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[Perspective Series] Exit to Excellence: Guide to Strategic Business Departures With Jerome Myers


Jerome Myers

Jerome Myers is the Founder of Exodus, a company helping entrepreneurs navigate the eight exits of a founder. A former engineer turned award-winning business strategist, Jerome has led multimillion-dollar operations and now focuses on advising across diverse sectors, guiding leaders from the corporate world to successful entrepreneurship. He is known for his deep understanding of human behavior and strategic approaches to business growth, work-life harmony, and charitable efforts.


Jerome is also a general partner in the multifamily real estate portfolio and lends his strategic acumen to the North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University entrepreneurship advisory board, driving entrepreneurial progress.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • [2:18] Jerome Myers’ unique approach to empowering entrepreneurs transitioning from the corporate world

  • [2:37] The eight-step journey Jerome uses to guide founders toward fulfilling exits

  • [3:22] Building value in CEOs for the scalability of their businesses

  • [5:24] The importance of self-image and relationships in achieving business success

  • [7:32] How addressing stress and worry can impact leadership and business decisions

  • [11:32] Jerome stresses the role of personal growth in enhancing business strategies

  • [18:17] The implications of building a business for significance rather than just profitability

  • [23:56] Why should every founder have an exit strategy?

  • [30:22] The four-step NEXT process for figuring out what comes after business success

In this episode…


What if you could plan a graceful exit from your business that ensures your legacy and opens up new horizons for personal fulfillment? How can you pivot from the identity of a successful business owner to a life of impact and meaning? And is it necessary for every entrepreneur to have an exit strategy?


Jerome Myers, a thought leader on the “founder’s exit paradox”, dives into crafting a thoughtful and successful exit strategy for entrepreneurs. He highlights the psychological and emotional layers of the exit process, emphasizing the importance of nourishing oneself post-exit, evaluating new avenues, exploring fresh opportunities, and ultimately transcending to the next milestone. His framework prepares entrepreneurs for potential liquidity events and fosters growth in personal identity outside the business.


In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker interviews Jerome Myers, Founder of Exodus, about exploring the right path to exit and transition. Jerome shares his unique approach to helping entrepreneurs transition from the corporate world, the eight-step journey for guiding founders toward fulfilling exits, the importance of self-image and relationships in achieving business success, and the four-step NEXT process for figuring out what comes after business success.


Resources Mentioned in this episode


Quotable Moments:


  • "The leader is the lid. If we don't grow the CEO, the company can outgrow the founder."

  • "If you spend all of your time thinking about the things that could happen, you're going to miss out on actually being present in the moment." 

  • "We talk about building value in the CEO and the leader because the company grows if the leader grows." 

  • "If everything's wrapped up in the company, you will suffer the founders' exit paradox." 

Action Steps:


  1. Reflect on Personal Growth: Take time to introspect on your achievements and how they've shaped you as a leader. This step is effective because acknowledging your personal progress can be a catalyst for future growth.

  2. Develop Relationships Beyond Business: Cultivate meaningful relationships outside of your company. Building a solid network outside your business helps sustain you emotionally and professionally when transitioning away from the company.

  3. Expand Your Influence Strategically: Actively engage in activities that enhance your leadership influence, within and outside of your business context. This step leverages Jerome Myers' advice about expanding one’s capacity by focusing on one's work and the resulting increased revenue potential.

  4. Create a Proactive Exit Strategy: Draft and refine an active exit plan, regardless of immediate intentions to sell or transition. Planning for your exit ensures that your business legacy and your customers' needs will continue to be addressed.

  5. Pursue a Cause Beyond Profit: Consider ways you can make a significant impact that aligns with your values, independent of financial success. Aligning actions with personal values can lead to a more fulfilling life.


Sponsor for this episode...


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Episode Transcript:


Intro 0:02 

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.


Richard Walker 0:16 

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins, where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win, and how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Today is a special episode in my perspective series where I talk to people who bring a completely different perspective to our show. Some of our past guests in this series includes Sherry Winn of The Winning Leadership Company, Sam Wakefield at Close It Now and Eric Bourget of HalfSerious.

 

Today I'm speaking with Jerome Myers, the founder of Exodus, and today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in enterprise forms processing. When your business relies upon processing forms, don't waste your team's valuable time manually reviewing the forms, instead, get Quik!, using our Form Xtract API simply submit your completed forms and get back clean context-rich data that is 99.9% accurate. Visit quikforms.com to get started. All right before I introduce today's guest, I have to give a huge thank you to Jen Goldman, of My Virtual COO for being for introducing us. Go check out her website at myvirtualcoo and learn how she can help your business become more efficient and effective. Plus, she was a guest on the show if you want to hear more from her.

 

All right, I'm really excited to introduce today's guest. An award-winning engineer turned business strategist, Jerome uses his rich experience and innate understanding of human emotions to ensure that your journey from corporate world to entrepreneurship is a fulfilling one. Oh man, we need that. At the helm of a division of a multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 company, Jerome created a thriving $20 million operation with 175 dedicated team members. Now he employs that expertise to advise leaders across diverse industries from real estate to health care, guiding them to double their revenue, harmony in their work-life integration and ramp up their charitable contributions.

 

Jerome is also a general partner in the multifamily real estate portfolio and lends his strategic acumen to the North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University entrepreneurship advisory board driving entrepreneurial progress. Man that's dear to my heart too. Jerome, welcome to The Customer Wins.


Jerome Myers 2:18 

Rich. Thanks for having me, man. It's so cool to be here with you today.


Richard Walker 2:21 

I'm so excited to talk to you. So for those who haven't heard this podcast before, I love to talk with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they built and deliver great customer experience and the challenges to growing their own company. Jerome, let's understand your business a little better. How does your company help people?


Jerome Myers 2:37 

We help founders figure out what's next. I think many people go into entrepreneurship and they realize there's no roadmap. But we've identified exits the founders go through from leaving corporate America to having a fully endowed foundation for some charitable cause. And in addition to that, on the backside of their exit, which is the sixth exit in the eight that I just mentioned, we help them figure out what's next. And so what's going to be their post-exit portfolio, and what's going to be that charitable foundation that they develop when they get to that huge exit that comes from a portfolio instead of just selling one company.


Richard Walker 3:14 

Nice. So when you say eight, are those eight different ways you can exit or eight steps in the journey of an exit, or something different?


Jerome Myers 3:22 

No, they're a different steps in the journey. So most of the time when people think exit, they only think about the liquidity event. That's the one that gets all the press, that's the one where people get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some people feel like they won the lottery. And five years later, they end up poor than they were when they got the money from the exit. But if we go back, most entrepreneurs didn't start at the place where they had a seven, eight, nine, or 10 figure business that they were selling.

 

They were Chief everything officer which is exit two, that's when you leave being an employee and you work for yourself and you don't have anybody to help you. If there's going to be paper in the printer, you went to Staples, you bought the paper you put in the printer. So you don't have anybody cleaning the office, you don't have anybody writing anything for you. And so we help people progress through the places or the different levels, the exits to get to the place where they have a sellable company and then on the backside of selling their company. Most consultants vanish.

 

M&A advisors don't make it through the portal of the exit. The only person they typically goes through is a financial advisor. The issue though, most entrepreneurs are terrible clients for financial advisors, because they're putting all the money back into their business. They're not putting it in the stock market or some other annuity of some other financial product. So many entrepreneurs don't have a financial advisor on the front side. But everybody shows up when they get the check. The issue with that though, is they're questioning whether or not the person's there because they have to check, right. And so there's a trust issue.

 

So we believe that we can help people go on both sides, we've done all of the steps of the exit. And except for, we don't have our own charitable foundation, instead of setting up our own, we decided to donate to university, one that I attended, and set up a scholarship, that is a full scholarship for engineering students. And that's a word on an annual basis.


Richard Walker 5:24 

Nice. So if I get this, right, your eight steps are really about building value in the company so it can sell, building processes so it's ready to sell, building up, probably the mental and personal financial aspect for the entrepreneur, am I getting it right?


Jerome Myers 5:42 

Yeah, you're getting it right. Instead of talking about building value in the company, though, we talk about building value in the CEO, the leader is the lid. And so if we don't grow to a place where we are chief everything officer then will always be an employee, if we don't grow to being a thought leader, or a product manager will always be chief everything officer, if we don't grow to truly being a chief executive officer, and having direct reports, because you've got to become a new person at each level, you got to delegate responsibilities, you have to change what you focus on at each one of those levels.

 

And so our goal is to focus on the CEO. And if we focus on the founder or the CEO, and help them grow, then the company grows. If we focus on just growing the company, then it can outgrow the founder. And that's when you start seeing people be pushed out. And in the end, I think a lot of those things end up being very ugly. And I don't want to help do that.


Richard Walker 6:41 

Yeah, I definitely agree that the amount of effort you've put into yourself is a great determinant of how well your business grows. And it's funny, because I have a problem reading, I have two brain processes running at all times. And in order to read a book, I have to listen to music, because I have to quiet half my brain down. So I'd read one book a year, and I hated it. So eventually, I got to the place that I'm not reading, and everybody's like, Rich, you got to keep reading, and I didn't understand it, then I got audible.

 

And I started listening to books like crazy, oh, my gosh, my business started taking off Jerome, it was such a reflection of me saying, oh, wow, I can learn this, I can learn that. And I can give my team these ideas and start challenging them in new ways. It's been a fantastic thing to do. So do you do really push on the client then to go educate themselves in different ways or?


Jerome Myers 7:32 

So we're looking to fill skills gaps, and so we do a gap analysis, and we figure out what's missing, the whole goal is to reduce friction. Now we focus on six areas, as we're going through it, sometimes we call them centers of the doubt. But what it really boils down to is our framework called the red pill. And so it starts with self-image. If you fix your self-image or your relationship with yourself, then it allows you to ascend to the next level, which is relationship with other people. And a lot of people think, oh, well, it's just a relationship with my spouse, or its relationship with my kids, or it's a relationship with my coworkers.

 

Now, all of those relationships are important, and they are impacted by the relationship you have with yourself. So we're starting from the inside and then working ourselves out. When we have great relationships and increases our influence that typically expands our capacity. More people see us as a leader, they want to be around us, they want to be associated with what we're doing. And so the next level is work. And in that, with our increased influence, with our increased attraction, we're able to get more done, we have more capacity. And that typically leads to more revenue. But when we think about those first three, self-image relationship at work, that's where all the stress is.

 

And so our goal is to help turn the stress down, right, we want to be clear about what stress is what's causing the stress, and then figuring out how to remove the unnecessary stress so that people can have a great quality of life. Because if we don't turn the stress down, then people numb it. And they typically numb it with things that are not beneficial for our health, which is level four, right? And so if we can proactively do the work at the lower levels, then our health increases or improves naturally. And then you can add on stuff like meditation and exercise and focusing on your diet and hydration, and some of the other things that we have in the silver bullet for health.

 

From there, then we go to prosperity. A lot of people flip the two, they're like, I'll deal with my health later. I just want to figure out how to make all the money I can make. When we think about prosperity, we think about the three resources that we have energy, money, and time, right? And how are you allocating those in order to get the maximum outcome. You're not prosperous if you have money, but you don't have any time. Or you're always tired or you don't get to use your talent. You're not prosperous if you got a bunch of time but you don't have any money.

 

And so we keep people from leaning too heavily on one or just on one of those with the hope of being able to say, oh, well just pay attention to this, not this. Because for us, it's not prosperity, it just means you have a lot of money. So you might be rich. And then the last level of significance, and this is what I think everybody is pursuing. They want their life to matter. When you sell your business, the biggest question you're gonna have is, what was it all for? And is this really it? You want your life to matter. And so what I think most people do on the first businesses, they build something that makes money, once you solve the money problem, then you need to figure out why you're here. And use those resources that you have at your disposal in order to actually execute against that.


Richard Walker 7:32 

Man. So a whole bunch of questions came to my mind with all of what you're saying, I love it, I love that you're stacking and building layers, because you're helping people build Foundation, and the next layer of the foundation, the next layer, and when you have those layers, it becomes solid. Whereas a lot of people start with one and the other. And they're walking on stilts instead. And it's unstable. Let's go back to the concept of stress. My wife and I were talking about the stress, she was really stressed out that our child was sick, and I get it.

 

She's a nurse who sees the worst of the worst. And so she gets really stressed about that. And she's like, I don't think you're stressed enough about this. And I said, well, hold on here. I think stress, worry and concern are actually different things. So I feel like you don't have to stress out in order to be worried or concerned about a problem. So I'm kind of curious how you view stress, and how do you help people turn it off or down and relieve some stress in how they're thinking or approaching the problems they have? Right?


Jerome Myers 11:32 

So the beautiful thing about what you just described is you got the same stimulus and two people are responding to the stimulus differently. You see it as this and she sees it that. She's got a different context for what could happen based on the symptoms that are being presented than you do because of her work. But at the end of the day, the majority of the worry is based on something that hasn't happened. You are imagining that this could happen. And it's not to say that you shouldn't spend any time on things that could happen.

 

But at the end of the day, you have to deal with what's happening right now. Because if you spend all of your time thinking about the things that could happen, I think you're going to miss out on actually being present in the moment for the things that are happening today. And so one of the main things that we want to do is help people get in the space of eliminating the fear. So what's the worst thing that can happen? The child can die is probably the worst thing that can happen? Or maybe be a vegetable, right? Become incapacitated? Okay, what are the things that are going to cause that? And what of those things that could cause that can you actually control?

 

If you can't control it worrying about it doesn't do anybody any good. I agree. Right? And so then we go a level deeper, and we say, okay, so if that is going to happen to them, what would I do differently, knowing that that is the outcome. And if you've already been doing all this stuff, right? If you know that you wouldn't do anything different, then all you have left is to come into acceptance that that is going to happen if it's going to happen. But at the end of the day, it's probably not going to happen because the percentage that is could happen, the probability that it might happen is really small.


Richard Walker 13:19 

Sorry to interrupt, but there's something else which is there is a journey you're going along, right? And as you go down the journey, you get more information, if you start to see things go the wrong way, you change your course of action, you change your reaction, right. So in a sense, what you're saying is don't stress about something that hasn't happened. But when it starts to happen, pay attention to it still. Right. Sorry to interrupt, keep going.


Jerome Myers 13:42 

No, I think that's perfect. And so as you're going on the journey, and this is a universal concept. If you're progressing, like if I want to go to California, I live in North Carolina, if I want to go to California, I can go east, but it's probably going to take me a couple of days longer to get to California then if I go west. But I don't need to know what city I'm going to California, I just need the general direction that California is West and start the journey. And I watch a lot of people go down this path of trying to figure out what the exact location is before they begin the journey. So let's explore this. Yeah, that's a possibility. The probability is pretty low, what's more likely what's more probable to happen?

 

The child is resilient, the child is going to get better. We have a diagnosis. Let's move on to the next thing. And if things don't go the way we expect them to go, then we'll adjust it. This is really interesting that you brought this up because not just because your wife is a nurse, but there's a difference between an entrepreneur and an employee mindset. foundationally entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs, ones that build big businesses have the capacity to deal with challenge they have the capacity to deal with risk, they are more open to it, they are more open to not having the answer right now, they are more patient with the wait and see, they're more open to the try.

 

For the folks that live in a system with a nice, neat box and you do this, then you do this, then you do this, they have less tolerance for that. And so those differences, if we just go back to exit, one, which is leaving being an employee to Chief everything officer, right? When we talked about earlier of moving to that next level, and having to grow as a founder, that's a totally different mindset. If you're completely risk averse, you don't swipe the credit card to invest in a thing that you think is going to move your business to the next level because you believe that it's just supposed to happen. Yeah, right. Like you're supposed to have all the money and before you do the thing.

But it coming back to your original question, which was how do you reduce the stress? One, we look at probability and say, Is this really going to happen? If it does happen, that catastrophe happens, are we okay with it? And then if we aren't okay with it, what can we do to mitigate the risk, and then execute the risk mitigation plan, and then do what we could with whatever happens on the backside of it, and then continuing to iterate through that process as we get more information.


Richard Walker 16:24 

I like that, because you're taking something stress feels irrational, it's emotional. It's chemical even. And you're grounding it by saying, let's look at all the scenarios, let's look at the outcomes or the potentials of the outcomes. You're giving some logic and rationale to a process that can help you then I guess, to stimulate the downward cycle of the stress, which I love that, that's great. Okay, let me take you to the end of your steps of significance. That's another thing that's really interesting to me, I feel that a lot of entrepreneurs are thinking about the exit, and the significance is the money. But then they forget. And I used to be a financial advisor, and I worked with clients who retired and six months later, like, what am I doing with my life? I need to have a purpose again. So here's my question to you, should you start your business with significance in mind?


Jerome Myers 17:14 

So it's my belief that you should start your business in a way that it can make money, a lot of our fulfillment is tied to how much impact we have, how do we help other people, and I've watched a lot of people get to a place where it's like, oh, I want to make money. And in the pursuit of money, they realize that what they're doing in the business doesn't matter. And so I believe that, for the first iteration, if you've got a money problem, you're solving money problems solve that problem, because you're optimizing for different things at different points in life. Sure, for the second goal around, I encourage people to optimize for significance. I want you to solve a problem that you will be excited to wake up and work on, on a daily basis. And regardless of whether or not you think it's going to make you a pile of money, because that's not what you're optimizing for at this juncture, because you've already solved the money problem.


Richard Walker 18:17 

Yeah. So I have an interesting scenario. For myself, I'm 22-plus years into my business. And we've grown to a certain stage where we have a lot of customers who are totally dependent on our systems running. So Jerome I used to say this, and I stopped saying it because it just comes across wrong, but I have a very strange superpower, which is the ability to upset 100,000 users, turn off my system for an hour and see the phone's ringing and the emails come in, we don't do that.

 

Obviously, we never turn off our system. We do everything we can to keep it running. But the problem I have with the concept of an exit for myself, is if I were to exit and somebody else took over, would they give the same amount of care to the customer, because I realize those customers need our systems running, their revenue-generating activities depend on our forms being generated. And to me that is an exceptional responsibility to have in our industry. And if somebody wanted to buy my company, and I have this exit, with a honor that I don't want to hurt my customers by leaving, and I don't want to sell to them. That's one of the main reasons?


Jerome Myers 19:20 

Well, there's a lot of ways to look at it. I could challenge you and as if you think you're the best person in the world at forms and you might be, but if you got 100,000 users at scale, you can't touch all those users. I don't even know if you can touch all those users on an annual basis with the one-on-one conversation.


Richard Walker 19:44 

Right. We have a fantastic team. I mean, the company is a team of people who are servicing the customers and keeping the systems running. It's not just me, I've elevated I'm several steps up that ladder that you've talked about. Nonetheless, I mean, yeah.


Jerome Myers 20:00 

So let's go there though, right? So with 100,000 users, I don't know how many of you talk to on an annual basis, but let's say something less than 100,000. Let's just say four let's say you don't talk to four your customers a year, do they get less stellar service because they don't talk to you.


Richard Walker 20:17 

So I'll qualify this. Most of my customers are enterprise scale. So it's not 100,000 users we have to talk to it's more of the enterprise. But the answer to your question is, we have customers who don't want to talk to us much, because the system is just running stable. And there's nothing really to talk about, they're happy. We had one customer for a decade would take one call a year with us. And the call always with the same, it was a 10-minute call. They're like, we have no complaints. Everything's running. We're not upgrading, we're super happy. There's nothing to talk about. It was the strangest call, but I was grateful for it.


Jerome Myers 20:46 

And so I was talking to a group of ladies on Thursday of last week, and there were two people in there who said I don't want to build a business, the sellable because of whatever their reasons were. And I said, okay, so what happens if you can't work? And she said, well, I'd be okay with that. I say, yeah, what's your revenue stop, she said, I'd be okay with that. I said, but then your customers won't be served. And she freaked out. And so you built based on our conversation, you've built a business that doesn't need you in order for your customers to be served. So does it really matter if you're there or a better way of saying is, if you sold your company, is the system so robust that, let's say a monkey bought it, the monkey can't break it? And I think the answer is probably yes. Because of the team.


Richard Walker 21:36 

I wouldn't say we're quite there yet, I'd say there's still a lot of internal knowledge that we have that we've got to share with others and build the company at a higher scale to be 100% there. But I get where you're going. Because one of the things I've been doing over the last few years that I asked myself, what do I spend my time on? What do I have to spend my time on? And what role not name of a personal role could take over that job. And to be honest, in 2021, I went from working 43 hours a week, to 25 hours a week just by delegating and getting rid of that stuff, which freed me up to do more things, which then I love doing, I was happy about running my business again, because I wasn't in the drudgery of things I didn't want to do.


Jerome Myers 22:15 

Yeah. And so you built more than a lifestyle business. What you described on the back end is what a lot of people are striving for as a lifestyle business, you build something's far superior to that. And I think you probably could go down to five hours a week, if you really tried.


Richard Walker 22:30 

Yeah, maybe my goal in two years is to get to that point where my role is visionary innovator leader paid to talk. No, I think this is really great. Let me ask you a different question, Jerome, should everybody have an exit strategy, because I didn't start my company with an exit strategy. So Should people have an exit strategy to create a healthier business?


Jerome Myers 22:54 

Just like every other relationship, your relationship with your business will end at some point, you can decide and plan how that end, or works out. Or you can leave it to fate. I think there's nothing worse than when somebody transitions to the next life. And they had no plan. And all the people here are left to figure out what to do with all of the things that they had going on. I think it's kind of irresponsible when people do that. And so if we know that the relationship with the business is going to end and we don't plan that as the founders, I don't think we're actually taking care of our baby. I've got two young girls, right, they're 11 or 14. And if I was to pass away, there needs to be a plan for what happens with them. And a lot of people like in their business to their kids. So why wouldn't you have good parents or some other guardian in place lined up to take over the thing if you weren't here to be the guardian of it?


Richard Walker 23:56 

Yeah. So then how would you define exit? Sounds like there's multiple definitions for what an exit could be for somebody doesn't have to be I sold it to some company, I took a pile of cash, right?


Jerome Myers 24:07 

Yeah, I mean, so that's the ideal situation for most people is I get a liquidity event. The other exit is you just shut it down. Some people try to give it to kids, but that becomes a burden for kids who aren't interested in it. And so that really you sell it you give it away, or it just shuts down is what it usually over what the three ways that businesses end.


Richard Walker 24:32 

What about continuing to own it as an asset while other people successfully run it.


Jerome Myers 24:38 

And so even if you don't chant so you're saying leave the day to day and so that's exit five for us. We encourage people to put a board in place, and then they leave the daily operations. They leave being CEO and become chairman of the board. And so I think that's phenomenal, but you still own it, right? So that's to me it's an exit in the eight exits, but it's not exiting the company. For this part of the conversation, we're talking about the end of the relationship with the company, I don't think your relationship doesn't end as long as you still own it.


Richard Walker 25:16 

Yeah, one of my ideals, and I read this in an article about how families have built multi-generational wealth. And the predominant factor is a multi-generational company at its foundation. And so that's a dream of mine. I mean, being in software for over 22 years is a huge accomplishment, because so many software companies come and go fast, tech keeps changing. We just keep solving problems. We keep asking ourselves, how do we put ourselves out of business in five years, and then we try to do that, so that nobody else can do it to us. But essentially, my kids are young. So it's a long road to transition to them or other employees, because but I would love for this company to grow to be 40, 50, 80, 100 years old, at some point, is that necessary? I don't know. But it's just something I think about is like, that's kind of my exit is, I would transition to others that I trust to run it and it would keep growing and flourishing.


Jerome Myers 26:06 

Well, and I think that's why you have to build it in a way that's sellable. Even if it leaves private ownership, right, your private family ownership and it goes to the employees and the ESOP or you sell it to a strategic buyer, the thought is that the company will continue to run. If you don't have it built in a way where you can transition the ownership to somebody else, then you end up with nobody wanting it. And I was interviewing a lady on our podcast yesterday.

 

And she studies exits and how many companies exit and she's like, basically, there's a million companies every year that plan to sell in the end 18,000, which was the peak in 2022 sell. So less than 1% or less than 2% of company sell let's say well, and of that when we talked the Wells Fargo, they did a research route and it says 75% of business owners regret selling their business. Wow. So we're left with a quarter of a percent of people actually being happy with their exit.


Richard Walker 27:17 

So, let's go to this next idea. How do you help somebody figure out what is next?


Jerome Myers 27:22 

Yeah. So we've got a four step process. NEXT stands for nourish, evaluate, explore and transcend. And so the first thing we do is we force entrepreneurs or founders to pause and nourish actually spend the time reflecting on what they've done. Because most founders aren't good at it, right? They just try to move on to the next thing. They want to fight the next fire, being president and like they struggle with compliments, believe it or not, even if they got a big ego, they struggle with compliments from other people. And so we spend the time helping them understand who they've been, what they've done.

 

And like, how it all works, that they got to this place, on the other side of nourish, then we want to evaluate well, what problem do you actually want to solve? Who do you want to solve it for? And what resources is it actually going to take in order to actually do it? And do we have them? Or do we have to actually go out and find them. And then we take that initial plan, and we go explore, and we figure out what was right in our assumptions. And we also figure out what wasn't right. And we kind of navigate that until we get to what's a minimally valuable product or service, so that they can see the success.

 

And so this is leaving North Carolina heading towards California, even though we might don't know if we're going to LA, San Francisco, or whatever is up there in the very, very northern part of the state, right. But we're heading west. And then as we get closer, we'll make the adjustments and the trajectory to actually get to city and then the street and then the building number that we need to get to. And when we get there, and it starts to grow, then we can transcend. Which is just moving to that next level of having the impact that we desire to have the most.


Richard Walker 29:15 

Nice. Are you helping clients do this pre-liquidity of that?


Jerome Myers 29:20 

That's our preference, because the exit paradox is a very dark and lonely place for people who do things sequentially. So I got to sell this and then I'm going to start the new thing. And then like, I've got to do one thing at a time. They struggle more. And the best way I can describe this is for folks who are monogamous and like, you wait and you feel more pain when that relationship ends. Then if you were dating multiple people, and then one person decided that they weren't gonna participate anymore, you don't really feel all of the pain as a result of them leaving because you got all this other stuff going on. And so while we don't encourage people to have eight or 10 things going on, we want them to get exposure to something else. And a better way for me to say that is we want people to have an identity outside of the company. If everything's wrapped up in a company, you will suffer the deepest and darkest parts of the founders exit paradox.


Richard Walker 30:22 

Yeah, because your relationships are in your business, your conversations, your esteem, how people view you, your height in your industry, et cetera, et cetera. If you have no company, where does that leave you? With a pile of cash to sit on, like Uncle Scrooge and a vault by yourself?


Jerome Myers 30:39 

Yeah, we've found that over 60% of the people that founders talk to on the regular basis are tied to their company.


Richard Walker 30:48 

Yeah, I can imagine. I mean, I've got 20-plus years in this, this is me, my company has me in so many different ways. And I'm doing everything I can to not make it me. But still, this is where I love. So anyway, I don't mean to make this about me selling my company, or I don't want to sell my company, just as a reflection for others.


Jerome Myers 31:07 

I don't know man. I think you could have the liquidity event. I really do. I really do. I think I will say this, because, I mean, I don't know anything about your situation, but you have the visor background. So I mean, you know the importance of taking money off the table. And having all of your eggs in one basket, what I find with most founders is they put everything in, they keep putting more in, and then they don't have anything outside of it. And all their bet is on the company. And again, only 1% of companies exit.

 

So if it doesn't work out, and you're counting on it for retirement, what are you going to do if it doesn't work. And so if you've got something that's sellable, I think it's wise to take the money off the table, and build the next thing, because documents are great, you solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. But I bet if we actually did the reflection, I bet there's other problems that you could get really excited about and probably create some very innovative solutions for that will help even more people maybe at a more deeper level.


Richard Walker 31:13 

I think this is really, really good advice. I think you have a very good perspective on this, Jerome, which is why I'm excited to talk to you, we're gonna have to wrap this up here in a minute. So I hope others are inspired by this. I know for myself, I'm not done with my journey, I have so many things I want to accomplish still. And that's a big part of this. So we'll see. But as we wrap this up, I have another big question for you. But before I ask that, how would people find and connect with you? What's the best way?


Jerome Myers 32:40 

Yeah, we got about 20,000 folks that hang out with us on LinkedIn every day. So Jerome Myers, Greensboro, North Carolina, on LinkedIn, and then I know you'll link up the website in the show notes.


Richard Walker 32:54 

Yep, everybody will see that. Awesome. All right. So here's my last question, who's had the biggest impact on your leadership style and how you approach your role?


Jerome Myers 33:02 

Yeah, believe it or not, it's going to be my partner, Ray. She came into my life back in 2016. And when I tell you, I had to change and question everything that I thought to be true, in order to lead our relationship, it would be an understatement, like the amount of growth that I've had to achieve. And part of me wants to say overcome, so that I could be the person that she will be comfortable following has just forced me to level up to a place that I didn't even know was possible. And so she's been a catalyst and a stimulus and a motivator for me to do that. And I think everybody gets the benefit from me trying to be the best person I can be for her, because then I show up in other places that way as well.


Richard Walker 33:57 

That so resonates with me. I went through something very, very similar. I asked myself, am I the person I promised I will be for somebody else. And I spent seven years really cracking the shell to make sure that I was that person. And it was when I finished that process, but I met my soulmate my wife. Yeah, that's awesome. Jerome man, you're such an inspiration. I love this conversation. We could talk for hours, and we should so but I have to wrap this up, I want to say a huge thank you to Jerome Myers, founder of Exodus for being on this episode of The Customer Wins.

 

Go check out Jerome's website at exittoexcellence.com. And don't forget to check out Quik! at quikforms.com where we make processing forms easier. I hope you enjoyed this discussion, will click the like button, share this with someone and subscribe to our channels for future episodes The Customer Wins. Jerome, thanks so much for joining me today.


Jerome Myers 34:46 

Rich, this is awesome. Thank you, man.


Outro 34:50 

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.

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