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When Family Legacy is a Boat Anchor to Decision Making

She could barely hold back the tears. Wanda (not her real name) was telling me how her grandfather started the business after World War II. Her dad took it over in 1974 when her grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Wanda started in 2002, and her dad poured his heart and soul into training her to take over the company. Unfortunately, he had a rare heart disease and died in 2007. “I wasn’t ready to take Read More

How to Find the Right (Best) Strategic Buyer

“I don’t know, Jim, I think it’s time to sell. I just can’t seem to pull the trigger.” I met Jack (not his real name) a few months ago because our grandsons play on the same baseball team. We’ve never talked business, but recently Jack casually asked, “How's the market, Jim, are you staying busy?” That opened the door to talk about the current market for private businesses, at which point Jack opened up about his Read More

The Risk of Waiting

“At the rate I am growing, shouldn’t I wait a couple of years to sell my business? I’m bound to sell it for more if I wait.” Colin (not his real name) owns a fantastic business. He bought it 17 years ago with no idea it would become as successful as it is today. “I was just tired of my job in an office building, I didn’t become an entrepreneur to get rich,” he said as he told me how he got into the business. But Read More

Negotiate or Auction?

“It is a match made in heaven. I’ve known for years they’d want to buy my company eventually. Should I negotiate just with them or take my company to market and bring in other bidders, you know, get an auction going?” Though having just celebrated his 73rd birthday, Tom (not his real name) was still going strong. The company he founded in 1982 was generating strong cash flow, and there was nothing on the horizon to Read More

Just an LOI?

“Hell’s bells, Jim, it’s just a non-binding LOI, please get him to sign it and let’s get on with this thing.” Bart (not his real name) was unhappy with me.  My first clue was this call came in at 6:30am. “You told me our LOI was going to be signed three days ago, what’s the hold-up? I have bankers and investors waiting to hear.” I explained to Bart that my client liked the deal and that I was 90% certain he Read More

Can You Handle the Truth?

“I could easily sell to private equity. I get their calls all the time.” Before I met Charlie (not his real name), I had been told by his wealth advisor that he was a brilliant mechanical engineer who was ready to sell his company. I was one of several intermediaries Charlie was interviewing for the assignment. “This is my one shot to fund the retirement I want,” he told me, “I damn well better get a good Read More

More Difficult Than the Difficult Decision

Toby (not his real name) is not short on confidence. When we met for coffee with a mutual friend, he told me everything about how to sell a business, even though he has never sold a business. Toby is the CEO of a successful manufacturing company. Though not a shareholder in the company, the owner has given Toby full control. To his credit, Toby acts and thinks like the owner. “The founder hired me in 2015 because Read More

Too Much Want To

Randy (not his real name) really wants to buy a business. I think he wants it too much. Randy called me on the recommendation of a mutual friend. The company Randy wants to buy is owned by a guy who is 72 and ready to retire. Let’s call the owner Michael. Michael’s business distributes a product that Randy’s current employer manufactures.  Randy tells me he knows the market for this product and has many solid Read More

Selling a Family Business – Problems Likely Around the Corner

When Bob (not his real name) called me, I could tell he was tired. He wanted to sell his family business, but he didn’t know how to find the right buyer and make sure he got a fair value for his life’s work. Bob started his business in 1981 and built it into a thriving niche manufacturer of plumbing components. But at age 74, Bob was ready to sell his business and spend more time with his ailing wife. The business Read More

The Downside of Customer Loyalty When Selling a Business

Dr. Good (not his real name) was not happy with my feedback. “You mean to tell me that because my longtime patients are so loyal to me that I can’t sell this practice? What do I do, just close the doors and walk away?” Dr. Good’s practice is a niche of a niche of a niche, and resultantly, he has patients from all around the United States coming to his Nashville clinic. His patient calendar is filled eight months Read More