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Chris Alman the King of Exit Strategies (#15)

9×90 Episode 15


The Free Gift

Ladies & Gents,

Let’s give a special thanks to Chris for this amazing FREEBIE that he’s very generously decided to share with all of our listeners:

The Transcript

Adi Soozin: All Hey everybody and welcome to another 9×90 episode. We are going to be speaking with Chris today about a very very interesting topic that we have not covered on the show yet, but I think is highly relevant to a lot of you out there with your own company looking at potentially. being acquired one day. So I want to thank Chris for coming on and taking time to cover this very interesting topic with us. Tell us about what he’s doing in the m&a space and how you can reach out to him later. But first, I think we want to hear is origin story how we got started why he’s totally awesome in this space and why you should definitely be working. So Chris the floor is yours.

Chris Alman: Hey guys, I’m Chris Alman. The founder of equip Financial Partners. my goal has been to work with owners on an exit strategy and understanding their personal finances so that when they are ready to exit their business whether that’s right away or at some point later on in the future that they have everything. Organized and ready to go.

Adi Soozin: We’ll Okay. So…

Chris Alman: No.

Adi Soozin: how old is equipped Financial Partners?

Chris Alman: Yeah, so I am just over the one-year mark from last year.

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: It is an interesting journey and I look forward to kind of going into that a little bit more with you. But just crossing over that one year mark. So happy to have made it this far.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, definitely. What did you do before starting equip partners that led you here?

Chris Alman: Yeah, so I’ve been in the wealth management the financial planning space for a little over a decade and have gone, down that path so long that I just kind of really understood how the wealth management side Works how Investments work and things like that but one of the things that I learned really I guess it was probably three four years ago. I came across a business owner that was looking for advice, They wanted to understand how to really get the wealth that they built in their business out. but what I was Finding is that

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: they were saying that every time that there was someone that they would reach out to for financial planning or whatever. It might be.

Chris Alman: They always felt like they were being sold something it’s like are you selling your business? I’d be happy to kind of take that from you and manage the assets when you get done, that’s kind of the story that I was hearing over and over so before financial planning before I got into that actually flipped houses. So it worked with investors kind of on that got some experience there.

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: So I really understand the real estate aspect of investing which is another thing that a lot of owners have, they have real estate and being able to understand…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: how that works and into everything also just kind of made that transition very natural to go from the financial planning into more of the exit strategy and how to extract that wealth out.

Adi Soozin: Interesting. So with the real estate aspect do you pull a McDonald’s where you have them separate the real estate and the business and they lease the office space back to that business. whoever players it do you do that game where not really?

Chris Alman: Sometimes it makes a lot of sense. It really just kind of depends on the owner’s structure of their business and you…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: what they need from a cash in a tax flow perspective. Right? So sometimes the business May or…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: the land that the business is on might be one of the most valuable parts of it just because the location or whatever it may be or the facility that they’ve built, that might be Part of the sale. So, in some ways you want it included in the business, but at the same time, it also makes sense from its tax perspective occasionally to keep it outside of the business and then give you the opportunity to lease it back if you do sell the business aspect.

Adi Soozin: But that’s where they come in and talk to you and ask what should we be?

Chris Alman: Yeah, yeah be able to figure that stuff out.

Adi Soozin: Play a little Monopoly Here.

Adi Soozin: let’s see. What questions did you ask yourself when you were looking at starting a quit Partners? I know you kind of answered this but there is there anything else that you want to add to that list of questions and criteria you gave yourself before you broke off?

Chris Alman: Yeah, so, being a person that deals with finances all the time. It’s really easy to kind of get caught up in money right and kind of the pursuit of money. and what do you want to do this new business for right? Because I had a great job before made great money didn’t really have anything that was forcing me to make a decision to leave other than the fact that I’ve known for a long time. I just have that entrepreneurial Spirit want to be able to take the reins and have an opportunity to fail and so one of the questions that I ask myself is, how willing am I to fail? And I have to be realistic with myself. Realize like that. That’s a very real possibility. I had to think about, am I doing this for financial reasons and my just motivated by money and really at the end of the day?


Chris Alman: I found out by just kind of soul searching if you will that I was staying where I was because of the money. Right. So for me that pursuit of having an opportunity to fail and just lead things and grow something meaningful. Being able to understand what my motivations were. That’s probably the biggest things that I had to, go through.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, and then you have family as well if kids. Yeah.

Chris Alman: I have a wife and two daughters so they’re pretty young. So yeah have pretty kind of make sure I can support them and that decision so that was a little bit of a challenge for my wife, but she’s come aboard and then very supportive through it.

Adi Soozin: Yeah I was literally I think traveling 75% of the time. My husband was like you have to start something on your own. We have a two-year-old who needs to know what you look like. I was starting to be cut out of her little family pictures. She was drawing or she would say mommy’s not in the picture. She’s at work in this country or that country and that’s when we realize it’s time for me to start something that please.

Chris Alman: yeah, that is definitely a challenge, for me and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: One that I can get lost in what I’m doing and just stay there so I’m being really trying to set those boundaries and I think there’s a Perception that you have to just grind and grind and grind and work 24 hours a day and I don’t think it’s healthy. I think you need to be able to set time aside for yourself whether that’s for working out. Yeah, just whatever it is that kind of gives you that energy and revives you every day, that’s really important.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: So that’s been crucial.

Adi Soozin: Absolutely, because you need to give your all at work and you also need to give your all at home. And then you need to find that way to decompress between everything else. What?

Chris Alman: Yeah, and there’s not really, the work-life balance thing. it’s more so just going back and forth, right and when you’re on kind of like riding the bike when you have one foot on one side and one foot on the other and you just try to keep going so that you stay in Balance. Yeah.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, absolutely. what the deal we have is Mondays. I have no guilt as long as I want to stay in the office. I could do a 16 hour day. But every other day, I have to unplug and there’s devices from 5 PM until 8 PM when they’re awake until bedtime just but yeah, I mean if your girls are older probably it’s a little bit longer window because they stay up later.

Chris Alman: I try to get him in bed as early as I can.

Adi Soozin: we do the same and my husband was like when I moved their bedtime to seven he was like why I was like we need time to recharge.

Chris Alman: That’s exactly.

Adi Soozin: All let’s see. What made you decide to focus specifically on business exit strategies because you worked in wealth management you worked with all these different ways to create wealth for your clients. What made you decide to focus on this?

Chris Alman: So right now there’s one of the biggest opportunities out there for helping people kind of in that business owner space right regardless of the size of the business. And you just look at the baby boomer generation many of them started their own businesses not because they wanted to start a business just because they love what they do, That’s what most people start a business for and they’re all kind of getting to that point where they’re starting to retire that it started a couple years back. And then now they’re kind of to that point where the last kind of generation of the Baby Boomers. Is it, in the next five seven years. most of them will be retiring and one of the things that I learned just a few years back was that it’s roughly. 50% of owners exit their business

Chris Alman: Unexpectedly whether it’s health issues. They pass away just divorces disagreements, whatever. It may be about half of the time. That’s what happens. And then when you look at it from a broader perspective even From a small business up to the lower Middle Market only about 20% of businesses will sell. And then kind of on top of that you have the fact that almost 70. I think it’s 78% of owners are counting on their business and the wealth that they’ve built in it to be able to retire to be able to have a life after and even if it’s not retirement if they’re counting on the business to be able to provide for their next business venture or whatever it may be And so there’s a big issue there. If only 20% of business is actually sell and 78% of them are counting on the money from the sale. where does that leave most of them? Right so


Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: It’s terrible. I mean, my granddad was a small business owner ran a construction company all across the southeast built metal frame buildings like hospitals and Fred’s Dollar Generals things like that. And super smart guy.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: He’s the sharpest attack at 85 and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: The problem that he ran into is that he never built up people around him, all the business was essentially done through him. He was that key, the linchpin and he ended up having some health issues and couldn’t get out but he just couldn’t get around and shake the hands. So at the end of the day he didn’t have anything to show for. and that’s too common. So that’s kind of why I wanted to focus on that just really try to make a difference and change those outcomes so that we can see, more owners having success.

Adi Soozin: No, that totally makes sense. You said look there’s a huge opportunity here people are losing and I could create a win situation. Yeah, I got it.

Chris Alman: right

Adi Soozin: I get I’m on your level now.

Chris Alman: Yeah, so one of the things though thinking about exit strategies though, one of the biggest misconceptions I have that I face. All the time is that exit planning or exit strategy. It’s something that you do, a couple years before you’re ready to exit. it’s just having good business strategy and…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: focusing on building transferable value. So you can start doing that on day one right late.

Adi Soozin: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Alman: You start focusing on what makes your business What makes it Unique right and then lean into those things and then the cash flow and all that other stuff follows, but it also makes sure that you have contingency plans. you’ve got the right insurance for key employees and things like that. You have those safety nets in place, which also makes you more valuable if someone’s looking to acquire you because everything’s tied up like it’s, ready to go.

Adi Soozin: It’s risked. It’s franchisable. It’s viable. It’s got it.

Chris Alman: Exactly, so just having an exit plan doesn’t mean that sell. It just means that you’re planning to have a business you can sell.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, and then do you have some sort of checklist that people can look at?

Chris Alman: So I do have an exit Readiness questionnaire that I’ve put together. I think I may send you a copy of it, but

Adi Soozin: Yeah, we could.

Chris Alman: it’s a really great place to start right there’s around 50 questions or so on it which It sounds like man, that’s daunting but it’s really simple. It’s just one through six there. It shouldn’t take you more than probably 10 minutes to answer all the questions there because you should go with your gut answer but what I’ve done is essentially all the questionnaires that are out there. I’ve seen all of them from high level institutions that are doing incredible a activity with hundred million dollar companies and I see the questionnaires that they’ve I’ve seen questionnaires on the other end of the spectrum. And so what I’ve tried to do is consolidate it down into the most meaningful things so that if you went through that process, he took a few minutes and sat down you would be able to see the things that you have either done really. that make your business fall on the upper end of the range of multiples when you get ready to sell or what you need.

Chris Alman: to work on So it’s a really great tool to have and to be able to use that’s probably one of the things I’m most proud of. Because I use it every time I bring on a new client.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, yeah, we all have that questionnaire that kind of guides when we’re doing a web dev project making sure that we have the hosting domains and all that stuff. What are their technological requirements now,…

Chris Alman: Sure.

Adi Soozin: we’re gonna Sidetrack from the script just for second. okay, so you have this 50 questionnaire that takes you 10 minutes, but would probably take other people a little bit more time. So hypothetically speaking…

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: if someone were to look at five questions and then want to book a call with you. schedule a consultation. What does that look like?


Chris Alman: Yeah, so, yeah, essentially every time that I meet with someone we’ll spend at least 30 minutes and just have a strategy So just it’s an opportunity for me to understand kind of where you’re at in your business what your plans are where you’re trying to go and then look for those opportunities to see is there something that can help with and so a lot of times I’ll say let’s go through that questionnaire. I’ll send it ahead of time. if you’ve already gotten and you’re going through that then you kind of start to see the things that you need help with even if you don’t answer right if you just went through and looked at the questions, you’re gonna know some of those places where there’s Use and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: we just talk about that help. Kind of put some framework around it and really just see where the opportunities are. And what’s next?

Adi Soozin: If someone’s thinking about exiting how soon before the exit do they look at this questionnaire and reach out to you. Is it ideal to give you three years? What have you been able to flip company or…

Chris Alman: Yeah, yeah,…

Adi Soozin: within a year?

Chris Alman: that’s a great question. So it really depends on the size of the business. …

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: what kind of range of Revenue you have because the smaller businesses typically won’t need as much time.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: Because you know that the deal isn’t as large,…

Adi Soozin: Okay. Yeah.

Chris Alman: right it’s a little easier to get financing and things for but if you’re on the upper end of I guess you could say if you’re on the lower end of the Middle Market and below that a lot of times the due diligence period just you’ve got somebody that said they’re interested that due diligence period and getting from there to the clothes might take two years. Just to get the deal done.

Adi Soozin: Yeah. yeah, and

Chris Alman: So if you want to be ready for the due diligence period you need a couple years before that to really make sure that everything, you…

Adi Soozin: in order

Chris Alman: all of your finances are buttoned up that everything’s clear that you’re not.

Chris Alman: You’re running too many expenses through the business that you’re paying yourself a reasonable salary. It’s just making sure that you have a good history of at least, the last two or three years before that outside buyer gets a hold of things and starts coming through it.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, so let’s say a company that’s a real estate company that’s close to quarter billion in sales. How long would they need for an exit strategy? But let’s look at both the Spectrum so a startup that’s under a million and a startup that’s all the way past the hyper growth strange over a hundred million two use cases. How long would you need with both of them?

Chris Alman: yeah, generally about five years is kind of like The ideal time now honestly,…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: I wish people would start thinking about it a lot earlier because of just makes it so much easier. But if you’ve reached that point where you’re like, I know I’m going to exit and most of the time people wait until they have that feeling. And …

Adi Soozin: and that’s

Chris Alman: I’m ready to get out they wait until they start to hear that at that point.

Adi Soozin: yeah.

Chris Alman: You start to check out you start thinking, you…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: I can let this slide I can let that go. and it just puts you in a worse place because you’re tired of it right whether you might love the business,…

Adi Soozin: No, absolutely. Yeah, yeah.

Chris Alman: but you get tired of doing certain things. And so you just don’t have that same energy that you have. five six years out knowing okay.

Chris Alman: I have a plan I know on it get out of this thing. I’m gonna make sure that I’m building it so that I can get out of it. Yeah, and hit that multiple that I need.

Adi Soozin: That’s very true. My parents used to. so my dad had his poor business then he always thought it was fun to start these businesses on the side that profited from The Core Business and then he would exit them and I asked him one time when I was in high school. I think how he made that so smooth because it seemed it just a bicycle shop make the bicycle sell it and I was only in high school.

Chris Alman: 

Adi Soozin: So it was like I didn’t that much about business, but it was like I don’t think a lot of people just make businesses like this and send them off but he said that they would get mentors and people on the board that they wanted to acquire the business in the beginning seeing how quickly they made it. So then they were kind of primed so they’d get excited about wanting to own that business later on but

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Chris Alman: That’s a really great idea. I haven’t thought about it from that perspective like having your board and those people actually want to take the business from you. But that’s a great way to do it.

Adi Soozin: There’s a founder of I don’t know which company she was the founder of but Yahoo, acquired her company and I had asked her what she thought of that strategy. She said the company that Ended up acquiring them because the CEO at the time was on her board. And so when she was asking for advice about the exit strategy and who they should be acquired by the CEOs don’t go with that deal. I’m sure you could get something better and then she came in with something better herself. Yeah. But anyways, so, okay. We took a total side side or…


Chris Alman: Yeah, yeah.

Adi Soozin: from our planned for today.

Chris Alman: One of the things that I always say is you should be building the business that you would never want to sell.

Adi Soozin: Let’s see. Where did we go next?

Chris Alman: Right, like build the business that you never want to sell…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: because it’s just so good. Because when you get it to that point.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: Other people want it, I mean it’s that they’re gonna start to covet kind of what you have because it’s so good whether that’s a good thing or not for them to want it like that. But that definitely happens. they see that growth they know that there’s something special and it definitely detracts more people.

Adi Soozin: Just and going for investors friends of investment with startups for you don’t go for the money when you need it you go for the money when you don’t need it and people are dying to get their golden ticket to be able to have a slice of the pie.

Chris Alman: That’s exactly it.

Adi Soozin: So, let’s see. You already told us it took you a year. You’ve been in business year. Let’s see. What were some obstacles that you were surprised to face in your earliest months working on equip Financial Partners. And how did you overcome?

Chris Alman: Yeah, so the first thing that I had I kind of knew that it would take a little bit to get started but I didn’t know how long it was gonna take from a compliance perspective just to register…

Adi Soozin: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Alman: because a lot of the conversation comes down to giving Financial advice. And so if you give Financial advice you have to be registered as a financial advisor, and I hate that term because we all know a financial advisor and there’s probably some good ones out there, but there’s a lot of sales people too that are just out to make a buck sell a product. Get a commission and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: because I’ve always kind of been in the feet only fiduciary space where you’re paying for advice and that’s it. it doesn’t change the outcome because of that you

Chris Alman: Just looking at it from that compliance perspective getting everything buttoned up and making sure that it works. Just yeah, that was probably the biggest hurdle it took several months just for the state to be able to Say that the way that I want to do businesses, okay, because most of the compliance people were trained on that brokerage model, which is built on sales and Investments. And that’s not my biggest priority.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: So they’re like Wait a second here.

Adi Soozin: how do you

Chris Alman: What are you trying to pull and it’s like I’m just trying to do it the honest way or in the way that I feel like is the best impossible method to provide that advice but they’re not structured for that. So that was a hurdle and then really just the other thing was learning how quickly you need to be able to adapt and just change the direction that you think you should go.

Chris Alman: And it’s funny. I’m actually launching another business next week. So it’s very complimentary not getting into the weeds…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: but more in that fractional CFO space because the conversations that I’m having with owners about the exit strategy I ask you…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: Where are you going to be next year and looking at it from a cashless perspective? They don’t know,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: They have a bookkeeper. They have all the right people. Except they are not able to look forward. So, just being able to see that and recognize sometimes the thing that you Are the most passionate about the thing that there’s a ton of value for there might be something else in the way of having that conversation?

Adi Soozin: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. No, I got it. So you now are adding to Your pay of offers the ability for people to schedule monthly or…

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: quarterly advice calls with you to kind of look at their strategy and structure out how their Year’s gonna go. Or how are you?

Chris Alman: Yeah, a lot of the cash flow projections just being able to build out a budget be able to track against that budget, the forecasting aspect of it looking at the productivity of the labor that they have because of …

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: that’s really one of the biggest drains and I’ve found that it all works together, It’s all part of that exit strategy. building that value up and I’m just finding this is one of the hurdles that they have is being able to look at What they have, and where it’s headed to know if they’re on track.


Adi Soozin: I tell my people when I need help with this look to see if there’s AI to help you do the things you don’t like. First faster…

Chris Alman: definitely Yeah.

Adi Soozin: because they’re afraid of AI and look it’s not there to take over your job. It’s there to do the parts of the job that you hate and if you find any app to help you then we’ll hire another person but it increases their productivity too because they now have all these apps and they’re able to the things they weren’t good at or struggled with they’ve automated just getting them there instead of being so quick to just hire five more people for them. And each of those people could have been replaced by Ai and then we need to fire them because AI does replace them. Yeah.

Chris Alman: The other thing too that I see a lot is that owners aren’t always paying themselves enough or theyre especially in the startup stage. it’s perfectly normal to not pay yourself that kind of full market rate, but you need to be tracking that Sweat Equity whether that’s as basically,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: deferred compensation that you will be paid at some point or if you have Partners or investors, especially you want to make sure that you can justify that salary and what you’re doing and if you’re looking to be acquired and you’re not paying Alpha reasonable salary I’ve met several owners in the last couple months that have been paying themselves 30 30 40,000 a year.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Alman: And they should be paying themselves, closer to 300-400,000. So, they’re taking distributions out. But one of the first things potential buyers gonna look at is how much are they going to have to pay to have someone do your job and if the market rate is 3 or 400,000 you’re kidding yourself on your profitability. It makes your profitability look great, but it’s not realistic. so

Adi Soozin: That’s very very true.

Chris Alman: Yeah, so that’s the kind of stuff that I’m doing. starting next week.

Adi Soozin: yeah, because my husband and I we invest a lot in real estate and now we were looking at buying a franchisor a business that somebody’s looking to exit and…

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: really good point about the whole the profitability is skewed when the owners paying themselves so little

Chris Alman: yeah, then there’s a lot of other AD backs, things that they’re gonna scrutinize on you on your and when it comes down even on looking at the profitability, but I mean at the end of the day that’s typically one of the biggest red flags right off the bat So if you’re not paying yourself for reasonable salary, really should there’s compensation studies out there. They’re not always the greatest, if you’ve got the Bureau of Labor Statistics like they put together some great information that gives you a starting point, but honestly just ask yourself…

Adi Soozin: yeah.

Chris Alman: if I was gonna hire someone to do my job if I was being Acquired and that person wanted me to stay on to do my job. How much would I want to be paid because odds are that’s that fair rate.

Adi Soozin: And that’s another aspect to look at is I have some friends who they invest and they say when their companies sold the founder sometimes has to lock in that they’re gonna stay on for five years with the salary they’re paying themselves and…

Chris Alman: Okay.

Adi Soozin: if they were paying themselves peanuts They’re now working for peanuts for five years after an acquisition. That’s like my Yeah, that’s instead of celebrating your morning.

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: So at what point we keep going back to the start of advice and let’s go back to your startup at what point. Did you kind of look around and say this is like my dream. I’ve achieved my dream or do you kind of keep building on the dream and have a next milestone?

Chris Alman: Yeah, no, I don’t feel like that ever subtle. I’m worth the planner right so I’m always looking forward my wife hates it…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: because it’s really feel like we’re there like we made it. I’m already thinking about the next day I’ve moved on and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: part of that is probably me learning that I do have ADD and never knew that I’ve dealt with it my entire life and so it’s easier for me sometimes to make a list of things. I’m not going to do that it is to think about what I will do so,…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: that’s kind of one of the things I don’t feel like I’ve ever really gotten there right as soon as I start getting close.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: I’m just pushing the boundaries a little further out. But as far as feeling that sense of success, I mean, I started feeling that on day one because the,…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: the biggest hurdle in the way it was myself.


Chris Alman: Leaving what I thought I needed and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: and being able to just embrace. that entrepreneurial Journey. Yeah, that was when I realized hey, this is the thing I’ve been wanting to do.

Adi Soozin: Yeah. Yeah. interesting Okay, you have ADI BHD. I love reading about neurobiology. I was wondering why this conversation was so smooth and it’s because we’re both going along the same Rabbit Trail thinking back and forth, but our braids hurt the same way.

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: So it makes sense now, but there’s this one book on neurobiology and it’s called the molecule more basically and there’s another book it’s called. the happiness effect and It’s two books…

Chris Alman: Okay.

Adi Soozin: what they say is a gross summary of hundreds of pages of text is that your brain is happiest when you think of something you really want to achieve and then you feel like you’re progressing toward that goal. But reaching the goal doesn’t actually release a dopamine. It’s thinking about that goal and then seeing little elements of progress along the way. So I love to include that question because it tells you a lot about the person’s neurobiology. are they leveraging dopamine to reach their goals, or they kind of

Chris Alman: Yeah, every thought we’ve all heard the saying it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. I mean, that’s at the end of the day. That’s what I enjoy the ups and downs. I mean it creates a story.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, especially the Downs you’re like I can’t believe I survived that.

Chris Alman: Right you look back and then you’re stronger, You’ve had the experience and…

Adi Soozin: My God. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Alman: it’s like now you’re not afraid of it.

Adi Soozin: One of my company’s face a few attempted hostile takeovers. And before that. I was like, how does CEOs become informed with the legal structure of the country after the third one forget my friends on when marketing who have a legal problem or calling me to ask which strategies I would be using if I was in the shoes and which lawyer I recommend yeah, you don’t realize…

Chris Alman: right

Adi Soozin: how much you’re gonna learn about anything until you’re in the thick of it. But okay, so let’s see. Your business has a very unique value proposition. and you already mentioned that you looked at the playing field that the landscape and you said There’s 70% that are falling through the cracks. I have a win solution. how do you present that to people in a concise way? So they understand look this is a win solution. I’m not trying to sell you on something. I’m creating something that’s going to be a massive value for you.

Chris Alman: Yeah, it’s easy to say that, you show people the numbers and they’re like, yes. I need to do that that never works right that it just shows someone numbers and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: and show them logic. They won’t do anything. So essentially for me, on The aspect of how do you charge that always comes up and when I can say I’m truly aligned with you I don’t get paid from anyone else except for the client. So that part kind of takes down some of that pressure that they feel that no got to do something and then it’s just really helping them Envision where they want to be and…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: once you’re saying a minute ago when you have that goal and you have kind of the destination in mind

Chris Alman: and then you realize where you’re at part of that’s going through that questionnaire when you realize where you’re at, then it’s like okay, there’s some work to do…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: if I really want to be there and sometimes they realize I don’t really want to be there That’s not I thought I wanted that but now looking at it. maybe I want something different right and so from looking at it to see are we on the same page? and how do you get there? I just want people to be successful. I mean at the end of the day,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: that’s what I want to see and if I can help you do that along the way that’s awesome. I want to be there for the journey I don’t really care if you sell your business or not, that’s not my motivation and my fees would reflect that because if you sell your business, I don’t get anything out of it.

Chris Alman: So you kind of lowers that window that we’re not window…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: but that trust barrier. So to be able to understand you’re not trying to sell my business so you can capture my assets that’s always one of the questions but yeah, I don’t know if that answered the question completely or not, but


Adi Soozin: No, basically you said look, okay. Money makes people some I happy. Making people successful and making money while making people successful makes you ultimately have that makes everyone happy. There’s very few people who are lucky enough to be able to structure a business where they make money by making people successful. you think

Chris Alman: Yeah. trying to Right.

Adi Soozin: yeah, yeah.

Chris Alman: It’s like you still find those hurdles. It’s like, the exit strategy. It’s not really about exiting.’s like I said, it’s about building transferable value. But when they always think of it as selling and that’s really not what it’s about. But it’s unfortunate because that’s what the industry always talks about. So that’s what people think. So yeah, just trying to educate a little bit more so that you realize hey, it’s just good business strategy that once they kind of start to see it that way it changes the conversation.

Adi Soozin: So you have to help them have this emotional shift in order.

Chris Alman: Yeah, it’s like going to the dentist. Yeah, people don’t want to hear what they need to change. You’ve got a toothache. You’re like, gosh, they’re gonna have to do a root canal. They’re gonna have to pull my two three and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: it’s like he finally go in and you realize it was just one little thing was stuck in between your teeth and it’s like Now simple,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: but you’re terrified of it. So it’s kind of like exit planning is the same way. I don’t want to talk about it because if I start talking about it might happen anything that here with I only know the only people that I know that die or the ones that have a will It’s like that makes no sense at all. It doesn’t you’re not gonna die. Just because you will leave your family in a lot better place. And if you have that,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: but it’s not going to cause it. So.

Adi Soozin: Yeah, my husband and I update ours on the fives and the zeros. So the year ends at a five or zero, we update the will and…

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: that way. It’s not like tied to us having a fear of something. It’s just tied to a random number on the calendar.

Chris Alman: Yeah. Take some of the emotional aspect out of it. that’s a challenge. It’s the same way with your business too. you can step back and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: look at it as a business instead of personally. Makes it a lot easier.

Adi Soozin: so they’re a movie or book or Mentor who kind of gave you you’re like aha moment or how did you kind of get here?

Chris Alman: Yeah, so I love to read but I hate reading fiction and that kind of stuff for me the fun stuff is business books.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: I love Michael Gerber’s the E myth like that’s a really great book.

Adi Soozin: Yes, that is yeah.

Chris Alman: I really enjoyed what’s it called? Drawing the common path to uncommon success. I don’t know if John Lee Dumas the entrepreneurs on fire. It’s got that podcast. He wrote that book and it was just really interesting because all he does is interview entrepreneurs every day, so

Chris Alman: Yeah, he kind of compiled all the information that he’s learned from so many people over, 14 years into a book and it’s like that was really helpful to see that a lot of the way that businesses really become successful.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: It’s not because they’re doing something that’s new or different or just wild and crazy. It’s just because the common things of being consistent showing up, that stuff. And then there’s the one thing. Yeah, so just kind of forget the guy’s name that wrote that but That was a very good one. But there’s a ton of others. I mean I could literally go on and on about all the business books that I really love. But yeah, I won’t.

Adi Soozin: We can include links to some of them in the show notes so that you guys can hop over there and see what they are. Let’s see.

Chris Alman: Yeah, perfect.

Adi Soozin: What were a few surprising lessons that you learned when you first launched a quick Financial Partners.

Chris Alman: Yeah, I think. the biggest thing that I had to figure out right off the bat with look as far as a surprise goes is realizing that sometimes The credibility and everything that you’ve built at one company. Doesn’t necessarily follow you. Right, and…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: I didn’t expect people to leave the business aisle is at and come with me. A lot of them wouldn’t have fit what I’m doing anyways, but I had also built.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: A lot of the connections through Linkedin and was having conversations with owners about exit strategy. Now, we were having people call the office and asking me about that wanted to talk to me and I was like, I’m at a point right now. I can confidently say if I leave I can continue to do this and then I did and that was not the case. It was crickets for a couple months really before any kind of connection or call came in. So that was one of the biggest shocks. It’s like People were finding me and reaching out to me, but then I changed where I was at to better align with what I was talking about and wanting to do and…


Adi Soozin: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Alman: it was like hold on but wait a second. And so yeah, that was kind of a surprise for me.

Adi Soozin: I got it. Yeah, I am. One of the first things I do with Founders whenever I work with them is we build up their personal brand so that because entrepreneurs tend to love big challenges and…

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: so they’re gonna change from company to company over the years. But once we’ve built out their personal brand, they have that platform to follow them from company to company but it also makes their company so much more resilient to competitors because if the founder is the core value of the business then when somebody else tries to launch something similar, I don’t work there. So how can you copy my value

Chris Alman: Right, but also it can become a challenge from an exit perspective because if your business is you that makes it kind of thought and we’ve seen that I think through different YouTube personalities and things like that. people find their Channel and they want to buy that audience from them and then they do and they fail because that person’s not there. So yeah,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: if you can sell it if there’s people willing to buy it and buy from you it may not continue like it did when you were there? And I know for a lot of owners that Legacy,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: what they leave behind is super important and it’s a challenge, you start to feel that regret if you’re not careful.

Adi Soozin: two sides of the coin

Chris Alman: Yeah, yeah.

Adi Soozin: Alright, so what are some tools and tactics that you use to manage your time and team effectively?

Chris Alman: I think just as first tactics just having that open line of communication really just being able to talk about things find out where the breakdowns are without having that fear of being fired. I know too many people that have I mean, I’ve seen it in the past too. It’s like you’re afraid to say anything because as soon as you say something like all right now now I’m on the short list. Yeah, I had some pushback so just that open communication. I mean, I think that’s where so many problems could easily be fixed. If people were just a little bit more willing to talk about it and realize as an owner. You don’t know everything.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: the things that you do really well, but you don’t know what everyone else does every day. So just being able to address those set that’s kind of from a tactics perspective. As far as one of the best tools. I’ve found just for me and managing time and my focus. It has been wave box. So, I don’t know if you’re familiar with wave box, but it’s a browser that’s built on top of chromium all of your Chrome extensions and everything will work in that browser, but it allows you to just segregate things differently so that you can kind of bucket groups of tabs and it sleeps tabs when you’re not using them. So it’s not draining on the resources. You can actually have multiple cookie containers inside the same browser.

Chris Alman: So, you know that I know it’s been a challenge for me in the past to have two different Google accounts open in the same browser. You had to either open an incognito and move it over to another monitor or something just to be able to do that now.

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: They’re both open, I’ve got a cookie container for the business and it could container for personal stuff. So that’s been a great tool just found that about. six months ago and…

Adi Soozin: Okay.

Chris Alman: then a game changer from a person that deals with Focus.

Adi Soozin: Yeah. Let’s check it out. I just typed it into the browser so I can look at it after.

Chris Alman: Yeah, yeah. It is a paid browser. So just Okay prepared but

Adi Soozin: something that I think I’m sure. You wouldn’t expect it to be free. what is the best way for entrepreneurs to get in touch with you? Is it quora LinkedIn Facebook page email website.


Chris Alman: Yeah, generally. I mean my website’s great always happy because there’s plenty of information there. So if you just want to learn more about me, but I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. I do try to post a video as well every week to LinkedIn to YouTube. So I’ve got a YouTube channel as well. if you just search for my name, you’ll find it pretty easy to find but yeah,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: those are both great places just to reach out. I’m also happy for anybody to email or call. Yeah. Unfortunately, I do answer the phone most of the time so for me because that means there’s a lot of telling marketers and things like that, but we all deal with that and whether it’s a good usage of time or not. I don’t know but I do know that I have a lot of great conversations and at the end of the day relationships matter, so

Adi Soozin: Yeah, people do work with people LinkedIn.

Chris Alman: exactly

Adi Soozin: YouTube and what’s your website? You’re elegant?

Chris Alman: Yeah, it’s equipped So EQ

Adi Soozin: All Okay, and then last thing we’re wrapping it up. If you have something to offer the audience,…

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: maybe part of your questionnaire. This is where you would mention it.

Chris Alman: Yeah, so like I said that questionnaire is probably one of the things that I am most proud of it. Like I said, it is somewhat long sometimes but if you’re willing to just take a few minutes to do that, I think it’ll be immensely helpful for someone that runs a business to be able to see it and look at it objectively and know what you need to do if you ever plan to sell and the other thing is if you plan to die at your desk, or die on the battlefield. it’s a messy one, it’s a messy exit. It’s still an exit. So if you’re going to do that,…

Adi Soozin: Yeah.

Chris Alman: you need to be preparing differently. So yeah having that conversation and that realization with yourself kind of early ons probably pretty important so that question or help you Kind of see where you want to go.

Adi Soozin: And then on the questionnaire you include the link where people can book a call with you. biggest

Chris Alman: Yes, it’s on the questionnaire as well. Yeah, so you shouldn’t have any trouble.

Adi Soozin: Alright, so you all know how to get in touch with him. You can go to the show notes go to his interview page download that and check out the questionnaire catch up with him LinkedIn YouTube. Yeah this website Chris. Thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today. Share your insights and your story for those of…

Chris Alman: Yeah.

Adi Soozin: who are not sure if you’re gonna do an exit or not for your startup. you have so much information to get you started on that path. Remember you have five year countdown. So if you’re thinking changing it all within the next five years, you should be checking out that questionnaire today. I look forward to seeing you all on the show next time Chris. Do you have anything? closing

Chris Alman: That had just really appreciate the time today and really wish that everyone would start sooner.

Adi Soozin: Yes, of course. Take care guys.

Chris Alman: Thanks.

Adi Soozin: Stop the transcription as well. What?

Chris Alman: All Gonna do okay. I said that I do. Okay because

Meeting ended after 00:48:27 👋

Adi Soozin, Adi Vaughn Soozin

This interview was conducted by Adi Soozin of If you enjoyed this interview and would like to see more like this: follow Adi on LinkedIn or drop your email in below to receive regular updates.


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