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Selling a Family Business Problems Likely Around the Corne

But what Bob said next set me back: “By the way, my son is head of sales and my daughter’s husband handles

Look, to be honest, I hear a lot of comments like I heard from Karl. Not surprisingly, much of this fear is driven by “advice” from those who have an incentive to get a business into the marketplace.

I had a client in another state with a very profitable business and the key employee was his 40-year old son

These recent real life situations give rise to three pieces of advice if you have family members in key management positions in your business.

Selling a business is traumatic and can be time consuming. When family members are involved, you can add an emotional component that makes the process even more challenging.

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 in Read More

The Big Bad Wolf … Beware or Befriend?

We all know the story of the cunning and threatening Big Bad Wolf. He is roaming about, ready to pounce on his helpless victim. Some version of this story has been told in countless fairy tales, and it never fails to raise our anxiety level. Many business owners live with the same fairy-tale concerns about their competitors. Once you’ve gone toe-to-toe with a competitor over a period of time, you find yourself Read More

FOMO is a Bad Motivation to Sell Your Business

“If I don’t sell now, do I really miss the window?” At the age of 62, Karl (not his real name) tells me he is ready to sell his Nashville business. He said he regularly gets calls and emails from brokers/bankers saying, “We have a buyer for your company.”  Smart enough to know that line is only a come-on to engage a conversation, Karl said he doesn’t spend time with any of those outreach efforts. However, he told me Read More

Beware the Falling Chain Saw

A guy in my neighborhood had a huge elm tree split during a recent thunderstorm. A broken limb leaned perilously close to his garage, so he had to deal with it quickly to avert disaster. Had that happened to me, my first (and only) instinct would have been to call a tree removal service. But not my neighbor. The morning after the storm, I watched him lean a big ladder against the main tree trunk while using his Read More

3X Thinking

“I’m a bit slow, but now I finally get what you’ve been telling me.” Kevin (not his real name) is ready to sell his HR services company.  We have identified 15 potential private equity buyers and a handful of potential strategic buyers. The marketing message to these two types of buyers must be different, assuming you want to break through the clutter. If your investment banker or intermediary tries to tell you the Read More

Calling the Miracle Worker

Ashley (not his real name) called recently and told me he was ready to sell his business. “Actually, I’ve been ready to sell for three years now,” he said, “but the jackleg broker I retained in 2018 didn’t know squat about how to sell a business, so I’m still at ground zero.” Ashley told me the backstory when we met a few days later at a downtown coffee shop. He said he decided to sell his business in early 2018. Read More

The Money Trap

Danny (not his real name) is a good friend from my days in business school. He and a partner launched a business in the late 80s.  The partner left about ten years after they started, so Danny has carried 100% of the leadership responsibilities since. I remember him telling me when they launched that they didn't have much of a business plan. But Danny had a sense they were on to a good idea, confident they were Read More

Separation Anxiety

I felt sorry for Amanda (not her real name), and I sort of felt sorry for myself. You see, I’m not used to seeing adults cry in a meeting, and I didn’t know what to say. I had just told Amanda the range of value for which her company could be sold. It wasn’t anywhere near her expectation, “I have worked so hard, this business has been my baby, my life, for 30 years, and that’s all I can get?” Trying to be rational Read More

How Owning Real Estate Might Impact the Value of Your Business

Tommy (not his real name) bought his first franchise 21 years ago. Today, he has eight franchise locations across middle Tennessee. Though his franchiser didn’t like the idea, when he started his first franchise Tommy decided to own the real estate, and he now owns the land and buildings for all eight locations. Tommy and I were recently talking about the strategy and timing to sell his company. During our Read More