FREE TRAINING: 3 Keys to Sell Your Business with Confidence

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

What Happened?

The offer was not expected. Bruce (not his real name) was surprised when he got a call from a respected private equity (PE) professional asking if he could fly from Chicago to have lunch. “If he wants to fly down just for lunch, I thought I should hear what he had in mind,” Bruce told me during our first phone call. As it turns out, the PE guy’s firm already owned a company in St. Louis much like Bruce’s, and the PE Read More

One Thoughtless Comment Cost Him $35 Million

Don (not his real name) was smart, but his errant comment cost him $35 million. In just 12 years, he had built his company to be the largest in his industry. Don was a rock star, and his company’s future was bright. But Don had taken the company as far as he wanted to take it. Though just 44 years old, he was ready to sell the company and realize his life’s ambition to play golf on six continents (did you know, there Read More

Success is Hard

“It is a big idea and takes us in a whole new direction. Only a few companies in the entire country are doing it, we must go for it!” Jordan (not her real name) was darn near breathless as we talked about her business plan. She retained me a few weeks earlier to help her think through expansion options, ranging from raising third-party capital, giving key employees equity instead of compensation, or selling the Read More

When the Divorce Lawyer Isn’t the Right Kind

“He got me through an awful divorce, so Bart [not his real name] is the lawyer I want by my side through this negotiation.”  Bobby (not his real name) is selling his company to a private equity (PE) group that is rolling up companies in his industry. He told me he had one shot to make this work. “If they didn’t buy my company, they were going to buy my competitor, and that would have put me in a tough Read More

Code Words You Hear When the Business Owner Needs Hospice, Not a Broker

People know when it’s time to call the undertaker. The signs are obvious. Though it’s an exceedingly painful task, we confront the difficult circumstances because we know we have no choice. It’s less obvious to know when to call hospice, that awful time when you recognize the patient is likely to die and needs comfort. It’s a hard thing to see, much less admit. It should therefore not be surprising that most business Read More

My Business is Hot!

“They have been hounding me for months, they say my business is hot, and they really want to be in Nashville.” Sarah (not her real name) has paid her dues for over 25 years. She is being courted by a national competitor who wants to move into Nashville by acquiring her business. “I’d sure rather sell to them than compete against them,” she recently told me over lunch. “After doing this for two decades, I’m ready to Read More