• Meet the author


    Eric R. Voth

    Like you, I have experience as an independent business owner.

    During the course of my career, I’ve been personally undertaken …

    • The startup of 10 independent businesses.

    • The purchase of five independent businesses.

    • The sale of five independent companies (two of which were actually mergers).

    • The startup of four franchise operations.

    • The loss of my investment in four independent businesses that were unsuccessful.

    These experiences allow me the unique perspective of being able to empathize with you as you contemplate the sale of your company. I’m familiar with the mix of feelings and emotions that sometimes accompany such thoughts. I’ve had them myself.

    This introduction is designed to acquaint you with my background as an “in-the-trenches” business owner. Perhaps you can identify with some of my experiences.

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    What’s your worry?

    Chances are there are plenty of worries for you.

    Finding the right buyer for your company is a huge challenge. Making your company attractive to potential buyers is important especially go generate some interest. But the key is weeding out those prospects who either aren’t serious or lack the means or know-how to be a credible buyer. In my book, How to Sell Your Privately Owned Company, A Basic Guide for Independent Business Owners, Baby Boomer’s Edition, you’ll learn the value of a professional intermediary and how to tell a real buyer from the fakes. Here’s an excerpt:

    A competent intermediary will be responsible for bringing the best buyer to your door. Part of this person’s duty is to eliminate “window shoppers” and “tire kickers,” and to carefully screen the more serious contenders and bring them – to meet you halfway – to the negotiation table.

    But there is still a risk and a worry. There are a lot of people out there – especially among the ranks of first-time buyers – who are basically unrealistic. They have unfounded expectations of what they can afford and where they can get the financing. Even the most credentialed, well-positioned buyers are likely to raise a few questions and a few points on your blood pressure.

    As a seller, you may have concerns common to other sellers. You may worry that …

    • You might not be getting a fair price;

    • You might not be paid on time;

    • You might not be paid at all;

    • The IRS will take all your profits from the sale;

    • The new owner will run your business right into the ground.

    With these ideas in mind, you have every right to ask the buyer this question: “Do you have the money to make this deal happen?” Then watch the reaction. Carefully listen to what he says about these things:

    • Willingness to use his own home as collateral;

    • The speed and ease of getting a small business loan;

    • Uncertainty or vagueness about where to get financing, or from whom;

    • Past credit history and experience with banks;

    • Overconfidence about “Money is not a problem.”

    What are YOU most worried about?  Take out a piece of paper and write it down.

    Copyright © MMIX by ERV Productions Inc. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a data base or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher.

    Eric R. Voth has been a successful business owner and seller since the 1970s. Among other enterprises, he is currently owner of ERV Productions Inc., and author of How to Sell Your Privately Owned Company.


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