John F Kettley is a Business M&A Investor, Turnaround, Growth & Scale To Sale Specialist


Thanks for joining Ben’s Business Podcast and everyone to introduce from what I know about John F. Kettley is he’s an investor in businesses, a mentor and a turnaround growth and scale and exit specialist.
John, I found out about you through my dad who’s actually in my office today.
Me and my dad spend a lot of time together. We’re both entrepreneurs, so I was growing up, born as an entrepreneur basically and he is in the harbor club Jeremy Harbors Club and I’ve learned a lot about you through my dad and I’ve also read your book.
To build a business that builds wealth and the subtitle of it how to stop struggling and start thriving so we can talk about your book as well, especially because I have a book club business book club specifically.
So would you like to give yourself more of an introduction who who is John Kettley.
Well, it means much like your good self was born into a family of entrepreneurs very, very fortunate.
It sounds more grandiose than it probably than it actually had various uncles one one had a carpentry business one had a butchers China butchers shops and so on.
It’s a business owners, but not in the grand scale. So, of course, I kind of grew up with my, we’re painted doing this and my uncle sound doing that my uncle lays doing something else so kind of from a fairly early age I knew I was never going to do the PA why you think it just didn’t really come into focus and as we’ll probably go into a little bit later.
So, the couple of badges that they give to the kids these days once called the selection and the others ADD so my attention span as a youngster it’s not much better today and I’m well into the back end of the 50s was short.
The best part of the last four decades I start building cell companies that’s that’s essentially what I do was fortunate kind of took a first of a number of retirements back in06
fell into turning companies around after the last recession of 19 and mentoring businesses and then taking stakes in various businesses with business owners who want to build to an exit.
That’s me in a nutshell. Yeah, okay, very interesting. Just to jump back to a point you said about, did you ever have a job or did you go straight into business?
I left school at 15. It’s the whole academia and getting jobs wasn’t wasn’t really on the cards at all.
And I’ll be honest back in the 70s it wasn’t as perhaps as crucial as it is today to have qualifications and stuff like that you could literally jump into something and then jump into something else is just how it was back in the 70s.
Okay, that’s the 1970s for all the millennials.
And did you did you find business came naturally to you or did you have to develop skills and experience before things start?
I was very fortunate because I was being I suppose you call it hustling from from a kid because I was very fortunate to keep my fan of attention under control and use it to keep me in line.
My parents very luckily bought me a dirt bike when I was 10.
So by the time I got into my early teens we were very much racing every Sunday through most of the year.
So really the only thing that existed to me was going scrambling they called it then mode across they call it now on a Sunday.
So not being from a particularly wealthy family by any means it was a case of paper rounds washing cars doing lots of different things just to raise the money to make it work on a Sunday.
So hence it was kind of embedded from that young age.
I remember my dad’s always called himself unemployable and probably got that label as well as a personality type almost sometimes and when you’re born into that.
I think like I had my brother and my sister and I always found entrepreneurship and what my dad almost forced us sometimes to watch like investor video tapes and I always found it a bit more interesting.
It’s definitely comes from your interest as well and who you are.
So I wanted to ask you and it’s quite a big question but you in your book you talk a lot about vision and purpose and being driven by that as a forefront picture versus just someone else’s plan like you should do this versus you want to do that from an intrinsic motivation.
What is your ultimate goal like your bigger goal for everything that you do today and what you’ve done.
Well that that really changes with time.
As a teenager all I wanted to do was be a professional model cross-riser.
And then the next part was I wanted to become a multi-millionaire and then the next part was to work in different parts of the world and the next part it changes.
And I think the one thing that I’ve learned over the years is never ever start and build a business that’s that’s a really really risky and bad thing to do.
It’s much better to work out what it is that you want as an end result and then just reverse engineer that so for me personally starting a business normally begins with starting something that other people haven’t seen.
When all the crowd is looking to the left you’re far better to move to the right and look at what’s going on.
An example of that is I come from a town called Stevenage.
Stevenage was one of the five new towns after World War II where all the Londoners kind of moved out to.
And when they built Stevenage they built a cycle track next to every main road around the town so there’s miles and miles and miles of cycle tracks.
So you’re also allowed to use a mo pad up to 50 CC on these cycle tracks that are by every main road.
So one of the ventures that we did was was a motorcycle store and it was it was because at the time petrol was becoming very, very expensive and the traffic in the town was a nightmare every morning and every evening in the two main industrial estates that surrounded Stevenage.
This is interesting people are really watching where they’re among the years and it’s gridlocking those in those areas.
I think a lot of people would have a scooter as a second vehicle rather than a car as a second vehicle and with that scooter what they’ll be able to do is avoid all of the traffic.
And because they’re a scooter they’re allowed on the cycle tracks and hence avoid in the traffic to they do 70 80 miles to the gallon.
And they’re super cheap to rent so that’s why we opened up the scooter stores so we would do a deal and go to so for example I went to some less bakeries which employed lots and lots of people in the bakeries there went to the personnel department and said.
I’m going to do a deal for all of your employees if you like to put this on the board that if they come into the shop and say that they work for some less bakeries will give them a discount and will do an unbelievable deal for 99 pounds down 99 a month will give them a crash helmet order proof gloves a brand new Yamaha scooter and take them through their CBT to get their license to be able to move.
So that’s how we got that particular store up and running in Yamaha came to us probably only about five months after we started and said how the hell are you guys selling so many units we were the the the biggest retailer of scoters in the country from zero to five months and it was because we had a very structure plan to fill a hole that no one else was looking at.
So that’s what I mean by when you’re starting a business you’re looking for a hole to fill that others aren’t doing to I knew that I like start in businesses I like building businesses but soon as their operational the ADD kicks in and I’m out so I knew who was going to buy the business off of us so that’s what we were working to build build build build sell so that’s really the kind of the mode that we’ve been working with.
For the best part of four decades is starting a business knowing we’re going to sell it so if you think about the people that start businesses there are really only two types of people type number one is someone who’s building a lifestyle business and type two is someone who’s building a business to sell at a certain point in time now most small businesses are started by someone with a dream
and they want to build a lifestyle business and unfortunately that’s why they tend to crash and burn and in fact as we all know 70% of businesses failing the first five years.
50% of all businesses that start failing the first two years and it’s because they’re starting the business not by a reverse engineering it but they’re focused on the logo and the website and getting everything nice and that’s lovely until you get four or five months in and then the honeymoon’s over you’ve opened the business and it’s off and running and then you realize potentially I think that
that their sales and marketing strategies are not getting enough people to walk through the door and because they’re not walking through the door there’s not money going in the till to use that metaphor.
Yeah so a couple of things there on the question of your purpose changes which makes me feel better actually because I’m always like this is my purpose actually no this is my purpose five years later so it’s good to hear that is.
Absolutely and then what does also happen on that one bed to Segway back to the original question is I don’t know anybody in 40 years have been in business who’s ever achieved their goal and what I mean by that is think of it as a setting sale from the UK to the Americas and do you know you’re going to America and then about halfway across the ocean all of a sudden someone on the boat asks you
so where in America are we going now for most people America is success in this little story they want to be a success and then you say so what does success look like how will you know when you’ve won and that’s the point that stops 90% of people in their tracks and they go
because they haven’t viscerally worked out what the winning post looks like so that’s why in terms of your direction it moves with the sands of time because what’s important to you when you’re 18 is not at 21 which is not 31 which is not at 41 it changes so
often what happens along the way is you say a different shiny star and you decide to pivot and head off towards that shiny star as it were.
Yeah I’ve definitely noticed that now I’m 33 I’ve been through maybe two two or three of those phases and it’s it’s quite a challenge actually at that end of the 10 year cycle or whatever the cycle is
you you then don’t think the thing that you were gone for as motivating so your priority is change 100% yeah and that’s a natural human thing and I think the thing to do is to is to notice that it’s changed and not this is what unfortunately an awful lot of people do is they’ll keep rolling in the direction that they originally set out to and some people get very fixated said I will not move on until I’ve achieved that a first goal and sometimes that will take a little bit more time.
So if you want to make them an attorney to do that and for others it really motivates them which kind of brings you back to motivation so again motivation is is is about knowing where you’re going so if you want viscerally clear about that it takes all day to get nowhere.
It’s really really true and I think yeah we do need to just tap into our awareness like there’s all these books that have read and coaches and mentors and and these things help because when you come across like in your book the exercises and you as you really pointed out and brought up to my attention as well that people really don’t like to work smart
and they don’t mind reading the book they don’t mind doing doing doing but it’s when it comes back to actually sitting down and doing that personal development and business development time which is working on the business instead of in it that people people find it hard to come out of their habit of just doing.
And even myself like when you pointed that out I noticed myself going oh I want to I want to get on with all these little tasks that are in front of me and then I’ll come round to your challenges or your exercises each chapter so it’s very true and I think the people who take the time out to do those chapters at the end of the books versus the people who don’t will be more successful because they’re working smarter.
100% I mean it’s interesting every year I invest in a fairly substantial learning of some descriptions so over the years you know that’s been Tony Robbins brand of a charge in around some Vince Lombardi zigzigler a number of things because you know knowledge is power but knowledge is power only if it’s if it’s actions and implemented and it’s interesting if I go back to the Tony Robbins investment which was.
20 years ago in fact I tell you how old it was you send off and you got a box with CDs in it and you would listen to the CDs and there was 20 on CDs or whatever it was in the training program that Tony Robbins was doing and literally in the pre frame the very first CD.
Tony Robbins says to you the you know the the viewer or the listener it says that through research that they’ve done less than 70% of people get past CD three less in fact and I’ve got that wrong less than 30% over 70% don’t get past CD three yeah yeah.
And that’s very true because I’ve been to different things and I’ve seen different people that do what they call shelf development they go all these darn courses to learn there to learn that what have you and then you’ll see another course somewhere else they’re not implemented it they’ve not got any further with it they become course junkies they just yeah yeah and the camaraderie and the rare rather you get on some of these two and three day courses yeah no it’s really important that you.
When these exercises come up and you’re challenged you almost motivated to take action you should follow that and actually go and do something about it rather than like I got caught on that period as well like I read a lot of books and became very knowledgeable and and had lots of broad information and I felt myself anchored at a certain stage because I was really knowledgeable had lots of information that wasn’t you know.
So exercising that information almost and ironing it out and it just got like an anchor and I felt like I was actually lost in information rather than book do then then read the next book when you need it like just like someone calls it just in time learning so you’re reading the book when it’s the right time and not just picking up a book to like you’re saying shelf development just having the books there and knowing that you’ve gone through the book.
And just take it take off the book I’ve I’ve most of the time never done that I’ve always been quite good at listening to five minutes of a book and there’s a good action there that I can take in the plight I’ve always had businesses to apply it to so that really helps as well so yeah totally agree with that excellent excellent and yeah so you said a few other things there as well about
What did you say you’ve got dyslexia and ADHD yeah but I don’t really technically yes but I think I tell you a very quick story about in the mid 80s and opportunity come to go out to West Germany to sell to the US military on the vases jeeps and Harleys and I thought that looks like that would be an adventure you know it was
And you know there was a commission only and all the rest of it is as near as I come to a job per se is doing commission only things which I’ve done many over the years and but it was predicated by this two week course and I’m on the plane over to Frankfurt and I’m time myself up in knots because I’m thinking I can’t do the classroom thing I just I won’t be able to get past the classroom thing so that was the first mistake was over the first
I was talking myself into something that I wasn’t able to do as opposed to talking myself into something now I’m going to take on board the learnings I’m going to use this and I wasn’t thinking that way I was thinking in correct like anyway
Of course it was run by an amazing guy Tom Kavanaugh except for an 11 pilot shot down over Vietnam spent a couple of years in up to his neck immortal in a bit the maze prison walk ampie out of the camp and went through some interesting stuff that he shared with us over the couple of weeks well it was the first day and it’s on the first day and I’m sitting in the chair and there’s about 20 other people that was in this boardroom
I think it’s going to be tough it’s going to be tough so in walks Tom and he didn’t say a thing got the attention of everyone in the room pressed a button and on the screen and this amazing sound system in this boardroom was the opening sequence of top gun
and I guess this is interesting and so he had all of our attention straight away and then through the process of the next couple of weeks what Tom was teaching was the psychology of communication he was teaching how people are wired up late in later years I had a study in NLP and of course a lot of what he was teaching was a military version of NLP how to read people
so from their iPads tell which of their two senses are their primaries over there over the other three how when people talk how to get into rapport very, very quickly by using words that they use talking to them in their language to speak up when people want you to speak up to speak fast when people really want you to speak the order to slow it down.
So using intonation cadence and all of these other things to get rapport and then from rapport to really be able to find out very quickly but very elegantly what that person really, really wants because then if you’re in business sales
if you can find out what your customer or potential customer really, really wants in minutes it really massively increases your ability to earn because it massively increases your ability to sell more of the products and services that you sell so it was at that point as I say two two weeks in with Tom Cavanaugh and he’s teaching you how people process information how they do this and how they do that
And so the question was asked many, many times so if if I’m talking to someone is a fast processor or slow processor which is the best you said there is no best if people process the world around them very quickly then that’s how they do that or very slowly
And then someone would ask and say well what if is it better to be visual or is it better to be your auditory he said it doesn’t matter how you’re wired up is how you are wired up so if you’re dyslexic it was really only kind of coming onto the map in the mid eight is if you’re dyslexic or you’ve got ADD ADD is just another word for you’ve got a very fast processor
And so what you’ll find is a lot of race car drivers have a very fast processor they can process information so much quicker it’s not about reaction times it’s about the speed at which you can process information so you tend to find that fast processes are people that do very, very well in the entrepreneurial space not always because a very good friend of mine is an unbelievably slow processor drives me insane
Because we’re opposite ends of the tantrum but she is a phenomenal business woman I really have the most respect for her because okay she she processes it slowly but she’ll go click click click click click click and then she’ll know exactly what to do there’s no provocation in it so again if you’re dyslexic or your ADHD or any other other badges that people you know I have a degree of neurodivergence I can think of and process five different subjects are two
three times and if I only have one subject to focus on at a time I start blowing a few fuses I have to have a number of things going on so I spent last Friday night in the A&E with my mum bless we took her into hospital and if you’re sitting in an emergency room every minute feels like 20 minutes when you’ve got a fast processor so that kind of like 14 16 hours was like weeks to me
so I had to get different things that were going on in the brain so it’s not good it’s not bad but it’s really really handy if you can look in the mirror and get comfortable with who’s looking back so if you as any of these badges that they hand out to kids at school
and this is the problem they hand them out to the kids at school and that’s their excuse not to achieve whereas to me that’s you know most dyslexic I’ve got a higher IQ than normal most ADHD I’ve got a higher IQ you just got a feed that so they’re coming at this in the schools largely the wrong way I’m not going to suck myself into a black hole people saying John what are you saying but I think it’s an advantage and I think
everybody needs to look at what their advantage is and then when it comes to their career and business and what they do in becoming a success you have to start the marker I mean you’ve read the book then it’s really a personal business development book
and there’s a heavy emphasis as you know in the first chapters around the personal it then goes on to the business making money’s easy and I say that not glibly because
I know so many people find it difficult but the reason they find it difficult is because they haven’t worked out the personal part first as in what is winning to you the person in the mirror yeah not anyone else not what you should be would you want you as a leading to earlier I should have done this by now or I should have done that’s just shooting all over yourself that’s that’s a negative is far better to say you know what I’ve made a few mistakes along the way and that’s okay I’m strong
up and more learning for them but now I need to be able to look in that mirror and say this is who I am you’re good at X you’re good at why you’re good at Z and not what most people do what most people do guys you know you’re not very good at this you’re not
very good at that so you need to avoid this you need to avoid that and they’re actually taking themselves on a negative trial you’re never going to make money at that you’re never
going to succeed if you’re taking down the negative trial and that’s why you see with most entrepreneurs that have reached a degree and even a high degree of success they all talk about the mind behind success and it is the mind behind success is that it’s the difference that makes a quantum difference one degree of moving yourself into the positive over the negative makes a thousand degrees of the difference
yeah and the reason I asked you obviously about dyslexia and things is just interesting. I’m dyslexic and it made school a wee bit difficult for me and until I found my feet and probably pretty much got out of school and then that’s when I started to thrive in life.
and like you say I’m on track and agree with what you’ve been saying there about and I think about what you’re saying I think about self awareness just knowing who you are and like you’re saying loving yourself or who you are and thriving from your own aspects that are good not what other people are good at and owning that so then when you get like you’re saying almost bored when it gets into the operation side of the business that’s when you sort of
delegated to the rest of the people who can who do well on that so that makes a lot of sense to me and how how I’m approaching life and how fast process or that really stick to that stuck with me as well that I can totally relate sitting in that um waiting room and it being a long uh a long wait.
yeah absolutely again I think it really just comes back to that principle thing that you must know yourself you must know who you are.
positives negatives take the negatives and leave them no one’s interested in them everyone else is going to point them out to you.
it’s really just down with positives well look i’m pretty good at x and i’m pretty good at y okay so how do I leverage that and be very conscious of language so if if so for example with language i mean this is the kid that left at 15 i’m still a bit crap with spelling and grammar but i’m reasonably articulate because i’ve read a bit and i’ve traveled the world a little bit but if you look at and this is why i really picked up on psychology and linguistics so if you.
you say look how are you going to get from where you are to where you want to be that pretty much locks everybody’s brain up whereas if you say so what are you going to do to move from where you are to where you want to be how is a stationary word and what is a motion word so if you keep asking people how are you going to do this and how are you going to do that you’ll get no feedback from them you know you talk to a potential customer and say well look how will you know.
that this is the right product or service for you or how are you thinking you’re going to get nothing whereas it is how it whereas if you use the what word it’s a motion word that’s what gets people to to make decisions.
okay that’s yeah it’s really interesting i’ve not come across that before and so.
i picked up a lot of good tips about sales and marketing in your book and.
off the top of your head like what would you say is the best advice you can give in sales or in marketing I particularly liked.
some of the information you shared about prospecting and closing market and talking about sort of the usp but yeah what would be your best advice to say.
a medium size or even a startup business owner because there is a quite a lot of startup business owners who are in my audience.
yes so to the start up guys because that there’s there’s different answers depending on who’s are asking the question and where they are on their journey and how they see the world so I think if we start with the with sales and then we’ll go to market.
okay so if you ask most people have you done any sales training most will say no and then you’ll ask because I’ve asked this question of thousands of people over the last kind of 15 or years.
and say so what why have you not invested in in learning how to sell well I don’t want to be salesy okay.
how’s that working out well so that’s what you’ll get as an answer is well you know now here’s the thing.
everyone’s if you ask someone to describe a sales person what they’ll generally describe is what we think a car salesman insurance salesman double glazing salesman that’s what they’ll describe as a sales person.
and it’s a very it’s a quantum difference in the UK to the US in the US a professional salesperson is on a pedestal is right he she or they right up there because to be a professional salesperson is actually about being a professional communicator.
you see the art of sales is in never been seen to be selling because the second that someone detects that you’re selling to them they switch off and they leave think about the last time you went to buy a product that was fairly substantial in price it might have been you know a suit for a wedding it might have been a new setting or a car or.
some home improvement the second you detected that person was selling you you can’t run away didn’t you.
everybody does its human nature we’ve been programmed by the media for the last 30 years not to make decisions and if someone’s trying to sell to you to run away so they do so professional sales people don’t look like one.
don’t sound like one the art of selling is a conversation between two people at the end of which one just buys from the other and that my friends is the trick it’s to have a conversation that is eloquently eloquently easy that just helps the other person to buy what it is that they want.
so that’s a learned skill you’re not born a sales person you’re you’re born a baby you learn these things these skills so I think and actually i’m going to put my hands up here i’d say that most of the sales courses that i’ve been on over the years i’ve been nineteen seventies nineteen eighties they’re not really teaching so i’ll contradict and to a degree but.
there are some really really good sales trainings down there where you can learn about how to detect how to read body language how to to get somebody to be really, really comfortable to tell you what is they really, really want as opposed to the smoke screen stuff that they tell you.
in the in the early parts of a conversation so my advice will be learn how to become an excellent communicator number one number two.
would be to research what your three customer avatars.
really are who they really are so the people that really want to buy what you sell why what’s the three things they most desire about the product or the service that you prefer.
i don’t what’s the three things in their life that they really don’t want so if you’ve got the three desires and the three pains in their life and then you can merge.
those pains and desires that the carrot and the stick into the offering when it comes to marketing the offer resonates so we want to do that for each of the client avatars that we have.
so your core potential customer and that customer that’s kind of two degrees to the left and the customer that’s two degrees to the right.
and i don’t really care what it is that you’re selling everybody’s got the same principles in hand i mean over the years we’ve had CCTV access control.
we’ve had a deli cafe restaurant there are all number of things that we’ve done over the years and the Lord doesn’t change people buy from people.
then they buy from the company and the last thing they actually buy into is the product or the service so these you’ll read in variations in books since the beginning of time.
yeah really good advice and i’ve studied a lot on sales i believe i’m a good salesperson and got out of that idea about sales being a a yucky thing like a sleazy sales sale car salesperson like it’s it is the complete opposite of that is being.
is really understanding people to a deep understanding who you’re actually selling to and being.
communicating and listening and then communicating in with their actual motives.
100% i mean if you take the car salesman the kitchen salesman the double glazing sales got.
or you know my little female.
do you think that when that car salesperson goes into work on a saturday morning knowing that.
they’re going to speak to 10 20 30 people that day they’re going to get husbands on their own they’re going to get wives on their own they’re going to get husbands and wives are going to get single people they’re going to get a whole mix of people it’s going to stream through their door on an average Saturday.
and every single one of them is going to walk in there thinking i’m not going to let that car salesman get me.
yeah like all of them so if you’re the car salesperson the male or the female right every single person that talks to you is going to have their barriers up at the ceiling and i’m like.
so if you think about it if that’s the case then those characters have to be phenomenal professionals to be able to drop all those barriers yeah the double glazing guy those hard cause salespeople that we think of salespeople none of them look like salespeople well no i think they wouldn’t wait.
and yeah i think that really covers marketing as well what one of the questions I asked so i have a selfish personal question or what a specific thing that’s a couple of deals that are happening right now for me.
I have a company and a competitor that i’ve offered to grow their business and be a 20% shareholder again i am really winging this and learning as a go on how to structure these deals but essentially i would be a shareholder 20% i would earn 20% of the dividends and.
it be paid as well as a consultant in a market i have a market in agency so i would be growing their business with what i know how to grow their business through digital marketing and through my understanding of.
growing a business through the systems through the people and that that would be my approach to growing this business i’ve done that for myself and other clients so.
i’m my question to you is i know that you do mergers mergent and acquisitions.
m and a and.
I was just wondering what would how would you come in as a business consultant in a situation like that and how would the structure be.
very much the same lines as as.
as anything in business whether you’re again selling.
beta b beta say you’re.
you know beta government beta g it’s it’s it’s always around the person always end so if so i’ve been in the mergers and acquisition space now for a number of years.
i’m up until about 10 years ago mergers and acquisitions was really the place where the big corporates lived it what it didn’t really exist in the sm a smaller medium enterprise arena so.
this kind of loops us back to a business owners.
Whether they’re a startup or there had the business for 40 odd years.
What they are is very very good at what they do you know they’re brilliant bakers of cakes or they’re brilliant fixes of motorcycles or they’re brilliant manufacturers of disc brakes whatever that may be okay.
But what most aren’t very good at selling a company.
It’s a very very different thing so if you’re buying companies or selling companies it’s a very different set of dynamics.
People are more precious about their business than they are about their children I know it’s a big statement but it’s true they are more precious about their business than their relatives and everyone around them.
Which means that by and large, especially if you’re working as someone who’s had a business for 10 20 odd years and they’ve gone through blood sweat and tears have been awake at night how are we going to make payroll how are we going to pay HMRC they’ve gone through all the toils and don’t forget there’s only one person in the United Kingdom that is allowed to earn less than minimum wage.
Business owners.
Business owners are allowed to earn nothing everybody else has to get at least minimum wage.
And if you talk to a vast majority of business owners they kind of just make ends meet and I’m talking about millions of these across the United Kingdom and what tends to happen is that they will not go and get help until the last minute.
They want so they don’t search for a business coach they don’t search for someone to come in and help them they won’t do that until the very last minute and at the last minute what they tend to do is they’ll ask people around them and say look kid this coach you know only one that and that’s how they find business coaches business mentors or M&A people like us.
So what do we bring to the table we bring clarity knowledge connections and experience that’s what we bring to the table so when we’re sitting down with a business owner the very first thing that we need to do is we need to understand them as a person the business and then back to them as a person so that’s the sequence and going back to and say look what is it that you really really want.
And most of them will say they want to know so our job is to help them to gain clarity about what it is that they really really want.
So some of them just to to be able to sleep at night some of them it’s I want to sell this business in the next three years and I want to walk away with a million pounds.
Cool what does it turn over at the moment well it turns over 500 K okay and what are you what are you a bit dark okay what’s a bit dark well it’s net profit before tax okay we make about a hundred grand okay so you make a hundred grand a year and you want a million pounds for this so that’s going to take some whoever buys your business 10 years to be money back before they earn a nickel.
Would you do that would you work for 10 years for no money would you know they won’t either so it’s having a conversation where you’re you’re detailing out what or rather you’re learning you’re qualifying in the early stages what it is that they really really want.
Once you know what the driver is what the motivational point is that now you can begin how you mean it’s okay fire so if that’s what you want the next thing that we need to do is find out the gap the gap between what they want and where they are today so this is why I don’t really care if they say they want 10 million for it no problem at all we can we can get you 10 million for that business.
It’s going to take us about 15 years to do it really well yeah because it’s worth like 200 grand so it’s about balance in expectations every business owner wants once once 12 pound for a 10 pound note every business owner because of the blood sweat and tears they put into it they’re not looking at it through the lens of the fire so in your in your particular case does the guy that you want to do that.
You’re talking to does does he she or they want to build this business as a lifestyle business or do they want to build it to an exit.
I’m actually unsure about that I would lean towards a lifestyle business okay what lifestyle do they want.
You get by maybe show up to some meetings sales meetings and that’s about it eventually.
What lifestyle do they want.
So if they’re building a lifestyle business what lifestyle do they want.
So for some they will say to you I want to be able to go out at five o’clock on a Friday evening and not think about it till Monday.
Yeah because they’re working 24 7 365 that’s what their life’s been yeah okay we can make that happen what we’re going to have to do is put in the processes and the strategies to make the business much more efficient work better so that you can sleep at night and it makes more money.
Another character is going to say well actually Ben I want to build a business that gives me a hundred thousand pounds a year I spend three days a week in it.
And I can go on holiday for six weeks come back and it still works and works effortlessly without me that’s what I mean by what lifestyle do they want.
Because I can’t reverse engineer nebulous.
I have to get clarity about what that business owner really wants because only then can start putting a deal together.
Up until that point and this is where I think a lot of them and I guys go wrong is I go well I could do this for them and I could do that no no stop all that stop all that.
So it’s about not making assumptions on this the seller they they will tell you what they were looking for.
Do you know what you’ve just hit on my number one subject that I I teach you in every trainings that that we do.
It’s about how we process information everything else and that is we have not as a species developed the ability to read minds.
We haven’t done it.
So if we think they think it means that we don’t know.
If we think about a certain customer I think they want to buy this.
Well, why do you think that?
Have you asked them?
Or I think they want to have you asked them.
We must know there are things we must know we can’t think because then we’re mind reading.
Yeah, definitely don’t make assumptions.
100% yeah.
Yeah, so just understand what they they really want from the lifestyle like you say just like what we should do for ourselves when we are planning our own life.
And that probably answers the other question about like when to exit at what stage do you decide to exit.
Again, that is.
Ask 10 people get 10 answers.
Yeah, yeah.
So for me, I normally pick a number.
So okay, I’m going to build this over three years and I’m going to walk away with two million one million.
Where ever that might be.
For other people, it could be I’m working until I’m 45.
I want to retire at 45.
For another person, it’ll be I want to do another 10 years of this and then I’m out.
And when you ask them why 10 years and I go, well, that’s what I want to do.

And what are you going to walk away with in 10 years time?
See, they’re not clear.
It’s nebulous.
So I think for each person, there must be a reason.
So I was talking to someone on a couple of weeks ago and they really didn’t know what they wanted.
So when I.
So I’ve got a certain way with people that I kind of take when I little journey.
Anyway, I know that particular little journey.
Well, it came down to this guy wasn’t motivated by business.
What he really, really wanted was him and his girlfriend wanted to go around the world in a camper van.
That’s what they wanted.
And he wanted to have enough money to do it without worrying about money.
So what camper van do you want to use?
How much will it cost to get that ready?
What do you want to have as a comfortable number to spend each and every week?
Right, triple that.
Triple that number.
Double the price of the camper.
And triple the amount you think you need on the week, but on a weekly basis.
And double the term that you think is going to take you to go around the world.
That’s the number.
You said, okay, said right.
Now we know what we’re what we’re up against.
When do you want to do this by?
So I want to do this by time on 34.
So why 34 not 35?
You said because my girlfriend would be 30 and I want to do it for 30.
That’s a good enough reason.
I can run without.
So let’s do this then.
And we put a plan together.
Yeah, and that’s a good question on top of that is.
Like what questions in this could apply to sales to market research to negotiation.
What questions are good questions to ask people to learn about them and understand them so that you don’t have to mind read.
Depends on the scenario.
So say for example.
Someone’s coming in to buy a car.
I’m going to ask them.
So tell me how long have you had the car that you have now?
I’ve had it for four years.
Oh, really?
And what made you buy that car?
I really, I really only bought it because it was the right price at the time and we needed the car.
Oh, okay.
So it wasn’t the car of choice.
If you had had a choice, what would you have bought?
What am I asking?
I’m asking about their motivations is what I’m asking.
Yeah, I’m asking what what the drivers are.
And so in we kind of loop it back to sales again in.
So the questions are always think of it as temper I have a temporal conversation.
So I have questions from the past that bring me out today.
Then I leap over today into the future.
And then I ask about what it looks like sounds like feels like to them a year or five years from now,
depending on what it is that we’re putting together for them today.
So we’re talking with.
I was in.
In Orlando last November and I take conference.
And we talked to a business owner who wants to sell the business for five million.
And he wants to do it within the three in the next three years.
So I said to him, why three years?
I said, in fact, let’s go back in time.
But why did you start the business?
Because I need to understand you need to understand.
We need to understand as as sellers of a service or a product.
The psychology of the person that we’re talking to.
What makes them tick and we do that via the temporal conversation.
And this is why I’m saying to you, there’s a whole lot more to selling.
It’s understanding how people connect dots, what speed they connect with dots, what’s important to them.
Not what we think.
Based on what is important to us, because that may mean nothing to them.
Yeah, it’s like marketing.
I’ve studied a lot of marketing and advertising and sales market and advertising, whatever it is, even negotiation.
It all comes down to the negotiation, the, the, the human mind and how we tick.
I remember in a book, David Ogovie about advertising.
He talked about a really, really good advertiser. Can’t remember his name.
But he described the guy as a philosopher, not as an advertiser, because he was so clued up as a philosopher or a psychologist would be about human behavior.
That’s what made him a good advertiser.
So that sort of ties in with what you’re, you’re talking about here.
So do you think negotiation is quite similar to sales in that, in that way?
It’s a fusion.
They are the same thing.
Yeah, because I think there’s one thing I picked up on reading your book and getting to know you through your book that you have a really broad and deep understanding of business, sales, marketing, negotiation, all of the aspects of business.
Again, I’ve studied so it takes one to notice one and notice that one’s even further on.
And yeah, that’s one thing I picked up about you that you were using like words like prefraining, which is a word that I’ve not really got in my lingo on a day to day and just all these different understandings of the maybe the three aspects of negotiation, sales and marketing.
No, well, it’s up on as you say it’s, you know, I’m a novice at this.
I’m really just scratching the surface, but I’m endeavoring to become better at it.
And I think that if you’ve got that first for learning and you don’t have an ego about, oh, look at me, I’ve done X or I’ve done why people don’t like that, they don’t like that.
You know, and I think the funny thing is, is as you get older, you become a more humble person.
I mean, at 22, I was your typical know it all pain in the ass kid at 22.
I look back at it and it’s embarrassing, but that’s okay.
We can all look back at 22 and be embarrassed. I mean, the funny thing is when you look at fashion today, I look at people with, you know, whatever they’re wearing.
You wait 10 years and that photograph is going to come out of what you like today and you’re going to win because I am about what the fashions were in the 70s and the 80s and even the 90s and so on.
So we’re all learning.
Yeah, yeah.
And if you like, I’m looking for some like five short answers for the next few questions, because I try and keep these calls to a minimum maximum of an hour.
So do you take time off?
Let me add another question to that.
How often do you take time off?
Okay, so what I tend to do my, what my process is when the, when the light starts coming down to like four o’clock.
I’m back up to like kind of five, six, sometimes seven days a week, right the way through till about now.
As soon as that light lifts again, I don’t do Mondays, I don’t do Fridays and I don’t do Wednesday afternoons.
So Wednesday afternoon is to ride a dirt bike Friday is just because I don’t why would you work Friday, don’t really do that Mondays, don’t really do Mondays, I haven’t really done Mondays for 20 years.
That’s not to say that I don’t do stuff on the Monday, I just don’t tell the world I did too much on the Monday or a Friday.
Only in recent years, this was a mistake I made over the last X number of decades, not, not having enough quality time, but having said that my passion was business, I like business, I like eat, sleep, drink, think, you know, my wife kind of looks at me and says, you know, that’s like the other wife is business because I, you know, I’m passionate about it.
I love the hustle, I love spotting what other people haven’t seen. So to me, that’s a bit like another characters, you know, playmaking.
So yes, I take time out much more so now I take a month here and a month there and so on.
Right, okay, so you have two waves.
What would be a routine, I remember reading your book, you talked about before you have that second coffee, do some prospect and so what would be a routine for you at the routine.
Yeah, again, that shifts.
So for me, on a personal level, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I’ll go through a sequence of gratitude in my mind.
That last probably about 10 minutes.
And then from the sequence of gratitude, I then go to another three questions and, okay, so what will make today outstanding.
What’s the one thing that if I achieve it will make me smile most.
Who do I need to release today?
Release out of my life, let that be business or personal as the case may be.
And then, and then it’s the case of, you know, you go through your other routines and what have you.
And then I do not look at emails till 11 o’clock, it’s against the law, because emails is a box of other people’s desires.
Yeah, it’s like a to do list that other people want you to do.
And biggest mistake that you or you’ve seen others make.
The biggest mistake I made was, was continuing to do something that I didn’t want to do.
The biggest mistake I see other people make is not stopping to calibrate where they are in their life, business life, but life.
So stop and get off the bus.
The next thing you know, years follow.
So the same force for in the glass, so down quick that it goes from Tuesday to the following Thursday, then it’s a month later, then it’s a year later.
People set fire to much time and it’s because they don’t stop to look in the mirror and say to the guy in the mirror or the woman in the mirror.
Are you still on course?
Are you doing what you want to do?
I’m really in charge of your own life.
So the big questions.
And any final messages that you’d like to share?
I think probably the one that I’ve been repeating all the way through is you must know who you are.
If you are not 100% happy with where you are in your life, work out what will make you 100% happy.
Now I took the positive angle on that.
If you’re not happy now, what would make you happy?
What is winning to you?
I mean, when I say what is winning, 99 out of 100 people say, I don’t know what you mean by winning.
Well, let me explain what winning is to me.
I don’t have an alarm clock.
I haven’t had one for 20 plus years.
I wake up when I wake up.
I only do what I want to do.
I don’t work with idiots.
I do not work with people that I don’t want to work with.
I only work with people that I do want to work with.
So I walked my own tune.
I do what I want, when I want how I want with who I want.
That’s winning.
Did you hear me mention money?
There you go.
And for people on how, where are you most active on social media?
Where can people find you and follow you and get advice?
I don’t do a great deal.
LinkedIn is where you’re seeing posts.
Different things.
and also
a really nice Community Avenue student.
And I don’t really know what you’re saying.
That’s what I wanted.
On Joe on carefully.
Because there is another Johnaley.
And he tells the weather.
Yeah, yeah.
That was.
I was looking at your SEO beforehand and seeing your competition
with a famous weatherman.
You know, I think that’s what I wanted to do.
I wanted to do that.
I really enjoyed it.
I find that I’m going to have to go back and do the exercises.
Because sometimes I was caught driving and pulling over.
And sometimes not being able to pull over and do the exercise.
When you ask you a question, Ben, if I may.
Yeah, go ahead.
Having gone through the book.
What’s the one thing that leaked out at you?
I think one of the reasons I was drawn towards you to come and interview
and I think the fact you’re making your main message at the end
there is a very linked with that that you’re not just about business
and you believe in the idea of success is personal.
And it has to be through you.
Not from your dad.
Not from your mum.
Not from other people society.
It has to be your.
Your vision.
Your purpose.
Or it won’t be success.
You won’t be happy.
So that was a big message.
I got just the personalization of your book.
That I’m really, really, really pleased about that.
Because it kind of comes back to the great metaphor is that.
If you’re on the plane.
And it’s, you know, it’s on fire or whatever.
You’ve got to put your oxygen mask on first.
You don’t put your oxygen mask on first.
You run the risk of you might only save one of the four family members on the plane.
Put your oxygen mask on first.
You survive.
You get to look after the other people.
And this is a thing.
Only when you are happy in yourself and when you’re achieving.
Can you then start looking out after other people.
And this goes with the kind of the tiny Robbins thing is that you go through various phases in your life.
And you will eventually I don’t care who you are eventually get to a point where you’re on the throne of your life looking back across it and you think him.
Did I really put as much in as I could have did I look after all the people that I should have looked.
And a thousand tears have been said by a thousand tears have been shed over things that were never said.
That’s why it’s important to be comfortable in your own game first, because if you’re an unhappy person, you’re never going to make the people around you happy.
Yeah, and that is in business.
Thank you for joining John.
I really enjoyed this pleasure.
I hope everyone got value and if you have any questions, leave it in the comments and hopefully we can get round to answering them later.
Thank you.

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