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Bootstrap to a Multi-Million Dollar Exit
Vincent Lacape is the Co-founder of a stationery brand, which he recently bootstrapped into a multimillion-dollar exit along with his business partner Patrick Franz. Vincent previously worked as the Sports Trading Consultant at “Loterie Nationale Belge” for GTECH S.p.A., the Junior Project Manager of the mobile development strategy for Betclic Group, and a Merchandising Intern for Walt Disney World. Vincent graduated from Skema Business School with a master’s degree in management, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
Patrick Franz is currently the Hazard Mitigation Compliance Lead at DCMC Partners. He is also the Co-founder of a stationery brand along with Vincent Lacape, which recently achieved a multimillion-dollar exit. Before this, Patrick worked as the HMGP Director for Rising Phoenix Holdings Corporation, the Technical Director at KSLU Radio Station at St. Lawrence University, and the Executive Assistant at African Financial Business (AFB). Patrick graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in French and economics.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [04:05] Patrick Franz talks about connecting with Vincent Lacape across continents to grow an enduring stationery business
- [08:50] How to cultivate a balanced relationship with your business partner
- [14:06] Vincent and Patrick talk about funding the business and how they achieved year-over-year growth
- [16:36] Why you should balance your cash flow with product releases
- [22:18] The importance of hiring a bookkeeper familiar with Amazon brands
- [28:05] Vincent and Patrick detail their exit strategy
- [35:15] What the due diligence process looks like under expert guidance
- [40:17] Why Patrick and Vincent recommend having representation when exiting your brand
In this episode…
Are you an entrepreneur looking for expert strategies to exit your brand? Do you want to know the key components of achieving a multimillion-dollar exit?
One of the biggest factors for Vincent Lacape and Patrick Franz’s multimillion-dollar exit was a rock-solid bookkeeping design. Making sure that you’re organized before the due diligence process can provide you with greater leverage when approaching potential buyers. Through expert guidance from their broker, they were able to exit their brand for over asking price. How? If you’re looking for the answer, you don’t want to miss this episode.
In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley sits down with Vincent Lacape and Patrick Franz to talk about their best advice for achieving a multimillion-dollar exit. Together, they share how to balance a respectful business partnership, why examining your cash flow is vital when launching new products, and their tips for preparing for the due diligence process. Stay tuned!
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Vincent Lacape on LinkedIn
- Patrick Franz on LinkedIn
- Quiet Light
- Quiet Light on YouTube
- Joe Valley
- Mark Daoust
- 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
- “Incredible Exits – Mike Jackness – Selling ColorIt” on the Quiet Light Podcast
- David Newell
- Catching Clouds Academy
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Sponsor for this episode
This episode is 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. By providing trustworthy advice, effective strategies, and honest valuations, your Quiet Light advisor isn’t your every-day broker—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 their 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 is offering 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 0:34
Hey, folks, Joe Valley here, welcome to another episode of the Quiet Light Podcast. This podcast is an incredible exits podcast, we’ve got Vincent and Patrick talking about their business. And it’s fascinating what they’ve achieved. They did operate their business very part time they bootstrapped it, they had full time jobs, and did this since 2017. They had very delayed gratification from the business. In fact, they didn’t take anything from the business, in terms of distributions until 2019. At that point, the business was doubling in size every year. And eventually they knew an exit was going to occur, they still didn’t quit their day jobs. They talk a lot about the ability to bootstrap, delayed gratification, how their partnership worked, in terms of one person not stepping on the other’s toes. And in fact, their partnership is in different countries as well. Patrick is in the US, Vincent is in France, they met on an exchange program at one point became sort of distant brothers. And then they talk about the emotional aspect of an exit. This is a multi million dollar exit, where they’re both kind of set for, I think, I think Vince had said at the end, he could do nothing for the next 10 years and still did pretty well. You won’t really get that vibe from listening to them, because they’re both so chill. And Patrick has hasn’t quit his day job yet. And he doesn’t plan to quit his day job until they start to ask him to do things he just doesn’t want to do. So odds are he’ll be there for a while. They talked a little bit about their next adventures and what they’re going to do, and get some really good advice for entrepreneurs toward the end of the episode in terms of the best advice they would give those that are just starting out or those that are about to buy a business and become acquisition entrepreneurs. So it’s Vincent and Patrick. Exitpreneurs, if you will multimillion dollar exit talking about their journey. Tune in right now. Here we go. Patrick, Vincent, welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast. Thank you, Joe. It’s good to have you here. I’m gonna jump right in. I’m sorry, we’re, we’re all this is so funny, because we talked about talking over each other because we’ve got three instead of two. So I really should have paused and let you respond. But you guys were being polite to each other, and pausing and hoping one was going to respond to the anyway, we’ll get into that, folks listening. What we’re doing here, this is an exit for newer type of interview, incredible exit type of interview, Patrick and Vincent went from Bootstrap to a multi million dollar exit recently. And they did it as business partners, and they bootstrapped it. And they didn’t really take much out of the business along the way, because they always had the exit in mind. Did I miss anything there guys? Vincent and Patrick, did I miss anything about your journey?
Patrick Franz 3:29
So far now?
Vincent Lacape 3:31
That’s pretty much right, I think. Yeah, like, it’s been quite a wild ride. But yeah, really happy with where we managed to, you know, take this business in five years. And yeah, maybe you would like us to make a quick introduction about us like how we met. Maybe, Patrick,
Joe Valley 3:49
you want to jump in on that? Yeah, let’s let’s hear how did you guys connect? Because I know it’s an interesting story. We’ve got somebody in the states and somebody in in France as well. So how’d you guys connect as as friends and entrepreneurs?
Patrick Franz 4:03
Yeah, happy to talk on that. We I was on a study abroad program in France back in 2011 2012. Vincent ended up hosting me for the year. Three brothers is a good time. And as you can imagine, foster pretty good relationship. Even after that, in the years, several years over and over, I kept coming back to visit saying hi to the family. And it was around 2017 Where Vincent and I am sitting by the fireplace at the house on one of our visits. And he started kind of doing the back of the napkin pitch to me saying, Hey, there’s this Amazon space. chance for us to maybe take a look at the private labeling could be a good opportunity. And then said feel free to add but I think it was just a few short months after that, where we, you know, incorporated the LLC and started kind of doing the dive into researching products and went from there.
Vincent Lacape 5:02
I just want to add that I want I want to give a credit to Patrick for that, because I was at the stage a little bit in, like an analysis paralysis when you know, like you just search a lot of products but you know really like jumping, Maconie like real like business decision and and once we talked about it like after two months I think the LLC was incorporated in and I think in June 2017 The seller account was created and then just like study from there and yeah, good, good, good. Well, I
Joe Valley 5:35
couldn’t have gotten started unless you brought it up over that fireside chat. So good for both of you in this situation. curious, how did you determine what product category you were going to sell? And you were in the stationery space? What how did you determine that over grilling aprons or, you know, glasses or something else? Okay,
Vincent Lacape 5:55
let’s uh, this is also a bit of a fun story. And I don’t mind that at all telling it because like, my friends are still grilling me about it, but it’s perfectly fine for me. But you know how initially they say like, don’t go into like the to like sexy products, because everybody is attracted to them. And, like, the second product that we sold was actually like some some paper made like sick bikes for kids that are seeking in car. And like I made like, I had a guy on Fiverr make a little hamster. And it has a little like, quote saying, If give it time, you will feel fine. No, it’s just like a cute thing for kids. And basically from that on, we realized that the paper like niche was interesting, because it kind of like fit a lot of criterias for Amazon FBA. And from that we found our niche, but yeah, my friends and trends are still growing me saying that. I’m a woman back seller, and they call me or live on the other for me. So yeah, I’m not I’m not ashamed of it, I’m owning it. And it’s a good story.
Joe Valley 6:57
That’s that’s the, you know, you’re going on a certain path and you take tangents, but it always gets you to your end goal, which in this case, was building the business that you could eventually sell.
Vincent Lacape 7:06
Just to add on that, like, the thing is, like, what we did is once we found like this, this niche of the stationary, we didn’t go on chasing the next shiny object, and we really stick to it. And we, we kind of like, knew that we wanted to create a brand in this in this space. And, you know, we never went too far from our niche. So I think that’s also something that happened.
Joe Valley 7:27
Okay, gotcha. You stuck to what you knew at that point, or tried to keep it narrow so that you could grow your rankings in that space and not not have too many skews, I assume how many? How many skews by the time you ended up exiting? Did you have altogether?
Patrick Franz 7:44
How many was that? Patrick? Like 40? Maybe? Yeah, and it’s a bit of a dynamic number only because, and maybe we’ll get into it later. But we always ran the business as if we were gonna keep it continue to grow it continued producing new launches, new designs, things like that. So it’s a bit of a moving number. But that sounds about right. And then from that many,
Joe Valley 8:05
40 plus or minus well, that’s, that’s good. It wasn’t, you know, 1500, which kept it interesting for multiple buyers. And by the way, I was just looking at the notes from David, I think you had seven offers on the business, when you listed it for sale, five to seven, it’s I’d looked at it now my memory forgets the number already, which is a solid number, it’s a good option to be able to choose your buyer instead of the other way around. Patrick, can you address how the two of you worked as partners? Sometimes? You know, you guys are like blood brothers in many ways. But now your business partners and sometimes that can be a strain? Did you work together on projects? Or did you have separate roles within this company that you built?
Patrick Franz 8:49
Yeah, I mean, you could say friends, I’d say it’s more like a husband and wife relationship, where we had to very much respect each other’s roles. I heard somewhere a long time ago, you know, the scary to into the gray zone, you know, the fastest way to think of business is to have a partnership or something like that. Who knows how true that is. But I think where we really succeeded was carving out the little niches where Vincent really excelled. And for me to certainly I compare into it, we always did checks and balances with each other, but to really respect the decisions. And of course, we took each other’s input all the time. And you know, there are times when Vincent says, hey, you know, I don’t know about this, we do that or I say to Vincent, vice versa. But in the end, I said, Look, this is your space, I completely respect it. And it turned out really well for us. So I think having not stepping on each other’s toes and really carving out the roles is what really fostered a healthy relationship for us to go forward. And Vince and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think we ever even really fought over anything. We certainly disagreed at times. Absolutely. But we We, you know, we came to an agreement,
Vincent Lacape 10:04
I think it all comes down to respect. In the end, I think, something interesting for us, I think it’s also weird, like the right level of friendship, meaning that if you start something with someone that you hang out every weekend with, it might make it a bit harder to like disconnect from work and to know when to have like your friend hat on versus your business hat on. And I think like, you know, but you get his friends back home, I and my friends and like, we had so much respect for each other because like, he knows my family. I’ve met his mom. So this was something that worked for us. And I think I’m very pro partnership, because business has ups and downs. And I think it’s, it’s obvious that it’s good to have someone to share the downs and not get too negative about something. But it’s also I think, very nice to share the small wins with somebody that has skin in the game just like you and yeah, to talk about how news Q is speaking traction or Yeah, entrepreneurship can get can get a little lonely sometimes. So I think I’m in for me, I was extremely happy to have somebody to share it with.
Joe Valley 11:05
Did you guys I know you bootstrapped it. We talked about this and not taking a whole lot of money out of the business. Did you do all of the promotion and marketing yourself? Or did you have it any agencies that helped you along the way?
Vincent Lacape 11:25
No, it was just us. I mean, just have like a few contractors from like, Fiverr for design work or things like that, but nothing else. I mean, we never took any VA or anything like this. Like we were always I think we just felt like we could do it. I think we we grew it to the level that it would start to get a little tricky to be just like a two man show. But I think until now like we we managed to do it. And yeah, just being frugal and frugal, and there was a time for us.
Joe Valley 12:00
So you’re being frugal, you’re both working about 10 hours a week. Is that right? operating the business? Roughly 10 to 10 plus or minus? You weren’t taking much money out of the business? How much will you we take it as a draw or payroll for yourselves? About 3k. And that was after what? Three years we started taking. So this is a side hustle. Initially, you had other forms of income that were You were surviving off of while this was building up? Is that right? Have you quit those side? hustles? Or did you quit them before you sold the business?
Patrick Franz 12:38
Want to go first?
Vincent Lacape 12:43
I quit my last two like two years and yeah.
Patrick Franz 12:48
Okay, what about you, I still have a day job. So it’s been an interesting dynamic, you know, sneaking away hopping off getting on calls with the doing all that. But what I think was help also is it’s something that consulting and project management space. And I think those organizational skills certainly helped. On my end of the workload, when it came to, you know, just keeping, tracking everything, setting up systems and putting those in place. So it was a bit symbiotic in the end. But yes, it was also very busy.
Vincent Lacape 13:24
What he’s what he’s saying here is that I’m not organized, so it’s fine. You know, what I get, what I can say for me is that now I have like a six month old baby. So that’s like, almost have like a day job on the side as well. So it’s like we’re equal now.
Joe Valley 13:37
Oh, I was gonna say you’re you’re unemployed Vincent. But you’re very, very busy. There’s no question about it. If you got a six month old baby. Talk to me about the bootstrap aspect of it. How much money did you guys, you know, put in the pot to launch this business? And how much more did you have to put in before it was paying for itself? Oh, so I, I remember I put up with a fight like 5000 Vinson back in 2017? And then did you put in about the same or
Vincent Lacape 14:06
I think, I think altogether, it was like five or 1010 or 15k? I would say like, gotta get a loan from my grandma for 5k. I remember. And, yeah, it wasn’t too much money, and then we never put anything else into it. And that was it. And yeah, we never took any loan or anything like this. That was also important for us to feel like we, like, you know, we could have given some equity out or something like this, but I think we were just happy to control like the whole thing and, and just grew it at our own pace as well, you know, like to kind of understand what what growth meant, in a way of like, whatever it is the work or the cash flow, or like, it was all very gradual. And I think, you know, this is something that helped us as well. It was
Joe Valley 14:53
gradual, meaning it didn’t You didn’t have hockey puck growth at the beginning. It was slower at the beginning or That’s not the case,
Patrick Franz 15:01
it was it probably went for about, we would say, Vincent about two years before we kind of hit that inflection point, and really started taking off. And it was around two or three years. And we also started taking a small draw small stipend for ourselves as well. So really, everything that came out got poured right back in for a good amount of time. So just to recap, a few years
Vincent Lacape 15:24
ago, we just doubled the we just doubled the business every year more or less, like, every year
Patrick Franz 15:29
for the last three years. Cool.
Joe Valley 15:31
So just a really key point here, a lot of people have, you know, advocating quitting your job and going all in, you guys did the opposite. You had jobs. You did this as a side hustle. And you really, I mean, Patrick, you’ve never quit your job, then since you’ve got a new one as a father to a newborn. Yet you were still able to double the business every year for the last three years. Pretty impressive. At what point? Well, let me ask a question in terms of in terms of bootstrapping, because oftentimes, when a business is launched, and it just takes off, one of the biggest challenge is keeping up with cash flow to buy more inventory. How did you guys manage that? Or was it not an issue? Were you were you importing from China? Were you manufacturing in France in the US? What was the situation there? And how do you keep up with inventory demands? When you were doubling, year over year? And also at the beginning? Beginning as well?
Vincent Lacape 16:28
Yeah, I’ll let Patrick go on that. Because he’s the is the cash flow master with like projections and everything?
Patrick Franz 16:34
Well, as Vincent mentioned earlier, one of the nice things about not having anyone else involved was from the start was really being able to grow at our own pace. Could we have gone that much faster? Sure. But we always kept a healthy cash flow. But as we also mentioned, everything went right back into the business and another, you know, to speak on the dynamic between Vincent and I, he’s the creative guy, the design guy was more operations kind of thing. He was shooting for the stars, always I got all these ideas, let’s do it. And I was kind of a guide, kind of reaching up and bringing them back down a little bit like, hey, maybe not launched five products about three for now we say the next two on the next batch. Let’s we got these, you know, we got taxes. We got bills coming up. You know, let’s, let’s take a look at the numbers first. So speaks really well to kind of how we worked because I couldn’t have done it without Vincent. But I think I also really kept the business running healthy on my side as well. When Vincent would have just gone. Go, go, go. So I like the vitals always gave you
Joe Valley 17:40
cash flow master, that’s a heck of a title. I wouldn’t, I would grab that URL, if it’s not out there already. Just take it and teach people how to do this. Because that’s the biggest problem with is with these businesses is managing cashflow. People quit their jobs, they take more money out of the business that they need to live off of. And then they don’t have enough and for inventory purchases. Was your inventory overseas in the US in France? And what was the lead time on ordering it? Was it typical? 12 weeks?
Vincent Lacape 18:09
Yeah, we never, like we only sold ever in the US. We never did anything in Europe. So like, typically, like, we would like manufacture in China like no other we would typically take like 45 days and then altogether shipping. Like recently, it’s been very bad, obviously. But like it’s so like, let’s say 45 days. So in total was like three months, maybe from the moment you place a Pio until the moment you you get it into Amazon. So it’s true that that’s like our cash was always like tied to this inventory. And like often on the water. And that’s why it’s it’s a very, I think and as an A B is an amazing business in the sense of the passiveness to it, and the way that you know, as we say we could grow business without like working so much on it. But at the same time, the cash flow is really like the main, the main thing that always kept us, we could have grown much faster. But it was also our choice. And at some point, we could have gotten more money from loans, but we were just trying to finance it ourselves. And we were brought up for this bootstrapping mentality. And I don’t know what every penny counted for us. I mean, not to say that we were so cheap, but you know, like it was our own money. So we knew like, if we save on this, maybe we can launch one more product and grow so much faster. So that was our mentality. But yeah, I was definitely the one that always like had so many product ideas and your taxes are coming. Let’s let’s take it easy. And that was the dynamic. How did you get to that
Joe Valley 19:38
inflection point, as you mentioned, Patrick, where it started to double every year for the last three years? Did you do something differently? Or was it just a matter of time that that was going to happen?
Patrick Franz 19:38
I think it was a matter of time but also not necessarily doing anything differently, but we found out what works early on and just stuck to that from the gecko. And I think it just came with rolling the kind of in a parabolic way, rolling the money back in, you don’t see much as you grow, but you soon start to compound that growth over time. So yeah, and
Vincent Lacape 20:17
just on this, as well, there’s a like, a barrier to entry for like more expensive products that maybe like the newer sellers wouldn’t be able to do. And we were already in the business for like, two, three years. And we kind of, we first of all, we had a bit more cash at this point, because we could save up those like two years. And also, like, we had very good idea about the market and, and so we were able to, like, get in more like expensive items that really like just help your bottom line. And altogether, it really helped our growth to be able to develop a bit a bit more expensive products.
Joe Valley 20:54
How much were the lower items and the larger cost items? How much we talk the average tech
Vincent Lacape 21:01
when I when I say expensive isn’t that isn’t that it’s not nothing crazy, but like for us, like a $30 item is what we consider expensive and and we sold product as low as uh yeah. 11.99 12.99 is like the the slow the small products, but
Joe Valley 21:22
okay, yeah, some people advocate, you know, if they can, if they’ve got the funds in the capital, more expensive businesses automatically create a a barrier to entry. But there’s a lot of people out there with a lot of money. So I’m not sure how true that is. I’m really impressed with your choices in terms of not taking a whole bunch of money out of the business and living off your your your day job income. So that delayed gratification process. What was that? Was that painful? Was in both of your ideas together? Or? You know, Patrick, were you saying let’s take some dough out or Vincent? And were you and you just had each other to, you know, talk talk each other out of it? Was it a joint decision? Was it easy? Was it hard?
Patrick Franz 22:07
Yeah, it was a joint decision wasn’t easy. It probably got harder over the years as it continued to grow and grow. But one thing I do want to speak about also is we really wanted to make sure we kept a lane where we spent money where mattered. So on one of the items, for example, we found a really, really great bookkeeper, right, and purchase the catching clouds Academy. I think those guys will work with the A to X folks, things like that on making sure we do the accounting for high volume, Amazon FBA business correctly and things like that. But in the end, going back to your question, Joe, it was really the fact that we saw that we were building something greater than the sum of its parts and bigger than us together. It wasn’t too hard of a decision to kind of, you know, tighten the belt and just keep rolling things back in and growing and doing what already worked.
Joe Valley 23:04
I just as you were talking. Sorry, Vincent, as you were talking, Patrick, I looked up your numbers. I’m stunned that all you took was 3000 bucks a week out of it for each other. I mean, combined six, that’s still a fraction of your discretionary earnings. So it’s pretty incredible. Go ahead. Not a week, a month, still sorry, a week, which is even more incredible. I mean, just it’s a fraction of your discretionary earnings per head. Yeah.
Vincent Lacape 23:32
Just to just to add, yeah, I think it was really joined decision. And like, the thing is, like, even from the, from the beginning, when we started in 2017, like we always had this, like delayed gratification in mind, even though at this point, we had no idea that, you know, we could ever exit the business, because that was definitely not our mindset at the beginning. But yeah, just it just makes sense for us to like, see it as more of a marathon rather than a sprint. And yeah, we knew like some day will come where, you know, we could potentially, like, you know, harvest the fruit of what we did, but we were always happy. I mean, we don’t need I think we’re both not rockstars. And, you know, we didn’t didn’t need so much money. So like, why not just grow and for me, I was excited to to create new products, to be honest.
Joe Valley 24:23
When did exiting become your mindset? If it wasn’t at the beginning? At what point did you go, Oh, wow, we can actually settle this case.
Vincent Lacape 24:32
This is because of you. So go ahead, but
Patrick Franz 24:36
I was honored to have him say the moment I was gonna say we honestly always ran the business as if we were going to keep it forever. But we also decided, let’s see what’s out there. And if something does come along, where we believe we can get a fair price for what the business is worth, you know, then we’d actually consider it. So that mindset I think also helped us grow it to where it was because we always use, it’s basically our baby, we still kind of see it as our baby, but we’re giving it away for adoption in a way. We want to see it succeed. So, with that being said, it was a bit of both. Yeah, go ahead.
Vincent Lacape 25:18
Yeah, sorry. Sorry to cut you off. Just to answer your question, Joe, like in terms of the timeline, you had a role to play with it, because he was really, really linked to the, the podcast from ecomcrew. And the seller, correct. And this was, I think, march 2020. And yeah, was a very avidly listening to the, to the podcast and to the series. And I think this is the moment where, like, we really thought, Okay, this is a thing, this is this is real, and we have a possibility. And then it was just a matter for us to take like a good year to make sure all our financials were clean, the growth trajectory was good. transferability, like all those peers that you talk about? And so we took our time to like, I think we, we conducted quite light as early as October 2020. And so yeah, we took our time, but we just like just how we do it since the beginning. We just wanted to work things clean, and, and be ready. So yeah.
Joe Valley 26:17
So October of 2020, is when you initially contacted Quiet Light, you’re in touch with David Newell. Over in the UK, right. I’m seeing that the business was listed for sale in the spring of this year, when was it listed for sale? Was it February?
Patrick Franz 26:35
February? Yeah. So you waited a year and
Joe Valley 26:40
a half, which is great. I love that 18 month timeline, what did you do in those 18 months in terms of, you know, massaging and tweaking the business to make sure it was, you know, one that was going to get maximum value at exit. At least on the operation side, just making sure we had the most straightforward and clean systems in place, the tempo of order frequencies were, you know, consistent, and everything seemed like it was running smoothly. So really just focusing on the details, making sure we had just a regular recurrence with all the aspects of the operations. And the funny thing is, you know, there wasn’t much we had to tweak, because we were already doing that away. But it really made it easier on our lives to Yeah, it was an easier business to operate once you get all that in place. Yeah. And I see that, you know, I see, sometimes it happened, where you get all of those systems in place with a plan to exit and you’re like, holy, this business is so much easier to operate. Now I’m gonna hold it an extra two years, because I can get that much more for and continue to grow it. So I’ve seen that happen on occasion as well. When you had that initial call with David Newell on the team, did you have an exit dollar amount or a date in mind? Or was it just an explorer? Tori Call? Were you just trying to find out the potential value of the business that?
Vincent Lacape 28:05
No, I know that, like, it was really more like, exploring what was out there. But like, I know, a lot of people like have this like Number They want in mind. And for us, like, we never really talked about this, he was more. Because I know it depends a lot on the market as well. And like multiples and everything. So like for us, it was just about like timing, we wanted to time it in a way that we had like a decent growth in the past 12 months, but also that we had some potential for it to grow more, because the that’s what the buyer is looking for as well. So it was more a question of timing, and then we just assume that the valuation will be the fair price for whatever the market was at if it makes sense.
Patrick Franz 28:48
So you didn’t have you didn’t have a price in mind, you were just like, whatever the market price is going to bear. That’s what will take you didn’t have a goal in mind dollar wise. Not fantasize about a particular number. Nothing at all, between the two of you. Gosh, I wish we could have this now again, you know, keeping our heads down and all that. And yeah, essentially, since the business was growing as well, I think it was more of a, you know, when it’s time to go to market to see what’s out there. Let’s just see what’s awkward if we believe it’s fair, then great. If not, we’ve aren’t we’ve continued to set the business up as if we were going to run it ourselves, which is always you know, the attitude. So great either way. So and were you ever going to quit your job, Patrick? If you kept the business and not sold it? I mean, at some point you guys most probably as has been said as it continue to get bigger, it probably was going to need more and more attention whether that was just us going 110% or bringing on more folks. So it was certainly something that was on the table but nothing’s set in stone. Gotcha.
Vincent Lacape 29:50
That was the million dollar question. Joe is the laser machine you know we can do we could do another day job and have this on.
Joe Valley 29:58
Day one was listed for sale. I know you had multiple offers, did you sell it for less than asking price sell it at asking price or sell it over asking price?
Patrick Franz 30:12
Was slide just
Vincent Lacape 30:13
just slightly over asking, but I think we couldn’t be happier with the decision to go with David. I mean, was Quiet Light in general. But I think it was David and I think he’s a very young but extremely experienced and I think he just Yeah, I think he’s the right vibration, because it seemed like that’s where the market was at. So, you know, like, that’s all for him because we don’t really have, like, we didn’t really have a say for that. That was just, we would just give him the key and be like, you know, you do what you think is fair. And
Joe Valley 30:52
yeah, David is a sharp guy ton of experience. There’s no question about it. Talk to me about masterminds, things of this nature, Facebook groups? Is it just the two of you learning and you get your own mini mastermind with the two of you? Or did you join any, like e-commerce you econ crew, if you listen to Mike at color, and he’s got a group, what was your process there? Yeah, no,
Vincent Lacape 31:21
unfortunately, we never had like, any kind of like mastermind group like this. And like some of those group, I don’t know about the concrete. But, like, it’s true. Like, maybe we were like, sometimes too frugal, and like we could have like, but even like sometimes, like $100 amounts or something, it was something maybe like we for us, like we tried to add to keep the very, very tight, but I think I think it could have helped us a lot. But I think for me, like, and I’m not saying this to praise you or whatever. But like the podcasts and all, like Quiet Light and like listening to your crew. And this in itself, for me is it’s a mastermind, because you learn so much. And I’m a big fan of like, how I build this. And every time you know, we exchange like podcasts with Patrick and think this helped a lot. You know, it’s just like, even like sometimes watching Shark Tank or like things like this, you know, it’s free, but you you can learn a lot, you know,
Joe Valley 32:20
let me just make one thing absolutely clear. You can praise me I’m fine with that. It’s okay.
Vincent Lacape 32:27
You get a lot of value in in the podcast. So like, for sure. Like we don’t think we missed a lot of episodes.
Joe Valley 32:35
That’s good. I’m looking at the numbers a little bit, guys, we’re not gonna reveal too much, folks. We’re not saying the name of the URL, the buyer anything else. But your multiple was factoring in for earnouts. incredibly, incredibly strong. And I think that’s all going to come together incredibly well for you the cash amount up front, pretty brilliant as well. Talk to me a little bit about what it was like working with the buyer and due diligence. Were you prepared for it? Did David advise you on what to expect and what pulled together in advance? I have the feeling Patrick was probably very organized. To talk to me about that aspect of it in terms of how hard it was to go through due diligence for this size of a transaction.
Patrick Franz 33:24
I’m gonna go, Vincent. Yeah, you go. I’ll go. Um, yeah, I think we were about as organized as we could be. You know, just working with a bookkeeper over the years. I’m pretty OCD about maintaining, you know, every PIO, every proof of payment, all that kind of thing. So it was still a tremendous lift to get everything that was needed for the due diligence process. But I couldn’t imagine what it would be like coming and do something like that. disorganized, or if a buyer would even want to come into something like that, if someone was disorganized, so it was certainly a huge lift. But everybody. Ostermeier David, everyone was incredibly responsive, transparent, very clear in the information that we wanted, that they wanted, or, you know, if we had any follow up questions, that it wasn’t tremendously difficult. What would you recommend saying I wasn’t a lot of work, though? No, it’s
Joe Valley 34:31
a lot of work. I was one of those buyers that went into it. Sort of organized, I’m sorry, sellers back in 2010. Mark gave me a lot of great advice, but it didn’t necessarily take it. And I remember complaining to my wife, I was working harder in due diligence in the business than I was actually operating the business. So the more you can prepare for that, the better Quiet Light got some great due diligence checklist that people can go through. I talked about it in the book, what you can prepare err, over time, so that you’re not scrambling while operating the business working with your buyer and all of that other other stuff. You can just prepare that stuff over time. Yeah, Vincent, go ahead.
Vincent Lacape 35:11
Yeah, no, just to add the word, like, the thing is, like, if I’m sure if you will ask David right now, it would say like, he was a very, very smooth due diligence. And the thing is, like, for us, it’s still like, a bit of a roller coaster sometimes because, like, it’s still like, 45 days of work where, like, you know, like, you know, there’s a big paycheck at the end, but like, nothing is sure. And even though there was nothing like no real problems, like, having, like, David, David guidance, like helped a lot, because you don’t know what you don’t know. And sometimes, like, having somebody like just telling you like, Okay, this is fine. And like, you know, like, it’s going great. And stuff like this was very, like, reassuring in a way that, you know, we knew we were in the wrong direction. And I think, I think it went well. And, and just like, during the laughing in your book, you mentioned one of the rules is also like to like not, don’t be a jerk, like, and things like, you know, we follow that in a way that it went great with the those guys that that acquired us. And I think we had a good a very professional like, relation. And it may sounds obvious, but sometimes, like, you need to pick your battles, for example, like we, we try to meet in the middle in the middle on some things, because it seemed like the fairest thing to do. Like, for example, we had like some SKU that was not selling very well just like barely breaking even. And we were very upfront about like, just gifting gifting them this inventory, for example, it’s small thing, but even for us, it wouldn’t seem fair to like, sell this inventory. And I think it’s like small things like this, that just like put some confidence into the buyer and just make the process even smoother out. So
Joe Valley 36:57
that’s exactly what happened with the Mike Jackness color it exit, right, he had to give some inventory to his buyer and some other inventory, he did a long seller note because it was taking a long time to sell. And you know, that just instills confidence in your buyer, that you’re a good human and looking out for their interests as well. And it gets the deal closed. At the end of the day. If you’re in a situation like that. You guys seem very level headed. The two of you combined together maybe just been super chill here. I don’t know what you like around a fire pit having a few brews. But was, was this an emotional process? At the end? Let’s talk about the five days you’ve you’re you’re negotiating the asset purchase agreement, you’re mostly through due diligence. And you know, you’re about you’re marching towards signing an asset purchase agreement, and then millions of dollars going to be transferred into your account. Were you stressed out? Were you sleeping? Well, what was life like?
Patrick Franz 37:58
I guess I’ll start. You know, it, in the end will, as Vincent said, there was absolutely an emotional roller coaster throughout the process, especially the flurry toward the end, that’s, you know, everything had to get buttoned up. But I think just from the attitude that we’ve had in the beginning, and in combination with really never taking much out of the business, it almost felt like, once it was all said and done. It was almost like, Yep, this is it, you know, make make sense, from what we’ve built over the years, you know, kind of seeing the fruits of our labor, just because we’ve continued to sacrifice and roll everything back into the business over the years. That’s not to say, it wasn’t, you know, a bit of a roller coaster, especially in those last days, and you know, signing documents and going back and forth. So that was my take from it. Vincent, what about you
Vincent Lacape 38:51
know, but yeah, we think we’re acting to now even though like, the dust is barely settling, but for me, it was it was stressful. I mean, you would ask my girlfriend or my friends, like, it was definitely an emotional process. And yeah, we had the help from David on that, you know, like sometimes just sending him a whatsapp be like, you know, what do you think always taking a few more days, but yeah, it was definitely stressful in the day that the money hit the account, like Patrick was definitely refreshing the bank page for forever, but I just like on one last word on this, like from the from the beginning of the process. That’s exactly what we said to each other is like, the worst case scenario here is that we keep you have a business. And we knew this was like, the worst for us. So it always seemed like as like not the worst thing on earth. Like if this was not gonna happen, but this doesn’t mean that wasn’t stressful for me. It was definitely Yeah. Yeah.
Joe Valley 39:51
Could either of you imagine at this point, selling directly to a buyer versus having represented Question by someone like David and Quiet Light could could you have gotten the same price? Patrick, would you have gotten through it? Would you have survived? You know, renegotiation tactics and all that,
Patrick Franz 40:13
I think strong maybe only because it has been some events. And David was, it was funny, he mentioned, you know, he’s 25% of advisors, 75% therapists, right, throughout the process. And what really helped was, you know, for him to lay out the landscape, the next steps, what’s going on? And now that we’ve done it once, can we do it again, without too many hiccups? Maybe, but it just adds a really nice layer of trust, and having that third party who has done it, so many times be there with you. Just to give, you know, when we only have a flashlight and a tiny dark room, just turn the light on everything and just see how the landscape is going. So honestly, I would still use, you know, Quiet Light, David, really happy with the relationship we built David? Is there going to be a next time then center? You guys gonna do this again and launch another business? Or are you just gonna chill for a while and see what happens? Yeah, I think
Vincent Lacape 41:22
I think like, we understand that there was also like, quite a lot of luck associated with the timing that we had to start Amazon FBA was a really good time. So I think like both servers, we know that we don’t want to think that the next thing we touch is going to be gold again. So I think we want to maybe just like take like a few months off maybe six months, and to make sure that the next business is we really want to bring value. And it’s not it’s going to be differentiated. And it’s going to be something great and not just like rushing to like starting something new. But I think I think we met we make a great partnership. So I’m definitely, definitely in and to answer your previous question. I think also like the fact of like putting a pool of buyers together at the same time with a strong like going to market in a strong fashion with all the network that you guys have quite liked it. For me, it makes a tremendous impact. And this is not something you get from messaging, individually. The aggregators, and I think, I think a lot of them would be happy to get like, just like private messages and and owners that, that try to, to talk directly with them. But no, I think, for me, extremely happy. And we definitely do it against through a broker because it just helped us like even just the guidance, like you is the first time you’re doing that it’s a huge transaction. But something you have no idea about, like, yeah, again, like I think you don’t know what you don’t know. And for the people who think they can do it themselves, good for them. But I’m personally very happy. We were both on the same pages, from the beginning to just go with an advisor.
Joe Valley 43:07
I like Patrick’s analogy, you’re, you’re in a dark room with a flashlight. And David comes in and turns the lights on. And you can see everything, ask any question, things of that nature. Really, really big difference there. So what what what do you guys recommend to the audience that’s listening, that is either at the beginning stages of their entrepreneurial journey in it in the thick of it two years in, or even if there’s an audience member that’s out there, that’s going to be an acquisition entrepreneur, and they’re going to buy a business and grow it from there. What are one or two tidbits you could give from your experience as successful entrepreneurs who did some really smart stuff, Bootstrap? You know, good partnership, delayed gratification, and now you’re, you’re both sitting on more money than most people see in their lifetime. You want to start on the surface? Sure.
Patrick Franz 44:09
From the you know, nerdy operations side of things, I would just say, and I’ve heard this said before, in a lot of different mediums, know your numbers and get a bookkeeper, a good bookkeeper. I tried doing the cash basis for a hot second and said, Nope, not going to work. I need to get the proper people in place that can do the book so that we can know our numbers, we can know what’s coming up, we can look at our cash flow. And I think that really helps us sleep at night as well, especially when you start growing.
Joe Valley 44:46
I want to give a shout out to the bookkeeper that you use. You mentioned A2X. Do you recall the name of the other bookkeeper? Was it? I know you mentioned catching clouds as well. You work with them at the beginning Did you work with them through
Patrick Franz 44:59
so Um, I had various contacts and I found a CPA who would be willing to do the bookkeeping, and I purchased the catching clouds Academy. Training courses of materials. Excellent. Yep, for her to use. And you would really drive from there
Joe Valley 45:15
you are teaching your CPA how to do bookkeeping. That’s awesome. Hey, I preach bookkeeping all the time, you’ve got to get the accrual accounting, counting down because your business is gonna be sold based on that. And A2X, I think it’s fantastic. It’s subscription, it just imports, you know, all of the details into your QuickBooks Xero account correctly. And key word correctly. It’s kind of important, every aspect of it. Vincent, what do you recommend to folks that are out there just starting their journey? So,
Vincent Lacape 45:48
yeah, for me, I would say like, the biggest thing at the beginning, is the mindset because, you know, like, you have to have, like a big why behind behind what you do. And for us, like, you know, trying to, you know, this all came from reading Tim Ferriss book, like a four hour workweek. So like, he was really like this motivation to kind of free yourself from the rat race kind of thing. And, for me, that was always like, the freedom not really the money, but the freedom that this would bring us. And I think, then I would say, just have like, long term vision. Because like citizen as a marathon, and, and I would say also, like, if you want an exit, even if you don’t, like don’t do anything, Blackhat, because this is gonna show like in the due diligence, they’re gonna see everything. So if you have used some dirty tactics, both reviews, those kind of things, they guys are smart on the other side, so they’re going to figure out so yeah, there will be this will be my my two cents.
Joe Valley 46:50
That’s an excellent point, both of your suggestions are all really about building a great business, for a great buyer to take over at a great price. So that everybody’s happy at the end of the transaction. And your buyers running a successful business after the fact. It’s not taking them for every cent you can, that’s not the way it is because that is going to fall apart and due diligence, Vincent, because that, you know, you lied or cheated to get what you did, they are going to catch you, they didn’t have the ability to spend millions of dollars buying your business by being stupid,
Vincent Lacape 47:22
for sure. And, like, you need to see it as this is not a winner take all, you know, like somebody’s gonna want your company for a reason. But like, you also need to have like the potential and the opportunity to grow. And like, for example, right now, like we did, like, about a month ago, but like, they’re seeing like, really good numbers, I think in the business, and we couldn’t be happier, you know, because at the end of the day, like, you know, everybody’s happy. And that’s what we want to know. And we want, we also know that this is our baby, and we want them to take it to the next level. And like, we’ll be more than happy, like if they take it to like, eight figures or something. Because, yeah, that’s really what what we want. And so like we have before them we have before us and I think that’s a good end to the story of
Joe Valley 48:05
I agree. That’s a great end to the story. I want to thank you both for coming on the Quiet Light Podcast and sharing your journey. And if you go on another journey, I’d love to have you back on as you start that journey together and your next business and then we can recap when you have your next incredible exit. So thank you both for joining us in the quiet life podcast. We’ll put your LinkedIn profiles and whatnot up in the show notes so that people can reach out to you. They’ll find you that way. Is that work for you?
Vincent Lacape 48:34
Joe Valley 48:36
All right. Thank you guys. Appreciate your time. Thanks. Thank you.
Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 And the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at podcast at quietlightbrokerage.com 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.