Episode 285: The Road to Business Exit with Scott Bushkie

Season #1

Mergers and acquisitions, one of the best ways to grow your business, but sometimes it feels like trying to assemble a puzzle in a hurricane - exhilarating, chaotic, and you might end up missing a few pieces. That’s why I’m excited to have Scott Bushkie on this episode of the DealQuest Podcast.

Scott is a managing partner and Founder of Cornerstone Business Services, a firm that specializes in offering exit strategies, managing sell- and buy-side transitions, and providing valuations within the lower middle market. With a primary focus on businesses with revenue ranging from $5 to 150 million and an EBITDA between $1 to 15 million, Cornerstone Business Services have collaborated with private equity firms, family offices, and strategic buyers. Scott himself dons over 25 years of experience in providing exit strategies, sell- and buy-side transitions, and valuations. Scott is a go to man to help you turn your hurricane puzzle into a carefully crafted masterpiece, ensuring that all the pieces fit together seamlessly for a successful outcome.

Strategy is something we discuss often on the DealQuest Podcast, and in the context of selling, strategy in identifying and targeting specific buyers or investors who can bring the most value to a company is no less important. Business owners need to shift their mindset from just building a successful business organically to thinking like a dealmaker.

Successful entrepreneurs and business owners need to focus on creating a valuable and transferable company, rather than just taking cash out of it. This involves planning early, building a team of advisors, and understanding the various options available for exiting the business. For Scott, one of the biggest moves when it comes to strategy is having “the conversation” about exiting the business early on. Business owners should feel encouraged to explore their options and start making well-informed decisions about their future exit strategy – there are more options available than just simply giving their business to children or selling to a local buyer.

Holding out too long could cost 40% of a company's value and make it unsaleable. Many businesses sell at a low rate due to mistakes, but educating business owners can increase their chances of success. The issue is that owners often keep their intentions confidential and try to figure things out alone, leading to overspending and poor results.

Working with trusted advisers and partners can help increase odds of success. Unsolicited offers may seem perfect for tired entrepreneurs, but they should be cautious and consider consulting trusted advisers before making a decision.

Entrepreneurs might initially feel a sense of relief when they receive interest from a potential buyer for their business. It's crucial, however, to recognize that this doesn't always translate into the most favorable deal. Buyers may capitalize on the seller's emotional connection to the business by telling them what they want to hear. That's why it's so important to collaborate with a professional who can help navigate the complexities of selling a business and secure a fair deal.

To maximize the value of their business and prevent leaving money on the table, sellers should consider creating a sense of urgency and scarcity. Scott also emphasizes the significance of professional buyers who are adept at securing advantageous deals for themselves. It's essential for sellers to have a clear understanding of the true market value of their business.

To learn more about ensuring a fair deal and navigating the M&A landscape, check out the book Finish Strong: Sell Your Business on Your Terms by Scott Bushkie: https://www.cornerstone-business.com/finishstrong/

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For my full discussion with Scott Bushkie, and more on this topic and topics not featured on this blog post:
Listen to the Full DealQuest Podcast Episode Here

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Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
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