Greg Shepard: Should You Be Thinking About Your Exit From the Start?

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Should you be thinking about your companies exit from the start? What does that do for your business? We spoke with the founder of Boss Capital and serious entrepreneur (14 companies sold!) to find out the strategies you need to know!

GREG SHEPARD is the CEO and founder of BOSS Capital Partners. He is a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker and Angel Venture Capital Investor with a legacy of building and running sustainable growth businesses. Driven by a transformational leadership style, Greg has spearheaded multiple company exits in the BioTech, TransitTech, AdTech and MarTech space. Two of his former companies were acquired by eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions in January 2016 as a part of a cross-brand deal totaling largely over $900M. The transaction comprised the purchase and sale of numerous companies, two of which were Greg’s.

He has won: Tech Deal of the Year Over $250 million, Private Equity Deal of the Year Over $500 million to $1 billion and Cross Border Deal of the Year Over $500 million to $1 billion to name a few. Most recently, he has been authoring a book titled: ‘Meet the BOSS – The Agile Playbook for Startups’ slated to publish soon. Alongside the book will be a TEDx talk.

Learn more about Greg and his work at > https://www.gregoryshepard.com

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:03

Welcome to the Change Creator podcast where entrepreneurs come to learn how to live their truth, get rich and make a massive difference in the world. I’m your host, Adam forest co founder, Change Creator and co creator of the captivate method. Each week we talk to experts about leadership, digital marketing and sales strategies that you can implement in your business and life to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. All right, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the show. This is your host enforce. Yeah, I’m excited that you’re here along with a really great conversation. Before we get into that though. If you missed the last episode, Danielle and I jumped on. And we talked about, you know, it was actually a trigger. It was triggered from a coaching call he had in the captivate methods. So if somebody came up like, I have the story, I was thinking about sharing because it’s related to what’s going on with my customers, but I feel a little bit like, you know, ashamed or like I’m uncertain if I should share it. So when is it too much? When is it too much to share something, right? And we kind of get into that conversation because it is really important. There is a major role that storytelling of your own self like your micro stories and everything that plays in your business. So when are you crossing the line and when you’re not and what are the benefits there? So we’ll get into that. I think you’ll get a lot of good insights out of it. So check that out when you get a chance. Today we’re going to be talking with Greg shepherd. He’s a bit of a rock star he he’s the CEO and founder of boss Capital Partners. So yes, he is an investor. Yes, the investor mindset, but he’s also a serial entrepreneur. He’s built like 14 businesses and sold them. So he’s like selling more businesses and some startups are selling products. It’s crazy. Just having a little fun there. And so he’s got a lot to offer. He knows how to build sustainable growth right for a business and he He understands the leadership style, it takes the decision making and perspectives that are required in order to build a business and sell it. Alright, so we’re gonna get into a lot of interesting stuff. He’s got quite a background is one all kinds of, you know, I guess he’s one of these things called the tech deal of the year, which is a 200 and $50 million price point, meaning he made a deal for 250 million or more, he did the private equity deal of the Year for over 500 million to 1 billion and cross border deal with the air for over 500 million to a billion so I mean, he’s just like a business selling monster. So anyway, we’re gonna dive into this with Greg and see what he has to say Don’t forget to stop by our Facebook group, our Facebook page, get involved and Change creator.com forward slash go big. Alright guys, let’s see what Greg has to say. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Greg, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today, man?

Greg Shepard 03:00

Fantastic, thank you.

Adam G. Force 03:01

Yeah, I appreciate you being here. You have such an incredible background. I’m excited to dive in everybody listening, you know, Greg has done so much it’s but I had to have a very serious prep talk in order to figure out where we need to put our attention. So there’s a lot of good stuff that we’re going to get into. And I’m excited that you focus on helping entrepreneurs today. It’s such an pivotal part of addressing some of the biggest problems around the world. So, Greg, if you could just give a little background about like, what’s going on in your world today and how you got there with boss and the direction you’re taking?

Greg Shepard 03:33

Yeah, so I started out with nothing. And I started building companies and I did 12 of my own startups, actually. 13 another one just sold a couple weeks ago. But I did a ton of these different startups. And in that process, what I was trying to figure out is how to get this down. You know, get it down to the point where I could understand everything. So I did a lot of planning ahead of times and a lot of retrospectives. And then I looked at all the things I call operating systems. So that’s like, you know, a lot of people don’t even know about a lot of them. But Six Sigma, everybody knows about agile, lean con Bonn, you know, so on and so forth. And during that period of time, I would test these different operating systems at different stages of the lifecycle of business, the maturity of a business, and in different companies. And I was able to figure out a way to align these things. So they aligned with the five levels of a business, and the five levels of funding and so on. And so there’s always five for some reason, but there’s these different five levels of things. And so what I did is I figured out how to do it, and then I would test things and then I would see what worked, what didn’t work, and I got it down to a science. So basically, instead of it being, you know, this, you know, the fog of war kind of walking in and never knowing what’s going to happen the day you walk into the startup, you know, it’s more of a science and so it’s more proactive than reactive. Yeah. And then I turned it into something where I decided to share with everybody to try to increase the the success rate of entrepreneurs and startups. Why is that important to you? I started with nothing myself. You know, my mom was a nun, my dad was a priest, they left the church and got married, and then, you know, adopted and foster children. And so I was born into this, this world of altruism. And I found it very, very difficult to get off the ground. Because I didn’t know anything. And I was like, Well, you know, these entrepreneurs, they are the future, right? So every time an entrepreneur succeeds, you see that money move from this big giant block. You know, that 1% that everybody talks about down to these entrepreneurs who have not only worked hard, but usually don’t have much and then it changes their life and because they’re different people, because they’ve had, you know, they’ve had to go through some grit to get where they are. They’re very altruistic. So see a lot of them giving money to charities and you know, you see them paying off student loans and their employees or stock options and all this stuff happens. And I was like, I can actually help with wealth distribution by helping more entrepreneurs succeed. And that’s what I decided to focus on. And this is the angle I decided to do it with boss.

Adam G. Force 06:18

Yeah. Interesting. And so what is boss specifically do that is so beneficial for the entrepreneur?

Greg Shepard 06:26

So it’s the it’s an acronym, its business operating support system. So the concept is, is that it’s an operating system like you would have on your computer to support your business. And so it has five stages. And these five stages were developed after years of doing I did like 1200 interviews with entrepreneurs that succeeded those that failed investors, accelerators, just all kinds of people. At the same time, I also tried to figure out you know, in the in the world of operating systems, what else was out there? So I entered The Navy SEALs in the first fighting, we have Air Force manufacturing fire departments, please spawn anybody that has a process or has to have a process to be efficient. Yeah. And then I applied all that stuff. And when I learned about the five areas that businesses fail, I created five areas to prevent that failure from happening starting at the beginning.

Adam G. Force 07:23

Interesting. I love that. And so how does someone even like this is very new to me. I’ve never heard of someone creating, like now, is this an operating system that would replace like, how does that work? I mean, you have to install this instead of like your iOS operating system?

Greg Shepard 07:39

No. Oh, sorry. Yeah. Okay. I call it an operating system, but it’s not software yet. Anyway, it’s not software it is. You think of it in terms of an operating system, but it’s more of a methodology and a set of tools.

Adam G. Force 07:50

Got it. Got it. Okay. So, these are some key principles from your experience and a strategic methodology that will help guide people through a process That is designed to help them take the right steps with their business towards an exit, right?

Greg Shepard 08:09

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So it starts out with keeping the end in mind at the very beginning, right? So one of the biggest problem I see and this is riddled all throughout all of the five different areas that they fail, is they don’t start with the end in mind. They don’t start by, okay, who’s going to buy my business? So it think about it this way. If you are if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re building a company, you’re building a company to solve a problem most of the time. I mean, there’s only two types of companies those that are creating taking advantage of an opportunity or those that are solving a problem in either scenario, you have a customer and a profile of the customer, you know who your customer is, you’d never build a product and then go figure out who your customer is. You know, you don’t want to be a solution looking for a problem. So, if that’s the case, and your business is only a product to your acquire, remember Remember that acquire who’s buying your business, they’ve already invested a ton of money in acquiring their customers that money is spent and invested. Yeah, what they want to do now is they want to grow the the lifetime value. So you have the customer acquisition cost the CAC to the lifetime value ratio, the only way for them to make money more money on the investment they already made in their current customers is to either buy or build a new product, and they always buy, they don’t build. So that new product has to match their current ICP ideal customer profile. So if you don’t start at the very beginning, thinking about who the customer is, of you’re the buyer of your business, then you could build your business and then go to try to sell it and say up Nope, not wrong but wrong profile, and then they’re not interested in buying it or your multiples going to be really low, because there’s no match. And that’s what synergies are.

Adam G. Force 09:53

So yeah, and I love that thought process. I don’t think you know anybody listening I just don’t think enough entrepreneurs are thinking About exits, you know, it’s Oh, no, I’m not gonna exit. It’s gonna, you know, be long time forever. This is my passion. I’m never gonna get rid of it and all that kind of stuff. But there is a certain perspective that comes when you are preparing and operating the business with the perspective of exiting, would you agree?

Greg Shepard 10:17

Oh, for sure. And if you’re raising money, the only way the investor gets their money back is when you sell. Yeah. So if you’re not thinking about an exit, when you’re talking to investors, and when you’re, you know, building your business, then you right there at that moment, you’re already off. Yeah, you’re dead, because you’re literally going to investor and saying, Hey, give me a million dollars and all this deck and all the stuff you put together to build this business. I don’t know when I’m gonna return your money. I have no idea. In fact, I’m not even planning for it. Right? I mean, you know, that’s insane.

Adam G. Force 10:47

Yeah, no, it is and you know, we’ve had those conversations and you definitely want to know the exit and I like the decision making that occurs because if you are going to sell it, that means that you really do need to create systems within that. business that someone could take over and start operating when you hand it off, right?

Greg Shepard 11:04

That is so smart. Nobody ever thinks that’s exactly right. So it’s like, think a business is a hell of a lot more complicated than IKEA furniture. And IKEA furniture comes with directions. Yeah, right. So when you go to try to sell your business, there’s that’s where another big point of failure is, they can’t sell it because the buyer can’t figure out how to operate your business. And therefore they can’t figure out how to take advantage of your product being sold to their customers.

Adam G. Force 11:30

Yeah.

Greg Shepard 11:30

So when you build a technology business, and you write code inside of the code, there are comments, things that explain what that line of code does. If you don’t have that, when somebody is evaluating your code, they’re going to be like, my engineers don’t even know what these things do. So we have no idea where to even start. Yeah. Now, you would never do that. Right. I mean, you know, you always, every programmer knows any engineer that’s out there knows that you have to put those comments in there so that, you know, people know oh, this does that. This does that. And this is that. So that’s like what you do. Right. And so the five stages of bas are first the Northstar, which is understanding where you’re going and when you’re going to get there, and who’s going to buy your business. So think of that as like a GPS. So if you’re going from one place to another, you need to have two localities, right, you have, do you know where you are? And you need to know where you’re going. Right? Yeah, otherwise, you’re never gonna get that.

Adam G. Force 12:25

True.

Greg Shepard 12:25

Yeah, you know. And then after that, you have to have a plan strategy. So that’s like turn by turn directions, including things like oh, there’s traffic or a detour or you’re going this fast. So that means that you’re going to arrive at this destination at this time. And then after that, you have to have the ability to execute on it. That means literally getting in the car and driving to that, you know, destination. And then after that, you have to have the ability to standardize it so other people can go the same route that you went, which is standardization that’s accountabilities, best practices. And that allows you to Figure out where you’re going to go and how you get there. So accountability is what is being done in who’s supposed to do it, which functional areas supposed to do it, best practices, how it’s supposed to be done and triggers or when it’s supposed to be done. And now you have literally, this is how the business runs. But there’s a lot more benefits than than just that huge number of benefits as you grow and scale. And then, after you get standardization, you go through the Kaizen loop, and Kaizen. And Japanese just means continuous improvement, which I got from the Toyota Production System back when Toyota went from being nothing to a monster, and having huge quality and retention rates on their revenue. Right. And so, you know, that part allows you to go back through the best practices, figure out where you can optimize to eliminate waste using the lean methodology, and then put it back into the plan. And that’s why it’s a loop.

Adam G. Force 13:53

Mm hmm. Yeah, that feedback loop. I love the lean methodology and yeah, The stuff you’re talking about is so important. And I think that, yeah, the the exit strategy and the decisions that people are making, creating those processes. You know, we coach a lot of different entrepreneurs also. And we have found that these are, these are major gaps for people. So when it comes to marketing, and you’re right, it’s like, where do we put our attention? How do we find focus what’s important? And if you have the right, I guess, if you have the right frame of mind and where you’re going, you can make smarter decisions. We always tell people, you come in here, I’m like, well, you guys want to join this program, but tell me where you want to be in 12 months, and if they can’t do it, I’m like, well, then I can’t help you. I’m like, you have no idea where you want to go. How am I going to get you there?

Greg Shepard 14:44

Yeah, exactly. So in the North Star, there’s a few different stages. So I actually broke down each one of these higher broader phases, yeah, into what I call gates, okay, so that the entrepreneur can walk through and sort of slice this up into smaller pieces, so that they I can get through one of these phases until they understand the whole system. And it’s, you know, it’s it’s really actually there’s going to be a, it caught the attention of UCSD, the University here, which only number two in technology to MIT to use it in their business program, and they’re doing a TV show, actually YouTube show on it, which is pretty cool. Yeah. Which is awesome. But

Adam G. Force 15:30

I love that. So that’s interesting how these things kind of pop up like that. And I’m wondering, you know, you’ve sold a lot of businesses now. So let’s just talk a little bit more about the exit strategies. So when we go through the boss system, you’re you’re setting people up through the stages, but what are some of the critical lessons that you’ve learned? Like you’ve obviously replicated the process by selling multiple companies? I mean, you you are identifying, you know, the key customers profile for buying the business, you know, people do that for their products. And I can almost see at the volume you’re at, you’re looking at businesses just as your widget that you’re selling. So it’s like you’re looking for that ideal customer? And what are just what are some of the things you’ve uncovered with regards to exit strategies? And and actually, making sure you understand who that that right customer for buying the business is ahead of time?

Greg Shepard 16:25

Yeah, so, you know, I look at probably, I don’t know, between 100 and 200 deals a month. And when I look at these deals I look at, I go through pitch after pitch after pitch, because you know, we invest in companies through boss Capital Partners. And in that process, I swear, probably one 10th of a percent of the time, do they even have two things that I think are really important one is a go to market strategy. And the other one is your exit strategy. Yeah, right. Like, how are you going to actually go to market and how are you going to exit and when they do, they don’t understand what that actually means. an exit strategy isn’t sitting there and going, Oh, I’m gonna sell to Google. I mean, Google is that’s like saying, I’m gonna travel, where are you gonna go? The United States? You know, what state what city? What, you know, I mean, it’s like, really, you know, so. So that’s one of the things. The other thing is that they don’t actually back into the acquisition like, why is this company going to buy? What is their ideal customer? And do those things align? What is the behavior of the buyer of your company in the past? Like, do they have a pattern of buying can’t do they have the money to buy? You know, how many companies have they bought, like all this sort of research that you do when you develop the ideal acquire profile, you know, the, so those two profiles are critical. And an exit strategy is a plan, which includes, you know, data around, you know, who’s going to buy and all the reasons why and how to build your company for that. The thing that people don’t understand is, it’s not like you can work on your company for three years and on the third year, go Okay, I’m going to sell it Then just do that, that that is not how it happened. You know, so you’re the whole three years you’re planning the entire three years, you’re planning for an exit. So everything that you’re doing in your business is moving it towards being acquired by somebody else. And I’m not saying build a shitty business and sell it quick, right? Really, really good business, but you have to do it in the direction. So it’s directionally correct to the end destination that you’re that you’re shooting for.

Adam G. Force 18:27

I think people get so overwhelmed, Greg with you know, just getting a product to sell and just getting off the ground and all the decisions they have to make. And, you know, there’s a ton of information out there that takes everybody in different directions and we see it happen all the time with different entrepreneurs, you know, before they come into our our own program, and I’m curious, like if they’re struggling just to sell the products and get all stuff. I mean, is it I feel like a lot of people will come to me and say, well, it’s really hard for me to focus on trying to sell the company when I’m just trying to sell the product…. What do you think about that?

Greg Shepard 19:04

You’re not trying to sell the company the whole time, you’re just building a company that is easy to buy.

Adam G. Force 19:11

Yes.

Greg Shepard 19:12

You know, so, there, you know that when you sell a business, there are certain, you know, sort of, you know, Crossroads that you have to go through. So, there’s a process to that, for example, you know, your customer and their customer being the same, as I’ve explained before, but also things like, how do they know that the technology is going to integrate? How do they know that the financial numbers will integrate and benefit them? How do they know that the culture is going to fit? Yep. You know, there are integrations that you know, so in that process, you know, there’s there’s a few different targets like big benchmarks that you’re shooting for. And typically, you know, in the exits that that I do and the way that boss functions is you sell to people that you already have started a relationship with over many years. Yeah. So yeah, you can’t just on that If you want to sell in three years, which is my business is usually selling three years, if you want to sell a business in three, even five years, you can’t start that process at three years, because you have to realize that just the acquisition itself, if it’s a 50 hundred million dollar deal, just that one process is going to take at least six months. And then before that even starts, you have to have a courting period. Right? That’s like another six months. So you’re a year out right there. Yeah. So you can’t start that process that you know, when you want to sell and then before that, usually, there’s some sort of a small investment that they make. And before that, usually there’s some sort of a partnership and before that, there’s some sort of integration and you know, so it’s like, you know, you can’t be like, okay, now I’m ready to sell and then start that period because you just added two extra years or three extra years onto your, your exit strategy. If you had thinking thought about that the whole time. You would be doing things that benefit your company company at the same time setting up an acquisition in the future. Which is something that a lot of people don’t think about.

Adam G. Force 21:02

Yeah, that makes sense. And I think, you know, you’d be having certain conversations, connecting with people that you think might be the right, you know, buyer. And I think through those conversations, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re going to be learning more, it’s kind of like consulting, like getting on a strategy call with a client to find out well, what are you guys up to? What are you looking for what’s important to you, and really kind of get that data so that maybe you can take your assumptions and turn them into real insights that you’re operating your business around? Right. So how do you know what the key milestones stones are that you want to hit in order to sell to that company? That probably doesn’t come without a lot of conversation with that company? Right?

Greg Shepard 21:43

Right, yeah. I mean, it’s a lot. So the analogy I give to entrepreneurs a lot of time to make it really understandable. As I say, listen, so it’s not like you meet a girl and you go, Let’s get married. It doesn’t work that way. Right? It’s like Okay, let’s go have coffee. Let’s have dinner. Let’s have dinner again. And again and again, you know, and then after a period of time, you’re like, I trust you, I care about you, all these things happen. And then you say, Okay, let’s get married. Yeah, when somebody buys your business, it’s like that there is a lot of courting that happens before that. And you can’t just start that you can’t just say, Okay, I want to sell now and then just do it. Yeah, it just doesn’t work that way. You know, and if it does, a lot of times, the transactions will fall apart in that process. And when they fall apart in that process, usually the entrepreneurs in a very bad place because the process of selling a business is a massive distraction. Yeah. So, you know, they’re working through this process, and they’re working through this and they’re distracted by it. So they’re not paying attention to their business. And then all of a sudden, now, the deal falls through and now they’re, it’s like, it’s devastating. Yeah, so two things happen. Either the deal falls through completely or they lower the price and change the terms and then they end up you know, which is a lot of times the strategy of the acquirer. Yeah is to, you know, kind of just, you know, they have a Yeah, there’s a term right treat him like mushrooms, keep him in the dark and feed him shit. You know? And, you know, so you know, there’s there’s terms for these things because they’re real, right? So if you’re not newer, and you’re, you’re planning this whole thing the whole time and that happens, you’re like, it doesn’t matter because it’s just the flow of your normal business.

Adam G. Force 23:19

Yes, that is so important. And it’s easy. I mean, we only have so much time and energy to invest, right? And that’s a valuable resource those things and so, you’re right. I mean, what the if you’re going to distract yourself with these things, you want to make sure you’re doing it the right way. So easy. It’s so easy to get distracted for all kinds of different things. And everybody has all these ideas. So…

Greg Shepard 23:44

BOSS keeps people focused and on the rails, right, because I call it squirrel syndrome. You know, when you walk your dog and it’s like squirrel, it just bolts off. Yeah, exactly. That’s what entrepreneurs are live. It’s in their nature. Yeah, and it’s a positive thing. But you got to have a you know, one of those leashes that goes out that runs out and then comes back.

Adam G. Force 24:04

Yeah. A little stretchy.

Greg Shepard 24:07

Shiny syndrome. Yeah, exactly. Cuz, you know, shiny syndrome is you know, shiny thing syndrome is is real for entrepreneurs. Oh yeah.

Adam G. Force 24:15

Oh, everyone’s got new ideas all the time as like people come on to our coaching calls and it’s like, Oh, I got it. I’m gonna do this new podcast, I’m gonna do this, it’s gonna be paying it. I’m like what happened to the primary focus of like your offer, like all the sudden you’re like off on another tangent? Yeah.

Greg Shepard 24:33

huge problem, huge problem. So boss keeps that focus, right? Because when you use boss correctly, what happens is your board deck, you know, what you’re telling your investors is your boss system. And you literally show them. You know what you planned and you want to show predictability and also for your buyer. Nobody wants to buy a company that’s unpredictable. So if you create a path of predictability, it keeps you focused. And it shows you in the retrospective what happened. Yeah, but it also shows you that you’re predictable, right? Which is key. No investor wants to make an investment into a business that’s unpredictable. Or the people are unpredictable, and no buyer wants to buy a business that’s unpredictable because they’re betting on that being predictable. Right?

Adam G. Force 25:15

Yeah, predictability I can imagine is super important. Now we have zero focus primarily, primarily been tech, different variations of tech companies.

Greg Shepard 25:26

Yeah, I mean, I’ve done I did a, a lender in my when I was younger, and I did a biotech plant environmental biotechnology company, but ever since the internet came out. I’ve been Yeah, I mean, this software is just, you can make anything it’s a it’s a literal, you know, you know, self manifesting playground.

Adam G. Force 25:53

Yeah, but how does one even think about that? I mean, how like, in other words, when I think of software, yeah, I can get a million ideas, but the actual putting it together processes where you get lost, like if you don’t know how to code or you know, any of that kind of stuff.

Greg Shepard 26:08

Yeah, but you don’t need to now, you know, there’s a lot of really good development houses, and they have really good product people. So if you have a concept and you are through ideation, you can go to one of these development houses. And you can actually, you know, ask them and they’ll supply you with a product person, which is key. A lot of people think, Oh, I just go into engineering and then I, you know, and a lot of engineers think they don’t need a product person, a product person is very critical. Okay. I always tell people, I’m like, do you have a product person know who’s doing product? Oh, I’m just doing it. No, man. No, that’s not that you can’t do, that’s a special…

Adam G. Force 26:46

Define that for people, define the product person.

Greg Shepard 26:49

So you know, basically the product person is not only the voice of the customer, but they’re also watching what’s going on in the marketplace with competitors and they take all of this data that comes in Including, you know, feedback that comes from the current customers, and the fantasies of the entrepreneur. And then they distill those down into requirements and the requirements boil down exactly what this thing looks like. And then the requirements are coded. So you can’t go from if you have an entrepreneur, acting as a product person, this is very, very, very big happens all the time. You have an entrepreneur who already has squirrel, you know, shiny thing syndrome, and they’re trying to manage the engineers, it’s going to cost 100 times more. So a lot of people go I can’t afford a product person, but you can because if you don’t, it’s going to cost more money. Because you’re going to be going all over the place. And the engineers their mindset in the way that they operate is off of like blueprints. So basically, not having a product person is like building a house without blueprints. It’s like a contractor just going for it.

Adam G. Force 27:51

Yeah

Greg Shepard 27:51

And you’re just walking over there every day and going No, no, no, no, no, sorry. I want to window here, not there. And the contractor is like, dude, I got to put a beam in there. I got to rip this hole. Fallout I got it, you know, and that is the issues, right? So if you have a product person, it’s like having an architect, draw out exactly the plans and what they’re supposed to do giving that to the contractor and having the contractor build exactly what’s on the plans. And then you do iterations you do, you know, you improve later on, after you get a proof of concept and validation, which are extremely crude critical. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 28:24

Yeah. And I mean, what kind of money is required up front to you know, get a get a tech product like this, you know, put together as beta work with a product person that isn’t that,

Greg Shepard 28:35

I mean, I’ve done I’ve done, you know, proof of concepts for 50 grand, you know, so you don’t, you know, I mean, it sounds like a lot to a lot of people. But to get a round of financing for 50 grand, even an ideation is pretty easy. But, you know, I’ve done him for that. And then you do iterations because you have to come to the table with something you can’t just come to the table with a stack of you know, PowerPoints And go, Okay, this is just, this is what I want to do. Now I want to raise a million dollars. Yeah. You know, they’re like, no, look, how about you start by showing me something, you know. So I’ll give you 25 grand. And then you can see what you can put together. And then you do a minimum what’s called an MVP, a minimal viable product. Yeah. And that’s the minimal the minimal stuff you need. That’s viable, meaning it works. So at that point, you’re not trying to at that, that stage of an MVP, there’s a lot of MVPs. But at that stage of an MVP, you’re just trying to get to the point that you can demo something to an investor, you get the money to create something, then that can be demo to a customer.

Adam G. Force 29:41

Yeah, I mean, and that’s interesting, because you’re saying to get an investment to get that first 50 grand, so someone’s just got to believe in the idea and say, Okay, I’ll give you 50 grand.

Greg Shepard 29:50

Yeah, but or you just do it yourself. I did it myself. I mean, I worked for jobs. And, you know, that’s how I did it. I just, I just put every dime I had into Um, in the beginning before I, you know, started making exits, I put everything I had into it worked a bunch of jobs, and you know, paid for myself literally, they would send an invoice. And you know, I’d be hustling, and I don’t I dealt with it sort of like paying your rent. Yeah, I was like, Okay, I know I’m gonna get a $5,000 invoice, I need to go make five grand. So I would go work make five grand and pay their invoice.

Adam G. Force 30:26

I mean, I love that because that’s the kind of stuff people have to do. I mean, sometimes you’re straddling two worlds, right? You got to do the work and then you got to push your push down the path where you have that vision right? So if you don’t just make money with your business right out of the gate, sometimes you have to actually make money doing things that maybe it’s not your ideal dream.

Greg Shepard 30:45

Yeah, and you know, it’s like if you’re, if you’re doing that strategy, even if you’re not doing your…

Adam G. Force 30:53

Greg I think I lost you.

Greg Shepard 30:56

Wait, can you hear me up?

Adam G. Force 30:57

There you go.

Greg Shepard 30:58

Okay. So you’re doing strategy on a diet, right means that you’re, you’re paying a, you have a finite amount of money to use for your, you know, to get to the point where you can get something that has a proof of concept. In those scenarios, who is doing the product and the technology engineering for you, is very critical. Because you can spend that money screwing around or you can spend that money getting something done. And furthermore, the way that the things are done are really incredible. Like you know, if you do a monolith, which is like one big piece of software versus micro services, which is individual pieces that interchange, when you later on and you build your software, if it’s on my monolith, you know, when you’re trying to do iterations, it’s like playing whack a mole. Every time you do something, something else breaks and you know, it’s a nightmare. Versus in microservices, only that one thing breaks instead of everything. Yeah. So there’s like a lot of stuff you have to think through when you’re doing that, that you don’t know that in a good engineering group does know because they built this thing 100 times. Yeah, you know, so they’ve learned those lessons, you go to them and you’re like, Look, all I want is this one, like, give me any right now on building software for boss to run boss. And because it’s all in spreadsheet right now. Got it. And you know, with these guys, I went to them and I was like, Listen, all I want is an MVP on the North Star, not the rest, just the North Star. I just want to get to that point. And I want to make sure it’s right. And I went to a group that I had used several times for other businesses. And that is the the correct way to go. You don’t want to you don’t you know, build a house by slapping the whole thing together immediately. You know what, Mike, I’ll give you a good analogy. When I was younger. I had this mentor named Jim Eubanks, this guy was so cool. I was just young and I was just fighting to try to make a living and I was on a mission. And every afternoon on Wednesdays, he would send me drive me out to this bus bench. And across the street from this bus and this is an LA in the summer and I’m wearing a suit It was awful, right and I’m on commission so I’m sitting there not making money and he dropped On this bus bench and across the street was a cyclone, fence and dirt lot. And sign said coming soon. And I was like, What the hell, I’m like sitting here, you know. And then for you know, for a long time, it just said coming soon and then a really long time they dug that deep hole that a building has to have. And then they laid all the foundation stuff. And then the thing just blew up. And after the building was done, he goes, Hey, what did you learn? And I was like, well, I sat there for a long time. And I basically said the same thing. And he was like, so what you learned is that planning is more important than building.

Adam G. Force 33:33

Yes, I love that.

Greg Shepard 33:35

Footings took forever, the planting took forever and the rest of the building was you know, flew up. And you know, and that was like something that stuck with me and I was like man and so boss itself is that.

Adam G. Force 33:47

I love that. I love that. Yeah, and it’s so critical. I mean, you see it all the time and we we talk about that when it comes to course development online courses and stuff. It’s like you can spend you know three times as long planned. Adding the outline of the course and doing that correctly, and then putting in the actual program together, boom, you’re done in a heartbeat. And that’s, you know, so you spend most your time, like you said in the planning phase. So whether it’s your business or any other thing, I think it’s, it’s, it’s universally applicable when you’re putting something like this together.

Greg Shepard 34:19

Yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s, you know, pencil progress. Perfection.

Adam G. Force 34:25

Yeah, like that. So what kind of companies have you been investing in now?

Greg Shepard 34:30

They’re all software companies. So, you know, the market is now you know, there are bear markets and their bull market. So bull markets, you know, like I said, there are companies that sell things that are solving problems and there are companies that sell things that take advantage of opportunities. And in a bull market, you can invest in things that are taking advantage of opportunities. And in a bear market, you sell things that are solving problems, because in a bear market, people are trying to save money in a bull market, people are trying to make money. So because the market is shift now into more of a bear market, you know, because of COVID and a lot of other factors, you know, you have the ability now to sort of say, Okay, well now I need to change my investment strategy. I need to look for things that are recession resistant, not proof resistant. And these are businesses that are saving businesses money, because that’s what happens when you’re in a bear market. So the investment investments that we make now are not opportunity type businesses, they’re, you know, problem type businesses.

Adam G. Force 35:29

Hmm, interesting. Interesting. Awesome. Well, listen, we’re hitting the end of our time here. So I want to make sure we give you a chance to just give yourself a shout out. Where do people find more about you? What’s the best place to get more info?

Greg Shepard 35:44

Gregory shepherd.com. So it’s just my name.

Adam G. Force 35:48

Simple as that Gregory shepherd.com. We will have that in the show notes on the website when this goes live. Greg really appreciate it. I mean, obviously you got a ton of experience. You know, by creating and selling companies so appreciate you just kind of diving into some of that and the ideas behind the boss methodology. So yeah. Thanks again for being on the show man. Appreciate it.

Greg Shepard 36:13

Thank you.

Adam G. Force 36:17

Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

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