Keys To Building A Sellable Brand w/ Ben Leonard – #52

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The Brand Builder Show
Keys To Building A Sellable Brand w/ Ben Leonard – #52

In this week’s episode of the Brand Builder Show, we welcome Ben Leonard, who founded, scaled, and sold the 7-figure brand, Beast Gear. 

He now helps brand owners do the same through his brokerage EcomBrokers and we are excited to announce that he is the newest lecturer inside Brand Builder University.

The brand new Exit Engine course has just been released inside BBU so in this episode, we chatted through some of the topics surrounding building sellable brands that are covered in the course, such as:

  • The foundations of a truly valuable brand
  • What top-paying buyers are looking for in 2023
  • How to maximise your exit valuation from day one
  • And so much more!

Episode Links

Talking Points

0:00 Introduction to Guest – Ben Leonard
01:01 Get To Know More About Ben
02:25 Latest Updates on Ben’s Brands
03:36 Ben’s Favorite Five
07:37 What’s It Like Selling A Brand In 2023?
12:45 What Is The Value Pyramid and Why Is It Crucial?
17:25 How To Build A Sellable Brand
24:00 Growing Your Brand
26:16 Approach In Launching Products With A New Business
27:20 Ideal Startup Capital When Launching A Business
29:01 Strategy on Building A Business
31:50 How Financial Position Changed Ben’s Outlook In Life
33:44 Find Out More About Ben and EcomBrokers

Ben Donovan  00:00
Hey folks, welcome to another episode of The Brand Builder show today I’m joined by my good friend Ben Leonard. Ben, welcome back to the show you’ve been on before. But here you are again. Welcome.
Ben Leonard  00:09
It’s good to be back then. Thanks for having me.
Ben Donovan  00:11
Yes, good. I’m glad you’re here. We are super pumped to announce that we just released a brand new course inside a Brand Builder University called Exit engine, which Ben you teach the majority of, and it’s all about helping someone build a sellable e-commerce brand. So we’re going to dig into some of the topics that today in way of celebration, I don’t know how podcast recording is a celebration, but let’s go with that. And we’re gonna you know, just share some of the topics and and really talk about what building a sellable brand looks like in 2023. So that’s gonna be fun. Before we do that, for anybody that hasn’t heard you your story before. I looked it up. I think you were episode eight of the podcast. This is episode 50 something now. So it’s been nearly a year since your last on? Who are you? What have you done? And what are you doing now?
Ben Leonard  01:01
Sure, yeah. So I got into e-commerce in 2016. My background before that was very different. I was an environmental scientist in the oil and gas industry. Up here in the cold northeast of Scotland. I had a big change in life, I got quite sick with a heart problem. And I’m fine now. But for a while I was off work and off my fitness hobbies needed something to do started a fitness brand, originally was going to sell those products into gyms but realized I could sell online. During that I was pretty good at that. And three years later, the business was doing annual revenue of $6 million. And I sold it in late 2019. And that was, it was actually the first European aggregator deal. I sold to through SEO, and late 2019. Now is a long time ago in e-commerce use. The broker I worked with was pretty poor. And we managed to rectify some potentially catastrophic errors, my accountant and I so she Allison and I decided to create a better brokerage. So we we started econ brokers. And that’s where we come in with the exit engine module in Brand Builder University. So these days, I’m helping other people to plan and execute or exit. I’m still building brands, because I love it. And they know how to make a brand into a valuable asset I can sell and it means that I still understand what it’s like to be in our clients shoes, you know, be in the trenches every day of e-commerce. And I’m consulting and teaching people that little bit about what I know.
Ben Donovan  02:23
Yeah. And you’ve mentioned about brands that you are still getting in the trenches with, can you give us a bit of an update? How they how they go?
Ben Leonard  02:30
Yeah, sure. So there’s two brands of my own. And then I’ve got equity and a few others as well. So there’s a boxing brand. That launched probably three months ago in the US, I cone that with my buddy, he was actually a competitor of mine. And after I sold my first brand, he booked me for some consulting and then eventually, I became his mentor. And he runs the day to day and I provide the the guidance, and I put some capital in as well. So that’s great fun. And then I’m developing with another buddy of mine developing a baby brand. So the baby products that I used with my first daughter, some of them, I noticed some ways we could improve them. And we’re really it’s a parent’s brand. The products are for parents, not babies. And I spent quite a lot of money designing the first product. And it’s been a couple of years really in the making, and it’s still not ready. And we’re going to run a Kickstarter for that later this year. So that’s gonna be really fun. That’s gonna be you know, legit, consumer packaged goods brand in retail as well as online.
Ben Donovan  03:27
You know, very cool, very cool. Well, hopefully we can weave some of that stuff into how you’re starting that with the content that we’ll kind of talk about in the episode. But we’re doing this new slot that I’d love to sort of get some quickfire answers from you on that favorite five, we’re calling it fave your favorites, one of these five things. So I’d love to hear firstly, what’s your favorite e-commerce brand?
Ben Leonard  03:49
This changes all the time, but right now as a brand called El Gatter. They make electric equipment for podcasting, gaming, video casting, that type of thing. L data.
Ben Donovan  03:59
What is the last one,
Ben Leonard  04:01
I really love the content that they produce helpful, free, compelling, engaging, useful information that provides value to me that makes me know like and trust them. So then I will buy their stuff. So they market to me how I like to market to other people, which is great. I love the quality of the products, the range of things that they do they know who their audiences so they make products that solve problems for a particular group of people. And they do it really well.
Ben Donovan  04:23
Yeah, just a few things. Good. Okay. That’s awesome. I love it. I’m gonna check that out. Now, your favorite software tool, or software or tool that helps you run your business or life?
Ben Leonard  04:35
Yeah, really straightforward. First of all, it’s Google workspace. It’s got everything I need for multiple businesses with the email, the Calendar, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, everything we could possibly need it of course drive for collaborating. It’s very simple. It’s pretty, pretty obvious one and I make no apology for that. And then the next one is Clickup You know, I’ve used various project management tools over the years Trello, Asana and others too, but Clickup. For me it’s the most powerful, easy to use. And actually, I’ve never paid $1 for it because the free versions are really powerful.
Ben Donovan  05:09
Yeah, they’re always adding so much more to it. They’ve raised so much capital every day. So grow massively. Yes. Good. Okay. Favorite organic marketing channel?
Ben Leonard  05:18
Yeah, I’m gonna cheat and tell you to Instagram and TikTok. Yeah. So easy to just get the content out there fast to a wide audience.
Ben Donovan  05:28
Yeah. Good. Okay, and paid marketing channel,
Ben Leonard  05:32
Instagram, and TikTok. Big fan of advertising on there.
Ben Donovan  05:36
Yeah, good. Okay. And then, I mean, I’d love to talk more about TikTok ads at some point. But that’s another topic for another day. And then finally, your favorite business book?
Ben Leonard  05:46
It’s the E-Myth Revisited. It’s classic,
Ben Donovan  05:48
I knew you’re gonna say that.
Ben Leonard  05:49
Yeah, a new classic. A lot of people scoff and look down their noses at it? Because it is. It’s great for beginners. And that’s why I love it because it keeps me focused on getting the basics right, which is why I probably read this book. I love audiobooks. And I usually listen to books these days. But actually, this is one that I always come back to and read. So I have a really, really messy copy of this now. And I read this at least once per year. Great book.
Ben Donovan  06:16
Yeah. I think if you were to someone who said I want to get into e-commerce or run my business even, it’d be up there with the top. I’m sure you’d say top number one book, but in everybody’s top three top five books, you just have to read if you’re gonna build a business?
Ben Leonard  06:29
I think so. Yeah.
Ben Donovan  06:32
Good. All right. Thank you. For those that’s very insightful. We talked about some of the new brands and more like I said, we’ll try and weave some stuff into that. But just from an m&a perspective, mergers and acquisitions as it’s sort of known, but you know, really just the ability to sell an e-commerce business, that space, which you’re obviously heavily in with econ brokers, and as we’ve said, helped us really with building our exit engine course, which by the way, guys, I forgot to mention, if you do want to grab the course, there’s a price special promotion in there. There’ll be a link in the description below. I’m so rubbish at promoting our own stuff, I’ve got to get better at that. But this is just, I was reviewing the content again, a couple of weeks ago, and just, you know, I kind of have grown to know about your insight and the quality of input you have been, but I was reviewing it and thinking, Gosh, this actually is so so good. It’s so helpful. To be able to have you know you in the community sharing this knowledge is is incredible. You’re right there on the forefront of mergers and acquisitions, building sellable brands. So give us some insight into what is the lay of the land right now, as you said, 2019 was a long time ago, you sold to aggregators, and aggregator before it was called to sell to aggregators. And a lot has changed in the last few years. What’s it like in 2023?
Ben Leonard  07:51
Yeah, it’s a really good question. And I think to explore what’s going on in 2023, we do have to take a quick look back in time at what happened in 2020 21, and 2022. So in 2020, and 2021, we had a completely different macroeconomic environment with very low interest rates, which meant aggregators could get money very cheaply, so they could afford to pay more, more often, more freely for businesses that they didn’t know weren’t necessarily that good. And the general COVID lift on e-commerce as well obviously changed the macro economic environment aggregators, were buying just about anything. For ridiculously high multiples. Sometimes we were seeing pretty average or even not very good businesses being sold for four or five 6x. And they were doing this in order to quickly scale, the business model of the e-commerce aggregators who, by the way, are not the only people that you can or should sell your business to. And you’ll you’ll learn that when you when you go through a mature m&a process. But the business model of aggregators is to acquire profit, cheaply, free low multiple of profit, call it 3x. And then within their portfolio, all the brands that they’ve acquired are immediately worth more together. And they’re sitting at 7 8 9 10, even up to 50. Next, and then the plan is either sell their portfolio or part of their portfolio at a profit or go public. And none of them have gone public yet. And then there was a big change. The macro economic environment has shifted for a variety of reasons. But of course, we saw the end of COVID or the COVID landscape changed significantly and that shopping spree we all went on has ended. Supply and demand dynamics have changed significantly because we’ve had so many factory closures across China and across other manufacturing hubs like Vietnam, so we’ve had limited supply, but still lots of demand. shipping prices went through the roof. Thankfully, they’re now coming down. And aggregators have come to realize that they’re not actually that good at running many of these brands and it’s a lot harder than than they thought it would be. And many of the brands that they acquired when it was easier to sell on Amazon are less easy to run now, because over the last couple of years, Amazon has got harder and harder with more competition, tighter rules. And it’s much more of a pay to play dynamic. So that takes us to where we are now. We’re not in a bull market anymore. Whereas before many people were getting emails from aggregators every day saying, hey, we want to buy your brand. Now, it’s harder than ever, you don’t know who might buy your brand. Getting deals over the line is harder than ever. aggregators are cautious, they’ve been burned by buying things that didn’t work out, which means that they are more and more stringent about what they buy. They are focusing more on developing their existing brands, and getting their operations in order while still looking out for gems that they might buy in the future. So exceptional brands, great brands will still sell for a strong multiple, but the days of having a mishmash of stuff that you sell on Amazon is selling that for a good multiple or over or even selling it at all. But there are still opportunities. And there are still new aggregators coming into play who are raising money now, because these guys are ecommerce people who’ve gone to the financial guys to get money to buy e-commerce brands, rather than being financial guys who don’t understand e-commerce who are trying to raise money to buy e-commerce businesses. So in 2023, what’s going to work is growing your business doubling down on building a legit brand. And looking to to sell a strong brand this year or if you’re not quite there yet working with the right people like us. And by doing the the the module exit engine to work to get you in a stronger position so that you can exit as we as we continue to move out of this this economic difficult time.
Ben Donovan  11:45
Definitely, to your point there about not being able to sell a mishmash of products, it being a paid a pay to play environment. Do you think it’s the end of the part time casual e-commerce seller?
Ben Leonard  11:59
No, because we have to be realistic here. And most people will be a part time e-commerce seller when they start. I think it’s great to be an entrepreneur. And the great thing about being an entrepreneur is we take risks and we create change, we create value. But I’m not of the reckless risk variety. And so I would never say to somebody, Hey, go and quit your job immediately. And it’s not realistic to suggest that people can do that. So the part time e-commerce business owner will still exist when they’re starting out. But they have to accept that they’ll only be part time. By Name, they’ll still be working pretty pretty long hours and grinding it out until they get to a point that they can pay themselves and quit their job.
Ben Donovan  12:44
Yeah. Good. Okay. You mentioned about preparing your brand and working with yourself to really get in shape to be able to sell your next engine you talk about you teach in depth, what’s called the value pyramid, something you’ve kind of built out and, and taught on, you know, in real depths. Can you kind of briefly talk us through that? What are the stages of that, and then maybe we can dig into a few parts of that and, and what I love about, obviously, what you’re doing is a lot of people will sell a business and then kind of ride on those good vibes for many years to come and teach people how to do it in an environment that’s very different to how they actually sold. And whereas you’re in, as you said, in the trenches, building new brands. So yeah, let’s let’s weave some of that in. But the value pyramid Why is it so crucial? Talk us through a bit.
Ben Leonard  13:32
Sure. Yeah. So the value pyramid is one of several kind of models that we use it econ brokers to help our clients. And it is the lens through which a buyer views your business and therefore through which you should view your business as you’re preparing to sell. So imagine a Mayan or an Aztec pyramid, not an Egyptian pyramid. And you’ve got these steps. And there’s five steps. And the biggest layer of the pyramid is at the bottom that’s brand. And the second biggest above that is growth and profitability. And then you’ve got risk. And then above that is transferability. And above that is documentation. And we would say that you need at least three of these layers to be in good standing to be able to sell your business. But the most important are the bottom two brand and then growth and profitability. And the reason for that is that buyers want to buy a sustainable asset with longevity that has a strong growth history and a growth future. And you get that with a brand with a legitimate brand identity that looks and feels and behaves like a real consumer packaged goods brand. With intellectual property with email lists and social media assets with a tribe of raving fans who look forward to your next release and are eager with anticipation after they’ve ordered your product. will tell everyone how much Do they love your brand will fiercely defend your brand, and maybe love your brand? You know, think about how you feel about your favorite brands, whether that’s something to do with your profession, or your hobbies, or even your favorite food products that are in the cupboard. You know, I love Marmite, right, which for our American listeners is, is this strange yeast extract that we put in our shows to the UK and for our Australian listeners, Mohammed is bet better than Vegemite hands down. And argument for another day. And so when you have these these tribe, a tribe of fans like that you have that longevity and that sustainability and that future, and that predictability and that safety. And when you don’t, when it’s just a mishmash of stuff, you don’t have that and the value of your brand is or business is significantly reduced. And in the course, we actually go through some tangible examples where we literally look at two businesses that are doing the same numbers that we have sold, selling basically the same stuff, one with a strong brand identity and one without and the difference at the time of sale, something like a million dollars, it really matters. Wow. And then the next level up is growth and profitability. Right? Buyers want to buy a business that’s growing with at least 20% more or more of an EBIT margin, which is a technical term we get into on the course. But for now, we’ll just call that profit. So you want if you’re not there, if your margins are lower than that, you want to think of well, how are we going to get there. So raising profitability on your current products by lowering costs and raising prices, perhaps developing more new profitable products, and optimizing your marketing, for instance, and buyers want to buy businesses growing, right? So at least 20% year on year growth minimum, really, and they really get excited when you’re doing that 30% or more. So that’s the bottom two layers of the value pyramid, the most important ones and I don’t suppose I’ll go into the whole thing right now leave that for the the course and you guys can go check it out.
Ben Donovan  16:58
Yeah, definitely. Let’s talk a little bit about brand. Because you see, that’s, that’s the most important and coming out of an aggregator frenzy where they would just buy a, quote unquote, Amazon business. Now people need to build brands. And it’s something I think we’re both very aligned on. But how are you doing that? You know, someone that’s just new to this that wants to build a real business? And hearing you say, Well, you got to build a brand. Can you talk us through, you know, maybe the boxing brand you launched recently seen some good success with that. But it’s still early days. And I doubt that there’s many people that know your brand name was a household name. So what are you doing to build that from from scratch?
Ben Leonard  17:36
Okay, so I think I ought to actually answer the question. First of all, what is a brand? Because some people will think, oh, a brand, great. I’ll just take my mishmash of stuff and put a logo on it and call it Dave stuff. A brand. There’s lots of definitions of brands, and there’s lots of good ones, but one that I particularly like is a group of products that solve problems for a particular group of people. So you mentioned my boxing brand. So yeah, let’s let’s go with that. A group of products that solve problems for boxers in that case? Yeah, so the answer is not to slap a logo on it, the answer is to develop a brand identity and brand identity is branding. And branding. Again, my definition is different ones, is how you make people feel about your brand. And for most people, you’re gonna want them to feel loyal, excited, proud, perhaps even love your brand. And we’re going to make them feel that way. Through a the quality of your products, right quality products themselves are marketing. And that’s a concept that Seth Godin teaches a lot. But they were just gonna teach that through our marketing, because marketing is how you tell people about your brand. You know, if if a tree falls over in the forest, and no one is there to hear, it doesn’t make a sound. If you have the coolest brand and branding, in theory, but you don’t tell anyone about it, because your marketing sell very good. Might as well not exist. So it’s all about strengthening both your branding and your brand and your marketing. And the way to do that is to begin by forgetting remembering that you don’t have you don’t own an Amazon business. Yes, Amazon for most people listening to this will probably end up being your main sales channel. That’s absolutely fine. But it’s not enough to have an Amazon account and a trademark and brand registry and then say, Oh, now I own a brand. You need. It’s like I said before, ask what your favorite brands have and what do they do? They learn about their customers. They go through an exercise to develop a customer avatar, which is basically understanding who your customers are, what their problems are, what the solutions they’re looking for are and how you want to communicate with them. And then reflecting that in your brand by creating what I would call a brand avatar. And so we’ve gone through this from my boxing brand, right? We’ve carefully figured out who are our customers, what are their problems, what are their pain points and challenges, what do they value? What solutions are they looking for? Where do they hang out and we create a broad And that reflects that. And we get in front of our customers by providing them with helpful, compelling, useful, engaging free information, like Elgato brands does for me that I mentioned before, Elgato, the electronics company. And this compels our customer avatar to buy. And this is going way beyond just slapping a listing on Amazon, right. And so, when our brand voice, our imagery, our, the way we present our product, or email marketing, or social media content, the copy we use, and the tone of the copy that we use, matches our customer avatar, people will gravitate towards us as a brand and feel that love for us. So that’s a bit of a ramble. But the easiest way to get started is pick your favorite brand. Even if it’s in a totally different niche and think about how they make you feel. And how do they make, what do they do? What is it that they do that makes you feel that way? And apply that to your business?
Ben Donovan  20:57
Yeah. It’s interesting, because you talk about a lot of intangibles. And I think that’s, that’s what I like about you, you know, everyone’s zigging, and sometimes I feel like you zag in a really positive way. And but I wonder with buyers, though, are they looking at these intangibles tone of voice how it feels? You know, we know that’s important for branding. But what about a buyer? Are they looking at these intangibles? Or are there more tangibles that say, okay, you’ve got 2000 people on an email list, you’ve got 5000 followers on Instagram. That’s what makes you a brand. Well, is there a tie up between these two kind of aspects?
Ben Leonard  21:32
Yes, it’s a really interesting point. And the answer is multifaceted because they weren’t looking at this, but it still mattered. And now they aren’t, they are looking at it a bit more, and it matters even more now. So let’s start with when many of them. And when I say that I’m talking about aggregators, right? For the private equity backed families of brands that we work with or sell to, they do look at this because they’ve been running brands for decades. And they understand way more about this than aggregators do. Or at least the earlier aggregators, and say the aggregators of a few years ago, before they got their their act together. So let’s start with when they didn’t really care that much. They didn’t care that much about the size of your email list of what you were doing on Instagram. But ultimately, they did care about your numbers. And they did care about the growth. And your numbers were better than everybody else’s, and your number, your growth was better than everybody else’s. Because you did all this work. That’s why my business despite being me on a laptop, and three part time, freelancers, was crushing corporate brands, we were doing $6 million a year, because I was doing all this work, and they were just slapping listing on Amazon. But more and more we are seeing more sophisticated buyers actually give a crap about brand. And suppose you know, let’s look at in particular the value of brand identity and unsafe community based brand. There isn’t necessarily a number attached to the buyer wouldn’t necessarily say your Instagram account is worth X, or your Facebook group is worth Y. But these assets do make your brand bigger, and they do make them grow faster. And we see it all the time, same product, same niche, one has a brand one doesn’t have a brand, the bigger brand has grown bigger and faster. So it will attract a higher multiple. But there’s another way to look at this as well. We also, you know we work with buyer’s or seller’s sorry business owners who actually are community driven. And the strategy looks like this at the you actually prioritize growth as you start at the expense of profitability in the short term. And you’re not you’re not generating much if any profit, and then you become profitable for say the last 12 months before you exit. So you might run the app, the brand for say two or three years at low profit building your audience launching your products, establishing the brand identity. But before you go to exit, you then need to become very profitable. And this is great, because you’ve proven two things, you’ve proven both your brand and the numbers. It’ll be hard to sell your brand without any profitability unless you’re doing very large top line numbers and you’re very omni channel and you do you do see that in which case a strategic buyer, not an aggregator, but a strategic buyer might see you and want to come and snap you up and pay a premium you see that especially in tech, right tech startups, they’re not very profitable. So maybe, maybe you actually lost making, but they can get they can sell. But if you can prove the brand and then become profitable, which we can do in E commerce, then that can be a really strong strategy.
Ben Donovan  24:31
And I assume then that’s the approach you’re taking in terms of growth. We’ve mentioned brand a lot when it comes to growth, with again to use as an easy example the boxing brand is a case of getting some wins on the board, getting the numbers up to build that customer base. Is that all about making product sales to begin with? Are you doing marketing that’s less sales driven?
Ben Leonard  24:53
I mean, so absolutely. We’re not generating a huge amount of profit yet. And it’s been about getting getting the numbers on the board, getting the reviews up there getting seen. One of our main strategies right now is we’re experimenting with TikTok ads TikTok ads to result in sales on Amazon. And shortly as we begin to diversify on our own website and through channels like TikTok shop
Ben Donovan  25:21
Yes, TikTok shop. Someone mentioned it to me the other day I’ve not seen the power of it to be fair, but you can list your products and you will assign like a commission right. And then influencers can come and take that deal and promote it on their channel. And yes, it’s a bit like a
Ben Leonard  25:37
yeah, there’s an influencer marketplace in TikTok. And you can sell your products directly through TikTok shop. And you’re giving away less of a cutaway to Amazon. They started TikTok shop in the UK. And now it’s launching in the US what’s gonna be really interesting to see. And this will take us down a rabbit nother rabbit hole. So let’s probably not do that. But it will be interesting to see what happens because there have been rumors that the US is going to ban TikTok, I don’t think it’ll happen. But we have to watch this space.
Ben Donovan  26:07
Yeah, it’d be interesting. I can’t see it happening, but they would kill so many businesses will be interesting. Okay, cool. So yeah, the approach with the boxing brand has it been one product get that launched, and then another, have you gone for lots of product straightaway,
Ben Leonard  26:24
I would love to have launched a whole variety product straightaway. But there’s only a certain amount of cash. We’ve learned we started with two complementary products straightaway. We thought about doing one. But then there’s a related product that sells very nicely with the with the first part of the first part, spare gloves, there’s a related product that sells very nicely with those. So make complete sense to launch those two products concurrently. And that strategy has actually worked really nicely in terms of the frequently bought together, and then the content opportunities you get of people using both products together on social media. So that’s worked really well. And you know, we’re using YouTube as well, in an interesting way that I did my first brand. This is a strategy that I’ll be teaching at cellar sessions live little plug for that doing that in May, where we’re using YouTube, both on the back end of the customer experience and the same assets on YouTube then actually drive sales as well. So that’s really, really interesting approach.
Ben Donovan  27:18
It definitely is very interesting. You mentioned about capital that you put to capital in what I know, this is obviously a you know, how long is a piece of string, maybe question, but just to give people that are listening, an idea of maybe again, how it’s changed that 3 4 5 years ago, you might be able to start with, you know, $1,000 $2,000 and buy, you know, a few 100 widgets? Yep. What kind of budget do you think someone needs to just really make it go at it now.
Ben Leonard  27:47
I like to be quite gloomy and conservative about this kind of thing. Especially when you’re talking about people savings and that type of thing. I don’t want people to ever bet what they can’t afford to lose. I think you need to make sure you’re going to have at least around about 125% of whatever your monthly sales target is going to be once you’ve launched, then you’re ticking over. So if you’re aiming to generate $10,000 a month in sales, I think you want to have at least 12 and a half $1,000 capital. And be aware that as your launch progresses, you may need to throw more in there, as cashflow might become an issue. For some people, you won’t need that much. You only need 10 grand, some people will need more than 20 grand, it depends on what your product is, what your cost of goods are, how competitive it is and how hard it will be to to compete on marketing, and what channels you’re selling on.
Ben Donovan  28:44
Yeah, yes, good. I think our lines quite well with what we say we talk about matching your monthly revenue target with your investment in your inventory, because that should give you a roundabout sort of three months worth to then you get some momentum and says yeah, that’s that’s good to go do that. Anything else that you’re doing is strategically, obviously I know that you might not be in the day to day, the weeds of it as such, you’ve got your partner doing that. But just anything else that maybe I haven’t asked you that you think is pertinent to add how you’re structuring this how you are because you’re in a unique position, right? You have built and sold a business, you help other people sell the business. So you’re clearly and correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re clearly going to be going into this from day one. Let’s build this in a sellable way. So is there anything, anything unique, anything we haven’t covered? That’s worth mentioning before we wrap up that that you’re doing with this brand?
Ben Leonard  29:37
Well, actually, let me mention the other brand for a minute. So the other brand, because we’ve mentioned a lot about the first one which is heavy, heavy on the brand. The other one, we’re really heavy on the intellectual property. So I’ve spent something like 50k on developing a product from scratch with a top top product designer by which we will have certain aspects of that design registered, which for us listeners is very similar to a patent. And what that is going to do is help create a moat around our business, create it, making sure that our product is is quite unique and is protected. And it also means that we are very confident in the quality and the performance of our product when we go to market because we have had it designed by a top expert. Now, some people would not be comfortable with that level of spin. But in my opinion, I’m more comfortable with that level of spend, because cheap is expensive, and expensive is cheap. So if you get it right first time and spend more, you’re going to it’s gonna end up being much more beneficial economically in the long run. And that’s why I’m comfortable doing that. And yeah, that’s, that’s we’ve really invested heavily in intellectual property.
Ben Donovan  30:46
Yeah. Do you feel like you’ve got the confidence to do that, because of the brand that you’ve sold? Obviously, not everyone starting out is going to have 50k to put into?
Ben Leonard  30:54
Yeah, I mean, it’s all about, it’s all about relativity, right? So somebody else starting out, it might not be 50k 5k. And, again, only gamble what you’re prepared to lose. For me, that’s not really that much of a gamble. Because I’m not, I’m not putting in a slot machine I’m giving, I’m giving that to I’m investing that in tangible intellectual property with a top designer. So even if the business doesn’t fully work out, that intellectual property in and of itself is actually worth something. And apart from anything else. It’s been a really thoroughly interesting learning process. So perhaps we’ll just call that an investment in my education. But I would always say to people, you need to, yes, invest in things like intellectual property, but only spend what you are prepared to lose. And of course, you’re gonna have to take into account all your other costs, like buying your inventory, et cetera, et cetera, which is all dealt with in Brand Builder University.
Ben Donovan  31:47
Yet, I mean, just slight change of topic on that you mentioned about investing in your education. Do you feel that you have got? Because obviously, you’ve sold a brand for good money, and I assume invested money and still got some of the money? But do you feel that has given you more of a confidence to bet on yourself? Because you’ve got more capital? Or does that not change? Is that just a fallacy that people think, well, when I’ve got more money, I’ll make bigger bets? Or I’ll believe in myself more? Or how does it how’s that changed your mindset when you go about these new things?
Ben Leonard  32:23
I don’t think it’s changed my mindset that much, I’ve always been a little bit risk averse. And I like to seek opinions from people that I trust before I do things. So for instance, I have an independent financial adviser who I rely on to advise me on what to do with my money, you know, wondering, what do I do now that I’ve sold my business with my first question to her, and she’s advising me on things now related to you know, we’re building a house. So I asked her questions relating to that. I’ve always used my dad as a sounding board, for instance, it’s always good to bounce things off of people. And yeah, our financial position has changed. But that only that doesn’t change who you are, that just sort of amplifies who you are. The underlying traits of your personality will always be there. It’s just, it’s just now operating at a different level. So I still try not to I’m an entrepreneur, but and I take risks, but I take calculated risks after weighing everything up.
Ben Donovan  33:21
Yeah, it’s interesting, because I think a lot of people think, well, one day when I sell a business, and I’m in a better financial position, you know, I’ll just, I’ll throw money at this. I’ll throw money at that. And but actually, it’s the mindsets and the disciplines to not do things like that, that help keep you wealthy rather than just want to be wealthy. They’re not again, you know, so I think, yes, interesting. Interesting. Good. Okay. All right. Well, I know you’re busy. And we’ll, we’ll look to sort of wrap up there. Where can people find out more about you and what you’re doing with the brokerage and everything like that?
Ben Leonard  33:51
Absolutely. So we’re It’s a UK domain, but we’re operating internationally. We’ve even got our deal director for North America, John, looking after the US things too. You can find out about me personally, at I’m all over social my handle on most channels is Ben Leonard Pro, and I’m on LinkedIn. You can email me [email protected]. And if you go to our website, fill in the form, we’ll see how we can help you. You know, I would just say to people, you know, this is not a side hustle. If you take your business seriously. You can have a serious exit and elite could be life changing. But the key is to plan ahead and think of that strategy early and work with the right people early. So come have a chat.
Ben Donovan  34:34
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thanks again, Ben for coming on and dropping some more gold at there today. And thank you again, for your input insert Brand Builder University, we’re pumped. We’re to see the impact of that over the coming years. I know that there’s going to be some amazing businesses built and sold so very, I really, really do appreciate your time.
Ben Leonard  34:52
Pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Ben Donovan  34:54
No problem. Awesome, guys. Well, thanks for tuning in to another episode today. Like I said, check out the link in Description to connect with Ben to find out more about him and also more about exit engine and the launch promo we’ve got going on for that and I will see you in the next episode next week. Take care