“This Offer Sounds Too Good to be True, What Should I Do Now?”

Mama once told me “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” But Mama (may she rest in peace) didn’t know much about selling a business. When Bobby (not his real name) called, I could tell something big was brewing. “I need to see you today” he said, “I’ll buy you lunch, dinner, whatever, I need to get on your schedule.” We decided to rendezvous at Starbucks and before we had our coffee orders filled, he Read More

“You are basically telling me I can’t afford to sell my business… what do you expect me to do, work ‘til I die?”

I hear this way too often. Here’s the scene, a business owner is ready to retire and calls me about selling their business. I’ll review 3 to 5 years of financial statements and tour the business. In the course of this I’ll learn about the company’s product/services, their customers and organization. It’s not rocket science, it doesn’t take long to determine the company’s market value. That’s when the awkward Read More

What I Learned at the US Olympic Marathon Trials

I recently watched my son-in-law compete in the 2016 Olympic marathon trials in Los Angeles. Unfortunately he did not finish in the top three to make it onto the US Olympic team, but I was obviously proud to see him compete against the super-elite field of runners. After all, this was not just one race on one day for my son-in-law; this race was was the culmination of 15 years of brutal physical and mental Read More

“I’ve been looking for two years to buy a good business, why can’t I find one?”

Randy (not his real name) had been in the market to buy a business in the Nashville area since early 2013. A few weeks ago he called to ask if he could retain me to assist in his search effort. Though he had met with about 25 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 Read More

“I’m Ready to Sell but the Old Guy Thinks It’s Too Soon.”

John (not his real name) called me the day before Christmas to tell me he was interested in selling his company. We met a few days later at which time I learned he had a partner who was 75 years old. John was 69. John gave me a tour of his plant, and it was obvious he had a strong company. Their experienced workforce produced a high-margin product that provided a mission-critical function for the manufacturing plants Read More

Eight of Ten Baby Boomer Businesses Cannot Be Sold (how to make sure your business is one of the two)

There is a lot of excitement about the huge transfer of wealth that’s supposed to occur as baby boomer business owners begin to take retirement over the next 5 to 10 years. Call me underwhelmed. The SBA says there are 12 million businesses in America owned by baby boomers. Business brokers, accountants and financial planners love to talk about the imminent “tsunami” of business sales, the theory being as these 12 Read More

Three Ways Selling a Business is Not Like Selling a House

Most business owners assume selling a business is like selling a house. This assumption can lead to mistake when selling a business because selling real estate is easy when compared to selling a business, and here’s why… #1 There is a widely-recognized infrastructure supporting the sale of real estate. Selling a business is more of wild-west experience. Every state has extensive laws and regulations that cover the Read More

Six Reasons Why the Sale of Your Business Might Require an Earn Out

Will I have to take an earn out when I sell my business?  This question comes up within five minutes of every conversation with a business owner who is considering selling their company.  Most business owners are understandably skeptical about a selling with an earn out, because there are legends about earn outs promised but not paid. A good business going to market with a reasonable valuation represented by a Read More

Three Ways to Increase Your Business Value by 150%

I’m 61 years old, I’ve been doing for this for 21 years, I’ll be ready to sell my business in four years.”  So began my recent conversation with a prominent business owner in Nashville.  “Tell me what I need to do now to be ready to sell in four years.” Several times a month I find myself in a conversation just like this.  A business owner, who recognizes the value of being proactive, confronts the reality that Read More

Code Words You Hear When the Business Owner Needs Hospice, Not a Broker

People know when it’s time to call the undertaker. The signs are obvious. Though it’s an exceedingly painful task, we confront the difficult circumstances because we know we have no choice. It’s less obvious to know when to call hospice, that awful time when you recognize the patient is likely to die and needs comfort. It’s a hard thing to see, much less admit. It should therefore not be surprising that most business Read More