FREE TRAINING: 3 Keys to Sell Your Business with Confidence

She Has Potential, A Dangerous Way to Find a Date or Sell a Business

Though happily married for 32 years, I have distant memories of my dating experiences.  I’d occasionally have friends tell me, “I have somebody you should meet.” To which I’d always say, “Well, tell me about her.”  If the response was “she has potential,” I’d politely decline the opportunity – run for the hills, actually. Potential is a dangerous word to use when describing a potential date, and it’s a terrible word Read More

Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Into Business Together

“Good grief, I’m an attorney, I should have known better.” Paul (not his real name) is a successful mid-40s year old lawyer with one of Knoxville’s preeminent law firms. Based on what I’m about to tell you, your first instinct will be to agree with Paul, he should have known better. Thirty years of handling business transactions have taught me a lot about human behavior. There are some mistakes I see over and over, Read More

Lessons Learned in 2017 and How They Signal a Fantastic 2018

2018 is going to be a fantastic year for those of us in the business of helping others buy and sell businesses. In fact, I expect activity levels and valuations to be through the roof. Why do I speak with such confidence you ask? Simple, the lessons of 2017 tell me exactly what to expect going into 2018. Lesson #1 - Owners of strong businesses were reluctant to put their business on the market in 2017. I think this Read More

The Syndrome Known as “This Is How We Do It In Our Industry”

“You have to understand, Jim, people in this industry have a real attachment to their business. It might just be a thing to you, but for us, it’s our life.” Randy (not his real name) and I recently met at a conference. He came up to me after the session I led on preparing to sell a business and told me he had just started to think about the process. He didn’t tell me his age but I assumed he was past 70, though he Read More

Who Makes the Decision Might Determine If It’s a Home Run or Strikeout

“Dad expects me to run the company, except he won’t let me run the company.” Clay (not his real name) was one of the most interesting businessmen I’d ever met. Prior to taking over his Dad’s cement manufacturing business, Clay ran a large coffee harvesting company in Central America, and before that he was in the US Army Special Forces. Clay got a degree in economics from an Ivy League college expecting to become a Read More

Let It Go! An Awesome Song and Great Business Advice

Elsa just had a big fight with her sister, Anna. She decides to run away and live her life in exile. As she enters her icy mountain palace, she sings the now well-known song, Let It Go.* It’s one of those memorable songs …once you hear it, it’s hard to get it out of your head. I find myself singing that song in my head when I talk with business owners who have waited too long to sell their company. It breaks my Read More

Perfect Logic for Picking a Spouse, Bad Logic for Picking a Business

“Buying a business because you love it is a terrible reason to buy a business.” Jeff (not his real name) seemed surprised by my comment. “Why’s that?” he asked, “I’ve heard it said if you find your passion you’ll never work a day in your life. Are you telling me that’s not true?”  I frequently meet with folks who say they want to leave corporate life and become an entrepreneur. The desire to do your own thing and Read More

The Gambler Story: When on the Growth Scale Do You Sell?

“Kenny Rogers had it right. You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run. That’s great advice for gamblers, and for entrepreneurs. For me now, it’s time to fold ‘em and walk away.” Ross (not his real name) didn’t strike me as the type who would listen to country music. Born and raised in the Northeast, he came to Nashville when his wife took a corporate role Read More

The Earn Out: Painful Stretching to Make a Shaky Deal

“Will I have to take an earn out when I sell my business?” Drew (not his real name) was ready to sell his company but he was scared. “I hear horror stories about business owners selling on an earn out which ends up not being paid. I can’t afford to let that happen.” Not one to mince words, I decided to level with him. “Drew, a good business with a reasonable valuation represented by a capable intermediary will Read More

An Affair is Always a Bad Idea

Randy (not his real name) was about to make a life-altering decision. He had a need, and he wanted to fulfill it. The long term consequences were of less concern than getting what he wanted, right now. He called me, I suppose, wanting me to tell him it was a good idea. But with years of experience advising men and women in this situation, all I could do was tell Randy the truth from my heart. “Bringing in a minority Read More