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Quiet Light Advisor Spotlight – Brad Wayland
Brad Wayland is the Managing Director and M&A Advisor at Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that helps online business owners execute successful exits. As a thriving entrepreneur, he has almost 20 years of experience marketing and operating online businesses.
Starting in 2003, Brad helped create an online custom t-shirt company that became a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Later, he started building other e-commerce businesses and investing in existing companies. Over the last 10 years, Brad has constructed, purchased, or sold more than 30 web properties.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [03:08] Brad Wayland shares his professional background growing a multimillion-dollar t-shirt company
- [09:44] How Brad entered the advisory world and started working at Quiet Light
- [12:11] The value of working with a Quiet Light advisor
- [15:10] When is the optimum time to sell a business?
- [20:38] Brad explains the importance of having an M&A advisor before selling a business
- [23:41] Benefits a buyer gets from acquiring a business using Quiet Light’s services
- [27:51] How to prepare a business for an exit
In this episode…
Are you looking to sell your business? What do you need to know to maximize the value of your business during the exit process?
Seasoned entrepreneur Brad Wayland knows selling a business is a daunting and complex task that involves a lot of preparation, strategy, and negotiation. To increase the value of your business, it is crucial to have a clear and realistic plan that takes into account market trends, competition, financials, risks, and opportunities. This plan should include a thorough assessment of the business’s strengths and weaknesses, a clear value proposition, a realistic timeline and budget, and a careful selection of potential buyers based on their compatibility, financial capacity, and strategic fit. All the moving parts can be overwhelming, so Brad recommends hiring an M&A advisor or agency with the expertise, network, and experience to guide you from valuation and marketing to negotiation and closing.
In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Pat Yates sits down with Brad Wayland, Managing Director and M&A Advisor at Quiet Light, to discuss strategies for a successful business exit. Brad explains the right time to sell a business, the importance of having an advisor to guide you through the process, and how to prepare a business for a smooth and lucrative exit.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Brad Wayland on LinkedIn
- Brad Wayland’s email: [email protected]
- Quiet Light
- Quiet Light Podcast on YouTube
- Joe Valley on LinkedIn
- Pat Yates on LinkedIn
- Mark Daoust on LinkedIn
- 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
- Amanda Raab on LinkedIn
- Chuck Mullins on LinkedIn
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. 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.
Hey 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
Pat Yates 0:32
Hello, and welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast. Again, this is Pat Yates sitting in for Joe Valley. I’m super excited to have my man Brad Wayland on today. If you don’t know Brad Wayland, he is an exceptionally good advisor at Quiet Light. One of the guys that I met with first when I was starting the process of joining him because he happens to be from Bowling Green, Kentucky and I’m from Louisville, Kentucky, interestingly enough, was a Western Kentucky guy who my whole family pretty much is my mother and father graduated from Western Kentucky and Bowling Green actually had the ability to walk across the graduation line. So I feel like I’m a pseudo-graduate when my mom was pregnant with me a long time ago. My three sons all graduated from Western Kentucky. So Bowling Green is an amazing city that’s very close to our heart. So great to have Brad on today. One of the reasons that I want to do these spotlights on the advisors at Quiet Light is for the listeners out there to understand the person behind who’s working your M&A. I think that Brad has such an incredible background in business not only building companies, but starting out in a cubicle, working a job and having the perspective to go in and become an advisor Quiet Light to work and sell his company through private equity after building it from scratch basically, just an incredible amount of information. He has so much knowledge about deals doing over 50 deals at Quiet Light some of the biggest ones we’ve ever done, and he’s sort of a walking commercial for what we do at Quiet Light. He is now a managing adviser, of which Amanda Raab and Chuck Mullins also are that helped guide our team at Quiet Light. But he has so much experience done such a good job. If you’re looking to work with someone at Quiet Light, just about anyone is good. But Brad is towards the top of that list of anyone that sold companies in the past. I’m super excited for you to get to know him a little bit and hear about his background, his family what he likes, so I’m anxious to get right to it. So let’s go to Brad Wayland on an advisor spotlight and if you need to reach out to me anytime you can always reach out to [email protected] or check out our listings on quietlight.com This is exciting. We got Brad Wayland an exceptional advisor at Quiet Light. Let’s get right to it. Brad, it’s great to have you on the Quiet Light Podcast today. How you doing?
Brad Wayland 2:37
Great. How are you Pat?
Pat Yates 2:38
I’m awesome man. I’m really looking forward to this. To the people out there listening and writing your car watching on video, whichever one you are, one of the things about Quiet Light that’s so amazing is we have some really unbelievable entrepreneurs that are advisors here that have so much experience. And obviously Brad you’re way at the top of that list is one of the main guys that has been at Quiet Light for a long time. And I want it today just to profile you and your background, but maybe introduce yourself to the listeners if they don’t already know Brad Wayland and give them a little information about you and where you’re from.
Brad Wayland 3:08
Great. Thank you, Pat. Yes, I’m Brad Wayland. I have been at Quiet Light for the last six years. I live in Bowling Green Kentucky, about 50 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee. And Pat lives in Kentucky, about 90 minutes north of me. So beautiful country out here. I didn’t plan on living in Kentucky that was not really in the cards on Kansas City boy, I’m an avid cheese fan season ticket holder, I always thought I would go back to the city and kind of live there. And I got a finance degree that I wrapped up at Western Kentucky University. And instead of going into financial planning, which was always kind of my plan, I ended up doing a corporate accounting gig. And about three months in I felt like man, I’m gonna get fired from this job. Like, I felt like I literally like would walk to the cube. And I would like pretend in my mind, like I was opening the jail cell. And it was 10 hours a day of sales and use tax and balance and GL accounts, some of the best accounting experience for me. But after about three months, I was like I got to get out of here. And I had a couple of friends that had gone to the t-shirt business. And they had six employees and they just started selling T-shirts, to fraternities and sororities and other clubs and groups. And I had a job offer from Edward Jones. I was going to take it and they said hey, what do you think about coming over and running business development for us? I came over and within about six months, I became enamored with the idea of selling T-shirts on the web. They had launched a website. They had a firm in town that have built this site for them where they could get leads. And I thought this is really interesting that people from all over the country are ordering T-shirts. And so I started looking at it. I became very enamored very quickly with search engines. And so, those two friends of mine didn’t give me much of a plan. They Basically just offered me a pretty meager salary and some promise for future growth and said, hey, if you can come in here and figure out how to grow this business from, they just crossed a million in sales, then we can pay you well, if you can figure it out, but we’re busy with other things. And so you’ll be kind of on your own. So I sat in an office for a good two long period of time trying to figure out search. I want to learn how to rank in search engines, started going to search conferences, I didn’t really have anybody in the bowling green area that was into tech at all, of any sort. So out a hub of tech in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Yeah, besides my friend, Sean. But other than that, I mean, there just wasn’t a lot of people here that were kind of into it. And so I kind of went down that rabbit hole. And there’s a lot of failure in there. I actually kind of failed at the search thing for multiple years to the point where I think even those guys that brought me on thought, does this guy have any idea what he’s doing? Like, I didn’t have any real results from what I had worked on. But it was a big learning curve. And so we launched a new site in 2007. That was 2004 and 2007, we launched a site that we’d spent a year and a half on that I built from the ground up to rank in search engines. And then the firm that we were partnered with had built a really cutting-edge interactive tool in flash at the time, right. And we launched it, and actually, by the day, we launched it, I thought, are we ever going to make a single dollar selling T-shirts on this website? Like I really thought, how are we going to actually get people to use it, woke up the next morning to the phone ringing off the hook, and Gizmodo, the tech blog and found the site and wrote an article that said, blue cotton creates Adobe Photoshop like interface for creating custom T-shirts. And there wasn’t a social media at the time as this is like just right before those were coming on the scene, site crashed, we got 1000s of links to the site. And all that work I had done to build it to rank started to come to fruition. And we ranked going from ranking for one phrase blue cotton, to ranking for 16,000 over 16,000 phrases about 60 days later. And that sent us on a whirlwind. And then about 30 days after that adobe.com link to the site. They had a program at the time called Site of the Day, it was a PageRank seven of 10, which PageRank is a logarithmic scale, not that anybody wants to know. I’m sorry, PageRank, nine of 10, they nine of 10 is worth like a billion one PageRank links. So we got this one super relevant link. And that is where my career sort of took off. So they partnered up with me very quickly, we did an equity exchange, I had some other e-commerce businesses that I had to do some creative sales and stuff to get in. We took that business from six employees to 130 employees, we went on multimillion-dollar run up to where we were buying warehouses, we bought 110,000 square foot warehouse at the end of that. We’re producing massive piles of custom T-shirts every day. And I had done it, a lot of that work was done on search to start with. And so that gave me some pedigree inside the walls of that company, got me into ownership. And then I kind of got tired of the factory component, we started to be more about producing the shirts and trying to like, do production for other e-commerce players then we weren’t about e-commerce myself, I was the only guy in the building that was really interested in e-commerce, we had 130 employees. And so I was kind of a one-man show. And so just my one-man show is our buying content. So I did 26 acquisitions rolled up a portfolio of content sites, I thought it was pretty cool, started to get pretty overwhelmed by the work, exited the private equity in 2015. And then found Mark Daoust kind of found me. We were both speaking at a conference in New York, went to dinner together. And he said hey, you got to think about coming on a Quiet Light. And honestly, my response to him was, hey, man, if all my other opportunities in the world dry up, maybe I’ll consider.
Pat Yates 9:38
You’re in the mix, but you’re way down the list. That’s pretty much how you started it as…
Brad Wayland 9:44
Mark was like, let me send you some information about Quiet Light. And I was like, Okay, send me some information. So he kind of slowly lured me in through that but honestly, it’s been a great joy to be at Quiet Light. Actually I’ve done I think I’m 57 deals in here up in here six years, I recently was named a managing director. So I work on the executive team, doing some things for other advisors, helping them with their deals and trying to give them the support they need. And I’ve really enjoyed my time here because I think Quiet Light kind of represents. We’re in an industry with a lot of like, slick, shady salesmen. I always tell people like, hey, our competition is kind of like watching Boiler Room. That’s like my best like, way that I kind of feel like a lot of people we compete with our like. And Quiet Light it’s not like that, we’re really more of like, it is a team of entrepreneurs. And these entrepreneurs have an immense amount of knowledge about how things work, actually, Pat, not to brag on you. But Pat just sent me seven pairs of Happy feet Kansas City Chiefs slippers last week for my whole family. And we all put them on, you know what’s great about it is like my boys are putting them on like this amazing. And I’m like, hey, let me show you something. You know what I pulled up? I pulled up Happy Feet Pat on Shark Tank, doing this pitch for the sharks, and did a deal with Robert. Like, are you in business with Robert today? Yes, yes. I never even realized that. For some reason. I thought like a lot of people I hear they like get a deal. And then they don’t do the deal for one reason or another. Just like Robert tells you he tried to give him a pair of penguin slippers. Yes. It’s kind of offended by like, you gave the shark to Mr. Wonderful. You gave the penguin to Robert and Robert was offended. And he was like I’m out. And then the next thing we know, Mr. Wonderful is trying to work one of his crazy royalty deals, and you were smart enough not to take it. And then Roberts like, I’ll do that deal. And you said, done.
Pat Yates 11:54
Yeah, it’s funny you say that, Brad, because I’ve talked about this a lot on podcasts and mine, people don’t realize those in their taping really about 75 minutes, and it’s cut to eight. So if people can imagine 10% of the compensation gets higher, and it was going really horribly for a long time. So it didn’t…
Brad Wayland 12:11
You know what’s interesting about that, though, is like my kids, I’ve got five boys, they’re 16, almost 17, they’re 16, 15, 12, almost 13, nine, almost 10 and then seven. And you put those Happy Feet slippers on and then you put you on TV, they’ve seen Shark Tank, and they’re like, how do you know this guy? And I’m like, I work with this guy. You work with him? What do you mean, you work with him? He works at Quiet Light. He’s one of the advisors of Quiet Light. They’re like, oh, man, their friends are coming over in the afternoon. They’re like, my dad works with the guy that created he’s on Shark Tank, you want to watch his episode. So that’s a really cool testament to you. But also, that sort of summarizes a little bit about the team, like, I heard a lot, I’ll just be honest with you, like, I got the emails when I came on at Quiet Light. And people were always talking about man, I’m so honored to be on this team. I’m so honored to be on this team. And I will tell you, it took me several years to appreciate what we have here in terms of the people that we work with. And so it’s just something I’ve been in, I’m kind of ashamed that it’s taken me so long to realize it. But at the same time, like I just am so impressed with what people do now when I send emails out to the team, and I’m like, hey, I got a deal. I’m having this problem here is anybody have any advice? I’m getting advice from in the trenches for people that have got an immense amount of experience. And so, as I talked to people about, you know, what I do, and I do have a lot of experience in content in e-commerce. But when I talk to people, I always go back to my journey, and I just tell them like, hey, like, it had some ups and downs, I definitely have my fair share of failure. Don’t try to pitch it as the most glamorous show on earth. And I feel like that really resonates with people that are going to come to us and sell their business. And I think that the buyers like it, as well, because the buyers start to see like, hey, we’re getting a bit of a curated list. If these advisors are Quiet Light think that a business is worth selling, then they’re kind of a little bit saying, hey, this is a business that somebody could do something with, which is they’ll get on the marketplaces where it’s just kind of like, hey, list whatever you want, you can just kind of throw something out there.
Pat Yates 14:24
I think you make a great point Brad and not to go off on the same tangent but I didn’t realize it either. When I first came in at Quiet Light, I heard about everyone that was there, you and I had a chance last year before Derby and I think it was 2022 we got a chance to play golf and talk about how you had gone through this crazy time where you were so busy, then you took a hiatus and what I learned from you talking about that was really amazing. I think that’s the one underrated thing about Quite Light. I think that people don’t realize how the entrepreneurship approach to it makes us differential the things that have happened the past like the strife that you went through in your shirt business helped you understand something to go forward. So maybe talk to the listeners a little bit about your philosophy on when a business might be ready or if they’re ready, or what kind of timeline it takes to make a business really successful in the sale with you, Brad.
Brad Wayland 15:10
Yeah, I do love to talk about this. Because I will tell you, and no one wants to sell when everything’s great. And that’s basically when you need to sell, if you’re out of the mind of selling. And so it’s so funny because people come to us, generally speaking, people come to us when something has happened. They figured out that something’s not working as well, the growths run out. That’s a very common thing people come to us. And so, in a talk that I think you saw me talk recently, I did this whole segment on kind of the do’s and don’ts of when to list your business. And I did that comparison from Direct TV commercials where you got Rob Lowe came on, and he’s like, hi, I’m Rob Lowe. Rob Lowe is this super good-looking guy. And he’s got this great personality. People loved him on Parks and Rec and these different things. And then it’s like, I’m Rob Lowe. And I have DirecTV. And then they bring on this other version of Rob Lowe. And he’s like, super ugly. And it was the one that I chose for the talk that I did was painfully awkward Rob Lowe. He’s just like this super, like, and he goes into the bathroom to go and he’s like, the real Rob Lowe is like fat. DirecTV has all these channels and all this stuff. And then the painfully awkward Rob Lowe is like, fat. It’s hard for me to go if people are in the room with me. He’s like, at the toilet. He can’t go. He’s basically like comparing these things like, and I think that’s so much like how the businesses are people come to us. And they look like, hey, I’m ready to sell. Oh, so what’s going on? I just haven’t had time to market it the last few months. And so sales have dropped off a bunch, but like, hey, it was really good it how can we sell it. So what we’re trying to get people to do is understand like, look, we’re not here to push you to sell, we have no desire to like timing of a sale is your choice. I always tell people, I’m not here to push you to sell, I’ll make a recommendation. If I become close with you, I’ll hit you over the head with a two-hour call and say, hey, you’re waiting too long. If you want to sell we need to get it going. I’m willing to say the tough thing. But it’s hard to get people to sell because it’s a little bit of a counter, it’s sort of like investing in the stock market. At the point when no one wants to sell Tesla stock, in a point where no one’s to sell it, it’s just all time after all time, after all time. That’s the point you’re supposed to be selling. But what is happening is, before we get to the realization that we’re supposed to be selling, everybody’s buying heavily, heavily, heavily. But it was the same way with these internet businesses. In 2021, we saw multiples skyrocket, we couldn’t keep anything listed. Every single advisors put stuff out there and it was selling for higher multiples. And we were listing it for is doing all these things. And so when you’re thinking about philosophically, what’s the mindset of how I want to sell? It’s a little more of you have to think a little bit backwards, first have to decide is selling important to me. If you tell me like Pat, you got Happy Feet, that’s a business you still operate today, if you tell me Brad, Happy Feet’s a cash flow machine for me, I don’t have any interest in selling it, I want to keep it I want to pass it down to my kids I want to do, that’s fine. That’s what you’ve decided to do. That’s great. And you know what, you can probably have a business that makes money from now until the day you die if you’re willing to keep working on it and doing it. But I think that if people are of the mindset of like, no, I do think I want to sell I want to sell because I’m tired of this business I want to sell because I’ve got other things I want to do with my life. I want to sell because I got other businesses I want to run, if that’s the mindset. Then what we have to do is we have to start trying to build a business to sell and we got to sell before we get tired or before the growth runs out. So much of the time, we see entrepreneurs looking at this, I do this all the time and talk to people on the phone. And they’re this mark on the chart, it’s going straight up. And they’re like well, I mean, why would I sell right now things are going so well. And my first thing out of my mouth is like, look if selling is important to you, you don’t have to sell today. But you can’t wait for that growth to be gone. Yeah. Because as soon as you get if you get to the peak and you’re like I timed it perfect. This was my best all-time high. I think next month, it’ll probably fall off some and you reach out to Brad or Pat or whoever. What’s going to happen when it gets under diligence? The buyers are going to be looking at it. You said you want to list it at the peak. Two weeks later, three weeks later, it’s like hey, how’s September gone? Oh, well our results are a little bit off. That’s a deal that’s a prime candidate to fall apart. Yeah. So selling into the growth is such a great thing to do and their timing is hard to get right. But I think that my philosophy on it is like you want to sell when you don’t feel like selling if sell to you.
Pat Yates 19:59
You know what’s interesting Brad, because I think that you’re hitting on something that’s really important for entrepreneurs. I think a lot of sellers might have an apprehension of reaching out if their business say, is barely growing or is steady, or maybe had a down month and had several up. I really feel like with my clients, I like to come months and months before they think about selling so we can help with the prep. Is there a time that you think it’s important for someone to start contacting you i they’re thinking about doing it? Let’s say they want to do it in the next year? Will there be actionable stuff throughout the year that maybe they change their mind or the market changes, or you find a buyer that’s in their vertical? Tell us a little bit about how the buyers would need to approach that with you?
Brad Wayland 20:38
Yeah, when people come through, I mean, I would say my preference is to talk to people as soon as possible. Like if selling into it, and I do have that I get people reach out all the time and say, hey, I’m looking to sell in a couple of years, I want to make a plan. That’s a certain type of personality, that they kind of begin with the end in mind and Stephen Covey kind of thing. Like, there’s a first note that comes through that, I think, is of that mindset, but I will tell you, and also the kind of go back to my previous point, I’m not trying to say that a business that has flat or down trends doesn’t sell. I’m seeing businesses with downturns right now, all the time that I’m listening for sell. And so it’s not so much about that it’s about if you want maximum outcome, then you want to sell into the growth, everything is sellable at the right price, it’s all a pricing game. And so in terms of when people come to me, I look at it as like, every time I get on a valuation call, I say the same thing. I tell people, I’m like, hey, I just want you to know whether you ever want to sell with me or not as punching on my door is always open. I’m always here to talk, we give out free advice all day long. That’s what we do Quite Light we’re here to talk. There is no strings attached, there is no hey, you’ve had four phone calls with me. So if you’re not gonna list now, we’re going to have to dial this back. I’ve had people that have talked to me, month after month, every quarter after quarter, year after year, and they never list with me and they go sell somewhere else, it’s totally fine. Because what we’re trying to do is just establish ourselves as a trusted authority, give you another set of eyes on your business and give you the right kind of exit planning advice. So that you can be prepared for the sale. So to your question of like what’s ideal, I mean, there’s nothing I love more than a seller that gets to me and is like, hey, I’ve got a business. And I’m like, this looks sellable in there, like I’m ready to go right now, that’s great. But if you are listening to this, and you’re thinking like, hey, it’s something that I want to do a year down the road, it’s something that I want to do two years down the road. And I don’t even know if I want to do it. I want to talk to somebody about whether or not I want to do it. I want someone to help me think through the process and whether or not there’s something I want to do or whether I want to hold on to it. These are all things that Quiet Light advisors can help you with, and we do it free of charge because we make our money on fees generated when we sell your business. And so, if we sell your business, we engage, that’s when we would get paid, and we wouldn’t get paid unless you got paid.
Pat Yates 23:00
Yeah, I mean, it’s a great point. I think some things people, whenever they look at selling something like this, they may look at the fee and think it’s a lot. And sometimes you got to look at what goes into that and how much deep knowledge you have. One of the things I’m curious for your comments on is people are out there deciding if they’re deciding between M&A firms. One of the things I believe a Quiet Light that we have that’s so great is the trust from buyers, we have an incredible buyer list that understands the kind of docs we put out, you’re one of the guys at the forefront of that when Quiet Light was really growing. Tell us about how our approach to being an entrepreneur centric can help the buyers have more confidence too, because I feel like that’s really big as to why people will buy from us based on our Doc’s, our research and our understanding of those businesses.
Brad Wayland 23:41
I actually just got off a call with some guys that are buyers that wanted to do a call with me to just kind of understand kind of my perspective, and things like that. And we do quite a bit of that here Quiet Light, but those guys were doing cold outreach, looking for things to buy. And they said like, what do you think about cold outreach? I was like, man, it’s interesting, you say that I did a lot of cold outreach. In my buying days, I was buying in one category. So going to the Quiet Lights of the world and looking for their listings, they likely wouldn’t have anything in the category I was looking for at any given time. And so I would go and search just and do cold outreach to petite people that were like in the industry trying to find people to buy. But what’s interesting about that is like as we were talking through it, this is a new theme for me. But we’ve seen an influx of marketplaces come online in our industry. So these are just places where you can go shop things for sale, and they’ve come online and people can just look at there’s no personal touch to it’s not a white glove service like Quiet Light, it’s like, hey, here’s a business for sale. Here’s what the person says the business is. Here’s what the person says the business earns. Do you want to buy it? You can say yes or no, and that’s kind of the approach. With Quiet Light, you do get a little bit of a curated approach because Quiet Light advisors are paid based on fees generated by sellers. So just thinking about the economic principle here, the incentives for Quiet Light advisors to list things that won’t sell, where is that incentive? Yeah, doesn’t exist. If I list something that’s not gonna sell, I’ve created a lot of headache for a lot of people, I’ve created a massive amount of time for myself. I’ve created a seller that thinks well, Quiet Light doesn’t know what they’re doing, they told me they would try to sell my business, they didn’t sell it. So I’ve got to sell early doesn’t like the outcome. And then we’ve got buyers that are like, why are you listing stuff that’s not sellable, like this isn’t a very good business. So it hurts us from all those standpoints. So I feel like for buyers, one of the advantages that they get with Quiet Light is, we’re not guaranteeing anything, we definitely want you to do your due diligence on all the businesses. But when you come through as a buyer, when you see a listing, that listing says is that some advisor, which all the advisors at Quiet Light are seasoned entrepreneurs, they all have bought, built, sold, operated businesses online, they have an immense amount of experience, they speak a very technical language when it comes to how business is done online. And when you come to that you’re seeing every single listing you see is a listing where an advisor has said, hey, I think this could generate fees for Quiet Light. So I’m going to take time, I’m going to prepare this for sale, I’m going to put up 20 to 30-page packet out there, I’m going to spend an immense amount of time on the phone and over email with people, I’m going to spend an immense amount of time on the phone and on email with my seller. And so when you’re coming in as a buyer, you’re seeing a curated list. It doesn’t mean that every business is great. But what it does mean is we put our eyes on it, we’ve gotten deep into it, and we think that somebody is going to be interested in buying it. And so that’s giving you some assurance as a buyer of like, hey, why is this thing listed? Why is it out there? Somebody over Quiet Light thinks this is something that will be worthwhile for some buyer on their list?
Pat Yates 27:13
Yeah. I think there’s a lot of apprehension for buyers, sometimes they come in and maybe embarrassed that their books aren’t good. Or maybe they haven’t done their SOPs, or they’re on a downtrend, I think, a lot of vanity with people when they come in to sell. How do you help people understand that timing? I know it seems simple to say sell right now. But what if someone is having challenges? What kind of things can Brad and Quiet Light do to really help them, say if you look at it, and they’re not ready yet, but they could be ready with actionable things. A lot of people might try to list it and take their chances. But we would probably turn them away and say, do this, this and this, and it helps them in both ways. Maybe talk about that philosophy?
Brad Wayland 27:51
Yeah, we do a lot to try to prepare for sale. So very common for me, someone comes to me, and they say, hey, Brad, I’ve been in business for 18 months, I’ve been in 18 months, I want to sell my business look at this. What do you think? Well, I have over the years tried to take a business with 18 months of history and get sold. It’s been a challenge. I don’t know about you, I’ve had a hard time getting businesses to move that are 18 months now. So one of two things need to happen here. If we’re going to try to sell something with a really short history, then we’re going to have to do something to account for that short history, that’s probably going to be in the multiple. So what we try to do with folks is let them know like, hey, this business that you have, it’s got a good growth trajectory, if we had 24 months. And just to make a point to those listening 24 months is a very important inflection point, because 24 months is the first time when we can have a month-over-month trend, year over year. So that means we can compare January to January, February to February, December to December, July to July. 24 months is the first time where someone can look at and see what does the growth look like. And they get a year-over-year, month-over-month trend for each of those months. And so 24 months ends up being super important. In fact, I would say like, if we had 24 months, I think that you can make a case that like anything more than 24 months, is a lot of times it’s not even looked at that seriously by a lot of buyers. They’re really most interested in that recent history. So in a case where someone calls in they say, hey, I want to sell I’ve got 18 months a history, my first thing is going to be what would you think about waiting another six months? And I’ll tell you why. And then I tell them like hey, for your business, it looks like if you had 24 months looks like it’d be a three-and-a-half multiple. But if we need to go right now on 18 months, I think we would need to drop the multiple down into the mid-twos to get interest because the buyers are going to push back so hard. And so now I’m presenting them with options. I’m saying like, hey, I’ve done this enough to know I can’t just go put an 18-month-old business out there and say three and a half, can’t just put a multiple, slap the multiple on it, and say just deal with it. Because the buyers just won’t, they just won’t, they’ll deal with it by ignoring it. So, I think that we try to lead them to where they’re trying to go. But we do put people off. And I don’t think we put people off necessarily, it’s not necessarily to help our own schedules, it’s actually to help the business have the amount of time that it needs, like, it’s not that complicated, we can simplify the process for you. So if you’re like thinking about selling, we definitely can simplify it, we can help you with the books. I have people come to me all the time, like Brad, I read Joe’s book, he said, my books have to be on a cruel. Okay, that’s fine. I’ll flip into a cruel for you. Right? I’ve had two or three people tell me, oh, no, I thought I needed to hire a firm to do that. No, I’ll do it for you. I’ll put it to a cruel for you. So you don’t have to be buttoned up at all, in my opinion, you can come to us and say, I don’t even have a p&l, and I might give you a homework project. I’m not typically build these P&Ls from scratch. I did do it for seller in 2023, a unique circumstance. But you know, if you’re going to build it from scratch, I’m going to give you the tools to get it done either affirmed. Or something where I can say, hey, you could do this yourself, you do this way. But I do think you’re right, like the timing is always perfect. But when people reach out, we can help you with a timing thing, you’re not going to get slapped on the wrist by us, we’re here to support you, we understand that running these businesses is very difficult. And selling them it’s pretty difficult too, like we’re trying to make a process that’s painful, not be so painful, and be something that you can be like, hey, Quiet Light is there, they helped me they held my hand all the way through the deal, start to finish, and I was able to move on and do my next thing.
Pat Yates 31:54
I think you make a great point because I’ve talked to so many entrepreneurs that come in, because here’s kind of the way people have to look at it. If you’re listening out there thinking about selling your business, you call Brad, you’re gonna expect them to say, here are the steps we got to do, here’s a price. Some people are really shocked, we say you don’t want to sell right now. Because that’s what we do. We don’t make any money consulting with people, we don’t make any money doing that we only make it selling it. So what’s the motivation? And typically what I tell people, the motivation is it’s about you, not us. And if we can find a way that even over a six or seven-month period, you can add $15,000 in income somehow and these little things that becomes 45 to $55,000 on your sale. And it matters because people don’t realize how little money can jump out. So my point in saying this is, is sometimes I think the preparation before the sale is even more important than the sale itself. And I’d like for you to tell the listeners your philosophy of working them as people and advising them. And I know that that’s sort of a broad thing there. But you see a lot of these the people are ready, right when they come in? Or do they need to do this preparation?
Brad Wayland 33:00
It’s a mixed bag. But I would say that in most cases, we’re not ready to go on day one that we talk, or whatever reason, I’ve got a guy to reach out today, you know, he came to me a month ago. He knows our stuff. He’s been following us for a long time. He kind of understands how we do it, he wants to be SBA pre-qualified. So once we SBA pre-qualified, but we need the 2023 return. So, I told him, he’s like, hey, can we just go to market, like, maybe by the time it closes, we can have a return. Now we can’t do that we’re gonna have to, if you want to be SBA pre-qualified, and it’s gonna be a big sale, it’s gonna be a 5 million plus sale. So, in this situation, it’s worth it for him to crank out, get 2023 done, but stay in touch. Let’s keep working on it. We’ll get everything ready to go. And we’ll be prepared when we get there. But yeah, the managing the people part is I mean, we have to kind of go where the people are. So, someone comes to us and says, I just have to sell today, tell me what I need to do, then the game has changed. Most people come to us are wanting maximum outcome. But that’s not everybody. Sometimes people have circumstances in their life going on that they’re like, I just need to sell. I know it’s not the best time to sell, but I just need to sell Can you help me sell now? Now’s the time. And so I do kind of feel like we are kind of forced to go where the people are, but we generally go from the perspective of, hey, don’t you want maximum outcome? I do think, one things I tried to do, like, and they probably think I’m trying to do this as like reverse psychology, but I think is a fair exercise when I get on the phone with somebody, I always ask him, so, hey, you got this business. You’re making a lot of money on it. You got great trends. Do you enjoy running it? I do. Oh you do you enjoy running? Okay. Do you think You can continue to grow it. Yes, I do, really? So when it was 2 million now you think you can make it 4 million? I do. I think I could do the work. I think you get it 4 million. And you enjoy it and I enjoy it. Why are we talking about selling? I’ve had many people tell me, well, I just thought that selling was like the next thing I’m supposed to do. And I would tell you right now, as a guy that has done a lot of operating, buying and selling over the years, if you have a business that you enjoy operating, and it is growing, and you think your prospects for the future for growth are good, why would you sell that?
Pat Yates 35:37
Yeah, I agree with you. I think that many people don’t realize that the natural transition isn’t always to sell. And sometimes in your vertical, it really depends on if you can be successful. So again, we’re talking with Brad Wayland, Quite Light advisor here, Brad, I mean, I think that we want to wrap this up so people can understand you as an advisor, I think sometimes this is such a huge transaction, people have to choose someone they can trust and interact well with. I think you probably have a philosophy around how you run your business much like all Quiet Light associates do. It’s pretty much entrepreneur-centric for me. So tell everybody a little bit more about how they can get in touch with you, what you might want them to do if they’re coming in to talk to you about their business, just things that they could have that’s actionable to work with Brad?
Brad Wayland 36:19
Yeah, sure. So you can email me, [email protected]. So if you’re looking for me, you want to do valuation, you want to just discuss your business, you want to talk about exit planning, want to talk about just like the psychology of how do I decide what I want to do, happy to go through all those kinds of conversations with you can email me at [email protected]. And once you email me, then you got access to my cell phone, you got access to my email, pretty easy to get in touch with me. If you can’t find me, for whatever reason, there’s plenty of support queues at Quiet Light, if you’re looking for me. So I definitely want to give you that opportunity. The other thing is, there’s a team of 14 of us and not every advisor is meant to work with every seller. So generally, when you come in to Quiet Light, you get assigned to an advisor, and you’ll probably work that advisor from here on out, doesn’t mean you have to, there’s somebody that you have seen information on that you really would like to work with, you can request to work with someone specifically. So, don’t listen to this podcast and feel like you have to come work with Brad Pat, even though he’s those are the podcasts. He’s also a high-powered broker. He said, you’ve done a lot of deals in his time at Quiet Light. And we already talked about some of his entrepreneurial experience. So there’s lots of folks to choose from, but our door is open. And I do think that that is sort of the mantra that we want to communicate to people is that we want to hear about your business, we want to discuss how we can potentially help and that does not mean that you only come to us, if you think that we’re gonna end up listing your business, we can actually help you get through that thought process of, should I sell? And is now the time, what are the steps I could take, we give you the roadmap to kind of getting from here to there. So I’m happy to help in any way do appreciate the opportunity to come on today and kind of talk about me and some of the ways that I kind of look at deals.
Pat Yates 36:23
Absolutely. And for the listeners out there, Brad is a little bit humble. He’s done some of the biggest deals in Quiet Light histories when you were on the edge of the aggregator start when things started 2021, Brad has an enormous amount of experience, not just in M&A, but really in business. I think that’s what I want the listeners to understand. If you reach out to one of the advisors at Quiet Light, we’re probably going to have a conversation about how to make your business better, as much as we are how to exit it in sometimes that timing is not the exact thing and as being through this so many times, Brad has a massive amount of experience not only selling his companies, but after selling 50 some companies or more Quiet Light and seeing so many verticals. So utilize that information. Make sure you’re reaching out to Brad talk with him get your business and a potential to sell. Because I can tell you right now there’s not very many guys that I know that has many connections that Brad does to try to get your business sold. Brad, I appreciate you coming on today man and obviously we hope that anyone will reach out to you at that [email protected] and appreciate you having on the Quiet Light Podcast. I appreciate your time.
Brad Wayland 39:14
Thanks a lot Pat. I really appreciate it.
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 [email protected]. 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.