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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 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 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

How to Treat PPP Loan Forgiveness

Ralph (not his real name) is ready to sell the business he started in 1989. He told me he had planned to retire in 2025, but he then said the kind of thing I have heard from others recently, “I want out now, the Covid slowdown has taken the wind out of my sails.” Ralph gave me a ten-year financial summary. The financial results would support a valuation of $8 million if you looked at results for 2012 through 2018. 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 Read More

The Value, Yet Discomfort, of Selling to a Competitor

Robert (not his real name) is ready to sell his business. During our recent call to discuss the process, he described himself as “done, done being a business owner.” Robert took over the business from his father 20 years ago. Though he didn’t say it, I got the impression that being a business owner wasn’t Robert’s preferred career choice. I’ve seen this phenomenon before, when someone is essentially forced to take Read More