Educating Amazon Sellers on How To Reach Maximum Potential | Meny Hoffman
In this Prime Talk Podcast Sponsored by GETIDA – Meny Hoffman - CEO of Ptex Group, talks about educating Amazon sellers on how to reach their maximum potential and also more information about his life's journey. #menyhoffman #ecombroker
About Meny Hoffman of Ptex Group -
Ptex Group offers strategic marketing, design, printing, web development, and call center services.
Find the Full Episode Below
Yoni Mazor 0:05
Everybody, welcome to another episode of prime talk today have a really special guest. Today I'm having Meny Hoffman is a few things is, first of all, the CEO of Pete X group, which is a leading branding and marketing agency focused on product branding. That's the first thing but also the second thing. He's also the founder of Let's Talk exit, which is a platform that is helping Amazon sellers strategically develop an exit strategy. There's a website, there's, there's a show, there's a podcast, he's going to tell us more about it. But in the meantime, Meny Welcome to the show.
Meny Hoffman 0:36
Thank you so much. I'm so excited for this episode.
Yoni Mazor 0:39
So So are we thanks so much for your time. Yeah, so today's episode is going to be the story of you the story of Meny Hoffman, you're going to share with us everything. You know, who are you? Where are you from? Where were you born? Where'd you grow up? How'd you begin your professional career, station to station until we reach where you are today, especially with the world of E-commerce? So without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Meny Hoffman 1:00
Sure. So, as you mentioned in the intro, my name is Manny Hoffman I grew up in and was raised and born in Williamsburg. Born in New York, and raised in Williamsburg, to be exact. And, in my early stages, I always want I'm the kid with a lemonade stand. You know, it was when it came to two different occasions, I was creating booklets and so sold the door by door. And at one point I think I was 16 years old when I had my first business card. I still have it over here in the office as a memory.
Meny Hoffman 1:38
And I wanted to create stuff. When kids were playing with computers and card games, I was creating fake brochures, fake business cards, and everything like that. And as I was looking for a career path, I was looking to enter a space where the time that I spend is not spent dollar for dollar, I want to make an impact. So I started creating some stuff for non-profits in Malaysia and when you're still
Yoni Mazor 2:03
A teenager, no, no, no, no.
Meny Hoffman 2:05
So when I was
Yoni Mazor 2:07
Positive, jump into. So as you can kind of examine it in the demonstrator. So you were very entrepreneurial, at a very young age, but I want to come and sit in the household environment like your parents were going to industries where they're involved with when you were growing up. Yeah.
Meny Hoffman 2:22
So my parents were in the knitting industry. At that time, it was 100 employees opening up Saturday, you know, Saturday night matzah Shabbat, where they would just go in and open up and be night shift and day shifts.
Yoni Mazor 2:37
And they own the business or just working on the business. They own the business. Yep. A typical client for this sort
Meny Hoffman 2:43
Of typical clients where the some them don't exist anymore. The JC Penney and Jenney exist for the Sears and I don't even remember the, you know, the big box stores and the power wars and all the Walmarts of the world and you know, companies like that. And they were they would go through the process. You know, I remember now well, because we were going to get to the E-commerce with the supply chain. But at those times is one winter and ahead of so today we saw snow. They knew Okay, next season will be a good buying power because those buyers will run out of stuff. They'll start buying early. So yeah, they were in the knitting, always looking at what's out there as far as trends, but they
Yoni Mazor 3:23
Sounds a little bit unique if I can show it here. So there were in the manufacturing industry and the factory was located in New York City. Yep. Yeah. Before the age, Asia became a big manufacturing hub.
Meny Hoffman 3:36
Yeah, Brooklyn that there was sitting like 100 employees, knitting with sewing machines, and knitting and knitting, knitting and knitting. And these were the certain fads that came in certain styles came in and they or remember the hot heat they were blacks, blacks were called those blocking those different hats styles that needed to be blocked in a machine. Very hot environment.
Meny Hoffman 3:57
But yeah, that's when New York and the USA were the hubs of creation and manufacturing. And I grew up in those in when seeing that single styles and in development, I remember the salespeople would go out with new lines and so forth. And I knew from the very early age, as I mentioned to you or having the entrepreneurial spirit to me, that I want to create something on my own, you know, a lot of people wake up and say, you know, I want to join my parents business. I want to join my father's business because I could come in in a leadership position I wanted to build something from
Yoni Mazor 4:31
It. That's a good question. So you that's your parents, but what about the house or any of the siblings who worked in the business grew up in the business or the old one dispersed separate ways? Are they
Meny Hoffman 4:40
Mainly most of them? I had my oldest brother that joined the business for quite some time, but by the time I went into business, most of my siblings were on their own.
Yoni Mazor 4:52
Got it? Okay. Very good. So you finish I guess High School slash Shiva and in Williamsburg and then right after you just walk into you know, you want to go into the professional world or what do
Meny Hoffman 5:03
You do so that was a very interesting story. So obviously I learned in Borough Park in Brooklyn then I learned in Israel for a couple of years and then obviously got married. And then a couple of years in, I wanted to start doing something. I found a friend of mine from yeshiva.
Meny Hoffman 5:19
And I asked him what he was up to. And he told me, he's actually, he's working for his father-in-law in the printing business. He's looking to do something and spin off something and do it on his own and asked him if he has any ideas. It says, you know, how about we create a website where people could order printing goods, and that time was pretty, pretty new, just dating ourselves. Our businesses are a little bit more than 20 years old.
Yoni Mazor 5:45
So what was the year that your friend came up with that idea? What was the year?
Meny Hoffman 5:49
Yoni Mazor 5:50
I'm sorry, 2001 2001, about 21 years ago, he came in says, let's open you know, the website that is focused on selling products related to printing cars. Yeah, posters.
Meny Hoffman 6:01
Yeah. And he asked me for an investment, you want to know if I want to be, you didn't know he needs a working partner, he wants to just investment. And actually, I remember that I went up in the evening to my parents. And I asked my parents, like, I want to start doing something and somebody came up with this idea. My father says, who would want to print through a website as I know, my print shop is locally a couple of blocks down. Anytime I need envelopes, printing stuff, I go there, I can't see anybody wanted to print something to like, send off a file to somebody online.
Meny Hoffman 6:34
And I said I hear let me make some more research. And then I remember a couple of months later, I came back to my parents and said, This is the domain name, if you want to check it out, I've just gone ahead and built it. Of course, my parents weren't against it, they just didn't. At that point, we didn't see the web in the stage that we would see it now. And we ended up doing that we started doing full-color printing. And we became like a broker shop. Because now that we have this website, we have leads coming through our website, and we can start getting any type of printing and then find our relationships with different vendors. And this is how we started. And at one point, we said, you know, we want to add services, that's when we started doing the creative services. And that's where I entered the business full time where I started being involved in, you know, getting clients understanding what it is what they need, and then adding people and then obviously, we grew from there.
Yoni Mazor 7:24
Right? So 2001, when you opened the business, it seems like it was kind of a side-track you had, and what was the main track you were on in terms of, you know, having a job or an income,
Meny Hoffman 7:33
I was still learning. So my partner, which is still my partner, wants to do this full time. And he needed just an investment. He didn't need two people running this, it wasn't a lot of activity. As we were adding more services the business could have started you needing another pair of hands. That's where I entered the business. And that was my first job.
Yoni Mazor 7:53
Career move. So 2001, when you launch a business, and what was you went in full time,
Meny Hoffman 7:57
I think, if I remember correctly was like 2003. Beginning? Yeah, yeah. But
Yoni Mazor 8:03
Two years, just set it off the ground and the tours, you know, in let's say, there's already for you ready for him? And I guess lit on ready for more team members to come in and make it grow. But so yeah, take us through these journeys. What was the next, I guess, Milestone One of growth for them? Oh, yeah.
Meny Hoffman 8:17
So we had a bunch of them throughout the 20, as you could imagine, like every company, so we started to say, you know, we figured that a huge stepping stone for somebody they want to print with us is who's designing it? So he said, you know what, why should we let somebody else design a file, and then ultimately, then they have a decision to be made, where to print if we could bring the client journey earlier in the process when they're still looking for design. So we hired the first designer, we started doing that, of course, they didn't have to print with us. But naturally, if we were able to give them service, and we created a tagline from the get-go, it was considered done.
Meny Hoffman 8:52
And we saw a pain point. And this isn't just a good lesson for listeners of the show in general. We saw a pain point, let's say and we dealt in the earlier years, we dealt with a lot with non-profits. And the pain point was if somebody is doing a dinner, an event, they have so many moving parts. The last thing they want to do is did I send the invitation to print will it arrive on time? Oh, I forgot it's a holiday and now we need to share we need to mail it and I've missed the mail date because now they're closed, the post office is closed. And we said you know what, consider it done. You give it to us. We'll work backward we'll figure out the timeline we'll do the design and then we'll get it approved. And people loved it in our clients love their service. And a lot of credit goes to my partner who was very on top of the game when it came to the actual operations. You know, a lot of people are great salespeople, but they're lacking in the operations
Yoni Mazor 9:41
And bringing the business but he may he takes care of business and that brings more business and you got the virtuous cycle of growth.
Meny Hoffman 9:46
Correct and we developed that partnership with my partner loves the operation side. I love the sales side and being out there. And it's still till today my partner is in the operation so a lot of people don't even know they have a partner. And a shout out to wolf plasma, which is my partner, and I do a lot of the outreach and the sales. So at that point, that's where we started. And then as we started doing design, we started building more and more and more and more at one point, I had a very interesting story. And if time allows, I'll just share it quickly, which is we had a person that came to us he wants to design a brochure, I asked him, Why do you want to design a story, he told me, he's in the manufacturing business. He designed and does custom furniture. And he's losing market share because everybody's going to China, big-box retailers, they're all selling furniture.
Meny Hoffman 10:33
And then he told me that he wants to do it, he went to a consultant, the consultant told him you should design a short mailed out to interior designers build relationships, in theory, design, they do want, they want to do custom, and they want to have that relationship. So we worked with him. It was a couple of months a consultant was involved we're going back and forth, back and forth. Finally, it's arrived. I remember I still remember the time it arrived. I look at the back of the brochure, it was an 800 Number, I call the 800 number, and I want to let him know that his brochures arrived. And his wife picks up after a few seconds to get caught out. He says she says hello, hello, and hello, but gets caught off. And then booms busy signal.
Meny Hoffman 11:08
And I was thinking to myself, and when I reached them on my cell phone. And I told them by the way, I tried to reach the 800 number your wife picked up what you know, what is this all about? And he says she's in the train station, she picked up the phone. But what do you want to do? I should, I should hire a sailor somebody sitting there only for those few phone calls. I said, Wait a minute, if nobody will be there to pick up the phone, you're sending brochures to busy people. If they're trying to want you nobody's picking up the phone, nobody is calling you back again. And then at that light bulb moment went on and said you know what happened I and add the service, which is a call center. So not only we'll do the marketing, and we'll do the brochures and printing. But let's have a person in our office that we could offer you the service, pick up the phones, and this was a light bulb moment. And then I went on like the next day, I was sitting in my office,
Meny Hoffman 11:57
I had a computer technician fix my computer. And he was literally underneath my desk fixing my computer. And then his phone rings. And he's literally on the phone underneath my desk. And I tell him when he picks it says, Why did you pick up the phone, he says, Wait a minute, if this is an emergency, it's an existing client, I got to pick up the phone. And if it's a new client, if I don't pick up, they're calling the next person in the yellow pages at that time, it was still yellow pages, the marketing. And they said, By the way, I'm thinking about this idea of having girls picking up phones for other companies, he says, brilliant idea. I'm your next client and the first client, whatever he says he says, If you do that, make sure she also does bookkeeping services because I'm not going to build my clients in six weeks. I'm running crazy. So that's when we spin-off when we open up another service called Call Centre Services only to support some of the marketing initiatives that we do.
Meny Hoffman 12:49
And then we had another pivotal moment as we were building that we wanted to do a website because we were something coming in very strongly. And then we went obviously, we already had a taste for design. We were designing stuff. And we couldn't get a web developer to design a website to our liking. And then that's where my brother Yasi Hoffman, Joseph Hoffman, wanted to do something I said, Look, I see a vision where the web will be the neck, the future, do the same thing. We're doing marketing and branding beautiful Web. At that point, he joined us, he's still affiliated with us, his company, and I was called forward slash. But we added that component so we could share with clients and give them that experience. Last but not least, another pivotal moment in this in this journey was when branding and marketing were coming in stronger and stronger, especially within the smaller business community. We saw this in the larger companies that are spending on branding and marketing, smaller companies were just using designers. They're not using the branding, the understanding, understanding the positioning, and everything else. And at that point spun off a separate division called branding and marketing, which was focused more on strategic positioning, branding, and understanding of how we bring out the best of a brand long term. And that's where we had his full, we call it the four divisions within a company where we have those different services helping companies get to the next level. So
Yoni Mazor 14:12
I forgot this correctly. You got to print, you got to design, you got calls, and you got a website.
Meny Hoffman 14:17
Right. So we call it a little different. We have branding and marketing with strategic branding and marketing, printing, and design. Our everyday design work and printing services are in US Call Centre and our web development team, as I mentioned. And what we like to say is we help growing businesses flourish. And I would say by now, about 60 to 70% of our clients will use at least two of our services, because they'll do branding, and they'll do a web they'll do branding, marketing,
Meny Hoffman 14:43
And they'll do a call center or marketing and printing. And we play this we play you know the different pieces of the puzzle come together and it's very important because we live in a world where people need things fast and he thinks they don't want to it the process should break down by an hour. Need to look for a web developer now I need to look for somebody to print my stuff, they want to know they have the company. They know what they're doing, they have, one person running their account the account manager, and then all the other people plug in when they need it.
Yoni Mazor 15:13
Right. So it's a turnkey solution touching, go Consider it done. And then you know, they really can focus on running their business and operating their business. It sounds like you're able to take your and your partner's abilities and kind of both throw it out. So you know why one department helps these sellers start these businesses get business and operate, while another component of your business helps them get business in, which is marketing, which is your genius. So the genius of your, your partner yourself kind of reflected into these other businesses, you're supporting them. Yeah,
Meny Hoffman 15:44
And now we tweaked our slogan to consider it done. This means if you have that idea, that vision for your business ring come to us, and then we'll make sure that it gets done, we bring it to fruition.
Yoni Mazor 15:58
So consider it done. Let's say it is the vision, the dream, the spark that travels as a business small or big, or medium.
Meny Hoffman 16:06
And I'll just add a very important point. And this is the passion that comes into play. I think it's important for our listeners because we are in you've probably had this conversation with so many business owners that you meet. And I have this on an ongoing basis where people are asked me, what if I don't have a passion for what I do? I just want to do it because I want money. And the answer is you might be able to be successful, but you for sure will not reach your fullest potential if you don't have a passion for your industry. And I think in our industry, I love what I do every single day I love even the people that work here because it's so diverse, we meet with different entrepreneurs, different backgrounds, different skill sets, and different ideas, and we could be part of that puzzle for them in their growth. It's just very fulfilling.
Yoni Mazor 16:49
Nice. I love that. Okay, so let's take us to the next station of your entrepreneurial journey. So you guys are, you know, a sales and marketing agency. And, and, you know, you got also the operation with the print and everything but the call centers, what was the next station for you in terms of, I guess, growth or entrepreneurship or business development?
Meny Hoffman 17:08
Sure. So the agency just has their organic growth. We're just constantly, you know, up in your ladder doing work, we're doing work for larger corporations, larger brands, to date, we have within our agency, we have different clientele, we have the service brands, which we will be b2b non-profits, PB, which will be product branding, this is developed with built to date over 100 brands, a lot of them are big-box retailers, or now e-commerce and Amazon we'll get to a little bit more details about it.
Meny Hoffman 17:40
I guess what I've what I found my calling in this process outside of just helping growing businesses flourish is two things. One is developing the most phenomenal culture out there, be able to attract good talent, and be able to give create an environment where people will love being here. And I always say that when somebody comes working here, there is going to come and say that they're going to outgrow the company or the company will outgrow them. The goal is while they're here, they have a phenomenal time. And that's my goal. My goal is regardless of how long people stay with us, while they're here, they could say I learned a lot, I grew a lot I had made great friends, and so forth. And we helped a lot of companies in between. And then when the journey transpires to you leaving the company or you or the company outgrowing you, whatever it is, there are no hard feelings, it just another stepping stone in your
Yoni Mazor 18:29
Enhancing environment you started doing or one place and you ended another you're very happy in between. So the experience is valuable,
Meny Hoffman 18:37
Very valuable. So that's one something that I love. And that's what I started doing. And the other thing is I've made it my mission. No, my mission statement is I believe every person should be allowed to succeed in life. And if you have what it takes to help another person, you got to you know, you owe it to that person to give them that next stepping stone. And that led me to initiate my let's talk business platform. It started with live events, some of our larger events had over 1000 people. We were
Yoni Mazor 19:04
Overwhelmed. I want to take a moment just to list I remember early on he said, you know where you were doing an entrepreneur stuff when you're younger you said I want to make sure I have an impact. So the impact is what you just described with P Tex. The whole experience for this is for the businesses to impact their business and make sure they have a good business but also your employees. That's kind of the Starkey touch earlier than Yes.
Meny Hoffman 19:24
And then I took it and then I found myself in a way where P Tex outgrew being able to be a platform for everybody. Because there are companies that could grow without us. There are other options available to be able to get the stuff done. But on the educational side, we could still play a role. And that's where we initiated left to business where at least they could plug into the content. They could plug into Pathways, they could plug into our live events, and even if they're not a client of Peter x as far as the marketing services, any of the other services. They could still we could still have an impact. So our reach is larger than just our client pool. And we're able to do that with we were almost on the phone or that initiated live events within the community.
Meny Hoffman 20:03
When I'm saying live events, not trade shows more as seminars and summits and educational events. Our first one was in 2007. And then we regrouped and started on a higher on a larger scale in 2013, where we did our let's talk business live events, which grew to close to 1000 people at our live events. And then ultimately, we did smaller events Leaders Forum. And then before COVID, you know, we thought we'll add just another piece to it, which is a podcast. Now we have, you know, the list of the business podcast has over 100 episodes to date, we have impacted I don't care about the number of people who always ask me about my numbers.
Meny Hoffman 20:42
Although we have 1000s of people listening, it's about every single episode, somebody will reach out to me and say, this is exactly what I needed to hear right now. And for that alone, it's worth my time. And just in. So that's where we started doing it. And then as more events came into play, I started just speaking on other stages. So not all events, I need to create myself and run them. But I'm able to impact people that way as well.
Yoni Mazor 21:05
Let me capture that moment. I'm always around 2007, you say when you let's talk business when you realize, you know, some business can grow with arrows, and they will never become clients. Nevertheless, we can create engaging valuable content for businesses out there. Just to help them to help is almost like a service to the business community. Yeah, that happened around 2007.
Meny Hoffman 21:25
Then we started in 2007, our first event then we took a pause, not knowing where the market goes, we brought it back in 2013 in a very consistent way, which like we rebranded to let's do business, and 2017 was more called a what's called steady innovation very, very long time ago. But let's talk business now. Yep. And when we brought it back, I, I had, you know, you know, I had a certain blessing, I was able because I love education, I go to a lot of events, live events I'm talking about not only in not only trade shows, but educational events, like a two-day event, three-day event, should it be entre leadership, which is the Dave Ramsey Show, and others in the past, I always felt there's some information out there that the average business owner just doesn't get, which is the process of going from running a company to growing a company and scaling the company.
Meny Hoffman 22:16
And it's different. It's different metrics. The comment is Dave just mentioned, Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey has a quote, a business will never outgrow its leader, which means is if you as a person don't grow yourself, it comes to a point that you don't see the vision for the company as well. So, therefore, I felt that it was because I have that knowledge. And I've seen it in the worldwide, the larger business community, I could bring those people and that's where I started bringing the Michael Gerber's of the world. Even at one point, Gary Vee, I brought in the CEO of one 800 got junk, which built an empire, different thought leaders from out there. And I did that same with the podcast because I have no access to so many business owners, and successful, you know, leaders within companies, that I'm able to bring that every week, and I wouldn't been able to bring phenomenal guests throughout these, these two years, over two years of the podcast.
Yoni Mazor 23:09
Yeah, the podcast medium is amazing, because it gets a global audience immediately, which is a great progression for you. Because, you know, let's talk business has its physical presence with the business community, probably mostly here in the United States. But now you can, you know, you can share the experiences on a global level with, you know, having a podcast platform, but let's talk business, was it around the country? Or was the new mostly New York, what was the physical geography of
Meny Hoffman 23:35
the live events were off, you know, most of them happened to New Jersey, but obviously, it was, you know, it was attracted to New York and New Jersey community, in particular, the Jewish community, because I felt that that's where I could bring the value. And those are the people that, you know, a larger event allows the companies just don't have the bandwidth. And I could say, I'm very proud to say that I had a tiny, at least a tiny part in seeing the certain transformation of companies. I'm talking about companies 2030 years old, that never did, you know, any type of collaborative, let's call it cultural events in their own company for their employees, or recognition for employees or reap transformation about the responsibilities within a company night.
Meny Hoffman 24:17
I believe that culture is a serious thing. You know, sometimes we speak about culture, and I name it to name a company with great culture, and they'll say Google, why because they have ping pong services and babysitting services, or whatever it is. That's my culture. Yeah, that's, that's perks. And there is a time and a place for it. But culture means serious a person should know. I have clarity, what does the company how does the How could I be valuable to the company? What's my growth plan in the company?
Meny Hoffman 24:40
And having that clarity from leadership down to every single employee gives so much fulfillment to every person? Because now there is no disconnect saying I thought I'm the most valuable person to the company. Now I'm getting a pink slip because people think I'm not even worth anything to the company. How could it be this so disconnected? And the reason is big As the lack of clarity, so a lot of that information that we do on leadership training is, is not only on vision and focus, but it's also on how to bring together everybody, it's working for the company with clarity, understanding their responsibility, how they play a role in the success of the company, so on and so forth.
Yoni Mazor 25:16
So let's talk business, the conferences, you know, they and the content in the focus on all these, these necessities for the business in terms of cultural events. But this is not something you offer P Tex outside with consulting or anything like that. This is just, you know, the educational activity, you're, you're involved with yourself, right?
Meny Hoffman 25:35
So people always ask me if, you know, here's
Yoni Mazor 25:39
My question, before you answer my question, I guess you help with that yourself is something like that, is there a curriculum or consulting that's available out there for businesses to dive deep into their culture and try to figure it out?
Meny Hoffman 25:49
So there are two things, First of all, I do a lot of speaking in companies so that people will call me down for one session last week, I was sitting there, actually eight employees, I've been in companies with 40 5060 employees, but eight employees, they needed a little bit better collaboration, working together, helping each other out, and they just wanted, I should come in for a one-off session. I don't do a lot of consultation. And I'll tell you why. Although I do a limited amount, and usually one or two clients a month, because I like to create value. And if I could use my time, like being on this podcast, and speaking to you, and I know this is going to, this is going to impact way more people. It's just better. It's just a better use of my time than just sitting with one person one-off because I'm not a consultant by trade. I'm a business owner,
Meny Hoffman 26:33
I have a company, we have over 30 people in the office now we have remote people. So I just run our own company as well. So I would rather do the education in a larger format. But I did I do have you asked about the curriculum, we do have something called the Leaders Forum, which we've done 18 times to date, which is 10 business loans at a time they would come into our offices for one day, we will give them just a crash course on leadership. That will be vision mission core values, hiring, firing, and delegation, like just a crash course. And the reason I've developed that is that these are the questions that I get asked all the time.
Meny Hoffman 27:08
And I figured that people will ask me, I want to hire a consultant and ask them what did they should the consultant do for you? That I'm not even sure. So you know what, come to such a session, please. You know, where you want to use the consultant to use it for clarity? Do you want to, they should create job descriptions for your people, and you want to create boundaries of how to collaborate better. And then a lot of the people that have attended our Lord Leaders Forum are now using let's say the EOS platform which a lot of companies are using because that's like a stepping stone now they got in introduced to what leadership is all about and what I believe
Yoni Mazor 27:40
It’s enterprise operating operations, yeah, operating
Meny Hoffman 27:44
Entrepreneur. Yeah. But Gino Wickman is a phenomenal guy. I highly recommend reading his book. No traction.
Yoni Mazor 27:51
Very good. Okay, so once again, 2007, the sprouts, Arm and for let's talk business 213. It ramps up with physical events, mostly in the East Coast, New York, and New Jersey area, impacting 1000s of people, and then their businesses also have your arms and legs with I guess consulting advising and having the special crash courses run in 2020. You already have the podcast coming out. So we have a better medium than just unless talk business. But what is the next station? What is the next event that happened to you on your track?
Meny Hoffman 28:20
Yeah, so obviously, I'm very much involved in our company and P Tex as well, we run on Eos, we just mentioned it. So it's a good next step. So basically, we have phenomenal people, we have what's called a level 10. Level 10 every week we have Tuesday, and we have a scorecard. We look at metrics, we'll look at numbers, look at the client satisfaction, Team satisfaction, you know, financial health of the company, and everything else. So it gave me time to focus very much on the business on the marketing side and also understand what's happening in the market shift. So the last I would say 18 months, we have seen a lot of growth in the E-commerce space, as I mentioned to you.
Meny Hoffman 28:58
And we added a lot of services in that space. So going not only from branding, but how does the brand, how does the brand conveyed on Amazon, let's say your listing showing that trust factor on the listing itself, storefronts, web development to the to your eCommerce, social media. And also more and more is you have to look at it as a brand. You're not just an Amazon seller, you're a brand because especially now we'll talk about it in the aggregator space, they value the brand build-out versus just a whole bunch of products on Amazon. So we've developed a lot of clients in that space. And I also started seeing some trends of where the market is going. At one point I found out about the aggregator space. So I love to learn, I want to learn who they why they’re buying it are. Where's the money coming from? What's the long term play, so to speak is this affair people saying it's just in and out? I learned a lot from it. And then I saw, believe it or not, I like to say The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Meny Hoffman 29:56
I've seen some business owners trying to do it on their own
Meny Hoffman 30:00
Ultimately assigning an LOI, they should never sign, I found a letter of intent just to help correct Yeah, letter of intent, which means going into some sort of arrangement with basically taking the business off the market. And dealing with just this offer. I've seen people that are not prepared for an exit, or even an opportunity that comes their way. The business is all over the place from a financial aspect from the product development aspect, and so forth. I've also seen some of the aggregators.
Meny Hoffman 30:26
Now we're up to 90 aggregators, and some of them are just trying to get your business for cheap, you know, and if one person is interested in your business, probably there are others as well. And I figured that is an opportunity where I could add my consultancy service in this space, where it ties into a lot of our clients. Because a lot of our as I mentioned before, a lot of our clients are in this space,
Yoni Mazor 30:46
Because I want to hit I want to hit that point. So the moment your commerce came knocking on your door was through your main business, because your services, businesses, and brands, so awesome in the rise of E-commerce, the businesses that you're serving, yeah, I've entered into the industry. And that's what you're into that took you
Meny Hoffman 31:01
Yeah, to be exactly the moment this happened is one of my clients that we build a brand, I'm very much involved in the brand got an email, like a lot of Amazon sellers get, Hey, we love your brand, we want to buy it, he calls me up many, you're going to love it. I'm just forwarding your emails, somebody loves the brand Peter has developed for me. And I said, Wait a minute, somebody loves the brand. He thought it's a scam, like, like the first, the first earlier in the month and the aggregator space, people thought it's like a spam scam or like just spam email, a lot of them came with like very interesting email addresses, or some of them just didn't return it immediately. Like even if you responded because they were so overwhelmed trying to reach out to a bunch of people. But now I feel felt that there are two things over here.
Meny Hoffman 31:42
One is, that there are two things that we could help sellers with. One is to educate them. Nothing is like educating people. As I mentioned before, my whole mission in life is to educate people. Because people are very smart. Sometimes they just don't know the information, they don't have information in front of them. So not always, you have to give them the final decision. But you could bring them information so they can make the final decision for themselves. So educating. And then second of all, is ultimate, ultimately advising them in the process.
Meny Hoffman 32:09
As I mentioned before the good, the bad, and the ugly. We had a customer a client of ours that was just about to close a deal with one of the aggregators, he took off the feet from the farmer's business, because he almost counted already the money that he's making. At the last minute the deal, the deal fell apart. And to blame both of them the client and the aggregator to be fair, and ultimately found themselves that he lost a whole season now of new product development because he was so into that process. So by me advising sellers in the process, not only could we advise them to say, is this the right timing, what metrics are aggregated looking, maybe we could work for three months to figure out, your metrics should be better.
Meny Hoffman 32:51
And then at the same time, as you continue building your business. Let me go out there and see what's available for your brand, strategically figuring out between the different aggregators. Now, we know which certain categories are interesting. Some aggregators will pay more for certain categories, sizes, and so forth. And then I could be that middleman in this process. At the same time, as I mentioned, the left hook exits the platform, on the website, and the podcast. Now, separately, we didn't want to mix it up with let's do business with let's have business has a very broad audience listening to the show, we felt that there is a place where this should be its platform.
Meny Hoffman 33:30
So now we have lots of business on Mondays, let's look at exits on Thursdays, where we interview people only in the E-commerce slash Amazon space, where not only for people that are looking to exit this is something very important. Even if you're not looking to exit built to scale means that you're building to sell. This is another great book title, if your listeners didn't read it built a sell, which means are you building in a way that you're, you're preparing yourself, if at one point you want to sell you, you're not finding out at that point that it's not sellable, or it's not scalable, because you're so intertwined in your business. So the information that we're sharing now is for business leaders in the space to eat it if they want to sell, they have information at their fingertips, but even if they don't want to sell us where to focus where the market is going, and so forth.
Yoni Mazor 34:17
Yeah, so businesses, you know, entrepreneurs should be very, you know, attentive to the quality and performance of their business, even though they're going to sell it forever, because if they do is just going to reward them, they're always going to have a good business. So there's no, there's no downside
Meny Hoffman 34:33
To that. Yeah, I think one of the benefits of this whole aggregator space and we'll dive in deeper if you have any follow-up questions to that. But one of the things is that there is a common theme between all of them, what metrics are important. So 10 years ago, if you sat in an Amazon event, and spoke to 10, Amazon sellers, everybody has a different strategy, what they were doing quality quantity and heroes cues. BSR is top BSR is low. BSR is whatever everybody you Yeah, bestseller rank. And now there is a common theme between all the aggregators, which brings up the multiple. So as a business owner, if you even if you don't want to sell, why not focus on those metrics, regardless, regardless of but focus on those metrics, because ultimately you're building stronger equity, you know, as
Yoni Mazor 35:17
A fan, let me help you, they're the ones buying your business are very, very smart operators who want to make a very good profit and have a long-term business. So if that's what they're looking for, you should build your business like that. Because if you never sell, you're going to be a good operator, you're going to have a good business anyway. So it's very smart to just do kind of the right thing for your organization says the ability to be successful long term and have longevity.
Yoni Mazor 35:38
And if you ever get tired, or whatever it is, you can put it on the shelf and have you know, people pay a good amount of money for it because it's a valuable business. After all, it was valuable to you, your employees, and them. It just makes better sense to do business this way. Sure. Absolutely. God. Okay, so I want to I guess, in a nutshell, you know, from your landscape and goggles, right? Tell us what you see you know, what's the store with these aggregators? Give us the kind of the synopsis if somebody's listening, not sure what this is all about? As far as you understand it? Who's against what happened? How do we get here? You know, three to three to five minutes?
Meny Hoffman 36:12
Sure. So we plug the ready to let's look exit show. But so for our listeners, we had we have we had a couple of those aggregators on the show, we have a coming up one of those, one of the founders, the founders of about 10 of the aggregators, explaining from a funding perspective, from an investment perspective, from a VC perspective, why their funding goes aggregators. So to make a long story short, and as far as the aggregator space, buying brands is nothing new.
Meny Hoffman 36:43
You know, it's been the p&g has been buying brands for 100 years. We gamble, gamble. We have in the software business in the SAS business, we have seen Facebook buying What Sapp. And if you look at Google's history, they're buying every year companies and sometimes they buy for the assets. Sometimes they buy for the people, sometimes they buy for the technology. So buying off other companies or building out brands and stuff like that is nothing new. What we saw new over here, and this has started with their SEO about three years ago, and now copy the mimic by others, is they have decided instead of building their brands, again and again, and again as operators,
Yoni Mazor 37:24
Why? Any commerce? Correct,
Meny Hoffman 37:27
Why build everything from scratch, when we could bring in money and bio brands that are already mature to a certain degree, but not to the, fullest extent. And we see the upside. So basically, the just a formula, again, not to quote the exact numbers, let's say did buy an average between four and five multiple. Yeah, we've seen that
Yoni Mazor 37:47
Touch on the multiple, they have the Listen shorter, when they buy a business, you're buying your profits for the most part, and they will pay you a multiple three, four, or 5x, whatever it is there for the year. So if you made a million dollars a year, they pay you a seven multiple, they're going to pay $7 million to get out of your business. So they're paying you seven years upfront for your business. So you get out kind of the general idea. There's more sophistication of earn-out, stuff like that, but go ahead.
Meny Hoffman 38:09
Yeah, so I'll just add to this point because I think if we were going to clarify it for the listeners. So one of the lucrative parts of the Amazon business is if you sell a SaaS business and any other business if they buy the full business because they want to have that business, they look at EBIT, da, which is your final net, net profits, what is the business made regarding your what expenses were, regardless of why, why those expenses existed.
Meny Hoffman 38:33
The good part, what we're seeing is why it's so exciting for some of those Amazon sellers, because there's something called add-backs, which is they're putting back any expense that wasn't directly related to the sales that you had. Or if they're not going to have it again, when if they're not going to have that expense. Again, once they buy it, they will add it back. And they call it something in the terminology and the aggregate fiscal seller discretionary earnings, which is SDE, so automatically sometimes that alone will make a difference between a couple of 100 files now. So let's say if you showed an EBIT, da, which is your net, net of 700 if you start doing some of the Add backs, which that's something why it's important sometimes to have an advisor or somebody working with you because that's where the money could be sometimes that could come up easily come up a couple of $100,000 for the
Yoni Mazor 39:21
year, your salary, because if you plan to leave the business and you pay yourself 300,000 a year, so you had 700,000 plus $300,000 to offer them and free cash flow.
Meny Hoffman 39:31
Yeah, if it's either you or me that have podcast gear and we decided we want to have to build our business when our podcast gear and you put it on the business credit card, that's an add back because they don't it's not related to the sales of the again on Amazon and so forth. So going back to the number is then they take that number and then they give you a multiple that's how they can't come up with that the valuation of your business. But so let's say for the sake of, I think multiples are not going up. It's a little bit it's pretty much
Yoni Mazor 40:00
Is it right now we're recording this around February of 2022? Where did it start where it is today give us a little bit of touch on the multiple?
Meny Hoffman 40:06
I think that that and depending on the excitement of the brand, I think on average, it's between four and five. Again, if we could we bring in burnouts, we're bringing stability payment, those things where people
Yoni Mazor 40:18
Are starting three years ago, what were the multiples were they
Meny Hoffman 40:22
Started off in the three, the two between two and three, it went up to four at one point it was six, seven, then because I because it was a huge rush with a lot of the aggregators entering the space. Now, it's stabled unless it's a very lucrative brand, which means there's a little bit of bidding going on the brands
Yoni Mazor 40:40
Or the stretch strategic, which usually it makes so much sense to pay above and beyond whatever, yeah,
Meny Hoffman 40:45
and then we still have eight multiples, we still see seven multiples, but it needs to be, again, they're not paying it for something that's not there, they're paying it for the value that there is in the brand. So going back to that number is going back to why the aggregator space as they're growing the company. And if they think that five, five months after I buy your brand, I'm going to be international and adding 25% on gross sales, I'm going to be bringing down the cost of goods, whatever it is, that again, this is the business model, all of a sudden, they're going to be trading at 10 Multiple next people that comes in and gives them money to buy some equity share, forget about if they go public which Long Long Shot is some of them to go public.
Meny Hoffman 41:28
Now, going back to just wearing asking me about the full, full space, to be very fair to everybody is some of the aggregators will make it big, and some of them won't. And some of them are not able to keep up with the operational nightmare that they got themselves in to think about it. If you have one brand, you're buying another brand. Think for a moment what in six months to buy 20 brands or 12 brands, each brand has its way of a unique way or NECA, unique category, unique manufacturing, unique skill set, and everything that's unique to the outside of the challenges of Amazon, we all know that.
Meny Hoffman 42:05
So some of them are just not growing fast enough based on the projection they want them to have or the operational factors. So it's important also, as you want to look at somebody buying your business, it's not key is not only who's giving you the best multiple. No, I have conversations with the seller, the first question is, how much can you get me, I can get you a lot. But I could also get the less, but it's more, it's more secure than others. So it's really dependent on its also part of the strategy of as when we speak to sellers, objectively, what do you want the better cash or clothes, and therefore you're not going to have the best multiple, or you have, or you feel that your brand still has a lot of upsides, let's go to a strategic buyer that we know, they're going to take in the next 12 months to the heights that you can take because you don't have resources, you don't have the capital or whatever it is.
Yoni Mazor 42:55
Yeah, that's when you make the gamble so you have a better chance of a higher multiple if you sell it to the right aggregator which has operational progress and can actually grow your business and then you get a lot of the upside from that success. So that will give you a better multiple in the long run, but smaller cash up front, and on the flip side, someone who will buy it will give you big cash up front, which will be simply a little multiple.
Yoni Mazor 43:19
And if you have a big upside, you got to get none of that. That's kind of the equilibrium that's, that is very sophisticated to be able to place yourself in. Because how would you know who's a good operator who's not, you know, everything on paper looks great. But the reality of things and an operation and being in the field is complex is very complex, even for the best players or so it's very confusing can be very confusing. Yeah, I
Meny Hoffman 43:41
Just want to add one more. One more thing on this is people like sometimes sellers, and I hear this. First of all, I always advise sellers to work with someone, either advisor, either a broker, or even your attorney. Don't do it on your own, do it with someone and they've done it 10 times 15 times 20 times why? Because just understanding the difference between stability payment, means that your sales will grow in a certain way versus earn-out which is showing us that your business is profitable.
Meny Hoffman 44:08
People just sometimes just confuse the two or they sign a letter of intent on that or how they're going to be calculating your inventory cost or oh I didn't see this clause that emitter is more than 12 months we don't buy from you or something like who gets the Amazon balance between a line of a letter of intent to the closing date and someone's there's so many so much
Yoni Mazor 44:31
To know nuances that you want to be Yeah, nobody's seen it all done at all and will guide you through so it's ever smooth experience with Erna with their best you know financial, I guess accomplishment for you or for your organization on the way out.
Meny Hoffman 44:42
But even if you do it on your own, I've heard from sellers that they were so excited that somebody wants to buy their brand. They're almost like a free-to-ask question.
Yoni Mazor 44:50
Yes. Yeah, yeah, the compliment. Yeah,
Meny Hoffman 44:52
Yeah. You need to ask questions. It's you're giving away your baby as some of the brand owners call it. Yeah. You need to ask questions. Could I speak to a seller that sold to you six months ago and how the transition went? Could I speak to somebody that got ready, got their stability payment, got their earnest, whatever it is, it is okay, your vision for the brand, you know, we're going to be selling it to you? What's the plan for the next six months? Some aggregators, some aggregators say, well, we have done it, we've seen it all we've done it, guess what, show me, you're going to be buying, we're going into this relationship. It's not just a one-off transaction. So it's okay for sellers to ask some questions and
Meny Hoffman 45:28
To hear, yeah, no, I'm
Meny Hoffman 45:29
Just saying I appreciate that. Because that shows we have somebody willing to work alongside us,
Yoni Mazor 45:36
Right. So because I want to make a distinction here because the moment you treat as your baby, that's emotional, and that's okay. Because, you know, there's a lot of emotions involved in being successful in business. But when you sell, you got to detach from that and focus more on, you know, on the business, you know why, because you're selling a cash-making machine, you're making, you're selling an organization, which is, you know, organization, which if you'd like to consider, you can say it's a machine that generates cash and generates money, and somebody wants to buy it off your hands.
Yoni Mazor 46:03
So you want to make sure you get the best, you know, reward for that machine that you generated, and detach a little bit from the emotional, don't be too complex. I know to be complemented by many of you guys, because you started from nowhere, and it will be made successful. And when you sell that machine, and it can be more on the business side, why who and you'll feel comfortable about it, and which will help you over you're a very strong supporter of making sure the reach of help, so they get the best experience possible with this transaction. Absolutely. Absolutely. Got beautiful stuff. Okay. So I think there's a lot of valuable stuff here. And I think we captured the most of many health mystery entrepreneurs,
Meny Hoffman 46:38
There’s so much more, but we don't have time. Yeah, the
Yoni Mazor 46:41
Capsule, small capsule, and then with slow-release, but Okay, so I want to kind of recap see what we got so far. So born and raised and was born in New York and Brooklyn. And then, you know, parents were involved with, you know, the knitting industry is smarter business, some of you guys are the minority who speak English, that is that, and that entrepreneurial spirit, I guess, trickled into many, so when he was growing up, he's also an entrepreneur, I was able to kind of move around to make some earnings, you mentioned, you know, selling lemonade. But then once he was kind of in school, and she was learning, a friend came in, and gave him an opportunity, they're still friends today and business partners today to dive into the business world, and the format of, you know, offering, you know, prints printed products and doing it online.
Yoni Mazor 47:23
And that matured into, you know, its own, I guess, like a bit of more like, you know, cooperation with for division with for functions, but, you know, heavily involved in sales and marketing and operations for it for these businesses to be able to identify what they are, how they are, how they market themselves, how they get business, how they, you know, kind of market, the business and operational needs that they need, they can help with that as well, like, you know, call centers. And then, you know, as a service to, I guess, the business community 2007, you put the earliest sprouts and seeds of let's talk business. You know, it wasn't called 2007. It wasn't called on there. But 2013 Lets, let's talk business, you know, got his name.
Yoni Mazor 48:03
And then from year to year, or these, you know, conferences and educational events, you know, striking a very, very good chord and energy here in the East Coast in New York area, by big speakers. You know, you mentioned also Gary Vee. And then 2020, you also formatted the podcast show for let's talk a business. But also at the same time, your clients themselves as businesses are growing and maturing and maturing into E-commerce. They brought you in they brought you into their experience and their challenges.
Yoni Mazor 48:30
And that butcher come into the mix into the game 2019 Thrasher came into the world of E-commerce saying, hey, there's a new message, you know, we're interested in these Amazon boring businesses and brands. And that grave, you know, a big explosion of funding coming in from institutional money from everywhere, and the rise of, you know, a handful of aggregators. And it's kind of a jungle out there. So you made a whole platform for that. Let's talk exit. So it's a website, it's a show. It's a consulting and supporting environment. And that's kind of your focus, you know, in business today, along with, you know, everything that you had before. Did we get everything correctly so far?
Meny Hoffman 49:05
Yeah, I just want to add one piece, especially when we read off this whole list of stuff that I do and this is a question I've been asked many, many times throughout my career is a which point, you know, I you're suffering from the shiny object syndrome and running to the next thing, versus maximizing the something that you already have. And I always say the following if you don't, if you build something in a stage where it's not built out to the max, or putting great people, then rather focus on one thing before you move on to the next thing.
Meny Hoffman 49:35
I think in our the way we have developed our business is currently been there, where we have developed a service we have developed the process, we develop the systems around it, we put in great people, and then as a leader, I'm the CEO of the company, I inspect what I expect, which means I'm not disconnected at any given time on none of the services I mentioned to you before, but I run my time properly. I have my kids Alder, I have my assistant and I were on my schedule properly to inspect what?
Meny Hoffman 50:04
So I have my touch points. When do I get involved at what and at which point? And I think this is a good lesson for business owners in general. Because sometimes you, first of all, you see another entrepreneur running a couple of things, oh, I could also do it, you got to be ready, and you’ve got to be at the right time. Now we spoke in few minutes, 20 years of business, you know, these are happening in spread out and 20 years. So I think that's a valuable lesson for listeners to make sure that always ask themselves, Is this shiny object syndrome? Why I'm running to that? Or is this the proper opportunity, because this is my next stepping stone to where the market is going?
Yoni Mazor 50:39
Yeah, so from your story I can identify it as it's all from the ground up because you're listening to the customer is actually somebody else been successful on it. You saw the pain point in the struggle of your customers, and let me try to help them out. And if that works out, well, you try to do more and more for others. If that works, well, you scale a scale you do it, you know, you do it at scale, and in a way where it's very effective on a mass scale. And boom, also, you look back and find yourself having another arm of the business that is doing well.
Yoni Mazor 51:06
And the same cycle repeats itself, your clients were being challenged with E-commerce, you listen to what the challenges are, you identify what the challenges are, and you try here and there to help them out. It's all from the ground up based on value and experience from the ground up. And that's what he's saying shiny object syndrome is when you look outside, something you're not doing. It's more when the business has been very successful, helping other clients, but you know, focus on your clients focus on the market on the people, and you can help try to help them make sure you help them well.
Yoni Mazor 51:33
And if you do, and you can do that skill, boom, offer it out, and then you'll look back and see that you made a successful decision. Okay, so one, I want to kind of package up the episode and touch on two last points. The first one will be if somebody wants to reach out and connect, where they can find you. And the last thing, which you kind of touched on a few very inspirational points. But I know last year marks you know, any inspirational message and hopeful environment for entrepreneurs listening out there.
Meny Hoffman 51:56
Sure. So I'm very active on LinkedIn, which is Meny Hoffman Meny media E. So it's Meny Hoffman, I post regularly over there. My two-part two podcasts are let's talk business and let's look exits with an s, both of them can be found on every platform or the PDX website or its exit website. And of course, Peter’s group.com is a place where we have a ton of information and case studies. And also blog posts a ton of blog posts that we post as well. So pretty much I'm very flexible, I actually will respond to you to your message. If you send me an email or you send me a LinkedIn message, I will respond. So I'm pretty active there as much as we can help other people now to your inspirational end, and I'm not sure I'm going to call it inspiration. But I will just
Yoni Mazor 52:45
Say a message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there you guys,
Meny Hoffman 52:49
I will tell you that I would say what I said to many, many entrepreneurs in my life, which is not every stumbling block is a reason to quit. When you start a business, it's not easy. It's hard work. And it's not meant to be easy. I always say when I closed the door at the end of the day and I had a very good day. No issues no nothing out of the ordinary. My mindset is that maybe there's something that happened but it wasn't notified yet. Why do I know something's coming? Yeah, for sure.
Meny Hoffman 53:14
And the reason is that you have to be in that mindset because if not any small thing out of the ordinary puts you down. And basically, you cannot win the game if you are an anomaly. So my message to your listeners is not every stumbling block is a reason to quit. If you're in this be in this for the long run, pay attention. Make the right moves, and add value to your client base. Again, run your family, run your business, and have that balance whatever you need you to need for your successful life, but ultimately only quits if you feel that you hit a dead end. Other than that, find a way to detour and keep on moving forward.
Yoni Mazor 53:51
Beautiful stuff. Okay, Manny, thank you so much for sharing your story today was fascinating I learned so much. I hope everybody else enjoys the seven healthy. Take everybody.
Meny Hoffman 53:59
Meny Hoffman 54:00
Thank you so much.