Avoid The Show-off When Showing Business To A Buyer

Posted on July 29th, 2016

When selling your business, one of your biggest hurdles will be that first management presentation or facility tour. This is the first time you’ll meet the buyer face-to-face in a room to talk. This can be as short as 1-2 hours or more often it is a four to six-hour


Messy Accounting Means Your Sale Is Numbered

Posted on July 12th, 2016

That’s the challenge we’re tackling on three different client engagements right now. In each case, these businesses have a lot going for them. From market leadership, to innovation, to high-quality products, these organizations check a lot of the proverbial “quality business” boxes. The problem is that their financial reporting is …


Sellers Beat The 90-day Average With Preparation

Posted on June 27th, 2016

By Scott Bushkie

According to Q1 2016 Market Pulse survey I help coordinate through the IBBA and M&A Source, businesses in Main Street and the lower middle market are taking about nine months to close. New this survey, we asked how much time was taken up in due diligence, specifically what was the time frame from letter of intent to close?

For the smallest deals with a value of less than $500,000, due diligence takes two months. In most other market sectors, due diligence averaged 90 days.


Take a Vacation to Build Your Business

Posted on May 24th, 2016

Spring break is close ahead, and as I prepare to take some time off with my family I’m remembering several years ago when a vacation like this was harder to come by. But as my team and company have continued to evolve and mature, I’m able to spend more time away from the office.

Taking a break benefits both you and your team. You want to build a business that can operate without you. Sometimes that means you need to step away so your people have room to stretch and take on new roles.

If you have to be on the phone all the time, constantly checking in and working on vacation, you may actually be hurting the value of your business. A business that is overly-dependent on the owner is not as attractive to a potential buyer. take on new roles.


Know if Multiple is Apple or Orange

Posted on May 24th, 2016

As the old saying goes, you can’t compare apples to oranges. I always think of that when business owners talk about the multiple they hope to receive when selling their business.

Sometimes, a business owner hears someone got a multiple of 6x or 8x for their business. So of course they want the same results. But what they don’t know—what doesn’t get shared over a round of beers—is what that number was multiplied by.


A Good Time For Good Communication

Posted on May 24th, 2016

Our team at Cornerstone is going through a leadership transformation class with Initiative One. And one of the things we’ve learned is the value of impeccable communication, internally and externally.

We have to remember that most business sellers don’t know what they don’t know. We can’t take anything for granted because assumptions can lead to unpleasant surprises that stop us from getting to the closing table.

Here’s what impeccable communication looks like when selling your business:


For Value, Seek Boundaries Not Burnout

Posted on May 24th, 2016

Too often, I hear from business owners who “vacation” with their family, only to stay back in the hotel glued to a computer or phone while their spouse and kids have fun without them.

But working harder isn’t necessarily a good thing, at least not long-term. By setting boundaries and finding the right work-life balance, I’m able to bring more energy and focus to my work. It makes me a better leader to my employees and a better advisor to my clients.


Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Posted on May 17th, 2016

We’re doing our strategic planning and talking about our brand at Cornerstone. As our facilitator pointed out, there are three ways to compete as a business: price, quality, and service. Good companies compete on one. Great companies choose two. But you can’t do all three on a sustainable basis.


Seller Financing Benefits Both Sides of Transaction

Posted on May 3rd, 2016

If you’re considering selling your business, don’t expect to walk away with all cash at close. This isn’t like selling a house. Most deals involve some sort of alternative financing. You may be asked to accept an earn out, roll over a portion of equity, or (most commonly) provide seller financing.

Even when the M&A market is strong and lenders are aggressively financing business acquisitions, seller financing is often still part of the deal structure. And when there’s a downturn or lenders tighten up, then seller financing is even more prevalent and important.


How to Work with a Seller After You Buy Their Company

Posted on April 6th, 2016

When buying a company, one key factor in your success is the transition that happens immediately afterwards. You need time with the previous owner to understand how and why they operated the business the way they did. And you need their support to transition customer relationships.

Your relationship with the previous owner will vary depending on both of your goals.