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Value Creation Blog

Are You Working With A Pro?

Posted by Josh Patrick

Experts resized 600I don’t provide mergers and acquisitions (M&A) services for my clients even though I do know more about M&A than many people.  It’s because I’ve guided many companies through the process over the last thirty-five years.  During this time I’ve learned rules that make it easy for me to quickly assess how salable a business is and what steps the owner might take to transfer their business to another owner.

I find that I often surprise those I’m working with by how quickly I can come up with ideas and solutions that others advisors have taken months to produce.  It’s not because I’m smarter, it’s because I’ve been focused in learning about the drivers of success in private business.

A recent story.

I recently had a conversation with a business owner who had decided it was time for him to leave his business.  We’ve talked on and off over the years and he even attended one of my seminars many years ago.  We set a time to get together and review what he had done to get his business ready for sale.

When we met, I spent about fifteen minutes asking him about seven questions.  At the end of that time I told him what his business was worth and the range he could likely sell it for.  He was amazed.  He told me, “His accountant had taken two months to get him the same answer.” 

What this means for you.

If you were my client or even a prospect and you started with me you would have saved a couple of months of time and likely a significant amount of expense.  In fact, with this particular business owner I didn’t charge him anything.  I find it hard to charge for fifteen minutes of my time when I’ve not created any value.

I reinforced what he already had heard from a few other people he had engaged.  What I did do is provide him a reason one of his buyers should buy his business.  He might decide to engage me and he might not.  The key for you is to ask yourself is using an expert something that I’m willing to pay a little extra money for?

Why it’s important.

I wrote an entire series for the NY Times on a sale gone bad.  If I had been coaching this business owner she would have likely not had the bad experience she had by using amateurs.  When you decide to work with a pro you are going to get advice that comes from years of experience and best practices they’ve learned along the way.

You will want to make sure that the pro you decide to work with is always looking at what’s new in their field.  Choosing an expert who can add value is a challenge.  This is why I always recommend you have a system in place for hiring a pro who really is an expert at what they provide.

Why you want to use a pro.

You want to make sure the pro you hire is competent.  You will want to check their references.  You will want to have your gut agree with your mind that you’re making the right hire.

You also will need to recognize that real pro’s are more expensive than rank and file advisors.  I’ve learned over the years that if you’re not paying what a competent pro charges you’re not going to get the result you want.  At the same time you have to be aware that paying pro wages doesn’t guarantee a great result.

You’re going to find out very quickly if the person you’re considering is a pro.  If they can answer your questions easily or they bring others in to help get a great solution you’ve found a pro.  If you get vague answers you probably want to take a pass.  The choice is yours.

I’ve written a special report that deals with how to hire for unique abilities.  I would use this same format for choosing someone to work with me to provide a specific outcome I’m trying to get.  To get this special report, click on the button below.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.

Topics: business coaching, for business owners, value creation

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