Q. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. We use data science to help match business owners with the best professionals to help them exit their businesses and get acquired. It’s a free service, a lot like Angie’s list, or Zillow, only for the mergers & acquisitions industry.
We also help match entrepreneurs interested in buying a business with businesses for sale that are a good fit, -again using data to do that in a more accurate way.
We’re based in Boston but have a distributed team around the world working on the platform.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I’ve definitely always had an interest in entrepreneurship and professional independence, generally speaking. I’ve always been terrible with authority and micromanagement. I was on a pretty traditional Wall Street track right up until the economic crash of 2008, and really lost a taste for the industry at that point.
I became interested in buying & running a business and doing my own thing at that point, which I ultimately did and sold after six years.
After helping a close family member who owned a business through a very rough selling process, where an intermediary essentially abandoned my relative as a client as soon as they connected them with a really difficult buyer (because they were entitled to their commission either way), I set out to level the playing field for the entrepreneur. That’s where BizNexus came from. There’s a HUGE knowledge gap for entrepreneurs hoping to sell their business, and I wanted to provide more clarity around the process.
Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. See above
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A. Look into buying an existing business before starting one. The odds of success are just so much greater. You can get a low interest rate loan to acquire the business, and if you do it right you can use the cash flow of the business to pay the acquisition off over a few years. From there, you can change, tweak or completely revamp the business as you see fit, but at least you have cashflow to keep you going while you do that. I feel like we’re living in this distorted reality right now where nobody cares about cash flow… That’s crazy. It can’t last. Much better to focus on cashflow, on creating a self-sustaining business as fast as you can.
Be the hardest working person in the room. Anybody you work with is looking to you to set the pace… If you slack, so will they.
Be very careful about who you take advice from. There are so many “Experts” out there today ready to give advice. Don’t take advice from anybody who hasn’t succeeded in the exact area in which you’re looking for advice. Niche down and find advisors by skillset, by vertical, and if they’re “angels” who don’t have experience successfully running their own business or relevant department, run for the hills unless they’re cutting you a check.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. Insecurity and need to prove yourself, whether that’s to the world or just to yourself. You have to be someone who has something to prove…
Focus on what could happen if it works, not the opposite.
A real, genuine need and curiosity to learn about every aspect of your business. Not to manage every aspect, but to understand so you can manage your team well and spot problems before they turn into show-stoppers.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. Hard work and focus on daily process, regardless of results.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. As unpopular as this seems to be these days, I’ve always been a huge fan of just picking up the phone and going with the old fashioned phone-call. From a bizdev standpoint, if you can develop a relationship with the right decision-maker working with a really valuable strategic partner, I think that’s always going to be the best way to supercharge your growth and brand awareness overnight with the right audience.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A. Family & friends round Bootstrapping cash from the digital agency we created to help fund this thing My own personal savings
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. Find a good life-mate and work hard daily towards a shared vision.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. I’d love to help get the concept of “entrepreneurship through acquisition” out there into the general public awareness. Right now it’s unfortunately still a concept that’s more or less known only among the educated elites… It’s something every aspiring entrepreneur should be aware of as an option, and I’d love to see BizNexus help tear down the barriers to entry that exist in this industry today. I’d love to help democratize business acquisition & sale. I think that would really help a lot more people out there become entrepreneurs…
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. Probably not a popular answer, but I love what Jeff Bezos has done with Amazon. He created this relentless focus on value, on the end customer. Amazon has grown into so many different businesses at this point, but they’ve managed to hold onto that core concept so well, and continue to dominate industries that fail to wake up to that new reality. Amazon is a constant reminder of the monetary value that can be created by maintaining clear focus on providing consistent practical value to your end-customer.