Buy a Business or Start Your Own?

Posted on December 9th, 2015

Over 17 years of selling businesses, I’ve talked with many individuals who dream of being their own boss. Some of them have fuzzy plans and little initiative. With others, you can tell it’s only a matter of “when,” not “if.”

But even many committed future business owners are still not sure if buying makes the most sense rather than starting a business on their own. Of course, I’m biased and I think they should buy. But there are times when a startup is the better choice. Here are some pros and cons of both:

Scott Bushkie, For Post-Crescent Media 10:25 a.m. CST December 5, 2015


Consider Seller’s Role in Business, Transition

Posted on November 12th, 2015

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.

As you think about negotiating for the seller’s time after a sale, think about their role in the business.  Do they have a strong, empowered management team? Or did the seller operate the business from a place of tight, centralized control?


Will your business survive your death?

Posted on October 12th, 2015

Most entrepreneurs are a rare breed, full of optimism and confidence. But that same optimism it takes to run a business is the same sense of faith and certainty that can make them feel invincible. Every economic downturn is the last, every prospect is the next big sale, and every good leader retires happily with their family.

Unfortunately, none of us are invincible. And if you’re like many business owners, a significant portion of your wealth—and your family’s income after your death—is tied up in the business.


Set new goals to avoid seller’s remorse

Posted on September 10th, 2015

Many of my clients have told me that selling a business is like giving a child up for adoption or sending their teenager to an out-of-state college. They know it’s the right thing to do, but they miss the daily involvement, the challenge, and the companionship.

It’s the same thing with a business. At some point, it makes sense for you and the business to part ways. Maybe the company has outgrown you and needs new leadership to thrive. Or maybe your passion has started to wane, and you’re feeling like work has become a grind.

Either way, you have two options.


Selling, when money isn’t top concern

Posted on August 5th, 2015

Instead of focusing on price, some sellers are more interested in making sure the company stays where it is, that the employees continue to have jobs, and that the management team gets an opportunity to buy an ownership stake.

Given these priorities, we look at the different ways this company could go to the market.


Sell Your Business in 8 or 9 Months, Plus

Posted on June 19th, 2015

If you’re one of the several million baby boomers thinking about selling their company in the near future, you might be wondering how long the whole process will take and what to expect along the way.

In a nutshell, if you have a focused advisor who is actually working the deal, expect two months of initial prep, 30 to 90 days for marketing, one month for negotiations, and roughly 60 days to handle due diligence, financing and legal. Here’s the process in more detail.


Private Equity Rollup, Inside the Numbers

Posted on May 19th, 2015

I’m representing a company out west doing $20 million in sales with $4 million in EBITDA at Cornerstone Business Services. That’s in the mid-tier size for regional businesses, but it’s not enough to get the national players excited about an acquisition. The big firms want opportunities closer to $10 million EBITDA.

But as I contact various strategic buyers in the region, I find a few Boomer business owners who are also looking to sell. So after a few of those calls, I have a different story to tell.

Now we’re partnering with a private equity group that may come in and buy not just my client, but one or two others of similar size. The acquisition makes sense for them because they know they can combine two or three of these businesses and reach that $10 million EBITDA target.


How to Buy the Right Business - Webinar

Posted on November 11th, 2014

Buying a business can be much safer and more predictable than starting one from scratch; however, it can be a very confusing and complicated process. This webinar will not only highlight some of the common mistakes buyers make that can set you up for disaster right from the start, but it will also share some of the key characteristics you should look for in a business to give you the best chance of not just surviving but thriving in order to create the lifestyle you really want for you and your family.


M&A | Windows of Opportunity Close Faster Than They Open

Posted on May 19th, 2014

I spent my 10-year anniversary in Indiana, closing a deal. Before you start feeling bad for my wife, let me clarify—it was my company’s anniversary. Ten years ago, I started Cornerstone Business Services. I’d been working in …


Sell a Business | Marketing Matters in Sale of Business

Posted on May 19th, 2014

Most business owners understand what good quality marketing materials can do for their business. They hire high-priced talent and spend whatever they need to maximize sales. But when it comes time to sell their business—not a product, …