Today I make my first public announcement about the sale and acquisition of my first business, GoEdison. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts, a few stories, and endorse the new ownership of GoEdison, not because I feel obligated to, but because I’m honored to do so.
GoEdison has been my identity for nearly five years and this moment serves as a great time to reflect, and more so, a great time to endorse and be excited for the future of the company.
A few acknowledgments I need to make right away. If you prefer to skip my “thank you’s” and just hear the business facts, scroll down, but it would be wrong if I didn’t recognize some individuals publicly first.
To My Wife, Alicia:
First off, I’d like to thank my wife Alicia. When I first told her my idea and vision for GoEdison we were on a beautiful fall walk. I thought she would be kind and listen, but I imagined it would stop at that. She told me if I were to do this, then I have to fully commit to it and not back out until it became what I wanted or it failed. She gave me the encouragement I needed. Lish saw the good and bad sides of running a business, but more than anything, like she always does, she never wavered her support. She was always my rock. Frankly, it’s impossible to put into words how much her love helped GoEdison. Her love picked me up after losing a client. Her love gave me strength. Then, when our son was born, watching her as a mother gave me the purpose to want to grow GoEdison even more than it was.
Thank you Alicia, I love you more.
Thanks to my best friend and partner, Jimbo:
I’m honored to call Jimbo Davis my best friend, and also my business partner in GoEdison. Jimbo worked mostly behind the scenes as my Co-Founder and CFO. While I was very much the face of the company, I want it to be known Jimbo created much of the vision we put into reality at GoEdison.
Jimbo’s time to shine was through our acquisition process. As our CFO; his attention to detail, his financial background and his presentation of our company was top-notch in helping us qualify and find the right buyer for our beloved company. All in all, I couldn’t have had a better Co-Founder for the last five years. I love you, Jimbo.
My Glue Gal, Shawna:
If you’re familiar with GoEdison, you’re probably familiar with Shawna Linquist. She was “employee 1” at GoEdison. Shawna truly saw the best and worst of me, along with GoEdison. She’s Jimbo’s wife, so in many ways, she felt like a third Co-Founder. It is hard to put a description of what Shawna did, because she was so willing to do anything and everything to help the business. This is how she got her name the “Glue Gal.”
Shawna and I developed a very honest and respectful relationship over the years. She had to deal with me, then go home and deal with Jimbo. In many ways, she was put in an impossible spot, but due to her willingness, made it possible. Thank you Shawna. I love you like a sister and I appreciate that your motives were always genuine.
My GoEdison Team;
This will be a very hard piece to write. The GoEdison team is small, but in many ways, it extends to people that were more part of the GoEdison journey vs having the label “employee.” Many of these names are partners, vendors, employees and ultimately, friends.
- Ashley Andrian, Account Manager at GoEdison: Ashley, I can’t thank you enough. Your willingness to go above and beyond for our company was critical to our success. I watched you grow over the past two years professional and personally. I’m proud of who you are and look forward to the new success you will find with GoEdison.
- Tiffany Rhys, Account Manager at GoEdison: Tiffany, I don’t even know where to start. You’re one of the most confident and brightest women I’ve ever been around. Your ability to take care of clients under pressure is something any professional can learn from. Thank you for being you. I’m proud of the friendship we developed and even more proud of the person you are to those two beautiful kids of yours.
- Connor Storer, former Web Developer at GoEdison: Connor, I’ll keep this brief. I’m proud to have had you as part of the GoEdison journey. Your ability to roll with the punches in our early phase was critical. Your problem solving ability is unmatched. More than anything, I’m proud to call you my cousin. Go Broncos!
- Andrew Rice, GoEdison Web Developer and Partner: Andy, I’m SO glad you became part of the GoEdison story. You’re ability to take all the sh*t that I threw at you and make magic out of it for our clients was unmatched. Thank you for being part of the team, and more so, thanks for being you!
- The Eliots’ (BindMedia): To our England based British PPC partners. You guys were top-notch and wonderful people. I cherish the partnership we have and I’m proud to see how much you guys have grown!
- Roger Smolik: Roger was the last “part of the GoEdison team”. Roger was our business broker. Roger found us the best deal that made sense for all of our employees and us as Founders. Without Roger, I would not be sitting here writing this reflection today. More so, if you ever need to buy or sell a business, please contact Roger Smolik. He’s the best in the business. Roger is mentioned as part of the GoEdison team because every move Roger made was on-behalf of GoEdison.
My Supporting Cast:
I have a supporting cast that branches much further than my wife and GoEdison team that’s way too long to list. I’m grateful for the wonderful people in my life that supported me through this journey. If you’re not mentioned in the next few lines, it’s not because I forgot, it’s because it would take pages to mention everyone.
A special thanks to:
- Lila Downing: the world’s best mother in law.
- Regaina Clinton: My wonderful sister-in-law and loyal editor.
- More in-laws: The remainder of my brother and sister-in-laws. Too many to list. Love you all.
- Lowell and Mars Harper: My brothers, who I love dearly.
- Tammy & Chris Grange: You guys are family. You saw my struggle, the hustle and will always be part of my success. I love you both.
- Daniel Nice: My best friend and inspiration in business and spirituality.
- Jeremiah Dalesio: My good friend, business colleague and college football buddy.
- Mark Rubin: My business mentor who I can’t thank enough for the endless wisdom.
- Lauren Kramer: You were the first employee to ever work with me before GoEdison. You’re one of the brighter young hustlers and marketing minds I know. You’re a friend who saw the start of this journey.
From Starting A Small Business To Selling A Small Business
When GoEdison started, the intent was never to sell. It was to give immense value to any client that worked with us. That’s one of the biggest reasons for our early success in my opinion. ALL we cared about was giving value.
When your focus and intent is doing great work, great things tend to happen. Following those early years we gained a strong reputation for being trustworthy and reliable. This was critical to our early success.
My advice to anyone starting anything; focus on value, and growth will follow. There are no get-rich QUICK schemes or shortcuts.
Another key early on is consistency. You have to be consistent. You must show up day after day, and you can’t just “stop” because you’re not growing fast enough. Give value, stay consistent and great things will happen. The business Gods tend to work in your favor when you work hard, day after day, and do the right thing.
When I look back, one thing I can’t say enough is we were never “too proud” as a company. We always had the willingness to try out of the box things to get new business. We were never too proud to cold call. We were never too proud to try a new sales and marketing campaign, and we sure as hell were never too proud to hold ourselves accountable when things weren’t going great. Whether that be with each other, or even when we were forced to be accountable with our clients.
Scaling A Service Based Business
Starting and getting out of the infancy phase of any small business is a major success, but that’s truly just the beginning. The second challenge to all of this is scaling the business you have created. This becomes even more difficult when it’s a service based small business.
Like any service, you exchange time for money. This is a very tough formula to scale. One of my mentors, Naval Ravikant, says you can scale three things in business: Labor, software and media. For us, we had to scale labor, as it was the ONLY way to scale our services because tech and software can only take you so far in the digital marketing realm. It still requires a high-level of human touch and interaction.
The success of any business is scale. You have to learn and effectively scale your business to truly benefit the rewards of owning a business. At GoEdison, our scale was slow, but for being a 100% bootstrapped business with ZERO debt, our scale was appropriate and successful. It should be noted, our scale is thanks to many of the people I mentioned above. The GoEdison team and vendors.
Selling Your Small Business. A Few Quick Lessons Learned
Selling a small business is a wonderfully strange ordeal. I took a lot of notes and lessons learned through the process. You can view the next few bullets as the biggest takeaways from my “acquisition journal.”
Key bullets every small business owner should know before selling your business:
- Hire A business Broker: As business owners, we want to “do it all ourselves”. I have an inflated sense of self to begin with, therefore I ALWAYS think I can do everything, which is one of many character flaws I have. Hire out and delegate the best to do what they do. Get a business broker to get you the best deal possible for the sale of your business.
- Deal Structure Is Everything For Your Exit: Of course, price is key for selling your business, just like any “sale”, but more so, it’s all about how the deal is structured. There are multiple ways to structure the sale of your business. A few structures could include; full cash offer, earn out offer, you can carry a “note” (monthly payout structure), etc.
Your deal structure means everything when it comes to quantifying a successful exit. It goes beyond the numbers. You need to have what you classify as a “win” in your books before you sell your business. You also need to have a “bottom line.” What are you willing to give up? Understanding the difference between a cash offer and an earn out for example is critical. What are you okay with? What are you willing to compromise for the sale of your business?
- Post Exit Transition: You need to be aware of the post exit transition and the specifics around that. Make sure the transition is a win/win for both parties. You want to set up the new owners for success, and you also need to quickly remove yourself from the picture so the new owners can start to properly lead the ship.
- Make Sure Your Team Is In GREAT Hands: GoEdison had multiple offers and interested parties when we hit the market to sell. We’re very fortunate. This allowed Jimbo and I to see both the good and bad from different prospective buyers.
One thing was 100% clear to Jimbo and I. We would ONLY accept an offer if we felt the new ownership would take care of our GoEdison team. If they didn’t meet that requirement, we truly didn’t pursue serious talks with a prospective buyer. Make sure your employees, partners and vendors are taken great care of.
We knew we couldn’t stomach calling Tiffany and Ashley into a meeting the morning after we sold and telling them about the new arrangement if we knew they weren’t in GREAT hands. Our non-negotiable was making sure “our people” are going to be taken care of moving forward.
Introducing The New GoEdison Ownership
I’m proud to introduce the new owners and leadership of GoEdison, Joel and Gary Allen. Joel and Gary are a father/son duo from Indiana and Tennessee. I remember after our first introduction call with them, I looked at Jimbo and said “those are the guys that will buy GoEdison.” Fast forward, I couldn’t be more thankful that intuitive thought came true.
I’ve heard stories from hell of people selling their small business. Our experience couldn’t be further from that. We’re so fortunate to have found new leaders for our beloved business in Joel and Gary Allen. They share the same values GoEdison has lived by for the past four years. They care for people, and more so, they have a deep care for the GoEdison team and clients. I’ll forever be proud of the people we passed our legacy off to. It’s that simple.
A few tactical things everyone should know about the new ownership at GoEdison:
- Joel has kept our core GoEdison team in-place.
- All of GoEdison clients are being well taken care of.
- Combined, they have vast business experience that will benefit all GoEdison clients.
- They are here to continue and expand the vision of GoEdison. They are here to keep the legacy and reputation alive. If you’re a small business in need of marketing help — GoEdison is still 100% the BEST option for you.
What’s Next For Me?
So, what’s next for me? It’s the most common question I currently get asked. A few things are next that I’m happy to finally publicly announce.
I’m Looking To Raise $5 Million Dollars To Help House Adults With Disabilities:
For the past three years I’ve been involved in various ways with a WONDERFUL non-profit, Trailhead Community. My sole purpose within the organization is to help raise $5 million dollars in cash to help build an 84 unit apartment building in Littleton, Colorado. If you or someone you know wants to get involved with this tremendous cause please contact me directly.
I also encourage anyone who has read this far to donate $25 to our mission today: https://www.trailheadcommunity.org/contact
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It’s hard to put into words how I feel about the entire ordeal. Therefore, I recorded a short video to sum up my final thoughts.