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264: How to Grow and Sell a 7-Figure Business

Posted by Austin Brawner on August 11, 2020

When I met Greg Williams in the Coalition, he told me he wanted to sell his business and be a millionaire by age 40. A year later, he’s done just that.

Greg started Autoimmune Institute in 2017 with the intention to sell, and in just three years, he went from £50,000 to £2,000,000 in sales. In this episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast, Greg shares the levers he pulled to fast-track business growth, what it actually looks like to sell a 7-figure business, and how to maximize your business’ valuation.

If you’re interested in building a business with the intention to sell, this episode is a must-listen.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • 4:47 What initially inspired Greg to start The Autoimmune Institute
  • 10:06 Setting the business’ early foundation with selling in mind
  • 12:12 How Greg bootstrapped his marketing and pivoted his approach as his audience grew
  • 14:41 The tools and strategies Greg used to grow the company’s revenue from £50K to £2MM in just 3 years
  • 18:54 What kind of growth businesses need to be aiming for if they want to sell
  • 20:30 Greg’s introduction to The Coalition and the turning point for his business
  • 22:43 A strategic hire business owners should make that will help with selling the business
  • 24:13 The essential business practice that made it easy for Greg to onboard his new hire quickly
  • 25:38 Connecting with a broker, getting a valuation and preparing to sell a 7-figure business
  • 28:00 What buyers want to know about your business before they make an offer and which assets are most valuable
  • 32:06 Greg’s approach to email marketing: successful flows and campaign content
  • 33:53 Company valuation: how it’s determined and what owners can do to increase value
  • 36:36 Greg’s advice for business owners interested in selling
  • 39:00 The financial structure of a business sale
  • 40:22 What to expect when transitioning out of the business and things that made the process easier
  • 41:42 How Greg now spends his time and what’s coming next

Links and Resources:

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Transcript

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Austin Brawner: What’s up everybody, welcome back to another episode of The Ecommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner and today I am bringing you an episode with a client - somebody who I’ve seen grow like crazy over the past year. An episode that covers everything from operating an ecommerce business and going through the whole process of selling it. Our guest is Greg Williams and he started The AutoImmune Institute and he had a goal - he was going to start a business, grow it and sell it and that’s what he did in 3 years. And today’s episode goes through all of those steps. He goes in depth through the whole thought process of selling a business so if that’s something you are interested in, this episode is for you. He’s going to share all of the intricacies he learned going through that process, maximizing valuation, all of those things. Very good episode, I’m excited to share it with you today. So without further ado, let’s bring in Greg to the show.

Greg Williams: Thank you for having me. Good to be here.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, man, I'm really excited to have you here. I know we've been chatting in The Coalition for the last year and got to know a little bit about your business and a lot of the success that you've had, and I've been excited to have you on.

You know, basically, it's come about when you sent me a message, kind of towards the end of the year of your membership and you had a lot of success with your business. You ended up selling your business recently. What I want to do is bring you on and talk about just kind of like your journey because I think it's very interesting.

Greg Williams: Yeah, sure, no problem. So I started off really, from an entrepreneurial perspective, mainly little businesses, you know, for many years, but mainly I started off as a nutritionist. I was working with people, mainly people that just wanted to get in shape, you know, people in the gym, lose fat, build muscle and so on and so on. And that was going okay. And you know, nothing amazing, it was going okay.

I met my wife, who was suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, which is an autoimmune condition that is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. And she was suffering quite a lot with her health. She was on a lot of medication, she was in a bad way really fatigued, and now a lot of digestive issues. And she wasn't really getting the help that we felt she needed from the doctor to turn things around. It was all just, you know, more drugs, more drugs, more drugs.

Cutting a long story short, I started to specialize in that area from a natural perspective to try and help her turn things around really. And, and she did she got much, much better she got off the drugs symptom-free, and really turned things around. And so I started to help more and more people who were suffering with similar conditions. So Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis, really.

I was helping you know, that was mainly what we were specializing in, nutrition plans, and we were doing some testing, stool testing and things like that and I would always recommend supplements. There was almost always a need for supplements with people suffering from these kinds of health conditions really just to get them back to where they needed to be health-wise.

But the majority of the supplements on the market weren't great quality, fairly ineffective and might have contained ingredients which I wouldn't have loved given to those clients, especially those suffering with serious health conditions.

Also, I'm in the UK, most of the good ones, supplement companies, were American brands, American based, and if you could get them over here, they were very, very expensive to do so. So that's how I found my way into eCommerce, really.

I felt there was a need for a good quality supplement company that could help people with serious health conditions, and I've got into it that way. So I built a separate company from the nutrition company and grew it from there really.

Austin Brawner: From a personal perspective, what you're talking about with autoimmune conditions and Crohn's also Colitis. My wife has gone down the natural health rabbit hole. After she got diagnosed with Hashimotos, her sister was diagnosed with Crohn's.

And what you're talking about is really a crazy experience because both my wife and her sister had gone down a similar path where they were diagnosed with autoimmune conditions and then a lot of drugs, and really didn't make the change that they were looking for and they've also been on the natural path. So it's really interesting to hear how that worked for you.

Greg Williams: The perspective of the natural route has changed a lot. Really even in the time that I've been doing it for I've seen it change. Like when I first started, it was quite surprising to me how many people were resistant to a natural approach. You know, you'd get a lot of trolling online, trolling might be a strong word for it, but you know, that people were just “This is a load of rubbish.”

Now, you know, just over the last five years, I really think it has changed and people are really seeing that it is helping them know they're getting fed up with the doctors and the medication. That's not to say that is not needed at all. But it's not necessarily the solution. And I really feel that that perspective has changed a lot in recent years, which is great.

Austin Brawner: It's fantastic. I remember my wife saying like, “Is this it? Like they just give me a pill and like, that's it. I'm not feeling any better.” You know, but that's all. Like it was going to someone who you expected to have answers and asking questions and say “No, this is it.” and having to go an alternative route.

Let's take it back to the business. I'm really interested to hear kind of how you started. How did it get started? Did you launch a SKU? How did you actually launch? Did you launch online? How did you initially get started and start driving traffic to the site?

Greg Williams: Yeah, it was one SKU, really. I decided what I felt was the most relative product for the audience that I had at the time. They were suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and so I felt that a turmeric supplement would be worthwhile. Turmeric is thought to be a natural anti-inflammatory, and so I decided that that was the product that I felt was most necessary. So yeah, I developed a separate company for it. The view always was for me to be able to sell it.

My other company was the self indulgently titled, IamGregWilliams.com. I always really appreciated that I would never be able to sell that.

Austin Brawner: Sure.

Greg Williams: I just couldn't separate myself from it, and knowing that I wanted to sell this supplement company, I wanted to keep it separate. So I created the Autoimmune Institute, put the product under that company and launched it that way.

Yeah, really the initial launch was to my existing list within IamGregWilliams.com. So, which I think was, you know, it wasn't a crazy list, it might have been listed at 2000 people at a time, but it was something to launch to. So there were a few sales, you know, in the initial weeks, and we just bought like 1000 units of the product initially and went from there. So that's that's really how we launched it.

Austin Brawner: That's awesome. And by the way, theautoimmuneInstitute.com - great URL. Okay, so you launched it with one SKU, and did you feel like you ended up having traction right away or after that launch you had a couple of sales, but what happened from after that?

Did you have to try to figure out a channel that would drive sales consistently? What was kind of your first foray into getting traction?

Greg Williams: It’s funny. When I think back I think through whatever the last three years in the company, your mindset changes a lot in an ecommerce company depending on what level you're at. Initially, if I think back I bought a thousand units of this product, and they were just like at home. And really all I really cared about was just making sure that I've got rid of the thousand units before the expiry date was up in a couple of years.

That was, that was the main thing that I was thinking about. I'd never really, you know, probably deep, deep, down hope to be able to sell it one day. But the main priority was just getting rid of those units.

And selling some initially it wasn't crazy by any means. It was mainly by email. Initially, I wasn't even on Shopify, and I was running some Facebook ads, just myself didn't really know what I was doing. But a lot of those ads were getting rejected, you know, going to landing pages that Facebook didn't like and so on.

So I was scraping sales from here and there, but there was nothing major at all. You know, maybe done in the first year I think around 50,000 pounds worth of sales. So, that was obviously just fairly average.

The audience very, very gradually started to expand, who I was targeting started to expand. Initially, it was just purely, really, the Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis sufferers. And then I started to expand it out a little bit into other autoimmune conditions; things like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimotos, and so on.

Also the initial view was that it was almost going to be almost like a lead magnet, if you like, in terms of selling people the supplements and then ultimately, maybe try and get them into a nutrition plan, which obviously has much higher margins on.

Austin Brawner: Sure.

Greg Williams: In the end, that didn't really, that's not how things panned out. Maybe I just didn't do a great job of selling nutrition plans once people bought a supplement. Maybe people just wanted a supplement rather than a nutrition plan. So that's not how it panned out, but that was the initial goal was really to make them the bulk of the money with the nutrition plans on the back end.

But over time, we eventually moved to Shopify, someone advised me that I'd be much better off from there. And I don't regret that at all. And then we just slowly chipped away really. You know, got Klaviyo, we started getting some Facebook ads running a bit more successfully. They were the two things that we've probably done most effectively.

Then, also, as we brought in more products, the average order value would gradually increase. You'd see the average order increase with every single product that we introduced. And then that kind of just spirals that makes like your email marketing more effective. It makes Facebook ads much easier to be successful. And it just grows and spirals from that point.

Austin Brawner: In year one, you said you did about 50K? Was your break through in year two? What did year two look like for you?

Greg Williams: So I think 208. No, let me think. 2017 was about 50K. 2018 was around 400,000 -- this is pounds.

Austin Brawner: Yep.

Greg Williams: And then maybe 500,000. Sorry, I should have done these numbers. I think it was around 500,000 pounds. And then, 2019 we were just under 2 million. So it was quite significantly increased. From 2018 to 2019.

Austin Brawner: Yes. 4x.

Greg Williams: It was. A lot of that was driven by Facebook adverts. During 2018, we started getting them working, certainly profitable. Like I said, we were continuing to do Klaviyo email marketing, I think reasonably well. And also introducing new products and increasing that I have a reasonably well as well.

So from there, it made the Facebook ads easier to be successful. And obviously, we were continuing to experiment with creatives and the target at the time. And eventually, I did take on a Facebook agency as well to take that over for me.

And then I remember at the end of 2018 was over, it was just before Christmas, it was a few days before Christmas. The agency said to me that the ads are doing pretty well, I think we can increase the spending. I said, Okay.

And almost essentially, overnight, we tripled the business, just because the algorithm seemed to like what we were doing. I think a lot of companies had stopped their advertising for Christmas, because it was just a couple of days before they were in demand to deliver in time. And we took advantage of that.

Then moving into 2019, it didn't really slow down from that point. We just, we just continued to ride that wave. And that's the nice thing about -- I love ecommerce, so much more than the nutrition stuff that I was doing. But that's the nice thing. Like we were able to triple the business overnight and cope, you know, without really noticing too much like the customer service queries and the Facebook comments and everything like that we've got to deal with.

We were outsourcing the fulfillment to another company, they coped perfectly well. The Facebook agency, they were able to cope perfectly well. We had just about enough stock to cope. So yeah, that tripling overnight, we were able to do and able to continue to move through 2019.

Austin Brawner: That is freaking awesome. Back to what you said about Facebook ads and how they all work together with launching new products, increasing average order value. I feel like that's the overlooked side of growth in an ecommerce business that often people will look at like one lever. Like what happened? Like, they turned on Facebook ads and started to work?

Well, usually it's not. It's like a combination of things that allow things to work better and really, really grow. And it's really interesting to hear how all those things work together and you guys were really able to push the gas pedal down and grow.

So let's take it to 2019 because I know you said at the beginning you had this vision of selling the business. Did you have a timeline when you started? Did you have a number? What were you thinking about when you're like, alright I'm visualizing success of selling the business.

Greg Williams: I probably wasn't visualizing in all honesty. I remember towards the start, I think it was around April 2018. We'd increased in the first few months to 2018. And I think we've done about 50,000 same revenue in April 2018. And I was like, this is going pretty good. That felt like a big number to me at the time.

I actually reached out to the broker, or a broker, that I was aware of at the time that I'd been listening to their podcast, it was quiet light brokerage. And I reached out to them at the time and sort of told them what we were doing, how we were doing, and sort of asked them their thoughts.

The main question that I had at the time was, is there a large demand for a company that's gone from say, whatever, 10,000 in revenue, maybe six months ago to 50,000 now? Does someone get really excited about that, seeing that level of growth? And their response really was “No.”

Obviously, that sort of growth is good, but people are mainly interested in your past 12 months earnings, and then applying the multiple to that. So their view was, you want to get good 12 months of earnings under your belt, and then start talking about selling it. So in fairness to them they weren't trying to make a commission off me at the time. It was more to keep doing what you're doing and come back in 12 months.

So from that, from that moment onwards, it was more just like I just knew that I just wanted to get 12 months under my belt of solid earnings and then see where we came out from that point. So if you'd asked me in 2018, like in April 2018, when I would have liked to have sold. I probably would have said April 2019 is when I would have started looking at it.

As it happened, at the end of 2018, because we increased so much it tripled overnight, that probably almost reset that 12 months for me. And that was like right now, this is the start of the 12 months because if I continue this, then then we're going to get good sales price for

Austin Brawner: Sure. We were introduced I think around June of 2019. You joined The Coalition, came in. At that point, what kind of led you to signing up and joining?

Greg Williams: I obviously listen to the podcast. I like it a lot of what you say. I think it's a sensible approach. I particularly like that your focus is always on earnings as opposed to this vanity revenue metric. And I wanted to be around people who were above me, you know, who understood what we were going through. Who I could just lean on for help, get advice, be around a good peer group who sort of pull you up like, really believe in them.

You're the average of the five people that you spend most time with, and I wasn't spending most time with these people like in The Coalition and so on. But to be around people, much more successful running much higher businesses,I think can only be of benefit. So that was, that was probably the main reason for signing up.

There were certainly things that I took out of -- I remember, like at the time, it was literally just me running the business. I outsourced pretty much everything. I outsourced Google ads to someone. I outsourced Facebook ads to a different agency, and the fulfillment was being done by different companies.

So it really was just me in the business. But it was getting to a stage, at that point, where I was needing some help. I did have a part time admin assistant who was just doing a few hours a day, and not to a great standard, to be honest. And I remember as a joiner, one of our first conversations was about bringing someone into the business as a full time person and hiring that person, how to find them and so on.

I remember really within a few days of being in The Coalition, that I felt like I'd got my money's worth just purely because it was not only that I had to put the job advert, had to find some questions to ask, but where to find them. And there was a website mentioned where I hired this person who turned out to be fantastic, very good value for money compared to some of the people I've been finding in the UK. And so yeah, I felt like good value for the mentorship.

Austin Brawner: I love it! I love to hear that. And so did you end up hiring remotely then?

Greg Williams: Yeah, yeah, it was. She’s Bosnian, but she lives in Madrid. And yeah, she was remote. And she's been great. You know, I think maybe we'll get into this, but when you come to sell a company, I think a buyer is going to be much more comfortable if they know that there's someone staying on in the business that knows the process who understands it, and being able to show the buyer that we had this great person working for us who knew everything, so there was going to be some continuation. I think it's really instrumental, to be honest, to be able to sell it effectively.

Austin Brawner: 100% and I think the description of what you had with you being the person in the middle of all the contractors is like very common. I think that that's a very common way that you can grow and like be the person who's the like kind of the superhero that has all these additional arms of people working with them.

But what you're talking about, taking a step back and getting somebody in who can do that really unlocks the value of the company to be able to get to somebody else who can then continue. I mean, you don't want to, if you sell it, you probably don't want to stick around. Some people do, but you want to have that option.

So let’s talk about -- so you hire this person, and you start to train them. How long did it take for them to get to the point where you were feeling a little bit more comfortable to start thinking about the process of selling your business?

Greg Williams: Pretty quickly. To be fair, I've always been conscious of having like, procedures written down for everything that we do. We literally had step by step procedures on anything and I think she was really impressed by that, really surprised by that. There were videos, there were written procedures, there was everything and so she picked it up very very quickly.

And I wasn't handing over everything. Like it was customer service, there was some conversion rate optimization stuff that she was doing. She understood the ins and outs of the business, the metrics, everything like that. She wasn't doing everything. She wasn’t running the business. The plan was never to take myself out of it completely before selling.

Austin Brawner: Sure.

Greg Williams: So yeah, to be honest, she picked it up very, very quickly. Like there were procedures in place in a past life. I worked at Ford Motor Company in finance. And I just used to hate writing procedures for our jobs so much. It was just so dull, but as soon as you get your own business, like you realize that there's a good reason for doing those.

Austin Brawner: They’re the path, the path to freedom.

Greg Williams: Yeah.

Austin Brawner: Cool, so got her transitioned over and then again, your goal was to sell the business. What is that process for somebody who hasn't gone through that process before? Where do you even start?

Greg Williams: Yeah, so I was always aware of quite like, mainly, somehow, I found the podcast and I'm not sure how but I was always aware of them and they seemed great. I did look around for other brokers.

To be honest, maybe I just looked in the wrong places to be fair, but I was fairly unimpressed from what I could find. There were some pretty poor reviews, especially ones in the UK, you know, people getting charged, even though they didn’t sell their company and things like that, and it was just quite like they were always well on top compared to everyone else I looked at.

So I reached out to them, their main question was, can you send us your earnings for the past 12 months, let's see the financials, the profit and loss, and send that through and we'll go from there. So, that's what I did.

I probably contacted them maybe around September and I think it was like, right, let's get September earnings out of the way. Once you've got that, send them through to us and we can go from there. So they looked at that, looked at our growth. It was past 12 months, and previous 12 months, and like historicals really that they wanted provided.

They put an estimate on the value of the business. Once I was happy with that, and you know, once I was happy to take them on, they sent through a large document, asking a lot of questions about the business, huge document, really, which I think probably is beneficial to everyone to do anyway. Whether you're thinking about selling a company or not because it really gets you thinking about a number of aspects of the business.

So I completed that and sent that back to them. Ultimately, they launched it from there and then waited for the office to come in. So the broker that I was working with, he would really liaise with people, anyone showing any the interest. You know, he could answer the majority of the questions but if he couldn’t answer would come to me. For those that were seriously interested, then we'd start having calls and discussing things a little bit more.

Austin Brawner: You’re talking about those questions that they asked you in the big document. Do you remember some of the questions that you had to answer? The ones that maybe that you found value in?

Greg Williams: Yeah, there were things that I mean, to be fair, I think I've been pretty good with this type of thing. And this is I know, you talk about it with having things like quarterly reviews and really doing a deep dive of your business. So I've done a lot of them, like looking at the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities, the threats, things like that.

I think it’s always worthwhile and certainly doing it quarterly, I think is worthwhile. There were some things like “What assets will be included in the sale?” Really gets you thinking about the assets that you hold and how valuable those individual assets are and what you're going to hand over.

I think a od mindset for someone, some companies, you're not selling your historical earnings. You're selling like the assets, they're their potential to earn in the future. And so things like an email list is an asset that potentially can help drive revenue in the future.

Whereas the performance of your Facebook advertising account in the past, it is an asset because there's potential for it to continue into the future but is not as much of an asset as something like an email list.

To take that step further, if you've got a bit more information on your email list over and above, just what someone's email is, that's added value. So if you know their birthday, and you can send out an email to them on their birthday, and you know that birthday flow is particularly valuable. That is an asset that the buyers is going to get value out of in the future.

We were really starting to build data around what someone's interested in product wise, are they interested in our products for energy, are they interested in products for inflammation, you know, women's health, things like that is added data and added value for the buyer in the future. So I think that was one valuable question.

Another, what's your overall take on the industry that you're in? What kind of trends have you observed over the last few years? And what are the opportunities going forward? That really gets you thinking, especially the opportunities, like a really sort of like, brainstormed on that and came up with a huge list. Probably more than I thought of before, you know, before coming to complete the document.

There were questions about what's so special, so unique about your products. I think that’s just worth understanding, it's worth making sure it is fully clear in your copy when you're trying to sell to someone.

So there were things like that, that I certainly thought were valuable. What do your competitors do better than you? How does your pricing compared to your competitors? And then also, there was one, how much work do you do like in terms of me, and what do I actually do in that time? And that kind of gets you thinking as well. How am I filling this time? Am I adding value in that time? What am I doing? Do I need to be doing it? That kind of thing.

Austin Brawner: Sure, all great questions to ask and also, you know, the more clearly you can answer those, the more value the business has and the more value that value might be able to command in a sale.

I think what you're talking about with owning channels like email, and increasingly like SMS, those are huge, huge, huge value ads for a potential buyer, like you mentioned. I think that's such a good point.

Your historical value of Facebook is not nearly as valuable as if you have the shipping address, birthdays, phone numbers and emails of all your customers and it's in an accessible way that you can reach out.

Talking about email, I know that something that you guys had a lot of success with, how did you build your email marketing system? Was it a consistent thing that you put time into? Did you hire out for it and have a consultant? What did that look like for you?

Greg Williams: It was mainly us putting time into it, but with the help of you really in the information in the program was fantastic to make sure that you've got all the flows covered. How are you developing those flows? The workings of those flows. I was using Klaviyo. I love Klaviyo. I think it's fantastic.

But yeah, it was just building it and becoming fairly -- I like to test everything. I've constantly split testing everything, landing pages, adverts, any email that went out was being split tested all the time. So there was this continual gradual improvement really, as a result of that.

So we had our flows in place. They’re the main flows that you might expect like the welcome series and reorder reminder flow, customer winback, that that kind of thing. I laid it all out on this huge spreadsheet. When someone might receive an email, it helps to highlight, you know, someone's going to go a long time without an email, or someone might need an email sooner, when someone might need a reminder to reorder things like that, I think are important.

And we were sending two campaigns a week as well, sometimes three, sometimes two, but they were always always like educational emails, if you like. There was always some valuable information in it, especially for someone suffering with their health. It was never never just a sales pitch.

So we were getting reasonably good open rates and sales from that. And having a broader range of products helped if we were just selling one or two products that might have made it more difficult to constantly talk about the benefits of a multivitamin, for example, might have been more difficult but we had about that 14 SKUs in the end. So it made it a little bit easier to be able to do that and talk about the benefits of the products.

Austin Brawner: Awesome. And so when you get back down to the actual sale, what's the actual process for coming up with a valuation? What are some things you learned during that time that maybe you didn't expect?

Greg Williams: Yes. This was all new to me at the time. So I was kind of happy to be led by the advice. Really, for the company that we had we were advised that it was past 12 month earnings, and multiple applied to that. And the multiple in hindsight was reasonably low I think for our business. We sold it two and a half times our last 12 months earnings.

And some of that is impacted by the company being not that old, you know it was only three years old and really, you know, grown significantly in that time, but there wasn't a huge amount of solid financials for years to be able to talk about, so that sort of reduced the multiple a little.

And I think that the fact that we were in the UK reduced it a little, because the majority of buyers seem to be in the US, even though our ultimate buyer wasn't from the US. I think the majority are. So it sort of limited the number of people that might be interested in the company.

And I think we were, I don't want to say, heavily reliant on Facebook ads, but that was certainly where, you know, we were spending most of our advertising spend. And I think that that may be reduced the multiple a little as well, because the Facebook ads were a dependency.

Even though we had the email list, ultimately, two and a half, but I think if the company had been older, if it had been in the US, if there were more customers on subscription, I think that would have been helpful to increase the multiple as well. We never had done a great job of getting people on subscription. And this might be something that could have helped them multiple, ultimately.

Austin Brawner: Sure. That's really interesting to kind of hear your breakdown and how it went. Looking back at it, was there anything that you wished you had done earlier in the process, knowing what you know now for another business owner who's in position with like, “Oh, you know, I'd like to sell in the next couple of years.” Anything you wished you'd done earlier?

Greg Williams: Maybe pushing harder to get people onto a subscription might have been beneficial. But there is an offset to that in that we were doing a good job of selling our triple packs and our six packs of our supplements. And if people were only buying one at a time on subscription, then we’d have done this in the triple packs and the six pack. So out at 12 months earnings might have been lower as a result, so I don't feel that strongly about the subscription thing.

One thing to remember, I think I've done a reasonable job with this, but one thing to remember is because it's based on your last 12 months earnings, and then applying a multiple to that. Any costs that you have in those 12 months, or any revenue that you have in that 12 months, is ultimately gonna cost you or make you two and a half times what that actually is.

So if you've got this piece of software that costs you 1000 pounds a year, for example, really, when you come to sell it, it's going to cost you two and a half thousand pounds in reduced sales price. So if you're planning on selling within the next 12 months, then you need to consider all your costs very, very sharply.

Are you happy to be paying two, two and a half, three, three and a half times the price for that at the moment? It probably puts a different perspective on it.

The same applies to revenue. Any sale that you can make in that 12 months and you will hopefully make back two and a half times in sales price in the end.

I would also like to make sure that you've got your financials in order. Like we did a fair amount of work to make sure that everything was solid in Xero, everything was categorized properly in Xero, your accounting system.

And Google Analytics, like doing the due diligence, and the buyer, even before receiving an offer, people want to really get into your analytics, understanding where the traffic's coming from, what your average order value is, all that kind of information. Just being able to like very quickly run that off, show them the analytics.

I think it's really important and again the sooner you can get that in place of running, the better because analytics can't really go back in time.

Austin Brawner: No, it does not. You know, now that you sold the business, what does the actual transaction look like? You know, did you agree to this certain price? They decided they bought it and then they wire you the money? Was it paid out over seller financing? How did that work for you?

Greg Williams: Yeah, we received a few offers in the end from different people, but the one I ultimately accepted was certainly the best offer. It was the full asking price and we were, you know, comfortable with the buyer and everything like that, like in terms of the payment.

I think it was around 60% of the asking price was paid immediately on sales day, plus the cost of the stock. Then 30 days later, there was another 20% paid. And then the remaining 20% is being paid over the following years. That remaining 20% is a note is this 6% interest applied to it, and it's being paid quarterly.

So we've added a few of those quarterly payments already. There's a couple more to go, but that's ultimately like the structure of the deal.

Austin Brawner: Cool.

Greg Williams: Yeah, the first 80% was put into escrow and the solicitors released that from escrow once certain conditions had been met. Now, the remaining like the note part of it is just paid to me directly from the buyer. We’re still in touch, occasionally and he just pays me directly that way.

Austin Brawner: Sure. Is it the first month -- were you still working, kind of training? Or were you out because you had all great procedures? What has the transition looked like for you going from 4x-ing a business - 10x-ing and 4x-ing - a business to “Now I'm out?”

Greg Williams: There was less work that I had to do for them then probably I'd been expecting. They were very competent in Shopify and so on. They'd had access, read only access to the systems for a little while as we're going through the sound, you know, waiting for the solicitors to do their thing. So they had a good understanding of the business already and how it operates.

As part of the agreement, I needed to, I think it was 40 hours over the first three months that I needed to be available to him but I've not done that. Occasionally, they'll message me on Skype, and I'll answer and help it out. But it’s fairly simple.

So there wasn't a huge amount of work in the first few months at all. There was some. We still had to help out with the handing over of some things. The majority was done on the day like the Facebook account, I think the Shopify account, things like that.

Amazon was a little trickier. It was a bit more to and then from with Amazon on that and making sure that it was handed over effectively. But yeah, not a crazy amount of work. But yeah, I think having all the procedures in place, having a good staff member in place to continue with them was important.

Austin Brawner: Sure. What are you doing now? What's your day to day look like?

Greg Williams: It's kind of funny. The initial plan - one of the reasons for selling the business was I've got a three year old daughter. She'll go to school in just over a year now. And it was kind of like this is a once in a lifetime chance to spend more time with her before she goes to school. We can travel around a bit and do what we want to do. You know when we want to do it.

Coronavirus has been a bit of a stop to the traveling. We were going to come over to the US for a month in May. So really since the sale, we've been locked down for a fair portion of it. She's been at home and it's been fairly relentless, but good fun. A lot of that has been spent with my daughter and wife at home. Not in a huge amount business wise.

I've looked at a few things. I’ve certainly been looking into a line of business but nothing has grabbed me yet. Thought about starting a few new ones. Again, Coronavirus kind of stopped some of that because one of them was a supplement company and manufacturers were just unavailable, really. They were snowed under with the demand for the health supplements.

So nothing really got started since then. Probably in the last couple of weeks really I've been working a lot on - I'm quite interested in sports psychology and building a bit of a blog really around that and how stoicism, which I'm also quite into, can apply to sport’s psychology.

So I’m building a bit of something around that at stoicchampion.com for anyone that might be interested. And that is a bit of a curveball from running a supplement company, but I'm kind of just like, following my interest at the moment.

Austin Brawner: Sounds lovely.

Greg Williams: Yeah, yeah, it's good. It’s one of the things I was like, I'm interested in this, I want to get better at my writing as well. So I'm just gonna do some writing around there. And, you know, without any real expectations of it turning into huge business. There's no real downside to me doing it at the moment. So that's what I'm doing. Yeah, that's good.

Austin Brawner: That's awesome. Greg, thank you so much for coming on here and sharing the ins and outs of your journey. It's been super exciting to follow along and, you know, just get updates over the last year. Most of the updates were that you're continuing to blow out sales targets, which is really exciting. And so yeah, man, thank you so much.

For people who are interested in connecting with you… You said Stoic Champion, is that the best place you would direct them to? Is there anything else that you -- are you active on social media at all?

Greg Williams: I don't post a lot on social media personally, but I’m on there, so if anyone wants to reach out to me it’s @stoicgreg that’s on Twitter and Instagram. And Stoic Champion is on Instagram as well. So yeah, those are the best places to find me.

And thank you to you, Austin, as well. The Coalition, all your advice has been a huge help in getting this to that point where we can sell it. Just even taking that one thing from a membership program made the world of difference, ultimately. So thank you to you for everything that could be done as well.

Austin Brawner: Awesome. And thank you so much, Greg, we'll talk to you very soon.

Greg Williams: All right. Thanks. Take care.

Austin Brawner: Hey guys, it's Austin. And if you've been loving the podcast, you gotta go check out brandgrowthexperts.com. That's where I work one on one with my clients to help them build faster growing more profitable online stores. I've got coaching programs and workshops that we host all over the world, would love to have you come check it out. If you're a fast growing ecommerce business or you want to be a fast growing ecommerce business, you gotta check it out. That's the spot for you. We go more in depth than we do in the podcast with comprehensive trainings and coaching to help you scale up. Check it out: brandgrowthexperts.com. See you there.

Austin Brawner: What’s up everybody, welcome back to another episode of The Ecommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner and today I am bringing you an episode with a client - somebody who I’ve seen grow like crazy over the past year. An episode that covers everything from operating an ecommerce business and going thro...

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