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Driving Profit with Mergers and Acquisitions with Jeremy Harbour, The Harbour Club

December 8, 2021

Starting a business from scratch isn’t the only way to create profit. Acquiring a business, growing it, and selling it could be a much simpler way to achieve your wealth goals. Jeremy Harbour, the world-leading expert on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joins A.J. to discuss how you could build more wealth than you ever dreamed of by acquiring businesses and selling them for a profit. 
Tune in to hear how Jeremy grew his wealth exponentially by doing this and how you can too. 


About our guest: 

Jeremy Harbour is the founder of The Unity Group of Companies, which specializes in attracting investment and generating opportunities for small or medium businesses to scale. He is also the founder of The Harbour Club. This invite-only M&A training seminar provides students with tools and strategies to buy and sell businesses without capital or taking on debt. 

On Today’s Episode: 

  • Who is Jeremy Harbour? – 0:59 
  • Where Jeremy sees himself in his entrepreneurial journey. – 4:01 
  • How entrepreneurs are the change agents in society. – 4:49 
  • The disconnection between global capitalism and small businesses. – 6:26
  • The three fundamental problems that institutional investors have. – 9:09 
  • The challenges with search funds. -10:29 
  • The funding strategies in Jeremy’s program. – 13:08 
  • Why the best time to sell your business is now. -15:25 
  • The series of epiphanies Jeremy has had on his entrepreneurial journey. -16:05
  • How acquiring a business just for key people can be a great move. – 18:50 
  • What happens when you sell a company. -20:20 
  • How private wealth banking has exponentially grown Jeremy’s wealth. -21:26
  • The criteria Jeremy met to qualify for Private Wealth Banking -26:23 
  • How Jeremy structures his programs so that his students get the most value. -29:22
  • The importance of researching mentors before you invest. -35:21 

Key Takeaways: 

  • There are many types of business funding, and they aren’t all created equal. Securing capital for your business ventures can be difficult and time-consuming. 
  • Acquiring a business can be more beneficial than starting one from scratch because you can take the company that was already built and grow it exponentially and sell it later on. 
  • Selling your business can provide you with opportunities you didn’t realize existed. You can get so much time back and the money to invest in opportunities that can grow your wealth. 
  • You can turn the profits from selling your business into passive income. There are many ways to do this. You will gain so much of your time back to focus on growing what you have. 
  • Investing in business education can give you an enormous advantage. Of course, you should always research mentors before spending money. The right one can hugely impact your success.

 

You don’t have to build from the ground up to own a successful business. 

[18:37] “You can stick another engine on the plane. You’ve got the organic stuff- your sales, your marketing. The other engine you can add is acquiring business to either give you the product, revenue, or the talent.” 

How can you apply this principle in your business practice? Tell us in the comments, and don’t forget to say hello if you would like to share your entrepreneurship story on our podcast. 

 

Connect with Jeremy Harbour: 

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Transcript

[00:01:29] A.J. Lawrence: Yes, he is sort of the godfather of the no money down acquisition concept. But I think many of the Johnny-come-lately’s in the space have corrupted that message in having read his book. And now talking with him, I think we’re gonna get a very different concept than you may see from some of the people who are shouting, oh, you can get a company, no money down. Oh, be rich, da da.

[00:01:59] Today’s guest, I think will get a good chance to understand the differences in the nuances and the work that has to occur to create this type of environment. I’m really just excited to learn his thought process. And also how he looks to invest in the world. It’s pretty interesting in reading about today’s guest. Looking at his Harbour club and then looking at his own personal stuff, he has created a very unique process and the group that he’s developed and the course, and everything is very active in sharing new ideas and what’s possible out there. I’m actually looking at, so it should be. It will be really great to have our guest on today and just learn more about what goes on.

[00:02:50] All right. So without much further ado, please let’s welcome Jeremy Harbour of the Harbour Club.

[00:02:57] Hey, Jeremy, thank you so much for coming here on the show. I’ve been receiving your newsletter for a couple of years now, and I’ve learned so much and I’m really excited to have you on because you’ve helped me think so much about so many cool things that I hope we get a chance to go into, but thank you so much for coming on the show.

[00:03:18] Jeremy Harbour: Nice. Thank you for having me.

[00:03:19] A.J. Lawrence: Anywhere you turn right now in sort of the entrepreneurial space. People are really hot to try around Acquisition Entrepreneurship and I know there’s a gazillion frameworks and terms we can kind of talk about. But there’s so many people who have been jumping on it in the past, less than the past two years and yet you’ve been doing this since way back 2009. Before really kind of taking in your thought process about all this, you know, this craziness in the space, can we actually just talk about how do you see where you are in your own entrepreneurial journey as an entrepreneur now? Where do you see yourself?

[00:04:01] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, it’s interesting. So I’m kind of at a level right now where I’m shifting into solving some of the really big problems. So I think, 20 years ago I bought my first company, 11 years ago, I started the Harvard club community, which is the stuff that you receive, all those newsletters. I’d love to read those newsletter by the way. I’ve never written one of them. So it’d be interesting to see.

[00:04:21] A.J. Lawrence: I love content writers.

[00:04:25] Jeremy Harbour: And you know, I did sort first deal 20 years ago, the community 10 years ago. And now I feel I’ve reached a kind level where I can say no to a lot more stuff, and I can focus on the things I think are gonna have a really big impact.

[00:04:38] I’m not talking about that fluffy nonsense stuff here. Impact in my life, impact the world that we live in, and I think empowering entrepreneurs to create wealth is the, is the the work, God’s work almost cause entrepreneurs are the change agents in society. They’re the ones who go after big stuff. If you look around, all the things that upset you whatever that is, if it’s climate change or homelessness or cancer or whatever, whatever it is in the world that you wanna fix, I think entrepreneurs have the solution to it.

[00:05:08] Entrepreneurs so often just get bogged down for 30 years in a business they can’t escape from and they never really create any wealth. And I think if we can unlock value for entrepreneurs, then I think they will go on and solve some of the biggest problems in the world.

[00:05:23] We need more Elon Musks. We need more people that make their money and then apply that incredible knowledge and skill set into solving bigger problem.

[00:05:35] A.J. Lawrence: I fully agree. And I kind of feel like this is such a great space because I remember starting my first businesses in the early 90s, $5,000 for a really crappy computer, let alone all the other infrastructure. I just always go back to that. I was like, wow, I had four employees. And it was like, I almost had to like sell a limb just for technology.

[00:05:59] Jeremy Harbour: And the first thing you always got was your letterhead. Who starts a business with letterhead now?

[00:06:04] A.J. Lawrence: And sadly, that is so correct. Like what do you mean your business card? It was like, oh God. You kind of also said earlier, like you’re now starting to think more about the bigger issues. What are some of the ones that you are really looking at now for your business?

[00:06:19] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah. Well, so the biggest thing right now for me is this disconnection between global capital and small business. So small business is the engine of every economy in a mature economy, like where you are in Spain or America or UK, or anywhere like that.

[00:06:34] 50% of the economy comes from small business. 90% of the private sector workers work in small business. Yet they get the shitty end of the stick when it comes to tax, when it comes to banking and when it comes to finance. In fact, if you look at global finance, I mean, everybody talks about, we need to tax billionaires more. Actually we don’t.

[00:06:53] The money is all sticking in institutions. The top 500 institutions control $93 trillion of capital. This is things like endowment funds and the Harvard endowment is a big one, sovereign wealth funds, charity, all these guys, they’ve got $93 trillion. They pride themselves on diversification and they go to conferences where they talk about how well diversified they are. And you can look at the pie chart, all the gazillion asset classes they’re in. But the asset classes are all basically, apart from real estate, they’re all basically derivatives. Or things, they’re not real, they’re not in the real economy. They’re fabricated products that have been created by banks and financial institutions for them to invest in. In fact the most alarming thing is that from that $93 trillion, those institutions have a larger allocations to Bitcoin than they do to small business.

[00:07:44] And small business is half of economic output. 90% of the people that you’ll meet are working in those small businesses. And that just astonishes me. That is a massive financial disconnect. Because effectively you’ve got all this money sitting in these completely electronic product and then you’ve got a real economy where everybody lives and works. And if you can reconnect those two, if you could parachute even a 10% asset allocation, so what is 50% of economic output, this would have a transformative effect on those entrepreneurs. It would literally democratize wealth from these huge institutions into every town, sticky village Hamlet around the world, because that’s where entrepreneurs are. And then those entrepreneurs can go on and solve some other bigger problems that we face. So yeah, that’s kinda what I mean.

[00:08:30] A.J. Lawrence: So you’re focusing on how to get more attention on the global of global finance.

[00:08:36] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah. We’ve created a structure called agglomeration, which is kind of trademarked process that we’ve created. That is a governance structure that allows lots of small companies to effectively share a common, publicly listed holding company. And we believe this solve that three key problems that these institutional investors have in participating in the small business arena.

[00:09:05] And those three problems are too risky. They go bus too much. They lack scale. So they can’t deploy enough capital into them. And they lack liquidity. They can’t invest and divest easily. If you invest in an entrepreneurial business, you’re stuck there for decades. And so by creating a portfolio of small businesses under a common public listed holding company, you now have a portfolio approach that reduces risk. You have scale, cause you’re now a massive multinational public company and you have liquidity. They can buy and sell their shares on a daily basis.

[00:09:34] A.J. Lawrence: I do find it very interesting, cuz it is confusing coming in, looking to acquire or put more capital into the space. Do you become a search funder? Do you become, you know, what is it? Angel list just started a spark. So AngelList, which is so funny because they are the default for angel investing, now all of a sudden they want in on this game. And you can $15,000 spin up your own spark.

[00:10:02] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah. The search funders always amuse me cause they effectively come predominantly through the kinda MBA channel. So you do your MBA.

[00:10:13] A.J. Lawrence: They really, yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:15] Jeremy Harbour: Search funds are sort of MBA strategy. Professor tips a bit of cash in, you know, they put a bit of cash in. The challenges with search funds are multiple. Because first of all, the person actually doing all the work doesn’t get much of the equity because they have to return a lot of the value to the partners that have put money in. So become kind of a busy (inaudible) as a search funder cuz you do all the work, the running around, and everything.

[00:10:38] You take all the risk pissing off your investors, and you don’t get much of the upside cause you have to share most of it back to them. But when you’re dealing with these small to medium size businesses, the flip is often six or early seven figures. Well, if you’re giving 80% of that away to someone, it’s just a fucking salary. It’s not a life changing capital event creating.

[00:10:59] And the other problem is the MBA route basically teaches people best practice for due diligence when assessing companies. Well small companies, let me tell you, are all a bit shit.

[00:11:12] A.J. Lawrence: I’ve had many of them, so yes.

[00:11:15] Jeremy Harbour: I mean, look, anyone that’s been there and done it will understand that running a small business is a little bit of a juggling act between various different things. I often describe it as robbing Peter, but not always paying Paul. So you kind of have these businesses that just don’t stand up for the kinda scrutiny that the search fund wants them to stand up to. And so they invariably just go around wasting a ton of people’s time because they’re gonna meet all these small businesses. They get them stuck in long, drawn out due diligence processes that ultimately go nowhere.

[00:11:44] And they have this kind of analysis paralysis where they just don’t get the deal done. I would much rather take the Warren Buffet approach which is, price is my due diligence and cover your downside on the way in to mitigate the risks that you inherently get when you get involved in a small business. So much better to focus on, you know, my very first business was buying and selling stuff on a market school when I was 14 years old. And the expression in market trading was bought right is half sold. So the price going in is, is half of the job, you know, selling it is, is other half actually in the prices is of the work.

[00:12:22] And it’s exactly that with businesses, you need to be positioned right in the first place to be able to capture the upside going through.

[00:12:30] A.J. Lawrence: That is a great analogy and kind of looking at it. And it is interesting because I think there is all of a sudden, as this is evolving out there, a lot of the concept of Baby Berkshire, that’s becoming kind of a common. There’s people like that, the PERMA capital approach.

[00:12:48] Jeremy Harbour: Yep.

[00:12:48] A.J. Lawrence: Mix of acquisitions, investments, and just seating. In your program, is there sort of a one direction or is it kind of –

[00:12:58] Jeremy Harbour: No, so we have 15 different strategies and I must point out the strategies that I talk about through the Harbour Club are ones that are tried and tested by me over the last 20 years. So we use real case studies, real examples, it’s not theoretical bullshit. It’s actual tactical kind of on the ground stuff and in fact, one of them is pretty much the mini Hathaway strategy, but we flipped it on its head slightly, again based on experience.

[00:13:25] Because what looks great in a spreadsheet is putting these companies together, rinsing out load of synergies and sticking a manager in charge. In reality, it doesn’t work. Small businesses, the value is created between the culture that the owner has with its staff makes customers. And if you just take the owner out and try and homogenize everything, you lose that value, that inherent goodwill you’re trying to pick up through acquiring that business.

[00:13:50] And so the traditional kind of rinse out the synergy buy and build strategy doesn’t actually work that well in order-managed businesses. And I’ve tried it many, many times, and I’m sure there are people out there that can do this better than me. But my experience has been, it’s brought with danger. And so, we try and retain the entrepreneurs and give them a platform to grow their business, rather than just buying them out and sending them off into the sunset with a pile of money that I now owe to the bank, which I don’t see as being a terribly sustainable model.

[00:14:20] What we find is you often want to retain that person that’s doing the job of three people for the salary of half a person.

[00:14:27] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:14:27] Jeremy Harbour: And you kinda want them to stick around through the process, our version of the mini halfway, if you like, is founder driven rather than top down driven. And I think that’s where we win over quite a few of those strategies that are more built on a theoretical platform.

[00:14:43] A.J. Lawrence: And that is a lot of what attracted me to learning more about your program, because I do think there’s something. The way I look at it, as someone who keeps taking swings at this, if I could have had helpful investors let’s just say, or even partners earlier in some of my things, I wouldn’t have sold either way too early or on the downside after letting my ego again, to play and other things.

[00:15:08] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah. Timing on exit is impossible to time. So my catch phrase is always the best time to sell your business is now. Because all the reasons you can come up with to not sell your business now are probably the reasons the buyer wants to hear. Like it’s gonna be double the size next year.

[00:15:27] A.J. Lawrence: You’re right.

[00:15:28] Jeremy Harbour: And that situation will you just tick an earnout links to that future performance if you’re really gonna head out (inaudible) and get a share of the upside if it does do what you expected to do next year. And never underestimate the financial freedom a capital event gives you to be able to move on and become bigger and stronger.

[00:15:47] A.J. Lawrence: What do you see as the major impact of one event or process or, you know, something on your own entrepreneurial journey?

[00:15:55] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, I would define my entrepreneurial journey as a series of epiphanies. And when I first started, it was start a business, work it up. That’s the only way to success. Every bok I read that’s how they became successful. Every seminar I go to, that’s how they become successful. That’s what I need to do. I need to start business and I need to work harder than, I’ll outwork everyone. That was the goal.

[00:16:17] And then I did that for a while then I, and with varying degrees of success and failure and obviously my first few businesses up I think as everybody does, and then had one that was reasonabl y functional, which happened to be in Telecoms and Telecoms just at that time in the 1990s was booming cause mobile phones were miniaturizing.

[00:16:37] Telecoms markets would be regulating around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people set up their own telecoms businesses. And then as often happens in a fragmented marketplace, it started to consolidate very quickly as well. Everyone started buying everybody else.

[00:16:51] So all of a sudden I found myself in a position where I was speaking to people who were trying to buy my company, every week. And the idea of an acquisition had never crossed my mind. I mean, literally, I didn’t have enough cash to pay my salary at the end of the month. Let alone go and buy a buy a business. So, just wasn’t even on my radar.

[00:17:09] But what I realized is that what these people were pitching to me basically was a kind of jam tomorrow type solution to some of my problems in a way that created a bigger entity, and the penny dropped, but they didn’t have any money either. They were probably in the same, you know, they made themselves sound better, but then we all make ourselves sound better.

[00:17:29] So that was the first epiphany. And then, I basically switched sides to the table and went out, looking for a company to buy. And we talked earlier about before we started this call about luck. And there was a degree of luck, I think, in finding that first opportunity because they had motivations that required them to do a deal. Now they wanted money upfront. I didn’t have money upfront and I proposed a deal that didn’t involve money upfront. Had I had the money, I would’ve just given it to them. And I’d be sitting on this podcast saying, you can do deals. They need a little bit of money upfront. But necessity, necessity is the mother of invention.

[00:18:04] And I had no money. It was pay my credit card bill or pay the staff. There wasn’t give this guy a ton of money. And so I closed the deal without any money upfront because he needed it to happe and there weren’t a queue of people with checkbooks waiting to buy the business. And that’s also a key, there’s not a queue of people out there with checkbooks waiting to buy these businesses.

[00:18:22] And we grew by years for sales in an afternoon. And that was a major epiphany for me, which is you can stick another engine on the plane. You’ve got your organic stuff, your sales and your marketing. And then there’s this other engine you can add, which is acquiring businesses to either give you product or they give you revenue or they give you talent. Sometimes acquiring a business just for key people can be a great move. And it just opened my eyes to a whole new area. And in fact, opened it to such an extent that I went on a rampage and I bought 12 businesses in 18 months. We went from a million and half revenue to a 13 and a half million revenue, went from 20 star to 135 star. To put it in perspective, before I did that first deal, I was trying to wrestle up two and half grand to give this guy as a sweetener to close the deal. And I couldn’t lay my hands on 2500 pounds at the time. Eighteen months later and my payroll 250 grand a month.

[00:19:18] The shift, just the shift in that short space of time was astonishing. The next epiphany was I sold one of the companies. What I had for company, it was 12 companies, 13 and a half million of revenue. I was paying myself a really decent sum of money every month. I was living in a really nice house that I’d bought. I was driving a very nice sports car, all the things that were important to a 20-something year old guy, but I didn’t have any wealth.

[00:19:45] I didn’t create any wealth. There really wasn’t any significant savings or capital or anything like that. I then sold a business and that was the next major epiphany, because the reason I hadn’t sold it before is I was always waiting for it to be this 50 million-100 million deal.

[00:20:03] This is what I saw as being an exit, not some couple of million type of situation. But what I realized is when you do sell a company, A you create a capital event and I always have this tagline that you don’t make money running businesses. You make money when you sell them.

[00:20:18] So you wanna be kinda selling often and creating these capital events often. And the game changer for me cause in my mind, it’s like, well, I can’t survive the rest of my life on 2 million pounds, you know? But what I’ve missed is that’s not the deal. The deal is you get all your time back and don’t underestimate how much time you get back.

[00:20:38] The other thing is that 2 million correctly deployed to create quite a significant passive income to the point where you don’t need to actually do anything to cover all of your day to day expenses. And if you don’t need to do anything to cover all of your day to day expenses, you have the ultimate financial freedom.

[00:20:52] You take much better decisions. If a deal is taking six months, instead of three months, you’re not gonna star, you know. It just puts you in that much, much stronger position to go out and attack the world. And so that first little bit is just a massive platform to grow exponentially. And that was kind of the next big epiphany.

[00:21:11] And then the next big epiphany was probably private wealth banking and the journey for private wealth banking has literally 10Xed my wealth, probably six or seven years. There was a really long stretch until that kinda first exit that was probably a 10 year journey or a 10 year plus journey. And then there was a shorter space of time to buying and selling businesses and creating regular capital events. And then there’s the private wealth banking experience which just take everything to another level. So it’s been a series of epiphanies for me.

[00:21:47] A.J. Lawrence: So when you talk about, and this is, I think something interesting also from a lot, we just had Mike Boyd who runs the business family podcast about creating family businesses and stuff and talks.

[00:21:59] Jeremy Harbour: Oh, great. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:22:00] A.J. Lawrence: So when you talk about private wealth banking, are you meaning you are investing then in these, the private, you know, things, or are you talking about them having the capital to give to invest in private?

[00:22:13] Jeremy Harbour: No. Do you know what? I never invest in small businesses. I really should. But the only way I do it is through my own agglomeration, but no. Private wealth banking is banking for rich people. And you would not believe how unfair it is to everybody else. So when you’re an ultra, high net worth individual, you get access to private wealth banking.

[00:22:30] And this is why I think most wealth gurus that you hear talking about this stuff aren’t actually wealthy because nobody talks about private wealth banking and if they were an ultra high net worth, they would’ve invited to have a private wealth bank account by now. They would be telling you, fuck, this stuff is crazy. I’ll give you a couple of just really super simple examples.

[00:22:51] If you want a property in one of the prime location, (inaudible) Monaco, Switzerland, something like that. Yeah. They will give you a 100% mortgage on that property at less than 1% interest with no capital repayment on the mortgage at all. So if you’re interested any mortgage and that works for a number of reasons, because you simply pay the interest fee.

[00:23:13] If you’re in a country that has a wealth tax, you can offset the mortgage against the wealth tax. It’s tax mitigation strategy. And of course you have the appreciation of the property and those locations that you capture all of, whilst this debt sits there. The other thing is you’ve got access to products that you just can’t access as a private investor.

[00:23:31] So for example, all of the mutual funds that you can invest in. Warren Buffet says don’t buy mutual funds, just buy index funds because of the fees. Well, actually, if you buy the institutional version of that same fund, then you have the same fee structure as an ETF. So you’re gonna manage fund, but with very low fees.

[00:23:49] So what happens is when you know, Schroeders launch a new fund, they have an institutional offering first, which gets filled up by all those institutions we talked about earlier plus private clients like me which has a very low fee structure. They then have one for the rest of the world, which has a really high fee structure associated with it, which actually pays for all the people and the managers’ massive salaries and stuff.

[00:24:10] So you get access to these funds that are much, much lower cost. You also get Lombard lending, which is the ability to pull money down against a portfolio.

[00:24:17] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:24:18] Jeremy Harbour: In my case, it’s about 0.7% a year. You can use that anything that’s, it’s not secured by the bank. You can go and spend it on a yacht or a car or whatever, or you can put it back into more investments. So you can draw money down at 0.7% interest per year. And for example, provide property bridging finance, which pays you a couple of percent a month.

[00:24:36] So you are borrowing at 0.7% a year. You’ve got 2% a month coming in, secured by real estate. So there’s all sorts of things like that that you can do within the private world banking arena that you just can’t do with a regular retail bank.

[00:24:51] And it just means that you have this opportunity to snowball all of your wealth once you’ve invested in stocks and bonds and traditional assets. With the private wealth bank, you never have to sell something to get cash out. The bank will give you cash for whatever it is you wanna do. Yeah, that’s the game changer, whereas before it was kind of like you have your portfolio, but then you see something you like and you have to sell some of it to go and buy the thing that you like. You always have that headwind of expenditure.

[00:25:15] A.J. Lawrence: Well, and I know to a certain degree, the concept is if you have to ask you don’t have enough. But about what time in your growth? Because this is something I think a lot of us in the great appreciation that’s, you know, yes, this is a great resignation going on, but a lot of us have had asset appreciation unfathomable in the past couple of years. When did you start getting about you know-

[00:25:37] Jeremy Harbour: Well, so the rules generally so for the private banks, I mean, like Julius Baer that I bank with for example, and if you go to Julius their website and search my name there’s a little video about me (inaudible) I’m good client of theirs and they’re the largest Swiss private bank. There are there’s UBS and credit fees, they’re more investment banks rather than pure private banks. They have private banking (inaudible) the largest Swiss private bank. Their criteria is 10 million net worth 3 million cash. And that’s like a very, very much a starting level. And they’re quite discriminatory as well cause if they think it’s only gonna be 3 million, then they won’t bother.

[00:26:13] They wanna see the portfolio grow into a 20, 30 million plus over time. You know, 3 million of cash is it’s a decent deal. So you need to get a decent deal under your belt, a decent capital event. And that’s your stepping stone. The first step on that ladder into the private banking space.

[00:26:30] A.J. Lawrence: Nice. No, I like that. It’s an aspirational, but for a lot of entrepreneurs, that’s the whole point of what we’re doing and having that as part of our journey, because too often we think of it as this one way. Start something either fail or Paul Zuckerberg. But the reality is most of us have, pretty curving entities.

[00:26:53] Jeremy Harbour: Exactly. And I think that’s the lesson I’d like to have learned sooner which is to get that first exit. To be honest, even if you sell it in two, three years for half a million, about half a million creates enough passive income. There are enough things you can do to generate 15 to 20% return on that money reasonably passively. Not please don’t put it into a business acquisition, but yeah, in more traditional assets that can give you that sort of return, which is enough to keep the lights on and keep you fed while you go do something really meaningful and big scale.

[00:27:24] A.J. Lawrence: All right. Well, what’s something now that you’re finding and we kind of chatted a little bit before we started the recording. What are you finding interesting? Because usually I ask what are you finding something that’s gonna have a huge impact, but you had a pretty good point of view of what’s happening around this space right now. What are you finding interesting that’s going on?

[00:27:46] Jeremy Harbour: Well, yeah, I mean, the thing we were talking about. So look, I started the Harbour Club, not to actually, to be an empty seminar. So one of the M&A deals I did many, many years ago was a seminar business.

[00:27:58] I hated the way it fundamentally wasted entrepreneurs time, because entrepreneur’s time is valuable asset. Go on a free 3-day seminar. The first day is how fucking great the second day is gonna be. The second day is like a little bit of detail, but not what you thought you were gonna get. And the last one is the upsell, right? Do the gold, platinum, diamond mentorship, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I just found that infuriating as an entrepreneur to not get what you thought you were gonna get and just to be constantly sold to and sold to and sold to. But at the same time, I was starting to get a name for myself in acquiring companies.

[00:28:35] Typically, cuz I would buy people’s competitors for nothing. And they’d be really pissed off. They didn’t have the opportunity to buy that competitor themselves for a dollar down. And so these people were approaching me all the time to ask me to do consulting or become a non-exec fool or stuff.

[00:28:49] And I’d rather put a gun in my mouth. I couldn’t think of any good reason why I would want to go and do that. And then when I bought this seminar company, I thought actually, maybe education is the answer. So instead of them hiring me, I’ll teach them. And then if they go off and be successful, I can be proud of them instead of jealous of them.

[00:29:07] And and it’ll be a nice mutually beneficial sort of relationship, but I’m gonna do a seminar. It’s gotta be nothing like any of these others. So no upsells, give them bags and bags of content in a really short space of time, make everything action orientated so it’s all about them taking action to get results. Cause ultimately. You know, learn learning is just learning.

[00:29:27] You can read books about most topics. You can read books about playing tennis. It’s not gonna prepare you to get on a court and actually play tennis. Experience is where you’re really gonna learn this, not from the course, but we have some invaluable things to share with people because there’s a lot of things that seem logical that don’t work in business.

[00:29:45] And there’s a lot of things that do work that don’t seem logical. And so walking people through our own direct experiences of those particular things, we think, be really, really helpful cause it stops people bumping their heads in the same places.

[00:29:58] Plus we’ve got a couple thousand members that are rigorously testing all of these things and obviously the landscape keeps changing. So within the community, there are people posting videos constantly about new LinkedIn packages that work or new ways of approaching people or automation tools that have come out that do certain things that can help people be more successful.

[00:30:19] So the way we’ve structured it, and it’s evolved a lot since the very first course back in 2009, but it’s a membership community. We have our own app. We have a couple thousand active people all over the world so you now when you do when you have business partners in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, UK, the US, all across Europe, Canada. You need a partner in Paris, you can quickly find a partner in Paris to partner up on a deal that you’ve stumbled across or any state in the US or anywhere that you might think of. So it’s a great community from that perspective.

[00:30:50] You also have loads of different industrial expertise within there so that solves a lot of problems. So basically they have like a pre to kinda get warmed up to all of the concepts, then there’s a three day really aggressive brain dump of information. And then there’s a 12-week kind follow up mentoring, mastermind type thing with somebody that’s got some experience of doing deals to take them through those first action points and of course all of that time they’re in the community as well within the app so they can ask questions. They can do stuff. Every Harbour Club member gets my WhatsApp number as well to ask me all questions.

[00:31:23] There is nothing else they can buy from us. There is only one ticket. We make the ticket, it’s not expensive compared to other programs, but we do have a price that’s high enough to discriminate by members. We want people that perhaps already have a successful business or have already created a little bit of financial success for themselves because that keeps the membership a high value community effectively of people. And that’s kinda it in a nutshell, it’s the anti seminar.

[00:31:51] A.J. Lawrence: It’s interesting, especially with what’s happened over the past 18 months of COVID. Companies that were so focused on just the seminar and the rinse and repeat, and the seminar in person had to adapt. And I’ve talked to some people, some have had great difficulties, and I know a few seminar places that are up for sale.

[00:32:11] Some have found that the community aspect has actually increased their value and they’re seeing higher engagement because of that. It’s like, oh, we never really thought, other than the ad hoc discussion that having this community would be such a big thing. And all of a sudden it’s become richer. So are your seminars in person or do you have virtual?

[00:32:33] Jeremy Harbour: It’s virtual but live, yeah. I’m involved in all the Q and A with people live and we go through everything that we do virtually, and then we have events which are live where everybody can get together and network and to meet each other.

[00:32:44] But they’re more case study driven. So we get a load of people on stage, just through case. And when somebody joins the community, they get one deal Fest kinda ticket. So they can along to a few, any future deal Fest they like so they can come straight after the event or they can leave it until they’ve done a deal or after a year or whatever they fancy and then come along to one of those.

[00:33:03] A.J. Lawrence: Okay. I like that concept. So how often do you start the sub? You know, I guess starting is the right term.

[00:33:10] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, so we do three different time zones. We do an Asia time zone, a European time zone, and a North American time zone. And we tend to run one of each time zone pretty much every month or two.So if you wanted to do a US one, there’s gonna be one in the next three or four months probably.

[00:33:28] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah. And a lot of our listeners are, given that I’m in America even though I’m living in Spain, we’re about 70% US, but we do have a good amount of English speaking Europeans, or as I like to say, weird expats. I see talk with more Irish techs, attorneys here in Benalmádena than I do Spaniards sometimes.

[00:33:50] So it’s Scottish IT guy sold multiple. It’s like, okay, what are we all doing here? We’re joining the sun. I like that concept. And you know, I think as I mentioned, I am going to join because this is some of the things you’ve talked about, well, as you jokingly said, your content writers have created in your newsletter that are very interesting because as someone who has, I haven’t had as good luck selling my businesses. I jokingly said my very first business I sold at for a million dollars of paper when I was 24 to only have, and to gave them, I made every mistake because I didn’t talk to anyone. I just was like, yes. And yeah. They took my cash and they went bankrupt within three and a half months.

[00:34:35] Jeremy Harbour: Wow.

[00:34:35] A.J. Lawrence: So that was, been in this ongoing learning, but I really do like how you talk about leveraging the ability to help improve companies and all this stuff. So it is an interesting approach that I don’t think I’m hearing as much out there.

[00:34:49] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah. The market is a little bit saturated at the moment. With the blind leading blind when it comes to this kinda stuff, but a bunch of people that haven’t done deals trying to teach people how to do deals. And like I said, there’s a lot of things that seem logical, in practice don’t actually work. And they can be quite painful lessons sometimes when you go through them.

[00:35:10] So I would always just encourage people and look, this goes to everything in life, but do a little bit of due diligence. Have a little bit of poke around into the background of the person before you give them some money. I mean, just a great example is if they’ve written books, go back to- cause the latest book they will have written will be about how they’re an amazing 20-year M&A veteran.

[00:35:31] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:35:31] Jeremy Harbour: Perhaps go read the book they wrote four years ago or the book they wrote five years ago and read the bio. Yeah. Cause the bio will be them selling a seminar on something completely different. Cause the seminar industry is like that. They move on the thing that they can get the most clicks for when they do their facebook campaign or their Google campaign or whatever it is they’re using to promote their business. These guys are experts in marketing, they’re digital marketers, and the product they sell you is less relevant than the marketing. If I wanna be really cynical about this, the federal trade commission just clamp down on a whole bunch of these seminar operators who are in the consumer space because when you tell to consumers, there’s a whole bunch of rules around selling to consumers.

[00:36:12] Well, by selling a buying a business course, they can argue that this is a business proposition and therefore more sophisticated. And so they get less, you still have the federal trade commission, you still have to deal with that, but it’s much less scrutiny when it’s considered to be business to business and you get away. There’s not so much litigation around unfair contracts and things like that. So a whole bunch of them have dived on this space all at the same time and funnily enough, they all have very, very similar bios to me. I dunno if they’ve copied me or what, but they all seem to be 20 years with a hundred deals with 15 deal structures and you’re like what you meaan, that’s Jeremy.

[00:36:49] Just do a little bit of due diligence, 10 minutes of poking around on Google and you will very quickly see the ones that are real and the ones that are not real. It stands out.

[00:37:00] A.J. Lawrence: And $5,000 content site flips are slightly different than

[00:37:06] Jeremy Harbour: And also of course look out for the was $200 now it’s only $90.99 to learn all this stuff because you know that’s just to get your attention (inaudible)

[00:37:20] A.J. Lawrence: We do try and keep it a little bit more of people outside of some of those lovely, I know it’s not all Clickfunnels, but I do kind of jokingly call it the click funnels crowd. And I’m sorry, click funnels. Yeah. But sometimes your people tend to be a little bit , let’s get the deal done as quickly. So besides applying to the Harbour club, what are some other ways that people can engage with you?

[00:37:43] Jeremy Harbour: So this is one of the big challenges we’ve always had. This is a big complex topic, and it’s kinda hard to know, is this something you want to do or is this not something you want to do. So we’ve created a kinda polarizing process, I guess you could call it, which is we have a 21-day completely free email thing that you can go through. I dunno if you’ve done this or not, but you get an email every day for 21 days and by the end of that, basically you’ll know if this is for you or not.

[00:38:15] You can reach out to my team at Harbour Club so if you just go to harbourclubevents.com, John Hartley on that team, he will just get you connected straight away. Also, if you buy my book, Go Do Deals.

[00:38:30] A.J. Lawrence: Yep.

[00:38:30] Jeremy Harbour: Which is quite a good resource for this kinda stuff. If you buy on our website and our website, godo.deals, and if you buy the hard copy from there, you get the 21 day thing automatically. But you can get the 21 day thing without buying the book. You just have to reach out to our team and they’ll set you up on it. But yeah, you get an email every day. Like I said, it takes you through starting. It takes you through how you actually do a deal with them. It takes you a couple of different processes from our repertoire of processes. You get some turnaround tactics that you can use to add value to the business. You get some exit tips, and then we actually do touch on some of the private wealth stuff as well, just to give people a taster of what’s at the other end of the process. So yeah, it’s really good walk through everything.

[00:39:15] A.J. Lawrence: I like that. And we’ll put a link to everything down the show notes and put it on the social media for everyone. I’m definitely gonna start with the 21, but I’m very, very interested and I will, and I hope you don’t mind, but I will talk about my experience in going through the 21. And then, you know, if I get accepted into your community about what that process is like. Because as I said, I do feel you have a very different voice than I’m seeing. And one that I think is more attuned towards what we talk about is that mid journey entrepreneur, you have the skills, you have some capital, but you know, it’s like how to be smarter, not just work harder.

[00:39:55] So I’m definitely excited.

[00:39:58] Jeremy Harbour: Yeah. And look, this is this is one of those spaces. Like I said, it’s not for everybody. You know, some people often people have said to me, you’re not a real entrepreneur. You’re not creating a product. You’re not going out and solving problems in the traditional way.

[00:40:12] And and look, I can see that side of the criticism, but I do see this as an entrepreneurial expression cause it’s ultimately what entrepreneurs do is creative problem solving. And this is the creative problem of how do I meet this person’s needs and my person’s needs and come up with a win-win structure.

[00:40:29] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:40:29] Jeremy Harbour: That gets them outta their business, gets me into their business and allows me to go on and create shareholder value. So it’s a really interesting space really feel that juice is worth the squeeze. I think the only way to build wealth is through creating capital events. And if you don’t have any capital to start with, so you can’t buy a real, do a real estate deal or something like that for example, then entrepreneurship is the only one left for you. And so I think, it’s a great example of creating something from nothing, which I think is the ultimate in entrepreneurship really.

[00:41:08] A.J. Lawrence: Well, I look forward to diving into it and I know the audience will probably have a lot of questions, but you know, diving into the 21-day course. So Jeremy, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really do appreciate this. This has been a lot of fun, and this is some, because it’s such a passion of mine to have you on after reading so much of your stuff. It’s been great. So, Jeremy, thank you again. Looking forward and learning more.

[00:41:33] Jeremy Harbour: Thank you.

[00:41:34] A.J. Lawrence: I like that interview a lot. I always love it when I am able to have someone on the show that I’m researching their own material. I’ve been looking to join the Harbour Club for a while. And in reading about him, listening to past interviews he’s done, some of the videos he provides, et cetera, his charm and his intelligence has come through.

[00:41:58] It was great to actually have him here on the show and just realize how deep that is. He’s in a space he’s been in this space before all the noise from 2009 on and yes, as you kind of says, there’s a lot of Johnny-come-Lately’s, but his take on this is so much realer than, Hey, no money down. The focus on creating value in the equation.

[00:42:29] Yes. It’s a very specific type of company, which is really great because that niche that focus on who he’s buying from is really important. But that realization that he’s trying to create this deal that wins for them, understanding their needs to empathy and the deal structure. That’s something I know I want to learn more from.

[00:42:51] And I think entrepreneurs that are looking to expand by acquiring that’s something I think we all can learn from too. So please, we’re gonna have the link to his book down below, the Harbour Club. Also go check them out. I mean, look, this may not be the process you’re doing. You may not be looking to acquire his style companies or use that process, but there’s definitely a lot to steal from him. And I think we should all take a deeper dive into what he’s doing. He’s been in this a lot longer than a lot of people who are out there talking about the space. So please go check out the stuff below. You’re really gonna learn a lot.

[00:43:32] Also, if you enjoy the show, if you learned something, if you think there’s someone out there who could learn from today’s episode, please share with them. We greatly appreciate it. We love when new people get to hear the show and learn from our guests, cuz there’s so many great entrepreneurs out there who we hope we can bring on the show and learn more from also. So please share with someone you think will get something from this.

[00:43:57] Join us on the social channels below. Let us know what you liked about the show. Things you wanna learn more. Things you don’t like that we’re doing, please just let us know. Join our newsletter. We’ll keep you abreast of what’s going on. So as always, thank you so much for listening today. I hope you have a wonderful day and I can’t wait to talk to you again. Goodbye.

[00:44:24] This episode of Beyond 8 Figures is over, but your journey as an entrepreneur continues. So if we can help you with anything, please just let us know. And if you liked this episode, please share it with someone who might learn from it. Until next time, keep growing and find the joy in your journey. This is A.J., and I’ll be talking to you soon. Bye bye.

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