61 minutes | Mar 3, 2021

#238: Why the Greatest Entrepreneurship Hurdle is all in Your Mind with Mike Smerklo

On today’s show, Mike Smerklo, Managing Director of Next Coast Ventures, talks about his journey scaling a small business into a publicly traded company worth nearly a billion dollars. He shares how imposter syndrome survives our successes — even big ones like raising capital and doing an IPO — and what we can do to get the "monkey" off our back.  We’ll do a deep dive into the mechanics of his rounds of financing and share tips on managing and treating customers, creating value, how to get your team on board, and why he’d never make a deal without tying equity to both sides of the table. Mike has achieved 40% year-over-year, so this is an episode you don’t want to miss. My big takeaway from this episode is, even someone as successful as Mike (with all of his achievements), the fact that he still second-guesses his success is proof that we’re all human. You should recognize that the things that you intentionally accomplish over time is well deserved. A really clear plan will help dissolve that impostor syndrome. Education is another thing that will help dismiss and get rid of impostor syndrome and will ensure that you’re living and working intentionally.   What You Will Learn In Today's Podcast Interview Mike’s background and story How poorly a “must be nice” mindset serves you and how to break out of that head space. Why Mike hates the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” and what he believes people should do instead. Not all experts are the type of expert you need and you have to be able to identify what specific expertise you’re looking for. The incredible value in having a coach, no matter what stage you’re at. Why he chose the search fund model over all the others. How his company managed the ups and downs of the tech market, including the ways he had to raise cash during the downturn of 2008. When you should tie equity to performance on both sides of the deal table. The pragmatic way of looking at sprucing up your business and how it compares to renovating a house. The benefits of having a “maniacal focus” on customers. Mike’s three questions for evaluating how well you’re treating your customers. Why your executive team needs to stand up for what they’re talking about and how that gets reflected in your company. How Mike and his team determined to go IPO and gained consensus.   Are You Growing The Value of Your Business Take The 2-Minute Assessment To Get Your Intentional Growth Score™ And 1-Page Vision Board. Are your company's current initiatives intentionally designed to increase the value of the business? Do you know what you want from your business long term and why? Do you know what your company is worth? Do you know the differences between Management, Family Transitions, PE Firms, ESOPs and Strategic Buyers? Does the business have a written strategic plan on how to achieve the desired normalized EBITDA and valuation?   About the Guest: Mike Smerklo is an experienced entrepreneur, investor and business leader driven by the desire to turn ideas into reality. Having bought and scaled a small business into a publicly traded company worth nearly a billion dollars in value, he has a deep understanding of the hard work, dedication and grit that truly powers successful entrepreneurship. Today, as the co- founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures,Smerklo is a champion for a new generation of entrepreneurs building disruptive companies in big markets. His new book, Mr. Monkey and Me (Scribe Media, Nov. 17, 2020), is a “real talk” guide for entrepreneurs who want to cut through the noise to cultivate a mindset that supports greatness.  Quotes: 7:13 - “A lot of entrepreneurs have a chip on their shoulders.” – Mike Smerklo 11:00 - “Well, I’m the entrepreneur. I’m the CEO. I should know everything.” – Mike Smerklo 18:28 -  “If you ask people they’re good drivers, and all ten people raises their hands, there shouldn’t be any accidents, right?” – Mike Smerklo 21:22 - “Go find someone who has sold a similar business recently who can give you practical advice.” – Mike Smerklo 29:52 - “My economic relationship with my equity investors was tied to performance.” – Mike Smerklo 45:08 - “Whenever you’re going to raise capital, think about what the person who is giving you money is expecting out of that transaction.” – Mike Smerklo 50:05 - “We expect 30-40% to fail. We expect there to be a pretty high failure rate. We expect that a couple will do okay. And then one or two are going to blow it out of the water.” – Mike Smerklo   Links and Resources: Mr. Monkey and Me: A Real Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs, by Mike Smerklo Mike Smerklo’s Official Website Mastering Your Cash Flow Digital Course ARKONA Boot Camp Reach out to me if you have questions about the boot camp!   You can also reach out to me via email at rtansom@arkona.io, or on my LinkedIn.
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