Finance Monthly - Global Awards 2022

Finance Monthly Global Awards 2022 USA 25 Howdidyouget started in the industry? Our core team is comprised of three M&A professionals who have been best friends since 1986. Each of us went our own way after high school, developed different skill sets and gained our own experience. We then came together and set out to have the largest positive impact we could on SMEs. We first engaged in consulting services and gained a lot of traction doing business valuations. We then discovered that the clients that needed valuations in order to sell their companies did not ultimately transact when they went to market. If they did, they traded for less than we felt they should have. After completing an industry study, we discovered an unmet market need. There was no shortage of qualified intermediaries for larger companies, but the marketplace for smaller companies was extraordinarily fragmented and abilities varied dramatically. We set out to create a more efficient system. Rather than hiring externally, we developed all of our methods in-house and have achieved remarkable results in terms of productivity. While the industry success rates stand at 30-33%, ours is just over 80%. Atwhat point of adeal doyou derive themost satisfaction? My objective is to create an atmosphere where all sides work together toward a common goal. I genuinely enjoy finding that middle ground so when the agreement is signed, both sides feel satisfied. When you can accomplish this, the path to the ultimate goal will feel less like a competition and more like a collaborative team effort. We only engage in sell-side representation, so I am always putting my clients first, but at the end of the day no deal will begin or close until the parties reach an agreement that they are comfortable with. What about theprocessdoyou like the least? If bringing the parties together to achieve an outcome that both deal teams are comfortable with provides satisfaction, then managing the whirlwind of emotions that will present themselves throughout the process is the least enjoyable. They say that every deal dies three deaths before closing. I can attest to that. Each is an emotional rollercoaster for our clients and the buyers. I play psychologist as much as business advisor. Fortunately, I feel that I was made for it. I am a middle child with four siblings, so I grew up figuring out how to maintain the peace. When a transaction finally closes and all parties are satisfied it is all worth it, but the long that road between getting a signed Letter of Intent (LOI) and closing should never be discounted. That is where deals are lost and often defines the difference between seasoned versus newer intermediaries. What drives you? I am a natural helper and I genuinely enjoy assisting the most vulnerable or those in need. I find that my clients are not typically familiar with the sales process. Most have never bought a business, let alone sold one. Since this is likely their largest asset, the sale proceeds are critical to meet their retirement needs. Buyers on the other hand are serial entrepreneurs. Many have bought several companies, and in the case of private equity they are literally professional buyers. This creates significant asymmetry between buyers and sellers, so it is where I can provide clients the largest added value. The knowledge gap is not as large when working with smaller companies, since the buyers tend to have a similar background or experience level. It is in the $5-20 million range that the chasm is the greatest and multiple parties and measures are required to bridge the differing levels of sophistication. Because there is more money at stake, business sellers face more risk than ever. At the same time, there are far fewer intermediaries that specialise in navigating transactions in this size range, so expertise is rare precisely where it is the most critical. In a $100 million+ deal, the key executives and Board of Directors can manage a sale with seasoned internal and external attorneys and accountants. These resources are scarcer for clients in ‘No Man’s Land’.

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