Steve Brody, President and CEO of Naviond, talks about coaching business owners that have exited their business and helping them navigate the next chapter of their lives.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the Web site. If you’ve listen to this show for any length of time, you know that we are advocates of peer groups. Anytime you can get in the same room with guys in your same situation, as unique as we all think we are, we’re not. And being able to get in the same room with your peers can help you solve problems that individually, by yourself may seem a little overwhelming. And we have a very exciting segment for you because this is a peer group, this is another take on a peer group. This is a peer group for a group of business people that I think has, has otherwise been somewhat neglected in the market and I’m pretty excited about this. I’m your host Matt Register. Jay Curry is over there in the co-host chair. What do you think?
Jay Curry: I agree with you Matt. This is, this is really exciting because people don’t pay attention. You’re a CEO for most of your life, you’re driving, you’re pushing, your building, your go, go, go, go and all of a sudden you sell your business and nobody wants to talk to you anymore, nobody’s calling needing you. What do you do with that? How do you make your life meaningful? That’s what this is about. This is great stuff.
Matt Register: Yeah, it is a very life changing event. And the exit of your business is something that can be somewhat traumatic, more so than a lot of people want to admit. We have Steve Brody in the studio here. Steve is a Vistage chair, you may remember he’s been on the show one time before talking about Vistage, talking about peer groups and he has started a company called Naviond. Which is a peer advisory group for people who have sold their business. Steve welcome back to the show sir.
Steve Brody: Good. Glad to be here.
Matt Register: So tell me about Naviond because this is a different, this is not your typical peer group.
Steve Brody: No, it’s not and I don’t know that there are any others that actually exist. I did research before starting this and the whole field of retirement, it’s got a bunch of experts and authors and people but they’re individuals who have written a book. I’ve not found anything that would, that would compare to a peer environment. And it was kind of a natural flow from my CEO members and my vintage groups that I still have. But if I have a company that’s been in a group for quite awhile and they sell at some point in time, they either retire or they sell. And these are not tiny companies, I mean we’re not talking about a $500,000 or a million dollar company either. They’re the next phase up; they’re 10 million, 15 million, maybe 100 million.
Matt Register: 30, 40, 50 million. Right?
Steve Brody: Sizable.
Matt Register: A significant size business.
Steve Brody: And they spent their career, you know, maybe building that company. 30, 40 years of very hard work and devoted to that. They’ve never really thought about or let’s say, maybe they thought about but not plan for what happens next. So after that event, when they do sell or retire from, all of a sudden their phone stops ringing. And I had some natural discussions with some of my members of “What do I do?” and “How do I stay motivated?” And do you know of a group of people who could get together and talk about “What are they doing with their life?” So the idea actually came from the audience who said “Where do I go?” And there really wasn’t one. And that’s how the conversation began.
Matt Register: As an investment banker I, I, I’m the vehicle in which they exit their company. Right? So we see a lot of…
Steve Brody: Yes.
Matt Register: Of gentlemen that, business men and women who exit their business, they’re alpha types. They’re important types, they’re used to running 90 miles an hour and all of a sudden they’re not. And they all of a sudden have the time and the money to do whatever they want to do. And they have, a lot of these folks have devoted so much of their life and effort to working, they don’t know what people do for fun. They don’t know what to do with it.
Steve Brody: And, you know, there’s, I think a normal kind of transition that occurs, maybe you know some folks who have been through this. The first step after the sale is what I would say, they go play.
Matt Register: Sure, buy toys and play.
Steve Brody: Toys. And so, it’s travel or it’s toys or it’s golf now. So, how many days a week are they going to play golf?
Matt Register: Right.
Steve Brody: And unless they have an objective to get to the senior circuit, let’s say. If, all the days they go to the golf club, everyone there is 75 years and older. Now maybe someone 62 years old or 65 and they’ve sold. And so is, is that their focus? Normally, it’s not to play golf. So, they start traveling some. And when I say play, they start going to, you know, remember the movie The Bucket List, of what kind of things.
Matt Register: Sure.
Steve Brody: So they start filling out a bucket list but then after a while of travel. Are you going to travel every single month for two weeks? They get a little bored. So there’s a point where they hit a wall and I find that that wall occurs at about, between month six and month nine of playing. They now start to get a little bit introspective and a little bit spiritual, if you will. Because they ask themselves the question… Now mind you, these are people who’ve got enough money they don’t need to start another business.
Matt Register: Sure.
Steve Brody: They start to ask the following question, you know, “I know I have fewer years in front of me than I do behind me. So what’s my purpose, why am I here on this earth?” And can I go ring a phone number to some deity, someone up in heaven and say “I’d like to know the answer. What am I supposed to be doing when I’m here?” For some of them, that’s a really difficult question.
Matt Register: Well and I tell you what, you know, I was having a conversation with somebody a couple of weeks ago about the rate of depression amongst older individuals is, is astronomically high. Right. And, and there is a correlation between success attained business wise. And so, so, almost the more successful you were, once you retire, that is a bigger reason to be depressed than, than, than somebody who is less successful. Right? I mean it’s a traumatic event in anybody’s life to all of a sudden your purpose, because a lot of these folks correlate their purpose with their business. Right? And once their business is gone, they have no purpose. They have to go find another one. Right?
Steve Brody: And when their phone stops ringing and they don’t get the request for four or five meetings a day, the question is; how did they seek relevance.
Matt Register: Right.
Steve Brody: Now this really varies by the person. If someone’s got a really deep involvement or maybe there’s a charitable, maybe there is something that they really have a strong passion about. Those people typically have a little easier time because they may say “I’m going to now spend a lot of time with that”. But, you know, an interesting thing also happens, when they leave this entity, some of them may say “You know, I’m happy to contribute money and I have the wherewithal to write a nice check. But you know what? I don’t want to run this nonprofit group. I don’t have any, I have no interest in that but maybe I could help fund something or mentor someone”. But the question becomes, what is it? So the people that understand what a peer group is, Matt. These are the kind of topics that, we’re really not talking about very many business topics, it’s how do they spend their time?
Matt Register: Well interestingly enough, a lot of times these guys realize that their peers when they were a CEO of a business are not their peers anymore. They have a different set of peers. And quite often, they don’t know very many people that are in their situation. Where they have exited, they have, you know, they have plenty of money and plenty of time. You know, their CEO peers don’t have time. Right? I mean, they’re, they’re busy still running their business. I think it’s a, I think it’s a brilliant niche and one that I don’t, I agree with you. I don’t think there’s anything else out on the market right now that is taking care of that.
Steve Brody: And they don’t necessarily want to meet every month. So in this model and my Naviond group, it meets four times a year, four times a year and it’s from nine to three. And then in between those meetings, I meet with each person in a one on one coaching session. So that’s similar to some of the other peer models. But they don’t want to meet every month. And they want to tee up some topics and there are some interesting family dynamics. If you, if you’ve got a lot of money and let’s say you have grown children… Now they all have a lawyer or an estate attorney or they have some charitable or trust funds that were set up. But there’s a different question that they deal with. And this is one that they like sharing with peers to find out, “So, what have you done about this?” And so the question that, that comes up is, let’s say that some of their children are going to inherit a bunch of money down the road. What they ask is, “So do I wait till I die and then my daughter is going to hear from the lawyer, here’s how much money you’re gone inherit. Or while I’m still around, do I tell my 30 some odd year old daughter with two kids, now here’s the money you’re going to inherit”.
Matt Register: And will that affect the…
Jay Curry: Change a lot.
Matt Register: Decisions that they make in their life?
Steve Brody: Will it ruin their life?
Matt Register: No, I got it. Makes a whole lot of sense. Steve Brody is the Founder, President, CEO of Naviond. Naviond.com. We’re going to have that linked right from Texasbusinessradio.com, as well. If you’re driving can’t take notes. “What Happened After The Sale” is the book. Amazon.com. We’re going to have it on our essential reading list as well. Excellent case study on what happens after you sell your company and what to do. Great segment. I enjoyed it. We’re going to have to have you back, talking about it. I enjoy it. We’ve got to go. We’ll be back.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.