BiggerPockets Business Podcast

BiggerPockets Business Podcast 51: Business Opportunity Is Knocking… Answer the Door! With Nigel Guisinger

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This show is a wake-up call for young and hungry entrepreneurs.

The main message: there is a massive wealth transfer underway in this country. An entire generation of business owners is reaching retirement age, and most don’t have a clear succession plan in place.

So… who takes over these successful businesses?

Why not YOU?

That’s the topic of today’s show with Nigel Guisinger, an Oregon-based real estate investor who's also owned an appliance store, a glass company, and a laundromat among other ventures.

In this episode, you'll learn how to identify business owners who are part of this big shift (think "Millionaire Next Door" types). You'll learn how to approach them and open a conversation about succession plans. AND you'll hear Nigel's tips for buying businesses using seller financing—an effective strategy he's personally used to great effect.

You’ll love how passionate Nigel is when it comes to the opportunities available to hungry investors—and the real-world stories he tells to bring these concepts to life. So listen to this episode, then identify a local business you could see yourself taking over someday soon.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast so you won’t miss the next episode… and we’ll see you next Tuesday!

Click here to listen on Apple Podcast.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

J:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast, show #51.

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Nigel:
And we went with a business philosophy called the weak zebra. Find out who your competition is, rack and stack your customer base, figure out who they’re using, then rack and stack your competition that says, here’s the strongest to the weakest, go after and market share and take it from the weakest and keep going.

J:
Welcome to a real world MBA from the school of hard knocks, where entrepreneurs reveal what it really takes to make it. Whether you’re already in business or you’re on your way there, this show is for you. This is BiggerPockets Business.

J:
How’s it going everyone? I am J. Scott. I’m your co-host for the BiggerPockets Business Podcast. Here again with my co-host, the lovely Mrs. Carol Scott. How’s it going today, Carol?

Carol:
Doing pretty well all things considered. Tell you what, though. No offense to you, J, but I’m missing my people, right? My goodness, this staying at home, understand it’s entirely necessary, it’s the right thing to do, but wow. I had to go this morning to pick up some schoolwork for Kade, our littlest guy and had to stop myself dead in my tracks because I think I was five and a half feet within the radius. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t want to freak anybody out.”

Carol:
So anyway, missing people like crazy, but I’m loving all the Zoom calls. Loving connecting with family members, with friends from a long time ago, with business owners, with entrepreneurs, with just other people trying to stay positive and get through this together. And thank you once again to all of our listeners for just sticking in there with us through all of this. We have a really great episode today and you are going to love it.

J:
Absolutely. We have an amazing episode today. And our episode today is all about opportunity. There is a whole lot of doom and gloom out there these days. Understandably, a lot of people not sure where things are headed, what’s going on, but along with that potential doom and gloom is always a silver lining. And our guest today helps us with that silver lining.

J:
His name is Nigel Guisinger and he is an entrepreneur. He's kind of a hybrid real estate entrepreneur and business entrepreneur. He's figured out how to put those two together to buy great businesses that own real estate and then basically leverage both of them. Basically make money both on the business and the real estate itself. But the important thing is Nigel's talks to us today all about the great opportunity we have as either entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs who are looking to build our business, buy a new business, start a new business and he talks all about… He throws out some amazing statistics and he talks all about how and why today may be the best opportunity in decades for those entrepreneurs or those wannabe entrepreneurs to jump in and start building or buying a business.

J:
This is an amazing episode. Literally action packed. In fact, stick around till the very end when Nigel tells us his list of very specific actions that you need to be taking today so that 365 days from now, you’re operating a successful business.

J:
Okay now if you want to find out anything more about Nigel, the stuff we talk about in this episode, links to the things we discussed in this episode, please check out our show notes at biggerpockets.com/bizshow51. Again, that’s biggerpockets.com/bizshow51. Now, before we jump into our episode with Nigel, let’s hear a quick word from our awesome sponsor.

J:
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J:
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J:
Thank you so much to our sponsor. Okay. Now without any further ado, let’s jump into our discussion with Nigel Guisinger.

Carol:
Nigel, thank you so much for joining us today. How’s it going?

Nigel:
Hey, I’m doing fantastic, Carol. Thank you very much for having me on. Thanks, J.

J:
Absolutely. Thank you so much for being here. This is going to be a fantastic episode. We’ve been really excited about getting you on the podcast since I met you back, I guess it was the BiggerPockets Conference last September or so, we talked for a little while. And I love your business model. And it makes even more sense now that we are kind of in the midst of this crisis that we’re in the midst of. I’m actually… It’s probably good for us and our listeners that we held off a few months getting you on here, but I’m really excited to have you on.

J:
So just as some backstory for our listeners, can you give us an idea? Where did you come from? How did you kind of get to where you are today and a little bit about what you’re doing today?

Nigel:
Absolutely. Yeah. I grew up in born and raised in Salem, Oregon and my dad was in construction. My mom worked for the local high school. And I was fortunate to also grow up in a family that with my grandparents that had owned their own business. I’d always been an entrepreneur at heart. I knew from the time I was little I wanted to be in business.

Nigel:
My first job was selling rocks on the beach to kids so that they could skip rocks up in the Puget Sound. And my sister was embarrassed when I was seven years old. I knew from the time I was really little that I wanted to own my own business and I wanted to help other people achieve getting their own businesses as well.

Nigel:
Starting after high school or in high school, I went up and got some education, financial education from my dad’s brother, my uncle and my grandma. And so truly got that life experience of almost like that Rich Dad Poor Dad experience where you’ve got one uncle who’s really pushing in business and a dad who’s in construction. Got to take those two skill sets together, went to Oregon State University. Was originally going to be a business degree major. Was sitting in class listening to the professor talk about derivative lending. And I decided, this isn’t for me. I think this could crash the economy. That was 2002, 2008. Derivative lending really screwed up the economy.

Nigel:
So thankfully, I pulled out of that. I ended up getting my degree in German of all things because I was already fluent in German. And so did that, started up a fraternity and because of that, that kind of got me into that mode of anything they can do I can do. So why take something on when I can just start something up? So started up a fraternity that had wanted to get back on campus. We recruited 96 guys in two years and became the third largest house on campus. And from then on, it was all about how to be in business. Outside of school, once I graduated, sold construction equipment for about a decade for two different companies and then decided that I wanted to get into business myself.

Nigel:
The town that I lived in Salem has a suburb called Kaiser. That's where I really grew up. Then Kaiser had a huge project that took out… It was called Kaiser station. It's a big development. And when it happened in 2008, there was a big downturn there and as a result, the city lost a lot of finances which was for their beautification projects for the main part of town because of this new development and it really hurt the community.

Nigel:
And so I kept hearing all my friends say, “Somebody’s got to do something about this. Somebody’s got to do something about this.” Well, eventually somebody has to do that and somebody has to be that person. And I got so fed up that I was working on an apartment rehab project that I have in my best friend said, “This isn’t right. Somebody’s got to do something about it.” And I can remember having drinks and I said, “I’ve heard that line one time too many. Never again. Who’s going to be that somebody? I’m going to be that somebody.” And so I looked online right then and there and found on BizBuySell a business that was up for sale. And I called the business broker right there.

Nigel:
We were sitting at a bar, and I called the business broker and said, “Hey, is this thing for sale?” He says, “Yeah.” I said, “Send me the financials on my iPhone.” While sitting there at the bar, I ended up buying the business and I looked over at my friend and said, “You know what? We’re going to lead from the front.”

J:
So did you have any… Did you have any experience buying businesses? I mean, how did you decide how much am I going to offer and what do I get? And what's the risk? I mean, that's crazy.

Nigel:
Crazy, right? It is, isn’t it? Yeah, no, that’s exactly how American economy works though, right? You’re supposed to go, “We can figure this out. Smart people can figure this out.” So what did I do? No, I hadn’t really had a large experience into it. I mean, I had had some. I take that back. While selling construction equipment, I had a customer of mine who got in some financial hardship. I had some real estate because I’d been saving my money and putting it into real estate.

Nigel:
He got in a bind. I told him, “Let’s use my assets as collateral for your bond. But as a result, I want 25% of the company.” And he did it. This was in 2010. And so after three years of doing that, I now had a business in that glass company. Got up to $20 million a business. I sold that off here about three years ago, but that was literally because I said, “You know what? You need somebody to be there for the collateral. I’ll jump in on that. And so I had some sort of business, where I had my own, but I had a group of mentors behind me that I could tap into for better advice.

Nigel:
And so that’s what I did. I wasn’t the smartest guy. In fact, I’m not ever going to be the smartest guy. I was never a four point student. I wasn’t the guy who’s summa cum laude. I wasn’t the guy who was ever picked first for a baseball team. Heck, I was usually… I was back in ninth. I mean, I’m also involved. I was on our state football championship team for McNary. I’m in the pitcher. But I’m not… I didn’t play. They didn’t win it because of me. I just happened to be there. Right.

Nigel:
So the thing is, is that I take that approach and say, “I don’t have to be the very best.” What I have to is I have to find people who are, tap into them and then grow this thing, because there’s so much opportunity and it’s just… It’s somebody willing to pick it up. Going back to that story on the rocks on the beach, when I came back from that summer camp, my sister like I said, was super embarrassed. And my mom says, “Well, Kendall,” that’s my sister, “Why are you embarrassed?” And she says, “He’s just selling rocks on the beach. They could have just picked those rocks up themselves. They were just skipping rocks into the Puget Sound.”

Nigel:
And my mom said something that’s just absolutely profound but small at the same time, who says, “Yeah, but they didn’t.”

J:
Love it.

Nigel:
I sold rocks on the beach, I went to a summer camp at seven years old and walked home with 100 bucks and a whole bunch of candy and T-shirts and hats and everything that said the summer camp on it, because I picked up a rock on a beach. I’m not the smartest guy. But kids wanted to skip rocks on a beach and they’d give me a quarter for a rock to skip. I took it.

J:
I love that. Okay, let’s go back to this business, because I’m intrigued now. So 2010-ish, you’re sitting in a bar. You’re talking about… Like somebody has to do something. You find this business. Is that the glass business?

Nigel:
No. So this is an appliance business.

J:
Okay.

Nigel:
So I've been rehabbing an apartment complex and I thought hey, this is great, I can do this. And then I looked and said, "There's got to be a better way because I don't want to just be a landlord." So we're talking about this and I'm looking at these appliances. We bought a bunch of appliances, about $16,000 of appliances. And then the next week, I have another complex just down the street and it gets a repair for an appliance, for a dishwasher.

Nigel:
And if anybody owns apartments, you’ll know that you’ve got maintenance and repair and all that. I got a bill to fix a dishwasher for $486 and I lost my mind. I was like, “I can go buy a new one for 300. What the heck?” So I called up the guy who was doing the repair and he’s like, “Well, are you going to pay the bill?” Not like, “Hey, let me look into this.” Not, “Hey, something seems off.” He just says, “Are you going to pay the bill?” And so that prompted me to say, “There’s got to be a better option for who I’m using.” Right.

Nigel:
So then I talked to my buddy who's a contractor and he goes, "There's really nobody who sells to the construction guys and somebody who fixes. There's kind of a disconnect between the two. You can buy big volume at the box store, you can get the mom-and-pop to fix, but if you've got a big rehab project, or you've got a new apartment complex, or you're building new houses, there's a disconnect between those two." And I said, "Bingo, there's our deal." So when we're sitting at the bar, I look up on BizBuy and see that this guy's selling appliances whose wanting to sell. This was a competitor of the guy who I had used, and so I said to my buddy who builds apartments, I said, "Hey, if I sign this deal and buy this, do I have your business?" And I'm kind of smiling because I've got the P&L from this other business. I mean, you can pull that stuff up online from BizBuy.

Nigel:
So he goes, “Yeah, why?” I said, “I want you to shake on it and say that I’ll have your business if we get it.” And I said, “By the way, about how much you guys spend on appliances here for your apartment building?” He says, “Oh, not too much. Maybe about seven figures. Just over a million bucks a year.” I said, “Okay.” I said, “I’ll buy the next round.” He says, “What?” I said, “Just shake on it that I got your business.” He says, “Well, we’ve got existing contracts. It’s going to take about two years to get you into them because I can’t cut the people who are already doing stuff with.” I said, “I totally respect that.”

Nigel:
We signed and we shake on it. And he goes, "Why are you smiling so big?" I said, "Well, because this guy only did $350,000 revenue last year. Thanks for tripling the size of the business before I even bought it." Took four months to buy it. We bought it through an SBA loan. I bought that business for 150,000. In 2017, we did almost $9.5 million of revenue up from the 150,000.

J:
Holy…

Carol:
Oh my gosh.

J:
That’s awesome.

Nigel:
We were Whirlpool’s, fastest growing dealer in the country three years in a row. And we went with a business philosophy called the weak zebra, which is find out who your competition is, rack and stack your customer base based on how much they do, figure out who they’re using, then rack and stack your competition that says here’s the strongest to the weakest, go after market share and take it from the weakest and keep going. And once you’ve taken them and their market share, go on to the next weak zebra.

J:
Okay, say that again. I think I sort of got that. But can you say that again in a little bit slower and smaller words for my brain so that we can really get an idea of this strategy.

Nigel:
Yeah, so if you take your market, any market, doesn’t matter what you do, everybody has competitors. The big fish, the little fish, everywhere in between. Now, just because somebody is a bigger business doesn’t mean that they’re a better business. It just means that they are currently bigger than you are. Now everybody has weaknesses. Some people have logistics issues, some people have personality issues, some people just don’t have it in the right marketing spot.

Nigel:
So what we did was I hired an outside PR person, and what my PR person did was she went to all of the property management companies, all of the home builders, all of the apartment complex manufacturers, all of the nonprofit’s that have housing, all of the people who could buy appliances more than once because you or me, we’re only going to buy a dishwasher in our house every seven to 10 years, right? But the Housing Authority is going to buy one every week. The Union Gospel Mission is helping people get into houses. They need a washing machine every week. There’s some different things that… These can be repeatable customers.

Nigel:
So what I was looking for is not to get that one-off that I’m fighting with the big box store that’s selling appliances in bulk. What I’m looking for is who can I build a relationship with and then this month sell it to them and then next month sell to them and then the next month sell to them and the next month sell. So we have to figure out who those customers are first, right? Well, once we find out who they are, we also need to know who are they using and why?

Nigel:
Well, once I know who the customer is and who they're using, then I can create a business plan of how to get those customers. So based on that, what do I do? It's really simple. I rack and stack them and say, "Okay, well this is the guy who's hardest to get and he runs business even better than I do." I have a competitor in my own town, it hurts to say it, but they're actually better at business than I am. You know why? They've been doing it for 60 years. They have their systems down better, doesn't mean anything against my company and the people who work for me.

Nigel:
I love the people that work for me. I love my clients. I respect my competition. I’d love to take them out, but I hope that through this pandemic that we’re suffering, I hope nobody goes away because I’m a better business person because that competitor exists. And so what we do is we rack and stack them. Now there are some people who are not good at business. We all have competitors that do that. I’m sure some people think that about me. But the facts are is if we can rack and stack and say, “Here’s where the customer base is, here’s where my company is, here’s these other ones that aren’t doing as well.”

Nigel:
And to be honest, the customer deserves better. They get… They need either a better price, they need better service, they need better quality, they need better response time, whatever it is. And so figure out where you’re stronger than somebody else, find out where those people are weak and attack that competitor that way. And so we actually had an Excel spreadsheet and it was color coded. There was like 13 different appliance servicers and dealers in our city. We knew exactly who every property management company was using, every builder who they were using and why. And we knew what was their reasoning. Was it price? Was it…

Nigel:
So now when we went after those customers, what did we do? It was really simple. We just simply gave them what they were looking for. Because some guys are price. Some guys are service. Some people are, “I want it now.” Some people are, “Hey, I want the aesthetic of the showroom to be better than what I’ve got.” Some people just want to go out and have a drink with you. Some people… There’s all sorts of reasons that people do business with other people. And so what I found was, if I knew the why, I could give them the why that they wanted, not necessarily the why I was trying to sell. That’s what I did.

J:
That’s awesome. So let me summarize this. Make sure I heard this correct. So basically, step one, figure out who your customers are. And you did that by hiring outside PR people who could do local marketing to businesses and not just any customers, you focused on those customers who are repeat buyers, which is really smart if you think about it. I mean, you find a repeat buyer and you’re marketing to them once, maybe twice to get them to keep coming back.

J:
You go after those one-off customers, you have to keep that marketing machine going because you’re constantly finding new customers. So step one is finding these repeat customers. Step two, figuring out who they’re using for their services, who your competitors are and kind of rank them top to bottom who the best ones are to the worst ones are so you really understand who your competitors are. Step three, figure out what your competitive advantages compared to those competitors. So how can you do things better? What do you do better? What resources do you have? What knowledge or expertise that you have that you can really outshine those competitors?

J:
And then step four, within that framework of who your customers are, who the competitors are, what your competitive advantage is, figure out how you can offer a better service to those specific customers than those specific competitors can’t. Is that about right?

Nigel:
That’s exactly it.

J:
Okay.

Nigel:
And like I said, we call it the weak zebra because lions, they don’t go attack the herd, the entire herd. They go and find the weakest one first and they eat that one up and as a result, the herd stronger, the lion’s stronger. We consider ourselves attack dogs. We want to be aggressive, not reckless but aggressive. And so as a result, what do we want to be? We want to be that hungry lion. And we want to take out that weak zebra.

Carol:
That’s awesome. And it sounds like you’re not only being that hungry lion and attacking and going after this strategy hardcore, it sounds like you’re balancing it really nicely by custom tailoring your approach for every one of your customers based on what they want and need. You’re not just blasting out there, just saying, “This is what we’ve got. This is how we’re going to make this happen.” You’re really tuning in to listen and give them the best thing that resonates most with them.

Nigel:
That’s exactly… And there’s a compassionate aspect to this too that people need to have. So like, you’re going to knock out competitors. It’s going to happen as a result if you do this strategy. You have to have the mercy on the backside too. So those same guys who sold me a dishwasher that I got so upset about, oh, trust me, I went after their business. In a year and a half ago, they were wrapped up. You know what I did before they were wrapped up? I offered every single one of those people in that company a job, including the owner.

Nigel:
And I said, “You know what? You guys are actually better at appliance repair than I am. Your techs are better than me. You guys have really bad customer service. Why don’t you come work for us? Why don’t you guys be the techs, and why don’t we make sure that now you can do what you need, but you’ve got some fulfillment issues that we can do because we have the logistics that you guys don’t.” And this guy actually ended up making more money working for me. He still works for me today. I mean, we’ve had all these different things with people getting furloughed and all this.

Nigel:
All of the service techs that came over, guess what? They’re all still working. Every one of them. They’re still doing repairs. They’re doing repairs right now.

J:
I love that. So you’re basically… You’re being honest with yourself. You’re saying, “Hey, this is what I’m really good at. I’m really good at the marketing. I’m really good at running the business. I’m really good at reducing expenses,” whatever it is that you’re really good at. And then you’re saying, “Here are the things I’m not so good at. I’m not good at actually fixing appliances.” But here we have somebody that’s actually been running this business for five years or 50 years, who is really good at that. Why not let them keep doing that? Let them do what they’re really good at. Let them do that thing that allowed that business to be in business for five or 10 or 50 years, while you improve the business by doing what you’re really good at, basically, just that complimentary skills.

Nigel:
Here’s a little secret. I can’t actually install a dishwasher. I don’t know how to do that. My company last year worked with 18,000 customers and I don’t know how to install a dishwasher. I actually don’t know how to do that. Like if I want to go do a dishwasher, I’d have to go YouTube it. I don’t know how. However, I’ve got a dozen people who know how and I know that if I need to install a dishwasher, I can call David who works for me, who worked for those other guys and David can get dishwasher in 15 minutes. So why would I go do it?

J:
Love it. Love it.

Nigel:
Because I can pay him and he’s amazing. And I’m so grateful that this happened and he is too because now he doesn’t have the headaches on the risk. And he’s making more money.

J:
Yep. And we talk about that a lot in the show. Carol, and I talked about that a lot in our real estate investing business. I know there are a lot of real estate investors out there. But we flipped 400 plus houses. And Carol will tell you, I still can’t change a light bulb.

Carol:
And he doesn’t. Why? And just like you, why would he? He could call a guy who can have it done quicker and simpler and easier than he could even mess with it.

J:
Yep.

Nigel:
That’s right.

J:
So Love it. Love it.

Nigel:
Okay. And I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for people. I found appliances, but there are so many opportunities for so many people right now. This market is absolutely primed for the picking. And it’s going to be amazing going forward.

J:
Okay, so this was your first business, but you’ve bought and built a bunch of businesses since. And I love your business model. You have a very… I don’t want to call it unique because you’re probably not the only person that’s doing it, but it’s unique enough that I hadn’t thought of it or seen it before. Can you talk to us a little bit about what kind of your strategy for businesses are and investing is and what kind of niche you’ve kind of built over the last decade?

Nigel:
Absolutely. So my wheelhouse is I love businesses where you’ve got an owner who wants to retire. So let me step back just a hair. Ten years ago… Well, it’s now been about 15 years ago, I was sitting in a dentist office and if somebody that’s listening can find this article, please, please, please send it to me, I would love to mount this thing on my wall. There’s an AARP magazine article in a dentist office that I read and it said that with… They were talking about baby boomers and retiring. Of course, they did because it’s AARP magazine. And what they said was, “90% of businesses have no succession plan whatsoever where there’s an employee that can take the business.”

Nigel:
And they were talking specifically about businesses that had a gross revenue of one to 10 million with a 10% EBITDA, which means these are $100,000 a year people minimum, that 90% of them have no way to sell the business, give the business to an employee or anything if they don’t do some sort of seller finance.

Nigel:
How sad is that? So then it got me looking into some data. And here’s some just real basic analytics. Last year 360,000 businesses wrapped up. Only 32,000 EIN numbers were acquired by other companies. That means that 328,000 businesses last year were wrapped up.

J:
Wow.

Nigel:
So when we look at this, there’s so much opportunity that it’s there. It’s there for the picking, right? So when I was reading this magazine, I’m saying, “Wait a second.” So you’ve got a whole bunch of sellers? You have nobody who wants to buy right now. And so there are three things you can negotiate in any deal, no matter if it’s a business, or if it’s the can of soda pop that you’re going to drink. There is price, there is rate and there is duration.

Nigel:
Now normally, when somebody buys something, a piece of real estate or a business, they negotiate the buy price with the seller and they negotiate the rate and the duration with the bank. Now in businesses, it’s not that way. You take the gloves off and you say, “Hey, wait a second. I’m going to negotiate the price, the rate and the duration,” because in many cases, the business owner owns the business with no debt or has minimal amounts of debt or also owns the real estate that the business holds.

Nigel:
Now, bring in that type of thought process with the SBA that exists. You can go buy a business with 10% down on a business. So the example that I’ll give is the real life example of what I bought for another appliance store. See, because I bought the first one and I thought, you know what? Why don’t I create a network of… Create a regional appliance store, where we’ve got five or six or seven different locations and we can send product from one location to another, we can have some synergies between our delivery staff, our service staff and we can have a few salespeople and if somebody’s sick, I can move them from one store to another. This helps out just on a cost basis, right. So I find an appliance store that’s based in Sherwood Oregon, and the people own the land and they own the business.

Nigel:
Now they’re hitting the senior end of their career and they want to retire. And so they say, “You know what? We want to sell but we don’t want to get all the money now.” So what do we do? So we came up with a really creative solution. What if I use the SBA to buy the business and they get all the cash for the business. So they’re all paid out, and they carry the debt on the land 100%. Now, that doesn’t sound like a big deal for most people, but let’s go into some of the numbers. And these are the real numbers. We bought the whole thing for $1.8 million.

Nigel:
That’s the land and the business. We decided that the business was worth approximately $500,000. So they would get $500,000 and then they’d carry a note on 1.3 million for the land. On that 500,000, I needed to come up with 50,000 because the SBA gave me $450,000. That means that for a $1.8 million acquisition, I spent $50,000 of my own money. This was a positive cash flowing business. It still exists today. It’s open if somebody needs appliances, come on in. We’re in Sherwood. We’d love to help you. It still exists.

Nigel:
Now, here’s the kicker. I bought that in 2015. We are going through some refinance, just like a lot of smart people are doing right now. You should be looking at that if you own a business, own land, see where your costs are. We got a $3.2 million valuation on that land.

J:
Wow.

Nigel:
So now the business, I’ve got the debt service paid down. We’ve been paying that for the last four and a half years. So we’ve got that debt service down by a couple hundred thousand. The business has paid itself off. And that $50,000 equates to almost $1.4 million of asset value. So the question is this, why are more people not doing this? It’s not because I’m smarter than anybody else. Because like I say, I’m the guy who’s picked last in sports. I’m not the smartest in the room. What I found is that there are so many opportunities and nobody’s asking the simple question, what do they want?

Nigel:
You know what these owners wanted? They wanted an annuity. They wanted to get revenue every month. They wanted a shot in the arm, which is what the SBA loan gave them and then they got paid $10,000 a month on that land for three years until we refinanced it. And that’s what they did. It was the greatest thing for both people. They mitigated tax expense because they didn’t take $1.8 million in all one year, they were able to maneuver this thing. So everybody benefited, because we negotiate a price rate and duration and all three are equally as important.

Nigel:
And so what I’d love to see is people today, that are listening, I’d love to see people get creative about this. Because ultimately, we’re going to have to rebuild this economy and it’s going to come on the backs of people who are smart enough to figure it out. And there are millions of businesses. There’s 25 million businesses, 7.7 million of them employ two people or more in this country. There’s so much opportunity. Right now, our government is literally giving away money to people to keep businesses and keep people employed. Why not grab it? It’s there. There’s people who want to walk out of business. We have 200,000 people last year that graduated with MBAs in this country on an average debt service of $250,000.

Nigel:
We have 328,000 businesses that didn’t get acquired last year. Why don’t we just match up the 200,000 people who are walking out with an MBA and the 328,000, who are going to shut down and give it away for nothing, and go like this, “Oh, hey, lo and behold.” We don’t have businesses just getting killed. Because small street, main street is as important or more important to me than Wall Street. I don’t care what the CEO of Boeing made when everybody was fighting this out. What I care about is how do we preserve every business? How do I preserve that bakery that we shop? How do I preserve that small sewing machine repair company? How do I save the little tax guy. How do I save these small businesses, because between the 7.7 million of us small businesses, we are as important or as viable and more important to Main Street because we represent 64% of the people who actually work in this country.

Nigel:
And we represent 61.8% of the new employees that are created annually in this country, because the back of this country was built on small business. It wasn’t built on Wall Street. And so my stance is why am I here today? And I’m so blessed to be here with you guys is one thing and one thing only. I want to see us come back and I want to see us rocket. And I believe that we can. And I think it’s not going to happen by one company taking a million steps, it’s going to happen because 7.7 million business owners say, “You know what? Not today, we’re taking one more step than we should have. We just need one more step.”

Nigel:
And if we do that, as a country, it’s going to be amazing. We’re going to see a change as this thing comes out and I’m so jacked, because I know that we are going to see huge changes. We’ve already seen it socially change in our country. Nobody’s complaining about what bathroom to use right now. It’s the one with the toilet paper. So you know who’s going to solve that? The small mom-and-pop. That’s what’s going to solve.

J:
Yeah, I need to tell a little story here just to reinforce this because you were absolutely correct. And I never shy away from talking about my mistakes. So a bunch of years ago I started a company. A company went well for a little while, but turns out that our costs were way too high. We were designing and building a product, our margins were low. And after a couple years, we basically had to give up. We shut the business down.

J:
Looking back, there was no reason why we needed to shut the business down. We weren’t generating the profits or the margins that made the business worth it for us. But, it was a mildly profitable business, it was profitable enough that I guarantee you there are people out there that would have been thrilled to own this business. They probably could have held on for a few years as technology costs came down and if they were better at optimizing certain types of supply chains than I was, they probably could have made it a really profitable business.

J:
So we shut this business down without even trying to sell it. And I know there are all these people out there that think well, why would an owner sell us a business at practically nothing? Why would an owner be willing to basically hand us our business? Well, let me tell you something. Six years ago, I shut down a business that I would have been thrilled to sell for 50K or 100K or 200K on terms, I would have taken a no money down offer from another business owner who came in and said, “Let me just give you 10% of our profits for the next 10 years.”

J:
I would have taken anything because I shut that business down and took nothing, even $10. Somebody comes in and says, “I’ll give you $10 for your business,” I would have made $10 more. And so that goes to exactly what you were saying, 90% of these business owners don’t realize and I think I’m pretty good at this. And still, I walked away from this business without giving it a second thought. 90% of business owners think about it even less than I do. You catch them when they’re ready to walk away, and they’re going to be happy to hand you the keys to their business because they’re going to make something as opposed to nothing. So I wish I would have talked to you six, seven years ago because I would have made a whole lot more money. Everybody needs to listen to this.

Nigel:
Well my stance is this, I believe that right now we have an opportunity to grow. I mean, as a country, there’s never been a greater time than right now. I mean, this isn’t some sort of movement that’s going to happen. This is the moment. I mean, if you want to know you, you’re going to go back 20 years, 30 years, 100 years from now, your kids, your grandkids are going to go, “Hey, what did you do in April of 2020?” Because in April 2020, we as a country have a decision. Are we going to step up and say, “Hey, you know what? We’re going to go and we’re not going to let any business go behind.” And we’re going to make sure that the ones that the people are tired and beat up because emotionally, it’s tough.

Nigel:
I mean, I’d be lying if I said that last night I didn’t come home and cry. Because I love people who work for me and I’ve got to make tough decisions. I did. It’s hard. And this is the real talk of how business goes and a lot of guys or women, please don’t take it wrong if I use the word guys, it’s just the colloquialism I use, but a lot of folks that are business owners, this is not easy. It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s so hard that people don’t try it because they’re scared. And people give up too early.

Nigel:
And the reason that we shouldn't give up is because there's so much opportunity right now. The amount of opportunity that we have is ridiculous. And right now we have the government literally giving small businesses loans. And don't be surprised if you see debt forgiveness on it for some of this stuff. I mean, you're never going to mitigate the risk 100%. So jump in, because if you don't, what do you got to lose? I mean, if you're going to go broke, you might as well go for it. Swing for the fence.

J:
So let’s talk actionable here for a second. So let’s say you’ve convinced me and you have convinced me that I need to go out today and buy a business. And now maybe it’s a business like you said, where there’s the business and the underlying land, which we kind of skipped over this, which… This was another amazing tip here, which is literally, if you buy a business where the owner owns the land underneath, you’ve now purchased two independent assets that you can grow independently.

J:
You can grow the business, you can allow the land underneath it to grow and appreciate and at some point, you can sell the business and keep the land, you can sell the land and keep the business. You can keep both the land and the business. If you sell the business, now you have a tenant that’s… The new owner of the business is going to come in, he becomes your tenant. As long as the business is successful, he’s going to be paying you your rent on the land. I mean, amazing, amazing strategy there.

J:
Now let me ask you a question, though. Actionable. I’m ready to do this today. Our listeners are ready to do this today. How do we find that business or those five businesses that we can do this with?

Nigel:
Absolutely. A couple different ways. Number one, I mean, we all have to be quarantined. That doesn’t mean you can’t go take a drive down your street, right? Go by the businesses of the people who are baby boomers that you think, “Hey, these guys might be tired.” It’s not hard. Right now, a bunch of these businesses aren’t open. So drive by and see which ones aren’t open, see which ones are open and just call them. “Hey, I’ve been a customer of yours for 20 years. Been a customer of yours for two weeks. Hey, I see this is something, can you tell me about your business?”

Nigel:
I’m yet to ever find a business owner who’s not passionate about what they own. I’ve never found a guy who goes, “I’ve had this plumbing company for 32 years, and you know what? To heck with it.” They’re not there. They’re like, “Hey, I built this from the ground up. And that toilet back there, I fixed 43 times.” Everybody talks about because they’re passionate about what they’ve done. It’s what people have sunk their lives into. And so go in and find somebody who is tired, because there’s a lot of people that are tired and inject that energy to them.

Nigel:
Inject that energy and say, “So what can I do to make sure that we come back together?” We’ve all closed down. How do I make this so that the comeback is that you’ve got a shot of energy in you, because you’ve got the know how and I got the energy. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to give a shot of my energy into your know how, and you’re going to get a shot of your know how into my energy, and together we’re going to forge this because you know what? No business employer that I know of doesn’t have compassion for their employees.

Nigel:
Nobody wants it. When you wrapped up your business, I guarantee the thing that was on your mind the most was, to the people who work for me, is this right? Should I stick around a little bit longer for my people? Because everybody who has compassion had that in their head. How do I take care of my people? That’s what I cared about the most whenever I had to do something this last week. So by walking in and seeing those owners and saying, “Hey, how do I keep your people employed? How do I keep this thing going?” That’s what it is.

J:
That’s awesome. And so basically, what I’m hearing is we’re all sitting here thinking, okay, we’re going to go and we’re going to offer the owner money because that’s what the owner wants. We do the same thing in real estate, we always think the only thing to offer to a seller is money. That’s all they care about. But we know that there are problems that people have when they’re selling real estate or selling a business. And one of the big ones is this continuity, and we don’t think about that, but there are a lot of owners out there who would probably be happy to say, “Take my business or take it for a really small amount. All I ask in return is that you keep paying my employees, you keep the business going, because this is my legacy.”

J:
This is not… To a lot of business owners, this is emotional. And they want to see that their business lives on. They want to see maybe their names on the business, or maybe these are employees they’ve had for 20 years, and they want to see that live on. This is a legacy for them as much as it is a financial windfall. Again, a lot of business owners, they’ll take $10 because it’s 10 more than they would have made but if you promise the continuity, you’re offering something that they otherwise could not have.

Nigel:
That’s exactly it. I have never had an owner… I’ve bought… So we bought out I think nine appliance stores, I’ve bought a laundry mat, I bought a glass company, I started up a home building company. I have never had an opposing owner say the most important thing was the money. It’s always been, “So hey, so and so, I brought him on four years ago because they had a drug problem and watch this person because I care about him. And I gave them a chance, make sure that you protect this person.” “Hey, this person is a single mom and she’s really fought it out. She’s a hard worker. And all she needs is somebody to let her come in at 8:15 instead of 8:00, because she’s got to take her boys to school.”

Nigel:
This is what people actually care about. We get into all this business talk about all these different analytics and all that and we can get into it, but it really comes down to an emotional connection. And how can you serve your employees and how can you serve the sellers employees, because that’s what they care about. I have yet to ever have one say, “You know what? Here’s the check, write it to me. To heck with it. I’m out.” Everybody says, “Hey, how do I take… This person I go to church with and I care about them. Make sure you protect them.” Every single business that I’ve ever bought, has had that story. And those are very, very real examples. And if my employees are listening, they know exactly who I was just talking about.

Carol:
Awesome. Okay, so the next step. I’m sorry, I’m a little emotional here, these are very… Especially right now with everything that’s going on in. We’re all just like you said earlier, society is changing so massively. We’re all connecting in new and different ways than we have before. It’s just I think, makes all of this so massively relevant right now. So thank you for sharing these great examples. So let’s see. You go ahead and you identify what that potential business might be. So will you take us through the next step, Nigel? Now that you’ve found it, how do you negotiate those terms; the duration, the price and so on? How do you know how much to offer? How do you know what to ask for? What is that next step?

Nigel:
So the first and foremost most important thing is straight up cash flow. How much does this business cash flow? And these are the important words to know; as is, how is, where is. So as it sits, how it is, where it sits, how do I make sure that this business cash flow so that I can give you as the investor and the buyer of this business as it sits now, assuming that I don’t improve it at all? How can I make sure that you get the most amount of cash if you’re going to carry some of this note as a creative finance solution?

Nigel:
So based off of that, if we know what the cash flow is, we can reverse engineer what the monthly payments can be. Once we figure out what the monthly payments can be, we can then adjust what the price, the rate and the duration are. If you just get into a simple Google loan calculator, you can figure it out based on what it is. Now you need to retain some of that profitability for a safety net and as a new business owner, you’re going to have some hiccups that are going to dip down. So there’s some risk tolerance, but you’re also going to have some new ideas that are going to put this thing on steroids and jack it up as well.

Nigel:
So you’ve got to find where that happy medium is. And once you find that happy medium, you just hit that price. I always offer as is, how is, where is, that it’s got to finance based on that. So we can negotiate the rate, we can negotiate the price, we can negotiate the terms. And we just maneuver this so that it works for everybody. What I want is I want that business owner to win. I want to win I want the employees to win. I want everybody to win. My goal, most of all with all of this and why I wanted to be on here specifically this week is I believe that we cannot leave a single business behind. Not one.

J:
I love that. And so just to kind of reiterate this because again, we have a lot of real estate investors out there who might think in terms of real estate, in the real estate world, if I’m going to go buy an apartment building let’s say, there’s always this struggle between what the seller thinks it’s worth and what the buyer thinks it’s worth. And the seller is thinking about, well, next year when you do some renovations and you raise the rents and you get better tenants in, it’s going to be worth X. And you as the buyer, you think, well based on the amount of renovations you have today and the amount of rent that’s bringing in and the occupancy today, this is what it’s worth today.

J:
And when you say as is, how is, where is you’re essentially talking about what the situation is today. And so you’re not going to be paying again, in the real estate world, you’re not paying an owner what you’re building is going to be generating in rent next year, you’re paying based on what it’s generating today. So if I find a business, and I find out that the cash flow and the cash flow is basically your profit, like after all your expenses are paid, at the end of the day before taxes, this is how much money you’re bringing in. Let’s say you have a business that’s bringing in $20,000 a month, you’re now thinking, okay, I know this business is bringing in $20,000 a month, I want to take some of that home as my profit. But then there’s going to be some of that that’s leftover that I can then use to pay be paying the owner, the seller financing. I’ve been using that to pay off the business.

J:
So if you know a business is generating 20,000 a month, maybe you’re saying, “Okay, I want half of that for me. I want half of that as my cash flow for the work I’m doing, for the business I’m building and then I’m willing to take the other half, let’s say 10,000 and give that to the business owner.” And so maybe that’s 10,000 a month now. Over a year, that’s $120,000 a year and I want to pay 360,000 for this business. I’m going to do that for the next three years. Is that kind of how you’re thinking it?

Nigel:
That’s exactly it. And usually what I do is I say, “Well, what if we carried this through and what were you making before? What were you keeping yourself? What were you reinjecting back in? And how do we get the number that you need?” So now we know what cash flow is and now we know what number they need. Now we can fix price and we can fix rate and we can fix terms based on that.

J:
That’s awesome. I absolutely-

Nigel:
As is, how is, where is. Because we don’t need to pay for blue sky. And this might sound harsh, but the facts are is I shouldn’t pay somebody else for my efforts. I should pay me for my efforts. And that owner should also respect in the fact that if they want this to continue on, they need me to be profitable. That doesn’t mean take advantage of that buyer or take advantage of that seller from either side. I never want to beat up the seller of the business, because they’re carrying the know. We’re in this together. This isn’t a me versus them. This is a me and them. If they’re carrying on this, and we’re doing creative solution financing, where they’re carrying the land and I got the SBA loan, why would I want to beat them up?

Nigel:
I want to take care of these people. These are my partners in this. And so, I can get into a business that I don’t necessarily know everything about because they have the expertise. The one caveat on every single deal I’ve cut is that I have to deliver the checks to them personally every month. I do that because those people ask me, “Hey, what’s going on in the business this week? Hey, this is the problem. Here’s what’s going on. Here’s what I’ve got.” You know what they want to do? They’ve been in the game for 30 years. They want back in. They don’t want the headaches, but they want to solve that solution. They want that drop of dopamine in their brain that goes, “Hey, I just solved this.”

Nigel:
I’ve got my very favorite people in the world that carried on this Sherwood deal. I talk to them every month. They’re smarter than me. They’re way better at appliances than me. And when I need advice, you know what I do? I call Tom and Carol. That’s their names. And they’re amazing. And I drop off the check for the land. I drop that off in their living room and we sit down and we have a soda pop or a beer at lunchtime. And Carol’s an amazing cook and she’ll make something and I’ll have some brownies. I walk out of there three pounds heavier than I should, but I’m smarter because of it. Because they have 30 plus years of experience and while they’re tired, they’re still passionate about their people.

Nigel:
And so when I have to make that tough decision they can make it for me.

J:
The funny thing is you’re walking into their living room hand delivering a check. They feel like you’re doing them a favor. Your hand delivering them a check. You’re giving them their money. You’re making sure they get paid. They’re like, “Wow, this guy’s great. He’s literally coming into our living room.”

J:
And meanwhile, you’re sitting there thinking, no, they’re doing me a favor, I get to go stand in their living room and talk to these people that ran this business for however many years, that know part of this business better than you ever will and they’re going to sit there. They’re basically free consultants. And they’re thanking you for it, because you’re hand delivering them a check.

Nigel:
And not just really consultants, they’re passionate consultants. I mean, they’re absolutely passionate. They have a stake in the game to know this thing’s going to succeed. They’re my best PR people. They don’t even live in the town anymore. They live about an hour and a half drive south. I post something on Facebook for our business and the first person who will like it every single time is going to be Carol Vincent, I guarantee it. And why?

Carol:
That’s awesome.

Nigel:
Because she cares. She cares. And we just refinanced the property out. And the one caveat that she said when we pay them out because we refinanced the land because we did get a heck of a deal and they had some health issues that that said, “Hey, here’s what we’re going to do…” I don’t want to get into that. But we refinance out because it was in best case for everybody.

Nigel:
And when she did, she says, “Here’s the one caveat. I’ll sign this to do this, because we want to do this, but you still have to come by once a month. You don’t get to not come by on the 17th of the month.” And I’m like, “Please. You guys know how to navigate this better than me.” Because they were there in ’08. They were there in ’87. They were there in ’72. They’ve done it. And they’re way better at it than me. And so, the one thing that I will say is when I came into business as a young guy, I was probably the most arrogant, cocky, ruthless go at it type of guy. The last few years, my shift has changed 100%. And I care more about that relationship. I know that if I went broke tomorrow, 365 days from now, I’m still sitting seven figures, because I can figure it out.

Nigel:
And I believe that anybody can do it. I’m not any smarter than anybody else. I have one skill that’s stronger than anybody else and that is I am relentless. I am absolutely relentless. And I believe in this economy, I believe that we’re going to come back. And I believe that the people who are listening to right now can go make it happen. And I believe that they can be relentless. We just have to go and we just have to fight and have to go and have to go and have to go.

J:
I love it. Yeah, we are definitely a situation these days where there’s a lot of opportunity to find these and we call them sellers, but what they are is they’re partners. We can go and we can find these partners, these people that are looking for a solution for their business problem. And that solution is you being able to give them an annuity. Monthly cash that you’re paying them for their business, to give them continuity, to give them… Paying them every month to the land underneath their property. Basically, you’re helping them, they’re helping you and together, you’re helping all of your customers and their employees.

Nigel:
Yep. Yeah, and that’s exactly where we need to be. I mean, we’re going rebuild this thing back up in 30, 60, 90 days. There’s going to be people who are tired. They’re going to be people who say, “How much more risk do I need to take?” And so what I’d ask everybody who’s listening right now, find that business that in 30 days doesn’t reopen. That people say, “You know what? I’m just tired.” Call them up. Get on LinkedIn, get on Instagram, get on Facebook, find out where these people are. Go to the Chamber of Commerce, find out where they are and don’t leave one single business behind without saying, “Hey, how do I resurrect this? How do I build this?”

Nigel:
Because if it existed 90 days ago, it’ll exist 190 days from now. We just have to look and say, “How do we retain that as country? And there’s so much opportunity. With the real estate market doing what it is? There’s a lot of risk in that. What if people don’t pay right? Well, why don’t we control the variables we can? Why don’t we build back our towns, one small business at a time? Start with it. Anybody who’s listening right now should have no excuse why they don’t get on BizBuySell.com or just swing by one of the businesses that they had, look them up and say, “Hey, you know what? XYZ, a mom-and-pop business, I care about you, I want to make sure you make it through. And if you’re too tired to do it, here’s my back. Ride on me.”

J:
I love it. And let me put something else out, and I assume that this is probably purposeful and I'll let you talk about this some more. And maybe it's probably obvious to you, which is why you didn't mention it but it's probably not obvious to a lot of us, the types of businesses that you mentioned, laundromat, appliance repair, glass, these are all businesses that are recession proof.

Nigel:
Service industries-

J:
They’re service industries, and the recession proof. And these are businesses that if you’re buying today, it doesn’t matter if six months from now we recover and the economy is fantastic and then the Dow is at 30,000 again, or if six months from now, unemployment still at 8% and the stock market is down and real estate values are down. It doesn’t matter. These are the types of businesses that are going to do well throughout any phase of the economic cycle.

J:
And so it just adds an extra layer of protection. Is that something you’ve kind of purposely focused on or is that just kind of how-

Nigel:
Absolutely.

J:
Okay.

Nigel:
So I have a super huge passion. I think our education systems kind of flawed personally. And I think that we’ve overvalued… Like I said, I got my degree in German. After high school for a year, I was junior ambassador to the US Congress and spent a year and a half in Germany. They have a different education system than us. And I see the same thing that Robert Kiyosaki talks about is that our education, we have a lot of schooling but not a lot of educated people. And the problem is, is right now that blue collar job, that’s important. There’s nothing to shy out of that plumber who’s making 85,000 a year. Because a lot of plumbers are making 85,000.

Nigel:
Here’s the thing, with the glazing company, when I sold out, we had 150 employees and over 100 of them made six figures a year. We didn’t have 25 of those guys that had graduated college. We didn’t have 50 of those guys that had gone to college. These are union glazers that were making 100,000 bucks a year, putting in storefront window, recession proof. Because the facts are is that bank still needs windows, that skyscraper still needs windows, that Applebee’s, that whatever you’ve got, they need windows.

Nigel:
So we have to put them in storefront windows, it was there. But too many people say, “I need to go school. I need to do this.” And so they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this education, to go get a Bachelor of Arts in whatever studies that they’ve got. They’ve got $200,000 in debt and then they owe 30,000… They make $35,000 a year. And then they’re snickering at the guy who’s a union guy who’s making 85,000 bucks a year putting in Windows, or my service techs that are making 20, 25, 30 bucks an hour as a service tech fixing appliances today that are working today while, those guys that have their bachelor’s have $200,000 of debt or $100,000 of debt, leaving their non-essential job at 40,000 bucks a year.

Nigel:
We’ve got it wrong because it doesn’t look like those guys are successful in the eyes of Instagram. I don’t care what Instagram says. I wear a baseball hat and a polo shirt most of the time. I don’t care. I drive a Toyota Corolla with a crack in the windshield. I don’t need Instagram to know who I am or what I am. You know who I want to know? I want the banker. When I walk to the bank, I want the small local banker, the guy who’s the president of that bank to stand up and go, “Mr. Guisinger, it’s good to see you today.”

Nigel:
I don’t care if somebody recognizes me at the bar or off of this feed or anywhere else. What I care is that John Wilburn, who’s the president of Pioneer Trust knows who I am. That the guys at Willamette Valley Bank, my local bank know who I am. That’s what’s important. That the guys at Willamette Community Bank know who I am. See, I build relationships with the small banks, because those are the guys that are going to be there. It’s not going to be JP Morgan, Chase. Jamie Diamond at Chase is never going to take a call from me. He’s the CEO of that bank. But John Wilburn, at Pioneer Trust if I called him right now on this podcast, he’d pick up in two rings. That’s what you want. That’s the relationship, because business is ultimately about relationships.

Nigel:
And for so long, we’ve skewed this to say it’s about the flash and the cash. It’s not. It’s about how do I fix one washing machine at a time? How do I make it so that when… The biggest story I can say about my industry, to this is that I had a gal call on just before Thanksgiving with a broken range. And her issue was, it wasn’t about the range at all. She broke down and starts crying and says, “You know what? This isn’t about dinner. This isn’t about this. It’s that my mother-in-law is going to be here tomorrow and for 30 years, she’s thought that I wasn’t a good enough wife.”

Nigel:
So what did I do? It was six o’clock at night and I by myself delivered a stove. I don’t know how to install a stove. I learned. I literally YouTube how to put this thing together as the owner to company. But I couldn’t let this go because this wasn’t about the stove. This gals breaking down because it’s not about the stove. It’s not about any of that. It’s about the relationship behind it and that she wanted to prove, hey, I’m a good enough wife for my husband and to my mother-in-law. And so there’s so many of those small stories and we miss this. This is so much more important than the marketing, than anything else. This is what we have. And this is what small business is built on. And I can’t build back the economy by myself. What I need is I need 7 million people to come with me and say, “We’re going to take one more step.”

Carol:
I love this. There are so many amazing stories in here. So many good nuggets. So many… I mean, it’s not about the flash and the cash and the I don’t care about Instagram knowing me, I care about my small local banker knowing me. There’s just so many powerful messages throughout all of this. So what’s next for you? I can’t even begin to imagine. You’ve done so many amazing things. What is next for Nigel?

Nigel:
I don’t know. To be honest, I’m trying to grow and build this back. What I’m really passionate about in fact, I called and got to talk to my state representative last week and said my passion is one thing right now. It is I want to make sure that as we come out of this, that we don’t leave one business behind, not one. I don’t want to lose a single business. And I don’t want to see any of these 360,000 businesses that wrapped up last year just wrap up. I want to see 200,000 MBA students that graduate, come in and take these businesses. I want to see businesses be built where we have the relationship first and that we actually care about our employees. And what I’ve done here in the last week, if you’d asked me this two weeks ago, I would have said, “Hey, I’m just going to grow my business and do me.”

Nigel:
But in the last two weeks, I’ve probably had 500 people call me and says, “Hey, how do I navigate this shift? How do I navigate through the CARES Act? How do I navigate through SBA? How do I navigate through this growth?” And so one of my buddies who has a company called All The Leads, his name’s Chad Corbett, he says, “What we’re in now is we’re not in a small economy anymore. We’re in a professional market. We need professionals to come in. SBA graduates to come in and fix this thing, one business owner at a time and step up our game.”

Nigel:
And so he and I started and we just launched it, it's a website called the yoursmallbusinesshub.com. And what we're going to do is we're going to just give out advice of how to buy businesses, how to purchase businesses, creative financing, some mentorship, some consulting, how to navigate the CARES process. We're not trying to generate revenue, what we want is we want to retain every business. My passion is I don't want to see anybody go behind. Even the competitors who I was dog-fighting out with three weeks ago, I want to fight them again. I don't want to see them lose to this. I don't want to knock them out. I don't want that weak zebra to die because of hunger. I want it because I as a lion, I'm going to go attack and take them out. I don't want them to die of famine. And right now, what's that mean? It means that I got to prop them up.

Nigel:
And so I believe that we all need to prop up businesses right now. And we need to start locally. And this is going to happen one person in your town today, saying, “You know what? Not today, this far no further.”

J:
I love it. Absolutely love it. Okay. Before we jump into the four more segment of the show, I want you to leave us with a call-to-action. For all of our listeners out there who are listening to this and thinking, I’m excited, I’m inspired, I am ready to go be one of those seven million that’s going to buy a small business and grow a small business. And I want to do it tomorrow. Give us a call-to-action.

Nigel:
Perfect. Okay, here’s the call. What I want you to do tomorrow is I want you to list three businesses, write them out, find out those businesses in your town, find the businesses that are owned by somebody who’s a baby boomer, and I want you to actually make contact with them. I want you to call them up and just say, “Hey, how’s your business doing? How can I support you? Are you thinking about wrapping it up? And if so, how can I stop that from happening? What support, can I give you? Not economic? Hey, how can I go buy a gift card at your restaurant? I mean, how can I partner with you?”

Nigel:
I want you to call three businesses. I want you to find out who the owners are. I want you to actually make contact with them. I want you to have meaningful conversation with them and I want you to ask them, what do they need, so that together, you and them 365 days from now, are kicking butt and taking names. And that that business is thriving. And so you need to call three, two of them are going to tell you to pound sand. One of them is going to say, “You know what? Let’s do this.” And if all three of them say to heck with it, you know what you need to do? Call three more, and then call three more, and call three more, until you get one person who says, “You know what? I’m tired. I don’t have the energy to do this back, but I like your spunk and we’re going to do this together.”

Nigel:
So what’s the action step? Before you go back to work and people are laid off right now, listen to this, before you go back to work, you better find somebody. Because they are ample businesses. And social media is amazing, we can get on Facebook. We get on LinkedIn, we can get on Instagram, you can find who these people are. If you Google my name, I guarantee you’ll be able to find my home address. Drive to their house, hold up a note like Love Actually, “Hey, I loved your business. Can I buy it? What can we do together?” Hold the sign.

Nigel:
I don’t care how you do it, get creative. But the action step is actually do something. If people are listening to this and they don’t make a step, I’m just going to say I’m disappointed. Because the reason that I’m on here with you guys today, the reason I’m taking my time is because I actually believe that this can be fixed and it’s not going to be fixed because of somebody in the White House. It’s not going to be fixed because of the 400 and some odd people in Congress with the 100 senators that we have. It’s going to be taken in 7 million steps. One step at a time, and 7 million people saying, “I’m not letting this business fail, I’m not letting this happen to my town. So I’m drawing the line and I’ll take the first step.”

J:
I love it. And I just need to say one more thing because this is so important. All the people out there I talked to again, I’m taking this back to real estate, I always take it back to real estate. But all the people out there that I talked to that say, “Yeah, it’s too hard to find good real estate deals these days. I wish I were doing this back in 2010, and ’11, and ’12. Because that’s when all the good deals were and I missed the boat and bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.”

J:
Well, let me tell you something. In the business world today, tomorrow, next month, next year is the 2009, ’10 and ’11 of the real estate world. These are going to be the best opportunities that we could see anytime in the last decade and potentially in the next decade. Don’t ignore what Nigel’s saying here. Don’t find yourself in two or five or 10 years looking back and saying, “Damn, I wish I would have taken action on a business back in 2020 when I first heard this,” because now, now is the time that you’re going to look back and say, “This was the opportunity.”

Nigel:
That’s exactly it. This is the moment. I’m telling you, you’re going to see a lot of changes happening as things go politically and just culturally in our country in the near future as we come out of this thing and they’re going to call it a movement of some sort. This isn’t a movement. This isn’t a movement. This is the moment. Jump on it right now. If you don’t, you’re only cheating yourself.

J:
I love it. Okay, I could talk for another 10 hours, but we’re about an hour in. So I think it’s time to jump into that final segment of the show that we call four more where we ask you the same four questions that we ask all of our guests and then give you an opportunity to tell us more about where our listeners can connect and find out more about you. Sound good?

Nigel:
Perfect.

J:
Excellent. Okay, I’m going to take the first question. What is your very first… You’ve already told us your first. I don’t want to hear the first. Your first you were selling rocks on the beach, which was awesome. I want to hear about the worst job you ever had and what you learned from it.

Nigel:
Oh, man. So to pave my way through school at Oregon State, I was a sewer pipe layer. And I don’t want to get edited here. But that means exactly what you think it means. It means that you are in live human feces, like laying sewer pipe. Yeah, no, it’s a really crappy job, as bad as it gets. But the thing that I got from it, I had a superintendent who worked for me who… Super blessed to have this guy. He’s built like an ox. Guy’s six foot five, six foot six, former bodybuilder, just yoked. And he and I were working in chest waders, dry waders in human feces working on wrenching in this big pipe that was coming in.

Nigel:
And he dropped his wrench in live sewer. And he reaches down bare hand, picks up his wrench and goes back to work. And I can see your guys’ faces just cringing right now. And that’s exactly what my face did. And he looked at me and he says, “I want you to remember this,” as the guy who’s your foreman, who’s your superintendent, “I want you to remember this. I’m never going to ask you to do something I wouldn’t do myself and I’ll reach in live shit.” He says, “If you’re going to be a leader, you lead from the front. You never tell your people to do something you won’t do. But know that if I ask you how to do this, this is how serious I am.” And he reached down and grabbed his wrench and went back to work, didn’t cringe, didn’t do anything, just did it.

Nigel:
Now, that’s where we are as an economy. And that’s the most important lesson I got from the worst job I ever did. Because nothing sounds horrible. Like you have to change your clothes before you get in your car every day. That’s what we had to do.

Carol:
That is an amazing story. Oh my goodness. Okay. Second question is, if you had to go back in time, what would you do differently? And the point of this question is, what can you… What action items, what tips can you give to an entrepreneur who’s just starting out so they don’t have to learn the hard way on something that you learn the hard way on?

Nigel:
I would have been a heck of a lot less cocky. I was a really overly cocky individual coming into business because I’ve always found success through tenacity, through relentlessness, whatever it is, and eventually we all go up and we all go down. And so if I could give my younger self some better advice, it would have been, hey, on the way up, be a lot nicer. Have a lot more mercy. I didn’t have that. And that’s a character flaw that I had. And I’d be lying if I said I’ve mastered that because I haven’t. I’m working at it. I would have told myself be way more compassionate, because there’s a lot of effort that these other competitors have put in and it sucks watching this thing get hurt.

Nigel:
And so we’re all going to experience the highs, we’re all going to experience the lows. I was absolutely jacked when we build somebody up or take somebody out and I shouldn’t have let that high get so high and shouldn’t let the lows get so low. So that would be my advice is, even when you’re in the mess, don’t get too high, don’t get too low. And that’s advice that I have to tell myself. Even as soon as last night, I was a little sad because I had to furlough people who I love. And that’s just what happens.

Nigel:
And so, I had to do what other people had to do before. So knowing that we’re all going to be there, and so have that compassion that you should have.

J:
It’s never as good as it seems. It’s never as bad as it seems.

Nigel:
That’s right.

J:
Now, okay, number three. This one’s going to be a little bit lighter note. What’s your favorite book?

Nigel:
Ooh, favorite book. Boy. I took a challenge this year and I’m working on it of reading the Bible all the way through. So I’m doing the daily Bible thing this year. That’s my very favorite book. But when it comes to business, there’s a book that most people haven’t ever heard. There’s a book called Give’Em the Pickle! by Robert Farrell. Bob Farrell owned Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor on the West Coast in Seattle and Portland. They were an old timey ice cream store. And Bob Farrell’s book Give’Em the Pickle! talks about customer service and why he started up Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Nigel:
Farrell’s ice cream parlor when he sold out, had a 100% success rate in an industry that has a 90% failure rate. And the reason and the story of Give’Em the Pickle! is he had a customer who came in and ate lunch every single day and he had a new employee who made their sandwich and didn’t give a pickle. The people wanted… The guy wanted a pickle with his meal every single day. That was what he wanted with a sandwich. And the customer, the guy comes up to the counter and says, “Hey, I didn’t get my pickle.” And they said, “Well, that’d be 25 cents.” And Bob Farrell lost his mind and he right in front of the customer, in front of the employee said, “Let me break down the math for you.” Bob Farrell was an amazing analytical mind.

Nigel:
He says, “This guy has been in here for 10 years eating lunch every day. That’s 365 days a year at $5 a year X10 years. This pickle doesn’t mean anything.” He grabbed a jar of pickles and handed it to him and said, “Anytime you come in, you can have a jar of pickles. We’ll give you the pickle.” And he made a big sign then that afterwards, every one of his employees, give them the pickle. This guy has spent like 5000 bucks and solely because they gave him a free pickle. And so he says, “What are we… We’re tripping over this life customer who eats with us every single day over a 25 cent pickle. How stupid are we at business if we don’t give them the pickle? Just give them the pickle. Give them the pickle!”

Nigel:
And he was an amazing, amazing businessman. He had Newport Bay Restaurant. He had Stanford’s and Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. He’s since passed. His company he sold before he passed, but amazing businessman. He lived it and it’s a really quick read. You could probably read it in 20 minutes, but it’s called Give’Em the Pickle!

Carol:
Love it. Give’Em the Pickle!

J:
Not often that somebody recommends a book on here that I’d never even heard of, but I… Because you did, I actually ordered that while you were telling the story. So I missed the story but I’ve ordered the book.

Nigel:
You can go back and play this podcast again J. This is good for everybody.

J:
I know. [crosstalk 01:11:23]I want the book.

Carol:
Totally. There’s a spot on your bookshelf just for it. Okay, so here is our fourth question of the four more. So Nigel, like a lot of people we talk to, you’re not into fancy cars. I mean, you told us about your Toyota Corolla with a cracked windshield, we’re the same way. A lot of entrepreneurs are. So what is something in your personal or professional life that you’ve splurged on along the way that was totally worth it?

Nigel:
Yeah, so… Boy, that’s a hard one because I really don’t splurge a lot. This was out of all the things when we filled out the paperwork. What’s the one that’s going to be difficult to fill out? About four years ago, through my property holding company we bought a lake house that we use. We were able to… We hadn’t moved rents up on anybody for a long time, for years and so we made a modest move of about $50 per unit up on everybody. And we have a couple hundred units. And so then we bought just a town home styled lake house in Lincoln city at Devil’s Lake.

Nigel:
And when things get stressful, that’s where we went. That’s where we go. And we go and go kayaking. And so it’s just a small little lake. It’s called Devil’s Lake in Lincoln city, and it’s about a mile away from the beach so you can be on the beach, you can be at the lake. I didn’t spend a lot. I spent like 230,000 bucks on a two bedroom condo. I’ve got four kids. I mean, this thing’s tight. But it’s just enough that we can all go and relax and get away from our house. It’s about an hour drive away. And it allows me especially if I have a difficult day, I go sit and I do work there. I’ve called customers from there.

Nigel:
Since it’s an hour drive to my house and so I go into the office sometimes, I’ll do my work from there just to have a little bit different scenery. I haven’t really ever splurged on no cars, no big trips, I’m not a extreme lifestyle type of guy. I get to sit and watch my kids go fishing off the dock and never catch a fish and I get to watch my other kids kayak and get to go out there and just paddle around in a kayak or a canoe or whatever. We’ve got one of those paddle boats that we bought for 300 bucks off Craigslist. I mean, we’re just relaxing to spend time on the family because if anything right now, know that family is the very, very most important that exists. And that’s why I say it’s all about the small business. It’s all about the small community. It’s all about your family and I don’t ever want to be that guy with the Ferrari. That’s not my deal. Like I say, I don’t want to be flashy. I don’t want everybody to know me. I want the banker to know me.

J:
I love it.

Nigel:
And that’s what’s important.

J:
Love it. Awesome. Okay, so that’s the four. Let’s jump into the more part of the four more and that’s where you tell our listeners where they can find out more about you, how they can connect with you and anything else you want to tell us about our pitch.

Nigel:
So the biggest thing is like I said earlier, I’m starting up a website. We’re just getting this thing up and going for, called your small businesshub.com. That’s where we’re going to be helping people with just assets and information as to how to buy and sell businesses, how to get creative financing, assistance for some mentorship, some consulting and how to navigate the CARES package right now. This thing is going to be ever evolving. It’s mainly just a passion project to help people just get out there and keep this economy going and keeping small businesses going. I do have LinkedIn but I don’t know how to log in.

Nigel:
So don’t hit me up there because I don’t even know what the password is. I am on Instagram, I am on Facebook and my commitment is if you send me a message through Instagram, I will respond back to you, no matter who it is, no matter what it is, I will respond back and I will do whatever I can because I truly believe that right now my obligation to society is that I need to help businesses thrive and I need to help people grow and I want to help people who have never been in business get there. So it’s just Nigel Guisinger at Instagram, and just all spelled out.

Nigel:
So you guys need anything, I’m here. I want to support people. And I know that no one person can do it by themselves.

J:
Awesome, Nigel. For everybody out there listening if you want to see links to everything you just mentioned, they’re in the show notes. So go check out our show notes. Nigel, this was fantastic. I assume you’re going to be back at the BiggerPockets Conference later this year, so hopefully, we’ll have a chance to chat again. I’m very interested to see what’s in store for you in the next six months and I have a feeling you’re going to be pretty busy. So looking forward to chat with you in a few months. But thank you so much for being here and we’d love to have you back next year just to hear what opportunities you were able to take advantage of during this tumultuous economic time.

Nigel:
Absolutely. Anytime you guys want me, I’m here for you guys anytime.

J:
Awesome. Thanks, Nigel.

Carol:
Thank you so much.

J:
Okay, I got to be honest. After listening to that episode, everybody that is listening to this show, doesn’t get off their butts in the next 24 hours, and go out there and start driving around, if you’re willing to drive around. Some people don’t want to leave their house. If you’re not looking to leave your house, then go hop on Google Earth or Google Maps or whatever you use, and do a search of all the businesses around your area and start doing some research and start picking up the phone and calling those owners just to talk to them and say, “Hey, what’s going on? How can I help you?” And start working on putting together a deal, because Nigel made a great point. If you start today, 365 days from now, you’re going to be in a much, much, much better position.

Carol:
Agreed. And let’s not forget, he reminded us that if we don’t jump on it right about now, we are each going to be kicking ourselves a few years from now saying, “Why didn’t I go after that opportunity when it was right there in front of me?” So this episode, I feel is exactly, exactly, exactly what we all needed to hear right about now. It was uplifting. It was inspirational and it was full of action packed tips.

Carol:
So thank you so much, Nigel. That was fantastic.

J:
Yeah, fantastic episode. Okay, everybody. You have a wonderful week. Go get out there. Start finding businesses, calling business owners, talking to business owners, and put together some offers this week. Everybody, she’s Carol, I’m J.

Carol:
Pick up that phone and call three businesses today. Three, three, three, three is the magic number people. Get out there, get after it. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Thanks for tuning in.

J:
See you everybody.

Watch the Podcast Here

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How to buy a business
  • Nigel’s “the weak zebra” business strategy
  • The 3 things you can negotiate
  • Why he thinks there is so much opportunity right now
  • The first thing to check when buying a business
  • What it means to have a succession plan in your business
  • What he means by not leaving behind a single business
  • How to make sellers become partners
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Everybody has big competitors.” (Tweet This!)
  • “No business that I know of doesn’t have compassion for their employees.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Never heard an owner say the most important thing was money.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Nigel

What does it take to start, scale, and sell your own business? Every Tuesday, J and Carol Scott ask this question to entrepreneurs of all stripes and delve into stories that go beyond the launch. F...
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    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied 5 months ago
    Great podcast!
    Alan Fortin Flipper/Rehabber from Placerville, CA
    Replied 5 months ago
    what an amazing show. Thanks so much. Thanks J. Scott you always seem to make us tactile people part of the community. Nigel is inspiring, we hear the phrase "we're all in this together " a lot, he sounds like the one that gets it. I would love to help someone
    Jordan Berry Real Estate Agent from Fullerton, CA
    Replied 5 months ago
    Awesome to see laundromats mentioned on the BP Business Podcast!
    Mike Nelson Investor from Oak Park, Illinois
    Replied 5 months ago
    Speaking of laundry equipment, as a multifamily property owner a good provider and servicer of washers and dryers is essential. I have been renting my machines from one of the nation's larger companies. A couple of years ago, they were bought out, and the new owner has increased their percentage of the load price, perhaps illegally Also, it has taken several weeks make repairs. There seems to be a general dissatisfaction among landlords service level and high commisions. I found a local company to buy machines, and have them do provide repairs. I think this is an opportunity for a local company to rent washers/dryers to landlords. They would have to have the ability to efficiently and quickly make the repairs and keep a positive relationship with landlords. Effective marketing could make this possible. This is an example of an opportunity.
    Gary Rowe from Fort Smith, AR
    Replied 5 months ago
    Excellent choice of guests. Invigorating and challenging!
    Richard A. Investor from Fayetteville, NC
    Replied 5 months ago
    Game changer. Real estate has been my main strategy for a few years. But, with the current situation, it might be time to look at helping established businesses. Great podcast.
    Don Spafford Investor from Idaho Falls, ID
    Replied 5 months ago
    I'm inspired!
    Austin Works Flipper/Rehabber from West Monroe, LA
    Replied 5 months ago
    Would you consider a sign/graphic design business to be recession proof?
    Stephanie Simmons Flipper/Rehabber from Lakeland, FL
    Replied 5 months ago
    Does the ideal client NEED it to be successful? There probably are clients that it is a real need (like real estate agents need signs).
    Stephanie Simmons Flipper/Rehabber from Lakeland, FL
    Replied 5 months ago
    Just listened to this - going under an NDA to purchase a small service business! Thank you for the great idea - I was sitting on some capital trying to figure out my next move and this one really excites me!
    Stephanie Simmons Flipper/Rehabber from Lakeland, FL
    Replied 2 months ago
    Under contract to buy a local water treatment business - closing September 1. I would have never thought about this if it wasn’t for the podcast. Thank you!!!!
    Nigel Guisinger Rental Property Investor from Salem Oregon
    Replied 3 months ago
    Congratulations!