The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

How to Sell Your Industrial Business w/ Nick Jackson

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

After I go, what happens to my company? 

Every successful business owner eventually faces that question. In some cases, the succession plan seems obvious. In others, it's not at all clear. 

On this episode of the podcast, I invited Nick Jackson, Principal of the Mendota Group, which acquires small to medium-sized manufacturing, distribution and service businesses.

Nick and I talked about:

  1. The difference between a financial buyer, a strategic buyer, and an active investor
  2. A step-by-step process for finding an advisor when selling your company
  3. What happens after a deal gets closed

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Show, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here.

... can get that team more into the day to day of the business and x and pull themselves out of it, the better it is, because when I show up as a buyer, I want to be confident that that's a stable, profitable, good company, even if I pluck the seller out. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving midsize manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. This show is being brought to you by our sponsor codemas part solutions. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and a cofounder of the Industrial Marketing Agency Gurilla seventy six. Somewhere along the way, any successful business owner will have a moment or the question pops into their head. What's for? What's next for the company? After me many of the BB manufacturers at my firm consulted over the years or second or third generation family owned businesses, and in those cases sometimes the succession plan is pretty clear. Other Times that path isn't as obvious. But regardless, transitioning ownership and leadership of a company isn't something that happens overnight and there are so many different ways to do it. Today. My guest is an expert on this exact topic. So let me introduce Nick Jackson, principle of the MENDOTA group. The MENDOTA group, based in Madison Wisconsin, acquires small to medium sized manufacturing, distribution and service businesses that are even either privately owned or subsidiaries or divisions of publicly owned companies. Their objective is to make acquisitions and enable management to significantly enhance value through increased operating efficiency, internal growth and acquisition. Nick personally has a wide array of business experience that includes operations, finance and sales within the banking and telecommunications industries. Prior to joining the MENDOTA group, Nick was part of an executive leadership team that launched a competitive telecommunications company with networks throughout the Midwest. He brings his broad operations experience leading this fast paced, growth focused organization to help make the companies in the Mendota group portfolio successful. Nick, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks, thanks for having me. You got my pleasure. Well, Nick, before we start digging through all the knowledge and experience you've got stored up there in your brain, is a private equity guy that's been working specifically in the industrial sector for years. Can you do us kind of a brief rundown of just how you got to where you are today and what Mendota groups all about? Yeah, as you said in the INTRO, we're all about buying small manufacturing, entrepreneurial manufacturing companies where owner of the company is looking to transition into a next phase of their life and our objective is to get in there as active investors and work with the management team to kind of take that company to it's next level, whether that's get growing through acquisition or growing organically. And most of the companies we're looking at our companies that have been owned by the entrepreneur for quite some time. The entrepreneur may have founded the company and they're really, you know, successful, profitable companies, but the entrepreneur kind of achieved the level of a size that they were satisfied with and so that entrepreneur may of slow down their growth. They kind of went into a little bit of Ale we called a lifestyle business, and we really...

...like those opportunities because we believe that we can then take that great work that the entrepreneur did and kind of jump off from that point to add more thought and strategy around growth. And the reason I got into the business is, as you mentioned in the Intro, I've been into other high growth businesses and it's startups some other guys that has partners with and I just always really liked the challenges that come with trying to build a growth company, not just the sales and marketing challenges, but how do you build up processes to scale and grow? How do you find people to that fit the DNA of a growth company? How do you find tune strategy and keep people focused? So when I met my partner he was just starting off trying to hurt his purchase, he was just starting off looking at buying these small companies and I had a background and helping to build strategies and put in place processes for growth and the two of US got together and said, Hey, we think we can really use each of our skill sets and experiences to find these entrepreneurial companies and take them to that next level. That's great. You and I were talking recently as we were kind of thinking about doing an episode together here. You were talking about different options for manufacturing ownership as they look at transitioning their business and in particular, you touched on the difference between a financial buyer, a strategic buyer and an active investor, which was kind of you know, as it was interesting for me to hear about that. I think our audience would benefit from you kind of unpacking the difference between these different types of potential buyers or investors. Yeah, Yep, so anytime now. You know, again, we're not talking about the the sale of like a big public company that we'd see in the newspaper. We're talking about sale of companies that, let's say, are under a hundred million of revenue or under even fifty million a revenue, which is the world we live in. So when that person or couple partners, when they're thinking about selling, you know there are some natural options and they're the buckets you were just referring to. So one the way I like to explain it is the first bucket would be what we in our industry call a strategic buyers. So this is somebody who, it's likely a company that exists in the industry already on probably knows of, or could easily know of the company that's selling. You know, they may either be competitors or they may do business with each other or they kind of cross paths and channels or cross customers. And so this strategic buyer is a company that's in the industry, they're looking to grow through acquisition. They have criterion around customers and products and talent that they're trying to achieve through acquisition and they would look to buy the company and, you know, either roll it up under the company, under the parent company, or run it separately. It kind of depends on the situation. But but again, it's more of somebody who's buying the company because they see a strategic advantage to staying in their end is through acquisition. So that's one bucket. The second bucket is what we generally refer to as a financial buyer. So this would be people like us or others like a private equity fund or funless sponsors or active investors like Curtis and I, and these are people who are doing an acquisition strictly as an investment. So we don't have a particular interest in the industry. We don't have we don't own a company that you know, is in that space that the seller is in. But we're we're looking for opportunities where we can deploy our capital, just like you know, any other investment, and we see a great opportunity...

...to put that capital in, grow that business, improve the value of it and someday eventually exited through a sale or otherwise, to make a good return our investment. So it's it's more of a financial growth investment strategy and we're trying to get into that industry industry on our own and interestingly off I should just say that guys like us, private equity groups or or active investors like Curtis and I, we can kind of actually play in both of those categories. So, for instance, we have done seventeen transactions in the twenty years we've been in business and we're just about to do two more transactions, so we're about one a year. Well, there are tough many of those transactions. They've been that financial category. Where we're buying a company from scratch. It's a new industry to us, we're putting in new capital and we're starting from scratch. But there are other times where we've acted like a strategic meaning we already owned a company in a space and then we found an acquisition that we thought was a great add on to our company and so, through our invent our existing investments in a company, we went did an acquisition as a strategic buyers. So he kind of playing both buckets. But that's how people generally think. Great what talk about a little bit about the process for, you know, ownership at a manufacturing company as they consider and then begin working with an outside investor, buy or? What does it look like to you know, seek someone out and then actually start the process of maybe vetting an investor and beginning to work with them? Yeah, you know, it's not a short process. If if it's going to be done well and it's going to be thorough and it's going to, you know, produce on and result that's beneficial to both the seller and the buyer and the employees and all that, it takes time. So, you know, my advice to anybody thinking about selling is be prepared to kind of think through this process in a fairly you know, could be a year or more to prepare for it. You know, Mok, there there's a lot of different ways it can go, but but the way we're used to, in a lot of people in our space are used to, is the seller, you know, comes to their personal decision of Hey, it's time for me to move on for whatever that reason is, that there's a period of reasons people could say it's time to go. But once I get to that point and they've worked with their family and their advisors and they say, Hey, it's really time for me to consider an option, the the best way for them to proceed is to usually seek out an advisor that is going to help them get through this process. It is this is a very it's a complicated process, it's an emotional process because somebody selling their business, which is very, very, you know, important. There's people and employees involved, there's confidential involved, confidentiality involved. So in the end, you know, I always encourage sellers to really seek out somebody who is an active advisor and does these types of transactions on a regular basis because they can be very, very helpful in guiding that seller through the process. So that step one is fine. An advisor, and those advisors we can talk about that separately, but you know those people are called. Sometimes they referred to his investment bankers, sometimes they referred to this business brothers. But you know, they're not that hard to find. Little bit of Google searching, little bit of working through your network. You know, certainly any your listeners, I could help them with, you know, ideas. But there are there are people out there who are do a great job of working for the seller to assess not only the the value of the business, but also to market the business to the right kinds of buyers, which is kind of find an advisor. The next step is really for that advisor...

...to work closely with the company and sometimes this can take years, but but it can also go quickly. But usually once they've they've established a relationship with an advisor who understand, you know, is a good fit for them, then that advisor is going to spend time, having done, you know, lots of these transactions. They're going to spend time with the seller getting to know the business. What are your customers? Where's your revenue come from? What are the challenges in your industry, what kind of financial performance you have, and it's that advisor, because they've done a lot of transactions. They can put themselves in the in the shoes of us as a buyer, and then they can give advice to the seller to say look, you know, your company's Really Nice Company, but you know, anybody that's going to buy it is probably going to ask these questions and so let's fix some of that stuff and address it make sure we got good answers for that so that when we go to the market you're going to get the best value, because there isn't, you know, things that a sell are buy your finds in the course of trying to buy it. So theyn't work with them. They'll do some analysis of financials, they'll get to know the business and they'll kind of clean up, let's say, anything that you know could be improved. It's like fixing up the things in your house before you put it on the market, just to tighten things up. Yeah, good, analogy makes sense. Yeah. So then once advisors done that and they're ready to go to market per se, that's when now that advisor will actually put together a very professional document. It's usually a book or PDF that gets emailed out. It's got all kinds of information about the company. It's essentially a marketing piece to talk about the company, the industry, the employees, the financials, all the stuff that guys like us care about. And then that advisor also has a Rolodex or network of guys like us. And so now that advisor is going into marketing mode and they're saying, okay, I've got this business to sell. I got this great seller WHO's ready to sell. I know all this information about the company, which I put into this document, and now I'm going to go find the types of buyers that are good fit for this seller. Who will who will take care of the business long term? Who will take care of the employees? Who Whatever? And they would they through their process of emails and networks and phone calls, they find guys like us. So we get called, you know, multiple times a week. Hey, I got this business. What do you think they'll send us in for nation it's still kind of confidential private. We don't know the name of the business. If it's something we're interested in, we sign an nondisclosure agreement. They get us more information. Now we're starting to show up in the process and the advisor is working with us and trying to vet who is a legitimate interested party. Then once they've kind of narrowed that down to, I don't know, five to ten parties who are genuinely interested in getting to know the business, that's when the advisor will say, okay, for these people, we know who's interested. They've given us kind of an indication what they think about you might be. Let's get them in here to meet the seller, the team see the facility. So at that point a shortlist of potential buyers are coming in. They're looking at the company, they're looking at the facility, they're learning and then at that after that process it gets narrowed down to okay, who wants to put an offer in to actually, you know, potentially by the company? That's called a letter of intent. So now if we've made it to the point of that process where we want to submit a letter of intent to actually buy the company, we submit it. The advisor reviews that with the seller. It's essentially just like looking at offers on your house. He picks the one based on not only the value but how he met us. He likes us, he doesn't like US whatever. He's making, picking a match, and then the seller will sign that letter of a tent...

...to say yes, I'd like to get married to you or sell to you, and at that point there's usually about a ninety day process of, you know, going through diligence, negotiating agreements, all kinds of paperwork and stuff, but essentially the buyern the sellers say we are going to work together, we're going to go through ninety days of selling the company and then, you know, there's a day of clothes and we exchange checks and we're off and running. Great, really great breakdown there. I mean very clear, step by stuff process. You should write an article about it. Well, the reason I say that, and this was my word to the wise, my advice to all of your listeners who are potential sellers a good advisor. They aren't necessarily cheap. They get paid based on the value of the business and that's a negotiated rate. That's a separate topic, but they have a cost and we've seen a lot of investor or a lot of entrepreneurs who they look at that percentage and that rate and they're like man, that seems like a lot of money. I don't understand that. Seems expensive. I could sell this by myself. I know people and I'm just here to tell you, having done this many times, there is a ton of value in having somebody who's a professional advisor in the middle, who is there for the purpose of representing the seller and while the Price Tag may look expensive at the beginning, that when the process is over it'll be much more professionally done, it'll be much less headache to the seller and I will guarantee him that they'll look back and say, I'm glad I had that guy in the middle. So I just encourage everybody to you know, I think most entrepreneurs think, oh, if I want to sell my company, I'll reach out to some people I know that could be buyers and get a sense for the value and that's that may seem like the right way to do it, but it will it will not lead to good information and it's much better to go through a process of betting or interview and good advisors and then let them go through that process. And so you know, I always offer two people. Hey, I got we've got advisors that we respect, we love doing business with, we think they're really stand up people that treat these transactions very well, and I would encourage a seller to spend more time in interviewing those people versus trying to find fires. Yeah, I think that's great advice. It's you know, it's something that's applicable in so many different levels of running a business, right from your accounting to your marketing to finance, like there are things. Yeah, you can do it yourself, you can figure it out, but the more you lean on an expert, to bring in true experts to handle it, you look back and say, okay, yeah, that that was the right choice ice, and that's these what more important decision than when you're transitioning your business, to lean on an expert, right, yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, and and you know, just I think it's a great point. No matter what the expertise is, financial marketing, sales, selling a business. You know, there's a lot of people that can do the job, but there's still people and they got to fit with you. They got to fit with you as a seller, they got a fit with your style as a company, and so, you know, it's important to that that take time to find somebody who you think you could trust and who matches your your style as a self we're going to take a thirty second breather here for a word from our sponsor, cadinis part solutions. Let's talk real quick about getting specified. Are you a component manufacturer? Maybe you sell architectural products to parks or large facilities. Engineers and architects need models of your products to test fit in their designs. That's where cadinis comes in. They help you create a dynamic, shareable cad catalog you put on your website. Designers can preview the product from any angle and download it in the format they prefer. They...

...get the data they need for their design and you get a fresh lead to add your marketing pipeline. To get one of your products turned into an online d model for free, use the code executive at part Solutionscom slash executive. Well, you talked about sort of what happens leading up to a sale. How about after a deal has closed? What's you know in the case of an active investor, professional buyer like like Mendota Group, where you actually are going to play a role in after the sale? What does that look like? What does the interaction, engagement between Your Organization and your acquisition actually look like? Yeah, so you know, as I said earlier, we're a find. We're in that bucket of financial buyer. Typically okay, but but even in that bucket of financial buyer we look different, or we believe we're different, because we're fairly active, very active investors, and Curtis and I we really enjoy not just doing the transaction and make any investment, but we actually take our role as an investor very seriously. We really like to get them of the team, get them of the business and then hopefully get to a point where we can be even helpful with some ideas and thoughts on where we're taking the business. So on the day we close meeting, close the transaction funded, they're literally we are going to stand up in front of all the employees with the seller and make an announcement to the employees saying Hey, I've sold the business, here's the new guys, the Mendota Group, MC chats and Curtis Burgess and, you know, just kind of make an introduction and then we're literally going to walk around that day with the seller there and we're just going to spend time get and know people, just shaking hand, saying hi and just letting people know that this isn't the Boogieman, because for a lot of employees who aren't, you know, sophisticated in business or whatever and they're just working on the shop floor, they hear the seller is you know, most times they know the seller is likely getting ready to sell because the seller is getting to that age. They mean ampy showing up every day at the office. They may be getting property down in Phoenix or Florida. You know what I'm saying? They people are smart. They can see, hey, the owner of the company's getting ready for retirement and unless that owners being real obvious to hey, my son or daughter's taking it over or my other partner, unless that's real transparent, those employees are going to start in the back of their mind going man, when they going to sell? How's that going to go? Will I have a job? It's nerveracking for people who are just employees. So what we try to do on that first day is, after we announce the sale, we try to make it very clear to people, because it's factual and it's that nothing's really changed. We're we are the new owners, but we bought the company because we value the company and because we want it to continue for a long long time, and so we're not the Boogeyman, we're not just the new guy buyers. We're real people from the Midwest, you know, and and we're going to be involved the business and they'll see us around and we have names and families and and it's just keep it real. We're just kind of moving forward. So that's kind of the first real big step and then, you know, really the first six months of our ownership we do we try to do as little as possible changing things. What we're trying to do is is, you know, Curtis and I, we kind of split up our company, so one of us will be the point person and will try to be on site at the company couple days a week for like six months, getting to know people, spending time with the management team, trying to learn more about the customers, trying to more learn more about the product, you know, getting to know...

...who are the key leaders in the organization, just trying to get smarter about the company so that beyond that six months when the company started to deal with things, then, you know, hopefully we've got a little more insight about the company in the products and the customers that we can offer insights that are helpful to that management team. So that's there's that learning phase and then after the learning phase, then we really start to come up with okay, what's going to be our strategy for growth. So usually that means the old the prior owner is now moving into their next days of life, retirement whatever, and we're likely going to bring in a CEO, somebody who's at a different stage of their career, who's probably going to be growth oriented, who's got experience in other companies growing them, and we'll bring that person in and they're going to be the new CEO. They're going to run the thing day to day and then they're going to start to build the strategy for the future of what we're we're going to grow and just all the things that normal business people do. And then will at that point kind of move to the background and while we won't be there maybe a couple days a week every week, we'll start to be there once a month. We spend time talking to the CEE on a regular basis, but we'll be with the management teams once a month and we talk about financials and key objectives. And now we get into more of a rhythm of like a monthly management review and you know, that's kind of how we do it until we decide that it's time for us to move on. It's good. And what's that life cycle usually like, where you, you know, are inside the company helping grow them before you yourself decide it's time to exit? Yeah, it's a good question. You know, we always kind of tell people, based on companies we've sold, we tend to own things for seven to ten years at least. You know, we don't have a set day we need to be out of it. We view every investment we make like any other investment you would make. If if we're in the business and we feel like it's got room to grow in the team is really awesome and they've got a great girl strategy and we think that where the things sit today, it can double again because they can grow it, we're going to stay in it because why, why would I take my investment out of that and try to find something else? If we feel like we've grown it and we've done as much as we can and we can't do much more and it's time for the next buyer to come in and help, and that's when will typically look to stuff. But you know, I would say, you know, growing a company, coming up with the strategy, getting all the right people line. That stuff doesn't happen overnight. So, you know, seven to ten years as a typical sure. So let's pretend I'm a I'm, you know, the owner of a manufacturing company and might be listening right now and I'm starting to look down the road, three or five years or maybe even a little further down the road when, you know, thinking about what what it might be time for me to transition out? What? What's kind of information should I be gathering now or starting to think about? Just, you know, kind of looking out onto the horizon a bit and other, you know, specific resources you'd point people to to just just like an educate themselves and be prepared for when that day comes. Yeah, good question. Again, I would go back to my common about advisor. I know a lot of sellers who have by the time we bought the company, they had known the advisor they used for like five years. So if a set, I would suggest to a seller that if he's thinking about potentially selling the company, even if it's three to five years from now, I'd even go through the process of meeting some advisors now and getting some of those names, because there's a really there's a great chance that if he kind of focused on an advisor to potentially sell the company somewhere down the road. What that advisor all want to do is, for free, spend time getting to...

...know the business and just getting to know that seller over the course of a couple three years. And it, you know, might be just have coffee or have dinner or whatever, but they cultivate a relationship in an understanding of the business and over time they can give guidance to that seller about hey think of this, gather that, be prepared, you know, three four years down the road. So many of these advisors will say, look, I'd love to get to know you and get to know your business for three four years before you even sign a contract that says you're going to pay me. So I definitely push people that way things that they should get to be thinking about. I mean there's a lot, but the quickies, I would say that they definitely should spend some time making sure that their financial records are in order. Get a professional accounting for men there. You know, if they don't want to pay for an audit, they should at least be prepared paying for professionally compiled financial statements. When guys like US show up, we want to know that we're not just looking at a tax return, that we're actually looking at a fit set of financial statements that were prepared and reviewed by a professional accounting firm. You know, it would be ideal if somebody could if they're going to sell their business, that they've got three years of professionally prepared financials. That's that's something to be thinking about. I think that they need to look at their management team and they need to really make sure that they've got a great of Management Team in place and they need to use somebody outside to give them objective opinions about what is a good management team because again, up the value of a business is going to drop if if the seller has to admit that when they leave a bunch of information leaves the business, like customer relationships or technical information. So that seller needs to know, or they need to be able to convince a buyer, that the people that are in place are generally capable and professional at continuing to run the business and that not too many either. You know, customer relationships or operational issues are relying on the seller being there, because if that's a case, then the seller can't get away from the business. So making sure that team is really top notch and they're they're locked into or they're they're brought into the group of what's going on with the business and where they're headed with the strategy and how to handle customers. That's an important part to you know, taking care of things like key equipment purchases. You know you don't want to sell business when you got equipment that's not good. That's basic stuff. Most entrepreneurs know the value of good equipment. And then, you know, the last thing is everybody who buys a company they want to know that there's an opportunity for growth. And so there's two issues there. One is don't be a business that has just one or two customers that are sixty, seventy eighty percent of your business. If you have a lot of customer concentration, that's going to raise concerns for fires because we're going to say, well, what if you leave a seller and that customer goes well, I like to work in with Joe, now I'm out of here, and that creates a risk for us. So they should do as much as they can to build as broad of a customer base to show diversity for the future, and that's a healthy business practice anyway. But it's definitely healthy to convince a buyer that there's not risk. And then, you know, the other thing is to really make sure that they've got their head around the market they're in and the types of customer potential that's out there. It's not that they have to be actively selling in the those markets, but they got to be able to explain to us why do you do...

...business, why do people you know buy from you, what's important about you and how do we, you know, double that into the future? So kind of getting their head around that value proposition, as you and I've talked about, is, you know, they got to at least take a shot at trying to align them. That's all great stuff, I mean and and everything you just touched on these so to you know, quick fire, here's this stuff to get in order. I mean, this is the stuff you just want to be doing anyway. Right like this is I don't remember who said it, but I receive some bit of advice along the way. You know, run Your Business at all times like you're looking to sell your business. And you know, if you just think this way, having the right people in place, having your positioning straight, who do we help and how? What value do we create? What's that value proposition? Like you said, having your your financials in order and having good advisors to help you with that stuff. All of that stuff is just it's key to running a business anyway. And hopefully, you know people listener. I think, yeah, we've got has got our stuff in order, but if we don't, well, it's probably regardless of where we are in our life cycle, it's time to start doing that right, you know. Well, yeah, and and I if you don't mind, I'll accentuate that a point. Yeah, please, this this concept of a lifestyle business that I've talked to you about. It's not a critical comment, it's just a factual comment. And and what we mean when we say lifestyle business is we're talking about a business for the owner or owners have have become satisfied with the level that the business got to, meaning that business has grown to a point where it's large enough and it's stable enough and it produces enough income or wealth for that owner that the owner has achieved their financial you know, objectives which, by the way, is an unbelievable accomplishment and you know, all those entrepreneurs should be, you know it should be commended for getting there. But there's a natural point where, if you're in your s and your your you know your company's operating well, you got a couple key customers, things are good, you're making a profit, you're headed into you got a good lifestyle that business. Now it's very often that that owner is very satisfied with the situation and doesn't really, how do I want to say this, doesn't really bring their management team into the decisionmaking of where is this business going to go? Because essentially they're saying, look, I've done great stuff with this business, my family's taken care of, I got great employees, I pay them well, I don't care about growth. I'm good. But what what naturally happens then is if that seller steps back and says, okay, how much of this day to day decisionmaking or whatever is on me, he's going to quickly really he or she's going to quickly realize that almost every key decision for the anti decision whatever is running over his his desk and that his team is very limited in what they know, or that or that they're directing the company and I would say that if they want to sell the business, the sooner they can get that team more into the daytoday of the business and expect and pull themselves out of it, the better it is, because when I show up as a buyer I want to be confident that that's a stable, profitable, good company, even if I pluck the seller out. And so that process of saying can I plug myself out as a seller, I would ask, I would tell the seller, either through an advisor or trusted friend or something, to really have somebody say, are you really you know, able to pluck yourself out? Does this business? Is it a healthy, growing, standalone business by itself?...

And you know I've had many conversations. I said this to you. If you ever have people that are in that position and they want some ideas of you know what that means. I've had lots of conversations with entrepreneurs and you know it's very quick for an outside set of fresh eyes to see where that isn't he's not prepared to pluck himself out and get a couple of those eyeopeners. I think sometimes, you know, it gives an entrepreneur a couple three years kind of, you know, update or prove that situation. I really love that piece of advice and it's something that I've thought about my own company to, you know, if I were to disappear, which I don't have any intention of that happening, but with this business go on without me and my business partner John, you know, the same thing that can the more you can remove yourself from being a necessary part of this company being successful and profitable and self sustaining. You know you need to make it happen. So I really love that nugget. Well, I was going to just add one more piece. There a lot of times entrepreneurs are anxious about being open and honest with their employees or their key leaders, let's say. They're anxious about starting to talk about the sensitive topic of Hey, I might be selling a business. HMM. But again, my advice to them is, if you aren't talking about it, but you're at that stage of your life where it's likely going to happen, there are ready thinking about it. Yeah. So, so don't think that they're not thinking about it, because they are, and they might even be nervous about it. And the sooner you bring a couple key employees in and you, in a very professional but discreet way, say hey, I am thinking about this process. It's going to be a multi year preparation, but I want you, as a trust did leader of the organization, to elevate your role so that you can be a valued asset to the business for when I eventually exit. That not only is going to help create that environment where the seller can pluck himself out, but it's also going to diminish the concerns and worries of those key people because again, in the back of their mind they're thinking, well, Joe is going to sell the business one day. When is that happening? And do I have a job? So it really is valued of a pick a few of those people, bring them into your confidence and work out a transition plan of what role they play in the process. Yeah, that's really smart advice. I like it a lot. Yeah, Nick, great conversation today. This was fantastic. I I learned a lot myself listening to this and I think anybody, any business owners out there, manufacturing leaders, who are you know whether their plans are right here on the horizon or or further down the road. There's there's a lot they can take from what you were able to share here. So really appreciate you you come. Yeah, I'm glad I could help and always, always excited to talk about what we do on a day to day basis. Yeah, we'll tell listeners here where they can connect with you online, what's the best way to get in touch and how they can learn a little more about Mendota group as well. Yea, our website, the Mendota Group docom, you can kind of see what we're up to and what what our portfolio. We have six companies today, so kind of see that I can be reached at Jackson at the Mendota Groupcom, then Doda's felled em and Doota, Jackson at them and Dotor Groupcom and they can see my other contact information out there also on Linkedin under Dick Jackson. So yeah, I'd love to you know, if anybody wants to reach out and talk further, happy to do so, but it I would encourage anybody listening to do exactly that. And Nick's got a lot of great resources, like you talked. Talked about advisors and and his own knowledge. So it never hurts to just start the conversation right that's right. Well, before we wrap it up, I want to say a big thank you once again to our sponsor, codemas part solutions, for helping make this episode a reality, and Nick, thanks to...

...ton for being a guest on the show. Hey, thanks for having me. Joes, really was fun. You beat us. For the rest of you, I hope to catch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for bedb manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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