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Three Reasons Why Overpaying Might Actually Make Sense

Last year I was engaged to sell a profitable Kentucky-based business. The owner was ready to retire but was 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 soon Read More

Time to Look in the Mirror

There are times when some conversations are very difficult. Such was the case when I sat down with Ryan (not his real name). He summed up our meeting saying this, “I guess it’s time I look in the mirror and tell myself the truth. I’ve done a lot of work in this business but don’t have much to show for it.”  Ryan and I were meeting to review the valuation report I prepared for him. Though his business had revenue of Read More

The 3 to 4 in 5 to 6 Flip

“I want to sell my company in 2023. I’ve loved being a business owner for 25 years, but I’m ready to enjoy my harvest and let somebody else take it from here. But no way in hell do I want to sell to private equity.” Stan (not his real name) is looking at an eight-figure payday when his company is sold. Given the state of the market and the tip-top shape by which he has run his business, we will likely have a deal Read More

Divorce is Easier

“I love my wife dearly, I know we will never think about divorce, but that would be easier than ending this business relationship.” I felt sorry for Madison and his business partner Wendall (not their real names). Successful in business for over 25 years, they are now at an impasse that doesn’t have an easy solution. Madison wants out of the business so he can pursue his calling to foreign missions with his church. Read More

The Stiff Arm

“I blew it, didn’t I, Jim? I just pushed too hard.” I felt bad for Raymond (not his real name). He retained me about a year ago to sell his company and prepare his path toward retirement. He and his wife have already done post-sale planning. She is an art collector, and they have several European museums on their itinerary. Fortunately, Raymond’s company is on the radar of several large private equity-backed Read More

Don’t Make Your Business Your Piggyback

I met Wayne (not his real name) through an introduction from his financial planner. Wayne owns a successful business in Mississippi that he had taken over after his dad's death nine years ago. Long hours and employee management issues were taking a toll on him and resultantly, his family. In early 2020, he promised his wife he’d consider selling his business. Wayne started the process by asking his Memphis-based Read More

A Love-Hate Relationship

  “I have a love-hate relationship with my retirement. I love not having to worry about employees, cranky customers, or fickle vendors. But I hate the absence of purpose in my life, the sense that I don’t have anything to do that matters to anyone.” Marvin (not his real name) has been a good friend for years. We went to law school together, were in each other’s weddings, and have traveled together with our families Read More

Do It Scared

Randy (not his real name) called a few weeks ago about his desire to buy a business. He told me he has a great job now, “But I’m not creating any long-term value for myself.” Randy knows how M&A works. The Nashville-based company where he is employed has made several recent acquisitions, and he has been actively involved in the due diligence process. He learned about one of my engagements through his uncle who Read More

How Growth Plan (not growth) Affects Valuation

“We are poised for significant growth. We have identified a competitor we’d like to acquire, they are about a third of our size, so it wouldn’t be a big stretch. I’d also like to hire at least one more senior-level sales person. We know we can close about 60% of our presentations and that will more than pay for the new hire and give us a nice margin.” Donna (not her real name) was obviously excited about the Read More

When Interest in Your Business is Only a Mirage

Vera (not her real name) sent me an email recently; I could tell she was excited. It seems a private equity (PE) firm is interested in buying her business and ready for her to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). It must be love. A bit of backstory. I met with Vera and her sister two years ago to discuss their interest in selling the business they took over from their father in 2004. The business has provided the Read More