Hi, I’m Jim Cumbee. We are Tennessee Valley Group
These are the most frequent questions I get about business brokerage and transfer mediation. I would like to offer you a free consultation to discuss your business needs. Let’s chat.
I want to sell my business within a year or so, how do I get started?
Let’s first figure out your company’s current market value. We can do that by looking at your current Balance Sheet, 3 or 4 years of financial statements, and letting me have a 45-60 minute tour of your business (during which time I’ll ask a lot of questions). Within a couple of days I can give you a solid perspective on your market value. If my estimate is consistent with your expectation, we go to the next level. My standard engagement agreement is for one year because selling a business takes time and patience. I will write (with your help and approval) an Executive Summary that generally describes the business opportunity without divulging the identity of the company. I will also write a much more in-depth marketing package that will eventually be given to prospective buyers only after they’ve signed an air-tight non-disclosure agreement.
But now the work gets really interesting, and here’s where I bring you an unfair advantage. I have bought scores of businesses, both as an entrepreneur and handling acquisitions for a publicly-traded company. I know how a corporate buyer thinks, I know what the buyer is looking for. So when we begin to research prospective acquirers for your company, I can see the deal from the buyer perspective, which will strengthen our efforts going forward.
Once we have found your most logical buyer, we enter due diligence when the buyer will take a closer look at all phases of your business. Meanwhile, the lawyers will begin to create all the documents necessary for closing. Though I am an attorney, I will not be your attorney of record on this deal. But I can coordinate with your attorney and accountant thru this due diligence and paperwork process.
At the day of closing, I’ll be at the table with you. We will have likely spent many many hours together up to this point, I’ll be able to help you navigate any last minute “gotchas” that can occur before a deal actually gets closed. If you don’t have a financial planner, I can help you identify one that will lead you thru the process to safely invest your new wealth.
I plan to exit my business in three to five years, what steps should I be taking now?
If you can spend three or more years planning for your exit from the business, i can guide you thru a process that will likely increase the value of your business, possibly by a lot! The essence of “exit planning” is to align your personal and business goals with market conditions. I will first understand what you’ve got, compared to what you want to get at your point of exit. If there’s a gap in those two numbers, I can create and execute a specific plan to increase your business value, which might include measures to enhance revenue, increase margins, reduce customer concentration or strengthen your management succession plan. Each of these measures will increase your business valuation at the point of exit.
It’s simple, my goal is to help you maximize your wealth and legacy. This will involve evaluation of your estate plan to ensure that you minimize taxes and preserve the sale proceeds in a way that meets your short and long-term personal goals.
I will help you decide your exit option, which will likely be selling to a family member, key employee, or a third party. Timing your exit is key as we evaluate market and banking conditions that produce that perfect window of opportunity.
A good exit plan is a comprehensive road map that will involve your accountant, wealth planner, insurance advisor, and attorney. I quarterback the process to ensure that when it’s time to take your business to market, all of your personal and financial goals are in place. That’s what we call a successful exit!
I want to grow my existing business thru a strategic acquisition, where do I start?
When you have a period of low interest rates and a slow-growth economy, you should consider growth through acquisition. Sometimes a client will know exactly the company they want to buy and they ask my help to evaluate it, get the deal negotiated, and closed in an efficient and timely manner. Sometimes a client will know the kind of company that makes sense for an acquisition, so I’ll create (with the client’s help) a list of potential targets then start reaching out to them to facilitate an acquisition conversation. Other times a client knows they wants to grow through acquisition but they don’t have a clear idea who or how to target. In those cases I serve as an “outside strategic planning department” to help you think thru the best kind of acquisition targets.
Once I know your objective, I go to work to figure out what you can afford, and the kind of help you can expect from the debt markets. No detail is too small, from identification of the target, the deal negotiation, to due diligence, then closing, I will be your right hand and primary advocate. A wise friend once told me making a bad deal is worse than making no deal at all, do I’m there to strengthen your efforts to make a desk that fits your strategic goals.