Friday, August 11, 2017 –
Another old friend dropped in today. I’ve known JD since 1988. We went into Pine Grove to eat at the taco truck. They have the best tacos and burritos I’ve ever had, and I love Mexican food.
Living in San Diego as a kid, I practically grew up in Tijuana back in the 60’s. I’ve eaten mucho Mexican food.
JD worked with me in my Business Brokerage firm, “Business Opportunities Exchange”, back in 1990. This was my second brokerage firm. I sold the first one to one of my employees.
We got a little innovative with this company, and created the first multiple listing service for business sales. Much like Realtors have, but it wasn’t the practice in those days to share listings for sale with Brokers outside your own firm.
The reason for this was that every firm firmly believed if there was a buyer for a particular business out there, they would find them, and they were usually right.
Business Brokerage Company’s usually had both sides, listing and selling a business within our own company, and with Brokers we trained.
The way this multiple listing thing came together was by founding a magazine, originally named “Business Opportunities Exchange”. I went to other Business Brokers and said I would advertise their business in my magazine at no cost, and the buyers would call them directly. They could cooperate with other Brokers if they liked, or not. Some started to do so about then.
I also wrote the articles, which were related to buying and selling businesses. We were educators too.
The way I got my magazine in the buyer’s hands was by advertising the availability of the magazine in the Business Opportunities section of various newspapers. I had a small ad saying, “California Businesses For Sale, call for free publication with hundreds (eventually thousands), of businesses for sale.
I had the Brokers running their listings in my magazine for free, and I had buyers subscribing to the magazine for free. I produced six issues and a print company partnership out of Newport Beach said they wanted to buy it, and they did!
That transaction was a classic. We bantered back and forth in the negotiation, but no one showed their hand by saying what they’d pay or what they’d sell for. Finally, I just blurted out, “I’ll take $15,000 for it, (after all, it never made any money yet), and the only asset was a $100 roll of stamps. Everything was free.
Anyway, I no more than said $15,000 and the buyer said, “$50,000? You got a deal! So I ended up selling it for $35,000 more than I asked. They took it and ran, and did a fine job with it.
About that time the internet was really taking off, and a fella in the Bay Area started an online version of what I was doing with the magazine, and those buyers of the magazine missed that curve. I don’t think they survived in the end.
This is the magazine on the left . This is the way it looked when I was publishing it from my bedroom. I designed the layout without a mouse. This was before the mouse, when you had to use commands. Most won’t remember these days.
The picture on the right is the magazine after I sold it. It actually improved over this issue, but I don’t seem to have a copy it it any longer.
This a picture of my staff at an annual Christmas Party when I owned FM Business Brokers, a firm I started late 1982. I’m on the right.
This picture was circa ’86. Next is an article the Business Journal wrote about the company. We sold more businesses than any other firm in California during this time.