An Affair is Always a Bad Idea

Randy (not his real name) was about to make a life-altering decision. He had a need, and he wanted to fulfill it. The long term consequences were of less concern than getting what he wanted, right now. He called me, I suppose, wanting me to tell him it was a good idea. But with years of experience advising men and women in this situation, all I could do was tell Randy the truth from my heart. “Bringing in a Read More

September 12, The Day After

Today is the day after September 11, another day that will live in infamy. Ironic that September 11 this year came on the day after Hurricane Irma created historic havoc in my adopted home state of Florida, and one week after unbelievable hurricane devastation in Houston. It seems appropriate today to stop and remember those incredible first responders who go into the face of danger during the hurricanes, be it Read More

Indifference as a Style of Negotiation

“They have called several times over the past 18 months. Their offer is getting closer to what I want for the company.” Tom (not his real name) called me on the recommendation of his sister who I knew from church. He owns a medical services company that he started in 2005. The company has been profitable from its second year of operation, but the past three years the company has been growing at double-digit Read More

Key Question When Raising Equity: “If This, Then What?”

“I need $1,500,000 to open a new distribution center in North Carolina. It's a home run idea, but how much equity will I have to give up to raise that much?” Johnny (not his real name) and I have been good friends for seven years. We see each other socially several times a year, and once every 5 or 6 months we sit down to a serious conversation about his growing and vibrant medical supply business. “If I ever sell Read More

Buying a Business, the Downside(s) of Low Interest Rates

“I’m looking to buy a business, but I'm having the devil of a time doing it. Can you help?” Frank (not his real name) sold his profitable medical supply company two years ago, and is eager to get back to creating value through business ownership. He doesn’t have to work, the money he put in the bank after the sale of his company provides more than enough to take care of his family. But just 42-years old, Frank said Read More

A Funeral, Fried Chicken and Valuable Lesson

Little did I know I'd learn something at a funeral to help me appreciate an important lesson regarding the successful sale of a professional services business. I had returned to Orlando, where I spent the first half of my business career, to attend the funeral of a dear family member. After the funeral, the church hosted a covered dish dinner for family and friends. While going through the food line, I bumped into Read More

Selling to Private Equity … Losing Control

“Please, Jim, you have to help me unwind this disaster. The private equity firm’s pitch was so convincing, but those guys don’t know what they’re doing.” I had never met Geoff (not his real name), but he was referred to me by his cousin who is a family friend. Geoff described his dilemma during our first call. “I sold my company four years ago. This PE group from Chicago made me an offer that was too good to be Read More

Is It OK to Pay Too Much for a Business? (hint: yes, and it might even be a smart thing)

When he walked into Starbucks with a big red notebook under his arm, I figured the meeting might not go as planned. I had worked with Robert (not his real name) for almost four months. We had met through a mutual friend who knew Robert and his wife were looking to leave corporate life and buy a business they could run together. Robert had contacted me to see if I had any companies he might be interested in Read More

The Laws of Supply & Demand Not Applicable to the Market for Privately Owned Business?

Professor Bentley (not his real name) was one of the most revered yet feared professors at Harvard Business School. Every time he entered the classroom, you knew you were in the presence of genius. But with one question, he could make you look or feel like the village dunce. I didn't learn the principle of supply and demand at Harvard, I knew that a long time before I got there. However, in the rigorous case study Read More

Are You Guilty of The Wimpy Effect?

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” If you are 60 or older, you probably recognize that comment frequently spoken by J. Wellington Wimpy. This character from the Popeye cartoon series seemed to be a successful businessman (after all, he wore a suit and tie). But curiously, Wimpy never had money in his pocket to buy his favorite lunch. He seemed to always be saying “you can trust me, I’ll have it in Read More