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Why NPV Matters, Sometimes

Based on Reggie’s comment, it seemed his mind

To which he replied, “Well, I would have thought that $35 million would be enough of a reason, but you are the pro, I’ll set aside the time to go through your process.”

We pulled out a whiteboard and listed the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

im, you are a unicorn, 98% of the M&A intermediaries or brokers don’t know what net present value is, much less provide this level of analysis for their clients.”

I define “near-term” as the next five years. Simply said, should the owner sell now or hold a few more years?

This analysis tells the business owner what the business is worth today to the business owner, and that number is the benchmark they have when considering offers to sell their business.

What’s right for the client is literally all that matters, even if it means losing out on a really nice engagement. Thinking long term benefits everyone, eventually.

Why NPV Matters, Sometimes

“What do you mean you don’t want to sell my business? I thought that’s what you did for a living?” Reggie (not his real name) would have been the ideal client. His business was growing and extremely profitable, EBITDA of $3.57 million last year and forecasted to be $4.25 million this year. Reggie called me a couple months ago after returning from an industry conference in Orlando where he met several private equity Read More

The Thin Line Between Warm & Fuzzy and Hot & Messy

“My partner and I have grown apart. He isn’t the same guy today that he was when I offered him a full partnership in 2007. His arrogance has created a toxic environment. He plays favorites with the employees, and he comes and goes as he pleases. I’m afraid it’s going to affect the company’s survival. Can you help?” Archie (not his real name) asked me to meet he and his wife at their home to assure full confidence in Read More

The Danger of the Second Act

  Randy (not his real name) and I were sitting in a coffee shop across the street from his office. As soon as we sat down to enjoy our overpriced lattes, he got right to the point, “My exit from the tech company was way beyond my expectations, but I’m getting anxious to get back in the game. Do you know of any businesses that would appeal to me?” I had heard rumors about the successful sale of Randy’s business (hey, Read More

Beware the Pig-in-a-Poke Valuation

“Jim, I decided to go with another advisory firm. They say they can get more for my company than you think it’s worth.” This recent comment from Tracy (not her real name) was the first time in fifteen years I have lost an engagement because the business owner was picking another intermediary. It seems the other broker convinced Tracy that he could get her a higher price for her company. I had told her the business Read More

You May Not Be As Popular As You Think

“I get calls, emails and letters all the time from people telling me they want to buy my company, or that they represent someone who wants to buy my company. How can I know who’s for real or not? I’d like to sell my company, but I also have to keep running it and I can’t afford to waste time on somebody's wild goose chase.” Felix (not his real name) heard me speak at a recent conference and came up to me afterwards. Read More

What Works for Navy Seals May Not Work in Business

An image of two Navy Seals standing in water with guns in hands.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 good buddies since high school. He graduated from pharmacy school the same year I graduated from law school. Read More

Dad Meant Well

I could tell the question made him uncomfortable. Andy (not his real name) leaned forward, put his elbows on the desk and said, “I don’t know why Dad didn’t plan better. He was a go-getter, started a lot of businesses, and this one really took off. But planning didn’t seem to be his strong suit.” At the age of 75, Andy is ready to sell the company and retire. Problem is that his board of directors won’t authorize him Read More

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side of the Fence

“I’m ready to own my own business, working for somebody else doesn’t suit me anymore.” Bart (not his real name) seemed to be smart guy, but I quickly figured out he didn't have a clue. We were meeting at my favorite Starbucks in Brentwood, which was rather awkward because Bart ran into a couple people from the health care company from which he’d recently been fired. “My vision for reaching new customers was not the Read More

Valuation Math

Frank and Wanda (not their real names) are avid golfers. Members at one of Nashville’s finest country clubs, they play at least once a week. They even take an annual golf vacation, having recently returned from a vacation to the home of golf in Scotland. I met Frank and Wanda on the recommendation of their wealth planner. They are interested in selling the company they started in the late ‘90s. They told me they Read More

Second Generation Complacence

“Oh I just love this house,” Emily (her real name) said as she was checking out. “It’s a shame it’s fallen into such disrepair. We have so many memories over the years, but we can’t stay here next time we’re at the beach.” Emily loves going to Seaside, a wonderful community on 30A in the Florida panhandle. Her family has been going there since her children were young. For the past few years, she and her husband Jim Read More