Earn Your Way to a Better Exit

When Mayor Johnson (not his real name or title) asked me to meet, I assumed he wanted me to sponsor a table at his next fundraiser. He ushered me into his office, and after looking at pictures on the wall of him with nationally prominent politicians, he got to the point. “I’m not here to talk politics, Jim, I want to talk about selling my business. I know you can help me.” Mayor Johnson has lived in his community Read More

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Boost the Future Value of Your Business

Imagine you are selling your car. After receiving estimates of the current worth, you take small steps to increase the resell value—change the tires, get a new paint job, have a professional do a full tune-up—and these small steps result in a significant boost to the value of your car, allowing you to receive more money for the sale. The same idea applies to boosting the future value of your business. By taking Read More

The A of Valuation ABCs

It’s no fun telling a songwriter his song is bad. Telling an author her novel won't sell takes nerves of steel. Telling a business owner his business is overvalued is no way to make a friend, much less gain a client. Marvin (not his real name) was flat P-O’ed at me. When I told him how a buyer would look at his business, he told me in no uncertain terms he was not going to hire me because I didn’t know the market Read More

It’s Worth Pennies and You Expected Dollars

“I’m glad I’m not a doctor, I hate delivering bad news.” I said this to Larry (not his real name) as we met to discuss his interest in selling his business. I was about to deliver some bad news. Larry had been in the business for 15 years. Though it was technically owned by his father, Larry was the main man in making things happen. But when it came time to make a decision about the future of the business, well, Read More

The Danger of an LOI

“Let's have a celebration dinner, I want to thank the team for getting us here.” Hugh (not his real name) was rightfully excited. He had just signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to sell his company for enough cash to take care of his children's children. But I put a stop to the idea of celebrating too soon. I said, “Hugh, signing the LOI is great, and I know it’s taken you a long time to get to this point, but the next Read More

When Buying a Business is Like Being Taken to the Cleaners

“My boss wants to sell the business unit I run. He says he’ll give me a good deal if I can pull the capital together.” Cal (not his real name) was confident as we talked over an expensive lunch at one of Nashville’s finest restaurants. Cal had run the business unit for six years, but his boss, the company’s CEO, decided to exit that vertical. He had approached Cal on the idea of selling it to him. “He tells me he’ll Read More

Why It Can Be Hard to Find the Right Business to Buy

Randy (not his real name) had been trying to buy a business in the Nashville area since early 2015. A few weeks ago, he called to ask if he could retain me to assist his search effort. Though he had met with about 10 business owners over the past two years, Randy had nothing to show for it. He was ready to be more professional and intentional about his search process. Randy was not a neophyte. He had run his Read More

A Brief Summation of Valuation

The true value of a business is like a stew: each ingredient on its own would not amount to much but, when all the ingredients are added, the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. If you are a business owner, you have probably wondered what the true value of your business is. Valuing your business is a process that considers both tangible assets (inventory, equipment, real estate, etc.) and intangible assets Read More

Living Together Before a Business Marriage

She is the perfect buyer for your company and you know there would be great synergy between your companies, but you can’t agree on valuation. Kristen (not her real name) loved his business, and Jim (not his real name) wanted to sell it to her. They met 15 years ago while working for one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. Both were rising stars in the company, yet each had entrepreneurial instincts that Read More

Royalties to Live Like a King & Queen

It didn’t take long for the meeting to get confusing. He started talking about ideas unrelated to the business he wanted to sell. Bart (not his real name) is an accomplished business owner, but years of living on the entrepreneurial edge are taking their toll. “I’m worn out,” he told me during our meeting in his conference room. The large table in the middle of the room was full of gadgets and stuff, from balls to Read More