Growing a Business: Value Add through Relationships and PartnershipsAug 30, 2019
"One of the recurring themes for me these last 10 years is the idea of value creation through a partnership...
A lot of times the trick is, when you start out, figure out who you can learn from. Those that have tried that path before can help you avoid mistakes.
I went to this little company that was a Yellow Page company, this was in 2003. I thought, gosh, there is so much I could learn here. I got in and it was a total mess. But what had happened is these prior two positions that I had worked in put me in a position where I could add value... [so] I jumped in.
We basically went in and restructured reorganize the business and looked at it differently and started cutting out everything that was bad. And started looking at everything that we were doing.
We built this business up and every year we were there, we increased sales.
And if you can believe this in 2007, a private equity firm paid a nine-figure deal for a Yellow Page company and bought us out. [Because of the value add I brought to the company] the guy that I went into business is one of the guys that pulled me over to the other end of the scale.
And he said, okay, we've done this, let's go build some businesses..."
Here at the Fourplex Investment Group, we believe that the core of business revolves around what we can give back to the community and to our investors. We appreciate the advice Michael gave us at this last Real Estate Investment Summit earlier this year. His continued success comes in large part from his passion to help lift those around him; we can all learn from his stories and his example.
Take some time today and learn how Michael Bingham's focus on relationships and giving back leveraged him into the successful Blue Diamon Capital company he's a part of today.
"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand. -Woodrow Wilson
In 2007, Michael Bingham co-founded Blue Diamond Capital where he is heavily involved in managing multiple aspects of portfolio companies including acquisition, financing, equity raising, corporate strategy development, and disposition.
During Mr. Bingham’s tenure, the equity of the company was tripled through the profitability of the company’s assets. Mr. Bingham has increased the sales and profitability of the company every year since the company’s first full year in 2008. During his tenure, sales have increased 9500% from 2008 to 2015. Their portfolio includes assets in publicly traded securities, private equity, and real estate investments.
Mr. Bingham serves on the board of several for-profit entities including Edge Homes, Emergency Essentials, PEG Development. Michael is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over twenty years of investment management, merger and acquisition, financing, operations management, investor relations, real estate development, and corporate governance experience.
Blue Diamond Capital: Website, LinkedIn
Creating Value Through Relationships and Partnerships
I appreciate the opportunity. Steve Bond called me one day and asked me if I would put this presentation together. We talked a little bit about what I would talk about and I said one of the recurring themes for me this last 10 years is value creation through partnership.
One of the interesting things, I read a ton. I read a ton of news, and I came across a study recently that kind of took me back.
I wanted to just show you a little bit of this study. So this was a Texas A&M study, and it talked about the best presidents ever. One of the surprising things is, that in this Texas a&m study, Obama was rated the fifth-best president and Donald Trump was the fourth. And I thought, are you kidding me? This can't be true, there is no way.
So I had to dig into the study. And, of course, you know, tied for first Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, I mean, who can argue with that. Everybody loves the father of our country and honest Abe. Thomas Jefferson, tied with 14 other presidents for a second. FDR with 24 presidents for third place. Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump came in fourth. So Donald and Jimmy and then Obama came in at fifth.
I think there's some credibility.
Anyways, another note that I just want to make on our country... Somebody said this to me, and again, I don't care what political party you come from, but we live in the greatest nation.
When we have opportunities, as we have, and the freedoms like we have, despite all the strife we have. We still can, can walk out our door. So so let me I hate intros. But just so you know, who I am, I'm gonna get a little bit of history about me. So I was raised on a dairy farm.
This is what it looked like, every morning when I woke up, except it was dark. And, you know, the best things in my life for my family, and what I've learned throughout my life, and, and those are things that I'm going to carry with me and, and Anyway, those are things that are important, crucial to me. And then mistakes and all, and I made lots of them. And, and this is, this is something, a recurring thing that I always share with people.
Don't look back at your mistakes and say, Gosh, I wish I hadn't I wish I had your mistakes, make you who you are today. And you'll make lots of mistakes in the future. And you'll learn from those and you'll become better. If you get buried in your mistakes. That's when you lose sight of what's important. So learn from your mistakes. So here's my history. So coming to this conference, I know there's a lot of entrepreneurial blood here. A lot of you are self-starters, your investors. And you've gone out and built businesses and you're pushing for yourself. I didn't start that way.
I actually am a CPA, I'm on the risk aversion scale, I started over here, which is never take a risk. And this site where you're like, whatever the deal is, let's get it done today. I'm over on this side of the scale, and I've had to pull myself over this way. But I've been able to evolve through some of the partnerships and relationships that I have today. And that's and we're going to talk a little bit about that and those that have influenced my life and have made my life better. So I started eBay if you know anybody knows where that is. It's a CPA firm, a great learning ground. From there, I went to a company that was owned by a private equity group.
They were one of my clients. And I learned the reason I went there was That the guy that was the CFO there, I recognized, he was brilliant. I thought, Man, I can learn from this guy. And so that first position I took was, it wasn't necessarily about the money, but it was about what I could do for myself. And I think a lot of times when you're starting out in any business, or whatever you're starting out in, I think a lot of times we get caught up in how much money can we make, what can we do. And I think a lot of times, the trick is when you start out, figure out who you can learn from, that's, that's where you can, those that have tread that path before can help you avoid some of the mistakes.
So that's where I left, then I went to this little company that was a Yellow Page company, and this was in 2003. So the internet's around, how might people really look at phone books anymore. And I was I thought, gosh, this is, Is there much I could learn there, I got in and it was a total mess, was a total mess. But what had happened is these prior two positions that I'd worked with, put me in a position where I could add value. And I jumped in, we basically went in and restructured reorganize the business and looked at it differently, and started cutting out everything that was bad. And started looking at everything that we were doing.
That was incredible. And we built this business up. And every year we were there, we increased sales, we were just growing. And so finally in 2007, a private equity firm. And if you can believe this, in 2007, a private equity firm paid a nine-figure deal for a Yellow Page company and bought us out. And the guy that I'd went into business with is a serial entrepreneur. And he's one of the mentors in my life. He is one of the guys that have pulled me over to the other end of the scale. And he said, okay, we've done this, let's go build some businesses. Let's go do this. And so that's how we've got to start at Blue Diamond. And that's where we are today.
So today, Blue Diamond, we manage about 500 million in assets. It's a lot of different areas. And you can see, here are the founders, Mark and Debbie. And their family, I've worked with them last 14 years. And, and we've done some incredible things together. And, and at the very end, I'm going to talk a little bit about them. And some of the things I've learned from them. But hear it everybody always talks and you think, okay, everybody's an overnight success. I don't know how many of you from the valley, but Qualtrics just got paid $8 billion.
Everybody's like, weren't they just started, like, two, three years ago? I mean, where did that come from? But nobody knows the story of what it took to get there. And I think a lot of you are probably living that same story. You're starting out small you're building. And you may be questioning why is this not an overnight success? Well, life is not an overnight success. Nobody had heard about this phone directories company really until 2007. And then it was like, wow, where did they come from?
Well, he started in 1971. And it took him nearly 40 years to build this up. And that was his business for 40 years. This is the business today. And this is you know, this is a small piece of it. Today, we were the sixth-largest commercial builder in Utah. We have over 30 hotels for major brands. We have 2300 multifamily units, we have 76 total entities, retail convenience store, office industrial, we're in 10 states in Western Canada.
So and all of this real estate is stuff that kind of built up over time. And if you look at it, you'll notice 2008 is when we started in the real estate, actually, and I'll talk a little bit we actually started in Oh 304 but on a smaller scale, some of the worst years to start so you can make money, even in tough times. So I call this my I love looking at pictures or real estate. Some people call this well, these are pictures of our projects. So this is a hotel in Anchorage it's under construction.
This hotel survived a seven-plus earthquake. That just happened. And just last week I got a text and a news story. Hotel mass St. Blaze Anchorage, Alaska. My immediate thought was, Oh, no, luckily, it was not ours, unfortunately for them, but luckily, so so we've survived some things with this hotel. This is a Staybridge down in Phoenix, Arizona. This is an apartment project here in Murray.
This is a Park City hotel that we've got. And then if any of you look just over the rise, you'll notice the Zions Bank building. So these are just some of the projects that we've got that just wanted to give you an example. So this is, again, who we are, and I want to talk about the topic is building through partnerships. And none of what we've done has been stuff that we've done on our own. We've not done a single deal. In the last seven or eight years without partners.
We've had partners on every single deal. And there's a reason why. And that's, that's really what I want to talk about is is the value of partners so you can see who we've worked with. Now, before we talk about partners, I mean, how many of you have heard about opportunity zones?
Steve Bond told me, I could put a little plugin for one of the things we're working on. So here's my five-minute commercial, I'm going to talk a little bit about opportunity zones. If you've not heard about opportunity zones, I would encourage you to go do some research. So this was tax legislation that was created on December 22, 2017, the newest tax legislation. And it was this opportunity zone piece of the legislation.
Most people know, there's this tax cut, and there are these credits for businesses, but a segment of it is opportunity zones. And it was almost like the real estate industry drafted this whole code section and said, this is what we're going to do. And it doesn't necessarily apply just to opportunity zones. It applies or means to real estate, it applies to businesses. But it's an incredible opportunity. So there's the code section, just if you Google for 140 oz. If you're if you'd like to read something and put your sleep at night, that's the tax code, I'm a CPA.
These are the things that I write read for excitement, each state. So in an opportunity zone, basically, there's some favorable tax treatment. And what you're allowed to do in an opportunity zone is you are allowed to take again what you've recognized. And you can invest it in something in an opportunity zone, if you invest in a project in an opportunity zone, you defer having to pay that tax on that game. And you can defer it for up to 10 years. And if you hold it for five years, you only have to pay taxes on 90% of the game. If you hold it for seven years, you'll have to pay taxes on 85% of the game.
Now, you say okay, that's great, but I got 1030 ones, if I do 1031 I never have to pay taxes. If I continue to hold those. You're right. difference between a 1031 an opportunity zone in an opportunity zone, you only have to invest your game in the new project, your basis goes in your pocket, and you can do whatever with it. the reason they did that was they knew people would have to pay taxes at some point. So they said how are we going to give him money to pay taxes? Well, if we give them their basis back then they can pay taxes out of that. But it's 1031. If you sell something 1031 you have to replace 100% of it.
So each state one of the things, as you look at opportunity zones to understand is each state was basically the governor of each state said they were given the ability to go in and designate qualified opportunity zones. In the states that were run better, the governor's really put a lot of thought into this. They named they designated better opportunity zones. The opportunity zones had to meet certain criteria. But some of the governors went in and said okay, this meets this criterion. But it's close to getting developed, whereas other people just named These poor low-income areas and just said, Okay, that's an opportunity zone.
Well, some of these zones don't matter the tax benefit, they're not going to get redeveloped anytime soon. And so on a state-by-state basis, there's, there is a different quality of opportunity zones, they're better opportunity zones, and there's less qualified opportunity or opportunity zones that aren't as good an opportunity. Now, it isn't just real estate, you can go and do a business. So for an example, a grocery store, if you go put a grocery store, if there's an empty building, you put a grocery store in an opportunity zone, it's a business, it's not real estate, you can qualify, and there's a benefit.
But again, the legislation was really slated towards real estate, some are better than others. And one of the things to note, values in most of these areas that are opportunity zones, people already This is known. But the values have already increased. So if you own property and opportunity zone, and you didn't know about this, guess what, you just got a bonus potentially.
If you look at investing in an opportunity zone, you're gonna have to go through and say, Does this make sense because some of these values have already increased. And you can't, and the economics even with a tax break may not make sense. Now, I didn't share with you the biggest benefit of the opportunity zone. The biggest benefit is the deferrals nice and recognizing part of the gain, not having to recognize part of the gains nice. But if you hold that replacement investment, so let's say we, we took a million dollars, we put it in an operator's opportunity zone.
To qualify, you've got to double your money up. So you've got to do something that improves that area. So now you have to put another million plus one. So well, now we're in at $2,000,001. If that if that product that you now have $2 million in if you sell it for $5 million, after 10 years. No tax, no tax on that new investment. And so here's where some of the opportunity zones are throughout the US. And, you know, here's a graph. And if you google this, this is on CNBC just kind of shows the value creation after 10 years, just by being an opportunity zone. And this assumes $100. So so there's, there's some real opportunity there.
Now, if you want to, if you want more information, okay, this is this the sales pitch, we are doing an opportunity zone fund, Rachel or Jamison can give you more information. And if you don't necessarily, if you want to just educate yourself, we've set up a website, right here. Opportunity zones, one on one, there's a lot of websites out there, but if you go and look, that website, we will we have a lot of information that websites educational, it's not a sales pitch, you can put your information at the bottom if you want more information, but that allow you to educate yourself on an opportunity.
If you are a real estate investor, you should know this, okay. And I may take some q&a, if I run out if I get done fast enough, we can talk a little more about this. So I want to talk about partnerships and kind of the core of my presentation. So most, most of you probably are familiar with these partnerships. LLCs and LLCs from a tax code are treated as partnerships. It's the most popular entity it gives, there's so much freedom.
So they're taxed like a partnership. They have limited liability, like a corporation. And you'd have the flexibility to move assets. So we love having these because we can move assets around without creating the tax. So you can bring additional investors in, you can create a subsidiary, move the asset down, bring other investors in, they get it, you get some of the appreciation, but there it's a real advantage. And so this isn't, this is an aspect of what I'm talking about. But this isn't the core of what I want to talk about.
I wanted to cover this just being a CPA, so and then I love the flexibility to adjust economics. So you can use these a lot of times, in estate planning or family planning. So let's say you want to pass some income or some assets or cash flow on to two other generations. What do you do to create an LLC Create a partnership, a profits interest, and then LLC? And you and you can give it to family members. And then they get a portion of the profit that gets generated from that. And it allows you, they'll be taxed on it.
It allows you to be able to kind of move assets, and somebody is going to pay the gain on it, right? It's either going to be you, but if you want to pass it on to the next generation, you give them a profits interest, and it passes the gain on to them, they pay the tax, but now it's out of your estate. So there's a lot of flexibility. And you can do preferred returns, priority returns, that kind of stuff. So, so that's the CPA side. Now I want to talk about the value of partnerships. And so, and I'm going to talk about some experiences that I've had over the last 10 years. And I think the first thing when you do when you enter any kind of partnership is to know who you are, know what you bring to the table. Okay.
In that partnership with Mark, Mark was he is a serial entrepreneur, he's a driver, he's a pusher, I'm very detailed, I'm analytical, turned out to be a great partnership, because he's always pushing, and always the brakes. And have you thought about this? What about this, let's get the details done. Let's do this. And it was something that I recognized within myself, it was like, Okay, this is who I am.
Here are my problems, here are my strengths, here are my weaknesses. So what I would encourage you is to do a self-assessment and say, okay, where are my strengths? What can I do? What do I know how to do? And what are my weaknesses? And how can I find somebody else that can compliment me? And that has been the key to our success. And that's why we enter partnerships is because we find people that can add value. And we add value to them, they add value to us, and we build this together.
Okay, now there are some keys to this, you've got to know, you've got to know yourself. So how do you do that? A self-assessment. The other thing I would encourage you to do, how many of you have mentors? raise hands, okay. If you don't have mentors, find mentors. And a true mentor is somebody that cares about you cares about the outcome. There's somebody willing to give you advice. And be brutal. Because they care about you, and they want your best outcome. And those people a lot of times are hard to find. But they're invaluable. So you've got to find those mentors.
And I will tell you, if you find those in business, it'll jump you two steps ahead. And, and one of the things I've found in life is that people are good-natured, they want to help others. And if you go out and you seek, you'll find these people that will help you in your life and they will be mentors and they will allow you to get further than you could on your own. So self-assessment, learn from others. Okay. Chief wanton life is somebody who will make us do what we can.
So again, this is talking about manners. And then I, for years and years, I was preparing this yesterday, and I always thought this was Jim Rome. Does anybody know who Jim Rome is? So I would always quote Jim Rome. I'm like, I'm not sure why he said that on the radio. He's just a sports guy, but I agree with him. So I looked up the quote to make sure I had it right. And it's Jim Rohn.
He's not on the radio, but still a good guy. But he said We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So again, thinking about those mentors, who if somebody can add something to us into our life, we should interact with them. Because we naturally will gravitate towards those we spend time with and to, towards those that we interact with. And so learning from others is critical. So I want to tell you about an example. So I'm going to get into war stories, because I know everybody loves stories. So in 2009 when the whole world's crashing down and everything's horrible. A guy called me up and he said, hey, I've got this 10-acre property. It's an old Walmart.
The car business is horrible. I'm a car dealer. I'd buy Walmart and run used cars out of that car business. I'm old, I want out. I hate this. And so it was this 10-acre site. And it had this 75,000 square foot building on it. That was the old Walmart, with tons of parking. I mean, you just look at that just tons of parking. And he started at $4 million. And like, I have no idea what to do with this. I don't know what I can do with this. And so I just, Dave, I'm not interested. And he just kept dropping the price finally got the price down $2.7 million. And I'm sitting there thinking, Okay, that's $40 a square foot.
I know, I can't build it for that. But I don't know what to do with it. So I thought, it's an opportunity, we got to do it, we got to buy it. So of course, Mark's like, buy it. We got to buy this, we want this. Let's do it. And so I had had a meeting. And here's the building. I mean, you can see kind of ugly. And this is actually after we started some renovation, but it was nothing special.
The parking lot you look at it had a fair amount of cracks, potholes, get nothing, nothing pretty to look at. And I remember I met with this guy right here. And he was pitching us retail center to me. And he was saying, hey, I've got this deal. This is an Alpine Utah Harmons is gonna go there, this is gonna go there. We're gonna put banks. And I remember looking at it thinking, ah, yeah, I just don't know, I just don't know. But the thing that I was so impressed with is he knew his stuff.
He knew who would fit there. He knew why they wanted to be there. He knew how much space. I mean, he just knew his stuff. And of course, he's a developer. So you know, in 2009, he didn't have a lot to do. But he's out there working trying to build something. And I was like, and that he really knows what he's doing. And I met his two sidekicks. And at this point, his company is like, 10 people. And he's just trying to figure out enough work to even pay those 10 people.
So I called him back up, and said, "Hey, Cameron, you talk to me, you map me, I don't know if you remember me. But there's this deal. I don't know what to do with it. And he said, Let's go look at it. And so we went and walked the site. And we're walking on the roofs, I'm up there literally checking HVAC units, just to make sure I know which ones work, which ones don't. And he walks over to me says, Okay, here's the deal, that's what we're gonna do, we're gonna do this, we're gonna do this, we're gonna sell this space, we're going to build out new space here. And, and we're gonna fill this up. So we paid 2.7 for it. Within six months, we had sold this space right here, the cow ranch for $2.5 million.
We were in everything else $200,000. And we still hold this asset today, we built it from 75,000 square feet to 110,000 square feet. And we've turned over one tenant. And we've received multiples of our money out of it. But the trick to this deal was the fact that I had these guys here, who had done it before, who knew what they were doing, and came in and gave us really good advice on how to do it. And so whenever you're doing stuff in real estate, find people that have done it before you, and in the same token, those who are following behind help them because you never know when they're going to be that person helping you.
Okay, so that's your story one there's a pitcher great asset. Okay, learn from your mistakes. So not everything's gonna go right. If you're a real estate investor, long term, you're gonna have something go wrong. And we've had plenty go wrong. I have a good friend sitting here on the front. He runs nine car dealerships. We own a car dealership that I absolutely hate.
We're just getting killed and I'm like, clean out or we do this. So we didn't we on that one. I didn't reach out to him early enough, but you're gonna make mistakes. And I'm going to tell you about one of them. So Wheeler Park. So this is this was one of our first real estate deals. So this is it. We bought this in 2006. This was in Heber City, Utah. And a group came to us and brought this deal and it was, it was farmland. And it was going to be developed out for 238. Lots.
The pitch, back then, when we were early on, was an emotional sell. So the guy that brought the deal into us, and he eventually became a partner on it, came in and was just like, you know, this is gonna be incredible Hebrews blowing up is one of the fastest-growing communities. And you know, we were going to be rich. So we went into we did this first phase. So we bought the entire project for $8 million.
Then we put three to 4 million in improvements here, US debt, everything, got it done. finished it. And within six weeks, we had sold out phase one, put eight, in the original purchase for in the approvement sold out phase one for 10 million bucks. So we had 10 million and I thought, whoa, yeah, we're gonna make a ton of money. So here's phases two and three. So what do you do when you just sold 91? Lots in six weeks? Well, of course, you build 138 of them. Why not? Let's go double down.
We took out another loan, but $4 million. So we're into the 6 million bucks. And we're thinking this is going to be incredible. And Richmond America who bought out some of the first lots gave us this LSI. And you're sitting there going? Yes, we are so smart. We've just scored. We've won. And they gave us this LSI for $24 million. Of course, we're fairly inexperienced in building lots at that point. How many of you how binding is an LSI? Yeah, it's not very binding. So we go do the improvements. We finished the improvements in May of 2008. What do you think Richmond America was?
Hello, is that rich from America? Hello, nobody's returning my phone calls. And all sudden we got these lots. And, you know, if I had done a little bit of math again, here's the number and this is hindsight. But if I'd done this math, this data was all available. Heber city 5000 total units 10 years before 3000. Do you just do the math 181 units a year? Well, how many of you guys know any city in, in anywhere that sells all of the units in their own town? It doesn't happen.
You have four or five or six or seven competitors in any community. We've done the simple math, we obviously wouldn't have done phase two. So we made a huge mistake. And then to compound it, the FDIC takes over the bank has our loan. And now I'm dealing with the FDIC. And they're like, yeah, we want our money. I'm okay, I'm not sure where your money, where to get your money.
We have lots. I don't know what to do here. And, and so this was a huge mistake we had made. And here's another truth that I've learned. In every mistake there is there there's an opportunity on the other side. And everything that goes wrong. There's something to learn and there's something to be gained. So what happens? Well, I had known this guy right here. Gordy Jones. Gordy was a home builder. They had built townhomes in Cedar hills, they had had a landslide come down to knock out their townhomes essentially shut down their home building business. They started a new home building company.
They had some mentors that had been in homebuilding for years. Those guys come to them and they say, and this is 2006 it's gonna get ugly, it's gonna get worse. Get out, get out, get out. So they immediately started selling everything. And they didn't get rid of everything. But they sold a lot. And then Gordy is the way Gordy tells me the story he said for the next two years, I was curled up by my desk in the fetal position just rocking. And, and so I knew Gordy during that time period. And one of the things we figured out was we couldn't sell lots. We couldn't give away lots. But there were people who still want at homes. If you could build a home cheap enough, you could still sell homes, you could still sell homes.
So we formed a partnership. We started a new entity called edge homes. Edge sold two homes in 2009. Two homes, November 2009. We just squeaked them in. In 2010, we sold 103 homes in 2011, we sold 193 homes in 2012, we sold 335 homes. And it just exploded because we were willing to actually get out of the fetal position and go and build homes. Didn't make a ton of money. You know, we were scraping by. But we built this brand, where people all sudden said, hey, these guys are building homes, they're doing a pretty good job cost-wise, it's great.
We started building beautiful communities like this. And last year, edge became the number one home builder in the state of Utah. And it started with two homes. And so and it started with a mistake that we made that we thought was fatal. But we just kept scrapping. And we turned it around. So learn from your mistakes. Okay. This, the other thing I would say is Belief in yourself. All three of these names on this list are people that I have a ton of respect for people, I've done business with people I respect, all three of these people have said this very thing to me. top one, when we were dealing with a Yellow Page company, one of the private equity firms came to me and because the books were such a mess when I inherited it, they let go of the CFO.
I'm sitting here as the controller and I'm thinking, Okay, here's an opportunity. I went through, created a budget, send it over to him and I said, I'm in the running, I want to this is my job. Let me take this job. And the private equity guy calls me back says Hey, Mike, we love you. We love what you're doing. You're great and everything. You're not a CFO, you're just not a CFO, believe me, we work with a lot of companies tonight as CFO. And I was like, oh, here I am.
This is my career path. And somebody tells me that isn't you know, the guy I really respect. So while I was at Liberty Safe, the guy worked for and learned a ton from was Gary Boucherie. The company went through the.com recession. And because they're making gun safes, it's really a discretionary product, obviously, sales drop off. And so we have to go through three or four or five rounds of restructuring.
Not very fun. I mean, it's tough. And Gary sees the writing on the wall. And he goes and finds another position. So again, I throw my hat in the ring, hey. And they come back to me and they said, you know the board. They didn't they were frustrated with Gary and they just see you as Gary Jr. So we're not getting, we're not going to give you that opportunity. And then the current guy I'm working with Mark being if he calls you an entrepreneur, that is the best thing he can call you. That is like him saying, You are the pinnacle. And he reminds me all the time. I'm not an entrepreneur, and everything all these guys said, there's an element of truth in it. But guess what?
That doesn't prevent me from using my talents, my skills, and what I have, and what I can do, to grow and build and develop. So you're going to have a lot of people who are going to be naysayers about whatever you're doing. Take what they say pick the element of feedback and work on it, but then use this as a motivation to go and show them and build on it. Okay. I believe we've always got to have a partnership with a higher power. I believe that if we put our hands our life in the hands of God, He will take us where we need to go. And they will put us on a path that will make us better. And so I'd encourage you to partner with whoever's your God and rely on a higher power because It'll make you a better person. And then it'll give you better more purpose in what you do.
Partner with a higher power, and then allow others to help. Now we've done all of the things that I've talked about. But it's truly a week. It's not me. It's not marked. It's, it's the team. And what you have to recognize is that you need others to build this. Whether it be your spouse, whether it be the people you employ, whether it be your legal partners, you can't do this on your own, you've got to build with others, and you need to recognize that, and you need to give them credit, and you need to share in the game and in the opportunity.
So don't ever forget that there is nobody that has been successful out without relying on others. And you may not call them partners, you may call them employees, you may call them whatever, but nobody is successful alone. Okay. One of the things I really believe in is building a brand. And I always carry around with me $2 bills, and two bought $2 bills, these are always in my wallet, I have some of my desks, and they signify something different to me. Okay, everywhere you go, you can get these right? Every cash register every wallet. Well, what's unique about a $2? Bill, these are unique.
Can you get them? Yeah, you can get them, you have to ask for their double the value. And they're extremely rare. So they add value when they're in your pocket. So that's a kind of symbolism for me. We are building value for others. And that is the key to success. When you think about it, when you think about the Fourplex Investment Group process, what is the value, we're building homes, you're building housing for people, you're building a value there for somebody else, it's the same with any other business. And when you build value for others, when you stop focusing on what's going in your pocket and start focusing on what you're adding to other people. That's when there's true synergy.
And that's when there's true value creation. And to me, that $2 bill kind of symbolizes that. Because when you build value for others, when you double what they get what you give them double what they give you, you create value for yourself. And this is a piece of advice I would give you on when you choose partners. If your partner doesn't recognize the value in you, maybe you need to think about and reconsider that partner.
But if you add value all the time, and you're dealing with the right people, they'll recognize that and it'll build value for you over time. And I and I look at my life. And I'm I believe I'm evidence of that because I'm just a farm boy from northern Utah, that has had success because I've always looked at how can I help them? How can I help them? How can I help them, and that has come back to me. You're not merely here to make a living. You were here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a fire spirit of hope and achievement.
You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself, we forget that Aaron, what I would encourage you to do is have a higher purpose. One of the things that I totally respect about mark and Debbie is that they've established a higher purpose. Everything they build everything they make goes to charity goes to the foundation.
Mark, I've known him and I've seen him through all of these, these deals, his wealth has just ballooned, but he hasn't changed who he is. Because his value was I've got to give back and he identified three areas, he gets back education, health care, wildlife conservation, every dollar we make, goes into those causes. And so when you have a higher purpose, a higher value than you're adding back to it makes what you're doing purposeful, meaningful and and and, and it rallies the team around that purpose. Everybody wants to give back everybody wants to be build something bigger than themselves. I'm going to end with that quote.
Well, I'm not going to end with that quote, but there's the quote, I love it, Teddy Roosevelt, look it up.
"You're always gonna have critics who tell you you can't be successful. Stay in the arena and then remember why you're doing it."
This is my family and this is why I do it. To build a better life and a better opportunity for them. Identify your higher purpose. Thank you