Episode 733: How to Sell a Business

selling a business Sep 14, 2023

 Back by popular demand: Pierce Krol! In this episode, Pierce talks with Kiera about what it’s like to sell a business you started from scratch. Everything from identity of self, to how businesses being sold are found, what buying companies look at, the hardest parts emotionally, and humorous anecdotes from along the way.

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0:00:05.8 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone, welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host Kiera Dent. And I had this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants, where we have traveled over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.


0:00:50.5 KD: Hello Dental A Team listeners this is Kiera, and you guys back by popular demand. These [0:00:55.1] ____ were some of the most listened to podcasts, and I don't blame you. My dear friend Pierce Krol who talked about how to hack your health, how to bet on yourself and create your own luck. Serial entrepreneur, built and sold many successful businesses. I call him my bajillionaire friend, and I wanted to bring him back on the podcast to give us an inside scoop. We hang out in dentistry, we know how to roll up and do DSO cells, but I do believe there's a lot more to us than just dentistry. There's a lot of side hustles out there, there's a lot of people doing different things. So I wanted to bring Pierce back on and get into the nitty gritty of how do you actually sell a business? Let's dive into this. Let's get nitty gritty. If I can bring anybody in who's a candid, trusted friend, I know it's Pierce. So Pierce Krol, welcome back to the show. How are you today?

0:01:38.7 Pierce Krol: Good. Thanks for having me. This is gonna be fun.


0:01:41.2 KD: Of course. So if you guys miss the other episodes, Pierce and I have known each other since 2019. He's one of my dear friends. We met at Tony Robbins, a very... I don't normally reach out to people like Pierce, because I'm like, "No, no, no, I'm not a guy. I'm not a strong business leader." And then they said, "Pick a friend who's an opposite of you." And I'm like, Pierce, you are an entrepreneur. I love to just have good time and good friends. And Pierce has really over the years inspired me of what I could be become and how I could be a better business owner. And we've really shared some awesome times. Pierce has grown from serial entrepreneur to now, and the last episode calling himself hippie Pierce, where he now has prioritized his health. So bringing him back on, I wanna bring out Entrepreneur Pierce mixed in with hippie Pierce, both back to the show of how did you even know when to sell the business? How did you go about selling the business? You sold an insurance company. I think it was Elevate, something like that, if I remember right.

0:02:36.2 PK: Yeah.

0:02:36.6 KD: And now you have Insurely, which is the Amazon version of insurance that you created an idea of, at Tony Robbins four years ago. Pretty impressive that you had that dream and now it's a reality and on track to be better than your other business. So, how did you even know when it was the right time to sell? Like I don't even know... You know I talk about selling. I don't think I ever would. The artist in me loves Dental A team. I love to create it, but how do... Let's just go through this nitty gritty of selling a business, what it feels like to sell a business, identity pieces, all the pieces. So Pierce, you take it for where you wanna start. I think it'll be a really... I'm just geeking out on behind the scenes of how to sell a business.

0:03:16.4 PK: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. And please interject if you wanna steer the conversation, ask some questions. But I think, there was a lot of things going on at the time. But yeah, to kind of back up. So I started this business from scratch. We've talked about it before in previous episodes, but never really got into it. So I started this company from basically my kitchen table. Cold started this business, no clients, no money.

0:03:37.1 KD: This is not his new one. This is the one he sold. So this is the Elevate, right? So.

0:03:40.7 PK: Right, yeah. Elevate Insurance. Yeah, is what it was called. So we had what I call brick and mortar. So we had some offices. So we started this company, again, no customers and just really no experience and just built this thing ground up. And we found some success. We did a lot of things wrong.

0:03:56.8 KD: Back up. How on earth did you get into insurance? I don't even know this about you. What made you be like, "I'm gonna... " You came from farm boy to insurance. I need the bridge Pierce because it doesn't make any sense.

0:04:08.4 PK: Sure. I can give you the bridge, and it's a story that I don't share very often, but hey, why not share it? So I worked really hard on this farm, or my version of really hard and my parents might argue different, but I thought I worked really, really hard. And so I left when I was 18 and I got a few other jobs, oil field jobs, labor jobs. And I thought, this is crazy, I don't wanna work outside. So I ended up getting into life insurance. And for those that don't know life insurance, you're selling life insurance policies. So I was 18 years old, you can imagine how many people wanna buy life insurance from an 18-year-old kid. And so the first year in life insurance, are you ready for this? I made $24,000.

0:04:49.3 KD: Dang!

0:04:49.7 PK: Yeah. And so that was tough, and that was really tough. But I had this vision of, I'm going to do it. So then I had a relative in what's general insurance, so I think homes, cars, businesses, those types of things. And I took an interview and they said, "We'll hire you, but it's sink or swim." And I'm going, "Yeah, okay, cool. Yeah, I just want a job." And so long story short, I ended up swimming and this company... It did quite well. And this company ended up selling. So at that point, I knew I was never going to be a partner in this firm. So I kind of did the only thing I knew how and said, "The heck with you guys, I'll just go start my own company. How hard could this be?" I had a couple credit cards...

0:05:24.2 KD: How many listeners... I know I did it. Yeah, this can't be that hard. I watch that boss sit in their office all day long, they don't even do anything.


0:05:31.9 PK: Exactly. "Look at that fat cat, man, he's doing well, and I'm doing all the hard work." So that was really the reality of it. So I kind of quit on a whim if you will, and said, "You know what, I'm gonna... " And this was after... This was seven, eight years in of doing that business. So I had a good idea what I was doing. So I wasn't just completely blind. I didn't know anything about business, I didn't know anything about taxes, employees. All of that I kind of naively just would figure on the fly, and thank God I did at some point. So I ended up starting this business from scratch, and we built it up over an eight-year period to be a fairly successful business. We'll be modest. And it was in, like you said...

0:06:10.7 KD: When you say fairly successful, take your dental practice times like a hundred.

0:06:15.9 PK: No goodness. [laughter] Goodness, you're pumping me up. So the reality was we built this business and a consolidator, national consolidator, wanted to buy this business. And so that's, you know, spoiler alert.

0:06:28.6 KD: How does that even happen? Did they text you, call you, email you, send an email. I don't even understand how you were found by the consolidator. How does that even happen?

0:06:37.0 PK: Okay. So before we can get to that, then I have to preface it a bit, because I reached out to companies and put my company out to bid essentially. I made it known that it was for sale and then went down a more, we'll call it analytical route. But before we get there, because I'm gonna have to tie it together, or you're gonna ask me why I sold it. In order to go why, I kind of have to back it up a bit. So we built this company and it was doing well. And we had lots of employees, we had a good source of revenue, we were very profitable. Things are going extremely well.

0:07:05.9 PK: And my peers in the industry are going... I wanna to be... Essentially it was some of the thought process, the things that you're doing, the things you're creating. There was challenge, but we created a really nice business. And so prior to us meeting in Las Vegas, I started building a new building, a shrine to myself, if you will, for this company that we're gonna house the future growth. So we ended up building this building and it was beautiful. The entry was two storeys, and I had polished concrete. And I sponsored a local art [0:07:37.0] ____, and had these like six by four foot paintings, just grand lobby. And it was amazing. And so what I found, and this will all tie together is during, say that time, that we built and we moved in, and we went to Vegas, to Business Mastery, you're right, I had a little notebook on the future of my life and what I wanted business to look like, and it was the Amazon insurance. And I didn't conceptually know what it was, but I knew what I wanted to do.

0:07:58.4 PK: And so I came back and we had this beautiful new building that we built, and now I'm in my office on the second floor, and I'm overlooking what's essentially our reception area. It was beautiful, like ten leather couches, just amazing concept we built. And the only reason I'm saying is that because you have to have the backstory to know how it ends. And so I'm sitting in my office looking at this book of what I wanna do, digitizing insurance, scalability, go to the masses, consumer behavior. And I'm overlooking this waiting room that's full of people that came on their lunch hour to buy insurance from a complete stranger and probably to fax something, have a void check and... Just this very similar experience, but I just didn't like it.

0:08:39.4 PK: So at that point I said, "You know what, something's calling me to just pivot." And so instead of pivoting that entire business, I knew I wanted to start a net new business, because I love the foundation of it and the business, I thought it was marketable. The business I wanted to create was net new. Because like on the previous podcast, we talked about some of the culture pieces and we can change that, but I knew I could do even better with culture. So anyways, I had to set you up to where we were now. So eight years later we've got this business and so I wanted to sell this business because I had this vision. So some people think you're crazy. At the time I was 30... I think it was 35. And so way too young to retire. Can't go play golf with by myself, right?

0:09:24.8 KD: You would've been... They say that... I've heard this often that entrepreneurs sell their businesses and then in six months they've got another one started, because they can't handle sitting there idly. But I am curious, I think the rationale would be, Pierce, you've built this up, it's profitable, it's doing well. You've done all the hard work, why would you wanna sell it now and go start something new? And that is my question for you. Like, why did you wanna sell it? Because that's oftentimes I think with dental practices, like I was actually just talking to a client this week, he got a very successful practice, very successful. And he is like, "Kiera, I just wanna sell it". And I'm like, "You're gonna be like a flat wash zero if you sell it right now from the taxes to this." Like you could roll it up, you could make so much more, give it five more years. So I'm just curious like that is oftentimes the logical rationale behind selling a business is, it's profitable, you've done all the hard work. Why sell it Pierce?

0:10:18.0 PK: Yeah. I think the... And there's probably two different types of end results that people are looking for. Maybe you're at the end of the career, or wanna to build a new career and you're looking for financial freedom, that's definitely one. For me it was a portion of that, but it was more about what I wanted to do next, which was really exciting. So as this business was selling, I already had this other business conceptually being built. I was very forthcoming with it actually to their buyers that this company existed. And we were able to craft it into the deal in non-competes and all these cool things that come with people buying your businesses. It was very transparent. So for me, half of it was this drive to go do something different. And I've said it before that, and I think it was on that first podcast we did, that I would lose sleep over not trying something. And that's how passionate I was about this business. So I wanted to sell it. So we'll get to how I sold it, because I think that's important too.

0:11:10.3 KD: Okay. You really have your main business, but you've also created a side hustle.

0:11:13.3 PK: Yeah.

0:11:13.5 KD: And you are in love with the side hustle.

0:11:15.9 PK: Yes.

0:11:15.9 KD: And it's this fun love affair you've got going on over there. Like, let's sell this one. It's done its job. And I wanna probably, my hunch is, you probably wanted to take money from this current business, sell it, get a pretty reasonable sell price for it, take it, invest into your passion project that really is... That one was your financial freedom builder, I would guess.

0:11:35.8 PK: Yeah.

0:11:36.0 KD: And this one now is your passion project would be my assumption and guess.

0:11:40.3 PK: Yeah. That's a 100% correct. Yeah that's totally fair. That's a 100% correct. And that's really what it did is like, yeah, there's financial freedom that comes with that of selling a successful business or a dental practice, if you will. But the other part was that, it was a vehicle to let me chase that passion project. And I mean, if you are doing a business and it's somewhat fulfilling, you can be successful, you can fake it, but building a business that you're passionate about where your hobby is working, that is a complete game changer. Talk about, what a gift I've got, we'll call it... I've got this habit, this obsession with work.

0:12:18.3 PK: And there's a lot of addictions out there that are frowned upon. [chuckle] Working really hard is not nearly frowned upon. So I'm very fortunate that I can kinda live that. So that was the premise of it. And then so going to selling it, I wanted to basically find a buyer that was going to take this business and continue it on and build this thing and something you could be proud of, because it took, like when you're saying blood, sweat, and tears, and literally all three of those happened. And no, I'm not just saying that there is literally blood, sweat, and tears that went into that business. And so they bought it and I thought, okay, perfect. We've got an amazing group of employees. I want them to carry on and do all these cool things. Then I can go on and chase this passion project.

0:12:58.9 PK: So what ends up happening is I take this company to bid. And what I mean by bid is I packaged it together with the help of some accountants in Vancouver, and we created this package where we could send it out to the big consolidators of the world, and say this business is for sale, this is what we're doing in revenue. This has been our year over year growth. This is our EBITDA. This is our profit margin. And so we took everything we could about this business, put it in a really pretty PDF with a pile of Excel spreadsheets I didn't understand. Again, that's where the accountants come in and we send it out. And we said, "This business is available. If you're interested, let us know. You can sign a non disclosure, and we'll get a little more thorough and we'll do due diligence." And so that...

0:13:45.3 KD: So Pierce...

0:13:45.3 PK: Yeah, go ahead.

0:13:46.2 KD: And I don't want to know your revenue numbers. It's not what I'm looking for.

0:13:49.7 PK: Sure.

0:13:50.2 KD: What kind of a growth did you have over those eight years, year-over-year-over-year? Were you like at 20% growth, at 40% growth, at 200% growth? What kind of percentages did you have? And not to put you on a pedestal or anything, I just like to know nitty gritty on businesses of what is possible. What was your growth year-over-year-over-year?

0:14:07.3 PK: Yeah, absolutely. In the early days we were 200% a year because 200% of nothing is pretty easy, right? So I don't think there's a...


0:14:16.8 KD: I know. I feel so proud of myself, and then I'm like, "Kiera that was like nothing."

0:14:19.1 PK: Right. Right. And so it gets dramatically harder, but what was really cool was... And I think, for the buyers in our industry, they're looking at what you're doing over the last three years. They want to see if there's any skeletons in the closet, but for us, we were fortunate. We grew every year by double digit margins. And yeah, it was a couple 100% the first three or four years, but the last I'd say, four years we were in that 20-25% growth margin. And when we sold that company, we were 38.6% profit margin. So we were doing quite well. Yeah, we were doing well in our space.

0:14:52.7 KD: And thanks for sharing that, because I wanted to point that out for a couple of reasons. Startup businesses, newer practices, listening in, that 100%, 200%, 300% growth should be happening at the beginning of your business. But then as we become more of a seasoned practice, we become a more seasoned business, you have less and less of that. But I wanted to know, because I equally try and say, between at least a minimum of a 10% annual growth is healthy for a dental practice. But if you know you want to sell, I know there are different things in the dental space, because we roll up, we get multiples there.

0:15:22.2 KD: But if you just have one monstrous practice, that 25% growth with, you hear, 37% profitability margin. And if you listening right now don't know those numbers on your business, I want you to make a little check box, go figure out your profitability margins, go figure out how much you're growing year-over-year-over-year. Those are things, as a business owner, you need to know. Because I had some of the best advice I was ever given, and that was always, it's a business, you always, always, always need to be planning for it to be sold. Otherwise it's just a hobby. And so even if you never plan to sell it, you need to be a solid business owner and know those numbers. Thanks for diving into that.

0:15:58.2 KD: Okay. So you guys have it, you wrap it up, you go and send it off to all these people to look at it, which is similar to dental offices, but I'm wanting you guys to also get outside of dental practices. There are so many other things. There's real estate, there's other businesses. There's lots of team members that listen to this. What other side hustles, passion projects could you do? Here's how we sell or look for these businesses that are being sold was really why I wanted Pierce to come on here today. Okay. So you send this out fancy thing, all the Excel spreadsheets.

0:16:23.3 PK: Yeah. So I think what's important too is, and again, this is just my story, but I think it does resonate with the dental offices. I think we could probably play the game here in a little bit, if you what I'm saying, say if I were to buy a dental office, what would I be looking for? So I think it'd be fairly similar to almost any business and that's profitability. That's growth. And the opposite would be like if you were losing, say you were losing 70% of your business every year, that's a quick path to nowhere. But if you were to buy a business that's losing 10% and you could identify it, know why it's happening and then make a quick pivot. Well, maybe you can buy something with [0:16:55.9] ____ a bit of a deal.

0:16:56.0 PK: But with this consolidator, and what a lot of consolidators wanna do, and I'm sure, I don't know the dental space, but I'm sure it'd be very similar. You wanna buy something that's making money. It's an investment. You're going to buy it for X and it's got to pay you back over X amount of time. So therefore it needs to be profitable, and it needs to be able to run without that one dentist, without me. Because I'm going to be gone. They're not buying me. They bought the company. I was getting phased out regardless of which way I looked at it. But what this company was looking for was growth year-over-year, organic growth. So not just increased in rates necessarily, but organic growth. New customers, the distribution channel we had, and then the profitability. And so what was... Again what really worked for me over the years too, and I got some really good advice, but it was a company will consume all cash it has access to, which is very important, very true.

0:17:43.9 PK: You can spend a lot of money. But again, my story being starting this business in my 20s with absolutely zero money, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and a couple of credit cards that are always maxed out, one thing that I found was you can't go in anywhere and loan money. It's actually even harder, because if [0:18:01.6] ____ you'd go... "You don't have much for assets." And I go, "But I've got this beautiful business." And they go, "That doesn't count." So what I ended up having to do was really work on retained earnings, the money that we are making, and as I told you, we had a decent profit margin. All that money got left in the company. So I wasn't out at the end of the year going, "Oh, I can't wait. I'm going to get this new Ferrari and whatever." The money was always left in the business. So fun fact for the listeners over the eight years, not one of those years did I take a dividend. Not one. Took a salary, the salary increased slightly, but it was very, very reasonable and modest.

0:18:36.6 PK: And so all money got left in the company. So when you looked at my financials, we had this retained earnings with this very, we'll call it large sum of money there that's left in the company. So when we went and bought buildings and we did all these crazy things, they could tell I was being responsible, I wasn't bleeding this thing dry. So when we took it for sale, you can lie about a lot of things, but you can't lie about your financials. They're audited. The due diligence we went through was insane. I've bought a few companies in my life and looking back, I'm a little bit embarrassed of how quickly I bought them, because the company that bought me was thorough. But they buy hundreds of insurance brokerages a year, and they do an amazing job at our amazing company. But looking at those financials was really important. And so then they looked at our systems and I wanted to kind of lobby this one, because you're a huge systems person. They're not going to buy our company and go, "Well, Pierce, how are you guys making money?" And you go, "Oh God, if I know. No idea. We're just doing really well." No, it was systems. And you're the systems queen, if you will. So systems are really, really important to them.

0:19:37.1 KD: Yeah. No, that's super helpful to know the things they were looking for, the things that you guys did. I also love that you really kept the earnings in there, because that is a conversation that a lot of people have. And I'm curious Pierce, how did you you not get tempted to spend that money? Because I feel so many business owners like dentists who'd start practices, and I'm not saying this is wrong, I think that this is a very common mindset is, but I work hard and I wanna be compensated for that hard work. So how did you... It's like the analogy where those kids with the marshmallows and if they don't eat the marshmallow right away, they get two. But so many of us delay that gratification, and we don't want delay gratification. What incentivized you to keep money in the business. I have my reasons for doing it, I'm sure mine's very different than yours. But how did you do it? What was your reasoning behind it?

0:20:25.8 PK: Yeah. A lot of it was to feel the growth and you gotta remember, I've asked for money from banks a couple of times and they laughed. And so that was a big motivator to go, "You know what, I get it, I get the risk side for you." So I have to leave money in here for a rainy day. So we have a good chunk of money as collateral, so that was reason number one. And the other one was imposter syndrome in some ways. I didn't need to go and buy these things. And as this company was building, what did the company need more? Did it need better employees? More marketing? A nicer building? Or did Pierce need a Porsche? And that was really the reality of it. They don't wanna be self-serving, so we'd left the money and it did all kinds of funny things.

0:21:06.6 PK: And compound interest, everyone knows how that works, that was really the reality of it. When we wanted to go do something, and there was a couple of times where we had hired a couple of employees that I didn't know our company needed until we needed it that day, and I said, "What if we hired this person that would make us way stronger, better, faster, quicker," whatever it was. And there was a couple of times where that person came in unexpected, and say, "I want a job," and I could look at our account and go, "Yeah, let's do it." But if I had to go out and sell said Porsche, makes it a lot more challenging. Or leverage, said Porsche, it made it challenging. So for me, it was very important to have this money around, to take advantage of the opportunity. Because opportunities don't come when you want them to, they kinda sneak up on you. And so for me, it worked out very well, we were able to make a few well-timed hires, expand our market, and so it was super important. Spoiler alert to everyone out there, and Pierce ended up getting his Porsche, so don't feel bad for him, but it's a longer story. And it was after the fact, so. So yeah, that was it.

0:22:02.7 KD: I did see you drive that, which made me happy that you actually bought it. Because so often we dream of these things and then we go get them and then it's like, Oh. But I like that you said that, because that's a very similar reason why I like to keep a lot of money in the business as well is, I like to say yes to things and I like to have my options available. I don't like to constantly be struggling, because I know that when opportunity presents, it's only there for a short amount of time, most of the time. So being able to say, Yes. But you better be careful that you don't become an addict of saving so much money that you never spend money either. I think there's a well-balanced version you built this beautiful building, you weren't... You did not sound like scrimp on that building. You were very lavish in the building.

0:22:43.1 KD: Okay. So you have a buyer, you sell it, talk to me about how... There's two pieces to this, you sell it, and I feel like there are two sides to this coin. One side of the coin of, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I've got a check for this amount," would be my guess. I've never done this, so I'm assuming. And the second side is, "Oh my gosh, I just lost my identity." Like is that real? Is that what happened? Because I would imagine you built this thing, yes, you've got a passion project, but this is like your main shebang, it's been there. Passion projects seems fun, but now you gotta actually live on that potentially. Walk me through your buyer, they're there, they're writing you a check, maybe even leading up to that, how does this happen? And also, I remember you sold your soul, you were there for what? Two years? I knew you the two years you were working through it. That was part of the phase out process, which is similar to dental offices selling. So walk me through that day, that experience to where you are now.

0:23:36.1 PK: So I've got two stories that I wanna share. One is selling the business and the emotions that go with it, and the other side is the check piece. There are two different stories that I wanna share now.

0:23:45.3 KD: All right. So leading up to the check piece, walk me through this.

0:23:46.7 PK: Yeah. Leading up to the check piece. So yeah, we go through some due diligence and it's crazy, and we've got a plan and we're gonna market this to our staff, and because they want this business to work too. So yeah, you're right, I did have a two-year earn out, which I committed to, which is totally fine. It's challenging and it's all right, but it was part of the deal. But I think the day that... I hope everyone gets to experience it, and not because it's negative or it hurt, because it's a really unique feeling. So we sold this company and I had to break the news to our employees. And so I called the staff meeting, we did staff meetings all the time. I brought them back to this beautiful foyer and said, "Hey, I got something to say." And so I was racing in my mind all day at sweating and I'm going, "How many to do this, do I talk about the water cooler for a bit and all these cool things," or "Do I just get after it." And so I decided, and my personality, "Let's just get on with it." Yeah, a big surprise.

0:24:37.4 PK: So I had everyone to get in and I said, "Hey, I got something I wanna share." I said, the competitor that we all despise, that we've went after, and went to war with [0:24:45.2] ____ in last 8 years has bought us. It was our biggest competitor at the time. And we took pride in competing, because we were always the... In the David and Goliath, we're the David in the story. And then I said, "They bought us." And everyone's reaction was, "You're hilarious, like get on with it here. What are we talking about today?" And I said, "No, honestly," I said, "I know this is a big shock, but effective," basically it was tomorrow, "They are new ownership group of our company, and they'll be doing a presentation."

0:25:13.5 PK: And the tears, the uncertainty, the frustration. There was anger. There was a few people I knew wanna take a swing at me. And so we built our company off of being the smaller nimble company, so a lot of our employees were there, ex-employees or a lot of our employees have grown to really have that competitive nature. So having this company come by you was really, really quite stressful. And so for me, I had people go, "How'd you ever sell to them, they're like the devil?" And I said, "You know what... " And I want your listeners to hear this, but they were and I thought about not selling to this competitor, because they're the devil. But what reality was, that was just my ego. At the end of the day it was my ego. I said, "I want sell it to them because they're a big consolidator, they're gonna do a great job with it." And that's what it came down to. So the hard part was step one the employees, the second hardest part after that was this brand new...

0:26:12.8 KD: How many people quit. I have to ask, how many people quit? Did you have people who quit, or did most of them retain?

0:26:15.9 PK: Two quit.

0:26:16.8 KD: Okay.

0:26:16.8 PK: Two quit. One...

0:26:16.9 KD: Out of how many employees?

0:26:20.0 PK: We were at 25 on that business.

0:26:22.8 KD: Okay. Not bad odds. That's less than 10%, so you're doing good there.

0:26:26.5 PK: Yeah, one quit almost instantaneously. And another took a little bit longer, and said there was a few different reasons. But I know the reason, and that's fine. And everyone's entitled to their own opinion. And I made my decision that was best for me, and they made the decision that was best for them.

0:26:40.6 KD: Well, and I wanted to point that out, because I think we're oftentimes so afraid of what's going to happen. But genuinely speaking, most of the time employees will stay. They're at least gonna stick it out. They've gotta go find another job anyway. You already know this. You already know your team. So I wanted to just highlight that of in 25 employees two quit, and you sold to your competitor.

0:26:58.6 PK: Yes.

0:27:00.2 KD: The person that was the devil. So I just wanted to highlight that. Because I think so often when we're looking at this, especially offices looking to sell, we're so scared, but it's usually unfounded and doesn't really come to reality. Okay. So first is employees. Next is what?

0:27:13.1 PK: So the next piece for me, and this was probably the most emotional time I've ever had in business, but signing the deal, doing all that stuff didn't even phase me. It was this building, this building I built for the longevity of this company. I spent, I think it was $45,000 just on the signage of this building, I was so proud of the sign. And we were on a main road, so it was like a billboard. This whole thing was back [0:27:35.9] ____, it was beautiful. And three weeks after them buying it, they wanted to change the name to their logo. And so it... I showed up to work in my corner office, I still had it, and there was a sign truck outside with a crane, and they're peeling this sign off my building. I'm like, "What is going on?" And at that point, I felt so, low is not the right word, just emotional. They're peeling this piece. It's you, it's your baby, it's everything you've built, and I pull this sign off. And the sign company goes, "Do you want this sign?" And I go, "Well, kind of." But you gotta know the sign is like, I don't know.

0:28:13.7 KD: It's quite huge for [0:28:13.8] ____...

0:28:14.4 PK: It was, yeah, it was vertical. It's like 30 feet high, 10 feet wide. It was massive sign.

0:28:19.8 KD: It's not like we can go put that up there, and you can have by your workout bench. Okay.

0:28:22.6 PK: Right. And so...

0:28:23.3 KD: You had like a monument in your backyard.


0:28:25.1 PK: Well, what would you do with it? What would you do with it? And I asked the sign guy and I literally asked him, "What am I gonna do with it?" And he goes, "Well, if you want, if it's sentimental and it's so big." I'm like, "I don't know if I can." And he... I don't know. He said something, and he doesn't know he changed my life, but he goes, "at the end of the a day," he's like, "This is metal and LED lights, man." He's like, "If you wanted it," he's like, "Go buy a roll of LED lights and put it in your garage." And I was like, "Oh, okay. You're right." And then, so I started going, "Well, I paid 45 grand for this sign." And then I just was like, "You know what? Let it go." So I don't even know what happened to that sign, God knows where it went. But it pulled off this building and it was so emotional. And that point for me it was actually powerful, because it was kind of like this grief moment where you can just be like, "This is legit. It's done."

0:29:08.8 PK: So that was a big moment for me. But, yeah. Another moment I wanna share, which I don't think I've really shared with anyone, and maybe I've told you in conference once, but I think it's fitting. Because we've talked about building this business and selling it, and we can really geek out and get into the details of divestiture process. But what was really cool after all this was really signing the form, all the funds clearing everything happening and then picking up that check the next day. And so, to me, this is a very... This is like a pride piece for me. And so I'll kind of set it up, because again... Don't get me wrong, I wasn't starving my entire life. But life was challenging just like it is for everyone. And so to me, I got to go to the law firm and they said, "Do you want me to just deposit this into your account or do you wanna check?" And I said, "Oh, check for sure. For sure check."

0:30:01.3 KD: For sure.

0:30:02.6 PK: Check for sure.

0:30:03.5 KD: This is like a diary journal. Like absolutely.


0:30:05.8 PK: Right. So I had them print the check out, and I picked it up the next day or whatever it was.

0:30:11.8 KD: Were you a little scared picking that check up? Because I'd be like, "Oh, don't let the wind take this."


0:30:17.3 PK: It was kind of like... You kind of had that winning lottery ticket feeling, but it was... There's a really proud moment to pick up a check that was larger than anything I've seen before. And so that was really cool. So you pick up this check and I'm going to the bank. And I'm going to this bank, it's called the Royal Bank of Canada. It's one of our larger banks. And so you have to know the history, I've been risk tolerant my entire life. So before I get to this story, I just have to give you a quick one, and I promise I'll be quick.

0:30:46.2 PK: But growing up, there was times when I had no money in my account. I'm 16, 17, 18 years old, and literally I don't need no money, like it's zero. And so it was this one time where, and I got reprimanded from the bank, but I had, I think it was $12 in my account, and I wanted to take out 20. So in order to take out... You can't take out $10, you have to take out a minimum of $20 bill. So I'd got like $12. So I [0:31:04.0] ____ up all this change that I could find. I put all this change in an envelope and I chucked that thing through the automatic machine through those rollers. And it just, it did not like that. It was very angry. And so I put all this change in there, and then, so I had $21, so therefore I was able to take out $20, and I could get some gas money and carry on with my day, I was 18 years old.

0:31:30.1 PK: And this was on a Saturday. And so Monday, the bank manager calls, it's a small little town and I knew her, because it's a small town and her name is Tammy. And she goes, "Pierce, what are you doing?" And I said, "What do you mean, whatcha are you doing?" She's like, "You can't put change in the machine." And I go, "Well, it's a deposit." She's like, "You cannot put change in an envelope. Lick the envelope." And she's like, "It wrecks the rollers. It's so hard in the machine." And I said, "Well, then let me take out $10. I needed $10." So anyway, so she gave me so much trouble. And then, so couple weeks go by and I go to the bank again, because I need a little bit more money. So this time I know I can't put change in it.

0:32:05.9 PK: So I put a piece of paper and I put a note and I go, "I owe you $40." And I put that on a piece of paper. I wrote it down, put that in the machine, and guess who calls on Monday and goes, "You can't. That is stealing." And I said, "Well, I said, I owe you." I'm like, "You know I'm gonna make a deposit. I get paid in like five days." And she goes, "That's not how this works. We are now taking away your deposit privileges. You can't deposit money through machine anymore, and we're gonna put a hold on anything that you try to deposit." And so I go, "Okay." So anyway, so I'm setting this scene for this scenario. So I've got a bit of a black market this bank, they're not super thrilled with my business, and my lack there of business, anyways at this time. I was 18 years old, so.

0:32:48.9 PK: Fast forward. So you get this check from the lawyers, and I call my wife at the time, I say, "Hey, we got the check. Come with me to the bank." I said, "This is an amazing experience. I wanna go do this." So I've got this check in my hand and I'm standing in line, and we're waiting for your turn, waiting for your turn, waiting for your turn. And I go, "Oh, I'd love to make a deposit." And they go, "Oh, absolutely, yeah, no problem. Can you put your card in the machine and we'll pull your profile up." So I do that and they go, "Okay, what do you need depositing today?" I'm like, "Oh, I just have this check here. Can you just put that in my checkings account?" She goes, "Yeah, absolutely."

0:33:19.1 PK: She takes it and looks at it and then looks at it again. And so yeah, it's multimillion dollars, whatever. That's not important. The important part is it's more money than I've ever had. And in that moment she goes, "Hey, I'll be right back. I just need to get another manager." And I'm grinning, I'm like, "Yeah, no problem. Absolutely, totally understand." So this manager comes and she goes, "Due to the amount I actually have to get the bank manager come sign off this." And I'm like, "Take your time. No problem. If you could speak just a little louder so everyone in the bank could hear you." That was the feeling. And so they go through this and they do. So the bank manager comes, and so this story ties together perfectly. And he goes, "Hey, I've just got to make some calls to outside the branch. If you would like to take a seat here, we'll be right with you." And I said, "Okay." So 10 minutes goes by and I'm sitting, I'm loving every minute of this.

0:34:09.8 PK: And so I always joke, I always joke. This feeling I had like, this must be what it's like to be a drug addict or something when you get this high, because to me, this is the high I'm chasing. Again, not necessarily for the money, [0:34:19.1] ____ that feeling. And so to wrap the story together, we're just over and come back up to the till and he goes, "Hey, I wanna thank you for doing business with us, Mr. Krol." I'm like, "What was that?" We're so happy to be a part of it, and we'd love to set you up and talk to some people about some things and all and this is whole thing, right? And I'm grinning ear to ear, because I'm the guy that got a phone call and got shit for putting quarters or whatever, nickels through this machine so much earlier.

0:34:50.6 PK: And so we left there going, Mr. Krol, well, isn't that nice, how the tables have turned? Took away my deposit privileges, so just to basically carrying you out on this pedestal or rickshaw or what have you. So it was a really cool experience. I wanted to share that because it was just, like I said, it was this powerful drug. It was something that I hope people get to experience, because you work so hard at building your business, your dental practice, and the amount of work you have to do, and the billable hours, and the challenges in hiring people, and do you buy another office? Do you make this office bigger? And so all of those, for those who listened to our previous episode, those heart attacks if you will, all those stressors in that moment, were just gone.

0:35:32.6 PK: And I've never slept so good in my life like, to this day. It was just... It was such a fulfilling experience to just look at where you were not even 15, 20 years earlier of being just this punk kid who was just trying to cheat the system, to believing in yourself, to getting to where you want to you to be. So again, to the audience, like I'm not special by any means. So we can all attain it. So if you're in a different business, you're in dental, do the hard things, believe in yourself, work hard, and maybe you'll have a very similar experience to myself, where you've got this kind of amazing story that wraps up your entire life in a five minute story.

0:36:10.0 KD: It's amazing, Pierce, and I appreciate you sharing, because I love that we've become friends and that you're willing to share this. Let's peel back the curtain. And that's why I love to podcast. That's why I wanted to talk to you specifically, because not everyone will share those things, and I appreciate that. And what I love, I remember there was a time shortly after you sold the business, I remember leading up to it. I remember the day you were going in and you and I actually chatted, and it was a very emotional day. It was like your heart and soul was being sold. And then to hear the other side of that, of the beauty, and then like two years you had bad days, you had great days, it was a whole wash. But that moment I feel was so pivotal of losing your identity, having things gone from you, things you'd worked for.

0:36:52.2 KD: But then also, I remember a very key phrase you told me, you said, Kiera, I hope people get to experience this because it changed my life and I'm financially free for life. And I just thought about that, and you're like the freedom that it gives you to sell your business to have that. Now you're like, who knows where you are now? I know you put so much money into your new business and all of that. I think that, that's what entrepreneurs do. We get financially secure and then we go spend a ton of money, and then we're back in where we need to be. But I just love that you shared of how you did it, the feelings of it, because I think so many people are afraid. We're afraid of losing that identity. And I look at you now, and you're more prosperous. You have a great thriving business, you're recreating it, you're living it differently, you're doing it differently.

0:37:32.0 KD: And for some that's your story. For others, you wanna live in your practice until you die, and you just wanna leave that legacy. And so there is no right way to do it. I just wanted Pierce to come on and share what it's like to sell a business that you started from scratch. What it's like to give up a legacy. What it's like to build a new legacy, and also that feeling on both sides of the coin. So Pierce, I appreciate you so much. I know you have to run to a meeting. You gave me all of your time today, and I appreciate that. But any last things you wanna wrap up this one of how to sell a business, and that beauty on both sides of it. And he did say, spoiler alert, he sent me a picture of the Porsche, and I think you had that for how long? I think like a month, two months, three months [0:38:09.2] ____. It was a very short time.

0:38:10.4 PK: No, well yeah, five months. Yeah, five months for the listeners that are into it. I had a dream of buying a Porsche. I bought a Porsche GT3 RS. It was, and it's in Lava Orange, called it Obnoxious Orange.

0:38:21.9 KD: Because his business is orange. And he thought about it for the business, and he was like, there's no way I'm driving this to work Kiera.

0:38:26.3 PK: Yeah it was so hard, but I mean, I spent thousands of hours looking at this thing over 10 years on YouTube. And then I bought this car, it showed up. They had it delivered, it was amazing. I went for a drive and I came back and I go, huh, that's what I've been obsessed over the last 10 years about. And so yeah, I drove it for a couple of months, didn't wanna put too many kilometers on it and got rid of it. But it was again, it was more about accomplishing that goal, which you'll hear me talk about a lot and just going, "Ah, that was awesome." So I'm so happy I got to experience it. But yeah, that wouldn't have happened without working hard and selling a business. And again, on that business piece, that's where I wanna end with this.

0:39:00.4 PK: You're right. There is really no right or wrong way to do it. If you wanna keep the business and you have a profitable business, and you wanna keep it forever, and you wanna pass it down to family, kids, whoever it may be, there's nothing wrong with that. Take a lot of pride in it. For me, I knew I wanted to get on to bigger and better things, and that meant detaching myself from this logo, and that's what I did. But again, for me, if I did it all over again, I would do it the exact same way. It came with challenges, but came with a lot of opportunity. And so yeah, to the listeners out there, do what's best for you and just believe in yourself.

0:39:32.9 KD: It's amazing. Pierce, I appreciate you so much, and for all of you listening, I hope you just took some nuggets out of here for you. What's your thing? I know we deal with patients. I know it's different than insurance. We care about those patients. And so for us selling a business, we wanna ensure that they'll take care of our patients. But don't let that stop you from the dream that you wanna live. Thank goodness for that Porsche, Pierce. Otherwise, you wouldn't have kept working for 10 years, even though it wasn't that great at the end. Sometimes the dream in the anticipation is better than the actual reward, but it sounds like selling the business was way better than the anticipation, which is incredible. So I appreciate you, and for all of you listening. Thank you all for listening, and I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.


0:40:11.9 KD: And that wraps it up for another episode of the Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening, and we'll talk to you next.



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