Tony Drexel Smith Interviewed on IdeaMensch
Read the original article at IdeaMensch.com
Tony specializes in professional-grade business finance documentation and start-ups. Specific services include: Business plan development, due-diligence, Private Placement Memoranda (PPM) supporting documentation, validation of claims, assumption worksheets, research, and pro forma development.
Tony has worked with over Seven Hundred (700) clients in Twenty-Two (22) industries since 1995. He has specifically completed hundreds of projects relating to business valuations, C-Level consulting-coaching, certified business planning, commercial bank credit applications, confidential business assessments, IB financing (Investment Banking), market planning, demographic research, market penetration modeling, non-complex credit applications, PPM (Private Placement RD 504-6) supporting documents, Title II (Crown fund RD 506(c), Crowd Funding and SBA loan packaging.
He lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada, but works with clients throughout the world (all-hours, all time zones). He authored the book on business start-ups – The Essential Handbook for Small Businesses ISBN# 978-0-9840365-0-9 in 2011. He also wrote, published and distributed The Business Development Directory in 2008. He is a graduate of the University of La Verne with a degree in Business Administration with Cum Laude Honors.
Where did the idea for the Capital Readiness Report at Blue Moon Advisors come from?
It started in 2008 and was originally called the Confidential Business Assessment (CBA). I completed a 9-year study of 300 companies we were engaged with from 2008-2017. In June of 2016, Blue Moon Advisors introduced its proprietary ‘fund-readiness’ evaluation system: The Capital Readiness Report. The Capital Readiness Report is an expansive One Hundred (100) Data Point list that methodologically exacts every feature of a business that an individual investor, institutional investment firm or loan underwriter would need to review to make the decision to capitalize an issuer. Each Data Point is worth Ten (10) Points, totaling to a sum possible score of One Thousand (1,000) Points. In the experience of the Blue Moon Advisors’ executive management team, every Client that has reached a score of Nine Hundred Twenty-Five (925) has successfully acquired capital.
Through the propriety capital readiness system, Blue Moon Advisors can provide the following:
Strategic Capital Plan. Blue Moon Advisors provides assistance and support to owners of privately held companies in their efforts to monetize, grow, and diversify their business equity. Whether your goal is obtaining seed or start-up capital, continuing to grow your business, or diversifying your net worth by exploring liquidity options, Blue Moon Advisors has the experience and expertise to guide you through the critical thought process required to achieve the two major goals of fundraising: maximum valuation and minimal time to funding.
In attempting to develop a Strategic Capital Plan, a communication gap or disconnect often occurs between companies seeking access to capital and the investment community. Blue Moon Advisors bridges that gap by providing third party due diligence and professional, thorough, accurate and compliant documentation for its Clients, allowing the Clients to focus on the management of their businesses as the fundraising process unfolds.
As part of the ongoing process, Blue Moon provides strategic business and financial services to position its Clients for scalable and sustainable growth by connecting them to a variety of early-stage venture capital funding sources. To that end, Blue Moon Advisors will create and develop a targeted, customized approach to best suit each Offering or Transaction, including assistance with the presentation and marketing of individualized Business Plans and Private Placement Memoranda to qualified capital sources looking for investment opportunities, including private capital investors for early-stage companies, institutional investors for small business, a variety of debt financing sources and virtual private placement funding portals.
Fund Readiness. While planning is often tedious and time-consuming, there are critical core fundamentals that must be addressed before entering the world of fundraising. Simply put, no “new” business succeeds without a detailed and comprehensive Business Plan. Before any checks are issued, investors will evaluate your business based upon certain objective criteria to determine if you are “fund ready,” all of which must be addressed by you and outlined in your Business Plan.
From this objective perspective, readiness can be evaluated through a simple point system: at least Nine Hundred Twenty-Five (925) out of One Thousand (1,000) Points.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts around 4. I spend an hour planning my day. I use a little notebook that fits in my back pocket with all the tasks I need to get done that day. I put my top 7 priorities of “my must be done” tasks, and then I have a secondary list of my “nice to be done” tasks.
In this day and age, people often use technology to organize their days. However, I’m a creature of habit, so I use a little notepad instead. Plus, it feels so good to cross each checklist item off when I’ve finished it. I tend to knock out the most important item first. Then, I make my way down the list. A good rule of thumb is to build good habits, which is what has made me so successful. I start my day envisioning what I want to accomplish with a strong framework to follow. This helps me stay focused and achieve more.
Sometimes distractions happen. To keep me focused, I also set times for when I answer emails. Emails can be a huge drag sometimes. But, if you only read emails in the morning and then at the end of your workday, it can keep you from getting bogged down with emails! Further, I manage when I get my text messages and phone calls, which an assistant can be helpful in situations where I need uninterrupted time to finish a task.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by starting with the end in mind. I follow the steps outlined in Stephen Covey’s book- “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to help me stay productive. In the book, step 1 is to have the end in mind. Determine what the purpose is and what you want the result to be. This will guide you in the decisions you make to get you to that end goal.
Moreover, it’s important to understand the drive and purpose of the individual who is leading the project. For example, I once had a Client who wanted to start a CBD company. The end goal in mind was to create a profitable business that sold CBD to people around the nation through various products. However, when I asked the Client what his purpose was for starting this type of business, his answer concerned me. The Client expressed that he only wanted to start this business to make a lot of money. Based on my experience of working with entrepreneurs, money-driven goals do not build empires or legacies.
So when I bring ideas to life, I make sure the person leading the project and the end goal matches with each other. This helps us build a path to get to that vision in mind.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I feel blockchain technology will revolutionize the way everyone does business and random activities in life such as how to transfer money or buy a home. Although the technology is in its infancy, I still believe it will be like the Internet where the innovation in the space and user-adoption will accelerate tremendously in the coming years. It will take time to be accepted and adopted, but when it does, it will go through the same cycle that the Internet went through because history repeats itself.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Start your day with the end in mind and then create a task list that you need to execute to achieve that vision.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Have long-term goals and don’t quit on them especially when you know what your God-given talent is because it’s your responsibility to society to use it. There have been many times in the past when I’ve deviated from what I originally set out to do. Even when things became tough, I wish I had stuck it out and kept on my path by improving upon my talents and strengths. Each time I didn’t stay in my lane, I’d set myself back by a lot. As a business owner, cash flow sometimes slows down, and we get into a slump. Then, you begin to deviate from the original business or begin listening to others. We become distracted looking for a new opportunity when had I just stayed in my lane, honed my craft, focused on how to grow the product/service, then I could’ve created a lot more momentum for my own business.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
Nobody agrees with me when I say that I am not a workaholic. I enjoy what I do so it doesn’t seem like work to me!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Prioritization is a must! Of course, these priorities will change but always know what the priorities are at the beginning of your day to keep you on track. A successful month is filled with successful days. So tackle your short and long-term goals day by day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
There are so many to choose from. But, if I had to pick one, then I’d say my business grew tremendously because I surrounded myself with great people. I’ve taken a lot of training to understand personalities and business organizational development. The one thing they teach is balance. To successfully management personalities and develop them requires a balanced team that can all work together. For example, if you had a team full of Type A personalities, then nothing would get done because they’d argue the entire time about how things should be done! Of course, with Type A’s it’s usually their way of the highway. But, if you have a great mix of drivers, promoters, analyzers, and supporters, then you’ll have one heck of a team that has a high potential to succeed. Keep in mind; each person has a primary and secondary personality. You need to consider that when you are building your team as well.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had so many failures I can’t even count them!
I’ve worked with entrepreneurs from all around the world on over 700 projects, so there’s a lot of failures. I’d say one failure that comes to mind though is when the economic crisis happened in 2008. I lost $1.8 million. At the time, my company had 32 employees. We laid everyone off and closed down our 6,000 sq. foot office. My wife and I had to change our lifestyle completely. It was a real low point in my life.
However, I never stopped consulting. My wife and I moved the operations to our home, and we conducted our business there. We changed our lifestyle to accommodate our new income level, we stayed focused, accepted the situation for what it was and kept moving forward. I continued to use my God-given talent to help entrepreneurs get access to capital through business finance documentation and capital readiness report system.
Additionally, bad partnerships also were a big source for many of my failures. Often, these partnerships could’ve been avoided to save me a lot of time and money. There were also red flags and obvious signs that this person maybe wasn’t the best person to work with. For example, you don’t want to work with anyone that doesn’t at least have the same goals as you or someone who has a big ego. Narrow-minded people are also usually not ideal individuals to build a business with too. I learned over time and made sure to not make the same mistake again when I created my partnerships.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would create any business surrounding health and wellness. There are 7 billion people on the planet! It’s big market size, and you can make a big impact. You need to determine market size when you first start. Currently, we have a huge obesity epidemic. Some studies estimate that at least 30% of the population is obese, which is a huge concern for health and environmental reasons. You often don’t live as long when your overweight. For example, when you get larger that requires more material for your shirts, pants, underwear, etc. That means more of the earth’s resources are used!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The other night, I put $100 in a poker machine and won $897 in 6 mins!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
BOX, the cloud content management, and file sharing service, has changed the way we do business. Back in the 90’s you’d do everything on paper. I’d have to meet people at restaurants or mail my work to share the documents with them. We’d have boxes full of business finance documentation that I created! Now, we have a central spot for all docs that can be easily shared with anyone with an email address. I have 32,000 files organized in BOX. I can search for any document I want, and it will pull up for me. This makes my life so much easier.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. This book helped me understand the power of my thoughts and how to apply it so that I can live a fulfilling/rich full life. However, when I first read it, I didn’t get it right away. I had to read it a few times before I grasped the secret Napoleon Hill talks about. But, once I understood it my life accelerated to new heights!
What is your favorite quote?
A thousand-mile journey begins with one step ~ Lao Tzu.