How To You-Proof Your Business

August 29, 2019 |  

About this episode


After falling ill, Nation Leagues owner, David Heimlich, needed to sell his business – but to his surprise, it was worthless. He learned the hard way why you can’t be the center of the business.

To read a transcript of this episode, click here.

In 2007, David Heimlich started a recreational sports league for adults, Nation Leagues, with nothing more than a $60 loan from his father.

After 11 years, he fell ill and needed to sell – but his hard work over the years amounted to a business of no value. Why? Heimlich ran every aspect of the business (from marketing, registration, and even refereeing the games). Without him, Nation Leagues was worthless.

Heimlich had one choice: transform the business into one that could thrive without him. Find out how he did it.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why lessons from the sale of a local sports league can apply to businesses of any size
  • How Heimlich made Nation Leagues less dependent on him
  • The role pricing played on Nation League’s growth
  • Why a failed sale turned into incredible growth

David Heimlich invested so much of his time into Nations Leagues that he forgot to separate himself from the business – a costly mistake that would result in a business of no value. In order to course correct and successfully sell, he had to find ways to make the business less dependent on him. This is the same concept learned during Module 7 of The Value Builder System™: The Hub & Spoke. How dependent is your business on you? Could you ever step away and ensure operations would run smoothly? Find out now by completing Module 1.

About Our Guest

David started his business at 21 years of age straight out of college. His company focused on the organization of recreational sports leagues and events catered to adults. As president, David grew his operation to service 7 different sport categories and roughly 3000 memberships until his successful exit in 2017. As a dedicated lifelong learner, since the sale of his business David has applied his experience in management to acquire his PMP (Project Management professional) designation.


John Warrillow:                Coming up next, you’re going to hear from David Heimlich. Here’s a little secret, David almost said no when we started to talk to him about recording this interview. Because he said, “Look, you work with much bigger companies than the one I sold. You’re talking to people who have sold companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. Nobody is going to be interested in my little business…”

John Warrillow:                And I said, “Hold on, David. Your business is perfect. There are so many lessons in what you’ve done.” David took a sports league that was highly dependent on him, personally, and transformed it into a sellable company. Pay special attention to the steps he took to make it less dependent on him, and unique role pricing had in his ability to do that. He’ll tell you about the first offer he had for his business, which was a non offer, because it was too dependent on him. And how he reshaped the business, and ultimately sold it. Here to tell you the entire story is Nation Leagues’ David Heimlich.

John Warrillow:                David Heimlich, welcome to Built To Sell Radio.

David Heimlich:                 Oh, thank you. Great to be here. Thank you so much.

John Warrillow:                You had a cool business, Nation Leagues. Tell me about it. What did you guys do?

David Heimlich:                 Nation Leagues was an organization, and we ran recreational sports geared towards adults. I started running floor hockey. And the way that came about is I was finishing school and playing in a floor hockey pickup game myself, and I was thinking what business to start. And I thought, “You know what, I love this. Let me run some numbers.” And I said, “You know what, if I ran floor hockey full-time, it could be a really good business.” And from running floor hockey then said, “You know what, the parallels.” I started adding dodge ball, volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer. And then, next thing you know, I was running all of these seven different sports.

John Warrillow:                Well, that’s so funny, because I’ve got kids, and I spend half my life driving them to various sporting activities, right? And sometimes there’s a little part of me that’s a little jealous, right? I dropped them off. And there they go out, running off. And I’m like, “I would love to be doing that right now.” Instead of just sitting there watching them.

David Heimlich:                 Yeah. Those are the best times, at the start. Getting to play and be paid. Yeah.

John Warrillow:                Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And I mean, I could see the immediate appeal and the immediate business opportunity, because in your 20s and 30s, you still want to do some of these things. It’s not like you’ve lost the love of whatever sport you enjoy. So, what was the business model? You charged a participant to join the league? Is that how it worked?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, so players paid a registration fee, either individually or by a team. And that’s where the revenue was generated, mainly. And the expenses were sites or permits and things like that. Regular advertising costs and people costs. Yeah.

John Warrillow:                I understand that you didn’t have a ton of money to start the business. How did you get marketing going? How did you get people to join the leagues?

David Heimlich:                 Well, I’ll tell you. Actually, I started the business with $0. I had $60 loan from my dad to go out and buy hockey nets.

John Warrillow:                Sorry, a $60?

David Heimlich:                 $60. They were $30 hockey nets from Canadian Tire. And then, actually, I got the school to lend me their nets. And I returned them back to Canadian Tire. So, we started with $0. And the first thing I did was, I got six groups of my friends together. That that’s the very first thing. And on opening night, there were six teams, six groups of friends. And from there, it was really just, I was telling everybody I could who knew about it. And I was having everybody who was participating telling everybody they could, because it was such a-

John Warrillow:                I love it.

David Heimlich:                 In order for you to participate, your friend needed to participate. So, it was really just having everybody, and I was working on it. Yeah. It was pretty much trying to get the word out as much as I can. It was very word of mouth. I was talking to everybody I knew, whether I haven’t seen you in 10 years… I said I haven’t seen you since five years since high school. I was telling everybody. If I came across you on the street, and you had a sportsbag. So, I was doing everything I could that kind of way.

John Warrillow:                That’s awesome.

David Heimlich:                 This was in 2007, so, kind of like getting together on the internet, and having like really powerful Facebook groups like that was just coming about. It wasn’t so huge. Instagram came out, I think a little bit after that. So, it was really I was really telling everybody I knew. And that’s how we got going in the start.

John Warrillow:                So, it’s like the ultimate network effect business, right? Because as you point out if you want to play basketball with a bunch of buddies, you got to get your buddies involved. And it’s great.

John Warrillow:                How did you overcome the objection from customers who said, like, “Why do we need Heimlich? If we want to get six guys together to play basketball, we don’t need to pay him money”? Did you have that objection from time to time? How’d you overcome it?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, for sure. Because when I first began, yeah, there was a huge learning curve, right? But the way I designed my league was… Because I’m a very easygoing guy, I wanted the league to be very easygoing. So, there were a lot of rules in place, or a lot of rules removed that you wouldn’t find in other leagues to kind of make sure that anyone could come in at any level. And you wouldn’t have to learn a ton of stuff, you wouldn’t get burned by arbitrary rules. You can just come in and have fun.

David Heimlich:                 So, why people came… And it was as true as on day one as it was in the end when I sold and I told people. And they were congratulating me. Because I really made people feel like they mattered when they came. That was it. Whether your issue was severe, or just something you felt like you had to share, everybody felt like they could. Whether it was the beginning directly to me, or near the end, when it was to my staff, and they knew that it would come to me in the end, I always made sure that everybody felt welcomed, and appreciated.

John Warrillow:                Now, how big did you get this business? Because, in terms of either number of part-time staff, or number of people in the leagues. Give me a sense before… And we’re going to talk about it in a moment. You came to the conclusion that you couldn’t keep running this company forever. How big was it when you came to that conclusion?

David Heimlich:                 So, on opening day there was 46 registrations. And at the time I sold, there was nearly 3000 registrations.

John Warrillow:                Wow. That’s fantastic.

David Heimlich:                 And, there was roughly 30 or so staff all around town. And also, we were working with a few other partners who had their own staff and crew, that would bring in umpires and referees and things like that. So, It reached a good number of people, yeah, and different locations.

John Warrillow:                From two hockey nets and 60 bucks-

David Heimlich:                 Right, yeah.

John Warrillow:                … that’s a pretty big transformation. But you went through a period, quite a dark period in your life. Maybe you could talk a little bit about that, and what that led to.

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, sure. So I started Nation Leagues when I was 21 turning 22, and this was in 2007. So, I’d been running the league for about two years. I had garnered a lot of excitement, things were getting busy. I was running two, three nights a week. And at the same time, I was building my business, I was still working two or three other jobs at time, getting Nation Leagues ready to go. I just added another sport, another sport.

David Heimlich:                 And early in 2010 I fell pretty ill. It was a very tough time going through the health system, because it was never really… It was an illness that was very difficult to diagnose. But the immediate facts were that I had instantly become bedridden, more or less. I weighed 210. Within a month I weighed 170.

John Warrillow:                Wow.

David Heimlich:                 I was suffering from knee pain, stomach pains, dizziness, headaches, cloudiness. So, pretty much I was totally bedridden.

John Warrillow:                Wow.

David Heimlich:                 And this was just before the summer of 2010. And what happened was, I finished off the final season of hockey. And I just started a new sport. And we finished off dodge ball. And summer came, and at that time I wasn’t running anything in the summer yet. And so, yeah, I was pretty ill. And I was not sure what to do. And I one thing I’ll share that I during the time… First of all, I learned a lot about myself, and a lot about the health system. And I learned a lot about operating the business, more so, because I had an opportunity to pause and look at it. And I said to my dad, I said, “You know, Dad, I can’t get out of bed. You know, I’m 25. All my friends are living their lives. I’m 25. I’m lying in bed.” And I say, “I don’t know what it’ll be. I think I have to shut down Nation Leagues…” And Nation Leagues had just picked up a lot of steam that year.

David Heimlich:                 And he said, “You could close it, but that certainly won’t help you feel any better.”

David Heimlich:                 And I said, “You know what? You’re right.”

David Heimlich:                 So, I spent the summer preparing for the fall. And the fall was, again, super successful. I was really growing, like 30%, year over year, at that point. And so, fall came. And it was even more busy and whatever I was suffering from, I hadn’t recovered from yet. And I was still very exhausted all the time, fatigued. And winter came and I said, “Dad I just don’t know what to do. I think I have to try and sell the business.”

John Warrillow:                And just for clarity, David, is your Dad a partner or a mentor? Or, just being your dad, a sounding board, a guy that helped?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, just a very close friend, right?

John Warrillow:                Yeah.

David Heimlich:                 So, just always there and very supportive. Yeah.

John Warrillow:                Okay, great.

David Heimlich:                 And so, what happened at the time when I thought, “I got to sell.” There was a very large ball hockey league in the city. And I reached out to them, and I said, “You know what, I run this business. I’m thinking to sell.” I didn’t share that I was ill. I just said “I have a strong opportunity coming up, and I think I want to sell.”

David Heimlich:                 So, one guy phoned me back, who was the owner of the ball hockey league, and we got together. And we ran over everything that I had. I was very open. There was nothing I really had to hide. And he didn’t ask me it too in depth anything that I wouldn’t want to answer, anyways. So, we shared. And he said, “Okay, let’s digest.”

David Heimlich:                 And from there, he came back to me a little bit later. And he said like, “I’m kind of interested in getting into this recreational sports area. But,” he said, “I’m looking at what you have, and you don’t really have a business here. You have a job. If I remove you, there’s nothing to be done. I can’t even really hire somebody to do what you do, because you don’t make enough to do it full-time.”

David Heimlich:                 I didn’t really feel too hurt or anything like that. It was just like a really like, “Okay, that’s a pretty interesting perspective, because I know that you have like a way, way, way bigger operation than me. So, let me think more about what you’re talking here.”

David Heimlich:                 And I looked into it, and I asked my dad, and he was saying, “Well, if you think about it, you’re thinking about Nation Leagues from the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed. So, calculate it.”

David Heimlich:                 And I did. And I was making like maybe $5 an hour. I said, “You could get a job. Without having to worry about all of this, I could probably get a job and do better, right?”

John Warrillow:                And David, at this time, you’re still quite sick, at this point while you’re having these initial conversations? You’re still not feeling 100%?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah.

John Warrillow:                Okay.

David Heimlich:                 It was an ongoing thing, and there was no recovery timeline in sight. And so, every day was filled with so much uncertainty, tons of pain. I had picked up mindfulness at this point, because medicine wasn’t working, so, I was looking for another way to kind of try and heal myself, which mindfulness was a big, big factor in my recovery.

John Warrillow:                When you say mindfulness, you’re referring to kind of meditation and the entire sort of-

David Heimlich:                 Yeah.

John Warrillow:                …discipline of…? Okay. Yep.

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, there was one period I meditated everyday from four years, from that point. Yeah.

John Warrillow:                Okay. So, this guy says, “Hey, David. Love your business, but it’s really just a job.” So, what did you do next?

David Heimlich:                 So, when I was looking at those numbers, I thought, “Okay, you know what, that makes total sense.” And I said, “Okay, well, so, here’s the deal. As it stands, the business can’t continue. So, what am I going to do?” At that point, I was able to kind of reflect stronger on what I’m really operating. So, I was able to kind of write down job descriptions for everything that’s happening in the business; every touchpoint that’s going on. Where that may seem like a starting point no matter what. But when I started Nation Leagues it kind of evolved and I was doing everything, so I never really had to have these kinds of things written down.

David Heimlich:                 So I wrote out job descriptions for every touch point of the business and I kind of wrote out, “Okay, where can I hire people to do things on site, because I can’t go to site anymore every night. I just can’t function that that way.” Right. And for the business to grow, because I can’t be in two or three places at once, because now I was running two, three, four leagues on one night. I need staff. So I thought, “Okay, yeah, I have to pay these people.” And I put out a budget. And I said, “Okay, I have to raise prices to afford to pay all these people.” And one nerve I had, which I feel like some people might have is like, “Well, if I raise prices, people are going to leave this or that.”

David Heimlich:                 But the decision was easy because if I didn’t raise prices, there’s no business. If I do raise prices and they leave, there’s no business on it doesn’t really matter either way.

John Warrillow:                Necessity is the mother of invention. Isn’t that what they say?

David Heimlich:                 So it became an easy choice. So, not only the reciprocation to the raising the prices was positive. That league continued to grow. I was running a very, very well run league, and I raised prices and I hired staff to put in all these locations, so that game events can run from start to finish. And they can just report back to me. Whereas sometimes it might be difficult to let go, I really had no choice. I couldn’t be there anymore. I needed to figure out a system that works for me not to be there. So I hired two to three staff for each location and from there we went.

John Warrillow:                David, how much of an increase in in fees was there? So I’d be curious like if I was going to join a ball hockey league as an example, what would I have paid before the increase in price to be part of that league? And then what would be my price be after the increased in price?

David Heimlich:                 Well, I always tried to offer a very fair price. But to say at the very beginning it was about I would average $3 a game, which is very fair. And after that it was $10 a game. So I almost tripled it in a way.

John Warrillow:                Wow. Okay, great. Which gave you the money to pay the staff and allowed you to step away. What else did you do to make your business less dependent on you personally?

David Heimlich:                 Well, knowing that staff were there, I gave them the kind of responsibility they needed to get the job done. But in these job descriptions and the roles, I put in protocol, I put an operations manual. I really tried to think through and through the experience, everything that might happen, there was an answer for. So that there was no ambiguity and all these things that pop up where things can get out of hand when the person is onsite running the event. So, aside from that I put together not just job description, but operation manuals. Very detailed ones for every role pretty much there, so that everyone knew exactly what to do when something happens, and what’s the result going to look like.

John Warrillow:                And there are these software companies now that will allow you to document your operating procedures or your operating manuals. Did you use a software? Or did you just like a Microsoft Word document and then you just kind of gave them a Microsoft Word document to follow?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, I built my own systems pretty much through Word and Excel.

John Warrillow:                Okay.

David Heimlich:                 There were a lot of programs I learned more about near the end. But at that point when you’re running something for 10 years and my system was working and so I stuck with that one till the end.

John Warrillow:                David, because I think a lot of people listening will go, “Yeah, I’ve heard the advice to create an operations manual and an employee manual before. But I put all the work in and then nobody follows it.”

David Heimlich:                 Oh, yeah.

John Warrillow:                How did you ensure compliance? How did you ensure that those guys and gals that you hired actually followed the process that you had outlined for them?

David Heimlich:                 That’s a really good question. And I think this is something that I really excelled at. I’ll do my best to kind of quantify it in words. But the idea is that I removed all that ambiguity. And I made it so simple and step-by-step, this is what you do. And the idea was first off, those who didn’t want to follow it didn’t stay. You were fired if you did not follow the rules. Because there was a hierarchy of that: Safety is a top concern, customer service, top concern. It was a great opportunity that you have if you’re looking for a job, right? So this is the best place to kind of be if you loves sports. So people who didn’t fit that bill, I removed them. And the ones who did kind of understood it.

David Heimlich:                 So it was already kind of ingrained in them that they’re very empathetic to the participants that, “Wow if I was playing I would want it to go this way.” So I made sure that the staff had that characteristic of empathy. That they could relate to what’s going on and be able to deliver it themselves.

David Heimlich:                 But in terms of the manual themselves, I made them as clear. There was no politics involved, which was a strong part of Nation Leagues that things just flew in that way. Things just didn’t get in the way like that. If something needed to be done we addressed it if we thought it was out of the ordinary.

John Warrillow:                So, you’re implementing these processes and these systems. You’re tripling your prices. You hired these people. How is your health evolving during this time? Are you still feeling horrible, or are you starting to improve? Just give us a sense of where your health is at as this evolves.

David Heimlich:                 So it took about four years until I started to be able to go on a daily basis without worrying if fatigue would hit or illness. If I would feel sick or in pain. So yeah, it took a little while for that to happen.

John Warrillow:                Did you ever diagnose it? Did they ever figure out what was wrong?

David Heimlich:                 It was never entirely diagnosed. It’s a big mystery, which made me a topic for another part, if you live in Canada you may know that there’s some stuff that they’re kind of bringing into the news now that doctors kind of avoided diagnosing previously. So it’s kind of suspected that, but nothing was ever fully diagnosed. So it was really always on me. And I’m very lucky that I had such a strong support system at home with my parents, my brother, and my sisters. And my friends who were my closest friends who could kind of be there for me. And yeah.

John Warrillow:                So, take us through the sale now, because at some point you decided to actually revisit this idea of selling Nation Leagues. What was the triggering event? What caused you to come back, circle back to that idea?

David Heimlich:                 So, actually we were approaching the end of 2016 or early 2017 and I got a call. I got a call from the owner of another operation and he said, “Would you be interested in selling?”

John Warrillow:                When you say another operation. Do you mean another sports league operator?

David Heimlich:                 Yes.

John Warrillow:                Okay, got it.

David Heimlich:                 First off they were very successful, and also had a very strong reputation. And so I actually, I had a mentor at the time. And I shared with them and he said, “Okay, so if you want, just go and hear what they have to say. That’s pretty much it.”

David Heimlich:                 And so I brought my dad and, “Who are you?” He said.

David Heimlich:                 I said, “You called me, I’m here to listen. The floor is yours.”

John Warrillow:                Where did it go from there?

David Heimlich:                 The owner, she shared kind of why she called me and her goals and we just chatted a little bit, and she shared her story a bit. I said, “Okay, I’ll digest and we’ll kind of go from there.” And so the next step was kind of signing an NDA. And then sharing some very high level information about the business.

John Warrillow:                What were the data points they were most interested in about your company? I’m assuming things like revenue were important. What did they want to know?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, I guess if someone wants to see what a business is about, they kind of want to see the balance sheets in the stuff. And kind of know what are your main assets.

John Warrillow:                Got it. And so at what point did the conversations go from kind of information sharing too… Did they put an offer on the table for you? What was that like?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, when we shared this we have this high level information out there. It was kind of maybe clarifying some points of it. And then there was, “Hey do you want to get together and I’ll make an offer.”

David Heimlich:                 So we got together and heard an offer. So what I didn’t of course during this time I’m also discussing with my mentor who happened to also sell a very big business himself. So he kind of gave me some insight into how it might work. And so from there after offer was-

John Warrillow:                What was… Sorry, go ahead. No, go ahead.

David Heimlich:                 So, after the offer comes kind of a letter of intent, which lets you know, “Hey, we intend to follow through on what we’ve discussed. That you can share more in depth detail of your business before we go seal the deal.”

John Warrillow:                What was your reaction to the offer?

David Heimlich:                 I think in discussion, it was very fair for both.

John Warrillow:                How did you come to that conclusion? What were you doing to try to put a price on your own business? How did you sort of figure out in your own mind what you thought it was worth?

David Heimlich:                 What it really I feel it was, is, it’s a really like a tension kind of between, what is your business worth on paper? And, what do you feel it might be with emotionally? Right. And you really don’t want to let either one of those things sway you the wrong way. Because it’s easy to say, especially if you’re planning to have the deal go through. That’s the idea.

John Warrillow:                And in your case was what it was worth to you emotionally, more or less than what it was worth on paper?

David Heimlich:                 To phrase it that way, I mean, I really made sure that they were aligned.

John Warrillow:                Okay.

David Heimlich:                 Because if they’re not aligned, I mean at least for me, I don’t know how other people would operate. But if they were aligned there would always be uncertainty, right? So whether or not it was or wasn’t, I made sure that they were aligned, that the number was aligned with what I felt with both it is worth and what I feel it’s worth… to be a successful sale. And then that’s where we ended up.

John Warrillow:                When you’d received the letter of intent, you mentioned you went to see your mentor. What were the points that they raised as things that you should be thoughtful about?

David Heimlich:                 It was kind of more before even we met, it was a you kind of have to think, “What kind of questions are going to pop up? What kind of questions are going to pop up? What’s your answer to them? What does your answer want to be for these kinds of questions?” And that was an interesting way of thinking that you may not always approach a conversation, right.

John Warrillow:                What sorts of questions did you rehearse in your mind?

David Heimlich:                 Like what to say when the offer is made? Right. But these are negotiation tactics, which some may be stronger with right? So how do you respond with an offer? And how do you not offend coming back, right? Or what kind of information do you have? Or what not to say? More of that.

John Warrillow:                Like what?

David Heimlich:                 What not to say to distract from the offer? Right.

John Warrillow:                Yeah. So what did he suggest that you not say?

David Heimlich:                 Well, just it’s, sometimes you may have to be like, “Oh, I have, I have X, Y, Z. So that’s why it’s worth this.” That doesn’t matter. You’re only talking number. Here’s a number, do you want it? Not. Okay, can you come up a little bit, et cetera.” Things like that, “I would appreciate it.” And just kind of going like that.

John Warrillow:                Did you ever get a question David, why do you want to sell Nation Leagues?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, for sure. Oh, from them?

John Warrillow:                Yeah.

David Heimlich:                 I’m not certain they asked that in specific. Maybe they asked, “What’s your plan? Would you like to stay on?”

John Warrillow:                How did you answer that? Because I’m just looking at you on screen here. You’re a young guy. They must’ve been part of me wondering like, “Why does this young guy want to sell?”

David Heimlich:                 For sure. And that kind of came with the idea of just, I said, “I’d like to keep that close to my chest.” You know? It was not that it has to be exactly shared. If you’re asking me what I said or what I was feeling though, they’re two different questions.

John Warrillow:                Sure. So what were you feeling? And how would you have answered?

David Heimlich:                 So that’s the other part like selling a business is such a deep question. So maybe some of that’s, “Why’d you sell?”

David Heimlich:                 How can I explain to you 10 years in a simple question of, “Why did you sell?” So the kind of thing is you really, I really evaluated it. Okay, like, “Where did I bring this business over 10 years? What did the business look like in the future? What did my life look like in the future? What does my life look like if I sell? What does it look like if I stay?” And there’s so many different touch points and when you waited, you came to the answer.

David Heimlich:                 But when you’re like a friend or something who asks you to like, “Why did you sell?”

David Heimlich:                 Like, “Well, if I explained it to you, you wouldn’t know. You wouldn’t understand because you’re not running a business.” But for somebody who’s running a business, if you’re thinking of selling, the idea is, well you have to come up with all the different things. You really have to write them out and think about all the pluses and minuses that might… What will your life look like? And which uncertainties will you have? And which are you comfortable with?

David Heimlich:                 And some people think the process of sale is, “Oh you sold, boom it’s done.” But no, depending on the arrangement there’s post close duties and things like that. And hold backs and things like that. So you really have to-

John Warrillow:                What’s the hold back?

David Heimlich:                 A hold back is kind of like, if you’ve ever hired someone to do renovations on your house, the project may cost $10,000 but you don’t pay them 10% the very, very end. So you might pay them 10% one year later, and make sure that everything that they built is as says.So hold back is where money is kept back from what the price is.

John Warrillow:                And in your case, was that contingent on you hitting certain performance goals in the future? Or was it just simply that you got through the process and were able to demonstrate that you didn’t fudge anything, you didn’t make anything up?

David Heimlich:                 Right. So in the sale you’re kind of come to an agreement about how things will look like after the sale on various points. And then at the end of the time period… So with us we both work together very great and it was a successful sale all the way through. So everybody delivered on everything that they said they would, and there was no troubles. I know from speaking to my mentor and other people that sometimes you get to that period and there’s not an agreement on how things go. And the hold back is really up in the air.

John Warrillow:                But to be clear, in your case, David, the hold back, what I’m trying to get at is, was it… Sometimes you’ll hear this reference to something called an earn out where someone will buy your business and say, “Okay, David, if you grow Nation Leagues as a division of our company by 50% we’ll give you even more money for your company.” Whereas a hold back, traditionally, I think sometimes will be discussed as money been put in escrow that is really just there to verify that what you claimed during the process of selling your company is in fact accurate. Was yours more of an earn out where you had goals? Or more of a traditional money in escrow that was just there to validate what you said was truthful?

David Heimlich:                 I’d say it was almost kind of a mixture. I’m not sure I know how much I could share it, but there were milestones that needed to be shown, and time committed. And they were all met.

John Warrillow:                What was your dad’s advice during this process? He’s obviously been a strong mentor for you. What did he say when you receive this letter of intent?

David Heimlich:                 First, even before he thought, “Are they for real?” Like, “Are these people for real?” Like, “How do you know that they’re not just dicking you around?” Right. And that’s kind of why you didn’t really share too much before the letter of intent. Because a letter of intent is a real document. You can’t really, I mean maybe you could, but it’s messy I imagine, once the letter of intent and all that. So he said, “I’m really very, very proud.” Because he was there when it was just an idea.

David Heimlich:                 In fact, he was there when I came up with it. We were on a plane taking a trip to Vancouver and I showed them the paper and I said, “I’m going to run a ball hockey league.”

David Heimlich:                 And he goes, “Okay.” He’d never heard of ball hockey in his life. So he said, “Okay, sure.” But when the letter of intent came, he said, “Okay.”

David Heimlich:                 He said he said similar to the same thing actually that my mentor said. I got to call. And I said, “Listen, I got a call and they they want to sit down with me, to see about buying the business.”

David Heimlich:                 He said, “Okay, you are far from the business being sold. That’s number one. So if you think that it’s like tomorrow, the business sell, that’s not how it works. So make sure to be patient.”

David Heimlich:                 And that was more or less simply my dad says, “Okay, let’s be patient. You’re doing your own thing still. Keep working hard, stay focused and don’t get too distracted.”

John Warrillow:                What was his reaction when the check cleared your bank account?

David Heimlich:                 Well, I don’t know. I really only shared it with my dad, because I know that people might have misconceptions of what selling your business is like. When you think you sell your business and boom. They don’t know about the six months of grueling… due diligence and stress and all these things that come with it. So I came home and my parents were in the kitchen, I brought the check and I like, “I sold Nation Leagues.”

David Heimlich:                 My mom said, “What? Why?” Like they had no idea. My dad said, “Oh my God, that’s crazy.” And yeah, it was very like one of a kind moment for sure.

John Warrillow:                Well they must’ve seen you through the darkest days as well. Right. So they would be especially proud, I would imagine.

David Heimlich:                 Yeah. It was wild. It was really a super long road, because no one knew what was going on really. And so yeah, they watched me to really bounce back, and work hard. And yeah, they were super proud and I was super grateful. I remember, like I said at dinner, I said, “Thanks so much everybody for your help during the 10 years. Yeah. Couldn’t have done it without you.”

David Heimlich:                 There was a time in year two where, I don’t know, something happened with insurance and there was a mix up and I didn’t have a car. So my brother drove me to every game. And drove me and brought me home and everything, with equipment and everything like that in the middle of winter. So yeah, there was a lot of help along the ways growing. Yeah.

John Warrillow:                Did your dad get his 60 bucks back for the two nets?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah. He got that, plus a little bit more. Yeah.

John Warrillow:                There you go.

David Heimlich:                 But yeah, and it was all good.

John Warrillow:                David I’m so grateful for you sharing this story, and I’m so glad that you’re healthy. If people wanted to reach out, I don’t know, kind of how public you are, is there a way to say hi? Do you take Linkedin requests or is there a Twitter feed? Or what’s the best way if someone wanted to say hi on social media?

David Heimlich:                 Yeah, sure. Linkedin is pretty good if and I’m happy to always chat with anybody for sure.

John Warrillow:                Awesome. Well Dave, congratulations again. Thanks for joining us.

David Heimlich:                 Thanks so much for having me. It was really great and great to speak with you and I really enjoyed the show and everything. And thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

John Warrillow:                Oh, no problem.


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