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Streamlining Small Business Operations with Adrian Marable | Ep. 301
Episode 3018th February 2024 • Money Talk With Tiff • Tiffany Grant
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In this episode, Tiffany sits down with operations optimization expert Adrian Marable to discuss the essential strategies for small businesses and private equity firms.

Adrian shares insights on the importance of documenting processes, leveraging software tools such as CRM and accounting systems, and the potential for automation to scale operations effectively. You'll also learn how private equity firms accelerate growth and optimize operations. So, if you're looking to level up your business operations and unlock growth potential, then this episode is a must-listen.

Stay tuned as Tiffany and Adrian unravel the secrets to success in business operations and private equity.

About Our Guest

Adrian T. Marable is a writer, speaker, and angel investor who focuses on the long-term growth of businesses. His ability to touch different areas of business has been amazing. The impact he has made within the firms that he’s worked with has created better transparency among the different teams and the feeling of empowerment by these employees to do more than just their “daily job.” 

Connect with Adrian

Website: https://colarity.com

Instagram: @adriantmarable

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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moneytalkwitht/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiffanygrant1/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MoneyTalkWithTiff

Timestamps

[00:00] Operations are key processes in business.

[04:42] Document processes to scale business effectively and efficiently.

[10:06] Private equity firms acquire and support companies.

[12:14] Small business advice: CRM, documentation, use tech.

Key Takeaways

  • Operations in Small Businesses: Processes, Documentation, and Automation
  • CRM and Accounting Software: Wave Apps, QuickBooks, and More
  • Customer Feedback and Process Improvement
  • Tools for Small Business Operations: CRM, Accounting
  • Tech and Automation for Cost-Effective Business Growth
  • Private Equity Firms: Acquisitions and Operational Support
  • EBITDA and Valuations in Private Equity

Additional Links & Resources

Support this Podcast

Copyright 2024 Tiffany Grant



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy

Transcripts

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You know what it is. That's right. It's time to talk money with your

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money nerd and financial coach. Now, tighten those purse

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strings and open those ears. It's the money talk with TIFF

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podcast. Hey, everyone.

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I am so excited because I have Adrian Maribel on the line, and he's here

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to talk to us about operations optimization

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for small businesses and private equity firm. So, hey, Adrian, how

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are you? Hey, Tiffany, how are you? I'm doing great, and

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I'm so glad that you're here to talk about this, because operations

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trips a lot of people up. It does not. A lot of

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people think about it when they're running their business. It's always, go, go.

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So I'm glad to be you. Thank you. And, yeah, that is

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so true. When you're in the trenches, you're just like, okay, how can I make

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it to another day? So let's hop right

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in. First, let's define what operations are, because you

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said most people don't think about it. So what are operations when it

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comes to small businesses? Yes, operations is really your

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processes, is what people call them. In small business world.

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Operations is more of the corporate world. But

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essentially, operations are

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the set of tasks, repeatable tasks that you use in your

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business to deliver a product or a service. So it could be

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your financial operations, it could be your

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delivery operations, the way that you deliver a service. It could also

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be the way that you deliver or create a product and deliver it to your

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customer. And each one of those are a set of processes,

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but ultimately they make your company. There's

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a whole bunch of processes that you can have within your company, but

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many of them tie together in a way that allows

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you to be a great company, essentially.

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And what I usually suggest to people is to really

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start small, start with your basics,

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like your CRM. A lot of people want to go and

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buy a super expensive CRM system, which is a customer relationship

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management system, to manage their clients. And

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my suggestion is always, well, start low tech.

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Start with an excel spreadsheet. We're not going to stay there because you

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should not manage your company through an excel

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spreadsheet. But when you're starting off, it's good to

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understand what your processes are and how you're going to use these

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systems before you go and spend hundreds or maybe even

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thousands of dollars on a particular software.

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I love that. I love that because I was

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recently actually shopping for crms

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a few months ago, finally landed on one. But they

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all do so many different things. And if you don't have a clear picture of

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what you need it to do, then you might get into one.

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You're like, oh, this is not what I thought it was. And

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that happens more often than not. I do a lot of counseling

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with people through either the college or

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through a business center. And a lot of times they

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say, well, I got the software because my friend told me to get it or

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I used it in my previous company. And your previous company does not like your

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current company. So they bought the software

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and either they've implemented it and it doesn't do what they want it

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to do, or they haven't implemented it because it's so difficult

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to onboard into the particular software. So

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ultimately they're wasting a lot of money if they don't

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make a thorough and thoughtful decision. Got

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you. And while we're on the topic of CRM, so just in case we

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have small business owners listening that haven't

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thought about using one, what are some ones that you've

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used that you would recommend? It really

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depends on business. I hardly ever recommend a

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software to a company without going through their

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operations and understanding how they work. But some

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popular ones that are out there are HubSpot, also

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Salesforce, which is a little bit more expensive for new

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upcoming small businesses.

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Honeybook is also one that has gained a lot

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of popularity over the last couple of years as well, especially for

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freelance businesses. Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, I've

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heard of all three of those. So I'm

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very familiar. Now, let's say, for instance, we have our

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CRM in place. What are some other things, operations

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wise, we should think about? Like should we be documenting how we do

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things? Yes, you should always document. That's really the first step

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of your processes, because your goal as

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a business owner should be to scale, unless you have a lifestyle

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business. But most people who have lifestyle businesses still

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have one employee, whether it's a virtual assistant or just a

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backup employee. So you should be documenting your processes

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and really understanding what those processes mean and how they work.

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And then as you document those processes,

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we actually go in as a consulting company and

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we interview customers. So once we understand your

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process or your processes, we go interview

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your customer and see how they feel about the process. And a lot of

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times, the way that the customer feels about the process

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is a little different than how the owner

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or the small business employees feel about the

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process. Oh, that's good,

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because I never thought about asking my customers. So

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what do you think? How was the onboarding process for you? I'm

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just thinking, oh, this was easy for me. When they could

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have been in the background saying, oh, I'm confused. I didn't know what to do.

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Right. Yeah, it happens quite a bit, actually. Well,

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yes. That is some great information, Adrian, and I'm so glad you brought that

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up. Now you have me over here. Like, I need to go back and interview

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my customers. Right?

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That is awesome. So let's say, for instance,

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we started documenting our processes. We have our crms.

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What's one more thing that small business owners should think about when it comes

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to their operations? Yeah. As far as tools or just the

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processes in general? Let's talk about

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both, because I think both of those are really

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important, and people might not know the difference. Let's

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talk about both. Yeah. So far as tools, you definitely need an accounting

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system. A lot of people go for Quickbooks. Quickbooks is probably one of

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the most popular, but it also incurs a fee.

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And as a technology guy myself, I try

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to avoid monthly fees when it comes to software, because you

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always have to consider, oh, well, I'm getting

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$2,000 or $3,000 or maybe $50 a month

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taken out of my account. Well, Wave

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app is a really great place to start when it comes to your

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accounting systems. It's free to start, and then,

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of course, it has some add ons like payroll and things that you have to

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pay for. But it's a really great tool to really get started.

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And it looks very similar to Quickbooks.

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So I would suggest you get an accounting system and a

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CRM. Those will probably be the first two areas of software

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from the process standpoint. Generally, I tell people,

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once you have documented your processes, think about the

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places you can automate. You still want a personal touch

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into your processes. But if you can automate

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different areas of your process, you can eliminate

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hiring one person or maybe even two people. And

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a lot of people get scared about the fact of hiring an

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employee. But you should only hire an employee when you need to.

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And by looking at your processes, understanding the areas that

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you can actually automate could eliminate you or not

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eliminate you having to get an employee,

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but it could help you delay that

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process and spending more money on payroll. Oh, that is

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so true. So true. And I want to kind of back up to the

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accounting software really quick. So Wave

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app is similar to QuickBooks, but it's a little

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more cost effective. Actually, wave apps

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are free. It's free for the basic version of it. If

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you go to wave apps, and that's apps plural.com,

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you can just sign up and you can get a free version

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of what most people get for their basic version of QuickBooks.

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But once again, you have to pay for payroll and things like that.

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But starting off, it has the same chart of

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accounts. You can link your bank account, and it's a really great

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tool. Awesome. I'm going to have to go and look at that,

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because I was just telling you, off air, I got a little mad at QuickBooks

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for upping my rate this month. So

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I'm like, don't make me. I'll jump. No, but

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I'm definitely going to check that out. So thank you so much for that. And

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also, I'm a huge techie. I love

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tech. And I will say it makes life so much

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simpler sometimes when I thought I needed a person, I

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could use tech, and it helped me out. So

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back to your second point. It's really good to

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understand where you can automate in your processes,

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because therefore, when you hire someone, you make sure that you're

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hiring them for the right thing. But also, you might be able to find some

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tech that can fill that gap as well. That would be a little cost effective.

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So I kind of want to switch gears a little bit now, because part of

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your business is you help private equity firms. So

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I kind of want to go over first, what is a private equity

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firm, and then also, how do you help them accelerate their

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growth? Yes. The short version of it is that private

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equity firms are companies that acquire or purchase

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other companies, and they do it in many different ways. They do

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different size companies. If you take a look at a shark

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tank, for instance, those sharks do

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angel investing. These companies actually purchase

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the entire company instead of just an equity stake in a

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company. And they do this by either using their own

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money, which is very seldom that that happens, or

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they use a combination of debt and

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investor money. So if I am an

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investor, an accredited investor, then I

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can put my money into a private equity fund

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and I can get returns from the

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growth of the company. That is,

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you know, I work with those companies basically coming in and

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doing their operational support and due diligence.

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So when they acquire a company, they say, hey, Adrian, we have

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acquired this new company and we want to know how we can

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optimize their processes, their operations. And I go in and

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do the same thing I just said, document the processes, understand how

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the customers feel about the processes, their vendors, their

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employees. See how they all feel about the process,

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and they really work. And I work with them

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to figure out where can we optimize, where can we automate,

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and then how can we make a strategy that's

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going to, over the next two to three years, double,

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triple their revenue or their EBITDA. Got you. And if we

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can explain EBITDA real quick, because some people might not know what that stands

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for. Yeah. EBITDA is your earnings before

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interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

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So that's what your EBITDA is. And many private equity

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firms, instead of looking at revenue or cash flow, that's what

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they look for when they're talking about valuations and

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growth. Got you. And I love that

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you do all of this because you can give us small business owners some

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inside scoop on what people may be

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missing or some common mistakes that they may have with their operations.

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So I am super excited that you were able to

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share those gems with us. So if you didn't catch that, guys,

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make sure that you have a CRM in place, even if it's a

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spreadsheet, make sure you're documenting your

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processes and make sure that you have some form of

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accounting software. Wave apps is free. I'll have the link in the show notes,

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so that way, you can better optimize your business and

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then only hire when you need to. Sometimes there could be a piece of

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tech that could get the job done, and you can save a little bit of

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money. So thank you so much, Adrian, for coming on the show

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today. Now, if there's a private equity firm listening and

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they're like, this guy knows what he's talking about, how can I get in touch?

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How could they find you? Yes, they can reach out to

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me@colerity.com. That's colarity.com,

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and we can

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definitely help you, and we would love to hear your awesome,

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awesome. So, yes, thank you so much, Adrienne. I will make sure

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I have all those links in the show notes for you all to check

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out, all of the software that we talked about today, make sure you do your

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due diligence. Right, Adrian?

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But we'll make sure that we have all of those links. So if you're listening,

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multitasking, be sure to check those out. I'll also have all of

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Adrian's links in there, so if you want to get in contact with him, all

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of that will be readily available. Again, thank you so much. Because

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you gave me some things to think about today. I will be asking my

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customers what they thought about the onboarding process, and I will

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be checking out waves because Quickbooks is not on my website

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right now. Thank you so much, Adrian. I hope

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you have a wonderful rest of your day. Bye bye.

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Thank you for listening, joining and being a part of the Money Talk with TIFF

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podcast this week. You can check Tiff out every Thursday for a new

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Money Talk podcast, but if you just can't wait until next week, you

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can listen to previous podcast

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episodes@moneytalkwitht.com or

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follow TIFF on all social media platform forms at money talk

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with t until next time, spend wise by

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spending less than you make a word to the money wise is always

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sufficient.