Ready to sell? Firm offers help to “finish line”
Phil Castle, The Business Times
Trevor Taylor compares running a business to running a race. And owners sometimes need help to reach the finish line — realizing the full value of their operations when they’re ready to sell.
Taylor and Bryan Wiman offer that assistance as part of their jobs as partners in the Redstone Group, a business brokerage firm based in Grand Junction.
The two bring to the process not only their knowledge of brokering business deals, but also their experiences as entrepreneurs who’ve sold their own ventures. “Bryan and I have been in their shoes,” Taylor said.
A number of factors have combined to make it a good time to sell — or buy — a business, Wiman said. The economy is improving and banks are lending again. Even as baby boomers reach retirement age, younger generations of entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities in which to become their own boss. “It’s just a great time,” he said.
Wiman became a partner in the Redstone Group in 2005 after selling a personnel management firm he’d operated for five years. He now has nearly a decade of experience with sales, mergers and acquisitions and real estate development.
Wiman started two business ventures and still holds an interest in a records management and destruction firm.
Wiman said he enjoys the process of bringing together buyers and sellers in what he said are win-win situations. “There’s something about the deal-making part of this that’s really satisfying.”
Taylor joined the Redstone Group in January when he partnered with Wiman to purchase the firm from Mike Schaak.
Taylor brings to the venture his experience as a serial entreprepreneur in operating a family construction business and then an oil field logistics company that was acquired by a North Dakota-based firm. Taylor also was among four partners who launched Spin City, a family entertainment center in Grand Junction. Taylor and two other partners sold their ownership interests to the remaining partner soon after the center opened.
Taylor said he became interested in the business brokerage as a result of his own experience in selling the oil field logistics company and the help he received in negotiating the deal. “I just became fascinated about what an important role it is.”
While the Redstone Group can handle mid-market transactions involving industry consolidators and private equity firms, the company also works with the owners of small businesses, Wiman said.
Technology gives the Redstone Group an international reach when that’s required, but the firm focuses its efforts in Western Colorado, he said.
For many business owners, selling their operations will rank among the most important decisions they make, Wiman said. But many owners don’t realize the value of their businesses or are daunted by the process.
That’s when a brokerage firm can help, he said. “We take care of all that. We’re the advocates.”
Taylor said the process starts with a meeting to identify a business owner’s goals and evaluate the current position of their operations. Then it’s a matter of determining a fair market value and positioning the business to realize the full value.
It’s important that books are in order to accurately reflect the financial situation, Taylor said. Good cash flow constitutes a critical factor. A business might need additional help to strengthen its online presence, he added.
The goal, he said, is to create as many potential buyers as possible.
Since those efforts could take awhile, it’s important that owners plan their exit strategies well in advance, he said.
Wiman said the entire process remains a strictly confidential one. “That’s like our holy grail.”
Several trends have combined to create favorable conditions for business owners considering selling their operations, Wiman said.
As the economy has improved, so have sales and balance sheets for many businesses, he said. Moreover banks are lending again and anxious to finance deals. Private equity groups and individual investors also are looking for acquisitions, he added.
Taylor said many baby boomer business owners reaching retirement age plan to sell their operations. But at the same time, a growing number of young entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities to buy businesses and work for themselves.
Those trends could create what Taylor called a “great changeover” in business ownership in the United States.
In the meantime, business owners who think they might need some help in reaching the finish line should ask, he said. “We offer what it takes to get your business ready to sell.”
For more information about the Redstone Group, call 245-1510 or visit the website located at www.theredstonegroup.com.