Season 1,

67: How to Lose Money by Purchasing an Established Business with Carl Allen

July 14, 2017

Carl Allen is an entrepreneur, investor, and corporate dealmaker with unique expertise in acquiring strong, established businesses for free. Carl has worked on transactions worth over $52 billion, which includes over 250 deals in 17 countries, including mergers, acquisitions, and private equity. In a 23 year career, he has analyzed thousands of companies, big and small, across virtually every business sector.

He has a solid reputation as a corporate deal maker, having worked for Bank of America, HP, Forrester, and Gartner. He has advised some of the world’s largest companies on buying, selling, and restructuring businesses. Carl walks the talk, having acquired and sold numerous businesses himself, and on behalf of select clients.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[04:50] Carl started as a corporate investment banker and worked in Mergers and Acquisitions at Bank of America and then as senior M&A at Hewlett Packard. Carl retired at age 37.

[6:45] After leaving the corporate world, three weeks went by without him working and wanted to do something, and what he knew was buying and selling businesses.

[8:33] Decided to take all his skills in finding deals, closing them and everything in between. Carl soon found out there were too many deals and very few sell.

[9:30] Carl convinced a seller to accept his offer for an engineering business, and it was going well until their most important client went down. He still had four good businesses.

[11:28] If only 1 in 20 sold, there should be another good business to buy in the 19 left.

[12:44] It’s so much different spending a company’s money than spending personal money. Carl closed 170 transactions before retiring, so that got him into a habit of going into a deal with real money.

[15:00] Carl developed a process to buy businesses and structured the deal in a way that he didn’t have to pay with his own capital.

[20:50] Failing Forward Segment

  • What is the bottom line reason of this failure? – “I think I got complacent with buying businesses using real money.”
  • What is the single most important lesson they and you learned from this? – “Knowing what I know now, I could have bought that business without spending my own capital.”
  • What are the major ways you protect yourself from future failures? – “What I’ve done is I developed a system to buy businesses without spending my own money. I’m looking for the 19 in 20 businesses that are not going to sell.”
  • Who do you turn to when you need help? – “I don’t really have a mentor for deals. I’m in a mastermind with very wealthy dealmakers.”
  • What advice would you give to someone wanting to get started in buying businesses? – “The biggest mistake that most new buyers is the only way they look for deals is they go to a business broker. It’s all about leveraging your professional network.”

[39:58] Visit to learn about Carl’s program.

[40:45] Guest’s final thought: “I strongly urge all entrepreneurs out there that are frustrated in full time employment working for the people if you want to escape that rat race and want to become a business owner and have that freedom and that leverage on yourself and your wealth then go and buy an existing profitable business without spending your own money.”

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