Danny and Jen Baumgartner owned a small business for 17 years. They were proud of the construction & manufacturing company they had built. It had afforded them a nice lifestyle over the years, paid for the house, put their son through college and even grad school, but it was getting to be time to retire. Their son, Alex, had been Operations Manager for 7 years, and Danny and Jen had been grooming him to take over the business. It was their ideal exit strategy… or so they thought.

After the diagnosis, Alex began treatment for cancer. After 5 long, battle worn years, he finally succumbed. His parents were devastasted. Their only child was gone. The emotional toll was absolutely brutal, not to mention the fact that Danny and Jen’s exit strategy was extinguished, leaving them clueless as to what to do. The couple regrouped. They got organized, strategized, and began talking with their advisors to get input. During a 3 way call their financial planner, Jen vented, “We’re at our wits end. We don’t know what to do.”

Tera, a veteran financial planner for over 15 years probed, “Tell me about your business.”

Danny and Jen filled in the gaps. Tera responded, “I have someone who is perfect for your business.” Keith was a seasoned entrepreneur of more than 20 years. He had business ownership experience in over a dozen different industries, construction and manufacturing among them. Tera gave him the back story, and after exchanging a couple of emails with the Baumgartners, Keith phoned to discuss possibly

purchasing their business. “So how does this work?” Danny quipped. Seventeen years as a business owner had given him healthy skepticism in any deal. “Our process is simple. I buy to hold and grow. My team and I have created a package that gives sellers the certainty of success they need to move on to the next chapter of their lives.”

Jen’s ears perked up when she heard “move on”. That’s what she and Danny needed to do, move on.

“The problem is that the traditional methods of acquiring small businesses leave a lot to be desired,” the seasoned veteran began to speak. “The sober reality is that selling a business the old fashioned way winds up creating other problems for sellers, and doesn’t really fully address their needs.”

“Not to mention the fact that 87% of small businesses for sale never sell, and of the 13% remaining that do, 3 out of 4 of those fail.

Long story short, sellers have 4% chance of having a successful exit.”

“My word that’s horrible!” Jen exclaimed. “Why is it so bad?”

Keith responded, “The bottom line is because the people involved don’t really know what to do. Buyers and sellers are usually first timers.

They’re unfamiliar with the process and try to find their way by “feel”.

Obviously, this inevitably leads to mistakes and those become costly in a business acquisition.” Jen and Danny saw his point.

“The way to avoid that brain damage is to find out what the other principal really needs to have success in the deal. This is the key.” He went on to clarify,“ Retiring business owners want to sell, but they’re worried about getting hammered with capital gains taxes. They’re trying to get enough from the sale to create a retirement fund, but they’re concerned about out living that fund or altering their current lifestyle. They may have heirs they want to leave an inheritance to who are neither interested in nor prepared for running their parents’ business
. Furthermore, sellers need their retirement to be safe and secure.”

“Selling a business in the traditional manner will trigger tax consequences. Sellers will have to pay off liabilities, payables, cover commissions (if there’s a broker), and  transactions costs. It’s an all together expensive proposition to sell a business that inevitably leaves sellers scratching their heads when they walk away from the closing table wondering, ‘Why did I just do that?’”

“So, what’s your solution?” Danny asked directly.

Appreciating his directness, the businessman began, “Our approach solves your whole problem, and doesn’t create new ones.”

“With our solution, you can sell your business, get secure

3 Months Later…

The phone was already ringing when Tera walked into her office at 8:30am.

“This is Tera. Good morning.” A very excited voice was on the other end, “Hi Tera, it’s Jen Baumgartner. How are you?”

“I’m great, Jen. How are you and Danny?”

“That’s why I’m calling. Do you remember that gentlemen you referred us to for an exit strategy?”

“Of course. How did it work out?”

“Wow! What a great man! He bought our business and we’re calling you from our boat.”

“Hi, Danny,” Tera politely greeted.

“Hello, Tera,” Danny exclaimed and went on.

“He knew exactly what we needed and what to do. He gave us such a great package, it was impossible to say no. He freed us from our worry, allowed us to move on with our lives, and gave us secure income for our entire retirement.

It’s tax advantaged and there’s even an inheritance for Jen’s niece. The process was so simple!”

“I knew he was perfect for you,” Tera answered. “I’m so glad we found the ideal solution for your problem.”

“And that’s not all Tera!” “My golf buddies who own companies and want to retire all want to use him.” “I gave them his number and they’ve already called him.” “One friend has already begun the process.”

“My goodness alive! I bet Keith really appreciates the referrals.”

“Well he deserves them. That guy was so competent, we would have been insane to sell any other way.”

“He keeps in touch and informed us that the business is doing 35% better than it was 3 months ago. He included the report. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it! ”

“That is fantastic you two. I’m so happy for you both.”

“Tera, we can’t thank you enough. After losing Alex like that, Danny and I were so afraid. We didn’t want to lose our other baby, too.”

“Every cloud has a silver lining.”

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The Psychology of Procrastination

Business owners attempting to map out viable exit strategies in today’s volatile and complex exit environment face daunting challenges. Dealing with tax, retirement, estate planning, and asset protection issues, not to mention finding a competent buyer, is sometimes an overwhelming experience for business owners who want to retire.

Sellers often wonder, “What do I do?”, “How do I do it?”, and “Who do I know who has already been through the process who can help me avoid making mistakes?”

If you are like most business owners contemplating an exit strategy, such questions are reflective of much deeper issues that remain unaddressed in many cases. One of the core precepts in business is: know the rules of the game and develop the critical skills and tools for creating the success you desire.

Unfortunately, however, sellers of businesses encounter problems exiting because they lack the critical skills and tools it takes to get them what they really want. They often have trouble even articulating exactly what they want to accomplish and in what manner they wish to achieve it. These unexpressed desires create a cloud of pain and frustration for business owners when the time comes to sell.

What happens in the human brain with respect to this phenomenon is amazing. One of the rules of neurology is that “neurons that fire together get wired together”. Learning happens and habits are built when this occurs.

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