Today on the Life After Business podcast, we’re talking to Tim Hall. Tim’s story is so amazing that I just had to get him on the show. Tim was an executive at Cartoon Network and worked at Hasbro. Then Tim had the opportunity to buy the division of Intel. He was able to grow that business to 85 million dollars in revenue, but when the business climate changed and the economy went into a recession, Tim realized he’d missed his exit. Sit back and relax as you listen to what Tim would have done differently, opportunities he didn’t take, and much more.
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- Tim’s career journey, full of twists and turns, beginning when he was a young teenager.
- How Tim jumped feet-first into Intel, which is what he considers his foray into entrepreneurship.
- How he kept the cash flowing in his early days at Intel, later called Digital Blue, when he bootstrapped through the first five years.
- How factoring works: Tim explains recourse and nonrecourse factoring and how it differs from traditional lines of credit.
- Tim’s top priorities when the company’s revenue quadrupled.
- How the recession in 2007 and 2008 hurt Tim’s business, as well as what he would have done differently.
Backdrop of The Missed Exit:
While Tim was in Corporate America working toys and electronics with Proctor & Gamble, Hasbro, and was a top Executive at Cartoon Network he helped launch the Jurassic Park toys, pitched Star Wars toys to George Lucas and even worked with Disney.
Tim saw the opportunity to get into entrepreneurship to buy the division of Intel’s electronic toy division before they shut it down completely. He hired an investment banker and attorney to make sure they knew he was serious and then approached them to purchase the division they were going to use as that year’s tax write off.
Through grit, perseverance and sheer passion Tim grew that small division he bought for $500,000 into an $85 Million dollar company with $11 Million in EBITDA. He learned a ton in the trenches as an entrepreneur and found out the hard way what the risk is trying to reach for the next revenue or value milestone…
- The next run on the ladder is not always revenue- or size-based. Tim wanted to hit a particular dollar amount so bad that he was blinded by what was going on around him. Don’t become so fixated on a particular benchmark that you lose sight of what it’s all about.
- Don’t make all of your life goals strategic to your business. Focus as much on the rest of your life as you do on your work. That will help you make better decisions overall.
- Don’t miss your exit when the timing is good. Good times and excellent cashflow will likely come to an end; know your numbers and know your business cycle. Your timing might change, and that’s okay. Make your exit when the time is right.
Links and resources:
About Tim Hall:
Tim’s Digital Blue Experience:
Founded and managed all aspects of global business making consumer electronics, software and technology products for niche markets including children’s entertainment and education. Within just 5 years from start grew to $85M sales, $11M EBITDA, and 100 talented employees.
After 2008 recession a private equity firm took control, managed for cash, and shuttered most operations. I continue to serve in part-time caretaker role for asset protection and monetization.
• Acquired assets from Intel to start company on accretive terms.
• Oversaw development of over 150 individual products with effective brand and marketing campaigns.
• Leveraged dozens of direct response advertising campaigns across television, print and digital platforms to efficiently build awareness and trial.
• Bootstrapped operations for five years and then raised $12M of Series A equity and $25M senior/mez facilities at a $75M pre-money valuation.
• Established an efficient sourcing office in Hong Kong with our own Chinese employees, building strategic relationships with 15 OEMs.
• Closed 22 sales and distribution deals across Europe, Latin America and Asia/Pac.
• Led our North American sales team to secure distribution of our products at big chains including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Costco, Staples and others.
• Negotiated and closed 15 licensing agreements with major entertainment verticals like Disney and Warner; sports leagues; and toy companies including Mattel and Lego.
• Acquired two smaller software companies, then spun them out a year later for multimillion dollar gain.
• Won a $1M research grant from National Science Foundation, serving as principal investigator