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Last Update: Thursday September 23, 2021

Sell to a publicly-traded company

Bob Orenstein was approaching burnout.


La Jolla, California and Dallas, Texas: Every day the press reports, especially The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, about how big business acquires small businesses in order to grow.

If you are running a good business and have market share in your industry segment, you should consider preparing for that call or knock on the door -- the result could put John Beresford Tipton to shame (if you remember the '60s TV show, "The Millionaire" where a multi-billionaire gave out one million dollars each week).

In most every episode of this show we explore how and why the founder of a business gets started and how they get over the hurdles. This week we look at how they received a very large check for the fruits of their labor.

Today, we spend time with Tracy Myers and Gary Cantor, the founders of Advertising Arts College, and Bob Orenstein, founder of International Wine Accessories (IWA). Both have completed all eight steps within the business cycle, and they define what it means to "Exit At the Top." You met Bob a couple of years ago when we did his story about starting IWA from the extra bedroom of his townhouse.

Both stories are important.

Gary and Tracy's story is for all of us who are not even thinking about selling, then there comes a knock on the door.

Bob's story is for the rest of us who know that we have created a substantial asset. Bob, however, knew that his "time" was coming. Bob was strategic and spent several years getting ready for the day, and then it took over four years to consummate a deal.

Every one of us needs an exit strategy.                      More...

Think About Selling from Day One

3:30 | Play Now |  Host Hattie Bryant discovers that the highest return on investment goes to the owners who are prepared to open their books at the drop of a hat.

Take Charge of Your Exit

1:17 | Play Now |  Bob Orenstein hired a general business broker and Tracy Myers hired a broker who specializes in for-profit schools.

Hire Experts

3:16 | Play Now |  Larry Starks is the broker who sold International Wine Accessories to the Fosters Group.

Calculate Your EBITDA

0:51 | Play Now |  EBITDA is defined.

Build Goodwill

1:25 | Play Now |  Goodwill is what accountants call an "intangible asset". Goodwill is just as real an asset as cash or inventory, but you can't touch it. Another favorite definition of accountants for goodwill is "earnings capacity." 

Play Hardball

1:33 | Play Now |  Host Hattie Bryant points out that with great confidence the owners held firm on their price.

Provide Buyers Continuity

2:39 | Play Now |  Gary Cantor is glad that he sold.  Bob Orenstein was, too.  Bob stayed with the buyer for three years after the sale was complete.  He recommends no logner than 18 months.

Deliver the Numbers

2:47 | Play Now |  Marketing spin can get you attention, but numbers are the way the "big boys" keep score.

Lean on Your CPA

1:21 | Play Now |  Host Hattie Bryant says that small business owners can depend upon a good CPA.

Know When to Let Go

6:02 | Play Now |  For three years Bob Orenstein worked for the company that bought his business.  He still collects wine and he is looking for his next big idea.

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