David & Mark

WARNING: If Your Looking For An All Cash Exit, This Is Not For You.

Hey… my name is Cameryn Smith.

Nice to meet ya.

I’m going to start with a rather …Ignored …FACT. Ready for it?

According to CareerArc, 40% of Americans have been laid off from a job at-least once.

Stick with me here. There’s a silver lining. (More on that later) 🙂

—–> Tell me if this sounds all too familiar. <—–

“When Procter & Gamble announced in January that it would buy Gillette for $57 billion, the fact that 6,000 people would lose their jobs was all but buried in the details of a deal that would link some of the world’s most well-known household brands.”

Wharton University Of Pennysilvania

Can you believe that?

Let’s pretend you were in Gillette’s shoes…

Could you honestly say your ok with being responsible for 6,000 job cuts with people who’ve worked for you for years?

Maybe your ok with that, but I believe there’s more than one way to grow a business than walking down the office with a hatchet and chopping off heads.

Now listen, I’m not at all saying you should feel guilty about selling your business, but if there was a way for you to have your cake and eat it too, wouldn’t you at least be curious?

What if I were tell you there’s a way to sell your business for a fair price with peace of mind knowing competitors won’t strip down everything you worked so hard to build?

What I’m proposing is to make the transformation from a David into a Mark.

It’s the key to first class freedom and a guilt free retirement.

Let’s take a closer look at David, and Mark, and what’s required to make the transformation arc. But before I do:

The Decision (Prerequisite Step 1)

The first step is choosing to do something different.


It’s a choice.

Do it or don’t do it.

A decision. Like Theodore Roosevelt explains it is…

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. – Theodore Roosevelt

Not everyone is ready to sell their business.

Pride of ownership keeps most business owners working to the bone only to look up one day and realize they’ve worked themselves into a grave.

If your choice is to get all cash and wait for the unicorn buyer, that’s fine.

You may find someone willing to agree to those terms.

Even so…

Research has shown that when sellers focus only on a cash buyer, they instantly shrink their odds of a successful exit, drastically.

And that’s not most buyers, in fact most sellers end up fishing with a hook instead of a net.

Neither decision is right or wrong.

If your choice is to play the waiting game for some act of god that sends an all cash buyer to your doorstep with the right intentions for your employees, that’s fine. Do that.

But if you don’t enjoy gambling or betting with odds worse than getting struck by lightening, then the only path you can take is to do something different.

It’s not glamorous, but you accept this.

Embrace it.

Lean into it.

If this is you, time to meet our first archetypeDavid.

David is likely to represent you right now; if not entirely, certainly a close enough match to make you very uncomfortable as you read this.

Meet David (archetype #1)

David’s demographics (the outside facing characteristics like age and income and job title, etc.) aren’t important. Demographics are too limiting.

When I first wrote this story, David was a 54 yo owner of a manufacturing company from Florida. But ultimately this just wasn’t relevant information, because you, as David right now, may have demographics that are completely different.

Psychographics, the inside characteristics, like personality, dreams, fears, desires, etc. (the yellow color below), is what matters (I’m a stickman artist, I know):


David has big dreams of retiring from an all cash exit.

What he doesn’t know is he’s putting up a wall between him and potential buyers big enough to impress Donald Trump.

Today this dynamic is even worse, as more and more business owners flock to an all cash exit to “make it big.”

Before David knew it, he was the recipient of every “All Cash” offer under the sun.

Get this, he would still receive a couple offers each month. But they usually came at the expense of some hidden set terms he didn’t agree with.

He didn’t know better. He believed that people who were paying all cash had his best interest at heart in the business wasteland of the Wild West.

And as the offers continued to come in, he eventually found himself a year later frustrated and stuck in the same business he had been trying to sell.

It started slowly because offers came in slowly. But soon David was sucked in like a heroin addict seeking the next fix.

He was helpless.

He would flip-flop from buyer to buyer, with little regard for opportunity cost. He was an “opportunity seeker.”

There was a lot wrong with operating this way. David had become stuck in the “loop of death” for a few years.

Roughly speaking, the “loop of death” is the process of cycling through points 2 to 6:

The realization was the moment when he realized that he had been trying to sell his business for all cash for 5 years with no takers.

Some buyer’s made offers. Most even. But it was never as promised. There was alway’s some “Catch” to the all cash offer.

The results he got from looking for his unicorn buyer was only ever mediocre at best.

Some buyer’s would pay all cash for his business but would want to immediately gut the company out for parts after close.

Never any “home runs.”

And that’s when it hit David.

Let’s move to the archetype I named, Mark.

Meet Mark (archetype #2)

Mark operates entirely differently from David.

Mark casts nets instead of hooks in an ocean of buyers.

He understands that his job is NOT to find an all cash buyer, but someone who can meet his retirement goals.

If Mark finds an all cash buyer who’s willing to meet his terms, that’s great, but he’s not betting the farm on it.

His attention is selective and focused. (While casting a wide net.)

He know’s most buyer’s are not going to pay all cash for his business, unless he’s got a golden goose.

Instead Mark sit’s down and calculates exactly how much money his family and him would need for retirement to achieve their ideal lifestyle. (Monthly)

As you imagine…

Mark had stopped trying to eat a whale (goal) in one bite, and decided to eat the whale (goal) one bite at a time.

This made finding a buyer much easier and narrowed his focus on buyers who would meet his retirement goals and ignoring the rest.

And I wonder if you might begin to notice that Mark has essentially killed two birds with one stone.

He’s a FOCUSED man.

Mark isn’t looking to sell to the “highest bidder”. Mark is goal oriented. The dynamic is completely different.

Mark is driven by the need for FREEDOM.

To live a life where he’s doing what he wants, when he wants and with whoever he wants.

A lifestyle that earns him his freedom to do the things he cares about.

And this was the realization that hit Mark when he opened his eyes and saw things for what they were.

It was his very own Neo/Morpheus moment:

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.”

— Morpheus (The Matrix)

Morpheus & Neo

David was so focused on the EVENT of the home run moment—that he had missed the “truth” of the situation.

That a home run was the culmination of years and years of playing the odds. It was an uphill battle that had no guarantee.

When zoomed out this is obvious.

But it’s easily forgotten when in the weeds of the day to day. David can’t see this obvious truth. Mark can.

Mark has built himself and his family a leveraged asset for the long term that pays him the reliable monthly income he’s looking for.

One such asset is his sold business with earn outs each month, which is much more readily available to take back in the unlikely event of a default.

In the long run, Mark receives more from paying less to uncle Sam instead of one lump sum.

David doesn’t see the value of going slow, so he seeks shortcuts and hacks.

When looking at the world through this lens, it allowed Mark to see everything very differently. Like he was watching a different movie.

Like putting on prescription glasses made specifically for his eye’s that allows him to see things that are essentially invisible to David:

Mark is successful because he focuses on the right goal – FREEDOM.

Not looking for a unicorn buyer, but prioritizing on what’s really important.

The disciplined pursuit of less, not more.

Mark makes a choice to get more from less.

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” – Henry David Thoreau

He understands that his job is not to find the BIGGEST possible offer, but rather, to find a buyer who meets his retirement goals.

When business owners make the shifts from thinking and behaving as Frank, to Matt, everything changes.


David sees buyers as Walking Checkbooks â€” where the reality is at best, a flash in the pan when he takes a closer look at the details.

Mark knows an exact buyer, a perfect fit for him, doesn’t exist.

Instead has a strategic flexibility, makes little bets along the way, and focuses on hitting his goal.


Paul Zane Pilzer once said that millionaires are made as a result of â€śchoice & attitude.”

The good news is that you get to choose to operate and think and behave as David or Mark.

It’s just a decision. And it’s all on you.

As Steven Pressfield says in The War of Art“You have a choice. Do it or don’t do it.”

There is no easy way tho.

It doesn’t exist. If you think there is, you’re wrong.

There’s only a hard way, fraught with trauma and obstacles.

Lean into it, because it’s the only way to breach the membrane shielding David from Mark.

If you’re a David and want to transform to a Mark, we can help with that. Or if you’re already a Mark, but wanna level-the-fuck-up, we can help with that, too.

Maybe you just need a nudge in the right direction. We’re great at nudging.

If we can’t help, we’ll tell you, and point you in the best direction. We don’t have all the answers. And what we have definitely here isn’t for everyone, or even for many.

What we have here is for the weird few, who choose to enroll in the journey and do the uncommon.— Cameryn Smith


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