Family Owned Manufacturer Takes Care of Family While Finding a BuyerWalking away was not an option.
While working for his family business family tragedy and fate handed him the reins to the company at very young age. With little to no experience in various aspects of running a business, he had to learn quickly and on the job. For thirty-five years, this was the only life he knew, but the time had come to decide what should come next: outright sale, employee buyout or walk away.
The family business had survived for over sixty years and the whole company was one big family. Walking away was not an option. But, he had no family member interested in continuing the business, so an outright sale was the only feasible option. This business was also his retirement, even though he never really thought of it that way. If outright sale was imminent, then the goal was to maximize the value of the business to command the highest sale price possible.
The first step was to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the business in order to maximize its value. Profits and cash flow were great, but the sales pipeline was unpredictable. In fact, there was really no true sales process as reputation and relations brought the business. It became apparent that the business portfolio needed diversification. Key senior managers and leaders were not too far from retirement, and there was really not much bench strength of up-and-coming next generation of employees. There was work to be done to build the value for the business. It took three years, but it was worth the time and investment when the day came and one of his competitors offered to buy him out.
But this was more than just a business transaction. There was something personal and emotional that he had to deal with to become ready to accept this life transition. There were not many hobbies that could keep him engaged for days and weeks, year after year. He was too young to call it quits and he needed to find meaning and fun in life beyond his business. Executive and personal coaching sessions led to a discovery process. He also came to terms with himself about the conditions that were not negotiable for him. Those came from his core values. He wanted continuity and job security for his employees, and he was ready to compromise on price, if necessary, to achieve that objective. After all, they were like family to him.
All that planning led to the results he wanted. The process had its ups and downs and there were moments of anxiety, but in the end, it was the best thing for him, his employees and his business.