Growing Your Value Through Less Doing and More Listening

“Growth is an easy concept to understand,” he told me. “All you have to do is sell more of your existing products to new customers, or get new products to sell to your existing customers.” Allen (not his real name) had not gone to business school. He had not gone to college. I’m not sure he ever graduated from high school. But Allen was one of the smartest men I ever met. Though he had no formal business Read More

A Moon Shot Idea Will Dramatically Improve Your Business Valuation

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” In 1962, President John Kennedy challenged the nation to put a man on the moon within eight years. It was a crazy, yet exciting idea. But given the intellect, ingenuity, and courage of the men and women in our space program, we delivered on JFK’s compelling vision in just seven years. That feat remains to this day one of Read More

Does Your Company’s Culture Actually Add Value?

“You know, I’ve intentionally built a positive culture here, but it’ll fall apart if I sell to the wrong buyer. This company is my family’s legacy, I have to protect the culture when I sell it.” Todd (not his real name) was ready to sell the company he inherited from his father twenty years ago. Todd and I had a lot in common. His faith was an important component of his life, and he openly shared it with his Read More

Paint by Numbers Growth Plan

“We could double our revenue if we just had more people calling on customers. But do you know how hard it is to find good salespeople?” Jennifer (not her real name) was ready to sell the company she started after graduating from college in 2005. She was making darn good money, but working 60 to 70 hours a week had taken its toll. “I never intended for the business to get this big,” she told me during our first Read More

Declaring Defeat, or Just Time to Retreat?

“We’ve reached out to as wide a swath of potential buyers I can think of, yet no meaningful interest. It might be time to take the business off the market.” I was talking with Linda (not her real name) about the business she and her husband started in 1988. He passed away in 2014, and she had stepped in to keep the business not only running but profitable, most years. Her net income was about $300,000 the prior Read More

The Well-Intentioned, Yet Flimsy Buyer

“Why do people try to buy a business before they have money to buy a business?” Randy (not his real name) was asking a painfully logical question. After having spent almost 90 days with a “buyer” of his business, Randy came to realize the buyer never really had the money to buy the business. “I lost a lot of time and energy thinking we had a deal, dumb of me for not asking if he actually had the money.” Randy Read More

The Cash Flow Purchase

“I'll be ready to sell in three or four years, and he's the only guy I trust to buy it. Problem is, he doesn't have enough money, what do I do?” Gabe (not his real name) owned an impressive assemblage of businesses, one of which was a hobbyist magazine that served a loyal subscriber base. Gabe had a deep commitment to the magazine’s readership and felt his long-time editor was the right guy to handle the magazine’s Read More

When to Ignore the Market Value for Your Company

“I call you for help selling my business, but you tell me I shouldn’t sell it now. What kind of business broker does that?” Ricardo (not his real name) retained me to help him evaluate an unsolicited offer he had received from one of his top suppliers. During our first call, he said, “I am not looking to sell the company, we’re growing, I love what we’re doing for our customers, and the team I have around me is Read More

What Works for Navy Seals Might Kill Your Business

Navy Seals know a thing or two about building productive teams. A key principle of their productivity is the “buddy system”. But what works for our Navy Seals can cause problems in a business setting. Mike (not his real name) and I had been buddies for about ten years. Close friends. He graduated from pharmacy school the same year I graduated from law school. Though we were taking different career paths, we wanted Read More

The Paradox That Blocks Escape From Corporate Prison

“I’m tired of my corporate job at ______, I want to be an entrepreneur, be my own boss, how do I buy a business?” I get this question about once a week. The ensuing conversation often feels more like a counseling session than a business conversation. In most cases, the individual doesn't really want to be an entrepreneur; they are unhappy with their job and just want to fantasize about doing something different. I Read More