Building It Online Podcast Transcript: Buying and Selling Businesses with Jeremy Harbour

Building It Online Podcast
Building It Online Podcast Transcript: Buying and Selling Businesses with Jeremy Harbour

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Please enjoy this transcript of Brice’s interview with Jeremy Harbour (#31), a professional buyer and seller of businesses. It’s an unusual business to be in, however one that apparently has the potential to be very profitable and fun. 

These transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting more than 60 minutes, it can be difficult to catch all small errors. 

Brice: Hello listener, and welcome to the Building It Online Podcast. Whether you’re an established business owner, or you’re just getting started, we are here to help you build a better online business faster. This is the place where you can tune in and learn from experienced entrepreneurs about what it really takes to grow your business in today’s online environment. And be sure to check out Building An Online for more expert interviews, key insights and up to date growth strategies to take your business to the next level.

Hello friends out there! Brice here coming back with you with another incredible interview, I’m super excited to share this with you because I just got to interview a guy named Jeremy Harbor and Jeremy has made his career in his wealth buying and selling businesses. And throughout this interview, he really just opened my eyes because so many of us are out here trying to build businesses because we want to make an impact, we want more freedom in our lives, we want to be able to generate wealth so that we, are more financially independent. And what it brings a lot of us to do is you know, we end up working really, really hard to grow a business and generate some cash that takes up a lot of our time and our space. You know, most of us are super dedicated to our businesses with our lives. And Jeremy shed some light on how he’s been able to make a career out of buying businesses and selling them so that he creates what he calls capital events where he’s just got big payouts coming in a few times a year. And then he opens up his life to have more space to focus on what he enjoys doing. And also, you know, finding the next business to buy and sell. He’s basically flipping businesses, like a lot of people flip real estate, and it’s super insightful. He’s got a ton of amazing information on how he got into this world and how he does it and what kind of businesses he looks for. I just learned a ton. So I think you’re gonna really enjoy this interview, I hope you do, I hope you get a ton of value out of it. If you do, please remember to leave us a review on iTunes. Because that’s how the internet works. And it helps us get the word out there and keep getting more awesome interviews like Jeremy harbor to come on board. So with that, here’s your interview. Enjoy.

Brice: Jeremy, thanks so much for coming on the show. I’m really excited to talk about buying and selling companies.

Jeremy Harbour: Thank you very much for inviting me.

Brice: Yeah. So let’s start from the beginning man. You’ve made a career out of buying and selling businesses you’ve bought and sold over 50 businesses. How did you get started in this line of work?

Jeremy: Yeah, so not the conventional route, actually. So obviously, most people come M and A through, you know, corporate finance or investment banking, or, you know, the professional sort of trades, whether it’s, you know, accounting or legal or something like that, actually, I was an entrepreneur. So I started, businesses at a very young age failed at a very young age, I started again, in my late teens, I had a telecoms company. And that was really interesting telecoms company scaled pretty quickly. And telecoms is just a naturally acquisitive industry. So what you tend to find is that, you know, when you put two telecoms companies together, you can strip out the entire cost base of one of them, because you don’t need, you know, two offices, two accounts, departments, you know, two CEOs, etc, etc. So, a lot of, because it’s such a fragmented industry, because there are so many players. Most telecoms companies have an organic growth strategy, the traditional kind of sales marketing stuff, and they have an acquisition growth strategy, which is where they can bolt on additional, you know, revenue, or profits, or perhaps products or services that they want to add, or sometimes even just talents, so getting really good people into the business through acquisition. And so it kind of just because I was in that business at that time, that exposed me to M and A, because I had all these people coming along trying to buy me. So you know, you imagine one of these kind of pitch fests where you’ve got all these people pitching you, that’s pretty much what it felt like, every week, there’ll be one or two pitches from people trying to buy the business. And I described them as pitches, because the thing they all have in common is that the deal structures were very cash light, you know, so they would try and do the deals without using cash up front. But by solving problems, adding value, creating, you know, like a structure that was very appealing and provided lots of lots of jam tomorrow. And so just really sitting on the other side of the table listening to all these things. It just inspired me with this idea that you could go out and buy these businesses and not have to give them any money because that’s effectively what I was being offered. I just figured you know, I haven’t got any money. I should be the buyer, not the seller. And so I started pivoting the conversation. I was having every day, instead of trying to find out whether I could sell them some telecoms services, I started trying to find out if they had a telecoms company I could buy or if they knew somebody that had a telecoms company that I could buy. And that was just a really interesting exercise to go through. Because I think sometimes as a CEO of a company, you’re still so immersed in your product and your customers, that you don’t see the wood for the trees, you’re really just a glorified salesperson or a glorified ops person, you’re not really that strategic in your in your business. So suddenly going out and having these conversations that weren’t so mercenary that weren’t just how many phones have you got kind of conversations, open so many new doors for me, you just have such you just have better conversations, suddenly, it’s like you’re, you’re a farmer, not a hunter, so much easier kind of, you know, place to exist. And, and yeah, basically, just I’ve, you know, with a lot of luck, I was in my sort of 21, I think at the time, and you know, there’s a fair degree of luck involved. But I ended up buying a competitor that was a few miles from where I was based, it was a 13 year old telecoms company had 1000 active customers, I didn’t put any cash down to complete the transaction didn’t borrow any money from the bank. And yeah, basically grew by a year’s worth of customers in a day. And that was really the Epiphany, which is that you don’t have to put in all that blood, sweat and years, you know, the 13 years the other guy had stuck in, you don’t need to do that. You don’t have to run the marathon, you can just run the last 10 yards. No, they can still give you a medal. So that was, Yeah, that was the kind of the long answer to the short question of how did I get started in this, but that was the first one. And you know, when you break that deal, virginity when you do that first deal, it’s really interesting. Because two weeks after that, I did my second deal, which was a small IT company. So it’s kind of like, once you’d kind of cracked the psychology and the concept of it. There was kind of, it was like a champagne cork going in, there’s kind of no stopping it.

Brice: That’s Yeah, that’s super interesting. Because I think for myself, and a lot of the people that listen to this show, like a lot of us are that operator, right? We have built businesses, and we’re working on growing what we started, and I think you’re, we had a few people come on the show and talk about selling businesses and it’s really interesting to hear your take on being able to acquire businesses to grow. So…

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah.

Brice: Yeah, like, how, What is that reality look like? I’m really curious what the reality is, like, after you acquire a business, you’re taking a position as like an investor or a stakeholder. So what is your day to day? Or what are the things that you’re doing to add value and grow companies without being in the operational position like side of them?

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, so that’s a really, you really make a good point there and I think this is lots of people spout the old cliches you know, of working on your business and not in your business without really articulating what the hell they mean by that, you know, and, I think it’s really simple. When you’re in a startup phase, you need to be in everything, you know, like, a startup needs to be micromanaged, you need to be in every little bit of the business, you need to understand, you know, how the marketing is working, how a sales is working, how the operational delivery is working, how you’re building, the team, and the leadership and the culture, and all of those things are so important in that startup phase. But once you start to get some traction in a business, actually, those things become less important. And what becomes more important is the culture and the structure and the systems that you kind of being left alone to operate, you know, by all means, you know, that do the tweaks, the 1% shifts, but you shouldn’t be constantly reinventing all of that stuff. So, you know, I always talk about the first thing that entrepreneurs have to do is make that shift from what I described as customer value, which is the things I’ve just talked about this, you know, the staff and the customers and the culture. So shifting away from customer value and shifting towards shareholder value. And shareholder value is about creating value for you know, making the company more valuable. Whether that’s because you want to sell it or whether you want to just create a bigger, better business, you know, it’s important to make that step. I mean, for one, it gets the entrepreneur out of interfering with the business because we, you know, entrepreneurs really thrive on change. But that’s the weird thing about us because almost nobody else does. So while we love changing everything, our staff and our customers, I can hate it. It’s not a productive thing to be doing all the time. So actually, what I try and encourage people to do is to, you know, your day basically, if you look at what you do in a day, your day should be filled with mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and exit conversations. So it shouldn’t be involved in staff and customer conversations because everything to do with staff and customers can ultimately be done by an employee could be a high level employee. Like a managing director or CEO, but ultimately, it’s an employee role. And you really want to shift to a shareholder role. Now, shareholder is a very, very different animal. You know, shareholders want their, you know, the accounts on a Friday or the key performance indicators on a Friday. But they’re, but yeah, they’re not getting into that kind of nitty gritty day to day stuff. They’re just looking at how they can create more value and add more value to the to the business. So I think there’s a different, you know, it’s a different area of entrepreneurship and is a new area that I think can be exciting to explore. And I think the quickest way to add lots of value is using M and A, because you can acquire more revenue, more profit, more customers. Yeah, attract that key talent I was talking about. And yeah, play a different game, basically.

Brice: Yeah, that’s really interesting, because it sounds like it would really appeal to someone who’s just kind of like very geeky about business in general.

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, I mean look this is one of the funny things when you first start out in business, you feel like you know, everything. And then you know, there’s a very, very short learning curve, where you realize, you know, nothing, you know, when your first marketing campaign fails, or when your customers don’t buy the product in the volume that they, you know, you thought they word or when something doesn’t work exactly as you’d expect, because from the outside business looks perfectly logical from the inside, you understand that there’s nothing logical about it whatsoever. And, so you spend years kind of perfecting and you never get, you know, perfection doesn’t exist, but you spend years, kind of learning the ropes of how to run a business and learning the ropes of how to, you know, employ people sell stuff, deliver stuff, you know, all of those things, and then to start looking at M and A, it’s like a whole new pile of stuff you know nothing about. So it can be quite daunting, you know, particularly at the beginning, because you start to look at it, and it’s just vast, you know, the way that you can structure deals the way that you can do stuff. I mean, on my Harbour Club, we now have 14 different deal structures that we use for acquiring companies without without any money. So with only cash down. So, you know, there’s really, yeah, it’s a whole new area. And that can be very daunting. But for some people, like you say, if you’re in that kind of business key category, which I definitely am, that’s also really exciting. There’s a whole load of new stuff that you can kind of consume and understand and master.

Brice: Yeah. So you talk about like shifting to creating shareholder value, and how a lot of these companies changing what’s worth, like, changing isn’t necessarily a good thing. So have you? are these like, it sounds like it’s a certain size of company or a certain company that’s grown to a particular level that starts to become better for this kind of merger and acquisition strategy?

Jeremy Harbour: Yes, I mean, look, we, I mean, I would say before you get to like half a million in revenue, then you’re probably still in that kind of startup, figuring stuff out phase. Now, obviously, different industries would have different, you know, kind of starting points. But I would say there’s kind of a sweet spot between, you know, half a million and 5 million of revenue, where you can start to add mergers and acquisitions as a, you know, another engine to the plane alongside your organic growth strategy. And listen, the other thing I sometimes advise people is that the, you know, the business that you started might not be the vehicle for M and A, because you might be too intertwined with it or interconnected with it, sometimes you need to sell the business that you’re running, have a clean slate, and then go and do stuff, which is what I did. So I bought some companies through the telecoms company, but then sold it in 2006. And focused on just buying and selling companies. Because actually, the company that you buy, you, it’s much easier to do all the things that you need to do and create a very big need to do and sell it again, when you’re not so kind of emotionally involved in it. But it is when you are a shareholder when it is more of a product. Whereas when it’s something that you kind of have a bit of a connection with. It can sometimes be harder, as a, yeah, emotions get in the way sometimes.

Brice: Yeah, I mean, I could definitely see that from a lot of people. Like we talked with a lot of people and like myself, and my co-host with this show, we all run online businesses. And so it’s something that most of us are like very intimately involved with.

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, yeah.

Brice: So yeah, kind of on that, like, it looks like it sounds like a lot of the sounds almost related to like what I know about real estate and people that do real estate investing, it sounds like a lot of it is knowing the right legal structures or deal structures or ways to like engineer the finances correctly in order to make the deal work best for everybody.

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, there’s certainly a bit of that. I mean, I guess the key difference with business in real estate is the owner manager. So the guy who owns the business now that you’re going to do the deal with, understanding their motivations and what drives them and what they’re trying to achieve through a transaction as well. With real estate that’s a bit more black and white. They’re either distressed or they’re just looking to offload an asset. With, business, there’s like, you know, dozens of different things that could be motivating them or driving them to, you know, to do a transaction and to have a deal structure that appeals to them. But yeah, there are some similarities in that respect. And I mean, you know, particularly when it comes to sourcing, so you know, a real estate expert doesn’t go looking around in real estate agents windows, they go and find the off market transaction that they can do a deal with, in much the same way. When you’re buying businesses, you need to know how to source the businesses that aren’t for sale. And then you need the structures to put those deals together.

Brice: Okay. And you had mentioned companies that are like naturally kind of more net, you said, like naturally acquisitive, and so are there certain industries, or…

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, there were acquirers in every industry. You know, I mean, there’s things like if you look at marketing services, for example, in digital marketing, the top 200 companies in the world, for marketing services, there’s only two of those that are organically grown, the other hundred and 98 are all roll ups. They’re all groups of companies that have been put together through acquisition. So all of the biggest players basically are sort of M and A vehicles before their marketing companies. And there’s also industries like that. I mean, you know, typically, if you find an industry where there’s a few big players, and then hundreds of thousands of small ones, so the industry is very fragmented, then there’s likely a few consolidators playing in that space. But the world is huge, the number of businesses is huge. The opportunity for doing deals is huge. I mean, if you look at SMB’s, generally, they’re 50% of GDP in the US, it’s very similar in most developed nations. So you know, by far and away the biggest single sector in GDP terms. And also you have to remember that there’s a huge percentage of those businesses that belong to baby boomers, you know, maybe not so much in your space in the online marketing space, but certainly in the bricks and mortar space. And lots of the kind of functional businesses that make the world go around belong to baby boomers, and they’re retiring at a massive rate of knots or falling off their perch an alarming rate of rate of knots. And they just aren’t the natural, they’re on the natural bias for it. The next generation is smaller than the last. So, and most of the next generation don’t want to buy a lift engineering company or elevator engineering company or, you know, air conditioning company or something like this. They they’re looking for, you know, blockchain marijuana business or something. So, yeah, there’s this huge glut of businesses available basically.

Brice: A lot of opportunity out there.

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, absolutely.

Brice: Cool. And so yeah, do you have like a just maybe a personal story or a story of one of your Harbour Club individuals who have gone through and like had a really big when buying and selling a company?

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, look, I mean, I probably do. So I try and so part of the Harbour Club basically is a big community all around the world of people who do deals. So I teach them everything I know. And then as a community, we all collaborate together and teach each other what we’ve learned along the way. So I try and do interviews with Harbour Club as often as possible. I’m obviously busy doing my own deals, but probably two to three times a week, I’ll do a video interview with Harbour Club delegates who’ve done deals, so that we can try and extract the key lessons that they’ve learned from doing those deals so that we can share them with the community. We have an iOS and Android app where we’re constantly posting bonus kind of video content on there for people to understand how it deals with things like that. But actually, what’s really funny, so we teach them all these tactics and all these strategies and all these deal structures and all these clever ways of closing stuff. And we see some amazing deals, I’ve actually just got off a call with a guy, Paul in the UK who bought a business doing 20 million revenues, like 30 40 year old company is a really old company are doing 20 million pounds in revenue is about 25 million US dollars in revenue. 1.4 million a year in profits got 6 million in assets, including its own building. He’s literally just picked that up zero cash down with using one of our deal structures called a deal pie, which, and basically, we’ve got an opportunity to flip that straightaway, where he’ll make 5 million pounds, which is about six and a half million dollar on that transaction. He’s had it for about four months. And yeah, we know who the buyer is, and we have a high degree of control over the buyer as well. So it’s a deal that we think we can make happen relatively easily. And you know, that’s a fantastic example. But what we often find is that when we drill into what are these people doing differently to everybody else, it’s that they’re consistent, and they’re taking action. So it’s kind of like I had this conversation with somebody the other day, pretty much everybody on the planet. If you sat them down and you stuffed the microphone in their face could tell you how to get into great physical shape. You know, they know all the things that you would need to do in order to look like the front cover of a Men’s Health magazine, you know, everybody kind of understands what you know the nutrition and exercise required. And yet, point one of a percent of people actually then go and do it. And maybe only 30% of the people would have would have a desire to do it, but end up not doing it for whatever reason. And it’s kind of the same with the Harbour Club staff, once you’ve given them, you know, given them the tools, it’s actually just the consistency of the right behavior, that seems to be the biggest driver for success. So the people that have created these consistent habits every day is take actions that take them towards getting a deal done, seem to do much, much better than people that perhaps have this great big goal of getting deals done. But don’t have the consistency of the actions that they’re taking, you know, so for example, just making that effort to consistently reach out to business owners to talk to them about potentially doing a deal is just a massive factor, whether that’s writing letters to them reaching out to them on LinkedIn, going to networking meetings, whatever the methodology used for reaching out, you kind of need to be doing it every week. And if you’re doing it every week, it’s just a mate. It’s like tuning into a radio station about deals, you know, when you’re out looking for everything just seems to come to your, you know, come to your doorstep, it doesn’t, you know, that doesn’t sound like some earth shattering a wonderful, amazing kind of piece of advice. But it does just seem to be every time I do one of these interviews, the thing that separates the people that are doing really, really well at this, versus kind of the rest of the world just does seem to be an action taking and then consistency backing that up. So they’re just constantly chipping away at it. It’s not some big massive action. It’s just, you know, relentless small actions.

Brice: Yeah, that kind of seems to be the way it works everywhere in business. And it would imagine it works in the bike business faces. Well..

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, yeah.

Brice: Cool. Well, yeah, I guess like kind of to just take it away to make it a little actionable for someone if someone wanted to see about, like getting started in this world, and they wanted to start thinking about buying a business, you kind of laid it out for them already. But it sounds like you know, the first steps are starting to have those conversations and looking for people and figuring out the right deal structures to make it happen.

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, absolutely. And look, the Harbour Club is really specific for people who want to take that to the next level and go and do stuff. But we also recognize there’s a whole bunch of people out there who aren’t ready for the harbor club yet, but would love to understand some of the basic principles and maybe try and implement some of the things in their own business. And so we do stick out tons and tons of free content out there, we’re quite generous with information on this sort of stuff. So if you go to our website, you can download like a free report, which gives you some ideas around sourcing, a couple of ideas around deal structures, a couple of ideas around turnaround, things that you can do to add shareholder value to the business, if you, you know, when you buy it, we churn out tons of videos, so on Instagram, on YouTube and stuff like that, I’m often talking into a camera about, you know, just little ideas that you can use all around M and A, and wealth and various other related aspects. So actually, I’m in a really good place to start, we’ll be digging into that. And actually just a word of warning actually is the books and the websites about M and A. A lot of the books are written by advisors, so of course, advisors advise you to surround yourself with advisors. And that kind of works in the big corporate world. But when you’re dealing with owner managed businesses, it’s a really terrible way to get deals done because ultimately, owner managers like to deal with other owner managers, they like to do you know, person to person as soon as you stick advisors in between a transaction, it’s kind of like adding people to a marriage, it’s not a great idea. And then you have all the websites tend to be lead generation sources for brokers. So again, you’ve got this axe to grind, that they’re pitching their broking services now, businesses that have sailed through Business Brokers on the tortiously overvalued, you know, bad businesses basically. So you can become a really busy fool by going down those two rabbit holes. So one rabbit hole is reading books off Amazon and the other rabbit hole is doing or looking all these websites on buying businesses, they can basically pay a little bit of a distraction. So it is important to try and find, you know, the information around that. So yeah, we like to be published tons and tons of content, which hopefully people will find helpful and will hopefully take them down some different rabbit holes in terms of understanding how to do things to go.

 Brice: Yeah, I was checking out the PDF on your website, and I found it to be really valuable. And I think it’s kind of the same if you’re trying to learn a lot of skills. It’s like it’s really valuable to find someone very specific that has done what you want to do and learn everything you can from that one space instead of looking at a bunch of different sources from a bunch of different people who have different ideas on how to do stuff.

Jeremy Harbour: Absolutely. And I would say just consume all the free content you can before you make, you know, because I know it’s I’m super impatient. I want fucking everything yesterday, you know? And so it’s really tempting just to say okay, I’ll come on the course next week, you know, but actually you really, really want to try and consume as much of the content as you can and try and understand it, maybe even go out and try and implement some of it and try and find out where the warts and the wrinkles are in the, you know, in the concepts and get really comfortable with this as something you want to do. And then you can take that bigger step, and then the bigger, you know, leap into because it is a whole new world. It’s it’s fascinating. I love it. I love the life of the dealmaker. I mean, it takes me all around the world. I’ve done deals in 12 countries now. And, you know, we’re buying some amazing companies, we took a company public a year ago, it’s just, we’ve just broken through 100 million in revenue in 12 months, through acquisitions. So it’s a group of 11 companies now. So it’s kind of nought to 100 million in 12 months is good. And I think we can get out to a couple of billion over a couple of years with the with the acquisition pipeline, we haven’t. It’s just so much fun. It’s, yeah, it beats the hell out of staff and customers, you know, the normal, normal day to day grind of running a business.

Brice: Yeah, that sounds incredible man. I’m super interested. So just kind of one last question that I have. And I’m just curious, have you seen a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the online space? Cause a lot of your examples, and just from what you know, what we’ve talked about, what I’ve heard from you online was a lot of talking about very traditional businesses, brick and mortar. Have you seen or your students seen a lot of success in the online space? Or do you mainly find that playing in that traditional spaces a better place to do this?

Jeremy Harbour: No. So there’s a couple of structures, there’s probably three structures that we teach, that would actually be really, really good in the online space. And we do have somebody that’s doing this in e -commerce at the moment. So they’re specifically focusing on like Shopify sites, Amazon sellers, Instagram shops, those kind of businesses and the idea is to put them together, you know, share distribution, warehousing, you know, those kind of payment processing, relationships, and that sort of stuff. But we have three structures that were really well, for that one, one, we call the minority roll up, which is a way of putting a group of companies together, no money down, that have synergies to so businesses where there’s, you know, a benefit in them interrelating with each other. So that’s one structure that people are quite liking them, there’s agglomeration, which is probably a more well-known structure. Agglomeration is a governance structure that we created for effectively allowing small businesses to IPO. So again, it’s a roll up. So it’s a collection of companies, but through a public listed vehicle. And again, that would be very suitable, you know, that would suit online businesses, again, have a similar, maybe not so technology lead, but the more consistent end of it. And then we have a strategy, we call it strat 13, because it was the 13th strategy we had. But it’s basically, that would work with the kind of techier end of stuff. So if you’ve got a tech business that scaling really quickly, it looks really great, then, that’s a really interesting strategy. Again, it uses public markets. So it’s effectively an IPO strategy, but it’s basically a way of taking a company public zero cost, getting an incredible valuation for it. And then using it as an M and A vehicle to go and acquire other companies that might be synergistic, whether that brings you, additional revenue, additional talent or additional customers. So yeah, there’s a few things that would work really nicely. And, yeah, kind of new economy.

Brice: Well, that’s great man. I really appreciate that. It seems like your solution for everything is to buy a company to make the other company better. So..

Jeremy Harbour: It is, do you know it was really funny, So I had I was on I have a place in New Yorker in the Balearic Islands, and I had a 56-foot yacht, I sold it to a smaller one. But at the 56-foot yacht, and there were three of us on there, and one guy makes all his money, building sales funnels and, and doing consulting around Infusionsoft. The other guy ran seminars and filled rooms full of people and then pitch them products and you know, sold them stuff. And then there’s me buying companies, and pretty much every business problem that we could come up with, we all had our one size fits all solution. So you know, one guy would say, well, that’s really easy. We’ll just build some squeeze pages to a load of Google ads will drive the traffic and then we’ll take them to a webinar, then we’ll do this. And the other guy says, well, we’ll just run a campaign fill a room full of people, I’ll stand on stage, I’ll pitch them or they’ll get 10% of the room to buy it. And I would say I’ll just buy a company that has that. And there’s no right or wrong or all of those routes would have achieved the desired outcome. So you know, that’s the great thing about business, there’s no right or wrong. There’s only opinions. You know, my particular set of skills have led me to that opinion. But yeah, I believe, you know, you can solve world wars, marriages, everything with m&a. So..

Brice: that’s great, man Well, awesome. I really appreciate your time. And I think that there’s a lot of really great, actionable information for people to get started here. So I thank so much. To kind of close things out, always just kind of ask a few lightning round questions so that people might be able to get some insight into what resources you might pick to learn from. So be ready to jump into the lightning round.

Jeremy Harbour: Go for it, yeah.

Brice: Alright. So what would be your favorite books or podcasts that you would recommend to people?

Jeremy Harbour: Oh, that’s really tough. So I never have time for podcasts. So I never do. I never do that. I prefer to consume bits of information rather than really long form kind of information. Books wise, I mean, that The Four Hour Work Week, I found really inspiring back in the day, because it was around this idea of lifestyle engineering. And actually, it kind of gave me the idea because he talks about these kind of mini retirements, you know, where you take some time off and do stuff. And I kind of changed that into the mini capital events, which is I think most people try and build one business up to the end of their career and sell it for some almighty amount of money. Whereas my one is keep selling, you know, so if you make money when you sell businesses, so why don’t you sell them often, and have more money and more lifestyle and enjoy yourself more. And so that really, that book inspired me around that particular thing, the Michael Gerber Enos is obviously a great one on systemization. But that’s, you know, that’s his methodology for working on your business instead of in it and, and that’s a good first step for somebody. But the next step is then to move up to doing deals. A completely random on I really enjoyed a book recently called King of Oil, which is the story of Marc Rich. And that’s just fascinating. He’s probably like the greatest deal maker that ever lived. And he managed to build just been the, so he was basically on the run from the CIA for about 30 years. And during that 30 years, he built this enormous company. And then they froze all of his accounts, they closed down companies, they stole stuff from him. I mean, they literally persecuted him all around the world for three decades. And at the end of that three decades, the bit of the business that was left the little bit of the business he had leftover that hadn’t been closed down or had its accounts frozen or had things taken away, did an IPO. And it was the largest IPO in history, it was Glencore. So literally, you know, even with the full might of the US government trying to close him down, he still created the biggest business in the in the world at that time to go public.    

Brice: that’s amazing!

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, so that was a really cool book. And I read another book and I can’t remember the name of the book, actually. But it’s, there was a spy in the KGB called Gordievsky. And it’s the story of, it’s his story, basically, and how he escaped from Soviet Russia. And it’s just a bonkers story. But so contemporary, it happened in our lifetimes, you know, and, it’s a true story. And it’s, and that was amazing, but I really apologize. I can’t remember the book was, the book was called by ready on one of my vacations recently. And it was just like one of those ones you can’t put down you know, you try. Keep your eyes open to read another couple of pages.

Brice: It’s the best if you remember it, you can send it to me and I’ll put it in the show notes.

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, I’ll let you know.

Brice: Alright. Next question. If you could choose three people from history and it can be alive or dead and they would be your board of mentors for business and what you’re doing, who would they be?

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, that’s a good one. Okay. So well, I guess having just mentioned King of Oil, I’d have to say Marc Rich because controversial character, but actually, everybody who was has ever been interviewed that ever met him just said he was the most charismatic, magnetic incredible deal maker they ever came across. I just love to see what that looks like. What does that look like? And then I guess, Lee Kuan Yew which, for people outside Asia, they might not know but Lee Kuan Yew is the founder of Singapore, which is where I live. And he basically when Singapore broke away from the British Empire and claimed independence, everybody said it would be a complete failure. And he basically made it a free market economy and a meritocracy and, it’s become one of the richest nations in the world. You know, a huge sovereign wealth fund. You know, the most Ferrari’s per person of any country in the world. It’s you know, it’s been an absolutely huge success all down to him. And if you watch some of his speeches, you know, Churchill or Obama, you know, can speak fantastically. Lee Kuan Yew just nails it. I mean, his political speeches, he gives a just fantastic and his understanding of so many different areas were really inspiring. And then I guess, possibly somebody likes a James Goldsmith, just if I’m going to do an M and A, an M and A guy, somebody that bought lots of businesses. Again, he’s a Brit, so he might not be so well known over in your neck of the woods, but yeah, I think probably a reasonable board of advisors.

Brice: Sounds good. I’ll definitely have to look all of those up. And I think I might know the answer to this, but I’m gonna go ahead and ask anyways if you had to start all over again tomorrow. What would be the first three things you would do?

Jeremy Harbour: Go buy a company

Brice: then two more

Jeremy Harbour: I guess number two would be buy another one. Number three would be sell them yeah, I mean, literally, if I found myself, yeah, completely naked and bereft of money, the one thing I do know how to do is to put a structure together to acquire a company, and then to sell it again to create a capital event, and then to use that capital event to create enough passive income that you don’t have to work again. So, yeah, that would be the, you know, that would always be my go to kind of starting point, I guess if you’re starting again.

Brice: Yeah, that sounds fantastic! On that note, if somebody wanted to learn how to do those things, where can they get ahold of you and learn more about you and what you’re doing?

Jeremy Harbour: Yeah, so if you just want to follow all the social stuff, it’s @jeremyjharbour on Twitter, and it’s @harbour.jeremy on Instagram, we post loads of videos on there, there’s the Harbour Club, and it’s spelt in the English way. So it’s H A R B O U R – Harbour Club. Choose our site for our US events, some in Los Angeles, Miami and Boston this year, we don’t do a lot of events, because we do actually spend most of our time running around doing deals. But yeah, the events are, you know, very well attended, often sold out a little while in advance. And, it’s not just an event, it’s a community. So there is a big group of people that all keep in touch and keep doing stuff. And yeah, it’s a really great environment.

Brice: Awesome! And we’ll make sure to have all those links underneath this episode. So anyone that wants to find any of those can just click on it.

Jeremy Harbour: Perfect! And I’ll send a WhatsApp message to my mother because I think I gave her that book about the Russian spy guy.

Brice: Awesome! Well hey! Thanks so much for coming on. Really appreciate your time and sharing all your knowledge here and yeah, have a great one.

Jeremy Harbour: Wonderful. Thank you for having me. Have a great evening.

Brice: Bye bye.

Jeremy: Bye.

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