A Rule I Learned While Dating About How Not to Sell Your Business

Though happily married for 28 years, I have some memories of my experiences dating. I’d often have friends say “I have somebody you should meet” to which I’d usually say “well, tell me about her.” If the response was “she has potential,” I’d politely decline the opportunity – run for the hills, actually. Potential is a terrible word to use when describing a potential date, and it’s a terrible word to use when Read More

Sunday Night Diary: Beware the Jackleg Broker

I was reminded this week why business brokers have a bad reputation. I am working on behalf of a successful manufacturing company in the Nashville area that is interested in growth through acquisition. The company retained me several months ago to develop their acquisition strategy, identify possible candidates for acquisition, then work through the process to get a transaction, or two, completed before the end of Read More

Why Most Baby Boomer Businesses Will Not Sell (and how to make sure your business beats the odds)

There’s a lot of talk these days about the huge transfer of wealth that’s going to occur over the next 5-10 years as baby boomer business owners decide to take retirement. The SBA says there are 12 million businesses in America owned by baby boomers. Business brokers, accounting firms and financial planners love to talk about this coming “tsunami”, the theory being as these 12 million owners sell their businesses, Read More

Three Reasons It Might Be OK to Overpay for a Business

Last year I was engaged to sell a profitable Kentucky-based business. The ownership was ready to retire, but were fully committed to helping the buyer make a smooth transition. The 50-year-old business had a positive reputation in the community, a loyal customer base, and a great location. I located a prospective buyer through a referral from a banker, and once I showed this prospect my client’s business, he was Read More

Three Types of Business Buyers

When you get ready to sell your business, you need to be prepared to the deal with different types of buyers. You will be greatly disadvantaged in the selling process if you don’t know the type of buyer with whom you are dealing, and their objective as they evaluate your business. It goes without saying, a smart buyer is not likely to telegraph their intention……you have to figure it out. There are three types of Read More

Selling A Business – Four Things to Consider

Business owners decide to sell for reasons as varied as the owners themselves. Some are ready to retire while others are ready to move on to new horizons. Others may find themselves facing a health or family crisis. But whatever the reason, there are a few basics that must be considered when selling a business. #1 The financial performance of your company is the biggest factor to consider. A business owner who Read More

What is My Business Worth, and Why Do I Need to Know?

Do you know the value of your business? I mean, the real, sellable market value of your business. I’m guessing you don’t. In my daily work with small business owners, I never ceased to be amazed how many don’t know what their business is worth, and it’s often my un-pleasant task to deliver bad news to a business owner about the value of their business. I don’t suggest that you over-focus on your business value, but Read More

3 Things I Had to Unlearn After Harvard Business School

You would think that for what I paid, I would have learned the keys to business success while at Harvard Business School. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my years at HBS …. rigorous academic training, great lifelong friends, excitement of global finance, and time with world-class business leaders. I wouldn’t trade my years at HBS for anything. But it sure was expensive, and when you pay a lot for something, you Read More

Three Ways to Know On the Spot if You’re Talking to a Capable Business Broker

Can you fog a mirror? If so, congratulations, you are legally qualified to call yourself a business broker in the state of Tennessee! That’s right, no license required and no training needed. To call yourself a business broker in Tennessee all you need is the ability to wake up and get out of bed. And we wonder why so many Tennessee business owners are frustrated when it’s time to sell their business? I was Read More

Beware the Door Broker

“Can you meet me tomorrow, 5:30AM at Starbucks in Hendersonville, I don’t want my employees to know anything about me selling the business.” Against my better judgment, I agree to the meeting. I’m an early riser, going to a 5:30AM meeting doesn’t bother me. But, I should have realized the clandestine urgency in his voice was an omen of something not good. After we got our coffee (I’m a Starbucks fan) we sat down Read More