The Good News and Bad News of Selling Your Business in a Post-Corona World.
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Don’t Expect an Outlier Valuation

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, sometimes to the home of golf in Scotland. I recently met Frank and Wanda via a Zoom call on the recommendation of their wealth planner. They are interested in selling the company they started in the late ‘90s. They told me they decided Read More

One Thoughtless Comment, Say Goodbye to $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, Read More

Avoid No-Man’s Land

A few months ago I watched the movie “1917.” It tells a true story about the audacious heroism of a British soldier during World War I. Beyond being a great story, the filming was incredible. There were times I felt I was the guy in the muddy trenches. There is much to learn from this wonderful movie, not the least of which is war is awful and should be avoided at all costs. But there is another lesson that has Read More

Success in Corporate Life May Not Transfer

“It’s time for me to leave, I can’t take one more HR seminar, help me find a business to buy.”  So started my relationship with Andy (not his real name), a senior-level executive at a publicly traded healthcare company in Nashville.  “I like my corporate job OK, but it’s corporate life I’m not happy with,” he told me over lunch. “I’m ready for a change, I want to be an entrepreneur,” Andy said even before the waiter Read More

Ask the Right Question First

“I am making great money, and I love what I’m doing. But with this economy, lord knows where it's going after the election. Maybe I should just sell now.” Randy (not his real name) called me on the advice of his Raymond James wealth advisor. Randy is getting weekly calls and emails from private equity buyers asking about his interest in selling. “I really hadn’t planned to sell until my youngest son finishes Read More

When Brand Value Isn’t Value

“I am not happy about your valuation, Jim. You seem to have ignored our brand value. My customers love us, and we get lots of great feedback on the story about us in Southern Living. All that goodwill has to count for something.” Roger (not his real name) has owned his business for 15 years, after spending the first part of his career at a prominent Nashville architectural firm. He told me he went into business Read More

Innovate, Renovate, or Reinvent, but Do Something!

“We’ve made a good living singing three to four nights a week for over 20 years. Rodeos, concert halls, colleges, and county fairs all across the United States. We’ve traveled overseas dozens of times, too. But now, we have no place to go, no place to sing, and no concert income.” Jay (not his real name) and his group have spent the last five months at home. His income from record sales and streaming continues, Read More

Did COVID Kill Your Business, or Was It DOA?

“Revenue was stable, though our margins were always thin. We didn’t expect to make great money when we opened the store, but we loved what we were doing. That was before COVID, it killed our business.” Beatrice (not her real name) was introduced to me through her accountant. She asked me to do a valuation on her Nashville business, and tell her what I could do to help her sell it.  Once I saw the financials, I Read More

You Own Your Company, But Do You Own Your Future?

“What does my growth plan have to do with it, Jim? I’m making a million bucks a year, who wouldn’t want to buy my company?” Nathan (not his real name) was rather annoyed at me. He had called me about selling his Nashville company. We discussed valuation, potential buyers, how the process would work, and what he might do to enhance the value of his company. It was the last part that he didn’t like. It seems Read More

Being Your Own Boss is Overrated, You Might Be a Bad Boss

“After thinking about this for a long time, I’m ready to get serious about buying a business.” During a recent phone call, Brian (not his real name) told me he has read my blog for over two years and had been inspired to consider life as an entrepreneur. “I’ve never intended to inspire anyone toward life as an entrepreneur,” I told Brian. “In fact, it’s a very hard life in many ways. I just try to help Read More