Sue Bryce and I are guests on John Warrillow’s Built to Sell podcast! I’ve been a fan of John’s for years, and two of his business books Built to Sell, and The Automatic Customer have been at the top of my entrepreneurial recommendation list for years.
It’s an entrepreneurial bucket-list moment to have been a guest on his show.
This episode is a deep dive into everything we learned during a failed due diligence process for a possible acquisition of Sue Bryce Education in 2019, and then the steps we took to rebuild the SBE business using everything we learned in that process.
About one hour into the interview John asks for the specific steps we took to rebuild the business to make it something we could successfully sell. Here are the four key takeaways from that part:
- Assign a CEO: We needed to align our management team so instead of four partners hashing out every idea, we assigned one partner, Aaron, the responsibility of being the CEO and day-to-day operator of the business
- No New Projects: We agree to get good at saying no. We realized we had wandered off into a variety of pet projects which sucked cash and attention out of the core business. Instead, we decided to say no to all new ideas and focus on the core business.
- Professionalize sales and marketing: We made some key hires in the areas of sales and marketing and built a sales process that no longer required Sue’s involvement
- Empower a new voice: We launched a new podcast featuring success stories of photographers in their community. Sue would have been the natural choice to host the show, but we knew that would undermine the ability to sell the company so we invited one of Sue’s most-trusted protege Nikki Closser to be the new voice of SBE.
The changes worked. Two years after turning down a reduced initial offer, the Sue Bryce partners completed a successful acquisition of Sue Bryce Education by Emerald in 2021.