In this podcast, we talk with Jacob Orosz, president of Morgan & Westfield, a nationwide leader in business sales and appraisals. Morgan & Westfield is a professional services firm that specializes in the confidential appraisal and sale of small to mid-sized, privately-owned businesses. Today, we dicsuss about participating on the Morgan & Westfield podcast.
Morgan & Westfield's clients range from small companies with revenues of less than $100,000 annually to large international companies with revenues up to $50 million. The firm has assisted with the sale and valuation of companies in a wide range of industries, including retail, construction, manufacturing, software, technology, wholesale, and professional services.
Jeff: Welcome to this Morgan & Westfield chat today. Today, we're going to talk to you specifically about the Morgan & Westfield podcasts. I have with me Jacob Orosz, the president of Morgan & Westfield. Jacob, it's nice to have you.
Jacob: Hey, Jeff! How are you doing today?
Jeff: I am doing fine, thanks. Jacob, we both kind of talked about this leading up to our conversation today about . . . maybe it would be a great idea to just kind of sit and chat a little bit to help answer some of the questions that some of our perspective podcast guests might have going into this about podcasting and really about why we are doing this and what it means to join us as a podcast guest to talk a little bit about their business. So we’ll talk about some things that might kind of help set them at ease and allow people to relax a little bit if they have an understanding as they're going in, if they know what they can expect when we do these podcasts.
I think there's no better way to start than first talking a little bit about Morgan & Westfield, what it is and what you do.
Jacob: Sure. We are a company. We work on a national basis, and our only specialty is helping people buy and sell businesses. That's all we do. Occasionally, we'll do an informal evaluation as well, but we work on a national basis, and that's our only specialty.
Jeff: Now, when Jacob and I had a chance to meet, he had an idea for these podcasts that were really designed to help provide content for the Morgan & Westfield website. But more than that, Jacob, really, there was a greater idea on your part on being able to, I think, really provide some answers to some important questions that people who are interested in either buying or selling their business might have, isn't that right?
Jacob: Yes. There's not a lot of good information out there for business owners who are looking to sell their company. There are, maybe, a handful of books on Amazon and most of the articles on the internet are not really meaty. There's not a lot of good information. And for people looking to buy a company as well, again, not a lot of good information out there. In terms of podcasting, there's even less information. Our goal is really simple. It's just to provide good information to people who are looking to buy or sell a company and obviously, that puts us in a good position to be there to help with the transaction if we're the ones that are providing that information. And I think it positions us as an expert and the guest on the show as an expert as well.
We work on a national basis, and our only specialty is helping people buy and sell businesses.
Jeff: I remember you just touched on something a second ago. You said that there's not a lot of good information out there. But, I guess, given time, people can find the information whether it be searching online or even doing something old school like going to the library or calling up their network of friends to try to get some information from Uncle Joe about what it means to buy and sell a business or what's involved. But, Jacob, why podcasting? Why did you decide to go ahead and try this particular medium?
Jacob: I think people want to hear conversations. People like real information. And most professionals are just too busy to write information or too busy to write content. To jump on the phone and have a conversation—say, if you are an attorney or a business appraiser—just to be asked questions and to answer those questions and give real answers, I think that's what people really want. Some of the information out there is just too polished, and they scrape the meat off the bones. People like real information. Look at what's popular on the web today…
Jacob: And that's it. That's what our goal is here. So, I think what we'll do, if that's okay with you, Jeff, is switch roles and maybe I'll ask you some questions about the podcast because I'm not going to be the one…
Jacob: On the line. You're going to be the host here. Actually, let's…Can you give the people a little background about yourself and what you've done?
Jeff: Sure, I'd be happy to, Jacob. I got my start in radio about twenty-five years ago. I graduated college with a degree in advertising communications, and that's not exactly what I wanted to do in life, so, I went to broadcasting school. I started out in radio. I kind of done it all to be honest with you; news anchor and news director. I did some field reporting and also did, of course, the anchor stuff and writing in the studio and then, hosted shows, [worked as a] program director, I've worked behind the scenes as an executive producer for a talk radio show for about six-and-a-half years in the southern California market. We had stations all over the country, as a matter of fact, that carried that program. So, from scheduling a guest to writing up the interviews and writing full programs on the air to interviewing the guest myself—and, of course, that's what we are going to be doing on this podcast—I do it all myself, and a number of other things, too, including video interviews that we talk to a number of business people on. I have had over twenty-five years of pretty well-rounded experience in being able to welcome people either in the studio or on the phone or, in some cases, via Skype—which is also what we can do on the Morgan & Westfield podcast—and really try to make them feel comfortable in a way that allows them to relax a little bit and just simply have a conversation. It all goes back to what you said earlier about making this an engaging experience, not just for the people that we talk to on the Morgan & Westfield podcast, but also for the people who listen because the idea is to keep people's attention and really call to the forefront some important information and topics that, I think, people need the answers to when they're looking at either buying or selling their business. This is going to be a lot of fun, personally for me, talking to all of our guests.
Jacob: Yes, I've listened to podcasts myself. I've got my iPad Touch over here. And I like the conversations. I don't like the really polished podcasts that are obviously reading a transcription. This is, I think, my second or third recorded conversation with you. And they're in good hands. You've got tons of experience on the radio and TV interviewing a lot of people that are professionals, and I think there's a couple of times there where my mind went blank, and you immediately picked up on it, and you helped me recompose myself. Plus, it's not live, so, if we do screw up we can just edit it down. So, if they want to get started, how do they schedule?
Jeff: With many folks who contact us, you'll oftentimes receive, perhaps, a letter from one of the Morgan & Westfield team. Now, once you received that letter, it's easy to schedule. All you need to do is get in touch with me and that letter will have the email address on it. It'll also have my telephone number on it, as well. For those people who may be listening and maybe you’re in the industry and in one of the kind of the areas we like to talk to people about, if you have an interest in joining us, all you have to do is simply go to the Morgan & Westfield website and go to the contact page, and you can contact the office, and we can make those arrangements. You can get my email address and phone number and just call me or email directly and then I'll get back with you within twenty-four hours by either method of contact, and we'll work out a day and a time that works for you. It's just that easy.
Jacob: Sure. We could share your email. Its firstname.lastname@example.org or . . .
Jeff: I guess that'd be helpful. [Laughs]
Jacob: The phone number's 888.693.7834 extension 190. And, does this cost anything, Jeff? You work on tips or how does this . . . [Laughter] How does this work?
Jeff: Nothing at all. It doesn't cost a thing and we are looking to you. You're a valuable resource and asset for us. We're looking for your knowledge and your expertise. This doesn't cost you a thing.
Jacob: So, I guess, this wasn't part of our prepared questions, but why would they participate? I think the answer is obvious. I think it's exposure for them, and it positions them as an expert, but any comments on why they would want to participate?
Jeff: Well, I think, for me, I think you touched on some really, really important reasons. It helps to kind of elevate their own brand, if you would. It helps to amplify that brand and also to elevate their credibility. Let's face it—the folks that we plan on having on our program, and some of the folks that we've talked to really, really are some of the best in the business. But also, too, I think, Jacob, if I may, it gives you a good feeling to know that you can provide your information, your expertise, in whatever discipline that might be, to those listeners who really are looking. They're hungry for information to help them make wise choices and wise decisions. And if you can be the first or even second link in the chain of providers of that information, and like I said, regardless of your area of expertise, it's really huge. So, I hope that our guests will understand that there is something to be derived here that is more than just enhancing their credibility from a business perspective but also a good feeling in being able to share your knowledge and expertise with someone who really is hungry for it, looking for something to help them make the right choices.
You're a valuable resource and asset for us. We're looking for your knowledge and your expertise. This doesn't cost you a thing.
Jacob: And it's hard to condense ten or twenty or thirty years of experience into one thirty-minute interview, so, can they do multiple interviews?
Jeff: Yes. In fact in some cases, we even encourage those because there's so much information, and, Jacob, I know that you have spent a lot of time preparing a number of questions and talking points for these interviews in advanced and when we see as many questions as you've come up with and as many talking points as we have potentially to deal with, we're going to have so much stuff to talk about. We're going to have so much material leftover that we would actually encourage you to give some thought to coming back and visiting with us again. Picking up that conversation, we're going off into another area, so, absolutely.
Jacob: Let's get to the meat of this here. So, tips for being a guest here and participating. Most have not done this before. They're probably nervous. Should they be nervous? How does this work, and what tips do you have for them?
Jeff: Yes, it's not a problem. I may kind of go a little bit long so, Jacob, if you want to shut me down at some point go ahead and do that and then, we could kind of go off into a different area.
But tips for participating:
First of all, make sure that you're comfortable with being able to at least give this a try. This is not a live streaming webcast or webinar or a live broadcast at all because we are recording it, and that's something that I'm doing on my end here. You can know going in that we can stop and start and pick up where we left off if there is an area that you are uncomfortable with or you're giving a response that you're not exactly happy with. So, I think, first of all, talking about preparations or tips for participating, it's getting into that mental mindset. You need to be at ease with the idea that this is something that you want to do. The way you're hearing Jacob and I talk, this is how we envision all of our interviews and discussions going. We're just having a conversation. So, think of it that way.
Also, what we want to do is to make sure that you are as prepared as possible on your end before the interview by providing you with a set of questions and talking points. All of the questions and talking points on that prep sheet that we will email you—and I'll do that myself—will not necessarily be covered during the scope of the interview. In fact, if you would like to let me know once you received that prep sheet which specific points you'd like to cover or which you feel most comfortable talking about, absolutely, send back just a quick reply, "Jeff, questions one through five are great. Let's get nine and ten . . ." and we'll go on down the list. Any input that you can provide will be helpful. Think of it this way. You're helping to prepare your own show. You're preparing me to talk to you about the things that you are an expert on. By all means, you're participation in that regard, in preparing on your end for the show and helping me get prepared, are really, really helpful and very much encouraged.
Another thing that you want to do is make sure that when you're ready to go in your planning to join us for the interview on the date of the interview that we all agree on and everybody has this on their calendar, make sure you're going to be in a place that is quiet, that is free of noise as much as possible and make sure that you plan on using at least a landline phone. Cell phones often work very, very well now these days. In many dark areas that were previously difficult to use a cell phone in are much improved. But there is really no substitute for a landline phone.
If you have a Skype account and a clear connection and a broadband account . . . a broadband internet there at your location—whether it be at home or office—and you'd like to use that, absolutely, by all means. In fact, right now, Jacob and I are communicating via Skype, and he's on the other end of the wire, and I am here, so, Skype is obviously welcomed for great call quality. It sounds like you've got two people oftentimes talking in the same room. But it's not required. Just know that you have those two options.
And I think also, too, make sure that you have your questions, you understand what it is you're going to be asked, you have a quiet room, you know you're not going to have any background noise. Make sure that your phone is off, make sure that you let other people know—whether they be colleagues or family members—that you're going to be recording, and let them know that you can't be disturbed. You probably want to set aside a minimum of thirty minutes. Have some water there with you just to help relieve that dry mouth and stay hydrated with me. In that way, you won't choke up in the middle of the conversation. And that brings us back to where we started. Remember, this is not a live broadcast. We can stop, and we can restart. Everything will be edited at the conclusion of the podcast or the recording so that the finished podcast sounds like one continuous perfect program. That's what we want to try to do.
There is something to be derived here that is more than just enhancing their credibility from a business perspective but also a good feeling in being able to share your knowledge and expertise with someone who really is hungry for it, looking for something to help them make the right choices.
Jacob: So, if my dog bites the mailman while we're doing this . . . [Laughter] you record this in stereo don't you, so there's two separate tracks. If I tap on my desk or something, obviously when I'm talking that's more difficult, but if you're talking and I bump my mic, you can easily edit that out, can't you?
Jeff: Well, it really all depends. There are some things that can't be edited out. When we get to those types of errors or problems during the recording process, let the guest know . . . "We need to stop. I caught that but that's not something that we can fix. Can we start over again?” Then, we'll go ahead, and we'll pick it up where we left off. Some noises and some distractions can be dealt with and smoothed down later, but others, quite frankly, can't despite our best efforts to do that from a technological standpoint, so if we get into those types of situations, and if your dog bites the mailman, I'll understand if you have to go and drive the mailman to the hospital and probably see your attorney at that point. [Laughs] We can stop altogether and reschedule if there's really a bad problem with noise or other distractions or issues on that end.
Jacob: You've mentioned length. Thirty minutes. Are we fixed on that or…
Jacob: Do twenty or forty or fifty…
Jeff: No. I think what we want to try to do, Jacob, I think it's best if we try to shoot for a minimum of twenty and no more than thirty minutes because, really, remember, we're in a mobile society nowadays and people have their computers with them, they're right there on the palm of their hand, in some cases they're using tablets now more than ever. We don't want the podcasts to go too awfully long and going beyond thirty would be going beyond the limits of what I would consider a really optimal podcast between twenty and thirty minutes where we can make sure we can give you plenty of time to address those talking points that we prepared for. Then after that, we can come back on and schedule another one later.
Jacob: Yes, I think I just read some statistics the other day. I think the average listening period is twenty-two minutes. That's an average. That's a wide range but . . .
Jacob: I think a good range is twenty or thirty minutes. To get somebody to commit to twenty or thirty is palatable but forty minutes is kind of pushing it.
Jeff: That's a little bit beyond what you can do. That is true also too, by the way, for video. That's why we're starting to see so many of these various media recordings - whether they're audio or video - that are kind of kept to that tightly confined twenty to thirty-minute or less time frame.
Jacob: How do I prepare? Do I prepare a transcript? Do I make some notes? What are your recommendations in terms of preparations?
Jeff: What I recommend is if you'd like, you can make some notes. Perhaps, an outline, putting down key points, some bullets. But please, we don't want to read because people can tell. Your listeners can tell when you're reading something. It's a very automated kind of sound and what happens there, Jacob . . . There'd been studies done in many of them . . . that you begin to lose your listeners. Your listeners know when you're reading something and what happens is your believability actually starts to decline. People may start to think that you're not quite the expert that they thought that you were because anyone can read an encyclopedia or anyone can read an owner's manual or a guidebook and make it sound like they're an expert. But really, if you know your expertise, you know your specialty, and I've given you the bullets and the talking points and questions in advanced, there's a very, very strong likelihood that it's one hundred percent close to it that you're going to have the answers right off the top of your head. Some things you might want to go into more detail on. If it's helpful to you, write some bullet points to make sure you don't forget your certain touchstones that you want to make sure that you mention and talk about during the answers to those questions, but there's no need to write out a complete set of notes that you plan on reading because we really would prefer just the conversation that's casual, that talks to those points without reading your responses.
By all means, you're participation in that regard, in preparing on your end for the show and helping me get prepared, are really, really helpful and very much encouraged.
Jacob: Frankly, this episode took us what? Maybe three or four minutes to prepare and think . . .
Jacob: We just need some quick bullet points. We discussed it for a minute. We reordered things and said, "Hey, let's fire away. Let’s jump into this."
Jeff: That's right.
Jacob: What if I have a good idea? Can I suggest specific content or questions? What are your thoughts and terms on that, Jeff?
Jeff: Well, my thoughts are that all ideas are welcome. If you have suggestions for how we can improve the podcast that we're doing with you, by all means please let us know. If there is a suggestion for a way that I could read a question for you that you'd like to address and talk about that discussion point in a manner that makes it more meaningful or easier to understand, please let me know that as well.
Jacob: I'm still nervous. I've never done this before.
Jacob: Can I do this? What would you say to somebody that has that to say?
Jeff: If you can talk to someone on the phone or you can talk to someone at the bar, at the ice cream shop or the restaurant that you like about your business, how you enjoy your business and you have a passion for it and you can explain yourself and discuss key concepts, then you can do this. It really is very, very easy to do, and I'm going to do everything that I can on my end to make you as comfortable as possible and make this as positive an experience as possible for you, so, I will do everything I can on my end. You just come with your level of expertise, and your area of specialty, and we'll be able to do it.
If you can talk to someone on the phone or you can talk to someone at the bar, at the ice cream shop or the restaurant that you like about your business, how you enjoy your business and you have a passion for it and you can explain yourself and discuss key concepts, then you can do this.
Jacob: And if they screw up you just… After the interview is over, you edit it right out.
Jeff: We can edit it right out. We just stop and we restart. We pick things up. And it doesn't matter how many times that we have a screw-up. We're human beings. I screw up, and I stumble from time to time. We just stop it, we pick it up, and we keep going.
Jacob: What about the technology? Any special technology?
Jeff: No. That's all taken care of our end, Jacob. If you can be there to answer your phone or if you're there to be able to answer a Skype call, if that's something you'd like to use and we give you that option, that's all you need to know how to do. The only thing, I guess, I might say is that if you're using Skype obviously, it's best to use a headset and mic there or a combination headset-mic. Make sure you know how to use that and that you've had some familiarity with doing that before. It'll make the experience a lot easier for you. You can use a headset with your telephone as well, as long as you're using a landline phone and that's it.
Jacob: After this is all done, it's wrapped up, it's edited . . . can I share this with my clients and my colleagues? Can I link to it from my website? What can I do in terms of sharing the show?
Jeff: Absolutely. We welcome that. We encourage you to do so. We make that link available to you that you can share with whoever you wish. On your website, you can post that there if you want to. Email it out. We absolutely encourage you to do that.
Jacob: Is there anything else I can do to promote it?
Jeff: I think the one thing that we would really like to do is we'd like our guest to subscribe…iTunes. The programs will be available on iTunes and being able to go buy and provide a rating there would obviously be helpful for…not only for us but everybody, really, who engages in the Morgan & Westfield podcast because when one of us is a success, we're all successful because we've all participated and that's what we want it to be about.
Jacob: Yes, absolutely. The guest subscribing and rating it, it pushes it up higher in the rankings which…
Jeff: There you go.
Jacob: Will increase the likelihood of people listening to the episode.
Jeff: That's right, too, absolutely.
Jacob: How do they listen to it? How do the guests, how do the clients, colleagues . . . how does everybody access the podcast once it's done?
Jeff: They can go to the Morgan & Westfield website and then, we have a link there to the podcast page, and they will be there stacked on that page, and it's really, really easy to do. You can either—I believe, Jacob, correct me if I'm wrong—you can either left click it and listen to them right there, or you should be able to right click on it and download it to any device that you have so you can listen to it later. It really all depends on what you'd like to do and, of course, the iTunes option is there as well.
Jacob: Yes, go to our website. Go to the resources tab and then podcast and then you'll have all the information for how to listen and subscribe and so forth. I guess the last question here, Jeff, is if they really enjoyed doing this, and they have other people in mind that they think would make a good guest, can they refer other people to be a guest on the program?
Jeff: Please do. It obviously makes our job a little bit easier, but more than that, we want this to be a community, if you would, of professionals who are willing to come on board and share their expertise with our Morgan & Westfield listeners. So, the more the merrier. We couldn't thank you enough for that, so, please do. If you have any other colleagues or associates or people in your network who can talk to [about] some of these key areas with regard to buying and selling a business, please make sure that you let them know about us and you can provide them with my number directly or they can call Morgan & Westfield. They can just go right to the Morgan & Westfield website and contact us from there.
It [referring other people to be a guest on the program] obviously makes our job a little bit easier, but more than that, we want this to be a community, if you would, of professionals who are willing to come on board and share their expertise with our Morgan & Westfield listeners.
Jacob: Any other final tips, Jeff?
Jeff: No, I think my takeaways here that I'd like our guest to know—If you could take anything away from this discussion—is that we want to make it easy for you to come on board, share your expertise, the information that you have to help our listeners understand what it is that they need to do and how they need to prepare in order to buy or sell a business. There's a lot of things that we can't cover, and we can't necessarily make experts out of everybody who listens to the program. However, we can get people the information that—quite frankly, Jacob, as you said yourself at the top of the program here—that is simply not available now, and we want to make that information available to them by having great guests on… give them the answers to questions they really need to know going in.
Jacob: Sounds good, Jeff. We appreciate the info and again, Jeff…if you want to schedule, email@example.com is the best way to get hold of Jeff and we appreciate your tips and guidance, Jeff.
Jeff: Well, thank you, Jacob, and I'm looking forward to talking to all of our guests here in the near future, and please don't hesitate to get in touch just if you have any questions, we'd be happy to answer those.
Jacob: Sounds good. Thank you again, Jeff.
Jeff: And very quickly, let me repeat that contact information once again. To reach me directly to schedule your podcast, call me at 888.693.7834 extension 190. You can also send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for listening. We'll be talking to you soon.
If you would like additional information on M&W Podcast, please call Morgan & Westfield at (888) 693-7834.