Stop Being the Best Kept Secret

In this, The Faces of Business, Curt Anderson, Founder, B2Btail, and Jedi master of helping manufacturers stop being the best kept secret, #GirlDad, and friend will be sharing stories from his efforts as a manufacturing ecommerce evangelist helping US manufacturers get their digital presence helping them reach their ecommerce success.

In this, The Faces of Business, Curt Anderson, Founder, B2Btail, and Jedi master of helping manufacturers stop being the best kept secret, #GirlDad, and friend will be sharing stories from his efforts as a manufacturing ecommerce evangelist helping US manufacturers get their digital presence helping them reach their ecommerce success.

Curt is an expert in putting strategies and teams together to get manufacturers’ true essence digitally shining through to their ideal customers. Curt’s extensive business experience allows him to quickly develop practical strategies to help his clients reach their goals. Curt has also built a large network of highly skilled partners he brings to bear, so companies get the help they need quickly from pre-vetted specialists.

Curt has been an entrepreneur since graduating from The Ohio State University College of Business in the family floral business. After being in the family business for a bit, Curt recognized an opportunity to take advantage of ecommerce sales and founded in 1995 as an ecommerce online supplier of silk flowers and floral supplies.

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Curt was president of for 17 years generating impressive annual double-digit growth for the entire time. The company was also recognized as an Internet Retailer Top 1000 eCommerce company for three straight years. Curt sold the company in 2012 to pursue his passion for helping companies be found online.

In addition to this extensive business experience, Curt has helped businesses as a Business Advisor for the Small Business Development Center at JCC, where he helped seasoned entrepreneurs and bright-eyed startup founders reach their goals.

Damon is pleased to welcome his long-time friend Curt as his guest on this Livestream. The electrifying presence of Curt makes this 197th episode very special. Curt vividly remembers how Damon disclosed the idea of starting Faces of Business Livestreams.

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Curt is a proud girl dad. When Damon talks about the skating rink, Curt takes a trip down memory lane. Similarly, the host wants Curt to recount his experience as a student at Ohio State University.

In the late 80s, Curt went there to study business logistics. Curt narrates a funny story. Besides Ohio and another college, Curt did not apply to any other institute. Coincidentally, Chris Spielman applied there on the sports quota. The guest was Chris’ senior.

At Ohio University, Curt was on the rugby team. During a game in New Orleans, he braved a shoulder injury that required surgical corrections.

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Damon asks the guest if he already knew he would be a successful business owner.

Curt believes that he has always wanted to be in business. His father had a wholesale business. A conversation with his father’s secretary helped Curt determine his profession. So entrepreneurship runs through his veins. His father made progress by leaps and bounds and established his business.

Unfortunately, when Curt graduated, his father fell into a severe illness and the latter “lost everything.”

In the 1990s, when Curt was about twenty-one, he ran a floral business that was strictly a B2B venture. He worked aggressively for his success. By 26, he had established different branches of the company.

In about nine months, the sales plateaued. Instead of opening more locations, he had to close down other branches. Curt’s floral business faced an existential crisis.

However, in the late 1990s, with the advent of the internet, the guest ventured into ecommerce. He bought a domain named

To Curt, it was easy to get any domain name. They had gone over the fax machine, and now email was in vogue. On a lighter side, Curt reveals that back-to-back orders made him bald. The people even ordered items in advance.

Money poured in from all corners. Moreover, despite lacking logistic vehicles, Curt knew that ecommerce was their future. He worked tirelessly, “we don’t care about the weather.” Damon adds that people had no Shopify and had to use Netscape for internet connectivity.

Damon asks Curt if he sincerely pursued his goals “those first couple of years.” Curt adds that it was a time before mainstream social media, like Blogger and YouTube. Thanks to Sergey Brin, who started Google and made things easy. But before it, the ecommerce businesses utilized Zappos and Link Exchange by Tony Hsieh and Yahoo Inc.

In the early 2000s, “every brick and mortar store was going” live on the internet. It was a time when Jeff Bezos was perhaps reading books and making up his mind to take Amazon to new heights.

Curt took a short break when three things happened simultaneously. Firstly, the bubble of the internet burst. Secondly, 9/11 happened. Thirdly, Enron failed.

Behind every successful man, there stands a woman. In Curt’s case, it was his accountant. While narrating his success story, he mentions that hiring her was “the best business decision I ever made in my career.” Before she came, the company was a disaster, and Curt was on the verge of bankruptcy. “I can’t pay my bills.” After her arrival, however, the sales boosted, and profits skyrocketed. Owing to her, Curt could explore his diversified nature. He ventured into manufacturing, importing, wholesale, and ecommerce simultaneously. In short, she was a blessing that gave Curt competitive advantages.

“She ended up buying the company, and I moved on.”

Damon adds that from that point forward, Curt went to help small business owners develop their businesses at SBDC. He further tells people whom Curt has worked with remember him for his “charisma, kindness, and razor-sharp intelligence.”

Damon invites Curt’s comments on B2Btail. The former wants the latter to talk about the company’s name. Curt relates an enjoyable brainstorming process behind naming his company. He said B2B-Hive and B2B Retail also qualified as finalists. Since Curt wanted a fusion, B2Btail won this battle.

Curt recounts that his pursuit of buying a running business after he sold the earlier ecommerce one gave him a lifelong lesson. Buying a good business is “tremendously hard.” Damon agrees with the guest. “The success rate is meager,” Damon continues, “because there are many factors in the businesses.” Often, businesses may seem “great from the outside until you open the hood and you go, that’s a dumpster fire.”

Curt tersely remarks that he only bought it because “I could write a book on how not to buy a business” because he failed.

Damon asks the guest whether he, in his wildest dream, had ever thought about running a manufacturing ecommerce success and helping emerging entrepreneurs with MEPs with live streams and webinars “across the country.”

Curt thanks Damon Pistulka, who made this happen. “The greatest blessings that hit” is when he and Damon connected on March 22, 2020. It was the COVID-19 Shutdown that brought everything to a hiatus. In January 2020, Curt thought of starting a new business.

The Shutdown stirred Curt’s inner blogger, and he became a prolific writer and avid reader. So as long as he put out a post on March 22, “there’s a dude out in Seattle knocks on my door.” “And dude, it was love at first sight, brother. I’m like, Man, this dude gets me.”

Curt reveals that at that time, he worked at a platform called the Small Business Development Center. However, he recently discovered the MEP, although he had heard the name some ten years ago.

Curt regards Damon as his trusted business guide. He then misses some of his mutual friends and mentions some notable guests, like Don Schmidtke and Joe Foster, whom they interviewed.

Before ending the Livestream, Damon announces that this is the last show of 2022.

The show ends with Damon thanking Curt for his time.

The Faces of Business

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Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson


Damon Pistulka  00:00

Oh man. All right, everyone. Wait, this is a special day. First of all, let’s just do this. Let’s just get this right out there. Because this is the face of the business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, who do we have? We have the Kurt Anderson. Kurt Anderson is in the house today, everyone. You don’t know what that means? You certainly will. My friend,


Curt Anderson  00:27

dude, man, what an first off that jam session, that little jam that you’ve got when you kick in your program and like, we need help on our Monday show because I have total music and V. I’ve got I just I have no game dude compared to you. Like,


Damon Pistulka  00:43

that’s not true. Even. We’ll let it go.


Curt Anderson  00:46

Man, what an honor privilege to be on the faces of business. I can tell you exactly where I was. I was like, right out right there in my driveway. I was walking my dog. When you told me like, Hey, I’m gonna start this thing called the faces of business. I remember it vividly. And dude, how many episodes have you done since you had this little dream? This vision on Tuesdays and Thursdays?


Damon Pistulka  01:07

I believe this is number 200. Oh, tonight? I believe it is let me let me just wait. I can pull it up here we can see but I think it is. I think it’s honestly this is number 200. I didn’t count them. But let me see here real quick. Because we’re getting close. I know that. Do 200 Yeah. Well, and then I was looking to so let’s see. Let’s see. Let’s see the CC. Let’s see. Let’s see. Um, no, we’re at 197. I had two people. Because we’ve ever we first book this was going to be 200 And there’s two people canceled on me. One guy had to travel while somebody else got sick.


Curt Anderson  01:57

Well hey, missed by that much dude. So close. To 200 Congratulations, Damon. 197 episodes, you throw in the Friday show manufacturing ecommerce success you throw in the Monday show. Manufacturing Monday motivation. Dude, like you are everywhere. You’re all over the place. Very impressive, man.


Damon Pistulka  02:18

But we’re not talking about me today. Mr. Anderson. All right. Oh, I got that out, too. For those of us remember that movie series of movies? Had to get out there day because I’m telling you. We are talking about you today. My friend. Bring


Curt Anderson  02:35

it on, brother bring it’s all about let’s look at this. Look at the


Damon Pistulka  02:39

manufacturing ecommerce success though, because we are. I mean, we’re over 100 on that, too. We’re like it. Yeah. How many like 102 right now on that? Oh, gosh, we didn’t celebrate the 100. We didn’t. We didn’t. But


Curt Anderson  02:55

we’re at 102. I’ll have to check out our Monday. You know, that’s that’s got to be 40 Oh, no. 5060 That’s gotta be over 60.


Damon Pistulka  03:06

So how are these going on? So you know, what’s funny, as somebody on the live live right now is gonna find this and they’re gonna go what are


Curt Anderson  03:16

these guys talking? What are they talking about? So


Damon Pistulka  03:19

let’s do this. I mean, so we’re talking to the person who introduced to the world how to stop being the best kept secret. I just want to say, so let’s let’s talk a little bit about Kurt Anderson here today. So, girl, Dad, you spend a bit of time in the skating rink.


Curt Anderson  03:42

I just got back. Yeah, I’m at the skating rink. A lot. Daymond a lot. A lot. love every minute of it. I’m actually I’m kind of be you know, I’m kind of dreading when it ends right now. Yeah, once a while. I’m like, Man, this isn’t gonna last forever. Like I mean, really like the last day I just kind of wondering run, run the rank. Hopefully don’t think like I’m the old creepy guy, but they’re like, why isn’t that guy just go home? You know? Yeah, so my daughter’s a figure skater if anybody’s wondering. And I love watching her. It’s a highlight of my day week. So that’s my highlight. Absolutely. Yep.


Damon Pistulka  04:18

I know I’m Connor quit playing baseball. My yard in the home got a lot better. All that time. You’re not. So let’s talk about this. So you are a graduate of the Ohio State University. So tell us about a typical Ohio State University day for you Kurt. Oh god what?


Curt Anderson  04:47

That was like 102 years ago, man so Okay, that was the late 80s You go to school for I went for business logistics man. So So here’s a funny story. So I you know how many colleges I applied to Nope, one.

There you go. Well, I was like, I was all in and at that time, like they accepted everybody like I couldn’t there’s not a chance on earth that I would get in today because like they’ve standards that like I don’t know what they’re doing, but I would have never gotten in. So I played at one college one, one university, the Ohio State University. This was an ad so for any of our football fans out there, remember Chris Spielman or Chris Spielman great linebacker, so he was there when I was there who like Kirk Herbstreit?

You know, Mr. ESPN. So he think maybe I was a senior he came in as like a freshman, sophomore. So yeah, Ohio State. So Ohio State at the time is in Columbus, Ohio. And I’d say Columbus is just booming. It is just such a thriving, you know, it’s almost like the little Silicon Valley of the Midwest. It’s just a nice, phenomenal city in back back then. So there’s a street that runs through all through Columbus. Columbus is a large city, and it’s called High Street. Okay, so anybody in Ohio anybody knows this area, they know exactly what I’m talking about.

And back then, on a football day, they would actually rope off the streets because there was just like, dozens of bars all congested in this one area. And it was like it was like spring break, but it was like it was like that every single weekend. They had the paddy wagons out other police are everywhere. And it was just it was pandemonium. I was on the rugby team. I was not, you know, nowhere. even remotely close. I wasn’t even good rugby player.

But like we were just a bunch of degenerates. So that’s my I lived in. So I’m in this dorm that I lived in, like, the claim to fame was like it was like the highest dropout rate in the country. That’s whatever. But if you ever watch Ohio State football, and you look out over the stadium, there’s too little towers. And I lived in one of those towers. And we are 16 Guys congested in like in our dorm suite. Four guys per room two bunk bed, like, like how anything how anybody ever got anything done is just staggering, right? So anyway, that’s my college deal.


Damon Pistulka  07:06

That’s your college story. That’s funny. That’s funny. So any major rugby injuries?


Curt Anderson  07:12

Yeah, you know, I guess I can show you. You know, I was separated my shoulder one year had surgery and you know, but it was, you know, we went to we played in New Orleans. You know, we go to a New Orleans tournament in New Orleans, the Mardi Gras tournament, and a guy a buddy of mine. And I, we we, we were like two the only guys on the team that could afford it.

I don’t know how I forget where I came up with the money. We flew. Yeah, and everybody else was driving, but we got there. But since we spent money on planes, we couldn’t afford a hotel room. So like, we got the New Orleans and like we’re just like, scrambling. I had an Ohio State sweatshirt on a guy drives like this guy was like, Hey, I know Ohio State. I’m from Columbus. We’re going to a rugby party. We go to rugby party. Like it was just one of the craziest, you know, weeks of our life. But yeah, that’s


Damon Pistulka  08:01

that’s awesome.


Curt Anderson  08:03

Like, right, so yeah, Mardi Gras was you know what Billy Billy. Billy Crystal was the were they caught maitre d of the parade and it was, you know, back in the 80s. It was awesome. So,


Damon Pistulka  08:16

yeah, never been there for that.


Curt Anderson  08:18

Everybody’s like, who’s Billy Crystal? Yeah, Damon, you and your wife. Should apps throw down a bucket list? You guys were on my god that. Put that on your bucket list. You and Lee and your wife would absolutely love going to Mardi Gras, Linda. Yeah, we will. Now we’ve


Damon Pistulka  08:35

been down there. We’ve been down there several times in Spain. Last time. We stayed for a week just just to hang out. Really? Bourbon Street. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Down there. Cause there’s a there’s a whatever a Hilton down at the end. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  08:47

It’s nice. Great. So, okay, so that’s my college deal.


Damon Pistulka  08:51

So your college stuff. So let’s, let’s, let’s back up to your college days. I remember. This is something I thought about. Can you show us a picture when you had hair?


Curt Anderson  09:06

Oh, you know what you should have had, you should have been


Damon Pistulka  09:08

okay, we don’t need to do it now. But we’re gonna we’re gonna happen right now.


Curt Anderson  09:13

I wanted to I gosh, I would have absolutely shown you a great picture with me. We’ll get


Damon Pistulka  09:20

that on there. I should have got I see. I didn’t want to tell you that early because that was one like it would work or not work, but that’s okay. So that’s we’ll put that in the memory banks for later because I thought I was like, that’s awesome, dude, to get that. So now we’re gonna go now we’re gonna move forward a little bit. We’re going to move forward a little bit. So you started this little business you came out of college? Did you always know that you were going to be a business owner? Did you fall into it by accident?


Curt Anderson  09:51

That’s a great question. So when I was I always wanted to be in business. And I remember so my father He had a little wholesale business, and I was probably in high school or whatever. And he had a secretary. So this is like, early 80s. Yeah. And his secretary was like, hey, you know, what do you want, you know, your second go to, you know, apply to colleges, what do you want to do? And I’m like, Ah, you know, I want to be an entrepreneur. And I remember she looked at me, she’s like, What?

Like, she didn’t like, she didn’t know what that term like, looks like, what? What’s an entrepreneur? Yeah. And I just met, I was like, a junkie of reading, like, Forbes and JP Morgan Rockefeller, just like I was just obsessed, like reading about all the, you know, titans of business and McCormick and you know, everything. So I just, I always, I always want, you know, there was just no doubt, I always want to never claim to be good at it. But I always wanted to be a business


Damon Pistulka  10:49

guy wanted to do it. That’s cool. So you get out of school, you go back and start helping dad with his business.


Curt Anderson  10:58

So, so my dad had a wholesale business, so I, you know, so I was gonna go off, you know, just like any smart young college person, I’m gonna go off and conquer the world. And I spent one summer I went down to like South America. I know, another summer, I was all over Europe. And I’m like, oh, man, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do that, you know, this is what life is like, Man, I’m gonna go all over the place.

Right? And so super, super tight. My dad best friend. And he had a wholesale business. And he ran into some very, very serious trouble health issue, you know, just you name it. And it really, really bad, ugly, like, lost everything. Yep. I’m about a month from graduation. And he calls me up. He’s like, dude, I’m in, I’m in trouble. And he’s like, I need some I need help. And so dad asked for help. And I, I answered the call. And so I, I helped out my dad with his business. And so it was it was, it was brilliant.


Damon Pistulka  12:00

But But like, a lot of things. Yeah. When you look at it, and you go, that may have sucked at the time. Yeah. But probably brought you closer with your dad. I don’t know that for sure. But then you started a business. And


Curt Anderson  12:17

so yeah, so it was a wholesale business. And it’s, it was, it was it was a disaster. It was bad. Yeah. faster in like, it was just upside down. And unfortunately, like, you know, family business, you know, anybody family business, it’s, it’s drama. It’s yeah, emotional, you know, man, it’s tough, challenging.

And, you know, we unfortunately, he, our family lost everything. It was very devastating financially, just, like, you know, could have been like a commercial, you know, like, oh, yeah, I lost this. I lost this. I like that was, right. And so, when I got in, I’m 21 years old, you know, fresh out of college, and I know, you know, 21 But you know, man, I was, again, smart. I was at 21.

Because, man, I am dumb as rocks at 54. You know? Yeah. And so I came into this business and just, thank God, I was dumb as rocks, but thought I was the smartest guy in the room. And just I didn’t know any better. I don’t know, if I had 1000 chances to do that over I don’t know if I would. If I would talk to my 21 year old self. I’d have been like, dude, Run. Get the heck out. Yeah, but it was. So yeah, we try. I it took years, but we started to stabilize that wholesale business.


Damon Pistulka  13:31

Yeah. And so then you decided to open a floral you founded a floral Is that Yeah.


Curt Anderson  13:38

So here’s, here’s the funny story. So the wholesale business was called Andersen floral supply. So we supplied like grocery stores, flower shops, like anything. It was nothing live like it was all like manufactured goods, imported goods. And so we would sell to business. It was all b2b 100% of b2b. And so it was like the mid 90s and Idleb I was trying to get super aggressive.

I opened up another location, it was about an hour away from from this other location. So I’m 20 now I’m 26 and I’m going back and forth. You know, I’m spending night with a buddy here. And you know, like I’m trying to run two businesses takes off you know, like, I think I’m Mr. Rockstar again, I’m like, Okay, now we got momentum. And about eight months, nine months into it all sudden, like the sales started flattening out. So like, I’ve drastically increased my expenses.

Yeah. And now like the honeymoon is over now my sales are flat. And now I’m like, oh, god number died, you know, and now like, I’m coming, I’m going back and forth community and I’m trying to, you know, like, now my main business is falling off the new business like now I have another disaster again, right. So it’s a mid 90s. And it’s not it was 9596. And so also, I use that word disaster a lot in this program here. I had an accountant, nicest woman on the planet.

And man she was like, you know this type like You know, she said, like five, to meek, mild. And I would go and see her and I just, I’m just like this 20 Something, train wreck. And she looks at me one time, she’s like, You are the biggest disaster that I’ve client that I’ve ever had. Gosh, God strike me that that is a truce. And so like mid 90s, I closed so I end up closing the other location. I’m like, you know, humble pie. I’m like, I’m going to open up multiple locations.

Now, I can’t even get past to right. I’m sitting there, like, oh, my gosh, what am I gonna do? I’m like, How can I turn this? Like, what are my options here? And so I know, we’re both old enough to remember 1990s These little disparate going around the country? And it was this thing called America Online. Yeah, yeah, this thing called the internet. And there’s this thing called E commerce. And out of just pure sheer desperation, I have like, I’m running out of options.

What I have to lose a try. You know, let me chalk up another dumb move, right? Let me try this ecommerce thing. And like, and like I know, it sounds crazy now. But you know, this and 9095 to tell people that you’re putting up a website. Oh, right. So so I bought a domain name. So instead of like, you know, a Andersen floral supply, which, like, you know, it’s a back then it was like, Oh, you want to be alphabetical? It’s like the phonebook, you know, like people are like, what’s a phonebook? So I’m like, Oh, I will go a

You know, a Very easy, right? And so I bought the domain put up a website. So if you go on what’s what’s the archive thing? Calm? It’s a date. Back, backtrack date back. Date. I think in like, you can go to any website and you can go back in time, date date back. Oh, gosh, I can remember. Yeah, but you can go back and like, see this website from like, you can do it with any website you could do with Amazon anything? Yeah. So way back way. that’s where Wayback Machine or

So you any website that you want to go back and see, like, go back and look at the original Amazon from like, 1995 I’m almost positive, it’s called Wayback Machine or, or something like that. So you know, 1995 it’s like this black thing, you know, like, and so I’ll sudden I’m sitting there and I’m like, you know, I’ll never forget this. So like, you know, we close it four or five o’clock in the afternoon. And yeah, I had a business partner. And also like this, this, you know, we had emailed the time in which it was like, new, right?

We sought our fax machines, but we had an email and also like, an order came in. And I’m like, What the hell was that, like an order came in, like somebody just bought something or, like, and, and they put it on a credit card. I’m like, wait a minute. I like in my wholesale business. Daymond like, I’d have 90 Day receivables 120 Day receivable that’s why I don’t have any hair left. Like I like I’m like, oh my god, I like people just pay me I could survive, right? I’m getting like awesome.

Somebody paid and I charged I charged more I put I put these all at higher prices. Then all sudden, like another order came in. Then another order came in. And I remember like calling on like the rotary pack cell phone. Yeah, yeah. Or whatever the pack cell phone. I’m like, dude, like, You’re not gonna believe this, like eight people just came on our website, took their credit card, typed it in the in the computer. And they bought so I have to ship it tomorrow, but we already have the money.

He’s talking about my dude. I’m telling like, people are buying products on our website. 9095 96. And like, I wouldn’t, I’m like, so I remember seeing we had this big, big old warehouse. It was like this ancient factory building thing in burstead. And I, we had like a we pallets of like pratico Nam. And like, where I live like it snows, you know, eight, nine months out of the year. And like, you know, it’s snowing out and we’re on a loading dock.

And I’m like, Guys, this is our future, like what you’re looking at, I know, these are just a bunch of boxes on a dock and these pallets are gonna go out on ups. Everything on those two pallets are paid for. We don’t care about the weather. I don’t have a van that’s gonna break down. I don’t have a truck. I have nothing. And I might, and we have no receivables with that product right there. I mean, you’re witnessing our future. And that’s then that’s what we did.


Damon Pistulka  19:27

Well, while you’re doing that, that’s an awesome story. Dude. I just want you to take we’re just going to take you back a little bit. So this is this is I didn’t realize we could do this, but it’s great. So here it is, on one way back a web archive or what this is, this is the Anderson Florim website in 1998. February 5 1998. Oh my God, that’s there. Go. There you go mad.

You’re in this stuff down. Now we’re talking about you So we say not being the best kept secret. Now this is this is why I wanted to talk about like this because you had to figure this stuff out in the beginning. It wasn’t Shopify, when there weren’t all the tools that we have today, where there wasn’t even a good browser, you’re probably using Netscape or some your take your program and then stuff by hand. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  20:19

I, for the life of me, I don’t even remember. I don’t remember what this was designed to be. I wish I did. I don’t remember what this was on. But I


Damon Pistulka  20:29

just think it’s a great. I think it’s great. Because it’s like, it’s going back in time. Because this is what this is. I mean, this is relevant. The fact that now you’re today. I mean, we’re sitting here today and talking about this. You’re out helping people and I don’t think people understand that you really live this. You were in their shoes. You’re like This is do or die, dammit. And we are not going to die.


Curt Anderson  20:54

I can’t believe that was asked dude. Oh my god you just brought in so


Damon Pistulka  21:00

because it’s like, it’s like, listen, you’re sitting here teaching people how to stop being the best kept secret? Yeah, you had to do it. Yeah, not just want to do it. Not just because oh, I don’t I don’t want to do your job. It’s like, yeah,


Curt Anderson  21:15

it was sheer like, Dude, I had to eat, you know? And yeah, there was no, there was no social, like social media was still years away from that. They’re like Google that I think, you know, Sergey Brin, and, you know, his partner. You know, I think Google was an idea. In 1998, I think whenever their patent came out, but like, you know, Google wasn’t a thing until like three or four years later. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’ll do that. You brought me back on that. That was awesome. Yeah. Who was the was our big search engine? And nine. Yeah, it


Damon Pistulka  21:45

was. It was.


Curt Anderson  21:47

That’s awesome.


Damon Pistulka  21:48

So when you were doing that did I mean what what did you really figure out in those first couple of years? Oh, God,


Curt Anderson  21:58

you know, it was back then. So the thing you know, God bless his soul. The gentleman that found Tony Shea that found Zappos he, he had, he had found that he’d struck gold with Link Builder, man, I’m like I’m brutal on Yeah, like Link Builder was like his first like, real win.

And so the thing, you know, even before Google came out, and Google is all based on backlinks, okay, we like you and I, when we in the beginning. Yeah, there’s a lot about, like, if you look at the patent, like if you go to the original Google patent, all of it, you know, and again, way above my league, paygrade everything, but a lot of it’s about backlinks. Right. So back then a lot of it was Yahoo.

And then, at that time, it was all like the banner ads, remember, like the old banner ads, you know, like, Hey, you’re gonna pay for so many impressions. And how many this and so, you know, like, it was just wild west town air, there were no gurus. Blogs didn’t exist. YouTube didn’t exist, like nothing. Like nearly on your own just trying to, like you’re on Yahoo trying to find, figure out how to get any type of traffic, any type of momentum, and then to come in.

So you just showed 9899 2000. For those of us around, you know, the internet bubble crashed. Right? Yeah. So here’s my so my business, I have a business plan. I think it’s, I think it’s in his file right below me. I put together this full blown business plan. And the mission was this statement. It was I wanted, you know, the Miko store, you know, like the craft store, like they have some. So my business plan was Amazon. Michaels. At that time, Amazon was like really starting to get some momentum around books.

And like, I was just obsessed with like, you know, that Marc Andreessen that founded I think Netscape is also like, you know, back then was like your you know, and all that, you know, everything that crashed, you know, all that stuff. So like, I was just obsessive, like, I want to be in this, you know, in this wave, how can I get in this wave? And when the internet bubble, so my whole business plan was like, hey, Geez, how could I do you know, every brick and mortar store in 2000 was going to go out of business?

Yeah. Right. Every brick and mortar store is going to go to business. Well, what happened? It just It took 20 years because brick and mortar, Sears, Kmart, Blockbuster, you know, now they’re falling off. But in 2000, that was the fear that was a threat. So I was trying to go that direction was like, how could I Amazon? What Michaels is is brick and mortar. How could I do what Jeff Bezos is doing with books and at the time, you know, Jeff Bezos is doing like 50 million. You don’t? Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  24:41

yeah. So as you were doing this, you got to a point where you’re like, Ah, it’s time for me to move on. What what really brought you to that point where you said, I think I’ve I think I’ve worn out my welcome or it’s good It’s time for me to go do something else.


Curt Anderson  25:03

So I’ll take one step back, and then and then I’ll get into that. Exactly. So it’s it’s like 2000 2001. So now the internet bubble is crashing, you know, our country is devastated with 911. You know, you’re old enough to It was awful, absolutely awful. You know, Enron happened, you know, so I mean, it’s like the world was coming.


Damon Pistulka  25:27

Yeah, it’s just like everything’s so you’re saying that I’m just like, Oh, yeah.


Curt Anderson  25:31

You know, what a devastating cash. Devastating times. All right, we’ll keep it positive. So I told you I was a disaster. I told you my accountant said I was a disaster. So I brought in, I hired this woman who just oh my god, she was blessing. Amazing. The night before I hired her I was with my wife and I might be making the best business decision I ever made in my career. And that was, I was gonna, I was gonna make an offer to hire this woman the next day, and I hired her.

So she came in and so like, our sales are like going like this. My profits are going like, like, I’m like, you know? And I’m like, God, I’m like, you know, I’m, like, sales are going crazy. Like, I’m like, why I can’t pay my bills. I’m like, going broke, like, what’s the problem? So I’m telling you, a woman I heard she was a you know what? I know this. This consultant. Let’s have this consultant come in. I know, they worked with this other company. She was great. So this woman comes in and God bless her. She should be on my holiday Christmas card list. To this day, she comes in, she’s like, Hey, tell me about your business.

And I’m like, and at the time. I’m doing five different things in the business five. And I’m like, Man, she is going to be so impressed with me. I am diversified. I’m doing five different things. I do not have all my eggs in one basket. Man, is she going to be dig in what I she’s gonna dig my jam, right? Okay, now I’m 30 Because now it’s even scary when you’re 20. You know, everything, but you haven’t done anything. At 30 you still think you know everything, but you’ve done a little bit. So that’s even scarier. I was dumb as rocks.

Okay. So she comes in, she’s like, Hey, tell me about your business. I’m like, Man, I’m diversified. I’m doing this. I’m trying to do some manufacturing. I was doing some importing. I’m doing this wholesale thing. I’m doing this other thing. And I’m like, and I’m trying to do e commerce, right, man, is she gonna be digging me? She’s like, Well, alright, wait a minute, you’re trying to do manufacturing, you’re trying to like, like, what are your competitive advantages? Well, I’m like, Okay, well, I’m doing this. You know, I’m doing this, okay.

I’m doing this, you know, explain the whole thing to her. She looks at me, she goes, I can tell you why you’re losing money. I can tell you exactly what your problem is. I’m like, she’s been here. 30 minutes. I’m like, How does she know? Right? She knows you’re doing five things horribly, instead of one or two things exceptionally. You told me the core of your business is this but you told me the future is ecommerce. Put your money where your mouth is drop everything that you’re horrible at and give everything you’ve gotten ecommerce that was in 2001.

And I’m like, Well, how good of a consultant Are you? Because in 30 minutes, you just saw my problem. I don’t need to hire you again. So she solved everything in about 30 minute and she was dead spot on. I got rid of like, you know, overtime, I got rid of everything stripped the company we can talk about painful. I had to let people go. That worked. We for years, I had a partner that his son was my godson, and he moved on to a new career. It was like excruciating, horrible decisions.

And all sudden, one day like I had a little thing on my wall, like my goal is I want to do this, this this and like after all these hard decisions, and just like punk being, you know, it’s like being a bot when you’re an entrepreneur. It’s like people like, Oh, you’re Mr. Entrepreneur, Mr. Dramatic, everything. So it’s hard. It is hard. I don’t care what it says. Entrepreneurship is hard. And finally I like one day, I’m sitting there, I’m like, Man, we’ve hit that goal where I’m like, I think we made it.

So then awesome. Like we just started taking off more. And one then after 10 years, we had a great run. There’s a magazine called internet retailer, we’ve made a top 1000 companies three years in a row. And one day I was there and we’re like debating over like, you know, a new direction, a new growth thing. And you know, I dropped the line and I’ve shared the story with you probably a dozen times. For 20 years, this is how I’ve done it in the day, and this is another gas was the one that came out of my mouth.

I went home that night and I’m like, I don’t have anything left in the tank. I’m like I’ve given everything I’ve got. I am now hurting this business. It’s time for me to move on and thank the Lord. I had this woman that I had hired 10 years prior. She was a pitbull, she’s one of the greatest business minds I’ve ever encountered. She was an angel. She was a blessing. And she ended up buying the company and I moved on And happily ever after. That’s my story.


Damon Pistulka  30:03

Awesome. It’s good. It’s good to get this from you. Because now, you got we’re going on today. Moving into that you, you then helped people at the SBDC. And, and then other things that you’ve done along the way, you know, and we talked about a little bit about ground straps. Yes, things like that. I mean, let’s, let’s talk about that. But I just want to, I just want to say some of the things that people are talking about you are saying, I want to mention some of the things people are saying about you. These are good. Kurt is that rare Trifecta combo of charisma, kindness, and razor sharp intelligence,


Curt Anderson  30:48

signed his mom signed this mom.


Damon Pistulka  30:54

Kurt is a is great at drawing the greatness out of those that he works with. evangelist is absolutely the right title for you. There’s just some things that people have said about you. These are people that you’ve helped in businesses, and these are people that that you know, write your recommendations, talk about what you do. So are blessed man. And now Now you decided that you’re going to write write a book, and you’re going to do b2b retail. So first of all, how did you name your company? You know, what?


Curt Anderson  31:32

How to Oh, how did I name my company? You know what I did? That’s a great question. You know, what I did is I was stuck on a name. I was kind of b2b hive. And it was going to be like a beehive of E commerce activity b2b hive, right? And I’m like, I don’t know, I just, I just didn’t feel it, right. There’s a website called naming force. And it’s a crowdsourcing of, you know, how to get any business. So it’s like a contest. And like, you throw in like, Hey, I’m gonna pay whatever, you know, 500 bucks or whatever.

And, you know, you get like a couple 1000 names. And that’s exactly what I did. And somebody put b2b retail, and out of those 1000, or however many names, I you know, you weed it down, weed it down, weed it down. And I’m like, b2b retail will play on words for retail. How do you help manufacturers go from b2b to retail? And how do we blend this all together? Our conversation yesterday was on our LinkedIn live show with Kirinda and Jacqueline from iMac was exactly that. How do you go b2b b2b b2c. And so that was the name b2b sale.


Damon Pistulka  32:38

Nice. Nice. So did you know when when you when you got said listen, I’m gonna go out and help companies and I was going to help manufacturers and I was going to help them with with ecommerce.


Curt Anderson  32:51

So when I sold that ecommerce business, I was on a mission to buy a business. I’m like, Okay, I don’t know a lot. But I think I figured out this ecommerce thing. And so what I was looking for, I’m like, I want to find a manufacturer that’s maybe a digital immigrant.

And they’ve been doing this making this product for 50 years, grandma and grandpa made it mom and dad made it and like, you know, maybe this person just like, man, like I’m just I’m running out maybe there were I you know, where I was, you know, like, Man is how we’ve always done it, but they needed to change. And so like, I searched everywhere, trying to find a business that I could institute ecommerce, and I could write a book on how to not buy a business because man, I failed horribly. And I just I just, it’s just, I needed a Daymond man, I needed a


Damon Pistulka  33:38

darn it’s hard to find him it’s hard to find him I tell you what people that think they’re gonna go out and buy a business I feel for you and what you’re trying to do, because I’ve helped several people try because the process of going from I want to these are some that I’m going to talk to you to get to, to the process of actually getting one purchase is it’s tremendously


Curt Anderson  34:01

hard. What is there a percentage or like what like literally like


Damon Pistulka  34:05

one out of 100 people ever get it done even search funders that that have their their paid for usually a couple years to find a business to buy. Yeah, they can’t do it. The success rate is very low because there’s so many factors in the businesses that you’re looking at that can make it you know, great from the outside until you open the hood and you go oh, that’s a dumpster fire we just need to close that thing back up and walk away. And or, or it can be something as simple as you know.

It’s a great business but I’ve got two customers that make up the entire business and that’s just for somebody coming in. That could have been your friends and that’s why you had a great business and but the next person is not there’s so many simple things that for the current owner are not a problem, but they’re a problem for anybody trying to buy.


Curt Anderson  34:59

Amen, man In, you know, and I’ve walked down the aisle with numerous situations and like something would happen at the tail end. And I’d be like, Man, why, like, what, like, why can I get this in the endzone? And then the funny thing is like a year or two, you know, a couple of years later would go by, and I’d be like, Thank God, I didn’t buy that business. But at the, you know, the day when it fell apart, I’m just like, Man, why, you know, what’s what’s, what’s the disconnect?

And then, you know, a couple years later, I’d hear like, you know, oh, yeah, that business is on the verge of going under big customer, like you said, laughter. This company, whatever. And so, wasn’t meant to be. And so with every company that I kept talking to somebody like, Well, how do you do this ecommerce thing? Or what’s this digital marketing thing? So I’m like, You know what, I’m going to start helping people COVID hit man, one of the greatest blessings, you and I crossed paths, and I just haven’t looked back since. So,


Damon Pistulka  35:51

so have you at? Would you have thought I mean, even wild, wild dreams to think that you’re going to be doing the live streams and webinars that the thing going across the country to MEPS like you are now Yeah.


Curt Anderson  36:09

So you know what? Dude, I’m gonna like you hands down. I know, like, I know, you get uncomfortable and I say this, you hands down when the best greatest blessings that hit so you and I connected March 22, and 2020, like, five days into COVID.

And an even knocks Damon Pistulka knocks on my door, one of the greatest blessings that happened to me. And so the funny thing is, is I put out a blog post. So what I was doing when when COVID hit, you know where I was at in life, like, I shut down and in what’s funny, and here’s the funny thing, even and maybe I’ve told you this, I was flirting with a business in January of 20. Very, very, like hot and heavy. In down to it.

There were some things I just very uncomfortable with. And I politely passed. I’m like, not a good fit for me. I’m gonna go a different direction. That was January, man had I pulled the trigger that back to my favorite word disaster that I think that’s the theme of the tonight that would have been a nighttime where I’m at. But so I was like, You know what? I have a book in me. And I started blogging. Yeah. And I’m like, you know, COVID hit.

I’m like, You know what, I can’t go anywhere. I can’t do anything. I can’t go to the skating rink with my daughter. I’m just hanging out at home. I’m going to I’m going to finish this book. So I’m putting out blog posts or blog posts where chapters so if anybody out there is trying to write a book and you’re like, overwhelmed, start writing blog, blog posts, and now you have book chapters. So I put out a post, a post a post, march 22.

There’s dude out in Seattle knocks on my door. Hey, Kurt, I just read one of your blog posts. interested to see what you’re doing what we’re doing day to day, we get on a call. And dude, it was love at first sight brother, I’m like, Man, this this dude gets me. I get him. I’m like, I think I found a virtual COVID friend, right? Yeah. And so I, I locked down and I finished that book. And so then when I finished the book, and like this COVID, like, you know, in every day, you know, is COVID last thing a week is Atlassian a month. Like, we had no idea where we’re going. And so June, July, I finished the book.

And I’m like, Man, how am I going to make a living right now? Right? What am I going to do? And I might, okay, all I need are two things. I need LinkedIn. And I need a webinar. I’m just going to throw together a webinar. And I’m just going to get on LinkedIn just because everybody else is hanging out on LinkedIn, because we have nowhere to go. Yeah. And I just started connecting with people connecting with people started doing webinars, webinars, and I remember this call vividly with you, August of 20.

And I’m like Damon, I used to work at the Small Business Development Center. So I’m doing all these webinars for small business development centers, I have the connections and it’s working. However, I just discovered this agency called the MEP. And I knew that MEPs from like 10 years ago, where I’m at, you know, Buffalo, New York, and I’m like, but I didn’t know I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand it. And I’m like, I think this might be a direction for us.

And I vividly remember you’re like, Man, this sounds really interesting. I think you should pursue it. And we quadrupled down and we’ve just built amazing friendships, relationships, the experiences that you and I have generated through the MEPs we’ve interviewed dozens and just yesterday, you know, great success stories. We’ve built business relationships, we’ve been paid to do speaking gigs and so it’s all from I’m like, hey LinkedIn and a webinar and in as little goofy book, and let’s see what happens.


Damon Pistulka  39:50

Yeah, yeah. And you’re right though it was born out of out of not an unfortunate situation I think is is a new new Beginning for a lot of people, because now you’re able to help a lot of these people find their way in E commerce as you start all the way back from your journey. They don’t have to go through the, the bumps that you did


Curt Anderson  40:15

that and I think that’s what you and I love the preaches is, you know what, why make all the mistakes that we’ve made. And the thing is like, it’s helped me become a more, I’d love to have the humility or, you know, the reality that I’ve always been an eager learner.

You know, but again, when you think you know, when you’re Mr. Know It All Yeah, you know now, like, I listen, you know, I’m at the rink tonight. I’m listening to like, hot like, we’re working on this little software thing. I’m like, alright, well, how do you do that? Who’s Who’s paved that path? How can I do this? Without the arrows in my back? Right? Yeah, the famous line that pioneers end up with the arrows in their back, you know, the settlers came in and read the land. I don’t want to be a pioneer, I want to be I want to be a settler.

Right. And I encourage her vite everybody out there, so like, you know, succession planning, I wish I knew you tend to, you know, 15 years ago, when I was selling my business where I could have had a trusted guide, and resources. Like Kurt, like your Tuesday posts, I look forward to your Tuesday post every week, because you just deliver amazing information to help people how to do that. You don’t have to do these things alone. There’s information out there. So like, you know, it’s like get your ego out of the way and just ask for help raise your hand and ask.


Damon Pistulka  41:27

Yeah, yeah. So as you’re doing this, and I just want to do this because we have to we have to plug your book here if you haven’t got it to anybody else listening Kurt Anderson stop being the best kept secret. So so we’re out here now we’re helping people. We’re going down the road with this. What are some of the craziest digital things you’ve seen that go oh my goodness. And we won’t name names of course but that that that you’re just like, Oh my goodness.


Curt Anderson  42:04

You know what people probably say that about us? Oh, that’s


Damon Pistulka  42:07

Yeah, yeah. You guys are that crazy and just get on and do what we do.


Curt Anderson  42:13

About Greg miss you so is out there so you and I do a live and we had Greg Misu on the program. And we get we get to know immediately after our LinkedIn live in Greg goes, guys, that was awesome. That was fantastic. Thank you. He goes I just want to tell you how much I admire you guys because you’re old as dirt in Kurt is completely bald, and you still go on LinkedIn live that is great.

Yeah, you know, I have I’ve just felt so you know, I’m dear friends doing a ton of work with Nicole Donnelly. God bless Nicole. Yeah. And so I was just telling her I like I have a you know, like, a great business book. Good to Great Jim Collins. Good to Great game changer for me. You gotta wait right? I’ve ended up with somewhere. And one of the chapters they talk about confront the brutal facts confront the brutal facts right?

So I have a buddy who’s kind of like, you know, he’s local to me like a video guy data and like every once awhile I’ll get the text message where he’s just like, tear me to shreds Why am I so close? You know, like the background or like, you know, I you know, every time I get a text from them I’m like, Oh, God now not what’s that? What dumb things that I do now, you know, but, but it’s nice having that friend friend that is going to tell you like Hey, dude, you got something in your teeth or you got something in your face or your ratings aren’t good your audios?

Or you know, or whatever. So what are things that I see I I’m certain you know, I’ll speak for myself now for you a lot of people like Man Can you believe that guy does this? But you know, I think some of the you know, I’m not super crazy about like some of the tic tac stuff you know, I don’t know they’re you know, everybody has their thing but like when you find your your your we talk specifically about that ICP that ideal customer profile unite we call it soulmate, right?

So resonating with your you know, like if your jam speaks to your soulmate and other people were mocking it making fun of it. So be it and do your thing. If you’re resonating connecting with your soulmate online, your ideal business profile that you’re looking for. Do your thing, right. You’re not going to do goofy things with our our Muppets T shirts. Yeah, our thing and you know, we’re not for everybody though. Our moms think that we are we’re not everybody, but so be it right?


Damon Pistulka  44:34

Yeah, yeah. Good answer that one man good answer that one because I think it really what you’re saying is really relevant. Not everything’s for everybody. But if you if you know you’re reaching near the right people, it really doesn’t matter if you’re not for everybody.


Curt Anderson  44:52

So I know you’re asking questions. I want to be totally respectful because like I was trying to turn around but look at how your life has changed. Do you remember life without doing this show? Without? Not really? Right? Like,


Damon Pistulka  45:07

it’s so much different? It’s so much different. Yeah. And I couldn’t believe this at the beginning and COVID I met with a guy. I still remember it a guy from the UK.

And he said, he said, I’ve had a podcast for I don’t know, it’s like three or four years into it. And he’s just, that’s, that’s what I do. That’s what our marketing is. Yeah. And you look at some of that, there’s, oh, geez, I can’t remember names now. But some people that have said social selling, social selling, and it’s like, I come back now and I can’t really understand what it would be like not having this, these these opportunities to talk to people and share things and, and just meet the cool people that you get to meet to sell like to, and you get to meet right, because being able to share the stories is so much fun.

And it’s not even like it’s work, but it brings you business. I don’t understand it. I mean, I understand it, right. But you really you really don’t believe it. Because until you do it. Because in the beginning, I mean, how many shows how many? How many live shows and other stuff did you do before before you just said? Oh my god, is this ever gonna work?


Curt Anderson  46:24



Damon Pistulka  46:26

Yeah. But you hit him. And then But then you get to a point you go.



Ah, yeah. Oh, yeah. A little more, a little


Damon Pistulka  46:33

more, a little more. You


Curt Anderson  46:34

know, when you look think of the relationships that you’ve built, yeah, friendships and here’s a big thing for you and myself. And I think like we’re you and I have connected you know, like, she’s, we’re on two different sides of the country. Like, you know, there’s no reason on God’s green earth that you and I would cross paths love. The relationship that we have, you know, I’ve stayed at your home, I’ve hung out with you and Rene, your what your amazing, beautiful wife God, I love your wife.

She’s fun, his person on the planet, you know, our families, you know, so they built this, this great relationship. But just think of the how many times you and I are on our show. And you and I like I almost like guilty is not like, I’m like, we’re getting this information for free. Yeah, like, you know, Don Schmidtke Oh, again, Wessling Greer. We interviewed, you know, I could be here all night and I I’m on Dave resign. Yeah, I got Dave. Dave is like mind blown. Yeah. Would you know, Joe Foster, the founder of Reebok, Allison Levine? Who’s kind of I’ve been highest peaks of all you know, the better


Damon Pistulka  47:43

both poles. I mean, this like,


Curt Anderson  47:45

Oh my God. You know, like, Scott, the editor. Only on a magazine. Yeah. Scott peak magazine. Carrie Smith from big ass fans. You know, like, in Carrie Smith Daymond. Like you and I front row seats are telling like, like, like little me from nowhere. How he founded big ass fans members walked into that job shop. Yeah, like two dudes.

They didn’t know what they’re doing. Like they there’s this giant fan. And like, carries, like, trumpets are playing. angels are singing like he was struggling. He was like on a verge of bankruptcy. Yeah, walks in sees this giant fan. And he saw his future turn it into a half a billion dollar company. We’ve had those opportunities all the way down to the MEPs vallot. Minor fracks. Yeah, just what a gift. What a blessing to just sit there and give folks a voice. And I think the connection that you make with these people is just there’s there’s no words, man, you can’t put a price tag on it.


Damon Pistulka  48:44

Yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. Well, Kurt, as usual, it’s awesome talking to you. And I tell you what, I’m really I’m really happy that we could do this as our last show of 2022 Because you know, we may play around on Friday or something if we decide to but I really wanted to take some time because you do such a great job highlighting everyone else. I wanted to be able to highlight you for a moment and talk about it but thank you so much.


Curt Anderson  49:19

Right here man bottom my heart. I love you, your wife, you are a blessing. And man I wish I wish you guys just a magical Christmas holiday Happy New Year. You deserve every ounce of happiness, peace, good health, and everybody out there man. Just this LinkedIn is just what a great what a great community that you and I are just so fortunate and so blessed. I mean, I think thank God every day for you and for everybody on here. So


Damon Pistulka  49:49

yeah, yeah, thank you. Thank you and I feel I feel the same way about you curtain. And next time when your wife is out here and hopefully your daughter too. We can we can go someplace out here and Have some fun. The


Curt Anderson  50:03

Curtis Thompson’s here, man Curtis,


Damon Pistulka  50:06

here. Yeah. And Dave, thanks so much for being here. Guys. It is amazing though, like you said, the people we meet the opportunities we have talked to these people share such intelligent people, their ideas, talk about topics that because I think of this and I go, how much has it enriched me just knowing this stuff, just enough to be dangerous and then to beat these people so that there’s a problem that someone has, that I’ve got people that you can call, at least to get you in the right direction or maybe that can get you into if they’re not the right place somebody else.

It’s amazing how, how it is changed my world. You’ve changed my world. I just want to say thank you. Right back at you, brother. And all I say thanks, everyone for being here tonight. We were going to come back next year strong and having a great time. So everyone, have a great holiday season, whatever you’re celebrating, if it’s very relaxing, watch a little sports out in the wilderness, whatever the heck, have some fun. We’ll be back again next year. Thanks a lot. hang out for a second Kurt.

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The Faces of business Livestream / Podcast episodes are conversations with interesting people sharing life and business experiences to entertain, engage, build community, & help others succeed.

Taking the Guesswork out of Business Growth

In this The Faces of Business episode, Jay Tinkler, Co-Founder, Remarkably, dives into “Taking the Guesswork Out of Business Growth.” sharing his insights on building trust and fostering community-driven growth strategies.

Common Mistakes When Selling a Business

In this episode of The Faces of Business, David Barnett, an experienced M&A professional, Author, Speaker, and Consultant, shares insights on the Common Mistakes When Selling a Business to help you navigate the complex process of selling a business and avoid costly errors.