100: Succession Stories Celebrates 100 Episodes with Laurie Barkman and Guest Host Lou Diamond

by | Aug 7, 2022

Succession
Stories
Podcast

100: Succession Stories Celebrates 100 Episodes with Laurie Barkman and Guest Host Lou Diamond

by | Aug 7, 2022

Celebrating the 100th episode of Succession Stories! Guest host Lou Diamond interviews Laurie Barkman to reflect on the journey of the show, favorite episodes, and more milestones to come. 

About Succession Stories Podcast

Succession Stories is an award-winning podcast hosted by Laurie Barkman, the Business Transition Sherpa– guiding business owners through the process from “transition to transaction.” Subscribe to Succession Stories and share a review if you enjoy the show! 

Book a 1:1 Advisory call at: www.meetlauriebarkman.com

Become an Official Patron of Succession Stories Podcast: 

https://www.patreon.com/lauriebarkman

___________________________________________
 
Is this the year to sell your company?

Don’t leave your exit to chance.

Stony Hill Advisors works with owners like you to get ready and maximize value when you’re ready to sell.

Visit www.stonyhilladvisors.com/podcast for a complimentary business valuation.

Transcript:

Laurie Barkman:

Welcome to Succession Stories! I’m Laurie Barkman. As an exit value planning and M&A advisor, I call myself The Business Transition Sherpa. This podcast guides entrepreneurs from transition to transaction- from building value in your business to letting go. 

What do I do when I’m not hosting a podcast? I work with owners to maximize business value with my firm, SmallDotBig. And as a Certified Mergers and Acquisitions Advisor with Stony Hill, I guide you through the complex process of selling your company.

Tune-in to Succession Stories for weekly insights to reward your hard work and avoid succession regrets. Hit subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and sign-up for our newsletter at successionstories.com. Here’s to your success!

Is this the year to sell your company? Don’t leave your exit to chance. Stony Hill Advisors works with entrepreneurs like you to get ready for what may be the biggest transaction of your life. Learn what your business is worth by visiting stonyhilladvisors.com/podcast.

Episode Intro:

We’re here! Succession Stories Episode 100, and I’m super excited to celebrate this milestone with you. There have been many amazing things happening with the show! We were recently honored with The Communicator Award for Podcast Excellence, which was incredibly exciting. Not only am I thrilled to reach the 100th episode milestone, I’m feeling grateful. Grateful and thankful for my guests – over 100 entrepreneurs and business leaders – who shared their succession stories, sharing the ups – and the downs – with us. And I’m grateful to the worldwide audience who enjoy our entrepreneurial content from creating value in your business to letting go.

 

To make this an extra special episode, I asked my long-time friend, and fellow podcaster, Lou Diamond to be the guest host. He flipped the mic on me, and as you’ll hear, he put me in the hot seat. Lou asked great questions to help me reflect on the 100 episodes and my experience as a podcaster. Lou was featured as my guest in E23 “The Power of Connecting.” I encourage you to also check out Lou’s show, Thrive Loud, which is brief, bright, and bold.

If you’re new to Succession Stories, now is a great time to learn more about us and maybe you’ll go back and listen to earlier episodes. And if you’re a long-time listener, maybe you’ll want to re-listen to your favorites or catch ones that you missed. 

Since the show launched in 2020, it’s made me happy to hear from listeners how much value the podcast brings you. If you haven’t yet reached out to me, and you’ve been thinking about it…no time like the present. Go to LinkedIn and wish the show “happy 100” and let me know how I can support you in your entrepreneurial journey. Here’s to your success. Enjoy this Succession Stories celebration with episode #100.

Lou Diamond:

Hello listeners and welcome and yes, you are in the correct place. This is Succession Stories with Laurie Barkman. However this week we have a very special episode for you. My name is Lou Diamond, and I’m a professional speaker, author, podcaster and today I am your very special guest host of Succession Stories. Why? You may ask? Because this is the 100th episode of Succession Stories with Laurie Barkman and to celebrate this spectacular achievement our guest is the business transition Sherpa herself, the founder of SmallDotBig and is a well regarded value creation and business transition advisor. She is also the regular host of this unbelievable podcast program Succession Stories. Please welcome to the other side of the microphone, Laurie Barkman. Laurie, how are you today?

Laurie Barkman:

Lou Diamond, I am great. It is an honor to be with you and I am so grateful for you to be my guest host and putting me on the other side of the mic. This is truly, truly fun. I’m looking forward to it. You and I have a very deep history. I’m sure he’ll talk about that and there couldn’t be anyone better for me to be on the mic with today, so thank you.

Lou Diamond:

To kick things off, first of all, congratulations, we are here celebrating your 100th Episode.

Laurie Barkman:

  1. It’s crazy.

Lou Diamond:

I was gonna say could you imagine you would be here at this point, one hour episodes when you started this? 

Laurie Barkman:

No.

Lou Diamond:

I’m going to give the listeners a little background. Succession Stories, if you haven’t been listening from the very beginning, by the way, you should go back and that’s what you should do. In early April, right in the middle of the pandemic, Laurie launched this particular podcast program and the trailer launched April 8, and the actual first episode came out on April 11, a little over two years ago. I actually got to be a little behind the scenes with Laurie, and I want you to share a little bit of was there hesitation in opening and kicking off this program right at the start of what was such an uncertain period in our lives?

Laurie Barkman:

Absolutely it was. If I’m truly rewinding here, my original vision that this was going to be on video, in person, a crazy big vision, I don’t know how I would have been able to pull that off and so when I went to a recording studio, my very first and second recordings one was on Zoom. Episode One Tony Uphoff was a Zoom call, and the episode that ended up being episode four but it was my second recording was in the studio with Chris Cynkar and it was the only one that I’ve recorded in person and at the time. As you said, April, there was this thing, it was COVID-19. We as a world didn’t really know the impact and I was very unsure about where to take this and I think I called you in the ideation phase before I started recording and you said, “Don’t worry, just do it. You put it together, it’ll come together, come up with a theme,” which I did and it helped so much to bounce it off of you. Succession Stories became the theme, then it became a challenge of how to do this and the mechanics of doing it.

Lou Diamond:

Let’s go through just a little quick review for the listeners here. You came up with an idea for the show. Can you share with the listeners that original inception idea because that’s actually the magic of how great podcast programs like yours, which hit 100 episodes, which is no easy task. I’ll share those stats in a bit of how hard that is to do today. Talk about what was the spark and idea that kicked off Succession Stories?

Laurie Barkman:

Couple of sparks and a shower. Our best ideas come in the shower. I was really trying to relate it to experiences and areas of–I can’t use the word expertise–but something like that, where I have these experiences and I felt I could add value and have interesting conversations so as I thought about my background, and my an aspect of my career when I was an outside hire CEO for a third generation company, and that company went through three generations. Those generations, each one was so innovative and what they did and how they did it was my boss was the third generation as the chairman and lo and behold, when I was in the company, we went through an exit we were acquired and as I reflected on that I thought about the word transition a lot I thought about succession and the show on HBO Succession was gaining in popularity, and it just clicked and I’m a marketer, 25 plus years in marketing, I’m in the shower, and it just clicked…Succession Stories. It had a kind of a memorable name thematically, the tone and it gave me an opportunity to make the essence of the show about the business owner, about the entrepreneur, and the pillars underneath it. The other things as I thought about the expertise areas that I really wanted to dive into and explore, were innovation, growth and transition and to me it all really tied together nicely.

Lou Diamond:

As a listener to the program, I want to share that this content that you have, under the umbrella of these episodes, is so much more than I actually would have ever expected because I think the unique part of what this program offers, is breadth in a very interesting space that is very niche in its own self and that’s what I actually wanted to kick off because we started mentioning this, obviously, you came from a place that was dealing with the challenge of succession, and next generation and successors, which is a big bucket of a lot of the guests that you brought on the program. Let’s dive into that category of your type of guests, next generation and successors, ones that stick out over these last 100 shows and lessons that you’ve learned along the way.

Laurie Barkman:

The Next Generation category is one of my favorites and it’s funny because I say everything’s going to be my favorite when I talk to you today but there’s a lot of good reasons for that and even with episode one, Tony was an outside hire, Tony Uphoff, but he was part of Thomas, a fourth or fifth generation company and he has an entrepreneurial background and so much of his story was about the next generation and the approach that that particular company is taking with innovation, which is so thematically on point.

One of my other favorite stories is from Laird, episode 34. Laird is a really cool episode to listen to. It’s with a mother and son, generation nine and ten so let’s just think about that. The company was founded in 1780 and I just loved having the mother and son on the show. I love talking about the history of that company, such pride, such sustainability. How does a company stay as a family run company for all those generations? 

It’s just an incredible listen and one of my other favorites was Kent Johnson, episode 40, the CEO at Highlights. He was a reluctant entry into the company. His entry was on the board and his family was very purposeful about having non-operational family members involved at the board level and then over time, it made sense for him to become CEO, it was a great story. 

Lou Diamond:

In this category, one of the things that I’ve picked up as a listener and I know the listeners who are loyalists to the program have as well. There are common problems, common themes, and often surprises that you get a chance to be the front row seat of when you’re hearing this. I’d love to hear, out of the value you’re giving to the listeners who get to hear these shows, what are some of the biggest surprises that you’ve experienced in that next generation successor issue, because there’s a lot of issues in trying to pass the baton from one to the next?

Laurie Barkman:

Absolutely, there’s another favorite of mine, Will Knecht, CEO of Wendell August, episode 12 and while his story was about tragedy, a tragic incident for the company, it was really about resilience.

At this time of recording these stories, what I felt like if you’ve ever listened to the NPR StoryCorps they’ll put these, go into the Library of Congress, and you’ll laugh because if people ever asked me this question, which no one ever did, so I’ll just put it out there and everyone can go, “Oh my god, I can’t believe she just said that,” but the inspiration for this show and how I kind of want to run it as an interviewer, is a blend of StoryCorps meets Howard Stern. Because he’s an excellent interviewer and I’ve tried to channel when he really interviewed someone how he deeply listens and how well he prepares. 

At the same time, we’re able to be nimble to our listeners and go deep and with someone like Will, while we talked about something that happened in our history so many years ago, and he was so profound and how he talked about the spirituality of the recovery, the resiliency and the need for where we were in those moments right together on the show, and everything happening around us the world was shut down. Resiliency ended up being a really powerful thing and that’s how we talked about recovery and the pandemic over time with my guests. While it’s not necessarily a surprise, it was something I was struggling with, which is, how do I talk about something so profound and important that we’re experiencing as a human race, while trying to have a show that isn’t time stamped so that you could literally pick up the show at any time, and have it be meaningful to you, and I think that theme of resiliency, especially again, in this episode really came out.

Lou Diamond:

Founders and entrepreneurs. Now, while you can’t go back to 1780, to get the founders from way back, when the podcast for some of those programs, you’ve come across some guests on this program, who were the actual originators and the ones who have come up with the idea, getting a chance to have those types of conversations. First of all, I want you to share with the listeners what that’s been like, because in some of these cases, it’s kind of almost a little glory-eyed if you would even get a chance to talk to some of them but for you learning that aspect of the lesson versus the passing of the baton piece for those who have started at all, the gift that these guests have given you.

Laurie Barkman:

Like the next gen leader who is getting that baton, and they’re trying to do something to make it sustainable for the future, the founders may have that vision, but they’re the ones really getting it off the ground and it was so exciting to talk to somebody like Steve Peplin, CEO Talan Products. He was episode 69. He’s a manufacturer. He’s built like a $40-$50 million business and he was a really great guest because he is thinking about his future in a way that when I coach my clients, I’m trying to get them to think about–he’s already doing it, so having him on the show was fantastic. 

Somebody like Andy Cabasso, CEO of Postaga, episode 81, who sold his first company, started another one and this transition, no matter it’s not about age, it’s about stage, you’ll have some people that are in their craft and they really, when they’re out, they’re out, they want to be out they want to exit they want to completely be done and then you’ll have some people who want to start their next company.

I have a guest, episode 94 Sara Dusek, she and her husband launched a very successful company called Under Canvas, which is a glamping business and she talks about the venture capital investing that they’re doing now. A lot of times in these transitions, it’s not just about what they’ve done, and they’ve accomplished; we certainly talk about that on the show, but I love diving into what’s next. You know this ‘what’s next’ concept? 

Someone like Gabriela Isturiz, who was a serial entrepreneur with her husband also, very, very successful, sold both companies to Fortune 500s, she’s episode 95, and really amazing, inspirational people who do this, do the hard work and essentially either build their company for thinking about the next generation.

Like Laura Coe, who with her sister created a franchise business, she’s episode 28 and so when I talked with her, and in a way she is creating a multi generational business, it just happens to be gen one.

Lou Diamond:

This is one of the things that I think was surprising to me about Succession Stories. When most people would hear this, they would think about the two topics we just spoke about, the next gen and successors but along the way, throughout this journey, you’ve actually tapped into people who have have expertise in certain niches and certain subject matters that people don’t really know about, like there’s actually spaces within the spaces that you have found out and brought to the attention of the program, which has made it not only educational to the listener, but it’s made it educational, in some cases, probably to some of your guests. Talk about the subject matter experts that you’ve brought to the forefront as a topic because some of those topics alone, really add some meaty content to what Succession Stories is all about.

Laurie Barkman:

It was always my inspiration for the show, to talk with founders, to talk with next gen leaders and people who I say are in the ecosystem, supporting these entrepreneurs and leaders and as I looked at all the episodes, I kind of laid them out and I think the math kind of works in a half and half. Half of my guests have been in this masters of craft category, is what I would say, are subject matter experts and they fall into a few subject matter areas like succession, exit planning, mergers and acquisitions, sales and marketing, culture, innovation. All of these things help us be better business leaders, and they also will help you grow the value of your company and position it for a transition so what I like to say thematically of what I do is I work from transition to transaction. I help business owners capture value and transition with success. In the essence of the show, I’ve tried to bring in guests who can talk to any one of those aspects and it does bring a richness of content or richness of learning. This is an educational show, it’s a human show. There’s an entertainment focus to it, right? It’s a human interest, but at the end of the day, I want everyone to listen and walk away saying, “Oh, wow, I really learned something.” 

My mom, I don’t know if she’s still listening to every episode but my mom is not a business person. My mom was a social worker. She’s very experienced in life, but she never really worked in business settings and she listened to the show and she would say, “Oh, wow, I, I understand that better,” and she even asked me when she said, “How do you do pricing?” Like, mom? That’s a great question so I want to bring people forward from an educational standpoint, and people who are great storytellers, and I find the subject matter experts also are very interested in being collaborative with me outside the show, we can create and some of us are, and have done this, which has been excellent business development relationships and I won’t go into all the detail to thank them, but I named them by name but certainly in the mergers and acquisition space, in the Exit Planning space and some of the coaching, there’s some wonderful relationships that I’ve developed.

Lou Diamond:

Speaking of pricing, and mergers and acquisitions, one of the other fun parts of your program helps people to understand the buying and investing component and these conversations you have which, by the way, pull the curtain back to a lot of uncertainty without really maybe giving too much information away but really helpful details that educate your listeners, educate those that are thinking about doing the same. Maybe talk a little bit about some of those conversations that you’ve had on the program that have been excellent content for listeners.

Laurie Barkman:

Absolutely. When an owner is going to sell their company, it’s most likely the only time they’re ever going to do it and there are examples of folks who I’ve talked with either directly or indirectly on the show where it didn’t go so well when they tried to do it themselves and a lot of times, we learned so much from when things go wrong but what we’re also trying to do is help people be proactive and learning and be successful in their next. Hearing these things about what can go right is really, really important. So having folks on the show that have acquired a business like Chris Cynkar, Joe Bute, Len Caric, and others who have invested and made the buying decisions can talk about very succinctly what criteria was really important to them. 

Chris Cynkar, episode four was a great lesson. He bought his company from an owner who didn’t have a succession with his son but Chris was like that for him. He was in his 20s and he ended up being the succession solution for the owner. 

Another example would be Tom Hine, who’s episode 33. He’s doing a roll up in the financial services industry and at the time when we recorded, I think he had done six or seven acquisitions.

Somebody like Jamie Van Buren, if that name sounds familiar from our past president, yes, he’s related to the family. Episode 13, Jamie Van Buren talked about this as well and how they’ve created a search network and a search fund, and what the criteria they look for in the small business area.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about someone like Alex Panosian, CW Growth Partners. Alex has created a family office with his father. He’s episode 73 and what’s so interesting about the family office, it’s a category of investors that we don’t really hear a lot about. That episode has gotten a lot of traction. 

It’s very, very interesting and then you got someone like Ben Grossman, who is running Grossman Marketing Group as a successor. He’s a next gen in his family business. This was episode 64, with his brother, and how they are growing through acquisition, so I’ve had a mix of private equity, family office, and individual investors, which we tend to call strategic investors. 

I’ve also had people who work in the profession like myself as an M&A intermediary and Paul Visokey with Stony Hill Advisors, the firm that I’m partnering with. He’s been on the show twice, and we’ve had great conversations. I’m just looking for my notes here to find the episodes for Paul. Paul’s appearances were episode 52 and episode 84 and we talked about the process, which is so important, as you said, to pull back the curtain, and it gives listeners that sense of, “Oh, if I’m going to work with an advisor to help me sell my business, help me get ready, and help me maximize its value and then how do I punch above my weight class in getting that value?” Those are also wonderful to listen to.

Lou Diamond:

Episode 73 Alex Panosian in the family office, I can let listeners know I’ve recommended to several people who were inquiring about that. These people have been guests on the programs I host and other people I come across in my business space because it is that informative. For those in that particular space, it’s one of my lessons, I had no knowledge about a lot of that stuff and I thought it was an eye opening piece. That’s one of my best ones out.

Speaking of Stony Hill Advisors, which you hinted to there in January of 2022, you actually began a sponsorship with them. But you can tell by the opening of this particular episode and other ones ever since, what has that been like that’s been finding a way for yourself as an entrepreneur and a podcast those to find great relationships, on and off the air?

Laurie Barkman:

Absolutely. Stony Hill Advisors has been a great partner, as I mentioned, because I’m working with Paul Visokey, who’s the founder and the team, there’s about seven of us and we are working with small to medium sized businesses to help them have an exit and it’s a nice tie in because conceptually, all the content that stony Hill would want to put out in a show, well, they don’t have to reinvent it, I’ve already got it. It’s a mechanism for listeners reaching business owners, reaching centers of influence, people that want to know about the services we provide, and it’s a distribution mechanism for the message, so for anyone who’s thinking about sponsoring a show, whether it’s mine or another, I think it’s a great reach. This is a really niche audience, this is not the biggest show in the world, but it does have, I think, as a percent of podcasts listened to globally, it’s towards the–it’s a very small amount of shows that make it to that level, so I don’t want to say a specific number but I’ve seen in the range of top 3% in the world, and those of us that are in this mode of educating creating content on a consistent basis, it provides a lot of value, so having a consistent sponsor, like Stony Hill or others is really appreciated, especially when the content really ties in nicely.

Lou Diamond:

I’m gonna give the listeners some stats here from podcasting, which is the ever growing just hockey stick looking chart over the last six to seven years. Currently, at the time of this recording, which is in May of 2022, episode’s airing in July, there are over 2.2 million podcast programs with over 54 million episodes underneath it. Within those statistics, check this out. Only 2.2% of shows that run weekly make it to at least 100 episodes. That’s 97 plus percent that don’t ever get this far, so first of all, unbelievable kudos on that effort. You made an interesting point about the niche that you’re in. It’s all in the niches. This is the key in this industry. programs that have a specific focus, like Succession Stories, is what people are looking for and that’s why you’re a success but as as listeners have been hearing throughout this episode, Laurie’s preparedness, understanding, the knowledge of each of the episodes, paying that much attention is actually the reason why listeners want to keep tuning in so first of all, you’ve broken the math, which is a great thing to do and you should be very proud of it. Are you proud of it?

Laurie Barkman:

Well, I am, I am really proud of it. I appreciate that so much, Lou. It’s so interesting. This time of two years, we haven’t really seen people but it’s a way to have been seen. So many people now when I’m seeing them for the first time in a long time in the business setting the first thing they say is, “Oh, I listen to your show,” or they’ll say, “Oh, I’ve seen your videos on LinkedIn,” and they feel connected to me, which is amazing. I have strangers that will say, “Oh, yeah, I heard your show,” or they will reach out with a question or they’ll just give some nice feedback. It is so meaningful. I am a big believer in creating good, and putting it out in the world and that that good is going to come back in some way and we don’t always know what that way is but I think this show, it’s given me a lot of a lot of pride as a creator and I think I’ve always been a creator my whole life. This has given me a creative outlet for that in a way that has also helped me professionally and also as a human, I think I’m a better listener, I think I’m a better conversationalist and we were at a dinner the other night and my daughter, who’s 20 was trying to do a toast for–we were at a graduation dinner and there was about 12 of us and she said, “Well, I want to ask you a few questions,” and I felt like she was channeling the show a little bit and doing that, and I don’t know, maybe I’m leaping too much there but I do think sometimes it rubs off on people in a good way of how to really engage, how to really listen, how to dive deeper on a theme or we’re a string to get people to open up in perhaps a way they wouldn’t even have expected them to.

Lou Diamond:

As a podcaster, I want to ask you a couple of questions. Listeners, we’re going to peel back the curtain and learn a little bit more about Laurie here because we’ve learned about the program and kind of the behind the scenes there. I want to go behind the scenes as it relates to you. Specifically, let’s start off with a smile here. What most listeners don’t know is there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the microphone behind the scenes to bring great content like Succession Stories can be brought to the table as Laurie has done it for you each week. If there’re some pretty comical moments as well, can you share with the listeners maybe some funny moments you personally have experienced sitting in the chair that you’re in or helping to produce the program as you do?

Laurie Barkman:

I’ve had to re-record three or four episodes, I guess. They were such good sports about it. I had, for whatever reason, a technology challenge. I think the platform that I was recording on was incompatible with my browser maybe and it just crapped out and so sometimes it was just the connection was really poor. It was early, I would say this happened maybe in the first 10 episodes or 20, I don’t know, but they were such good sports. We had to re-record. I think that one of them I had might even had to do three times. I don’t know. That’s kind of like giant bloopers but yeah, the tech issues early on, would bite me in the butt.

Lou Diamond:

How about listening to previous episodes? Have you recognized how you as an interviewer have improved over this century of episodes?

Laurie Barkman:

I think I got more relaxed. I remember in the first recording with Tony, I was sitting at a desk and my hands were under the table but I was fidgeting like crazy. I was really nervous and what was great about Tony as a first guest, he has a podcast, the Thomas Industry Update and he’s a pro and he really put me at ease. I don’t think he knew how important this was in that sense but he just naturally did it and he edified me as the host and he did so many things that really helped me put me at ease and he was excited to be there truly and when I really listened to that episode I was thinking back to my nerves and how I got over it. It helped me get over it really really easily. I also think that going to video and we would always interview over video but I didn’t record over video until I have to look, I don’t know the number but I would say probably not until 2021 when I shifted my setting from a different room in my house to this setting which is my office and everyone likes to comment on my little door behind me and once I got here I got really comfortable I think with my space and being comfortable with that and the recording equipment and everything made it so much easier but also the video is a whole other level. You really have to be ready to be on camera and your guests have to be ready because we have a YouTube channel where all the shows are on YouTube. Initially only the audio but now I have the audio and the video, two different clips go on into YouTube.

Rewatching some moments like, for example, episode 49, I rewatched my interview with JT Kostman. I have pre-calls with all my guests, like about 20 minutes-a half hour we talk about lots of stuff. Sometimes it feels like a show right because they’re telling you so much and JT, it was one of those situations I had talked to him at length and wouldn’t you know it, we get on the show together we start recording and in minute, literally like the third minute if you’re listening it’s right around minute two, he tells me that he was homeless at age nine. Homeless in New York City at age nine and I asked him why, and he said well after the third time my parents lit me on fire, I decided it was time to leave. That was not how I expected that conversation to begin and so I rewatched it on video because I wanted to see how I handled it. I remember holding my breath trying–you know…

Lou Diamond:

Well this is how we really connect with our guests, right, and this is what makes great programming is that when you have that relationship and hear a story that totally connects with you and understand it, that’s where it’s more than just the listening experience and more than just the podcast. It becomes kind of a place to connect and it looks like it did to you. 

Laurie Barkman:

Yeah, it did. 

Lou Diamond:

You didn’t think you’d go down this way with being on this episode did you, Laurie?

Laurie Barkman:

No, because I really kept it together on that episode but…

Lou Diamond:

It’s that aspect of the program that really makes it great, when you hear stories of people who’ve accomplished stuff and where you can connect on that level, and judging by when that episode aired halfway through, that’s really powerful.

Laurie Barkman:

Oh, yeah but he has such a great attitude about it and he’s a jovial, jovial person and we really talked a lot about his life experiences beyond that and how they made him into who he is today, or did he create his future regardless of his past? And that’s really a key message and maybe we’ll include a clip of that here in this episode so people can hear it.

Lou Diamond:

Definitely. I want to ask, one of the things that you do in the show is that you always ask a favorite quote from your guests. First of all, why is that? Why did you inject that into the show? Was that originally planned when you created the program?

Laurie Barkman:

When I was preparing and I was listening to Tony Uphoff’s podcast, and getting ready to talk with him, it was helpful because I got to hear–he’s done so many episodes–and I was listening to you and to others and I was listening, “Just how do they do it?” Another inspiration for me is Sean Ammirati, and they’ve had successful shows, have successful shows. One of the things I heard from Tony, is he asked everyone, yes, everyone for their billboard, “If you have a billboard, what’s it gonna say?” and when he came on my show, I asked him for his and it has been something ever since. I’ve asked everyone ever since.

Lou Diamond:

Okay, so to spin the tables a little bit here to bring our listeners to connect. Does Laurie Barkman have a favorite quote?

Laurie Barkman:

I do have a favorite quote.

Lou Diamond:

Can you share it with the listener?

Laurie Barkman:

I can and I’ll give the backstory on it after I share it. The quote is from Jim Lovell, he was one of the astronauts on Apollo 13, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.” Guess which one I am?

Lou Diamond:

I think we know. 

Laurie Barkman:

I think we know. The backstory on this is that this quote was hanging above the door of my boss’s office. The show, which as I mentioned coming from the inspiration of my experiences at this company, at the time was a third generation privately held company and this quote was hanging above his door, and when times were tough, he would point to that, and he’d say, “Which one are you?” And guess what I’d say?

Lou Diamond:

This is, by the way, a spectacular quote, and that must be some big doorway. It’s a long quote.

Laurie Barkman:

Well, it’s kind of like above.

Lou Diamond:

I happen to I’ve actually even heard Jim Lovell within the last five to 10 years drop a couple of quotes here and there so amazing stuff, great content. I want to ask you a really cool question because this is one that I thought of when I heard the name of the program. 100 episodes is awesome and with that, and the way that you are, and the care and passion you have for this, as our listeners can hear and feel the success and succession story of Succession Stories, let’s share a little bit of first of all, what’s to come for Succession Stories in the next 100 episodes or so what’s the plan for that? Let’s start with that question and then I have a follow up.

Laurie Barkman:

There’s definitely more great episodes coming, I think I will probably do some more solo casting. I haven’t tried that yet because I love to showcase guests but at the same time, I know that I have a lot that I can share with folks so I might do short form solo cast type episodes so that will be a format change, and may have people coming back from favorite episodes, either live or with kind of a best of types of format so I think those that’ll be fun and I want to say too, that the content of Succession Stories is going on the road and there’s different ways to think about that. One is I’m working on a book, and it’s underway. I don’t have a due date yet, I would have loved for it to be done in spring and I did talk about that a little bit on prior episodes, so I’ll say 2022 that’s coming, and that’ll be a resource just like the show where it’ll be a mix of experiences from practitioners and from entrepreneurs and from myself and so from my experiences in a handbook type of way that you can learn from plus stories, so very actionable. Also, with some exploration. I’ll caveat that I’m exploring right now, some content with a university and bringing some of this succession, entrepreneurial succession acquisition to a forum where entrepreneurs can come together in a learning environment like a university so it might be like an annual conference kind of format, where we might be developing some other types of content.

Another example is for me on the road, I do Vistage workshops and might be at a Vistage near you if you’re a Vistage member. So seminars and speaking engagements, and then online is also a great way to find this content. I’ll continue to do online webinars and make those available. But with our world opening back up, I love being in person and doing in person seminars with business owners, I really find that whenever I’m in front of an audience, and even if it’s virtual, like our show, I learn from them as much as hopefully they’re learning from me and I gain from the experience, it’s hopefully as good as they are and I want to do more of those things so there’s maybe more great content coming and so excited for what’s coming.

Lou Diamond:

First of all, I think it’s spectacular and I love the whole Succession Stories University aspect, because this is a living, ever evolving, ever changing learning process for everyone because it isn’t just passing one to another. It is exactly as the name of the program is: it continues to succeed, and succession through all of it, which is wonderful and the story continues to go on. I want to ask you a couple of final questions here and that is, I love asking guests this question. Specifically those like yourself, the gift of this program to you, can you share with the listeners may be what this thing has been to you? Because I don’t believe you would have ever thought one, you’d be at 100 episodes and to all the things you just listed or to come on the program definitely weren’t there when you were in that shower. Or maybe they were in a grander scheme but I would love to hear maybe the gift that this program has given to you personally.

Laurie Barkman:

I think that curiosity has always been within me. I’ve always been a good question asker. My dear friend, Raji Sankar was the one who first said to me over lunch, “Hey, have you ever thought about having a podcast,” and I looked at her, I thought, “You’re crazy. No,” and she’s an entrepreneur. I was just so curious, asking her so many questions and it was that incurred initial encouragement that got me to even think about it and I think what it’s given me when people ask, “What is podcasting?” And you have to answer and not use the word, I don’t know if you’ve ever done that, Lou, that exercise, what is podcasting? And you can’t say the word podcasting. What I like to say is, “It’s curating conversations with kind, clever and curious people.”

Lou Diamond:

Oh, with alliteration on top of all of it, I love it.

Laurie Barkman:

Yeah, and I, again, I think this curiosity for myself to learn, I love I learned from others. That’s how I learn. I’m not a self learner, I like to learn from others and that’s classes. That’s whatever it is. It’s listening to other people. I’m always trying, I’m a continuous learner, and this show has given me a mechanism for continuous learning at a phase in my life, in my career, my learning is not over, right? My learning is really just beginning in a lot of ways and I’m bringing a lot to the table, of course, but I recognize there’s still so much to learn so it’s not about age, it’s about the phase of life we’re in.

Lou Diamond:

As a rare opportunity, because you are so focused on your guests on the program, and now that you are the guest here, gratitude. Who would you like to thank that’s helped you to get to this particular milestone journey, because you tend to be one of those people that likes to give recognition to others?

Laurie Barkman:

I do and you’re one of them, which is why I asked you to be on the show with me so I could thank you in person-ish. We’re virtual but thank you, Lou, you have been a consistent voice to me, an advisor, and I really, really appreciate that. There are so many people in my family that have been so helpful. My husband, Martin, who you know, well, my kids are very supportive. My parents who have been, as I told you, were listening to the show, and so many friends and family. I should mention, too. This was kind of fun early on. I launched the show, and then I had a virtual launch party and we had 40 people on Zoom for a half an hour and we did a virtual toast. I had a blue carpet and I recognized everyone by name who came in and the way I knew ahead of time who had said yes, and I was able to thank them and it was different phases of my life. From colleagues of mine from the past, family, friends and colleagues. and some guests who were starting to come on the show and that to me is something that just stays with me. I’m just so grateful for all that support that I’ve had and then also I have a team that helps me. I just want to mention their names, and thank them. Carmelo, I know he’s listening, because he’s my producer, and he’s going to be editing this show, and thank you, Carmelo. He is a steadfast, talented producer, does the audio video editing and I’m so grateful for him. Larry and Aryane are my marketing design and writing. They help me with writing and the transcripts that are produced and the design of the graphics and then I have had some marketing folks, some interns that have helped me, Catherine and Hailey and so it’s a small team. We’re very nimble, we’ve worked on process and process improvement and we produce I think, a very high quality show. For our own marketing tech stack we figured it out and I’m very proud about that.

Lou Diamond:

It’s quite an adventure, isn’t it? Listeners who don’t really know what goes on behind the podcast, it’s more than producing, it’s like producing a Broadway show on steroids is the only way I could think about because it’s communicating, it’s marketing, it’s connecting, it’s new every single time and for future episodes coming down the pike, for those who are just tuning in for the first time, there’s so much more to come, I recommend you go back and listen to as many of these as you can. It is truly an informative library of incredible content that could help you in your business and in your life and in many different points in different stages so check out Succession Stories, it is a resource. 

From this particular podcast host myself to you, Laurie, to celebrate your 100th episode, and which is such a milestone, I’m so glad you’re celebrating it. I am so glad to see that you have stuck with it. Even more glad at how incredible this content continues to improve from episode to episode, so as someone on this end of the microphone, I get to say thank you to you for the gift you give in this world and continue to give and it’s also great to see how much you enjoy it and the passion that you have for such a wonderful project that is such an integral part of who you are, so raising a glass. I’m raising a fictitious–it’s a cup of coffee here, but I’m raising a glass to 100 episodes. Absolutely congratulations, more successes to come, and may Succession Stories continue to be the ever evolving story of your story, Laurie, thank you so much. 

Laurie Barkman:

Thank you, Lou, that’s so meaningful. Cheers!

Lou Diamond:

Listeners. Thank you so much for tuning in. You can always catch Succession Stories on any of your favorite podcast players or YouTube. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the show. If you want to maximize the value of your business and plan for future transition, reach out to Laurie for a complimentary assessment at meetlauriebarkman.com. Tune in next week for more insights from transition to transaction until then, here’s to your success. 

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We'll guide you through the process. Schedule an initial call today.