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NOTABLE! {Success Story} Feeling stuck? A six month case study of when I dropped everything to buy a business

Greg R

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If you're someone who has been spinning their wheels for years and haven't had success in business, then this post is for you.

I dedicate this post to my FLF E'Com buddies (you know who you are)...



Before May, 2018 the stats for my five-year entrepreneurial career went something like this:

  1. Read how to be an entrepreneur= 2 years
  2. Passive Real Estate Investing= + $50-75k , 5 years
  3. Blog on Real Estate Investing= - $2k , 2 Years
  4. Failed Construction Business Deal= - $12k , 1 Year
  5. Failed Construction Business= - $10k, 6 Months
  6. Sports Bra Company (never launched)= - $6-8K , 1 Year
There is overlap in the timeline of events, but needless to say there was a lot of "trying" and failing. It felt as though I was destined to fail, but I kept pushing on. I kept stacking learning points in hopes that it would eventually compound into something greater.

In February 2018, I decided that it would be beneficial for my situation to buy a ticket to the Fastlane Summit to find some much needed clarity and guidance on the matter. To my surprise I found that and much more; real friends, mentors, and unprecedented accountability. Up until that point, I didn't really have any business buddies that were going to help me "kick it in the a$$." It turned out that a kick in the a$$ is all I really needed to make sh*t happen.

During that time, the Desert of Desertion was real with my soon-to-be Sports Bra company. Prototypes were failing and costs (time & money) were starting to rack up with no end in sight.

A now friend and mentor from the Summit suggested that I buy a business.

I think he knew that I was the type of person who needed to be occupied and he pitched his suggestion as a course in learning how to import and sell online while I wait for more prototypes to fail... The last thing that I wanted to do at the time was shop business deals.

This was met with a high-level of resistance (after all, I had gotten burnt badly from the last deal that I tried to do), but here is the turning point where things go from zero to 400 mph.

My online search took me a single day and I only looked at three diffrent businesses when I decided to engage an owner on 04/22/18.

On 05/08/18 (16 DAYS LATER) I had closed on the business with inventory in my storage unit and digital assets in hand.

With a little hand holding from the mentor and excellent communication, I was able to do something in 16 days that took me more than a year to do (unsuccessfully) just a year prior.

Yes this purchase was much smaller, but the amount of work that goes into it is all the same. I think that bad deal taught me; what to look for, how to valuate businesses, and be more confident at the negotiating table.

So it wasn't all for nothing, was it???

***

Fast forward to today (nine months later), and here are the major successes that I've had. Do not take this as bragging. I say "success" with as much modesty as possible. This is merely to show you what can happen in a very very short amount of time.

  1. Imported three containers from China
  2. Launched three new products
  3. Started an independent distributor network
  4. Sold 15,000+ total units
  5. Got into retail stores across the country
  6. Got into the industry's largest trade show
  7. And recently made a six figure wholesale deal
  8. Increased the value the business by at least 10X
All of this happened just by buying a business that was on a path to failure, turning it around, and executing my a$$ off. None of this would have happened if I kept going with the Sports Bra company.


To Conclude:
If you've been spinning you're wheels for years without much success, try buying a business.

For a sum of money that most people can afford or take a year to save up and get, you can tap into your true potential and execute your a$$ off.

Let's face it, some people are better at taking existing things a making them better than they are at starting something brand new.

Are YOU one of those people??? Now it's your turn.
 

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JackWood

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Thanks for the write up!
Can you please provide some more details on the resources you used to find said business. Flippa and empire flippers is often stated in these forums but do you have any additional resources?

Also what criteria did you use to determine to execute on this particular business? Any red flags to look out for.


Thanks!
 

UnrealCreative

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Greg...Wow! Well freakin' done.
Max +Rep Sent. @MJ DeMarco #Goldwatch

Let's face it, some people are better at taking existing things a making them better than they are at starting something brand new.
Curious how you figured out you're better suited to improve an existing business.

It Looks like you went "HARD MODE" on each business you started.
Developing a product, then the business. Building the business is hard enough...

I'm not in ecom, but from an outsider looking in it seems like the natural progression to find what's selling, sell MORE of it, and roll the profits into new products when you identify opportunities.

Would you say part of your success was realizing that Product Dev -> Biz was a backwards approach? That Biz -> Product Dev was a better progression for you?

Can you please provide some more details on the resources you used to find said business. Flippa and empire flippers is often stated in these forums but do you have any additional resources?
Not OP but I think it was found on BizBuySell.
You'll find a combination of online AND offline businesses, mostly offline.
 

kanunay

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Congrats on your success. I've often thought about buying an existing business, but haven't put any effort into researching it yet.
 

Andy Black

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Supercar

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Let's face it, some people are better at taking existing things a making them better than they are at starting something brand new.
Yep, that's me. Making a good thing better takes up way less of my energy than starting from scratch.

Couldn't get into the Summit last year. How do I make sure to not miss the next one?
 

rollerskates

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That is genius! I never thought of buying an existing business. I have a feeling I'd be better at that than all my from-scratching I've done.

Well done! Rep sent.

Now to go do some research...
 

becks22

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Sometimes having an outsider's prospective is all you need. You can be objective since you are not emotionally attached. You can identify weak spots and look at opportunities different from someone inside. Awesome job @Greg R
 
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Greg R

Greg R

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Curious how you figured out you're better suited to improve an existing business.
Thank you @UnrealCreative

It was always in the back of my mind that I am better at adding value rather than creating value from scratch. Real estate and this new venture confirmed that.

Would you say part of your success was realizing that Product Dev -> Biz was a backwards approach? That Biz -> Product Dev was a better progression for you?
That is a very interesting question!

The thing is that a finished product always has to come before the business, but you should always keep in mind how your are going to sell the product and leave your options open to new ways to sell.

The reason why is that your choice of business model could have a high likelyhood of being wrong.

For example:

When I bought the business it was 50% Ecommerce / 50% Local events.

Ecommerce took a dump after a couple unforeseen events and I rarely did any local events after I purchased the company. At one point, there was almost zero income coming in. This led me to completely change the model and method of delivery.

Now it is 75% wholesale / 25% Ecommerce.

A finished product can be turned into a business, but a business without a product is not a business at all.

Create the product and always be looking for new sales channels.
 

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Scot

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Remember when this business was just a training bra for your big boy bra company?

Now you’re on your way to crushing this year’s revenue projections.

Nothing gets me more pumped than when I get texts from you about stupid crazy purchase orders.

To anyone who hasn’t read his progress thread on the inside, do it NOW.

If you can match 1/2 the hustle that Greg has, you’ll make big strides in your business. For reference, Greg’s hustle puts mine to shame.
 

D_Benga

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If you're someone who has been spinning their wheels for years and haven't had success in business, then this post is for you.


My online search took me a single day and I only looked at three diffrent businesses when I decided to engage an owner on 04/22/18.

On 05/08/18 (16 DAYS LATER) I had closed on the business with inventory in my storage unit and digital assets in hand.
How did you search for the business, which resources did you utilize? Was it related to your previous ventures? Thank you.
 

ZCP

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If you can match 1/2 the hustle that Greg has, you’ll make big strides in your business.
This. @JasonR is another example.

Get off your a$$ and get to work. Study, implement, fail, fix, update, fail, revise, fail, tweak, succeed, set higher goals, implement, fail, revise, fail, pivot, ........

Quit finding roadblocks and 'why can't I' ...... change your mindset, 'how can i' is the key.
 

OperationMyWay

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And recently made a six figure wholesale deal
I remember talking to you about this over drinks when I was in Chicago in November. Glad to see it came through, congrats man!

Let's face it, some people are better at taking existing things a making them better than they are at starting something brand new.
I think I know someone who agrees with you on that. Haha.
 

Jaden Jones

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This is a great read, there is a lot of me that thinks this would be more my strength as well. I currently have 2 projects on the go and we will see what happens. But its so great to hear someone who has succeeded from building an existing business.
 
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Greg R

Greg R

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Get off your a$$ and get to work. Study, implement, fail, fix, update, fail, revise, fail, tweak, succeed, set higher goals, implement, fail, revise, fail, pivot,
^THIS

@ZCP, I wonder if the people in this thread who asked me what site I used to buy the business are still waiting for me to respond before starting their search?

What this thread is about is taking action now. Sometimes you need to let go. Stop thinking and just act. Trust yourself and that everything will be okay in the end.
 

ZCP

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Taught a robotics lab at a local university on Tue night ....... asked 'why are you here?' ..... after much back and forth, most were there to get a job. ..... asked 'how many of you graduate this semester?' ... hands went up .... asked 'how many job interviews have you been on?' ........ 'zero'

What the F*ck are you waiting on?!?!? Do you think you get a degree and go down and stand on the corner and someone comes by and gives you a job??? Get off your asses and 'go get' the job you want.
 

AllenCrawley

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@Greg R, you're a huge inspiration brother!

Greg is a powerhouse of action, hustle and smart thinking. Dude works circles around me which inspires me to do way more.

FLF E'Com buddies
REPRESENT!
 
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Greg R

Greg R

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The overarching theme this past year was "pressure makes diamonds." And I take that very seriously. Believe me. The hours I've spent... The amount of work that gets done because of being uncomfortable is huge. The point is, the more uncomfortable you get ,especially when it comes to sales deals, the more you know you are on the right track. I gravitate towards being uncomfortable now. It's validation.

No real progress was ever made when I felt complacent. I maintained status quo and thought about updating my website instead of selling.

Now selling is the onle thing I focus on. I litterally don't have time for anything else. If I did anything else but sell, this business would be over the way things shook out early last year. I proved a lot of things to myself by doing this and I think everyone who is struggling here can do this too.

This stuff is not easy and I've never said everything will be rosy.

With immense focus, doubling down, and then doubling down again this could be anyone here. I don't think that I'm particularly smart or savy but it's like anything else, it takes practice.
 

The Abundant Man

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The overarching theme this past year was "pressure makes diamonds." And I take that very seriously. Believe me. The hours I've spent... The amount of work that gets done because of being uncomfortable is huge. The point is, the more uncomfortable you get ,especially when it comes to sales deals, the more you know you are on the right track. I gravitate towards being uncomfortable now. It's validation.

No real progress was ever made when I felt complacent. I maintained status quo and thought about updating my website instead of selling.

Now selling is the onle thing I focus on. I litterally don't have time for anything else. If I did anything else but sell, this business would be over the way things shook out early last year. I proved a lot of things to myself by doing this and I think everyone who is struggling here can do this too.

This stuff is not easy and I've never said everything will be rosy.

With immense focus, doubling down, and then doubling down again this could be anyone here. I don't think that I'm particularly smart or savy but it's like anything else, it takes practice.
What would you says is the key to sell?
 

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Greg R

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What would you says is the key to sell?
Key to sell?

Make every hour matter.

If your not sending quotes, putting deals together, and executing a plan on selling 1,000 units at a time instead of 1 unit at a time then you are doing it wrong.
 
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Greg R

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I currently have 2 projects on the go and we will see what happens.
Thank you very much for the kind words.

"See what happens" is not an option to me. It is either make it happen or don't.

I can't tell you how many sh*t or get off the pot moments there were these last nine months.

"Seeing what happens" implies that you are a spectator to your business. I know you probably didn't mean it so literally, but there is no way this would have been possible with a spectator mentality.
 

Jaden Jones

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Thank you very much for the kind words.

"See what happens" is not an option to me. It is either make it happen or don't.

I can't tell you how many sh*t or get off the pot moments there were these last nine months.

"Seeing what happens" implies that you are a spectator to your business. I know you probably didn't mean it so literally, but there is no way this would have been possible with a spectator mentality.
Thats a good point, while I definitely dont intend it that way, I should start changing my words. Because I will not be a spectator, and I cannot be.
 

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I have a very specific questions about wholesale which is something I'm struggling with: at how much % of the selling price you sell to distributors? I guess this depends from product to product? Don't have to give exact numbers, just a raw estimate would be helpful.
 

Y.A. Batal

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Thanks for the write up!
Can you please provide some more details on the resources you used to find said business. Flippa and empire flippers is often stated in these forums but do you have any additional resources?

Also what criteria did you use to determine to execute on this particular business? Any red flags to look out for.


Thanks!
Can you make a checklist of what work work with you?
 
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Greg R

Greg R

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I have a very specific questions about wholesale which is something I'm struggling with: at how much % of the selling price you sell to distributors? I guess this depends from product to product? Don't have to give exact numbers, just a raw estimate would be helpful.
My best suggestion is to go out there and see what stores are willing to pay. Don't let industry averages dictate your pricing.

Money in hand means what ever you did was right.

No money in hand means that you need to adjust your plan.

You will never know if you don't go out there and sell.

Talk to 20 stores, be agile, and adjust accordingly.
 

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I have a very specific questions about wholesale which is something I'm struggling with: at how much % of the selling price you sell to distributors? I guess this depends from product to product? Don't have to give exact numbers, just a raw estimate would be helpful.
You charge as much as possible. "Possible" is defined by the amount of information that you have -- what makes it worth it for the individual to make the deal.

On the bottom end is how much it makes sense for you to make the flip. If there's no risk and you will get your money within two months, then you calculate the opportunity. For us, the opportunity cost is around 20% in 2 months time. That's the minimum. The ideal you want to hit is 2x. If you can get more, take more.

It's all about calculating returns and what's worth it for you to keep growing.

The biggest guys will make multi-million dollar deals where they take home 5%. The small guys make deals of $200 where they take home $150+.
 
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Greg R

Greg R

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Can you make a checklist of what work work with you?
Hey there @Y.A. Batal,

No, I cannot. If business was reduced to checklists, it wouldn't be so difficult. Besides, what worked for me, will not work for you.

If anything, this thread should have taught you that you need to go out there and create pressure on your own. You need to go through all of the trials and tribulations, otherwise you approach things with a bias. Because of this, you may pass over the best opportunities all because I told you Chatbots or email lists were the key to my success (which they weren't). You need to look at your own data and don't assume anything.

Now if I were to count how many Trello cards I have in my "finished" list from this past year, it would make most people on this forum blush. Doing things for the sake of doing them is not effective. But when you combine effectiveness with lots of doing, you get diamonds. The definition of EXECUTION.
 
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