July 25, 2013

Getting Into the Business of Getting Out of Business


For many writers, crafting the end game is the crucial part of their book. For Ned Minor, the end game is the entire point of his book.

Deciding to Sell Your Business is all about the complexities involved in the owner walking away from a business. Whether it’s a longtime family business or something the individual has built up him or herself, removing the emotions and determining the best course forward can be a daunting task.

“I felt I had a message to business owners that wasn’t being heard,” said Minor. “There are lots of books about the mechanics (of selling a business), but for most owners, it’s the most emotional decision they will make,” he continued. “The book attempts to address those emotional hurdles.

“It’s tough to let go. I do a pretty good job in one or two meetings.”

Minor says the decision to write a book was based on his experience and desire to reach more people. He believed that if he could reach people with the book, he would establish his credibility with them before they even spoke, and bring more potential clients to the table. He says it has worked out that way.

“In 1980 I formed a partnership, and we became known as an exit-planning firm. I’d meet with complete strangers, who often had a relationship with another law firm, and they would tell me things they wouldn’t tell their wife or their priest. I thought, if I have this impact on strangers, why shouldn’t I write a book?

“I decided to write the book to enhance my marketing. A stranger in Chicago or Iowa can read it, and say it answered questions they had been struggling with. They can read it and call or write me, and that continues to happen.”

Minor says the audience for his book is necessarily limited, but anyone in that audience can benefit from the book.

“There’s a narrow pool of readers: existing business owners who want to sell. I just did a seminar for 225 people with Wells Fargo. That’s a chance to be heard. Someone may (get) the book, put it on their desk, and three years later say, ‘Let’s meet.’”

Minor says he wrote the book in such a way it would not need to be revised. It includes stories and details about actual transactions he has handled.

“If they say they want to sell within three years, then every decision comes down to that,” he said. “I’m pretty successful (helping them) find the financial end game.”

One of the insights in the book is how ofttimes the new owner will ask the seller to remain with the company for a finite amount of time to smooth the transition. “In all probability the buyer will want you around for a transition period,” Minor said. That time period can last anywhere from a month to a year. Sometimes there is an agreement for a longer period of time, but Minor says such instances are often modified.

“Most don’t stick around for more than a year. They often agree to terminate early.”

Whatever the circumstance, Minor believes he has covered it or at least alluded to it in his book. Then it’s up to the reader to work with him to make the sale happen.

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