Stuck in Place

“I can’t afford to sell my business ... what am I going 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 three to five years of financial statements and tour the business. In the course of this I’ll learn about the company’s product/services, its customers and organization. It's not rocket science, it Read More

Beware the Guy With a Shotgun

“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 Read More

The Importance of Accountability When Selling to Key Employees

Rob and Randy have a successful 22-year business relationship. While they are not ready for retirement, they have asked me to help them plan to sell their professional services business in four to six years. Instead of selling their business in the open market where they’d likely be bought by a competitor, Rob and Randy want to sell to their three key employees. However, those employees don’t have the financial Read More

Lessons From the Last Decade That Will Affect This Decade

In recent days, you’ve likely seen a number of news reports reviewing highlights of the last decade. 2010 seems like yesterday to me, maybe because that was the year I started my business brokerage firm, Tennessee Valley Group. Although it’s a cliché, the past ten years have flown by for me. I’ve made many new friends while shepherding deals with total value of about $250 million. I've completed deals in Read More

Is Your Business Your Dialysis Machine?

Cindy (not her real name) has a good thing going. Her business is growing at a steady pace, and she’s been able to pocket around $500,000 a year the past several years. We sat down recently to discuss her interest in selling. “I just became a grandmother. My daughter and her husband are going to need more of my time than I can give if I’m still running the company. I’d like to sell it now and live off the Read More

What You Don’t Learn Investing in Real Estate

“You know what they say, you make money as long as you can buy right. No way I’m paying more than five times earnings for that business.” Sean (not his real name) is a real estate investor who has done exceedingly well the past decade. We recently had lunch to discuss his interest in redeploying some of his investment dollars into an operating business. “I still love opportunities in real estate, but I want to be Read More

The Thrill and Danger of Flying Solo

“I got my pilot’s license when I was 15. Not many women can say that. You could say I’m used to flying solo. Selling my business should be no different.” Marcia (not her real name) is one of the most impressive ladies I have ever met. She called me at the urging of her financial planner because she is considering selling her business. As we chatted over lunch, I learned how she had taken over the business from her Read More

Nobody Can Do What the Rainmaker Can Do

“My husband and I have a terrific business relationship. I make the business run well, and he’s the rainmaker who brings in the business.” I met Doris (not her real name) during a meeting at the church we attend. We had never met, but we have a mutual friend who introduced us. During a break in the meeting, she told me she and her husband were ready to sell the business they had owned for 25 years. “We wholesale Read More

You May Kiss the Bride, The Wire Transfer is Complete

It’s all we talked about around our house for nine months. My daughter was getting married, and she and her mom (my wife) had plenty of time to plan a wonderful celebration for family and friends. My daughter is very responsible; I gave her a wedding budget, and for eight months and two weeks, she reported her spending with precision and confidence. I was so proud of the way she managed the process, staying upbeat Read More

The Buyer’s Stretch Marks

“We were told if our revenue was greater than $5 million, we’d be an attractive acquisition target. We got there, but we’ve had to sacrifice profitability.” I met Charlie (not his real name) at the office of his wealth planner. They were developing a retirement plan for Charlie and his wife. They asked me to help them determine his company’s market value and discuss timing to sell it for maximum value. Charlie was Read More