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10 Quiet Light Acquisitions From a Private Aggregator: Lessons Learned
Mike Nunez began his career as an Internet Marketing Manager for Tempus Resorts International and Last Minute Travel. Along with his brother, Mike was the Co-founder of Affiliate Manager and The Performance Company, an internet marketing agency, before founding Tilde Enterprises. He has acquired multiple e-commerce businesses, several of which he purchased from Quiet Light.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [04:46] Mike Nunez talks about cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit within his family
- [11:34] What does it takes to execute business growth?
- [14:30] Authentically building relationships with buyers
- [20:34] Mike explains finding value outside monetary gain with companies he’s purchased
- [25:39] How to position yourself for success without intermingling books
- [34:44] Why financial literacy is crucial to understanding P&L
- [41:15] Mike shares how to upcycle a business and his cash preservation growth strategy
- [44:46] How to value your peace over profit
- [50:02] Why your brand needs passion and purpose
In this episode…
When you want to purchase a company, what should you look for? Mike Nunez has a specific strategy: trust. What does trust look like in business terms?
Mike is intentional about his strategic acquisitions, values what he builds, and develops relationships. Trust is a highway to more than one thing, but Mike has learned that the highest level of trust is impeccable books. His experience has taught him a few things, especially when it comes to managing books: have clean books and never intermingle funds between businesses. Are you ready to upcycle your business?
In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley and Chuck Mullins sit down with Mike Nunez, serial entrepreneur, to discuss the strategy of acquiring 10 companies. Mike talks about authentic work habits, positioning yourself to find value, and upcycling to encompass growth. Stay tuned!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Mike Nunez on LinkedIn
- Quiet Light
- Quiet Light on YouTube
- Joe Valley
- Mark Daoust
- Chuck Mullins
- Quiet Light Podcast email: [email protected]
- The EXITpreneur’s Playbook: How to Sell Your Online Business for Top Dollar by Reverse Engineering Your Pathway to Success by Joe Valley
- “9 Super Secret Tips to Being a Great Buyer With Mike Nunez (Part 1)” on the Quiet Light Podcast
Sponsor for this episode
This episode brought to you by Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.
There is no wrong reason for selling your business. However, there is a right time and a right way. The team of leading entrepreneurs at Quiet Light wants to help you discover the right time and strategy for selling your business. They provide trustworthy advice, effective strategies, and honest valuations. So, your Quiet Light advisors aren’t your everyday brokers — they’re your partner and friend through every phase of the exit planning process.
If you’re new to the prospect of buying and selling, Quiet Light is here to support you. Their plethora of top-notch resources will provide everything you need to know about when and how to buy or sell an online business. Quiet Light offers high-quality videos, articles, podcasts, and guides to help you make the best decision for your online business.
Not sure what your business is really worth? No worries. Quiet Light offers a free valuation and marketplace-ready assessment on its website. That’s right—this quick, easy, and free valuation has no strings attached. Knowing the true value of your business has never been easier!
What are you waiting for? Quiet Light offers the best experience, strategies, and advice to make your exit successful. To learn more, go to quietlight.com, email [email protected], or call 800.746.5034 today.
Hi folks. It’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals.
Joe Valley 0:32
Hey folks, Joe Valley here. Thank you for joining me for another episode of the Quiet Light Podcast. Today my co host is Chuck Mullins. Chuck, how you doing, man?
Chuck Mullins 0:41
Well, man, how are you? Good.
Joe Valley 0:43
We’ve got Mike Nunez coming back on how many deals have you bought or sold through Mike or with Mike?
Chuck Mullins 0:50
I mean, I personally have done I maybe have sold them five businesses six, sold one through me. And then he’s bought, you know, five plus more from Quiet Light. Last well,
Joe Valley 1:02
he does it right, folks. Mike is going to talk about the philosophies around rolling up over 10 businesses as a private aggregator. He has not raised funds for this. His philosophy from buying a business for a 17 year old, showing him profit and loss statements to team unity, even though it’s across 10 Different companies in 10 different locations all across the world. Mike’s been on the podcast several times before. He is the featured person in the upcoming launch of the latest quiet giants video that you’re going to see in your inbox and all over social media. So take a look for that. And, Chuck, let’s jump right to the podcast. Here we go, folks.
Chuck Mullins 1:47
Hey, Mike, welcome to the podcast. Hey, Chuck,
Mike Nunez 1:50
thanks for having me.
Joe Valley 1:52
Welcome back, actually, right. This is your how many times
Mike Nunez 1:56
maybe fourth time, but this will be the best one.
Joe Valley 2:01
Because Chuck’s in charge. I like that. Well, Charles in Charge, it goes back to when I was a kid.
Chuck Mullins 2:07
You go you’re dating yourself there?
Joe Valley 2:10
Is the gray on my chin does that for me, Chuck? I will
Chuck Mullins 2:15
say just to start that. I think Mike’s podcast that I recorded with him was like the nine super secret tips to being a great buyer is the one I refer to most like meaning when I’m talking to people. I’m like, go watch this, because this will give you like the most actionable information. So Mike is always like a really good gas. And like, you always come away with a lot of nuggets when talking to like,
Joe Valley 2:36
what a title of that one again, Chuck nine,
Chuck Mullins 2:39
nine super secret tips to being a great buyer. And you came up with that title because it’s very cool. I don’t remember who came up with it. Maybe an afterthought. We just started talking and that’s where it went.
Joe Valley 2:50
So nine Secret Super tips to being a great buyer see, it just flew off my tongue. It’s perfect.
Mike Nunez 2:57
What’s what’s always funny is when people who I have calls with about purchasing their business refer to that oh, yeah, hey, I watched your video. And I’m like, okay, you know what, I’m gonna say that. So Right?
Joe Valley 3:09
Just go watch it again, stop asking me questions and taking my time. That’s what I say about the book. Just read the book. No, I talked to people. So Mike, you have You confused me, right? Because my state of mind is, I can really only do one thing? Well. I try to multitask. And sometimes I fail at everything instead of doing great at one good thing. Whereas you, you exited through Quiet Light or something you bought from Chuck and then sold through Chuck several years later. And then you’ve gone like on a buying frenzy and you’ve bought more than 10 businesses overall 10 from Quiet Light and a bunch of different axes acquisition. So first of all, how I mean, you gotta grind your chin to how do you have the energy to do it, man.
Mike Nunez 4:03
Um, you know, I really, really enjoy it. It’s business is fun. My poor family has been sucked into this with me. Where, you know, my wife runs a burn a brand we, you know, we say I don’t know how to say this without without coming across, you know, jerky, but we don’t have to we don’t have to work anymore. Like we’re good. We can we live in Puerto Rico. We could. We could just, you know, we did it. We did it for three to six months where we were like, Okay, we’re retired and we were bored out of our mind. So we were like, okay, but that’s not going to work. Let’s set some new goals. So we set some new goals and now you know, my wife is involved my son. I bought him an FBA brand to run to kind of be 17 years old going to be 18 in a week. And so yeah, it’s great. So he’s getting involved. So It’s funny because he’ll get home. Right now he works in our warehouse as well. So he’s kind of getting an understanding for logistics and things like that. But he gets home from work, and he’ll walk in my office and just say, Hey, I had had this idea, you know, to help our conversion rate and blah, blah, blah, you know, my wife will walk in, and we’ll talk about oh, hey, we just found this new vendor for creating better product photos, and this and this and that. And so it’s like family dinner time, where we’re just sitting there talking about it. So it’s, it’s kind of become, we’re just a family of entrepreneurs. And it’s really, I don’t know, it’s kind of bonded us. It’s pretty great.
Joe Valley 5:43
That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Chuck, you shoot for that someday, too.
Chuck Mullins 5:47
Yeah, well, I went over Mike’s house recently. And he put my kids to work bottling.
Joe Valley 5:55
God, lead wise here, I don’t know.
Chuck Mullins 5:59
That a cool machine, it was like to have the bottles and they’re putting the labels on and my kids were like, what’s that? Please come over? Let me show you how to do that.
Joe Valley 6:06
I’ll be back in two hours keep going. But that’s not the way you operate all of the businesses, though, I would assume like How many are you operated in the family and bottling in the garage versus got somebody else managing it? This
Chuck Mullins 6:22
was in the dining room, just
Mike Nunez 6:25
a tiny room? No, and that one was more like, it could all be in the warehouse. But we’re like, oh, we don’t feel like driving to the warehouse, right. And it’s one of those things that if, if somebody’s bored, they’ll just go and do a couple of things. So anyway, no, everything is typically out of our warehouse, where we have a warehouse here in, in central Florida. And we that’s for most of the business, we also have a business that’s based in Bulgaria. So I think we have 12 people based there. And then we have just a ton of virtual employees. So I think we’re up to maybe 40 people across the companies right now. Just Rockstar, human beings love them. And they all like, just every day, we have a team meeting, and they all just enjoy each other. And they all like I have to rein it in maybe about 15 to 20 minutes into the team meeting. So like, Okay, guys, we got to stop talking about personal stuff. And we really need to start talking about, you know, what we’re here to meet about. But it’s that, that feeling that people use the word culture, it feels like it’s played out a little bit, but it’s that it is that culture that I’m just having, and working with happy human beings, that that really just makes us all enjoyable.
Joe Valley 7:44
So even if the businesses are completely unrelated, maybe a supplement business and a clothing business, you’re still on a team call together.
Mike Nunez 7:53
Yeah, so we have kind of taken the approach. It’s all we deal mostly with EECOM. And there’s, there’s a few exceptions to that. But with mostly with the income. And you know, with income, there’s a lot that’s similar. There’s logistics, there’s warehousing, there’s fulfillment, there’s procurement, there’s marketing, and so on, it’s on its own. So instead of you know what, to answer your question from a couple of minutes ago of how do we do it, it’s more like, we have what we’ll call a center of excellence, like a team that just knows how to do procurement really, really well. And they’ll do it across the companies. There are exceptions to that, for example, the suit company that that we own, that takes a little bit more specialization, that company also does millions of dollars and can afford to have a specialized person for that some of the smaller companies will aggregate together put together and and have the same person fulfill the similar role across all companies.
Joe Valley 8:58
It’s still pretty stunning that you do all of it. Really? Seriously, this? What?
Chuck Mullins 9:06
Not even I don’t even it just does all of it. Right. Like, he’s sitting there bottling stuff in his house. Right, like, doesn’t matter the grind these still grinding.
Joe Valley 9:18
It’s like, I gotta it’s not a grind if you enjoy it, though, right?
Mike Nunez 9:21
I love it. I love it. So here’s, here’s the story again. I want to make sure I say this comes across right away. So listeners and watchers, please know I’m a decent guy. But I don’t know I bought a soda company business from Quiet Light, maybe three years ago was actually was March 2020. How can anybody forget March 2020. Right. So it was March 2020. And maybe a few months and they sold some tab soda. Do you remember tap soda? Oh yeah. Okay, so they’re still there. We’re still people who just love tab soda like and we would sell a good amount of it every every month. And coke who owns tap soda decided that they are going to stop making it right? They’re not going to stop making the temp soda. And so somebody that thinks somebody in my family or something realized that Publix the main whatever grocery store around here, yeah had like, you know, hundreds and hundreds of boxes and they were kind of on clearance because it was like buy one get one free because it was wasn’t going to be restocked or whatever. And our rate because of shipping and things like that was significantly higher. Right. We it was actually cheaper to buy it from Publix than to buy it from our supplier right at that point. And so I was like, Heck, you know, let me let me just go around. I think we, we went around and bought 1000 boxes of, or 12 packs of these from different Publix. And I was telling this guy that lives in my neighborhood, that story. And he, he says, and again, this is the part where if I come across jerky, please listeners and such, forgive me. But I think there’s a moral to this story. He says, Hey, I thought you were too rich to be doing stuff like that. And I kind of thought I didn’t say this back to him. But I said in my head, I was like, I’m rich, because I do stuff like that. Right? That’s, that’s the work that it takes to do things like this. And and I do it because I want to not because I have to. And that to me is the real joy of of being able to do what we do is like everything we do we do we want to not because we have to.
Joe Valley 11:46
Yeah, it’s it’s a big difference between you know, this is the true entrepreneur versus somebody that is high level executive that steps into a small business, the mentality is totally different than we’ve seen time and time again, when someone hires, let’s say, Director of Digital Marketing from a very large company to oversee the marketing of a small company doing 10 million in revenue, that it’s kind of a disaster. Let’s talk about your mindset. When you do make a purchase, and you’re looking at a company. Are you looking for an unmasking so that the listener can kind of learn what you’re doing? Because you’re doing it so successfully? Are you looking for a company where the staff will transfer or you’re looking for a company that’s at least five years old? That transitions fairly easily, or one that’s in trouble? And your team knows how to fix it? What is your mindset as you look at these different companies to purchase?
Mike Nunez 12:41
So yes. Everything that you just said? I will say though, those are things to consider further down the line. I think the reason why Quiet Light likes me and I like white light that is oh, all of those things before we even get to let’s say I’m loi, right. And I like to say and this is still this, my record is still intact here. I have not gone under loi with Quiet Light, or any broker and not close. So but the rate is not because I’m sitting there and I’m accepting everything that happens after the loi, it’s that you do all the work ahead of time, right? Like you just make sure that is this a legitimate business that you want. Now, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t hiccups after an LOI, but those are usually addressable. If you’re finding enormous hiccups after the fact, then, you know, that’s, something’s wrong with your loi process. And a lot of a lot of times, and this is maybe for sellers of their business. A lot of times you might have somebody kind of rushed to an LOI thinking that oh, well, I’ll do all the negotiation afterwards. Right. And so I tend to be a is this a term? I’m a seller’s buyer. So like, I want to I kind of want to be legit with them. I don’t, I don’t want to. Here’s a story that I’m not like. I had a friend who was like, oh, yeah, I’m looking for a new house. And another friend said, oh, yeah, my grandma’s. Like, looking to sell her house. He’s like, Oh, I’m not interested. And she’s like, you don’t know any of the details. I just said, you just said you’re looking for a house. I told you my grandma. He’s like, No, I’m looking to rip somebody off. I am looking to get the best deal. And I don’t want to do that to your grandma. And I, I kind of took that lesson. I’m like, Oh, I I don’t want to be the type of buyer that that’s that. That does that I to this day. I’m friends with some of the people who I’ve purchased business with, you know, one good example of that. And, Chuck, you’re aware of this. Let’s see. I think it was in July of last year, we took the family took a Grand Canyon trip, we it was like a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon for 11 days. And we were actually invited to that by the seller of that that business that I bought and sold through Quiet Light. And so we we spent 11 days camping with them. And they’re an incredible, wonderful family. I just really got to know them even better. You have nothing to do, but to get to know people on an 11 day camping trip with no cell service, no internet, no. Nothing like that. So yeah, it’s like, that’s the type of relationships that we look to to create. Now, that’s not to say there’s other people that we bought from that they want absolutely nothing to do with the business or me afterwards. That’s okay, too. But you know, I’m here. Every once in a while, I’ll get an email from somebody we bought in Hey, how’s the business doing? You know, like, I get it that this is kind of like their brainchild that they that they raised from zero to one, and they’ve lovingly entrusted me to help get it from one to five. And, and I’m always happy to talk, talk to them and say, hey, you know, yeah, we’re doing great doubled last year, we did this and this and that. And they always like, Oh, that’s so awesome. Thanks again, and then they’ll disappear. So it’s just really it’s an interesting dynamic. So I don’t think I actually answered your question until I think
Joe Valley 16:34
it’s, it’s really it’s Chuck, tell us I mean, folks, for those that don’t know, Chuck, he’s what Chuck your I think you joined just after Brian did or maybe just before, you’re one of the longest tenured advisors on the team. It’s been about six years now. Yeah. And I think I didn’t look at the numbers, I actually plan on looking at the numbers in the last 24 months, just to verify what I’m about to say, but I think you are the highest revenue producing advisor for Quiet Light at this point last couple of years. Not that it means you’re out there out selling people, you’re just being a nice guy as well, just like Mike is when he’s buying, you’re helping as many people as you can. And I know that when you get multiple offers coming on business, if you’ve got a hot business, very attractive one, maybe that Mike has bought, and you’ve got other buyers making offers, how often does your seller say, Well, tell me what you know about the buyers? What do you think of this buyer and that buyer and that buyer?
Chuck Mullins 17:36
Yeah, I mean, all the time, right? Like, I would say it’s probably half if not more of sellers who do not sell to the highest dollar value, all right, and that’s my specialty is coming in, and not actually being the highest dollar value. I think for the majority of the businesses bought, if not all of them, he wasn’t the highest he was the person they liked the most was going to make the easiest transaction, you know, like ask the right questions, all these things that you can see in the nine super secret tips of being a buyer. But like he’s just
Joe Valley 18:10
prior progress, people are just gonna hang up disconnected and go search for that one.
Mike Nunez 18:14
I want to chime in on that one, though, because I think I think it’s an important point. Let me allow me to get there from here. So So first, one of the one of my tenants is, trust is a shortcut, right? Trust is a shortcut to knowledge. Trust is a shortcut to all kinds of things, right. And it’s like, if you have trust, like I have the trust in Quiet Light I know, right off the bat, like I have a high level of trust in a business that that that you all are selling right across can also be a shortcut to not working with somebody, there are people out there that I am very leery to work with. And they have to overcome obstacles in order for me to buy a business from them. Right. So I think that is one one thing that people can look like, if there’s somebody who you trust and they say something, you now take that as now knowledge and you’re going to walk away that is or somebody that you don’t trust, and so on and so on. So I would say there’s that part. And I do think that part helps me get to a point where I think quite light typically values businesses very well, very fairly. And so I trust that that part of it right. And so that is one obstacle that’s usually removed from from a lot of businesses that we that we try to look at and by now you guys said it trucks said that sometimes I get businesses for less than somebody else. I want to say that there’s reasons for that, right. And it’s part of the whole process. So for example, the suit business that I purchased, one of the questions that I asked that you can see in the super secret of video that Chuck is talking about is what’s what’s important to you other than money, right? What else is out there, and the seller, that business that I really want to make sure that my employees are taken care of, I don’t want a company to come in here and gut, you know, all the employees, fire everybody move production from here to there, and so on, and so on, and so on. And I have no intention of gutting and letting people go. In fact, usually when we buy businesses, we look at it from an aqua hire perspective, as well as like knowledge, there’s a lot of knowledge in the back. So we’re not a I don’t want this to sound negative towards PE, but we don’t have a private equity mindset that we need to squeeze every dollar out of out of a business, that’s private private equity, they have to do that, right, that they’re all about getting a return for, for their dollars. So in that particular business, just the fact that I was able to promise I didn’t have to put it into paper contracts. And I explicitly told that to the seller, because who knows what things may come. But at the time of acquisition, and to date, this is three or four years ago, we have never let anybody go that was originally from from that company. Production is still where it was. And so all the things that I promised, have now stayed that way. Right? And so when he was selling the business, he was factoring that in like, Okay, well, what, what else do I want? And so it’s, it’s, if there’s a moral to that story, I think it would be, you know, well, dollars, of course, if I if I will have the next offer. But obviously, you know, they’re not going to go my way. But if we’re within a percentage, you know, of where they are a small percentage, then the the intangibles start to creep in, right? Is this somebody that I want to work with for the next six months to a year? Is this somebody who’s going to take care of this baby that I’ve grown to this point, and I want to be able to trust that take over? Right? And then I’ll just lastly, say, usually, when we’re pricing a business, we look at it and what it’s worth to us, we have certainly been heavily outbid on businesses, because it might not be a semi strategic acquisition for us where it’s a semi strategic acquisition for somebody else, and they can certainly vid a lot higher. And those cases we will win, that those might be cases where we’re, you know, the business goes for well over asking price on that, again, that’s not typically what we’re gonna play.
Joe Valley 22:40
Yeah, I think all of this can be summed up in, in a simple phrase of, for a buyer, I think I was at rhodium, with the two of you, where I was on stage, and somebody in the audience said, What’s the secret to being a good buyer? And my response was simple and blunt. And it was just don’t be an asshole. Now, obviously, it’s too simple and too blunt. But that’s the beginning of it, because you just said something there. That is critically important. Sellers are gonna go, Can I can I get through due diligence, without this person renegotiating just because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do? Can I work with this person? For six months after closing? During the transition and training period, which just might be three months? Can I go, you know, rafting down the Colorado River for 11 days with this person, it all, it all helps them make the decision towards choosing you as a buyer. Let me go on to a little different tangent here structurally, like, because it’s important. You’ve got over 10 businesses, when you acquire a new business, do you set up a new entity where to separate? S corp or LLC? And if you do, tell us why. And if you don’t tell us?
Mike Nunez 23:51
Yeah, we definitely do. So we we always do because I like flexibility. And part of the flexibility is, let’s say one of the businesses starts taking off and doubling, tripling, whatever year over year, I want the ability to sell that particular business without intermingling of the books, right. Like that’s, that’s the hardest thing and it goes back to what I said, you know, a couple minutes ago trust, right? It can, how much can the buyer trust the books, and if the books are super clean, I’ve never used intermingle personal funds. I don’t need to worry about all sorts of add backs and things like that. It’s just rate up books. You know, that to me is the highest level of trust an acquirer can have in a company so that’s probably the number one reason why we keep things separated. Liabilities and other debts that’s always nice to have, but we’re not doing anything that’s that’s too dangerous. So I don’t have to worry too much about that. But that is 100% the way that we do it now you might be thinking, oh, what I thought you just said a couple minutes ago that you have people that work across the businesses? And we absolutely do. We have it working almost like an internal agency. It’s not it’s an internal part of the company. These are all employees of the parent company. But each of the companies that we acquire, you know, can tap into this, let’s say procurement Center of Excellence, right? Now, I charge the the company, and I make sure I do it at a market rate. Because if I don’t, then you know, after the fact, they could say, well, I can’t replace this position for what you’re, you’re paying these people. And if, as in the case with a couple of articles, exits, they’re still using the services, right? Like, one, nobody’s using like the internal Center of Excellence, they all prefer to take that in house. But we have somebody still using our warehouse as almost a three PL. And again, we charge we charged going rate to ourselves when we owned it, and we charge the exact same rate after after the accident. So it’s one of those win wins for everybody’s, you can’t, you know, I can’t imagine that conversation, well, we were charging ourselves half of this. But in order to truly make a profit, we’re gonna need to charge you double, right, that just opens up such a can of worms that, well, that’s gonna I need to take that away from the p&l. And so we avoid all of those problems by just charging market rate, and something that we’d be willing to continue, even after the exit. Yeah, you’ve bought so
Joe Valley 26:38
many businesses, you know how important that is and what you’re going to look for. And it goes back to that number one motto, which is, which is trust more than anything else? Chuck, in this situation, if Mike came to you and wanted to sell the whole package, would you see his entities set up separately PLC p&l set up separately as an advantage or a disadvantage?
Chuck Mullins 27:02
I don’t know that it’s an advantage or disadvantage. Like, it’s more of the opposite direction, I think when you have two businesses when the same entity, and you’re looking to sell and say you want us an SBA loan or something, like to separate those is a real pain to add them together. Not a big deal, right? So I think, setting up separately, you got a little bit more cost right with with accountants and things of that nature. But to add them together after the fact is easy, no brainer. separating them is painful and expensive. Like do
Joe Valley 27:36
Mike you have a plan in terms of another exit? Or is it just keep acquiring and keep having fun, until it’s no longer fun? And it’s too much work?
Mike Nunez 27:46
I was I was at this, this event down in Mexico. It’s a sourcing event. And I ran into this, this very nice woman who I was just telling her my story and she’s like, Oh, you’re a serial Exeter. I was like, Oh, I never heard that term before. And you should have said
Joe Valley 28:06
no, no, no, no, I’m an exitpreneur. I just typed down.
Mike Nunez 28:10
Ah, okay, got it. So for those that you don’t know that, that’s Joe’s book, and you can see the
Joe Valley 28:18
people you better know
Mike Nunez 28:22
that yeah, the plan overall, like we have this um, I don’t know if this is gonna come out before the the quiet giant theories. Does same week.
Joe Valley 28:36
Same week, same week. Yep. Okay, got
Mike Nunez 28:38
So, you know, we have that coming out. And the theme of that one is, is my family, right? And the hope and dream of ours is, you know, our lives are good. We want to now change everybody else’s. Right. So that’s the, that’s the new goal, right? Like, a lot of people say, you gotta gotta find happiness or think it’s happiness isn’t fulfillment, fulfillment is is in the pursuit of a goal. Right? And so that’s what where we are right now we have this new goal, and it’s really just really help our families right. So to that end, to answer your question, Joe, you know, we are intentional. I have a very big philosophy around being intentional. If you if you let life happen to you, you get what life gives you write. So we want to be intentional about what we what we want to make happen. So the intention is to take these businesses, grow them together. If there’s outliers that take off on their own. We have as the case with the one that we bought and sold do quite like those. We’ll exit and we’ll keep going. But the ones that are slow and steady, they’re not hockey stick growth, but you know, they might be About 20% every year for the last five years, right? And you aggregate five 610 15 of those together, you get to a $5 million EBITDA or Ste. And with a constant year over year growth, and put those together as a diversified portfolio of E comm that has a very constant, you know, 1020 30% growth year over year. And that’s going to be really attractive to somebody on the other side of this right. And so that’s the, obviously the longer term goal is that with smaller melamine moving smaller, but individual exits along the way,
Joe Valley 30:40
can you can you commit today, right here right now to use Chuck for that excellent.
Mike Nunez 30:48
Only because I want to make them work for it. I will not. Good answer.
Chuck Mullins 30:56
You know, I sold one of my businesses recently, but he did sell another business, not through me. I did, but maybe it was, it was a strategic buyer that approached him, right. So like, my feelings weren’t hurt.
Joe Valley 31:09
That’s the funny thing. You know, there’s plenty of business to go around. I mean, you know, I’ve had people reach out to me for advice on some listing that they’ve got with somebody else. And you know, of course, you know, I get a little confused as to why they chose that path. And they explained it, I help them regardless. And we’re friends, that’s the key thing we’re not, you know, after years of doing business together, you know, a client broker relationship or friends. And if they had a strategic reason for selling to somebody with without a broker, then they’re going to, you know, ask me for advice. And same thing with you, Chuck, it is, it is what it is. We’re not a organization at Quiet Light of, of brokers slash salespeople. We’re just here to help. And I know that sounds just so corny. But that’s the bottom line. And it’s what has propelled us to continue to grow and have the brand reputation that we have today. So
Mike Nunez 32:08
the way I’ll describe that is, is I have found you guys not to be what I would call transactional. Right? You, you do this for me, I do this for you. It’s usually and it all started with the first time and I won’t repeat that story because I’ve said it on on previous podcasts. But it all started with my first call with you and Mark and you guys said Mike, don’t sell your business yet it is growing too fast. Wait, wait till the and have it. They’ll have growth left. But you’re doubling year over year, you can realize a lot more value. And when you guys turned away a several $100,000 I don’t know how big that was to at the time, right? But it would have been at least a several $100,000 Commission to the brokerage. And you guys said you need to wait. I was like, Okay, there’s that trust thing that I was mentioning a little bit earlier and which is why I’ve really come back to you guys over and over again. Sorry, Chuck, I feel like and Trump.
Chuck Mullins 33:04
And the only problem with that story is that’s the one he sold to a strategic and never brought back.
Joe Valley 33:13
But he’s, but he’s been sold 10 others who quiet.
Chuck Mullins 33:19
And I think I’m gonna lose him as a client, because I’ve had to tell multiple sellers, like, don’t sell it to Mike. Like, I can get you more here. And Mike’s been like on the he’s aware of me doing that. And he’s like, and I’m like, dude, clients first like, I can’t take care of you. I’m sorry.
Mike Nunez 33:35
I get so mad. But I also I also realized, Chuck’s doing his job. And you know, he is a he represents the seller. Right? And so I I got the positive side of that when he was selling my business, right. But he’s it. It’s tough, right? It’s tough. It’s funny, because I feel like people are like, Oh, you must be great have been such good friends with with a broker. I’m like, No, I feel like he needs to prove that he’s not doing, you know, things just because it’s me and help push harder, like on that. So you know, I do wish sometimes maybe that I need to diversify brokers and maybe maybe
Joe Valley 34:26
there’s no inside track with Chuck. Hey, when I have a couple of questions real quick, with 10 Plus businesses, do you have a CFO deal? Do you personally look at every p&l every month? How’s that work?
Mike Nunez 34:40
Yeah, so I think there’s a I wish I would have learned this earlier. So if there’s any early on entrepreneurs on listening to this, go get financial literacy. Like go learn how to read a p&l, go learn How to read a balance sheet. When when I was acquired acquiring the business for my son, you know, we sat down, we went through the p&l, you know, line by line, and recreated it says, Okay, this is what their p&l looks like, what will our p&l Once we take us over look like? Right? Where are the missing costs? That they that for whatever reason, they don’t have to have, but we need to have, right, if any. And every month, we actually will sit down and go through the p&l and look at that. So I, to answer your question. I do look at every p&l every single month, I do have a bookkeeping company and service that handles the books on my behalf, I don’t I kind of have this philosophy of bringing value where where value is greatest, right? And to do bookkeeping, you know, minute by minute, I don’t bring any value. They’re now looking at the books on a monthly basis, which takes me you know, 30 minutes, maybe for a business, I can identify, well, why are we spending so much here? Why are we under spending here? Why are you know, our E causes is low, we couldn’t be squeaking out more overall profit if we took a look at that. So it informs my plan, basically, for the next month based off of the previous month’s p&l. So to answer your question, there’s no CFO, I kind of act like the the CFO, we’re also a little bit different in that. We don’t operate these businesses in need of cash flow, we can do what’s right for the business all of the time. And so that’s a little bit different about us than I think maybe some of the buyers that have to pay a salary from the business in order to survive. We don’t look at it that way. We’re like, Okay, well, we’re selling like crazy. We can we can double inventory, or we can take a dividend or distribution. Let’s go double inventory, right. Like that’s the better thing for the business to do. And let’s go achieve that. So,
Joe Valley 37:08
so you just said distribution, I want to clarify. For folks, that means you’re running these as LLC, or s corpse, correct? Yep, LLC. Let me ask another question, because you brought up your 17 year old a couple of times, how much? How much did you risk on a 17? year old? Right?
Mike Nunez 37:27
But not not too much?
Joe Valley 37:29
It 10s of 1000s ice cream money for him? Okay. All right. That’s, that’s good. Okay. And then one last question in terms of buying, are you a brisket, right? He
Chuck Mullins 37:40
invested in them,
Joe Valley 37:41
he invested in? Well, you did you know, I, I, early, early on, I had somebody buy a business from me, for his son, and his son had just recently graduated from college. And I thought cheap, really, maybe you should, you know, in lieu of spending $200,000 on college, you should have just bought the business when he was 18. But it gives that child time to grow and mature. I certainly needed that when I was in college and, you know, spread your wings a little bit. But I think it’s a great idea. You know, it’s something that I’ve thought about for the last 10 years, and my kids are now a freshman and junior in college. One definitely has an entrepreneurial spirit, they’ll probably go off on their own way for a bit and then maybe we’ll do that at some point. Anyway, regards to buying these businesses, Mike, right. You’re you don’t have to work. How do you buy them? Are you buying them with cash with a HELOC with a line of credit with SBA loans? What What’s your deal?
Mike Nunez 38:45
Yeah, that’s, that’s part of the value proposition that we offer when when we walk into a business, we don’t don’t buy anything from the SBA. I love the SBA. It’s what we bought the business three, four years ago that we go through quite like. However, there’s there’s risks involved with with the SBA, that that a lot of people are aware of, you know, you basically have to use your house is collateral, we are fortunate enough to have several houses. And so to put several houses as collateral for any individual businesses is not ideal. So we don’t do that we, we finance our we don’t finance our businesses, we will pay cash from our own reserves,
Chuck Mullins 39:28
basically. And Mike, you’ve got a specific strategy you use when you’re thinking about, like investing, right? And I’m not sure if you know, I’m going with this but it’s more not out of a I want to grow it’s out of a preservation and, like making sure that you don’t lose money, right.
Mike Nunez 39:47
I mean, yeah, like, if you if I if I go on park, you know, $100,000 in a bank account right now, even if it’s making a fantastic 4.2 4% Which is incredible, right from from a savings perspective, but with inflation, I just lost 3% Last month, right? So for me part of this is a as Chuck said, a cash preservation strategy where, you know, there’s there’s no better way that I found to triple quadruple, quintuple dollars in a two to three year plan. And then buying these businesses, fixing them up and, and while still leaving meat on the bone for the next buyer. Chuck said this to me one time, and I it’s stuck with me. And Chuck, don’t let it go to your head that I still remember this. But he’s he talked a lot about upcycling a business that there’s all these entrepreneurs out there that they take this from zero to one, and then you’ll have the mic command. And I’ll take it from one to three. Right. And then Aaron, actually, Aaron, my one of my business partner said, you know, at some point, you hit it, you hit a point where you’re doing onesie twosie improvements, and you just don’t have everything, you need to bring that business from that three to that five, or that seven, or that 10. And so that’s the point where you sell it, and you let the next person come in, and upcycle that business from three to a five, and then they’ll they’ll upcycle, from five to seven, and so on, so on and so on. It’s just the the life of a business. And so that’s, that’s kind of the the cash preservation growth strategy that we have, I haven’t found a better way to do it yet. I’m more mad that it took me so long to find this one. So, but we’re really happy with, with how it’s all turned out.
Joe Valley 41:49
Chuck Mullins 41:51
times to me where it’s, you know, you’re set now, right? All you got to make sure that you don’t screw up. Right. So it’s like, when I make an investment, I just got to make sure that I don’t screw up, right, we’re set, if we do nothing, we’re set. If I do something, and I mess up, we’re not set. So you know, you have a a, you know, a rational, I guess, fear of losing what you’ve created. And that helps drive your decision making? Yep, yeah. 100%,
Joe Valley 42:25
you know, that upcycling that you’re talking about, I’ve always I’ve always used the phrase, don’t promote yourself to your own level of incompetence. You know, we’re good at certain things, we can take a business from zero to one or one to four. But we may not be that person to take it to the next level. And the problem is, if you think you are but you’re not, and your ego gets in the way and greed gets in the way, you’re just going to screw it up, you’re going to screw it up, and it’s going to trend down or trend flat and the multiple is going to be lower, it’s not going to be worth as much money, you’re going to be miserable. And you’re not gonna give the time and energy and effort that you need to, to keep the business safe, healthy and growing. So yeah, real important lesson. Like, I don’t want the audience to think that you’re a superhero here, right? I mean, we learned often by screwing up, right? Yeah, talked about any of your screw ups in life. Yeah. Give us
Mike Nunez 43:19
all this. Come on.
Joe Valley 43:23
Chuck, do you want to just talk about microscopes?
Mike Nunez 43:26
No, no, I, I’ve certainly had businesses fail. Like, I bought a business, not through Quiet Light. So you’ll be you’ll be pleased to hear that this business, I still own it. And so I don’t want to talk, you know specifically about it. But there were there were things about the business that I don’t enjoy. And that’s, that’s a pretty big failure on my heart to acquire bits that I won’t enjoy. There’s the business is not doing well. I, I failed. We have a company acquisition algorithm, right? Like we we basically run it through, we ask these questions about this particular every particular business that we’re looking at buying. And I was so enthralled with this business. Before we acquired it, I was like, Oh, this is gonna be great. And this and this and that. It’s cool. It’s hip. You know, and I am not cool and hip because I say the words cool and hip. That I bought it anyway. And it’s just it’s not living up to what I think its potential is. And I think the biggest reason is it’s very it’s a very influencer based business and I do not enjoy. I did not enjoy working with the influencer that was primarily on the business and I’d rather the business not work, then then go back on that Right. So maybe there’s a little bit of it’s I wouldn’t even call it pride because I’m, I’m admitting to failure here. But I would say there’s a there’s a choosing my piece over profit. And that’s that’s a Part I, you know, it’s hard to call that a failure, Joe, choosing peace over profit. But I’ll say that the business is failing. But my pieces is certainly successful.
Joe Valley 45:31
Yeah, no, that’s important. Yeah. Some people disagree with this. And some live by it adamantly. And that is no matter what you’re doing what you’re going to buy, what business you’re going to grow, or invest in or start, it should have some interest and passion for it. Because inevitably, you’re going to hit rough patches. And during those rough patches, if you, if you have disdain for the business, you’re just going to go out, maybe it’s time just to move on something else. And you’re not going to have the the fortitude, the guts to double down and fix what is broken and put it back on the right path. Other people think of business as business and it’s all encompassing that passion, I kind of have always felt that there’s a need to have an interest in the service or product that you’re selling, or that you’re you’re providing, in order to really be the most successful at it. Do either of you agree to disagree with that philosophy?
Mike Nunez 46:30
I’m gonna disagree. Only slightly, like there’s you can be fine.
Joe Valley 46:39
Okay. Thanks for joining us today, Mike.
Mike Nunez 46:43
So, for example, I have a soda company, I don’t I don’t have a particular affinity for sodas, I rarely drink soda at home. However, the the, the emails that we get back from the customer, oh, I, I used to drink Vernors in Michigan when I was 15, and haven’t had it since I moved out here to California, and I’m so glad I found you. And it gave me a a memory of my childhood. Right? So for that business, we internally have a mantra of that, that we deliver happiness, right. For the suit company, we deliver confidence, you know, and so as someone is selling, right, for, or we have a water bottle company, it’s we’re delivering health. So we we put our value into what how we’re actually helping, you know, the people that we’re servicing. So, from that perspective, I’m interested in that. Am I interested in sodas specifically? No. That said, you know, going back to, to, you know, the one that I don’t like it was, it’s more like, I don’t like the business of it more so than the product of it. The product of it’s great. It’s actually, I think, one of the best ones out there. It’s more of the business of it that I don’t enjoy. And so I do have an internal saying that I’ve heard no matter how far down the wrong road you are turn around, right. And so I just keep asking myself, is this the wrong road for this business?
Chuck Mullins 48:16
Yeah, I think I think Mike has a luxury here, whereas he has a dozen businesses, right? You can’t necessarily get to a dozen businesses by only following passion projects. If you’re buying one business, and you don’t like it, I think that’s probably the wrong approach. But once you’ve gotten your three or four businesses, maybe that you like, and you’re looking at the fifth, the sixth, the seventh, if you want to be able to buy additional businesses, you’re not going to be able to love them all. There’s just not enough deal flow that’s going to meet all of your criteria in order to find all businesses you love.
Joe Valley 48:54
Right, but there’s still some there’s still some satisfaction in it. Maybe passion is not the right word with the soda companies, you’re delivering happiness, you’re making a difference in people’s lives. Yeah. And if you think about what Chuck and I do, we are, you know, brokering deals. You know, we don’t necessarily have a passion for brokering deals, but we do have a passion and great deal of satisfaction for making a difference in people’s lives. Right by telling you years ago, don’t sell yet. And look what it did for you. Look what it’s done. I remember that soda company. Chuck, did you broke with that? Yeah, I remember that. The gentleman selling it many many years ago talking to him, and what a difference it would have made by him being able to sell that it’s been in his family for years. I think. I remote remote is a great example where this is a guy that was a single dad literally had to sleep in the airport one night when his flight was good. So with his son, because he couldn’t afford a hotel, and by helping him sell his business, for what we sold it for it made an enormous difference in his life, and we become lifelong friends. So I think that’s the the passion that you feel with that interest or gratification that you get from it not necessarily selling a particular widget.
Mike Nunez 50:20
Yeah, I would agree with that, that that part, Joe, for sure. And it’s, I think, I think you have the entrepreneurs that are the zero to one they’ve created, those are the people that you gotta have a passion for that product, because there’s no way you’re gonna get it to one, if you don’t, you have to happen. For for me, I have a passion for the people, right? Like, I love the people I work with, and we, like we’re getting together Friday, like this Friday, I before I fly back to Puerto Rico. I’m like, Hey, everybody, let’s get together, you know, like, it’s, that’s where my passion lies is in the people that’s around it. And then, you know, for us, we look at it, I don’t want to just sell a widget, I want to sell a widget that has some sort of purpose. And that’s why we do look at it as Delivering Happiness, delivering competence, and so on, so on, and so on.
Joe Valley 51:16
I like it, like, fifth time’s a charm. Fourth time’s the charm, I really appreciate you coming back on the podcast, folks. The timing of this is in alignment with the next launch of the quiet giants video series, our CMO, Chris Moore, spent a lot of time probably way too much time with Mike, taking up space and time in your life, interviewing you learning about your philosophies and your businesses and approach to acquiring what you’ve acquired and exiting once you’ve exited. So thank you for spending so much time with Chris. And I know it’s like a lot of time in front of the camera. Appreciate it. Chuck, as always. Thank you. I can’t say anything more than that. Because it you know, if I talked about everything that you do with relationship with Mike with everybody else with correcting my emails and things of that nature. I used to hate that like we did. Mike, we hated everybody listening, like Mark and I would be like, I don’t know if we want to ask Chuck his opinion on this because we know we’ve grown to love it though, because it makes us better at what we do. So thank you, Chuck. Thank you, Mike. Appreciate your time. We’ll we’ll get this launched and see you hopefully soon. We’ll talk to you soon.
Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 And the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcasts, subject or guest, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.