BUSINESS ACQUISITION FOR SUCKERS
Warning: When it comes to teaching people how to buy a business, there are a lot of highly suspect courses, books, webinars, seminars and videos around! Do not spend money on any of them till you've read the reviews below.
THE RECOMMENDED COURSES
After decades of reading acquisition material pumped out by experts and self-proclaimed experts, I'm happy to make only two recommendations. Neither pays me any commission. I recommend them only because after almost 40 years of running, buying and selling businesses I recognise these as the best.
And neither of these makes any outlandish claims about being able to teach you how to do £1 deals.
David C Barnett
David has experience as a business buyer, as a seller and as a business broker.
For many years, David has been generously sharing his expertise via a ton of Youtube videos, podcasts, interviews. The best part is that this material is all free. You'll learn more from his free videos than you'll learn from any of the "£1 Charlie" courses below (some of which cost £10,000!).
Check out David's Youtube channel here.
You can buy David's further material and/or book a call with him here.
Richard sold his first business at the tender age of 13!
Since then he has bought and sold businesses and written extensively on the topic - a lot of it available for free online. I believe he's the most read author on the subject of business acquisitions. He has been writing on this subject for over 30 years.
Richard does not do any consulting any more, but you can buy his amazing content at the Diomo website. It's less than $200. The knowledge you get will cost you a fraction of what all the below courses cost and, importantly, there's none of the BS that you'll find elsewhere. Solid, honest, savvy warts-and-all advice.
THE OTHERS - The £1 Charlies Who Claim To Teach You How To Do "No Money Down Deals"
THE OLDER PLAYERS
Dan Pena - the "£50 Billion Dollar Man"
Perry M Anderson
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Shane Stamford (real name Shane Turrell)
Many con artists have jumped into this game. Contact me here if you spot one.
Before You Proceed To The Amazing Geniuses Who'll Teach You How To Make Gold ...
The UK is awash with all kinds of £1 Charlie courses run by people promising to teach you how to buy an established, profitable business without using any of your own money - the "Buy A Business For £1" courses. The US doesn't have this disease to the same extent, it's just the UK.
Yes, it's possible to buy a business for £1 but the chances of you being able to pull something like that off are close to zero. This business lawyer does a great job of explaining why:
But the £1 Charlie message is very seductive. Learn a few techniques from them on how to "structure deals", how to do "leveraged buy outs" , how to do fancy "financial engineering" and you can become the proud owner of a business that generates large revenues for you despite the fact that you invested nothing.
But you'll be amazed at how many suckers fall for this. £1 Charlie courses generate thousands of new wannabe business owners every year. People get seduced by the message, they pay thousands for the course, they come out knowing a bit more about business. But that is nowhere near enough.
This is all part of the fake guru market.
Most people signing up for these courses never succeed in acquiring a business. It turns out that there's one thing they didn't realise. It's a lot, lot more difficult than it was made out to be. They usually end up bitterly regretting the fees they paid for the course.
If and when you investigate any of the below you'll find some a lot more plausible than others. You might watch this Michael Kohler video and kill yourself laughing or view a Jonathan Jay video - and all the examples he trots out of people who took his course and became successful business owners - and you may actually buy into the fairy tale.
But before you pay anyone any money, be extremely sceptical ...and do a lot of research. Tempted to sign up for one of these courses? Just...
If you've already seen any videos by Jeremy Harbour, Jonathan Jay, Dan Pena etc - people who sound like the real deal, you'd be forgiven for buying into their pitch. They've bought and sold businesses and have made the money. They must know what they're talking about, right?
Right and wrong. What they've achieved with buying business is because of many factors that they can't deliver to you in their course: their personal wealth that is guaranteeing instalment payments to the vendor, their personal assets standing as security for the money being borrowed to do the deal, their extensive personal experience in an industry (to compensate for the lack of capital being invested), their contacts / reach / connection / related businesses they own etc etc.
There's hardly anything in any of the below courses that you can't learn from a good book on the subject. Buy a book and you'll spend a fraction of the time and money. Importantly, you'll get genuine information (rather than some smooth talking salesman trying to justify his fee or trying to upsell you some other junk).
Still tempted to waste your money on a course? Watch this poor sap's story first. He did what you are about to do - he spent a large sum of money on one of these courses. This is how it went for him:
The Amazing Geniuses
Michael Kohler - Reviews & Testimonials
Kohler is one of the best. I'm opening with this as nothing sets the tone for this page better than Michael's videos.
Don't bother watching the whole thing. From Mike's opening "Hey guys, what is going on?" to his promise at the end of to show you how to do this "for real" ...it's a load of the most awful garbage. You'd be forgiven for thinking it's a spoof.
But do spend 30 seconds to watch from 7:00 to 7:30. Just half a minute, guys, like, you know what I'm saying? It's worth the effort, I promise. Yo, it's dope. And if you want to check him out some more after that, here's a video worth watching.
Dan Pena - THE TRILLION DOLLAR MAN - Reviews & Testimonials
Ol' Dan used to call himself the $50 billion dollar man, but he figured that this wasn't bullsh*t enough so he upgraded himself to the Trillion Dollar Man.
Dan calls his seminar the Quantum Leap Advantage. Here is Dan's website but I can't figure why on earth you'd want to go there.
Dan's videos on YouTube and elsewhere are expletive filled rants that may have you thinking he's a certifiable lunatic. He isn't half as successful as he makes himself out to be. Or a tenth as successful. But, as he claims in the below video, his left testicle produces more testosterone than anyone in the room (3:05 to 3:15), seriously!
You'll enjoy Mike Winnet's Contrapreneur Bingo, Dan Pena edition:
Please don't stop there. Check out Tom Nash's review here. "If God created Dan Pena, He must have been drunk at the time."
Perry M Anderson - Reviews & Testimonials
Perry (LinkedIn profile) does a "4 week Live M&A Seminar" which he also refers to as a "4- Week M&A Live Workshop".
You can avoid reading his pitch by not clicking this link. He calls himself a "Private Equity Investor". I don't know if this genius is having trouble selling his courses, but here's an extract from his website:
£5,000 reduced to £950? Wow, that's some discount! Or is it the typical fake-guru tactic of trying to get you to see a larger value than what you're actually getting? Who says it's worth £5,000? My bet is that he picked a random figure to make the £950 look good.
But Perry's page is best summarised by this cliched image:
The sub-conscious message that you're meant to take away is that if you pay him £950 you'll learn all his tips and you'll get so rich you can swap your clapped out Nissan for a better car.
The photographer screwed up on this one though. The obligatory hot babe sitting on the bonnet - the one you get in all Get-Rich-Quick promotional shots - is not in frame!
Jeremy Harbour - Reviews & Testimonials
Where do I start with this one?!
Jeremy of The Harbour Club (LinkedIn profile) founded one of the earliest "Buy A Business" course in the UK. To be fair, he doesn't push a line that the likes of Jonathan Jay push ie. that you can buy an solid, established, profitable business for £1. He displays some honesty not seen with some of the others and does disclose that the £1 deal is best suited to a distressed business, a clapped out basket case on which you have to spend tons more money and time if you want to "turn it around".
But like the others, Jeremy exaggerates, pumps out half-truths and otherwise bluffs his way. Here's an exchange with him in a forum thread that might give you an idea of how he operates. (Jeremy posts under the username @unitygroup.)
When the forum discussion wasn't going well for him a stooge stepped in, one of his employees, pretending to be a satisfied customer and giving him a rave review ...till she got caught out!
Stooges are quite common at £1 Charlie seminars. "Gurus" often wheels out characters who claim to have been hugely successful following the guru's advice.
Jeremy often claims to be "Coutts Entrepreneur of the Year" runner up three times in a row. I've been unable to come up with any information on this award. It's probably a made up one. He wouldn't have made one up to award it to himself, would he? I don't know.
A typical bullsh*t line from Jeremy (from the forum thread above): "I personally have not bought a loss making or turnaround business for probably 5 years, they have all been profitable usually aim for 500k to 5m profit, occasionally little smaller or a little bigger. Never with cash from me, all win win deals that work for both parties and designed to create value for all concerned."
If you fancy doing some digging, this thread in Reddit has some interesting links and back story on what seems like a colourful past.
Jonathan Jay - Reviews & Testimonials
Summary: A very smooth internet marketer who attended Jeremy Harbour's course - we know because he recorded a video testimonial for Jeremy - and later realised that selling courses like Jeremy's is a lot more profitable than trying to buy businesses for £1.
I remember my first meeting with Jonathan (LinkedIn profile) in May 2017 when he said he didn't know much about buying businesses and wanted to learn more. So I introduced him to a few people including some well known authors on the subject. Jonathan bought all their books and emailed me to thank me for pointing him in the right direction.
Within a month he started calling himself an "expert", bought his domain and started his business, the DealMaker's Academy. :)
Because that's where the real money is - it's in running these courses!
Jonathan is great at coming across as someone who's been buying businesses for decades, but it would be foolish to accept anything he says at face value. His history in Companies House, shows almost nothing before 2017, then several acquisitions of businesses that promptly went bust after he got involved.
It's only after starting his course that Jonathan's bought a few small businesses, but these acquisitions may exist only to add credibility to the main business - convincing people to pay him large sums of money for his "specialist knowledge" and "mentorship".
There is so much strange advice in Jonathan's material that I wouldn't know where to start. For example, the below video shows him negotiating with various owners of small businesses (day nurseries). It would appear he secretly recorded conversations with them and then published these online without their permission. Little indiscretions like that don't bother Jonathan.
The video below starts at minute 6.00 and you need watch only a minute and a half.
You may have noticed his total ignorance on the very basics of buying a business - he consistently talks about "recovering his investment" and seems to not understand that you "recover your investment" when you re-sell the business, not from the profit made during the first 2-3 years of running the business! Or maybe he does understand and he's just pulling the wool over the eyes of those inexperienced sellers.
Some of the worst "buyers" we see in the market today, in terms of trying shady tricks, seem to have graduated from this particular course.
Jonathan published a book in Amazon. There are a few reviews people have left for his book. The one that got the most likes ever is this one:
Zulfaqar Faraz - Reviews & Testimonials
Zulfaqar (LinkedIn profile) will teach you "How To Buy 7 Figure Companies With Little Investment, So You Can Build A Corporate Empire That Changes The World"
Don't just settle for becoming a millionaire, set your target higher, change the world!
It used to be the case with the original sellers of these courses, like Jeremy Harbour and co, that all you needed to buy a business was a roll of gaffa tape and two glasses of water. But now it's becoming easier, you don't even need the gaffa tape.
And unlike the smooth talkers like Carl Allen, Jeremy Harbour, Guy Bartlett and Jonathan Jay, who do often seem to convince people of the credibility of their offering, you don't need to pay £5K to £10K!
Zulfaqar will tell you all the secrets for just £178.80.
What are you still doing here?! Go pay £178.80 today and you will get "status, power and generational wealth"!
Carl Allen - Reviews & Testimonials
Carl (LinkedIn profile) is the founder of Ninja Acquisitions (no, I'm not making the name up!) He, too, will teach you how to buy a business without investing any money. And he can do this because he has experience buying £250 million worth of businesses. Or is it £250 billion? Something like that.
Here's a good review of Ninja Acquisitions.
"His webinars are faked to look like large events with a bunch of participants. In reality, they are pre-recorded videos staged to appear live. None of the other "participants" are present, they are just randomly generated names...."
Ninja Acquisitions is now called Dealmaker Wealth Society. But it's the same type of operation as Jonathan Jay's and others: A small fee to get you to attend a seminar of some sort - that gets you into the funnel - then they try to sell you more and more stuff - the inside secrets, the REAL inside secrets, further inside secrets ...
But people like Allen and Harbour did at least have some experience at the coal face before they started their courses.
This Buy A Business For £1 world is an incestuous little world - people who run these courses often do interviews with each other, give each other awards etc. Here's an interview Carl Allen's done for Jeremy Harbour and one he's done with Zulfaqar Faraz .
There are a million other examples of mutual back scratching in this seedy little industry.
THIS PAGE STILL IN DEVELOPMENT (DECEMBER 2020). PLEASE BE PATIENT
But below are a few quick links to some other names.
Moran Pober - Reviews & Testimonials
Moran Pober (LinkedIn profile) has a similar story to Jonathan Jay's. He attended other Buy A Business For £1 courses, became an overnight guru, launched his own course.
How full of brown stuff is he? Watch this review.
Shane Stamford (real name: Shane Turrell) - Reviews & Testimonials
Here's a link you may want to check out.
Sebastian Amieva - Reviews & Testimonials
Dan Lok - Reviews & Testimonials
Guy Bartlett - Reviews & Testimonials
Here's an award Guy Bartlett's claims he got from an "Elite Investors Club". He was awarded Entrepreneur of The Year. As Guy modestly claims on his site: "typically modest, Guy was shocked but honoured to be recognised for his efforts".
What he doesn't say is that the guy giving him the award is an old mate of his! And it doesn't appear that this award was ever awarded before. Or after!