GE 173: How Website Brokers FE International Sold $60M Worth of Online Businesses Very Quickly (podcast) With Ismael Wrixen

Ismael Wrixen FEInternationalHey everyone, in this episode, I share the mic with Ismael Wrixen, CEO of FE International, an experienced website broker who offers highly personalized service and access to a large network of investors looking to buy and sell successful websites.

Listen as we discuss FE International’s content marketing strategy and why they invest in people rather than distribution, the power of building client trust, the unique value adds that give them a 95% success rate, and why you shouldn’t over-value churn rate. 

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Website Brokers FE International Sold $60M Worth of Online Businesses Very Quickly TRANSCRIPT

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:01 – Eric introduces Ismael to the program
  • 01:20 – Ismael shares his story
    • 01:25 – CEO of FE International a website broker specializing in e-commerce, SaaS and content businesses
    • 01:30 – Since inception, done about $60M in business on 400 deals
    • 01:44 – Of the $60M, average commissions is about 14%–deal size is variable
    • 02:38 – Only get paid on successful sale
  • 03:20 – Separating FE International from the competition
    • 03:58 – Big team, talented, and spread across the world with REAL offices
    • 04:50 – 95% success rate
  • 05:55 – Key things to understanding in the marketplace
    • 06:10 – FE International operates less like a marketplace and more like an investment bank
    • 06:55 – By the time FE takes a client on, they’ve got 4 to 6 interested buyers
  • 07:28 – The phases of the listing
  • 07:55 – Very tight NDA policies
  • 09:00 – The value of FEInternational is hidden in the background
  • 09:24 – What you need to look for in a SaaS business before making an acquisition
    • 09:49 – People get caught up on churn
    • 10:17 – If the customers are still coming in—that should be all that matters with SME operations
    • 11:53 – The operational side of a business is where you can increase value rapidly
  • 13:23 – The percent of deals where it’s software developers looking to get out
    • 14:12 – It’s a time-management risk/reward equation
  • 15:00 – The multiples FEInternational is selling businesses for.
  • 15:52 – Take the last 3-4 months and extrapolate that when trying to evaluate a business
  • 18:08 – FE International’s content marketing team
    • 18:25 – It’s not about getting ahead of competitors
    • 18:39 – It’s about educating people about deal making
    • 19:01 – The more you help people make informed decisions, the more people will come to rely-on and trust you
  • 20:34 – Do the legwork for people and they will pay you
  • 20:57 – If the quality of the content is there, people will find it
    • 21:30 – Do content and marketing right the first time so you’re not constantly optimizing
    • 22:03 – Most of the marketing budget goes to content development rather than distribution
  • 22:52 – Ismael describes their return on content marketing
    • 23:14 – Re-targeting versus PPC
  • 23:48 – If your ticket value is high, you’ll always have a return
  • 25:05 – You can’t just spend money and expect returns—you need the underlying content and value
  • 25:37 – The conference/event marketing strategy for FE International
    • 26:15 – It’s about trust building
  • 27:35 – Scaling a service business is extremely difficult
    • 28:01 – You need to be disciplined, and you need to have systems
  • 29:25 – What’s one book you can recommend to EVERYONE?
    • 29:45 – Built to Sell
    • 30:05 – Always build a business with one eye on the door
  • 30:42 – FEInternational.com

3 Key Points:

  1. In evaluating the quality of an SME, don’t overvalue churn rate.
  2. If the content is good, people will find it.
  3. How are you building trust with your clients? Content? Conferences? Word-of-mouth? You need a strategy there.

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