Road-kill sandwich anyone? I've had two and I'm not feeling so well.
Search YouTube for “how to sell your business” and sort by relevance and this video by Patrick Bet-David of Valuetainment is your top result.
Only three months old (as of December 2018) and the video is one of the most viewed “sell a business” videos on YouTube (admittedly and regrettably “sell a business” is not a large, or well-produced, category on YouTube.)
After watching the video, I sat at my desk a little numb. I’d watched the whole video and was flummoxed. Was what I’d just watched good or bad? I was simultaneously engaged and extremely turned off. That seemed weird, so I watched it again. The whole thing.
I took two full servings, and I finally decided why I was attracted to, but mostly hated the video.
What I Liked
Energy: I like Bet-David’s energy and enthusiasm. I’ve seen other videos of his and I think he’s a compelling guy who can be fun to watch. I've enjoyed several of his videos, shared some, and I'll watch more.
No Hard Sell: I find it incredibly difficult to consume most content in the “sell a business” space because so many who create decent content here spoil whatever they touch by covering it with hard-sell marketing. The regular formula seems to be 10% value, 90% hard-core sales pitch. This video doesn’t do that. It tries to provide value. That’s a compelling place to start from.
Solid Production: It’s a clean, professional video. Search “sell a business” and you’ll see that many in this space aren’t. No disrespect to those working the trenches here. I'm right there with them and sympathetic to the challenge of doing this on a budget, but that doesn't change the fact that this video is better produced than most of what's out there.
Some Basic Core Messaging: Think ahead. Keep accurate numbers. Etc. There are some basic messages here that are worth hearing if you are a small business owner. And given how few small business owners give any thought or preparation to selling their business, maybe anything is better than nothing. . .right?
I think wrong.
Something About this Sandwich Stinks
Don’t worry, Patrick Bet-David has got you covered with twelve easy steps that will provide clarity on the process of selling your business. Whether you are a founder/CEO or an employee looking to make the jump into entrepreneurship, these steps will get you in the right mindset to answer whether you should sell your company and how to do it.
12 easy steps for everyone. . . what could possibly be wrong with a one-size-fits-all solution for every sized business?
Valuetainment has a million subscribers on YouTube. I think it’s safe for me to assume that most of them are not CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies. So, when Bet-David casually throws around the “50 Million Dollar” offer you’ll get for your business, or the 12X multiple of earnings you might see, I just cringe for the confusion and chaos that creates in the minds of his mostly small business owning viewers.
There is a massive amount of bad information in this video for small business owners, and most dangerously, the bad information is coated with a little truth.
I started, but then gave up on, trying to list all the problems, but here two examples.
This is Step 2
Meet With an M&A Banker or Broker
Once you decide to sell you need to get educated from a Mergers and Acquisitions Banker. They can connect you with their clients who are millionaires and billionaires who want to buy companies. These bankers will also provide insight into how the whole process is going to work from end to end.
Telling someone exploring the sale of their business to contact a business broker is great advice, but the good advice stops there. Why didn’t my business broker introduce me to “millionaires and billionaires who want to buy companies?” Crap, I used a business broker, I guess I needed to use a Mergers and Acquisitions Banker to sell my small business.
And our friends in accounting will love Step 8:
Fire CPA’s and Hire Regional Team
Organized financials can make or break a sale. Upgrade your financial team by hiring a firm to work with you rather than a local CPA. It will cost more now for your audited financials, but it will impress your buyer and maybe drive up your asking price.
"Organized financial can make or break a sale" -- is absolute sell a business truth. But then we go way off the truth path with dubious advice for the small business owner – why use a local CPA when you can “maybe drive up your asking price” by spending more on audited financials?
(All quotes are from the linked resource on the video: https://www.patrickbetdavid.com/12-steps-selling-business-highest-value-2/)
Each point starts with a little truth, but then covers it with a hairy carcass.
There’s so much bad information in this video for small business owners. It reinforces so many destructive myths. Most of us as small business owners are dreadfully under-educated when it comes to selling a business. And good information is hard to come by in the “sell my business” space – but it doesn’t help anyone to take dreadful information and package it well.
My biggest fear is that a small business owner will watch this video and actually believe they have "clarity on the process of selling your business." You might be entertained, but you will not get clarity on selling a business from this video. Like a well-prepared road-kill sandwich, this stuff seems O.K. as long as you don’t really look at, or think about, what you are consuming.
Learn to Leave, but don't try to do it with this video.
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