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Gary Bizzo – Returns!

Episode 24: The System for Successfully Managing Multiple Businesses, with Gary Bizzo

Gary Bizzo has Mentored over 1000 business leaders, investors & entrepreneurs. Bizzos book, “How to Start a Successful Business The First Time!” is on Amazon. He was a National Finalist in the 2014 Business Development Bank of Canada Mentorship Award. His book was nominated for the International 2014 Small Business Book Awards. He was a Nominee for the 2014 & 2015 International Small Business Influencer Award. Entrepreneur Magazine, in 2014, said Bizzo was one of 17 Masters of Marketing & PR Entrepreneurs Can Learn From.

Bizzo is a Social Media ‘Agent of Change’ and an expert at managing multiple businesses with several hundred thousand followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He helped change Canadian Law through Bill C-470 that made charities more transparent.

He is an Elite Weekly writer for Equities.com the largest platform for emerging growth companies. He is also a Contributing Columnist for Stockhouse.com, Canadas #1 financial portal and one of North America’s largest small cap investor communities.

Bizzo ran two business incubators for 13 years where a community of entrepreneurs with innovative ideas were nurtured and supported through workshops, bootcamps, mentoring, executives in residence and financing options.

He is a Partner at Equifaira Advisors Inc. – Liquidity Event Planners. Equifaira are specialists in strategy & execution, corporate finance, capital formation & investor relations.

His next book, “Startups From Early Stage to Early Growth” will be in stores in May 2017.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What Gary’s been up to since his last interview on System Execution
  • Gary’s upcoming books “Social Media Rockstar” and “Startups From Early Stage to Early Growth”
  • How Gary successfully manages multiple businesses
  • Gary’s recent work with Equifaira, a consulting company that works with companies that aren’t public yet to raise money
  • The system that Equifaira has in place to be in compliance with the British Columbia Securities Commission
  • Why Equifaira is very selective of the companies they work with
  • Why they help the people they work with sell no more than 49% of their companies
  • How the social media piece fits into the overall system
  • Upcoming projects for Gary

Ways to contact Gary:

Transcript:

Welcome to System Execution, the strategy and system behind today’s successful companies. Systems can make or break your company, but here, we’ll solve your physical, technological, and psychological systems issues by connecting you with experts that have succeeded in overcoming those challenges in their own business, and providing you the guidelines and tools you need to implement those same strategies for immediate results. Now, here’s your host, Vera Fischer.

Vera Fischer: Today’s episode is brought to you by 97 Degrees West, an Austin, TX advertising agency built on the belief that when you combine creative talent and humanity, you can help companies make their products, services and brands relevant to the life of their customers. 97 Degrees West specializes in finance, healthcare, manufacturing and energy. For more information, go to www.97dwest.com.

Welcome to System Execution, a podcast devoted to using processes and systems to drive to a better outcome for your business. I’m Vera Fischer, your host.

All businesses, no matter the size, relies on systems. Some of these are physical systems, such as a factory. Some of them are technological, like project management software, while others are psychological systems, such as checklists and organizational charts. Many of these systems will overlap in your business.

Today’s guest, Gary Bizzo, is a Partner at Equifaira Advisors. He’s returning to System Execution from an earlier episode where he taught us the seven folder system for managing projects with partners in a variety of geographic locations. For a refresher for those of you who have not listened to that episode, Gary has mentored over 1,000 business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs and is an expert at managing multiple businesses. Bizzo’s book, How to Start a Successful Business the First Time, is on Amazon. He was a national finalist in the 2014 business development Bank of Canada mentorship award, and his book was nominated for the International 2014 Small Business Book awards.

He was also a nominee for the 2014 and 2015 International Small Business Influencer award. Entrepreneur magazine in 2014 said Bizzo was one of “… 17 Masters of marketing and PR entrepreneurs can learn from.” Bizzo is a social media agent of change with several hundred thousand followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He’s helped change Canadian law through Bill C470, that made charities more transparent.

Welcome back to System Execution Gary.

Gary Bizzo: Hi Vera, thanks for having me.

Vera Fischer: Gary, I’ve given our listeners a brief glimpse into your background, and I know that I purposefully skipped over a little bit extra stuff in your bio, so give us a minute or two and tell us more about yourself, and what you’ve been up to.

Gary Bizzo: I’m ramping up my partnership with Equifaira. We’re doing bigger and better things. I’m doing a lot of writing. I write for equities.com, which is a huge platform for emerging growth companies. I work for Stockhouse, which is another financial online magazine for publicly traded companies. I’ve got two books coming out soon. I don’t know what the dates are going to be, they keep changing, but I’m having fun.

Vera Fischer: Well it sounds like you’re very busy just from the looks of everything. I know that we are going to be talking about Equifaira. To give listeners a little bit about the company, you guys are specialists in strategy and execution, corporate finance, capital formation and investor relations. I’m really looking forward to diving into a system or process that you’re going to be sharing with us.

Before we get into that, what’s the first book that’s going to be coming out, so the listeners can be on the lookout for it?

Gary Bizzo: It’s going to be on Amazon again. I’m going to self publish it through my publishing company. It’s called Social Media Rockstar. How to use social media for your business.

Vera Fischer: Oh, well I will absolutely be looking forward to that book.

Gary Bizzo: Second one is called Startup. It’s early growth, early stage startup companies.

Vera Fischer: That’s great, and very interesting.

Gary Bizzo: It takes off, it takes over from where my last book left off I think.

Vera Fischer: Oh great. Great. We will absolutely be on the lookout for that. Let’s start talking about Equifaira and what system you would like to share with us today.

Gary Bizzo: Wow, we have so many systems. Equifaira is a consulting company that works with companies that are not public yet. We’re raising a lot of money, or helping them raise a lot of money. We have to be very careful with the British Columbia Securities Commission, that we’re in compliance with everything we do. It’s really important that we have systems that we know where everything is at any one time, especially when you’re managing multiple businesses. That usually starts with GoogleDocs, it ends with Dropbox. It’s a bunch of folders that we have to have that is the same on both client and our side. There’s just a lot of things that we have to do for compliance and due diligence.

Vera Fischer: How do you, from a compliance perspective, are there any mandates that the British … I’m sorry I don’t remember, the British Securities Exchange, do they end up putting, saying how you have to manage all of that or is it really up to you to figure out how to do it.

Gary Bizzo: A lot of the documents are formatted by the British Columbia, that’s the province we’re in here in Vancouver. They insist that everything has to be done by the book. Knowing that they have absolute control over what we do. They can arrest anybody who’s not following these procedures without due process. They have more power than anybody I’ve ever run across, but it’s for the protection of the investor.

Vera Fischer: Are you, do you have to do a lot of educating your new clients on what these procedures are and how serious they are?

Gary Bizzo: We have to keep them in compliance, so yeah, we go over all the process that we’re going to do, but we’re actually doing all the backend work for them.

Vera Fischer: That being, setting everything up and making sure that they’re compliant?

Gary Bizzo: If they’re not selling public stock, they have to be compliant in terms of who they’re selling to. They can only sell to family and friends. There’s documents that have to be signed. It’s, everything is guaranteed to protect the investor. Some people may be talked into something that they can’t afford. These people have to be identified. There’s actually forms for that.

Vera Fischer: Wow, I see.

Gary Bizzo: Yeah, so having said all that, we have our management partner, who is actually running our backend office. She takes care of all these forms and make sure that every single one of them is signed and executed the right way. There’s several hundred, sometimes millions of dollars going through these accounts.

Vera Fischer: Wow, that’s interesting and it sounds high stress.

Gary Bizzo: Not for my end. All I have to do is present the packages and make sure that my clients are doing okay.

Vera Fischer: From a liquidity event planning perspective, are there certain amount of steps that you take your clients through if they’re looking to exit their business?

Gary Bizzo: We are very careful in our selection of the companies that we work with. Sometimes we spend three to four months just going through every possible thing that could go wrong, and making sure that the management, the product, the market is perfect for them. Then we strategically invest in some of them, and then we embed Executives, one of us, into their company to help a part of the company that they may be lacking.

Then, we focus on raising, helping them raise capital through friends and family, and other means. They tell us what they want to do. Our goal is to keep them in control of their company at 51%, which angel investors, venture capitalists will try to knock that down to a lot less. Sometimes they may want to merge and be acquired by somebody, or other times they may just want to raise capital for expansion. It’s not necessarily a bad situation, but we guide them to achieve a return for their Founders and investors, including us.

Vera Fischer: What do you do in the first three to four months? Is that something where you’re merely looking at financials? Or are you looking at the industry, the landscape, what’s happening, etc.?

Gary Bizzo: By the time we’ve signed them up, we already know all this stuff. What we’re going to do then is arrange for public events that they can show off their company, and we’ll facilitate and help them gather money from us. Usually it’s small investors, $10,000 a pop. But we’ve been known to pick up really large ones too.

Vera Fischer: Gary, I’m really curious. In your bio, you talk about this book that’s coming out, the Social Media Rockstar I believe.

Gary Bizzo: Yeah.

Vera Fischer: How is this, help me bridge the gap here between social media and then your Equifaira advisors, where you’re really looking at strategy, corporate finance, etc.

Gary Bizzo: The social media is kind of like an advocation, I really love it. I love what I can do with it. I’ve got some really strong clients like Microsoft, PayPal and 3M. They’re kind of like an add on to everything I do. What it allows me to do is cross collateralize and promote everything we do at Equifaira. I can’t promote companies that are selling stock as an Equifaira person, but I can do it from outside, so that’s what I do. I’ll write an article for equities, I’ll tweet it to my half million followers, and then I’ll put that on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and then I’ll do it back and forth for a few days. We’re getting a lot of traction where we normally wouldn’t be getting it. I use it as a tool that’s all.

Vera Fischer: Through this tool, you’ve become an expert.

Gary Bizzo: Yeah, so they tell me.

Vera Fischer: Really you’re looking at a lot of the content. You’re creating that content and then you’re using a variety of platforms in which to share that content. You’ve literally gotten around to a particular system where the government says you can’t necessarily promote a company that is selling stock that you’re working with, but now you’ve found a way to, in a very legal way, circumvent that system and get to the end result that you’re ultimately looking for.

Gary Bizzo: Yeah. I mean, as long as, as I keep saying, we’re compliant, as long as we’re doing everything that we need to do, we’re going to be that way. We’re audited every year by the Securities Commission, so we’ve never failed one.

Vera Fischer: Tell me more about the social media aspect of managing your businesses. Do you enjoy doing it? Do you spend a lot of time doing that? What’s the process you go through on a week by week basis?

Gary Bizzo: I get up at six in the morning and I usually spend a couple hours on it. I manage accounts for five companies. I just go through a system. I start with Twitter, and then I do a lot of reading online. Then I refer those articles to my social media. Then I go into LinkedIn, then I go to Facebook. I’ll spend as much time on Facebook as I probably could. Twitter’s my thing. It’s so immediate.

Vera Fischer: Do you use any type of tool to manage it all or do you just go in individually?

Gary Bizzo: There’s a couple of tools out there, but I find that if I get somebody else to post my tweets, and someone wants to know or ask me a question about something, I won’t be there, so people think I’m a robot until they get a quick answer from me. That’s kind of cool when I shock them.

Vera Fischer: That is true. That’s true. That happens to me every now and again.

Gary Bizzo: I think it happened to you and me didn’t it?

Vera Fischer: Yeah, I think it did. Yeah, I reached out to you. I’m like, “Hey, I’d love to have you on the show.” And there you were. I love Twitter. It’s very immediate. You can get really good results if you just take the time that it takes to be engaged.

Gary Bizzo: Exactly.

Vera Fischer: Gary, what’s coming up next for you after the couple of books?

Gary Bizzo: I’m just going to … I’ve got some new projects in my mind. I’ve got two Partners and we’re working on a new alternative to power using nano technology. It’s so revolutionary, it might just be what we call Unicore.

Vera Fischer: Oh wow.

Gary Bizzo: Equifaira’s growing like crazy. Last year we probably did $20 million in capital raise. This year, we’re hoping to do $100 million.

Vera Fischer: You’ll have to start cloning yourself so that you can have extra time to do all these other things.

Gary Bizzo: That’s what they’re telling me at the office, that they’re going to give me a whole wack of assistance, so we’ll what happens.

Vera Fischer: We’ll see what happens.

Well Gary, I really appreciate you coming back on the show and sharing with us a little bit about Equifaira, as well as social media. I find that to be really interesting, and I’ll be looking forward to your book when it does come out. Good segway to tell our listeners to get in touch with you.

Gary Bizzo: Gary Bizzo, G-A-R-Y, B-I-Z-Z-O, GaryBizzo.com. I respond to everybody. My e-mail is CEO@GaryBizzo.com. I think there’s a need to ask the questions you need and have someone actually answer them. I’m also working with the Richard Branson Center for Entrepreneurship in Jamaica, of all places. That’s kind of fun. The best way is by e-mail.

Vera Fischer: Excellent. Excellent. System Execution fans, no matter how many notes you took or how often you relisten to this episode, the key is you must know that every successful business uses systems to drive to a better outcome. Gary, thanks again for coming back to our show and I’ll look forward to having you again.

Gary Bizzo: Thanks Vera. Appreciate it. Have a good day.

Vera Fischer: Attention System Execution fans. Do you have a system that would be valuable for our listeners? We want to know about your system. Go to www.systemexecution.com, fill out the contact form with your information. Don’t be shy. Systems are cool.

We hope you found this episode of System Execution on the managing multiple businesses system to be enlightening. For free examples, case studies, e-books and more, be sure to visit systemexecution.com/resources. Contribute to the conversation by reaching out to Vera directly on e-mail at Vera@systemexecution.com. Until our next episode, thank you for the privilege of your time.

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