have $1 figure, but that’s not when I stop. That’s my goal to move to the next step. Oh, yeah, of course, you know, I’m saying like when I get I mean, I’ll be perfectly honest with everybody here. I’m a financial planner that deals primarily in investments is that stock market investments is that art classic cars is that real estate involves all those things. So selfishly, when I get to a certain number. My next step is I’m going to continue doing what I do every day, but I’m moving into commercial real estate, right? But that number gets me to my next step. It’s not once I hit that number, I’m hitting the couch and watching you know, binge eating seasons of whatever show and I’m gonna hire someone to do what I do and never work again. That would last for like four days and I kill myself. I can’t do it.
I would cruise around the world. Yeah, that’d be fun. And then on the cruise, figure out what my next step was
and teacher zone. I can’t Say that that wouldn’t be fun. I just I’m not a workaholic. But
Unknown Speaker 47:04
Jordan Ostroff 47:06
success is my duty
like this. Let me let me give these people. Anybody who knows Grant Cardone. Sorry. Good. So my friend over here is at his house supposed to be on bed rest from you know, like, pretty serious back surgery. And it’s like, oh man, I gotta go in the office. I gotta do this. I gotta do that. I gotta do this. I gotta do that. I’m following up on this phone call and making my phone calls and doing this. I’m like, dude, you gotta be so whacked out on pain pills from this happening. Like, I can only imagine how great this phone call would be. Like, oh, yeah, I just took my oxy and I want to let you know I love you or, you know, whatever it is. I think that happened. So don’t don’t let him undersell his his workaholic ness, but it’s for others. It’s for the family. It’s for the business. It’s for the partners. It’s for the clients.
I didn’t have the luxury of growing up with a lot of money. So my parents were middle class and my grandparents, my aunts and uncles I would say we’re not some middle class, right? I’m not gonna say the word poor, but they were not they did not have money. They grew up in a very bad part of Philadelphia, and my mother in law’s grew up in and not much, or lived in a not much better part of Philadelphia. My parents are the only ones that really broke out of that cycle. And they really didn’t break out that far. No disrespect to them. I just, they provided an awesome life for us. And they were happy. But my dad worked every single day. And he owned companies and things like that. The entire reason. I’m saying that is I want to be able to provide generational wealth. I want to be able to do what no other Paul has ever done for his family. That’s not just to be able to say that I did it. It’s, I have a disease. I don’t know. I don’t know. I just I do not have any desire to be mediocre. I don’t want 10 million or 50 million or 100 million. My goal is a billion and everybody’s gonna there might not happen. Honestly, I don’t really give a shit. But that’s where I’m headed. And if I die with 600, grand, 900 grand or 4 billion, it doesn’t matter, because even if I got to a billion, my next goal wouldn’t be 2 billion it would be all right. What do I want to do? Now? That’s fun for me that I can turn this into 5 billion, right? But not make it work. Right? That is it right now I’m not at a point where I can do things that don’t make it work. Luckily, my career for me isn’t really work, because I love what I do. And it’s, I’m very good at it. So it doesn’t take a lot of effort or re education to do it on a day to day. The education is my passion for it. So I like to educate. But realistically, success for me is not an option. And anybody who treats it as an option, it probably won’t happen to the magnitude you think it will.
Well, it’s a immense luxury to have the option to be not successful.
Yeah, or extremely short sighted.
Well, yeah, I guess that’s true, too.
Yeah. I mean, if you want to sit at home and scratch lottery tickets, you could win, but you’re not doing anything to make sure of it. Right. I don’t plan on relying on anyone else. Make my success. I’m going to do it myself. And if there’s any outside forces that have aid, great, I’ll get there faster.
Well, I think all of us are, I think all of us are successful based upon our tribe, our herd our team or whatever. I don’t think nobody succeeds as an island, but I but I know what you mean. Yeah, there’s no, you don’t have anybody else as a safety net?
Well, I don’t even mean it as my employees or my staff or my co workers and my partners. I just mean, if I’m going to continue working this way, and if I hit the lottery, 400 million bucks. Cool. Then I accidentally just got a huge influx of cash that took me to a level that I shouldn’t be at, but I’m gonna work just as hard the next day being worth 100 and whatever million versus being worth whatever I was before I hit the hundred million. Just a difference in you don’t know, give me 100 million bucks.
Later, you’ll work that hard.
Well, okay, fair, fair. Next hundred percent not even being bullshit. It would definitely take a week off if I had 100 million bucks randomly show up in my account. Definitely. That’s it probably honestly, I’d probably take two weeks. I, my wife and I would be on the Amalfi Coast immediately. It’s my favorite place on Earth. But I would take two weeks. But all jokes aside, I’d be back at work.
Yeah, exactly what I do. But to wrap this up before we before we blow past our hour mark here. So you did the vetting you did the run throughs you’ve got the definition of success, you’ve got the exit strategy. And now we’re putting this all on paper or my still missing any steps here.
The last step would be to live with it for about a week or depends on your timeline. And by live with it I mean, I would spend every waking moment living with what you’re about to do
see for me, though, I want to live I want to see it in writing collect to decide to live with it. How do you mean like I want an operating agreement. I want a partnership agreement. I want it I want it down on paper set in not stone but set in ink, and then be like am I going to be happy with this can I live with this is this?
Well, I agree with you, but the only reason so
I guess I’m, I’m speaking from what happened to me not as a generality so if we’re talking in generalities what he said is probably the better way to do it. Because for most of you guys, you might not know the firm you’re merging with you would want to see it on paper before you start to figure it as a definite right at
your lawyer would highly highly highly advise you make sure writing writing
paper if your lawyer is not him, there’s something wrong with you.
Don’t handshake, don’t verbal like literally right? Make sure it’s written out
a great and make sure that you have your attorney review it and don’t just get excited in science, because there’s a difference between I’m not gonna get into it. Let him let him explain to you the differences and how operating agreements can say one thing and it really not mean what they think it says
right? And if you haven’t, if you have a firm right the agreement have a separate firm that you hire, review it from your standpoint, thousand
So you said that again, if if you have a lawyer, do the operating agreement, have a different lawyer from a different firm, review it on your behalf, to review it from what is best for you as opposed to what is best for the business. God forbid what is best for the other parties,
hundred percent. The living with it part is pretty simple. I like to get about ankle deep in whatever I’m doing. And then stop and just look around and kind of live with what I think it would look like and then see if I like it as much. So for me in my situation, I had already I had already evaluated that Nate was not a liar, he wasn’t gonna try to screw me and that what we talked about was what was going to be in that agreement. Now, of course, I had that reviewed, but I’m just saying I trusted enough to say, I feel like I can live with I feel like I can live this for a week and know that the operating agreement is going to reflect what we verbally talked about, just to make sure and even to his point you could be having, because once you agree and shake hands, it’s gonna take about a week to a week and a half, two weeks for the the attorney of the firm that’s doing the acquiring to draw up the paperwork. Right.
Depending upon the back and forth, I’m ready.
Well, I mean just to get a draw no Little just to get a drone up before you even start redlining it before even start red marking it. So if you are requiring me, it would take you at least a week to get the agreement together. Well, maybe not you because you could do it yourself. But I feel like that didn’t really go so well. But let’s say you are an advisory firm and I was in advisory, right? You have to contract your attorney would take a week, you could live with a during that time, because you don’t have to sign it. But for me, I trusted in the words that I was being told. So I would. I would always remember when for that throughout that week, I would continue I would even set reminders, literally every three hours and like you’re now a part of Solutions Group. And when I would read it, I would be in different emotional states throughout the day. So I was really taxing myself to make sure that there was never a time where I regretted the hypothetical doing it. Even I literally would wake up at six o’clock in the morning and my alarm would be like wake up solutions, group time or whatever I had. And I would be like, man, am I excited or am I stressed or am I not and then I do it. at nine o’clock, and I’d look and I be like, man, I can’t wait or am I like, Oh my god, what am I doing? And then I would tally down when my emotions were. And after about three or four days, I didn’t have any reservations. Every time I saw it, I was like goosebumps, like, I was like, I cannot wait to do this, because it’s going to make everything better. But had I had reservations? I would write down what part of the day it was, was I already stressed? What was I thinking about? Was it money related, whatever it was, and then at the end of the week, I’d kind of look at my collage. And I’d either be like, well, I’m really 5050 on this. I know, when I look at the numbers, I’m happy. But when I look at the personnel, I’m nervous. And I noticed that because here’s what I’m writing down. And then I would either go back with those notes and talk to the partners or I would know this is enough of a red flag that emotionally My heart wants it but my brain is telling me there’s something wrong. So that’s why I would do a collage of times throughout the day to check it.
Alright. Alright, so that uh, we have, we’ve gone through this in a very personal situation. I mean, you you’ve been Through this so with that people haven’t heard this like and we have to say can you give us the contact information again? So yeah,
sure. And let me make this official as possible I’m actually going to give you the phone number I know it’s so well I gotta look it up Don’t judge me. so busy I am all right phone number in case you guys want to give a call.
Unknown Speaker 56:20
Jordan Ostroff 56:23
One 800 for Aaron. Not even enough numbers.
So email is a Paul at Solutions Group wealth, Solutions Group plural wealth.com, or a Paul at Solutions Group accounting.com. And phone number to call for us is 321-356-9721 and just ask for me that’s our main line, the Solutions Group. So that’ll be nice and easy. You can either side of the house. My partners are Robert Nate. So if you listen to this and you’re looking for accounting work, I prefer you give me a call because I can try to Place it to who I think would be best. But if you just want to speak to them directly just let them know you heard about it on this podcast and I’m sure they’ll treat you great.
Alright so and thank you to one of our listeners for you know pitching the the merger question which led to this. For those of you who are listening or watching if you have any other topics you want us to address in a similar manner with an expert, please let us know and then obviously you come across the podcast on Stitcher last FM, iTunes, whatever leave us an honest review. Alright, so let’s let’s end this the way we end all of them you you’ve been through this ringer before, if somebody listened to this for the last hour takes nothing whatsoever from this podcast except for what we’re going to share. Now. What is that one piece of advice that you want as many business owners as possible to remember.
Success should be your duty, not an option and I would say make sure that the process is more appealing to you than $1 figure and if you’re doing it for the money, be doing it for the options that come with it not for the dollars. All right.
Thank you all so much. Until next week, and oh, this will be passed but I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year. By the time this drops
me as well.
You you’ve been listening to let’s get up to business from Jordan. We hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast and would consider sharing the show. We would also love an honest five star review through iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or whatever pod catcher you use. If you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, please contact producer Mark through email at mark at Jordan law FL. com. Use this subject line podcast guests in your email. Thank you. We look forward to speaking to you again. Soon
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Transcribed by https://otter.ai