Business Owners Can’t Plan On Yesterday

Posted on August 18th, 2016

When a business owner says it’s time to sell, one of the first questions I ask is, “What’s your timeframe? When do you want to be out?” And the answer I hear most often is, “Yesterday.”

That is a problem. Most business owners underestimate the time it takes to sell and exit their business. It’s not like selling a house, and you don’t get to hand over the keys and walk away on closing day.


When I See It Strategy

Posted on August 17th, 2016

Most first-time business buyers start the acquisition process with an ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ strategy. Both individuals and existing business owners come to us with this approach.

It won’t surprise you to hear, however, that it’s not a good use of our time to engage in a sales scenario destined to go like this: “How about this business?” No. “How about this?” No. “This?” No, that’s not right either.


Selling a Business | Recognize the Risk of “Just One More”

Posted on August 17th, 2016

Timing is everything when selling a business.  Whether it be winning in sports, finding your spouse, starting a company and ultimately selling it, when you do something can be every bit as important as how you do it.


When It Comes To Business, Location Isn’t Everything

Posted on August 16th, 2016

I just met with a business leader who’s starting to explore his options around selling part of his company. Based here in Northeast Wisconsin, this business is considered an industry leader, well within the top five in its market throughout the U.S.

Because of the company’s size and success, finding a buyer won’t be the tough part. It’s finding the right fit and negotiating for the best terms that will add complexity.


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: