Living Large on a Line of Credit

“We make a lot of money, but we also spend a lot of money.” Josh (not his real name) was facing an existential crisis in his business. Though his company generated annual revenue of about $8 million, Josh could never turn the corner of making much money. I told Josh I’d study his financials to see if I could help him figure out his problem. He was hoping to sell the business within the next two years. But, if we Read More

Momma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be 50/50 Partners

“Daddy thought if I was a business partner with my brother, it would keep us close. But glory be, just the opposite has happened. Let’s just say I have no plans to go to his house for Thanksgiving.” Wanda (not her real name) was mad and hurt. Just before her Dad passed away in 2014, he willed 50/50 interest in his successful business to her and her brother, Max (not his real name). Wanda had worked in the business Read More

Stumbling as You Run for the Exit

“I haven’t had a real vacation since my son graduated from the military academy. That was a proud day for his Mom and me, but I worried the whole week I was gone.” I have known Fred (not his real name) for about forty years, we went to law school together. I knew he had a successful law practice, but I didn’t know how successful until he asked me to evaluate his financials and determine a selling price once he Read More

Good Steak, but News That’s Hard to Swallow

I could tell Bart (not his real name) was tired. He said he could not see himself still at work when the new Governor is inaugurated early next year. Bart is a lobbyist for several large corporate clients that are affected by laws and regulations going through Tennessee’s legislative assemblies. He has been a fixture in the hallways of the State Capitol for almost 30 years, loved and respected by almost everyone on Read More

When Family Legacy is a Boat Anchor to Business Decision Making

She could barely hold back the tears. Wanda (not her real name) was telling me how her grandfather started the business after World War II. Her dad took it over in 1974 when her grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Wanda started in 2002, and her dad poured his heart and soul into training her to take over the company. Unfortunately, he had a rare heart disease and died in 2007. “I wasn’t ready to take Read More

Watch Out For That Pig-in-a-Poke Valuation

“Jim, I decided to go with the other firm. They say they can get more for my company than you think it’s worth.” This recent comment from Tracy (not her real name) was the first time in ten years I have lost an engagement because the business owner was picking another intermediary. It seems the other broker convinced Tracy that he could get her a higher price for her company. I had told Tracy the business could Read More

Beware the Too Good to Be True Offer

“Danny, their offer is 21% above your asking price and they want to close in 45 days.” Immediately after receiving the offer, I had called Danny (not his real name) to tell him the great news. After I described the basic terms, Danny said, “Jim, this is almost too good to be true, I couldn’t be more pleased with the job you have done.” I hastened to remind Danny of the adage “a deal isn’t a deal until it’s done,” Read More

Time to Sell Your Business? Trust Your Heart

“Why should I sell? The way we are growing we’ll double our value in no time!” Though we were meeting at 6:30 that morning, he didn’t need coffee. Randy (not his real name) lived a caffeinated life. He ran at a fast pace, the success of his company was evidence of that. But Randy seemed ready to slow down, maybe take some chips off the table. A few weeks earlier, I had reviewed Randy’s business and told him how much Read More

Retaining a Lawyer Just on Price, Bad Advice

“My brother-in-law knows a lawyer who charges $250 an hour. The guy you recommended charges $450 an hour. Why would I pick the lawyer you recommended when I can pay almost half the rate for the same service?” David (not his real name) had retained me to sell his company. After many discussions with several interested buyers, he settled on a company like his, though much larger, from the upper Midwest that wants to Read More

Don’t Walk That Road Alone

“I want to sell my company to them, but I don’t think I need a business broker. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I need help getting through this. Is that what you do?” Linda (not her real name) started her business in 2005. She describes some “dark times” going through the recession of 2008-2009. But in the past five years she has flourished, and now has thirty employees and dozens of regular clients. I met Read More