Rudy Moeller is an M&A Advisor and business broker operating in Louisville, KY. He holds a BA and an MBA from Vanderbilt University, and he’s a bourbon connoisseur who loves to host tastings. Our Managing Partner, Max Friar, asks him a few questions about how he came to the decision to become a business broker.
Motto: The secret to success in life lies in how well you execute “Plan B.”
Favorite Activities: Studying 20th-century history, learning more about quantum mechanics, and cooking.
Karaoke Night Song: A medley of Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife” and “Beyond the Sea.”
Max: One of your career stops led to you and I working together on the start of a corporate cost reduction consulting franchise more than 10 years ago. We are working together again now. How did that come to be?
Rudy: Well, immediately you struck me as a young entrepreneur with a strong desire to help other companies and a keen analytical mind for process development. Earlier in 2021, I began observing your success in the M&A space through LinkedIn, and was really impressed with the results you and the firm were delivering. I believe I mentioned that if you ever wanted to increase your “southern exposure” I’d be interested in helping you do so.
Max: And I was, and here we are, right? That’s great. Tell me a little bit about what interests you specifically about M&A.
Rudy: I have had the occasion to acquire companies over time as well as sell my own companies. In each case, I had no representation by an Advisor. As I look back on the mistakes I made by paying too much or settling for too little, I want to kick myself for not engaging a third party to ensure that I received the best deal possible. I’ve paid a lot of “stupid tax” and I am energized by the opportunity to help other small business owners avoid paying it themselves.
Max: I would say if there’s one way to sum up our work here, it’s assisting business owners in avoiding the “stupid tax.” Rudy, you’ve got a long resume that includes multiple business ownerships, advertising, cost reduction, renewable energy, and so forth. With such a vast background, what kinds of businesses in particular have you found that you most enjoy working with?
Rudy: One of the blessings of my career is that I have had opportunities to actively support businesses in an incredible range of categories including manufacturers, professional service providers, and multi-unit retailers. I have enjoyed working with each of them in their own way, but the best ones to work with are those with owners who know what they want to achieve and who are open to learning from others.
Max: It seems you’ve strategically pivoted yourself into a couple of different directions over the course of your career while leveraging and building on your previous experiences. What is it that keeps you motivated and curious?
Rudy: I am endlessly fascinated by observing the way people make money through the creation of successful companies. While there are many points in common, learning the secret sauce behind each one offers a continuing learning experience. For me, this never grows old.
Max: Describe the wildest thing that’s ever happened to you at work/during a project.
Rudy: There are dozens of remarkable things, so it’s hard to select just one. Certainly the most memorable was facing down a disgruntled ex-boyfriend wielding a gun in the lobby of my ad agency one afternoon. You never know how good your conflict resolution skills are until you are pressed to use them. We managed to get his former girlfriend out of the office safely and keep him engaged until the police could intervene, so I guess you could say that day ended up a good one.
Max: We’ll keep your number handy for some of our conflict-resolution needs! Finally, what career advice would you give to your younger self?
Rudy: Focus on your listening skills more. Defining the conversation at the outset with your opinion may feel good, but it’s always easier to motivate people if you let them contribute first and use your skills to move them where you want to go.