How To Value & Sell Your Company or Agency | Chad Peterson

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Chad Peterson is an entrepreneur, author, and award-winning business Broker. His firm, Peterson Acquisitions, was recently acknowledged as one of the best business brokers in the nation. Chad successfully handles business transactions across the United States, and occasionally around the globe. His M&A firm works on deals from $1 million to $25 million, and in some cases exceeding $25 million. He handles the transactions from start to finish with tenacity and results. He lives great life, traveling and making deals with movers-and-shakers around the country, but Chad started out with a more humble beginning.

Chad business journey started when he was a child.  He hustled as a kid, walking dogs, shoveling snow, mowing grass, trimming trees, and cleaning out gutters.   He developed a thick skin by and ‘can do’ attitude by cold calling and knocking on the doors. He learned how to prospect, how to garner the trust of clients, and a how-to work hard to earn every dollar.

Chad also wrote the book From Blue to White, A Working Man’s Guide to Self-Employment, where teaches people how to transition from employee to self-employed.  This book was well-received and garnered attention from the likes of Scott Alexander, author for Rhinoceros Success, one of Chad’s favorite authors. Scott Alexander not only endorsed the book, but he also wrote the foreword.

Learn More About Chad Peterson

Meet Chad Peterson & Peterson Acquisitions

Phil Singleton:  Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Local Business Leaders Podcast. I’m your host, Phil Singleton. Today our featured guest is Chad Peterson, founder and CEO at Peterson Acquisitions, an award-winning M&A firm. Chad Peterson is an expert business broker that helps business owners sell their businesses and move on to new business opportunities. Chad, welcome to the show.

Chad Peterson:  Thanks, Phil.

Phil Singleton:  First before we start talking and digging into the nitty-gritty about what you do and how you help companies sell their business, tell us a little bit about your background as an entrepreneur, a little bit about your beginnings. What got you into the business world and your journey basically and to become a business broker?

Chad Peterson:  I hate to go all the way back to childhood because I know we don’t have that time and I don’t think everybody wants to hear it, but in short, I was that kid that was always doing something. Before I was even strong enough to push a lawnmower, I was doing it. I’ve always been an enterpriser. Business for self has always been my deal. I knew the school wasn’t for me. I knew that it didn’t have … The education I need was not in those walls. I was always trying to figure out a way to make my own money and follow my own sword, so to speak.

Chad Peterson:  I built several companies. Even just as a young kid, I sold my first company when I was 19 years old and moved on to flight school, became a pilot and lost my career in 911. In fact, I was flying an airplane while 911 happened, about 15 minutes from where George W. Bush had Air Force One parked, and my flying career was over, and so it was back to, well, what do I do now? I just went back to my self-employed roots and started a company and had 120 employees, and I ended up missing the boat on selling it before the ’08 crash. At that point, it just sparked a real big passion inside of me to make sure that I went out there and let people know about timing and selling their business, and when is the time to sell your business?

Chad Peterson:  I started helping people package their business up and sell it because I’ve built and sold several companies of my own. I know it inside and out. A dear friend of mine just told me very lightly, it was just such a soft suggestion, he said, “Chad, you’re so good at this. Why don’t you help other people do it?” That’s when it really got created, because I had never thought about helping other people do that. I was always doing it for myself. Long story short is I built and sold companies my entire life. I know exactly what business owners go through. Really I think what every business owner faces is burnout and boredom. It’s right around then that you want to sell your business.

Chad Peterson:  What I can do is I can take somebody that has done well. They’ve built it. They’ve made themselves good money. They’ve really done well, but their passion is waning and they’re getting bored. They’re getting burnout. That’s when I want to sell what they’ve built and get that business owner on to a new opportunity. I always tell people, I don’t retire people. Those that think that they’re going to retire and get a new set of golf clubs and golf every day, that doesn’t work. People get miserable. Everybody has to keep working. Everybody has passions they have to pursue. I don’t retire people. I just get them on to a bigger and better thing, something they’re more passionate about, something that gets them out of bed every day because they want to go to work.

Chad Peterson:  It’s not about retiring. It’s not about giving up. It’s about finishing well. I’ve done that for myself countless times and moved on to other ventures that I’m more passionate about. That’s what my passion is. I’m passionate about helping people sell what they’ve built and move on to something else.

Phil Singleton:  That’s so awesome. Tell me a little bit about that because one thing I think is really interesting about you, Chad, is that you don’t fit the typical profile of I think what many of us would think as a stuffed shirt M&A finance person that probably has never actually run a business or have been in the trenches type of thing. When I read about you and when we talked in the past, one of the things I know about you is you actually built businesses, main street businesses too, not just fly by night internet type things just as a hobby but actually built real businesses with employees that built real things.

Chad Peterson:  Right.

Not Your Typical Stuffed Shirt Business Broker

Phil Singleton:  How has that served you and how has that do you think make you different I think than the typical business broker out there, at least the typical impression other people have about the industry that you’re in?

Chad Peterson:   That’s a great question. To my surprise, I have not met anybody in this industry that can even compete with me. That sounds like a very braggadocious statement. That sounds very pompous, but the fact is that most people that are in my industry, they might have been a VP somewhere. They might have been a C-level executive somewhere. They might have had a good management job or perhaps they were in the real estate business, didn’t do too well and then saved up enough money where they could go work for a firm such as mine and survived maybe a year without a paycheck because in order to get in this industry, you do have to have some savings because you don’t have a book of business. You really have to really work hard to get that book of business. People just don’t have the grit that I have, period.

Chad Peterson:  I’ve been self-employed my whole life. Hard work, that’s just what I know. I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, but the people in my industry, there’s no competition. These guys are in the office around 8:00 AM, maybe 7:30 even, and nobody wants to hear from anybody at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning, not in our industry. They usually take lunch around 11:30. They take an hour and a half lunch, come back to the office, and they’re usually having a cocktail by 2:00 PM. That’s who they are. Typical profile of a business broker is mid-50s, maybe even getting into his 60s, not highly motivated. Maybe they’ll close two or three deals a year, and they can make a living, and that’s what they’re happy doing. That’s not who I am.

Chad Peterson:  I do more deals individually than anybody out there, and I’ll put my money on that. I work nonstop. I love what I do. I’m passionate about what I do. It’s one thing to be a broker, and to get two people put together and be looking for a commission and letting those two people work it out and seeing what happens. That’s not what I do either. I get two people together and, number one, I start with the right people. I don’t bring on the wrong sellers, and I certainly don’t introduce the wrong buyer to the wrong seller. I make sure it’s a match first because guess what? The bank is going to do that too. Why would I waste my time? I get the right buyer and the right seller put together, and then I teach both of them through the process to get to the finish line. I assist them in creating a friendship.

Chad Peterson:    I told a guy just last week, I said, “Jim, treat this gentleman like he’s your best friend because when was the last time that even a great friend put $1 million in your pocket?” His answer was, “Nobody has ever put $1 million in my pocket.” I said to him, “This guy is your best friend.”

Chad Peterson:  I make sure that people approach the transaction properly. I’m very hands-on. I’m in the mix. I’m making sure that the buyer and seller are on the same page and we’re getting to the banking process, and I’m not checking out at 2 PM to go have drinks, and I’m not putting in three-hour work days. I think there are two types of hunters. The guys that are sitting in the lodge talking about that one that got away, and the guy that’s out there taking thorns in the side because he’s out there hunting it down and trying to get things done. I’m never going to be the guy-

Phil Singleton:   Yeah. Let me bring it home for you here on this because what I think … Look. I’ve never actually sold one of my own business. I guess sold some parts of businesses before and have been involved in some transactions, but my main point here is this. You got to have somebody that’s really confident working for you. You want a killer. You want somebody that’s really confident that they believe that they’re the best at what they do because who wants to work with somebody who’s not, especially in your field?

90% Closing Rate

Phil Singleton:   One statistic I want to bring in here I think that really, really brings this home, and that is, I think I picked this up on your website or some other industry thing I was reading here recently, is I think the industry average for a sell side business broker engagement is somewhere around 11, 10 to 25% closure rate, and yours is up around 90%. Well, I don’t think you get into that level without being an absolute killer.

Chad Peterson:    Yeah. There’s a few reasons for that. I do close 90% of what I bring on. There’s a little catch there. I don’t bring people on … I have criteria to bring people on. Just because you have a business, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to bring you on as a client. You have to have something that I know that I can sell, something that I can match up a buyer with. I would say as far as my competence level and what I know and how I go about it, I am head and shoulders above the competition. I’m relentless. I don’t give up. I make sure that the business gets sold, but more than that, I do it with integrity.

Chad Peterson:   I do it to make sure that the banks don’t have a loss, that the buyer doesn’t put his family’s life on the line with these banks, with the SBA loans and everything else to have their houses repossessed, things like that. I make sure that never happens. In all the deals that I have ever done, I’ve never had a single failure. That means that I could call any buyer out of all the businesses that I’ve sold, and all it is say hi, check in and just have a good conversation. I’ve not had one loan go bad. Not only do I close 90% of what I bring on, I make sure it’s a good fit. Yes, absolutely.

Chad Peterson:   It goes back to your previous question though, comparing me to other brokers. I got to tell you, folks, whoever is listening. Most brokers will bring on any business because there’s no downside. It’s all upside. If they bring you on to sell your business, they don’t have any skin in the game. They’ll say, “Yeah, sure, we’ll try to get it sold.” Next thing you know, your competitors know that you’re selling. They’re sending out mass emails. Everybody knows that you’re selling, and that’s an improper way to go about it. I don’t do that. I make sure that whenever I go to sell a business, I use more of a rifle approach rather than a shotgun blast approach. I work with individual buyers and individual sellers and non-disclosures and discretion is always held to the highest degree because I want to make sure that nobody knows those businesses are for sale, and the competitors don’t know that you’re selling.

Chad Peterson:   That’s what really separates me. It’s tenacity. It’s integrity. It’s also my approach. Just not letting everybody know that it’s for sale. Like I said, I’m head and shoulders above my competition.

Dealing With Business Seller’s Emotions

Phil Singleton:    Well, let’s segue into something else because you touched on a couple of things that I think of as a business owner who will eventually sell my business someday, and that is my business is my life’s work. It’s my masterpiece. If I’m going to sell it, I want to sell it to the right person or somebody that’s not going to maybe pick it apart. Maybe some people don’t feel that way. Maybe they do. I’m thinking about how I think about my own business. I’m going to probably be a little bit emotional about selling it, and I probably would need some guidance. Is that unique? Is that me? Do you feel other people have that same feeling about their business? They’ve lost their passion or they’re just trying to get rid of it like an unwanted stepchild. How does that work?

Chad Peterson:    As direct as I am and as forceful as I can sound, I’ve got a whole lot of bedside manner, so to speak, when it comes to working with business owners because, to agree with what you’ve said, this is not just selling your business. This is like putting your kid up for adoption. It’s something that’s taken more time, more money, more investment, more emotional investment, financial investment, risk. It really has been everything to a business owner. It’s their dream. It’s their vision and everything. Now that they’re not as passionate about it, they decide to sell, well, it’s like their baby.

Phil Singleton:   It’s still important to them, right?

Chad Peterson:   It’s like an adoption. You want to find the right buyer for it. A lot of my job is navigating that seller to let go of his or her business because to your point, it’s what you built. It’s like your baby. I do have a lot of bedside manner to get people over the emotional humps to get them to the ultimate goal, which is to sell when they’re doing well and to get them into something else that’s more suitable to their current passions.

No One Ever Really Retires

Phil Singleton:  What percentage do you think of the people that you work with actually move on to another business versus some that “maybe try to retire” for a couple of months until they pull their hair out or is it pretty much all of them?

Chad Peterson:   I’ve never had anybody retire. It was about two years ago. I sold a drug and DNA testing company down in Texas. He intended on retiring, and I really believed he was going to retire. He was in his late 60s. He sold the business and less than a year later, he called me back and said, “Chad, what else do you have on board?” The one that I was betting on retiring, he didn’t retire. He called me back and wanted to get started. The gentleman that bought his company paid cash for it, and it was a lot of money, and paid cash for it, and he was 73 or 74 years old. I just don’t see people retiring. If anybody knows, it’s me because I’m at the forefront of selling businesses, that people actually don’t retire. They don’t. They got to stay busy.

Phil Singleton:   Awesome. Let’s get into some nitty gritty questions about how this stuff is actually done. You mentioned about buying and selling businesses. I’ve talked to you in the past earlier about, hey, I’ve got some interests myself. When somebody wants to, like a small business owner or a business owner or anybody else wants to buy a business, what are the ways that they actually end up buying one from somebody who is selling? Is it their owner financed a lot when people are selling? Are people buying them for cash? Are there loans involved? How is it you break out from … I know it’s probably a whole mix of everything, but I’m just curious what the typical percentages are that way?

Chad Peterson:   Well, a cash buyer is like Bigfoot. I’m sure it exists, but they’re seldom seen. Out of all the deals that I’ve done, I’ve done two cash deals. I can’t tell you what the percentage would be, but it’s definitely less than 1%. You can’t bet on a cash deal. Number one, money is too cheap. You can go to the bank right now and borrow money. Number two, people just don’t have that kind of cash lying around. If you go to buy a business for $1 million, you’re not going to write a check for that. You’re going to go to the bank. You’re going to get a note on it, and you’re going to pay the debt service because the company is going to be generating enough cash that it pays the debt service.

Chad Peterson:  As far as seller financing or owner financed, there is always a component of that, but it’s usually only 10% maximum 20% of the purchase price.

Phil Singleton:  Why is that? Are there people that just want to be out or that’s just a common way to keep people involved? Why is that?

Chad Peterson:   Well, there are a couple of reasons. There are different vantage points. I could give you three reasons from different vantage points, but the main reason that the banks like them is because the bank knows that the seller isn’t going to walk off into the sunset. Let’s just say the bank wrote $1 million check. The bank wants to know that the seller just isn’t going to walk off in the sunset and not train the buyer properly.

Phil Singleton:   Got you.

Chad Peterson:    The bank is always going to ask for a 10% seller carry. Let’s just say it’s $1 million business. The seller still owed $100,000 so the bank feels pretty confident knowing that the seller has to ensure the buyer’s success and give the buyer a good transition. That’s why the banks like them.

Phil Singleton:   Are they expected to exit out of the 10% over time or are they expected to just hang onto it?

Chad Peterson:   No. The 10% seller carry is usually on a one-year standby. The seller wouldn’t get paid for the first year, sometimes two. It’s usually put on a 24 to 36-month note after that. Let’s just say you’re a seller and you carry $100,000. You should expect to get your payment back in 36 to 60 months with 7% or 8% annual percentage rate with this type of that note.

Phil Singleton:    Most people are going out and putting some money down, 10, 20%. Is that right? What does it look like?

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. Typically as a buyer, you’re going to come in and put 10% down, and then the seller will carry maybe 5%, maybe 10%, and then the bank is willing to go in on the 85 or the 80% at that point.

Phil Singleton:    Is it any bank?

Chad Peterson:   No, it’s definitely not any bank. These banks’ climates change all the time. Banks that I was really doing a lot of business with last year, their climate has changed now. It comes and it goes. A good broker like myself, an expert business broker should know where to go to get these loans. Like I said, right now, I’m in the middle of it right now. There’s a local bank that has done countless deals for me. The last one that I sent to them, I barely got done and I just thought it was that deal alone. Now I’m in the middle of this one. Actually, I’m almost done with it, but they’ve gotten so tight that part of my job is that I’ve got to go find the banks that are hungry and have an appetite for loans. Otherwise, it wastes everybody’s time.

Chad Peterson:   No, not every bank, Phil. A good business broker is going to know where to go to place these loans. That’s again what separates.

Phil Singleton:    What does the business owner look like? How long is it … What are the length of the terms usually?

Chad Peterson:   A business loan is usually 10 years, unless there’s real estate involved. If there’s real estate involved, there are some things to consider there. As a general rule, you’re looking at 18 to 20 years on a term if there’s real estate involved. If there’s not real estate involved, you’re pretty much looking at a 10-year term.

Phil Singleton:   Is there a range of percentage rates on what the business loan would go? Is it-

Chad Peterson:  It’s usually 2.5% plus prime. Right now, I think that’s right at 8%, somewhere in there.

Phil Singleton:   Is it possible to pay them off earlier? Are there all sorts of things like that or you can’t do that?

Chad Peterson:   Yeah, you can pay it off early. Yeah, you can.

How Much is Your Company Worth?

Phil Singleton:   Awesome. That’s really, really good info. Tell us a little bit about some of the type. Obviously, confidentiality, you can’t get into the exact names, but I’m really interested. There’s a lot of people that are listening to this podcast right now that are business owners. A lot of them are probably going to be agency owners. Some of them just traditional maybe home services or main street small business owners. If you’re ball-parking something, what is my business worth, I guess, so to speak? I know there’s a lot of factors into it, but if somebody is trying to ballpark something like, okay, I’ve got a digital agency. Can you give us some insight about is it worth anything? How much is it worth? What will be good to be start thinking about?

Chad Peterson:   Well, it’s an interesting question, and I want to preface this with this is a ballpark, and this is a general rule of thumb. All you listeners out there, your business is roughly worth three times cash flow, or another word to use is seller’s discretionary earnings. What is cash flow or what is seller’s discretionary earnings? Cash flow or seller’s discretionary earnings is the bottom line. It’s your salary, plus the company profit, plus your cellphone usage, meals, entertainment, travel, 401(k) contributions, IRAs, key man life insurance, automobile payments, automobile maintenance, fuel that you put in your car for personal use, personal expenditures on credit cards, things of that nature.

Chad Peterson:  What we do is we go through the tax returns and then what we do is we add any add backs. It’s called recasting the cash flow or recasting the tax returns. We go to what those business owners can write off in accordance to IRS tax code, and we add that back in as an owner benefit. Let’s just say that I came up with $200,000 in seller’s discretionary earnings, which could be $150,000 of that could be salary and company earnings.

Phil Singleton:  Is this pre-tax or post-tax?  Is that before or after tax?

Chad Peterson:  Well,  the personal income tax for a seller is added back in, but the bottom dollar is cash flow. We use that number. Let’s just say you’re living a $200,000 lifestyle out of your business. As a general rule of thumb, your business would be worth 3X. That puts us to $600,000. If your company is earning between you and the company and all owner benefits comes to 200 grand, your business will be worth $600,000 as a general rule of thumb. It changes. That multiple can go up. It can go from three up. It can also go down as well. If you’re on a business that is not highly marketable, if you’re in a business that has a lot of problems with keeping employees, that multiple can go down to say 2.75 or 2.5.

Phil Singleton:   There are all sorts of variables. It’s a total ballpark.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah, there are all sorts of variables. Guess what? If you’re in a business that you can run from a laptop and there’s freedom involved and you get away from corporate America and being chained to your cubicle, you can get as high as 5X depending on earnings. Anytime that you get above $500,000 in cash flow, your multiplier will go up.

Phil Singleton:   Wow.

Chad Peterson:   There are all sorts of little things, but as a general rule, 3X is what I tell people, depending on how sexy your business is, depending on how much that multiplier can be raised or lowered.

Phil Singleton:   Some might have recurring income that’s coming in. That’s got to be more attractive than people that are just getting fixed businesses, I guess. I would think so. That would probably add and things like that. I’m still a little bit confused. Sorry if I’m being dense on this, but let’s say somebody earned $300,000 as a business owner and paid $100,000 in taxes and took home and lived off 200,000. I’m still confused. 3X of what? Is it 300 or 200?

Chad Peterson:   The federal taxes would be an add-back. It’s hard to answer that question, but they’re not going to pay $100,000 in taxes. How do I answer that? Basically, we take the top line revenue minus your cost of goods sold and then add back … I’m sorry. Take off all your operating expenditures, and then add back the owner salary, and then add back the federal taxes, payroll taxes for the owner. If there’s any rent regarding real estate, we add that back in as well, any disparity. If you’re making $2,000 a month off your rent, that would be a $24,000 add back. We add back anything that the company is paying for that is personal benefit like automobile, 401(k), all that.

Chad Peterson:   The cash flow, to answer your question, is based off of the top line revenue minus expenses and then adding back everything that’s a lifestyle. The individual taxes that that person paid income tax, that’s a separate issue. It’s based off the corporation and then whatever the income tax, the federal income tax of the principal owner would be added back to that. It would be an apples to apples comparison. Yes.

Phil Singleton:    That’s awesome. Again, as a general rule of thumb, somebody is thinking, well, we’re talking about dental, lawyer, home services agency, anybody.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. I’ve sold digital agencies. I’ve sold countless service companies, service-related companies, home service companies. I’ve sold a law firm. I’ve sold an accounting firm. I’ve sold manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, parts manufacturers, restaurants, hotels, foundation companies, roofing companies, any type of service-related business.

Phil Singleton:   There’s just no end.

Chad Peterson:   There’s no end. Yeah, no end.

Phil Singleton:    Talk a little bit about, bringing home with this and wrap up with this. Of course, a lot of our listeners are going to be agency owners. Like I said, there are some small businesses, a lot of business owners out there too. Just from your perspective, how do you see marketing playing a role in the companies that … particularly if somebody is going to buy a business or even selling it. Does it help to have a business that has good lead generation in place, has a good online reputation, maybe has been working on their reviews? Does that factor in at all? I could see as a potential buyer, geez, if somebody has been in business for 20 years and has 105 star reviews online and I can see that they’re getting a lot of leads coming from all sorts of different areas, that would be more attractive to me than maybe coming into one source. I think everybody has got a different angle.

Does Marketing & Reputation Help Sellers?

Phil Singleton:   Maybe some people are just looking at, what does the financials tell us type of thing and just make a calculation based off how much money it’s running. Talk a little bit about that. The marketers out there, of course, are going to want to hear that marketing helps, but maybe it doesn’t. Tell us how it goes.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. It’s a strange deal where I can’t ever place my finger on what makes somebody buy a business. Everybody has their own passions and desires and interests. Sometimes I look at a business, and to me, I’m just like, what the hell? Why would anybody want this? There’s a market out there for it, and there’s somebody who is passionate about that. I remember selling a circuit board company, and I thought, who in the hell would want to buy a circuit board company? To my surprise, people … I had geeks coming out of the woodwork. It was unbelievable. What somebody wants to buy is … I just quit even looking at it anymore. I don’t even make my own judgment on it anymore. If it’s making money and somebody wants to sell, there’s usually somebody else out there that would like to have it.

Chad Peterson:   As far as the marketing, I find that everybody I speak to has a marketing problem. Literally everybody that I speak to. Everybody should be spending 10% of their gross revenue on marketing, and almost nobody that I see does it. Yes, marketing … People that have a real strong marketing budget, 10% of what they bring in grows. They’re the ones that are winning, always. A big thing today that people don’t really pay attention to is reputation management. It used to be … and I don’t mean not too long ago. Even just six or seven years ago, it used to be, well, are you a member of the BBB? I’m not saying that the Better Business Bureau has no relevance. It just doesn’t have much relevance. 15 years ago, it used to be let me look you up in the Yellow Pages. I’m not trying to say to the Yellow Pages doesn’t have any relevancy, but not very much anymore.

Chad Peterson:   It’s reputation management between Google and Yelp. These are things that people really need to be paying attention to. As long as business owners are focusing on the reputation and doing business right, and people are going online to report that they’re doing it right, I think that’s a big thing. I think if you can get your customers to go online, and hopefully you don’t have to ask them because they’re just great people and they want to go online and give you a good review, but more often than not, you have to ask them to go on there. I think that’s one of the crucial key components of selling your business, to have a really good reputation out there.

Chad Peterson:   If somebody is thinking about selling their business, I usually tell them they’re at least a year or two late to actually engaging in the process. They should be having a reputation tip top. They should have a great reputation online, any cleanup … I’ve seen people go and get reviews removed by just taking care of the customer. If it’s a service company, let’s just say it’s a hardwood floor company for instance, and a message got dropped, somebody didn’t go out there to fix it, whatever. Because people are 12 times more likely to go online and slander you than they are to give you a good review. If somebody slanders you online, whether you did something right or wrong, you have to call that customer and see if you can take care of them in some way and kindly ask them to remove the review because it is everything.

Chad Peterson:   To answer your question, yes, reputation management, making sure you have a good reputation online is everything anymore. It really is.

Phil Singleton:    Actually in your business, it’s probably just going to get bigger and bigger because look, you’re going to sell a business. It’s not just to sell a business, they’re going to sell it to a buyer, and the buyer is just a buyer, a bigger buyer. They’re going to do their homework and due diligence. A lot of it is going to be done online. I can assume that they’re going to look up-

Chad Peterson:   I think frankly … Well, here, there are two ways to look at it, Phil. You can go buy a company that’s already ranking on Google. If you search organically and, boom, they pop up and they’re number one or number two, man, that’s attractive. It really is.

Chad Peterson:   There’s also another way to look at it too though. Let’s just say you run an organic search for that industry in your town and let’s say they don’t pop up. Let’s just say they’re popping up on page number two. Well, that’s also good because that shows that there’s room for more growth. There’s room opportunity.

Phil Singleton:    Well, you just got me fired up here. You got me fired up. A lot of the people that you’re talking about aren’t even spending the 5% or 10% they should be to be the market leader even maybe. Well, look, if you can come in as a buyer and all of a sudden just get a real marketing and marketing partner or a marketing plan in place on your own and willing to buy the company, invest what it can be to reach its potential. You could literally take somebody that’s built a business probably the hard way on the old, making the personal connections, word of mouth, all that kind of stuff without spending a whole bunch on marketing. You go in there and fuel it with a real professional marketing plan. It won’t take you too long to take that million or $2 million business you took to maybe to 5 million pretty quickly.

Chad Peterson:    Exactly. Yeah. As I read in your book, SEO for Growth, the best place to hide a dead body is on page number two on Google. Sometimes those are good businesses to buy because they’re not doing the marketing and they still have a book of business. Let’s just say you can go buy a business that’s making a half million dollars a year. By the way, I think it’s important for your listeners to understand this because we’re throwing all these numbers out there. Let’s drill down on this real quick so your viewers or your listeners understand.

Chad Peterson:   Let’s just say you bought … Remember 3X, three times cash flow. If they’re going to buy a $600,000 business, theoretically that should pay them $200,000 in earnings annually. Here’s the good news. If you want to go buy a $600,000 business, it only takes you as a buyer 10% of that, $60,000 to go buy that $200,000 a year job, so to speak. If you can find one that doesn’t have a good strong marketing budget in it that has room for growth, I call it selling the deficiencies. Find one that’s deficient in marketing and just break it wide open because if you come to it with passion and marketing, you can do 10 times more than what the current owner is because the current owner is burnout and bored.

Chad Peterson:   That’s really what I do. I take people that are burnt out and bored and replace them with somebody who’s passionate. Almost every time, I see the numbers go up. As long as they’re willing to spend the money to put the marketing in and they’re passionate about it, I see the numbers skyrocket.

Phil Singleton:  Huge. Well, we’re going to wrap it up on that. Chad, this has just been so awesome. Tell our listeners where you hang out online in terms of where they can follow you, your website address, and how they can get in touch with you.

Chad Peterson:   Yeah. I’m really easy to get in touch with. No matter what I’m doing and where I’m at, this cellphone is like a shot collar and I’m not hard to reach. If you just go to, fill out the contact page. Like I said, I love the work. I’m responsive. I tell people I work nine days a week and they say, wait a minute, there’s only seven. I said, no, I think I work nine. I’m always working. Saturdays, Sundays, it doesn’t matter. I’m always responsive. Go to Contact me and let’s start talking.

Phil Singleton:  That’s so awesome. I recommend everybody to go check out your website. Whether or not you’re ready to sell your business right now, if you want to learn on what steps to maybe learn a little bit more about how to prep your business for sale and just get some more great information about the business broker in this whole process, please visit his website because I’ve already learned a ton. Chad, thanks again. This has been so awesome and hope to have you on again at some point.

Chad Peterson:   Hey, thank you, Phil.