July 14, 2022

The Beverly Hills Business Broker with Jeni Abramson


 Jeni is the owner, president, and principal broker at Transworld Business Advisors of Beverly Hills. Over the last 15 years, Jeni has worked with companies ranging from tech startups to restaurants, retail, transportation, and manufacturing firms on successfully achieving their business goals and maximizing their value. She has extensive knowledge across many aspects of business transactions. Today the Beverly Hills broker shares her story!

Transcript

Josh
 Hey, good day, fellow dealmakers. Welcome to the deal scout on this show, we get to have conversations with deal makers, get to hear their stories, their backgrounds, and get some advice on deals. You, the audience, if you ever hear something that resonates with you or that you want to dig in more, all of our guests contact information will be in the show notes below, so you can connect with them directly. With that on today's show, we're going to have a conversation with Jenny. Who's going to talk to us about buying business entrepreneur through acquisitions, franchising, and sometimes doing a, a career redo, like second step. So Jenny, welcome to the show. 


 Jeni
 Thanks for having me, Josh. Great to be here. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Now you're west coast. Why don't you tell us about where you are and what are you focused on over there? 


 Jeni
 All right. Yeah. I'm in the most famous meltdown in the world. I around the Beverly Hills office or Transworld business advisors, I'm a business broker. I'm also a franchise owner. Recently I met the mayor of Beverly Hills, who is an awesome lady named bluey bossy. I feel like that should be a rap name now. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 Jeni
 Yeah. It's despite sort of the glossy facade. It's an amazing place to do business and a really tight-knit community. So I love it here. 


 Josh
 Very cool. All right. In Beverly Hills, what brought you to that area? Or have you always lived there? 


 Jeni
 No. Actually I lived in New York for a number of years before that I was in San Francisco. I bounced around a little bit. I have a corporate background doing enterprise sales, digital media, and then I did some FinTech along the way, also moonlighted in commercial real estate, moonlit Moonlight it anyway. Yeah, I, my husband and I like to joke that we missed all of game of Thrones because were, working our day jobs and doing commercial real estate development. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Well, there was some good there's good episodes on game of Thrones. Maybe, maybe you could go back and revisit some of those, but so why did you choose Beverly Hills to land as, building a business and buying a franchise there and what inspired you about the area? 


 Jeni
 Yeah, so, I mean, there's something very like aspirational. I think about they're really Hills that resonates with people nationwide. The main thing I want it to communicate are, the main things I wanted to communicate, our premium service professionalism and the, kind of a hint that when we do valuations, we try to get you the most. We have business, I sell businesses, right? This is, this is my job. Kind of an additional benefit I discovered from having an office in Beverly Hills is everyone wants to come for a meeting. 


 Josh
 Super cool. So, all right. You were in corporate America, you were in digital media, you were in FinTech for awhile, New York and then LA and then here, what inspired you to get into business broker and because you were doing commercial real estate, so you had lots of things to choose from what inspired you to get into the world of business brokering? 


 Jeni
 Yeah, so actually that took a fair amount of soul searching. I spent probably about a year after a FinTech exit, after some commercial real estate exits, I was like, okay, what do I do next? I went on the entrepreneurship through acquisition path and I was a self-funded searcher. I was looking to buy a business, had pretty specific parameters. We already knew that were moving to LA kind of for lifestyle reasons. The more I looked for businesses to buy, the more I realized there are very few things for sale in LA. It took me about another few months to fully serve comprehend. The reason there are a few businesses for sale in LA and it's because they're very few business brokers in LA. Just to give you a sense, there are 44,000 real estate agents in LA county. They're only 17 business brokers. 


 Josh
 Wow. 


 Jeni
 This economy is LA county's economy is larger than 43 states. 


 Josh
 Wow. 


 Jeni
 Yeah. Once that's sun can, it was very clear to me what I needed to do. I decided to become a business broker and the path to doing that was I looked at, kind of doing my own practice, starting my own office, but I got to know trans world through the process of looking to buy a business. I was so impressed and it was just such amazing people. I decided to get on board, become a franchise. Luckily the territory wasn't available. Right. I bought out most of the core of LA and decided to plant my flag in Beverly Hills and here I am. 


 Josh
 Super cool. All right. Give us an idea of what kind of businesses are in that area. Especially like in Beverly Hills. I get, if I think Beverly Hills, I typically don't think of businesses for sale. I'm thinking, movie stars and entertainment and such, but kind of show me what I'm missing. 


 Jeni
 Yeah know, there's actually a lot going on in Beverly Hills. There are about 25,000 businesses that are based in Beverly Hills and, you know, kind of the adjoining neighborhoods here and you have everything, you know, of course everyone kind of things up where they'll drive and leave it on and Gucci and you know that, but that's only one street in a fairly large town, right. It's, it's actually someone city within the LA county, which makes it kind of easier to do business. The community is a little more anchored, but there's everything, you have tech companies, you have a lot of medical, a lot of obviously cosmetic medicine, a lot of that, but everything, restaurants, law offices, a lot of, talent agents of course, businesses like that, commercial real estate. I mean, you name it, everything. It's kind of a microcosm of what's going on in the world. 


 Jeni
 It may seem like a really high rent area, but actually it's quite reasonable if you're comparing it to the rest of the way. Like you can find it today. We're still in LA. Right, 


 Josh
 Right. Yeah. If you had to compare that to some places east coast or in Florida, I bet the, it would blow my mind of the. 


 Jeni
 Yeah. 


 Josh
 But 44,000 real estate agents. They probably all drive at the exact same time. Cause I drove in LA and the traffic was very interesting, but 17 business brokers. You saw this massive opportunity that people were, seemed to be missing. You dove in, what did it look like? Coming from corporate America, doing moonlighting and commercial real estate FinTech and all these things to going soul-searching let's launch, what did that launch look like? 


 Jeni
 So the learning curve was very steep. So I have an MBA. I thought it was pretty smart until, until you really, when you buy a franchise, it's like getting a Lego set. Like you have the instructions, you have, the instructions, I like your corporate support of trans has amazing corporate support. It's just like a really tight knit network of both people who are on the corporate side and other franchisees. I had that to give you all the pieces, right? The operations manual, the training, but it's still on you to put the Lego set together, so to speak. I think learning, I had to relearn valuations completely what you learn in business school about, here's the, public company's financial statements, here's your EBITDA, all of that goes out the window when you validate small businesses. Really shifting my mindset more around, what is the value in a small business and what is the benefit to the owner? 


 Jeni
 That was a really big shift that took me a while actually to wrap my head around that valuation wise and also appreciating how much effort and time and dedication it takes for someone to build a business. I think I'm have much more reverence now for successful operations. Then, before, when you're in business school, there are like thousands of public companies. You kind of take it all for granted, but it's actually so hard. I have tremendous respect for entrepreneurs now more than ever before. 


 Josh
 Yeah, no, that's super cool because when we're in school, right, you're studying publicly traded companies and in mature organizations. When you start to look at acquisitions and then maybe diving into business broker and relationship, you start to see businesses that are small and that maybe not have operations or systems processes built in. And, and you're, you're trying to evaluate something and you're having to use imagination and creativity to come up with value. Right? Yeah. 


 Jeni
 I mean, there's a method to the madness. We look at kind of seller's discretionary earnings. Let's say you own, when you own a company, right? Like maybe you're expensing your private jet through the business, right. That is affecting the profitability. How do you separate the the PNL from, and the bottom line there from the actual owners benefit, which can be quite substantial. Like people, a lot of people live out of their small business, it's all totally legal. Right. Like, how do you translate that lifestyle into seller's discretionary earnings statement that you can then present to a buyer and say, no, here's what you actually get when you purchased this business. Yeah. That's been interesting, but the main thing I think is educating people about the existence of our profession. I think one thing, on the one hand, it's amazing that there are very few people doing what I do. 


 Jeni
 The flip side of being in this blue ocean is that there's not a lot of awareness of the profession. Everyone knows when you sell a house and get a real estate agent, not everyone knows that when you sell a small business, you can get a business broker. So yeah. Doing a lot of educational activities now. 


 Josh
 Yeah. You're educating someone, let's just say, I I've had a business for 25 years and it's time for me to, either shut the door or sell it. Right. Like, cause I'm moving my way out of it for whatever reason, what are some of the things that when you're having a conversation with really smart business owners that they might not know about, selling a business, this might be the first business I've ever built. I've never sold the business. Never. Right. What are some of the things that you find that you're educating people on when it comes to selling a business? 


 Jeni
 I think it's back to process, kind of setting expectations. That's, that's the biggest piece. There is no, there's no magic wand. You can just like, decide. I want to sell my business. Tomorrow I have a buyer and sell it right on average, it takes eight and a half months to sell a business. Even though, as an owner, you have that shift in mindset that, okay, I'm ready to exit. I want to retire. I want to pursue other ventures, whatever. Understanding that from the point of making the decision and hiring a business broker to the actual sale, you're looking at like eight months to a year and you have to keep running your business, probably work harder than it would be for mine because he wants to hand it over in the best possible shape. Yeah. Yeah, setting expectations is a big one and valuations. That's also a big one. 


 Jeni
 I think a lot of people have anecdotal knowledge of valuations or they read something in the news about like an amazing, $43 billion since winter, for example, the reality is the smaller, the business, the lower your valuation, multiple and people don't always have had, people generally have not had exposure to this information. A lot of owners are very surprised that the, coms and what we think is a reasonable selling price so that those conversations can be tough. Yeah. 


 Josh
 What are some things that a small business can do, right? Cause if it's going to take eight and a half months, like on average, what are some of the things that I can do as a business owner to start preparing for a higher multiple, and to start preparing for an, a sale off of the business, while working with a group like yours. 


 Jeni
 Yeah. A lot of it is actually mostly operational. There's probably not very much you can do to affect the top line, revenue or the bottom line directly in a year. It's just not enough time. In that as the kind of process of selling your business is underway, hiring managers delegating as much as possible and getting the business kind of out of your head on paper so that you have these processes and books and records that you can easily hand off to the buyer. That's going to help a lot with due diligence, right? Most deals fall through in due diligence. That's true for any deal in any industry, right? Due diligence can kill deals. The better prepared you are with books and records and process documentation, the smoother your due diligence will go and you'll increase the likelihood of closing your deal and good books and records also attract more buyers, better buyers, more competent like everything is just better. 


 Jeni
 I think that's the main thing we recommend once you sell your business, make sure it's actually packaged as a business, as opposed to, I'll just hang out for six months until they learn everything from me, that's not optimal. Yeah. 


 Josh
 Yeah. And that affects the selling price too. Right. If you have your books, records, everything processed documentation, you have, whereas a buyer coming in, isn't just buying a job, but they're buying something that they can, have a team or have processes to follow or something. Right. 


 Jeni
 Exactly. Exactly. When you have books and records and processes, document that you expand your buyer pool too, because then you can sell your business to an owner operator, which is great. This is just someone looking to buy themselves the next, their next job. Right. Or you can sell it to an absentee owner. This can be someone who owns multiple and just wants to put managers in place to run them. So, just like any deal, the more competition you can create for your deal for your business, the more confident you are that you've got the best price. 


 Josh
 Yeah. You mentioned, when leaving corporate America and having some exits in commercial real estate and in the FinTech world, you said you had to do a lot of soul searching. What kind of questions were you asking yourself? What, what did you compare this against as you were looking to either buy businesses or run this? 


 Jeni
 Yeah. I was comparing it against, so I had that like entrepreneurship experience doing commercial real estate. Part of the reason we exited commercial real estate is that we realize that's kind of, not for us. We like putting the deal together. We like the development, the construction phases, there's a lot going on and you're kind of managing subcontractors in the bank and it's really fun. Once the properties were finished and were dealing with property management by that's when you realize, okay, you are not the right person for that. That, that was kind of the first days of realizing that we actually, and I personally, when I say we I'm talking about the young, my husband and our business partner, but for me personally, I realized I love doing deals. I love kind of navigating these uncertainties, putting the pieces together. I am not necessarily the right person to do things like, ongoing property management or, that kind of day-to-day thing. 


 Jeni
 Realizing that definitely narrowed my options, which was a good thing. Because at some point, you kind of, you've had the great run in your career. You have, you've built a foundation, you can do pretty much anything, including nothing. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Right. That's an option. 


 Jeni
 It's an option. Yeah, my kids were getting bigger and I realized, I just love the hustle. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 Jeni
 From there, I decided first, when I was looking for an acquisition to look for a services business mind, because that is this like constant sales process, constantly helping people, relationship management, networking. Then, the more I looked and of course I didn't actually find a business to buy, but I realized that trans world and being a business broker is all those things, ? Yeah. At as high as. 


 Josh
 All right. One of the things that you explored is do I start this on my own, create my own boutique, business brokering, you went out to go buy a bunch of businesses and you're like, oh, actually I might become a business broker. Right. Start a boutique versus buy a franchise. What was, what were some of the things that you were weighing out as you were exploring that? 


 Jeni
 Even though it's kind of an obscure industry, when you approach it from the outside right now, not many people are aware of business brokerage or who the players are in the space. I realized that once you, I serious about buying or selling a business, you educate yourself. Right. So I educated myself as a buyer. Very early on, it was clear that Transworld is a major player in the space coming from a seller's perspective and having sold, commercial real estate. I also, like, I did not know much about commercial real estate brokerage, but what I was trying to sell, I did my homework. Right. I chose, the brokers that were right for our properties. That's definitely swayed me go where it's looking at Transworld as a franchise opportunity, as opposed to try and launch my own farm and having that much longer on ramp to build credibility. 


 Jeni
 And, I traveled is just so good about, the digital marketing footprint. We have a podcast, we write books. There was a huge community of people. That was one thing that just the foundation that was already there, that I could build on this reputable brand, the best brand in the space. The other thing is community, entrepreneurship can be very lonely and knowing that I'm part of a network of 250 offices all over the world, we have this like internal forum and community boards, there's just like so much communication flying around every day that it kind of takes this thing out of entrepreneurship takes that like isolation out. So that really fits my personality. I'm, I'm kind of a lone Wolf, but not always, I want. 


 Josh
 To have a package that's fine. Run with. Right. 


 Jeni
 Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, those are the two major factors. Then, I looked at other franchises too. I come from, having had some digital marketing experience, it came down to like, who is the strongest? Who has the strongest online footprint when you sell a business, what's the first thing you do, right. You're going to look online and ask Google, how do I sell my business? Right. And yeah. And, we get amazing leads that way. 


 Josh
 Super cool. You launched a business, you bought the franchise, you joined the community, but it still allows you the opportunity to be the lone Wolf, but have a pack that you could run with. Right. Cause I think that deal like us, where we love deals, we love the hustle. Where we said doing nothing is an option for me doing nothing is not an option. I, I have to be in the game. So, so you you're hung your shingle. All right. I'm a business broker day, one sit in the office. What did that look like? You went through your training, you went through the, the disclosures and there were all the franchising docs and such like that. It's like, now it's time to go to the action. What did that look like? 


 Jeni
 Yeah. Yeah. And also you're, you're very busy, right. Getting onboard and getting trained and then right. It's done and you're like, okay, here we go. So what did that look like? I mean, I just had to stick to the basics. We have a very rigorous training program and I just, honestly, I started going door to businesses, just canvassing, dropping off my card. I joined all the chambers of commerce. Within a couple of weeks I had listing appointments, which was pretty amazing now, will they all have equal quality? No. Right. I got that opportunity to just be out there and say, here I am, I'm Jenny Abramson business broker, I'm here to help. I mean, a lot of it goes back to basics and you kind of have to swallow your pride . I'm, I've had my career, I've had my exits I'm here. I'm going door to like hair salons and, gourmet tea shops dropping off my card saying, have you thought of selling your business or franchising your business? 


 Jeni
 So it was humbling for sure. Just like any new venture, right. There's this moment of like, you just got to do the basics. Later on, I think what I realized was the value and the strength of the local business community. Yeah. And, and just leaning in on that. I started getting some amazing referrals, actually very quickly. Part of the benefit of having so few people in this industry in LA is that I'm always the only business broker in any industry. When I go through, there's only one, there are multiple insurance brokers, there are multiple real estate agents. There's only one business broker. So yeah. Now I'm already at a point where I have more leads than I can handle. Hiring a team is the next big shift that has to wow. 


 Josh
 Congratulations. Way to go. 


 Jeni
 Thank you. Yeah. 


 Josh
 That's. 


 Jeni
 A lot of fun. 


 Josh
 Yeah. All right. We're going, you and I let's just say I come over to LA, I have a few buddies out there and friends and I, I stopped by and I was like, Hey, let's go knock on some doors together. Right. Let's go canvas. Right. That is yeah. First for some people that is some of the that's one of the scariest things in the world is actually the prospecting. What are some of the things that you have learned to help overcome that fear or to make that a successful versus unsuccessful campaign? 


 Jeni
 Yeah. I mean, canvassing, it's important when you're getting started in a career like this, I'm actually doing less of it now because I have deals that I'm working already. Right. I kind of, my pipeline is pretty full and I need to grow the team. I time box again, that's important, say I'm going to do this for two hours today, and then I'm going to have go have a nice cup of coffee and, meditate and get back to the office. It's a, it's a muscle, it's like, you just have to develop the muscle to do it. It it's a tremendous opportunity to learn the, the fabric of small business or whatever your target market is. Right. Like just get out there and just show up, just be there. Most people are very friendly and very chatty. I found. Getting over the kind of fear and anxiety happen pretty quickly because you see like, no one, no, one's there to, yell at you or anything. 


 Jeni
 Like people are friendly, having fun with it. And yeah. Just, I think the second phase was, you get over the fear and anxiety and then you'll kind of tired afterwards regardless. So just make space to chill. 


 Josh
 Towards, 


 Jeni
 And it's the same with cold calling. It's the same with, any kind of sales effort. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Do you, do you consider yourself naturally, more introverted or extroverted, which one typically drives you? 


 Jeni
 I think I come across as very extroverted, but I do need to recharge alone. There's a bit of a mix that have come to accept. Yeah. 


 Josh
 Super cool. If we look at all of your business, in your skill sets, what would you say is your superpower as a business broker? 


 Jeni
 I'm very honest. Like I don't, how should I say someone recently? I was interviewing a potential agent and he said, oh, you've got a great mouse trap here. For me that was like, okay, this is not a person that I can hire because this is not a mouse trap. We're here to help people plan the next chapter in their lives. They will sell their business when they're ready to sell their business. I run a listing appointment or networking event, education event, my goal is never like, I need to get your listing right now. It's about, I would like to have your listing when you're ready to sell your business. 


 Josh
 Right. 


 Jeni
 If it's right now, great. If it's, six months, 18 months fine. Right. I, I think that's a very, that's benefited me in building trust with people because I, I'm just not a high pressure sales person. I'm very much of that relationship builder first. Yeah. Yeah. 


 Josh
 Especially if you're going to spend eight months with someone, if it takes a while to, to go through the process of preparing a business for sale, get in all the documents in order, and then go into the process of due diligence. You're going to spend some time with these people. You might as well start out with trust and in a good relationship. Right. What have you found, in Beverly Hills, do you niche down on specific industries or are you more focused on geographically? Like w what have you found to be a good fit for you? 


 Jeni
 Yeah. So I'm still learning some of that. I think I'm gravitating a little more towards it and digital marketing, executive recruiting, like almost like services companies. And, and that goes hand in hand with what I was looking to buy in the first place. I, I get them, I get the intangibles. I think I find myself gravitating away from restaurants. They're very tough businesses to sell because one concept may be profitable. The next person may either like fail at maintaining the concept. I want to change the concept and then not see the value equipment. Valuations are a whole other, practice area that you need to hire a specialist. So, and that said, there are lots of brokers who actually specialize in selling restaurants and do quite well at it. But I'm finding that services. Businesses are more my jam. 


 Josh
 Yeah. While you were looking at becoming a business broker, oh, I got of echo that might've been me. Can you hear an echo? I. 


 Jeni
 Didn't hear any. 


 Josh
 Okay, cool. That might've been my fault. As you're, as you were looking to become a business broker, you said you did a lot of education. What were some of the resources that you went? If someone's looking to become a business broker and join your team in Beverly Hills, or they're looking to learn about acquisitions in general, like, what are some of the resources that you tapped into to learn? 


 Jeni
 If you're trying to learn about becoming a business broker, the most prolific resource out there is the IBBA. So it's the international business brokers association. They have a lot of educational content that you can do kind of self-based learning online. They also do conferences that are really well attended and just great content. They're great people too. They'll assign you a mentor and, they really make an effort to bring people on. You have to understand the compliance aspects and the legal aspects of being a business broker. We actually a highly regulated industry in most states. There are 16 states that actually require a real estate license to sell businesses because they're asset sales. Right? For very large deals, you may need a securities license, or you may need to partner with someone who has a security license. Understanding the legal environment that you're operating in and understanding your state requirements, and then each state, well, not that each state, I stayed several states have their statewide business brokers associations. 


 Jeni
 In California is the California association of business brokers or cab in Colorado. I think it's called cabby. Those are great places to, build your local community and also get state specific documentation. There are a lot of forms involved in onboarding a business, valuing a business, listing, a business corporate resolutions, LLC, resolutions, NDAs, closing statements offers of them that there. So you need that library of documents. I think that was the biggest piece of like, this is just bespoke to the industry and you really need to understand undocumented checklist that is involved with a deal. So, maybe not my favorite part of the process, but super important, nobody looks good in orange. 


 Josh
 Yeah. No, but that's awesome. I say that too. Yeah. Because like when it comes to being a deal maker, right. Especially someone who loves deals, you have to know the compliance side of it, the legal side of it, because you want to be in a deal, but you got to make sure am I allowed to be in the deal and you have to go through all the process of, becoming a, an agent or getting your license and doing these kinds of things. As you go through this process, what was, what has been the most exciting point for you, right. From, from launching being, starting as a self-funded searcher, I'm looking to buy to where you are now, what is one of the most exciting things that you've experienced? 


 Jeni
 I love having clarity now. I think when you're running a search, when you're doing a search campaign, there's not a lot of clarity. Like you kind of, more about what you don't want than about what you do now. You want the pivot, especially after, joining the franchise and getting trained now, forget about what I don't know. I forget about what I don't want. I actually know what I do want and moving forward. I think that's, that kind of shift happens probably several times in a lifetime. When, forced to pursue a certain career, then maybe you work in a company and they set goals for you. A lot of businesses will actually kind of tell you, okay, if you don't know what you want, here's what you should be doing. When you become an entrepreneur, there's no manager shares. Here's what you should be doing. Planning of having that clarity going forward, that's been the most exciting thing. 


 Jeni
 Then, a close second is just the fact that people are trusting me with their livelihoods, selling someone's small business. This is their life, their identity. There's so much tied into that. Just having that trust with 12 months, getting that exclusive right. To sell it's big every, every time it's like, yeah, it's just an honor. Every time. 


 Josh
 Two biggest assets, someone will, an entrepreneur will have his star, their home and their small business. Right. That most of the time, that is their focus of retirement. I'm going to build this and sell it one day or give it to my kids or whatever. Right. Super cool. While you were going through the stage, you said one of the most like pivotal spots was when you Ben had clarity. Right. Because the ambiguity of I'm going to buy a business, there's a lot to choose from, you said there's 25,000 businesses in Beverly Hills, right? Yeah. That's a lot to kind of look and then narrowing down your focus. You said, okay. It when you found that for you? You said that was a, a great moment. What advice do you have for someone who is on that search? I'm looking to maybe buy a business wow. 


 Josh
 25,000 to choose from. That's a lot. How do you, what's your advice for them? 


 Jeni
 Give it time. I think, there's the cliche of, go with your gut and, there's an inner voice that will tell you something, but it takes a little while to develop the inner voice for that particular pursuit. Right. I think give yourself that diamond space, just to let these ideas marinate, like our brains have these short-term processing abilities. There's the deeper thinking and deeper thinking can take weeks, months, for some, for certain things years, right before you have that shift. The other advice is, at some point check in with your ambition, because it, while it's important, obviously extremely important in entrepreneurship to have drive and ambition, you end up nowhere, but you need to save the world. Well, you being entrepreneurial, right? Like, no, your capacity, like, no, your skills and know what you're good at because it's very easy to get derailed by like grant projects that 99.9% of the time don't go anywhere. 


 Jeni
 Totally. To be honest. Yeah, 


 Josh
 Yeah. To thine own self be true. I think the capacity is a question that entrepreneurs, especially me sometimes underestimate. Right. So, or overestimate, right. Like, oh yeah. I could take that on another project, another deal, another business. And then I found myself under water. I mean, just the other day, I was like flipping out because I was overwhelmed with details. Right. Details and organization is not as a strong suit for my, for me. I love that you share this, like be truthful to yourself and really take a look at this. We mentioned some of the things that you're really good at, and you're, you're gearing more towards service-based businesses and such like, let's just say, you and I are working together on a deal, but it was like the perfect deal in Beverly Hills. Right. I, I fly over there, we're having a cup of coffee and we come across a deal together. 


 Josh
 What's a perfect deal. Look like for you. 


 Jeni
 Okay. A perfect deal. And that's a great question. It would be an established digital marketing agency with employees and processes and all of these like pieces built out so that, and you own, I can take it on. It's probably fairly specialized, so they know what they're good at. I think one of the issues I see with service businesses is often, making the distinction between, is this a business or is this a practice, right? Because of practices, I'm doing all the digital marketing myself for my clients. Right. That's not actually a business that could be very lucrative, but that's practice. The business will have layers of management. They, they have to have managers. The owner has to be more focused on strategy than day-to-day operations and they have to have the right financial model to support a team. Yeah. I would say digital marketing agency, 20, 25 employees where the owner is writing books, or going on podcasts because they have that capacity and someone else is actually running the day-to-day of the business. 


 Jeni
 Yeah. 


 Josh
 Let's just say there's a group out there right now who fits that model. Right. The business owner has kind of worked themselves out of a job and they're focused on, high level relationships, some strategy high-level decision-making, but their business is kind of running and, they're in your area and they want to have a conversation. What's a good place for them to connect with you and maybe do a deal. 


 Jeni
 So, I mean, the best way to connect is, calling our office, emailing me. I'll probably someone like that. I'll probably meet at a networking event. I do quite a bit of education around, preparing your business for sale. Yeah. Call me, email me. That's the best way to start. The first meeting is usually kind of an introduction and overview of the process and the steps involved in selling a business. It's also an opportunity to just kind of get to know each other build some trust, see if it's actually like a fit, do we want to be working together for the next 12 months, very closely on a massive transaction, or a transaction of massive importance, I should say. After that we, phase two of the kind of onboarding process is we conduct the valuation. We provide a broker opinion of value that step requires sharing business financials, and it's kind of awkward for some people, 


 Josh
 Hey, here's somebody. Right. 


 Jeni
 Exactly. Yeah. I, I try to, have a good enough relationship so that when it counts kind of send me three to five years of tax returns. I'm going to ask you a lot of uncomfortable questions, not uncomfortable with like valuation questions about your business. That that's the next phase. And then, yeah. And then we do the valuation. We talk about pricing strategy. We then come up with the marketing narrative and kind of work together to put the business in the best light in the SIM, right. That's the confidential information memorandum. I sit down and I started writing. I'm kind of full all of that through, into the marketing materials and get to work. 


 Josh
 That's super cool. All that information will be in the show notes. So, especially marketing companies who, multiple layers of management, the owners and they're thinking about selling you guys go over to the show notes and click on the link and connect directly with Jenny during this interview. There's probably some questions that I should have asked you that I completely screwed up and did not ask you. What should I have asked you? 


 Jeni
 You should have asked me how I recovered from a five-year career break. 


 Josh
 Whoa. Okay. This is important. We've got a, let's put all that. Let's dive in for this. So five-year career break. What, what was the decision to take a five-year career break and then how'd you get out of that? Cause that was probably a challenge. 


 Jeni
 That was a fairly early on in my career. I was in my late twenties and I have kids and it came to a point where I was in the corporate world. I was working at Thomson Reuters at the time, and I just decided that I want to step out from full-time work and focus on raising my two small children. In those five years I did volunteering, the usual mom stuff, which is great. It actually can be very rewarding, but it really does nothing for your resume. So. 


 Josh
 It really should though. 


 Jeni
 It should. It just, and there's actually, there's some organizations trying to educate employers about, hiring relaunches. There's actually a group called Irie launched that I've been part of now I help others. We launched their careers. Once you make that decision to go back to work, and this is, this is years ago, I've since worked in FinTech and commercial real estate and now in the franchise world. Once I made that decision, okay, my kids are old enough and they're, in kindergarten and whatever, I can go back to work. Finding that path back, took some soul searching again. That was, that happened around the time when a lot of those money laundering and sanctions violations, fines were coming down on banks like BNP, Paribas, that's fine. Like $10 billion. Citibank got fined by 5 billion or something for like money laundering, oversight with Banamex when they acquired them. 


 Jeni
 I was really fascinated by like all financial crime prevention and what is that world like? I had of exposure to having worked at thumps and Reuters, even though I was on the media side. I was like, okay, how do I get into this game? I decided to become a certified anti-money laundering specialist. 


 Josh
 No kidding. That's pretty cool. 


 Jeni
 So that was pretty cool. I got a certification. It took a little while. I know like all good certificates. It takes some work to get it. After that, a lot of things clicked. I started getting offers from both, big banks like Citi Morgan Stanley, like things were really coming along. Also a couple of FinTech and reg tech startups reached out and actually decided that I'm much more interested in being a vendor into the big banks, rather than like doing that, like enhanced due diligence, work myself and being like money laundering or anti money laundering specialist, I should say. 


 Josh
 Yeah, he does not want to be a money laundering specialist and anti. 


 Jeni
 That's. Right. But, well, I'm from Bulgaria. We have a few of those. Yeah. 


 Josh
 That's funny. 


 Jeni
 No, so yeah. Finding the path and taking a risk on the certificate, I was like, I don't know if I'm going to be more employable after I get it, but it turned out I really was. I think my biggest advice to people relaunching is, well, obviously, no, they self know what you're looking for. Tell everybody I talk to people, but also find the growing field. Yeah. You're much more likely to be able to relaunch and get a spot in a field that is expanding and by virtue of growing up, pulling in people with different backgrounds, if you're in a shrinking field, they're only looking for people who have that. Exactly. That thing. Like you're all such, it's not so good. Yeah. 


 Josh
 You mentioned something that, so I I've had a bunch of different jobs being a deal-maker highly entrepreneurial I've. I've had to do some soul searching and find out a lot of things that I didn't want to do. I've worked in government, I've wrestled alligators, and I've had a bunch of different other adventures within this, but one of the things that in a, a position of transit or pivot, you mentioned to talk with people, right. Like share with them what you're working on, such like that. For me, I was embarrassed, especially if after I had a very public failure, I was embarrassed to talk to people. Right. Why talk with people, especially if we're might be struggling or ashamed or fearful, or, what are your, some of your thoughts there? 


 Jeni
 Yeah. No, I mean, that's interesting. I, I definitely started when I initially started talking to people about relaunching my career, I was like trying to explain away my career gap, which on a resume is a form of, it's not a good thing. I wouldn't say it's a form of failure because failure is a different thing. I've had some of those too, but yeah, it was really focused on explaining a way the career gap. I realized that actually no one really cares. 


 Josh
 Right, right. 


 Jeni
 I think we, when we start coming out of our shell, understanding that you can drive the conversation, you can talk about what you want to talk about and take control. Right. Number one, and number two, people probably don't know don't care and, or don't remember, you're your failure. To speak where you are, your shortcoming. Just staying positive in that sense, it's super important. Start with a smaller circle where you have that psychological safety talking about yourself. As you hone in that, elevator pitch, so to speak, like, what do you want to do? You can expand and really talk to the rest of your sphere. 


 Josh
 Yeah. That's super encouraging. So one more question about deals. We've, we find the perfect deal and we work with these groups and what advice do you have for a seller who might be looking at their next stage of life, right? Like, cause you went out and relaunched a, a career after taking a pause. If someone is selling a business, they might be thinking what's the next step in my journey. W what's some advice do you have for them? 


 Jeni
 Yeah. Well, they should become business brokers, 


 Josh
 Join the team, 


 Jeni
 Join theme. Perfect. I mean, I think the advice is assessing your options truthfully, right? A lot of sellers, I work with actually entrepreneurs who have built something and now they want to build the next thing. They're packaging the business for sale and that's great. They, they tend to know what they want to do and where they're headed. I think for business owners whose identity is really tied with the business, probably the transition is the hardest. I think understanding, all the areas of your life, where you've created value and kind of having a moment of self appreciation is really important because it, of course, it's bittersweet to sell your business, but it's also a huge accomplishment that you have from scratch created all this value. Now someone else is willing to dedicate the next chapter of their lives, to continuing your legacy. That's huge. Right. Just, just having more self-love I think is super important. 


 Jeni
 Planning ahead, you have to give it time, if you serious about selling your business and really want to get the best price for it. You probably want to start getting ready to sell two years before you actually list the business. 


 Josh
 Right. Right, right. Yeah. Super cool. Let's do this fellow dealmakers in the audience has always reach out to our guests and say, thank you for sharing your journey and sharing your advice. If, if you are in the area and you want to connect with Jenny, all her contact information will be in the show notes below. You can connect directly with our guests. If yourself would like to come on the show and talk about a deal you're working on, or maybe something that you're looking for head on over to the deal, scout.com, fill out a quick form. Maybe get you on the show next till then we'll talk to you all on the next episode. Bye everybody. 

Jeni Abramson Profile Photo

Jeni Abramson

President

Jeni is the owner, president and principal broker at Transworld Business Advisors of Beverly Hills. With over 15 years of experience in enterprise sales and commercial real estate, Jeni has extensive knowledge across many aspects of business transactions. She has worked with companies ranging from tech startups to restaurants, retail, transportation, and manufacturing firms on successfully achieving their business goals and maximizing their value. Jeni holds an MA in Investor Relations from the University of San Francisco and an MBA from Columbia University.