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April 13, 2020

Are you a candidate for a Private Equity Group? with Drew McCuiston

Are you a candidate for a Private Equity Group? with Drew McCuiston

Drew McCuiston is from a private equity group in Indianapolis called The Firefly group. Ed and Drew run in the same networking circles. Ed has always been impressed by Drew and his group because they’ve always done good deals. You never hear bad...

Drew McCuiston is from a private equity group in Indianapolis called The Firefly group. Ed and Drew run in the same networking circles. Ed has always been impressed by Drew and his group because they’ve always done good deals. You never hear bad things about them. They’re just good guys doing good deals. And the side benefit is that one of their acquisitions is EOS or Entrepreneurial Operating System for business. They acquired the rights or the business for EOS, and it’s interesting to talk about that acquisition - why they got into it and what they plan to do with it.


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Ed Mysogland  1:24  
I'm your host, Ed Mysogland. I teach business owners how to build value and identify and remove risks in their business so that one day they can sell their companies at maximum value when they want how they want and to whom they want. On today's show, I'm excited to welcome drew McHugh, son of the Firefly group. I've known him for quite some time. And it's been an awful lot of fun to watch their company grow and the acquisitions that they're making in the value that they're creating. So Drew, welcome to the show.

Drew McKusick  1:51  
Thanks for having me. I'd really honored to be here with you. And appreciate you having us on the show.

Ed Mysogland  1:56  
Well, it's like I said, it's great to have you and I before the show started, I kind of gave a little introduction about you. But if you don't mind, can you give a little bit more detail about you and the Firefly group?

Yeah, absolutely. So to start with a quick background on myself, I had a bit of a random walk into my current line of work and principle investing. Lifelong Hoosier started my career and cut my teeth in politics and government, if you can believe it, used to work in the administration of former Governor Daniels here in the state, great experience for for a young professional to have learned from from truly impressive individuals. I joke with folks that that they pay you in peanuts in public service, but they give you way more responsibility than you should ever have in your 20s and was a great, really a great learning experience and building a network as a young professional. And from there, I decided to go instead of moving around every two years or four years and working for for new administration's new politician, I decided to go back to business school. And it was right around the time I was settling down with my wife, we were engaged in thinking about what the future holds. So I decided to go back to business school. And after I finished my MBA, spent a little bit of time in health care while doing a mix of financial work and in healthcare transaction work. That's where I met one of my current partners, was our time together at IU Health, who really got me into this line of work was Derek Smith and from their left IU Health and joined up with him in a family office where we started making some investments, started working with our other two current partners here at the Firefly group. And we've been working together now for going on five years, just a fantastic team of individuals, I share with folks that I'm the luckiest guy in the world because I've got a team of partners, and mentors all in one. And really enjoy working with my three partners at Firefly group and acquiring family owned businesses throughout the Midwest and the eastern half of the United States.

I'll tell you and I mean, certainly you guys are doing some some great things. But you know, having having partners like that, I mean, it certainly makes go into work a lot easier.

Absolutely. One of our core values is to have fun, and we take our work seriously, but not ourselves. And with that it's a great joy to come into the office every day not just to work with my partners, but to work with the leadership team members of our portfolio companies and in our other stakeholders, intermediary partners like yourself, Ed and other good ones out in the marketplace.

Drew McKusick  4:49  
As we're looking for new opportunities, speaking of opportunities, I mean, what are you seeing in the m&a market now? I mean, you know, you get the doomsday scenario that you know, there's so much

Ed Mysogland  5:00  
Money on the sidelines and it's not being able to be deployed yet. You're out there, and you're making some good deals. So So what are you seeing? Well, there's no shortage of competition, that's for sure. You know, I would say, especially at the lower end of the market, lower into the middle market, you know, the Firefly group, we focus on family owned companies, entrepreneurial companies, we're always the first outside capital into those sorts of situations we don't buy from other investment groups, whether VC or private equity firms, and usually between five and 50 million of revenue is the size range that we focus on. And, you know, at that, in the the size range are seeing a bit of a bifurcation of, of quality, in terms of really attractive companies, they do attract all the attention of all the dry powder from groups, from coast to coast, it can get quite competitive. And then others that and I'm sure you've seen this as well, we'll go out to market but simply not get done for a host of reasons both on the seller side and the buyer side.

Drew McKusick  6:10  
But we continue to see good economic tailwinds in the market, there is no shortage of dry powder groups with that raised a lot of money in what we're seeing in our end of the market is you've got a lot of larger private equity funds that are coming down market, as they say, and looking at smaller companies, not just as add on acquisitions to their platform companies, but even going below their stated minimum threshold on size and coming down and looking for smaller initial acquisitions or platform acquisitions from which they can build. So it's been an interesting from a competitive positioning standpoint over the last few years, where you've had more folks coming into the market, looking to buy companies, whether owner operators and just the abundance of capital to support folks acquiring companies at this end of the market. And then you've also got new competition coming down markets, from larger private equity groups. It makes things challenging, but it also keeps things interesting and keeps us on our toes and makes it a very active and vibrant market, which is fun to be a part of.

Ed Mysogland  7:25  
Yeah, but you know, the funny thing is, and one of the questions I had for you is as the larger private equity groups come down into the area that you know, that you guys specialize in, I mean, when they do make those acquisitions, and again, this is just from the things I've heard, and some of the articles that I've read, I mean, there's a culture shock when you bring in a professional buyer that you know, has 50 companies under their umbrella, and then all of a sudden, you know, mom and pop, you know, we have an entirely different company, you know, it's kind of a, you know, a shock to the system on what did we just do? How does that work? And what would make them want to do that? Because I would assume changing that whole culture is a heck of a lot harder than than the business itself.

Yeah. Why would the private equity groups want to come down market and do that? Right, right. Yeah, yes. So I mean, for a lot of them, it's really about deploying capital and building scale. And that's why you see this so often, where they are willing to pay up and pay high prices for the initial acquisition, and then with the expectation as part of their investment thesis to do 10 1215 Add on acquisitions on that single platform in order to build scale, build it quickly and deploy capital in the process. And so if they have the right the right leadership team in place, you know, a lot of that integration whether cultural or systems integration, they've got that process baked in and are very skilled and well versed at running and executing that play. It's interesting the I think more of the culture shock it was what we see in working with sellers is from the seller side that's a very different buyer than maybe what they expected going into the process, no matter how much their advisors prepared them for what all the different range of buyers may look and feel like and how it may impact the company moving forward.

Drew McKusick  9:29  
Why are you seen deals not get consummated what what makes you what makes you lose deals when you when you walk into into a business you've obviously spent some time you've done some work on the business as far as evaluation and due diligence. I mean, what makes what makes the deal fall apart for you guys? Or better yet? Your investment criteria? What what excludes them right out of the gate?

Ed Mysogland  9:51  
Yeah, well, gosh, I don't know if your listeners have long enough to have me rattle off the entire list of reasons we will deal with Somebody's mute. So, you know, it's a whole host of things, we're at Firefly group, we're extremely selective, we don't raise our hands too often, we don't invest out of a traditional blind, blind, poor dedicated fund, we find, try to find great companies, and we pair them with flexible capital on a transaction by transaction basis, where really that that single company functions on a standalone basis in partnership with the Firefly group, in our investor base. And so with that, we've got a lot of flexibility, we don't have timelines that we have to adhere to, either on the front end in terms of deploying capital, or during our investment window, and how long we can stay partnered up with companies. And so that has a good and a bad effect to it, right? For our business model. The great side of that is we get to be extremely choosy. We don't have that pressure, that shot clock running to go put capital to work. And we like to work very closely with a small number of partner companies, we currently work with five companies, and we're not trying to build the biggest portfolio of companies, we're not trying to have the most assets under management, we're trying to find the right groups of companies to work closely with and help to build great companies. And so with that, we don't raise our hand too often. And then when you don't raise your hand too often, it doesn't take too many bad bounces to not do an investment in a year. And that's okay. But certainly on the flip side of that is, you know, we're here to to find the right opportunities to pull the trigger on, find the great teams to partner with and hopefully build a lot of value for all of the stakeholders and build great cultures in those companies. Along the way with that. So, you know, we'll we'll miss out on opportunities, of course, sometimes for price, you know, we may be looking at something as a, as a platform or initial investment for us. And it's attracting a lot of strategic interest, either from corporations or from larger private equity platforms that are looking at it as an add on, it's a really tough situation to compete if you're competing solely on price. Now, at the same time, a lot of sellers out there will say I don't want to be swallowed up by a larger company, I want my team to have a chance to continue to drive the bus in partnership with the right people who can, you know, add some extra fuel to the fire, I want them to have that opportunity, both to run the place and to participate in a meaningful way and the equity upside of whatever the outcome is. But if we're head to head with groups that are looking at it from a strategic angle, they just have the ability to pay more in they should, if that's what the seller prioritizes, they should ultimately be the winner of that process will lose out on opportunities simply because of bandwidth, we can only Chase so many opportunities at one time. And we have to really prioritize as you know edge from from the role that you play. We don't get to choose when companies come to market, we have to either be ready to run fast, or let it pass by. And that's just an unfortunate reality sometimes when we've got several different opportunities, and we just have to pick one and pursue that one.

And that leads me to my next question is, you know, the deals that got away, do you have a deal that you like, you know, at the time was pretty painful to miss. But then you sit there and say, Man, the deal gods were looking out for us that day?

Drew McKusick  13:50  
Yeah, I certainly have several of those. And it's, it's less about I won't name any specifics. So I'll go ahead and give you the preview that I'm going to give you a non answer. But it's less about company. You know, we've been around long enough now that we've seen companies trade and then trade again, both good outcomes, and some not so good outcomes. And it's less about me, and I'm glad that one went away because it was like it maybe didn't go so well or I heard in the marketplace that it's not going so well. The ones that I'm glad that we didn't do or the ones that freed up our bandwidth to do the next one, but we got to do, right. If I would have been ultimately successful on ones that we were chasing company XYZ, then I wouldn't have got to work with dealers wholesale or Eos, Capital Lighting can metal technologies, EMT, our portfolio companies. There's some serendipity in how we ended up partnering with them in some time What feels like loss is actually the the opening of the opportunity to do the next one, that is the right one. And so that's just like in baseball, right? You got to have a short memory, either as a pitcher, pitcher or batter. Exactly. Same in our world, you got to have a short memory, you got to carry the lessons and the learnings with you. But you got to keep after it and continue to scour for the right next opportunity, the right next great team to

hopefully partner with. Yeah, and that that leads me to what makes a business attractive to folks like you. And and I think the first part would be, how exactly does a private equity group work? I mean, I'm, you know, for our listeners, you know, I'm certain that, you know, not everybody knows, you know, just the high level overview of how a firm like yours works. And then what makes businesses attractive to to folks like

you? Yeah, great question. And so I'll start with the just the business model. As we talk with sellers, I break it down into really, there's three things that are very high level that our group or other private equity firms do. Number one is they have to find investment opportunities. So you'll hear that called deal origination or sourcing or business development, that is going out and working with business brokers, investment bankers, your trusted advisory network, who serves your target market of privately held company owners, and really being in the flow of opportunities. So that's one you have to bring enough opportunities in the door. You know, you got to have, you got to be able to step up and take swings. And to do that, you have to have to see the pitches. You know, the second bucket is what a lot of groups would refer to as transaction services. In this is the review of those opportunities that come in the door, trying to figure out do they fit the firm's investment criteria? Are they good opportunities? Is it something we want to learn more about? Do we have the right resources and relationship capital to bring to bear to help those opportunities, and then then from there, that that second bucket runs all the way through closing the transaction, so financing, due diligence and negotiation with the seller, and the sellers, intermediaries and trusted advisors, so that that middle piece, the transaction services is what most people think of when they think of private equity firms. But then it's really the third bucket, the operating side, the value creation side working with your portfolio companies, after you acquire them, that's where the most of the time is actually spent, where you may be working with a company, in our case, ours are structured in a way that we can work with them for really an indefinite period of time, a lot of private equity firms will have anywhere between three to seven year of projected time, horizon or hold period. But that's where most of the time is spent. So that's really the three buckets that that you break our business model down into. And then, you know, the second part of your question was around what makes a great company? Or how do we pick from all the opportunities, which ones that are fit for us and that we want to pursue? And that falls in that second bucket, the transaction services? You know, every group has a different set of criteria, both in terms of size range, and are they more industrial focused or consumer focused? Business Services versus manufacturing, all different types of approaches to the to the marketplace, depending on the firm strategy and the background and experience that of the professionals within the investment firm. You know, I think what's common place across all them is at the end of the day, you got to find great leadership teams, and you gotta be serving the right markets. And so that the right leadership teams never change. The right markets are very criteria dependent depending on the firm.

Ed Mysogland  19:44  
One of the things that I always squabble with business owners about are the returns and returns that regardless of the type of buyer. I mean, it Do you is there a bogey that you guys look to from a return on Your investment what? What kind of rate versus some of the other alternative investments that are out there?

Drew McKusick  20:05  
Yeah, great question. And it's very, you know, private equity has become such a large asset class, that there are a lot of different tranches within that and the return profiles are very different from the large multibillion dollar funds that over time their return profile has come down, it tends to not be a whole lot different from the public equities market, but just a little bit different risk allocation or cycle risk or beta risk. But at the lower end of the market, still very much return driven. And, you know, frankly, on smaller companies, you're taking some inherent size risk. Just in partnering with smaller companies, there's less room for error, there's smaller balance sheets to publish to invest even when an investment group comes in. And with that, you would expect and we expect to underwrite to a little bit higher return profile. For us in our model, you have to underwrite a well performing investment, we're more focused on cash on cash returns than we are percentage returns at the end of the day, we feed our families of dollars, not in percentages. And we have the the flexibility in our timeline based on our model to work with companies for a long period of time over our investment window. Now, you know, for ourselves and just our time allocation, certainly for our investors, we have to be returned driven, of course. And we have very high expectations, again, going back to, you know how selective we are when we raise our hands. But it is always part of the conversation, especially when the sellers will be reinvesting alongside us. As, as go forward. Investors in the business I'm not selling 100% stake.

Speaking of one of your investments, Eos, which, you know, I It's funny, because I have I just happened to stumble on to EOS. I mean, obviously, you can't. It's the latest global entrepreneur, buzzword these days, you can't you can't dodge it. And next thing I know, my friend, Drew's private equity group, happens to own that. And, and you're being right up the road. I'm kind of embarrassed that I didn't know that. So where did where did that come from? And how? Yeah,

Ed Mysogland  22:45  
great question and story, just happy to share with you and your listeners, EOS for your listeners that don't know stands for the Entrepreneurial Operating System. And it's the content IP, the holistic set of systems and tools for business owners is built on from the book traction by Gino Wickman. And we first came to EOS as users of the program. My partner Daymond man first brought it into our group after he had read the book years and years ago. And he read it and it was just an AHA Eureka type moment of oh my gosh, this is exactly what we're trying to work with our companies in pursuit of. But it's it's put together in such a simple and beautiful way that makes it easier to implement. And when he shared it with myself and the rest of the partners, it was that same AHA kind of moment. And so we were out, you know, working on our operating playbook for how to help companies build value after we acquired them. And we said, this is the perfect, this is the perfect system for us to use. And so we started working with our partner companies to implement EOS in their companies because we saw it as the best tool to help them get what they want out of running the business and help us achieve our objectives and owning the business. And so like many folks who come to Eos, we first started we read the book, we dabbled with some of the tools, we probably didn't do it purely. We weren't using all of the tools. We weren't getting the most out of it. But we started to see some progress. And then we started you know as a best practice, we started working with professional and certified implementers and had them come in and work with our leadership teams on a quarterly and annual basis is part of the ELS process to help us achieve our objectives. In owning the business. We saw great, great outcomes from it Not just ROI outcomes, but culture, the, the just the way that our teams function, they were healthier, they were holding each other more accountable, they were more growth oriented. We were we finally had a set of criteria and core values to make sure we were hiring, promoting and firing on core values and getting the right people on the bus. And then once they were on the bus, making sure we found them the right seat. So we first came to ELS as rabid fans, we saw at work in our companies, and we just absolutely loved it. And it became our standard operating procedure to use it with all of our portfolio companies, long before it was ever an investment opportunity for us.

So how does it convert from I'm a fan to combine it.

Yeah. It's a great story. And, you know, before I got into this line of work, I never really looked at products or services with an inquisitive mind of, Hey, I wonder who sells that or I wonder who does that. And my partners were great teachers to me in that way, you know, they'd go into a building and look at the escalator and say, I wonder who takes care of that escalator. And, you know, just all business opportunities everywhere. And so one of my partners finally said, you know, we should try to reach out to Gino Wickman, and tell them our story. And we're huge fans of this system. So just get to know him. And then of course, we'll ask him if he wants to sell the business. So one of my partners through a common connection got us introduced to Gino several years ago, he was gracious enough to hop on the phone. And we were able to share our story and how much we believed in the system, how we used it in all of our partner companies. And he was again, just very gracious with his time and hearing that and, you know, appreciative of the fact that we reached out to Tom, we, we liked it and we were getting some value out of it. You know, his whole mantra in life is to create value and it help entrepreneurs live their ideal life. And he was just glad to hear that. We were experiencing some of that just through using the system that He was the creator of. And so my partner's couldn't let him get off the phone without asking. So hey, we know there's a book and we know there's a system. But is there a business behind all of this? And Gino kind of laughed and said, yeah, there's there's a business that's doing quite well. And they said, Well, would you ever be interested in selling? And they said, Well, no, but thanks for calling. And so we have a ton of those conversations as part of our everyday lives at the Firefly group. And so we went on about our business and kept doing what we're doing. And, you know, maybe nine months, 12 months later, Gino called one of my partners and said, You know, I've decided to sell the business. And I've hired an investment banker to help me in the process. And I would love for you guys to participate in that process. So I mean, we were just over the moon ecstatic again, it's not every day that we have, as consumers, we have a very clear understanding the product whenever new investment opportunities come across. So we were thrilled to jump in on that. And it certainly humbled to work through that process. And it was quite a process. Gino had a 12 criteria for what he believed the right buyer for us was and they were 11 of them were not price. Price was certainly one of the 12. But it was there were 11 other serious ones. And the thing that we've all just come to love about Gino and don his partner and just the entire US community is very intentional. Gina was very intentional about planning for the sale of his business and what was acceptable and what was unacceptable in terms of the buyer that business. So again, we're just very humbled to go through that process and ultimately be selected to to be the partner for the next stage of growth and to to buy a majority position from Gino and his partner and now work with the leadership team there on on what's ahead. And there's a lot of opportunity ahead for that company for sure.

Drew McKusick  29:28  
Well, I would love to know and you guys, you know if if you bump across the statistics, I'd be curious to know how much more valuable a company that has deployed EOS is versus a non company that you know. So, yeah, I gotta imagine it. I don't want to say considerable, but I'll bet you there's some percentage premium when you have that system deployed.

Ed Mysogland  29:53  
Yeah, I certainly agree with you and we've heard plenty of anecdotal and Um, you know, feedback from EOS implementers your clients have sold and, you know, they credit EOS with not just the value that they sold for, but that they even prepared them to to be in a position to sell. Or that they that EOS helped them realize that it was time for them to move on and find another passion. So just that whole process, EOS is a fantastic tool for it. And I tell folks, both business owners, sellers, bankers, anybody at the Firefly group, at least, we're more likely to say yes to an opportunity. And we're more likely to pay more for that opportunity, if they're running on an operating system. EOS is certainly our operating system of choice. And it has been long before we were owner, and owner of it. That's not just a something new that I would tell, folks. But even if you're not running on us, if you have a system, it is a contributing factor to all of the the key things we look for in companies to buy in terms of more likely to have a fully developed leadership team. Companies who know what their issues are, can solve their issues, they can stop solving the same issue over and over again. And it frees up time for them to be able to look ahead, look around corners, know what's coming anticipate. And that sort of team in that sort of company is more broadly marketable. And it's, frankly, more valuable out in the marketplace. And so we've seen that to be true in our own experience. And we hear the same from a lot of companies that are running on EOS.

Drew McKusick  31:49  
I want to be sensitive to your time. So if you haven't I just have a few more questions. Absolutely. So when we look at business hours, I mean, most of of them, this is a lifestyle, you know, it's they're not viewing their business as an investment. And you know, this is it's just basically in a checkbook. And some years, it's great, some years not so great. I mean, when you're out looking in the marketplace, I'm here, are you seeing people that are interested in legacy and making you know, that this company goes on and into the future? Or is it you know, what I just want, I just want to check out, Cash me out and do whatever you want with whatever's left.

Ed Mysogland  32:30  
You know, honestly, we see both. And that's okay. Neither one of those is the right answer. And neither one of those is the wrong answer. As you know, and working with business owners, who are working toward that, that eventual outcome of an exit, it's a very emotional process, in the lead up to it during the process is very intense. And then then after that, and, you know, working with good advisors, having a system like Eos, or another operating system, those sorts of things, help the business owner prepare, not just the business for a transition, but prepare themselves for a transition. And for us the most successful sellers know what it is they want to accomplish in exiting their business. And some will tell you, I just want to be done, I will I will sell to the person who pays me the most, and pays me the most the fastest. And if that is truly what they want out of their business, and they're ready for whatever comes next, then that's great. And hopefully they have good advisors to get them to that outcome. And there are others that say that are intentional in a different sort of way. That certainly want top value for the business, maybe they want to stay and continue to run it and they just want a partner, they just want to diversify the risk. And anywhere in between, but very intentional about what they want out of their business transition, and what they care about. And sometimes that is the legacy. Sometimes it's more just a lifeline to be done in, in, in monetize their life's work. And that's quite a right.

Yeah, and I get it but the funny the funny thing is that so many business owners don't understand the buyer risk that, you know, there is somebody you know, you've owned this business for 40 years, you know, you you don't exactly know just turn over the reins and and the buyer knows every single thing that you do, and that there's just a disconnect that, hey, that's not my problem anymore. That's the buyers problem. Well, you know, either either you're going to participate in seller financing or some sort of performance You know, based vehicle that's going to mitigate the buyers risk or you're not going to be able to sell period. And it's so funny that the buyers or the sellers are just cannot empathize with what the what they're asking the buyer to do coming in. So I hear you, it's a it's a it's a it's a crazy one. But you know, but but I think anymore I think business sellers as well, you know, buyers are coming to the table more informed. And I think it's forcing business sellers to become more prepared. At least I hope so. So swinging to my one of my last questions is, what do you think the single biggest challenges is facing small business today?

Oh, it's absolutely Talent Recruitment and retention. And that's, that's in our companies, our partner companies, that is in the the business owners and sellers that we look at and talk with them out in the market every day, the war for talent is real, is not going away. And with that, companies have to be very mindful of how they are not just approaching and recruiting talent, but how they are structured to retain that talent, and create a pathway for them to envision staying with the company long term. And there's so much mobility in the marketplace today. And from a macro economics and public policy point of view, that's a great thing. As a business owner, and as an investor in small businesses, sometimes you think Man, I wish I could put a moat around our talent. But there are no moats anymore. When it comes to economic mobility for talented individuals. And with that, you have to invest very intentionally in culture, you have to invest in training and education for your people, you have to make your company a place that people want to come every day, they come and they get filled up instead of worn down where they leave fulfilled. Not just doing the bank account, and working for a fee, but really enjoying where they work, who they work with what they work on, and the opportunities that are ahead of them. And that is just person to person that is the single biggest issue that we see it, it's across all industries. You

know, the funny thing is so, so after all these podcasts that I've done, the one the ones that get the most attention, are those related to employees, and employee retention. So, so business owners intuitively know, you know, where the where the value is. And that's, that's pretty interesting, because it is and, and the funny thing is, you know, so many employees fail to realize that they are what creates value in the in the company. Now the guy that's taking all the risk, he has probably a bigger paycheck. But at the end of the day, the people that that are working in and developing and implementing the sales or the products or whatever, you know, they're the ones that create the value. And they and oh my gosh, that is that is so funny that you've said that because I think it's it's running about 90% of all the all the interviews that I've done, everyone says its employees. And I wonder if it'll always be that way. Do you think it'll always be that way?

I think that it will, as a I would believe that 90% of folks would continue to say that well into the future. You'll have others talk about, you know, technology disruption, and that'll always be the case. But when you live in a knowledge driven economy, it's always going to be talent and skill sets that really drive the economic outcomes, not just for the economy as a whole, but for small businesses. In particular.

Drew McKusick  39:24  
Before we go my last question, this is the grand finale. So if I had one, one, and I think I know the answer, but if you had one piece of advice you'd give to our listeners that would have the most immediate impact on the value of their business, what would it be?

Ed Mysogland  39:39  
I mean outside of implementing ELS. Yeah, well,

that was that was my answer, but I assume they're gonna say you have a process.

Yeah, so yes, more generally have a process but no, I you know what I would tell business owners. The single biggest thing you can do is make yourself easily replaceable in your business. And that is easier said than done. For somebody who's spent their their life, their blood, their sweat their tears, building a business, to think about building it in a way where they're no longer needed. Ensure that the business is successful. And so I joked about EOS. But EOS and other systems like that working with coaches and trusted advisors is a good way to, to help the business owners, the entrepreneurs plan for that and be very intentional about it. But I think just as importantly, what goes along with that, is that before you make yourself replaceable in your business, you have to know what you actually want to do once you're free to do anything you have to be mindful and intentional about. Okay, now what's next, because business owners and entrepreneurs are wired a little differently, they're not going to, no matter how much they told themselves, they're gonna go play golf, and they're gonna move to Florida. There's too much energy there. And we've seen the most from at least from the owners that that we bought from and other sellers that we interact with in the marketplace, those that are the most fulfilled and satisfied with the outcome, it has very little to do, you know, once you remove from the situation has very little to do with price or deal structure, all the things that we thrashed around about, you know, the fulfillment and satisfaction comes with having the next passion and their next purpose and being able to harness and direct that energy toward it. And the ones that can do that successfully are the ones that ended up making the most money out of their, their sale and transition anyways.

So what's the best way we can connect with you.

So the best way to find me is on LinkedIn. And then from there, we can connect and go offline. always interested to talk with business owners, entrepreneurs, trusted advisors intermediaries of the marketplace. So LinkedIn is the best way to find me drew me at Houston. Houston is MCC UI s. T o n please do look me up and connect there.

Okay, and I'll certainly have links to everything we talked about in the in the show notes. So Drew, you know, thanks so much for being so generous with your time and experience and helping business owners maximize their value inside the business and on the exit. And to learn more about drew in the Firefly group, go to http www. A Firefly G. R. DREW again, thanks so much for being a defender of business value.

Thanks, Ed. Really appreciate you having us on the show this afternoon. And thanks for all you're doing out there to to help entrepreneurs get the most out of their business. Well,

it was it was great to visit with you and I look forward to seeing you soon. All

thank you.


Drew McCuistonProfile Photo

Drew McCuiston

Drew McCuiston is from a private equity group in Indianapolis called The Firefly group. Ed and Drew run in the same networking circles. Ed has always been impressed by Drew and his group because they’ve always done good deals. You never hear bad things about them. They’re just good guys doing good deals. And the side benefit is that one of their acquisitions is EOS or Entrepreneurial Operating System for business. They acquired the rights or the business for EOS, and it’s interesting to talk about that acquisition - why they got into it and what they plan to do with it.