InSight

Exit and Growth Strategies for Middle Market Businesses

The Evolution of the Entrepreneur

By Kim Levin | May 01, 2008

Many entrepreneurs start businesses because they either:

  1. Tired of working for the corporate world
  2. Were outsourced, out placed or downsized from the corporate world
  3. Learned a skill and knew that they could do it better.
  4. Got angry at their boss and left their employer
  5. Made the decision to work for themselves.
  6. etc., etc. , etc.

Entrepreneurs were successful sellers, manufacturers, or creative/design/engineers who loved the enjoyment of doing it better than everyone else. Most started on a shoestring. They “bootstrapped the business” by borrowing from family, friends, credits cards, etc. They rapidly learned that building a business is a “stair step process”… i.e. at $1mm revenue, hire an office clerk/receptionist/order processor… at $2mm, hire a controller, move to a new location… at $5mm, hire a general manager and a salesman… and on and on. The more successful the business is… the more the founder will drift away from his first love… that which motivated him first to start the business. Instead of being able to spend his time calling on customers, now he’s reviewing insurance plans, studying risk management, trying to understand new OSHA regulations. As he realizes that it is time to begin building an exit strategy, not only does he want to “take some chips off the table”, he really doesn’t want to retire, he wants to do what he enjoys and move into the next stage of his life.

One of the primary roles of an intermediary in representing a seller is to find a buyer who will partner with the owner in facilitating the owner to do what he loves best and perhaps on a larger scale. Let the buyer’s organization be responsible for those administrative tasks that they can do best and let the owner do what he loves most. It’s not just about selling the business; it’s about providing the owner with a new opportunity for the next stage of his life.


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