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Last Update: Monday December 10, 2018

Key Idea: Sell At The Top of Your Game

Peter Schenck  taught us that you can get a better price when things are going great than you can when you have grown sick and tired of the business.  More...

Key Question:

A: 

Think about it

Peter's team for selling the business included his partner, his CFO, his accountant and his attorney. Who will be on your team if and when you sell your business?

Clip from: Selling Your Business

Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Bend: Three people -- Lorraine Miller, Jim Schell and Peter Schenck  -- tell us why and how they sold their business.  Each wanted a change. They knew their business could live on and thrive, so they went to work to find buyers who could take the business to the next level.

Here is a rare opportunity to study those who have fully completed all eight steps within the business cycle. 

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Sell At The Top of Your Game

PETER: We kind of looked at each other and said, `You know what? They say, you know, "Buy low; sell high."

The company's in this incredible surge. What better time would there be? We have this marvelous asset that's been pulling them in and going forward. Let's vote for the family,' and that's what we did. As you can imagine, given the sensitivity of relationships with clients, you didn't want word circulating that, `Gosh. Guess what? The owners are talking about leaving the business.' And certainly, imagine the kind of upheaval and travails and angst that that would create among employees, as well.

HATTIE: Right.

PETER: So the information had to be very closely kept until you were absolutely certain to the degree possible, you're going to go forward with it. We ended up with 72 people who had proposed to buy the business.

HATTIE: But how did they even know you were selling if that was the secret?

PETER: We ran a blind ad in The Wall Street Journal.

HATTIE: What did it say?

PETER: It said very simply that there was a successful regional advertising agency for sale in a highly desirable place. Private inquiries only-- serious people only. So OK. So we ended up with 72 qualified people who were prepared to buy it--who said they were prepared to buy the business.

HATTIE: Wow! So did they send you a letter?

PETER: Sent a letter. We asked them for a letter, and for basic background that would make them eligible to buy a business of our sort.

HATTIE: What was your first way to cut the 72 down? Where did you go from 72?

PETER: We're members of a marvelous trade organization, national trade group, American Association of Advertising Agencies, which did a great job of counseling any number of agencies throughout the previous decade previous to ours.

They have a lot of staff experience in this. And it just happened that their regional guy was visiting our offices at the time I had this stack of 72. And I said, `Would you do me a favor? Take an hour, go in, and, you know, and take a cup of coffee, go through these letters and tell me if you see anything that you believe are really home runs, people that you know in the industry who you feel have both the means, the inclination and the chemistry to be a match here.' So he did exactly that.

He came out after an hour, there were four letters left on the desk. He said, `Any of these four.' Then we brought our CFO into it. And we had an accountant, our CFO, our attorney and the two owners and that was the five-person team that did the deal all the way through.
 
 

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