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Carl Grimes

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Strong headwind coming for business owners

Important information from a colleague for our business owners who are delaying exit planning.

Posted on March 18, 2018 by John F. Dini
Kudos to our ExitMap Affiliate Jim Wisdom in Westlake Village, California, who has this article published in The Pacific Coast Business Times last week.

Prepare for an Exodus of Business Owners
Throughout their lives, baby boomers have had a profound impact on our society. One key reason for their large influence is the sheer size of their generation, which is estimated to be about 76 million people.

According to John Dini, a prominent exit planning strategist and author of the book “Your Exit Map,” Baby Boomers formed businesses at a rate 250 percent greater than the norm from 1976 to 1985 — a rate that hasn’t been approached since. Dini discovered these statistics after reviewing data from the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Labor.

So, why are these statistics important? Because baby boomers, who are exiting their businesses in increasing numbers while also phasing into retirement, are headed toward a demographic “headwind” that they may not even realize yet. This headwind could severely limit the boomers’ ability to meet their objectives of transferring their business interest when they want, to whom they want, and for the amount of money they need.

Let’s take a look at the staggering numbers. Of the estimated 28 million businesses in the U.S., anywhere from 3 million to 5.4 million are owned by boomers with five or more employees.

The key problem? There are projected to be far more sellers of businesses by boomers in the next seven to 10 years than buyers looking to acquire businesses. In addition, the buyers are likely to be Generation X buyers, which represents nine million fewer individuals and has a different outlook on life and work than that of the workaholic boomers.

The Tsunami
The number of boomers that are currently reaching age 65 is about 10,000 a day. That number translates to about 100,000 business owners reaching retirement age each year.

However, the brokerage industry only sells about 8,000 companies a year. The mid-market (M&A and private equity groups) accounts for only another 1,000 per year.

Using the most realistically conservative assumptions possible, we are still short on third party acquisitions by 6,740 a month, or 300 per day for the next 20 years. Boomers can delay their decision, but not indefinitely. They will eventually exit their business — voluntarily or involuntarily. Notes Dini: “Sooner or later every business owner leaves his or her business, and the transition of the boomers will be like nothing ever seen in the small business universe.”

Some business owners believe that an Employee Stock Ownership Plan is a viable exit alternative. While ESOPs can be an attractive exit option for the right seller, the owner has several requirements to meet. ESOPs are an ERISA Qualified Benefit Plan, and they require (among other things) annual audited financial statements, annual certified appraisals and compensation testing. The cost of implementing an ESOP generally ranges between $250,000 and $750,000, as well as $50,000 per year for ongoing compliance.

What should boomer business owners do? Ideally, they should start the exit planning process at least three to five years (or more) prior to their exit. There are two key theoretical exit dates that the business owner should have in mind: the date they stop managing the business on a daily basis and the date they divest themselves of the company. It’s impossible for business owners to effectively plan their exit until they establish at least a theoretical target date for these two events.

Also, the business owner should retain an exit planning adviser who is skilled in coordinating the exit planning process with the other advisers that are integral to the process, such as attorneys (business and estate planning), a CPA, a financial adviser and insurance professional.

In summary, the longer the lead time for exit planning the better. In his book “Finish Big,” author (and columnist for Inc. Magazine’s “Street Smarts”) Bo Burlingham studied business owners who were either about to go through the exit planning process, were going through it at the present time, or had just completed it. He stated that only one business owner identified the right successor the first time. The message: leave extra time for setbacks and surprises, because they will almost certainly occur.

After all, selling one’s business is usually the biggest financial event of an owner’s life. Therefore, it is only prudent for the business owner to properly plan for their own departure.

The success or failure to plan properly could have a major impact on the business owner’s lifestyle in retirement.


Big Fish!

Every day the CBI TEAM is meeting with and helping Main Street Business Owners, Moms and Pops, who are faced with the daunting prospect of preparing their business for sale to enable them to retire with dignity and financial security.

We understand their needs and can help them through our certified business review process which is free to them.
In the course of working with Moms and Pops we are also finding Moms and Pops who have grown their businesses off Main Street and into the lower middle market M&A pool, the BIG FISH!
While the business has grown, the pool of potential buyers has shrunk because of the expertise and financial resources required to catch the BIG FISH.
The BIG FISH is also called a ‘Tweener. It’s between a Main Street business (too big) and a true M&A (mergers & acquisitions) too small.

A ‘Tweener. That’s where the CBI TEAM shines, helping the ‘Tweeners and matching them up with the smaller pool of buyers and helping them find the deal that works for both.
We’ll leave the M&A size transactions to the Merrill Lynches and Wall Street top feeders.
We know our market and how to work in it.
Are you Main Street or BIG FISH?
Whichever you are, the CBI TEAM network of offices can help.

Call 877-582-5200 or email to speak with one of our Intermediaries.

Business Survival…because it’s a jungle out there!

Will your business survive you?

That’s a question all business owners need to know the answer to as soon as possible…unless you don’t care. If you don’t care, stop reading this.

However, 25 years of experience has taught me that almost all business owners want their business to survive them.

We’ll be exploring some of the lessons I have learned working with business owners, most of whom have not done a good job of planning their business survival.




Sad Demise…sort of!

How do we save Main Street USA businesses?

That’s a question every business owner, Mayor, School Superintendent, County Judge, Governor…ought to be asking every day. 


Because losing Main Street businesses costs everyone but especially those businesses that have a long history in communities such as Nashville, Arkansas, Fort Smith, Arkansas and other communities across Arkansas and the entire USA.

When a Main Street business closes its doors it is also stops paying employees who spend money in the local economy. It also means that the business stops paying taxes which support the city, county, state and federal governments.

Schools are especially hard hit as the local businesses generally are supporters of the schools and athletic programs. 

What can we do? How can we save those businesses and our communities?

One option is to sell the business and not just shut it down.

If you are a business owner or if you know a business owner who has reached retirement age then call us at 877-582-5200 and let us help determine if the business can be sold rather than just shut down.

We had a business owner in Springfield, Missouri who was going to close his business, just shut the doors and walk away.

Fortunately for him one of our CBI TEAM Intermediaries called and set an appointment to talk about the “saleability” of the business.

Less than 3 months later we sold the business and the new owner continues to run it successfully and the former owner got $180,000. That’s right, $180,000 and he was going to walk away with nothing.

Call today.


Teaching the Pros

I just returned from the International Business Brokers Association semi-annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.
It’s where the business sales pros go to learn and share best practices. Hundreds of the very best intermediaries from across the USA and foreign nations such as China, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Israel met for a week.
It was my privilege to teach and lead a workshop entitled “The Structured Seller Interview: Or how Mayo Clinic saved my life and profoundly impacted my career as a professional business intermediary.”
Long title and for an hour and a half we discussed how helping business owners starts by examining their records and then meeting with them to ask questions to understand their individual situation and expectations.
Business sales transactions should be more like meeting your family doctor than going to a car dealership.
An excellent intermediary/broker will spend lots of time reviewing your business records and getting to know you and your business before coming up with a plan to help you.
All our CBI Team intermediaries are trained to utilize this process and it has resulted in more satisfied sellers than another process.
Want to know more,? Check our website at or call 877-582-5200 to set an appointment to meet with one of our intermediaries in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri or Florida.

SOLD: Kauffman DDS

SOLD: Kauffman DDS

SOLD: Kauffman DDS

Pictured left to right: Dr. Tim Kauffman and Dr. Ryan Moore exchange keys and a handshake after the successful sale of Dr. Kauffman’s practice

After more than 20 years of operating his practice, Dr. Tim Kauffman of Arkadelphia, Arkansas transferred ownership to Dr. Ryan Moore with help from The CBI Team and Senior Intermediary, Casey Grimes. Dr. Kauffman originally contacted The CBI Team after receiving a postcard from Casey containing information about how Casey could help him sell his dental practice. Casey then met with Dr. Kauffman to explain the CBI Team’s process of selling dental practices as well as his experience in selling over ten of them in the past few years. Dr. Kauffman then made the decision to list his practice with The CBI Team.

Once The CBI Team was retained by Dr. Kauffman, Casey worked hard to find the right buyer for the practice. Using The CBI Team’s custom marketing plan and vast database of dental practice buyers, the dental practice was confidentially advertised to thousands of potential buyers. Dr. Moore was one of these buyers and he discovered the blind profile of the practice on a website The CBI Team utilizes to market the dental practices it has for sale. Dr. Moore displayed interest in the practice and a meeting was soon set between Dr. Kauffman and Dr. Moore to meet one-another and get questions answered. A relationship was quickly formed and shortly thereafter an agreement was accepted by both parties. The practice officially transferred ownership on March 8, 2016.

The CBI Team has successfully sold many dental and orthodontic practices and currently has several great practices for sale. If you’re interested in getting more information about the current practices for sale or how The CBI Team can help you sell your practice, contact us today at or (877) 582-5200.

SOLD: The Resident Chef

SOLD: The Resident Chef

SOLD: The Resident Chef

Pictured above: Buyers Kathy and Mark Janus accept keys from Seller Sherri Vadala

The Resident Chef has transferred ownership from Sherri Vadala to Mark and Kathy Janus thanks to The CBI Team and Senior Intermediary, Casey Grimes. The Resident Chef is a gourmet dips, desserts, soups and other goodies manufacturer that creates over 70 different products. Their products are manufactured and packaged in Arkansas, then distributed throughout the United States.

Sherri learned about The CBI Team from Casey a few years ago when he reached out to her about helping her sell the business. Sherri wasn’t interested at the time, but Casey stayed in contact with her and at the end of 2015 she reached the point that she was ready to sell. After Sherri retained The CBI Team to sell The Resident Chef, it was confidentially marketed to several thousand potential buyers. The perfect match was discovered when Mark and Kathy Janus learned about the opportunity. Casey and The CBI Team founder, Carl Grimes worked diligently to structure a deal acceptable to both parties. Almost as soon as the business was taken to market, The CBI Team was able to sell it. The Resident Chef officially transferred ownership on March 4, 2016.

Contact The CBI Team today to see how we can help you sell your business. Call (877) 582-5200 or email

Advantages of Buying an Existing Business

Advantages of Buying an Existing Business

Many people who are looking to start a new career or wanting to be there own boss have a major decision to make at the very beginning of the process: “Do I create a start-up or buy an existing business?”. A recent article in The New York Times, “You’ve Bought a Small Business. Now What?“, speaks about that question and gives several examples of buyers who had to make that decision.

While most people tend to think of start-ups as a way to be your own boss, an increasing number of people — some fresh out of business school and others looking for a second career — are buying small businesses, or buying into them.

Such small business may not be as trendy as start-ups, but for many eager to be their own bosses, they can be more rewarding than working in the corporate world.

And they are less risky. According to the Small Business Administration, about half of all new businesses fail within five years. Natalia Olson-Urtecho, mid-Atlantic regional director of the agency, said existing businesses that transfer ownership probably have a much higher success rate than start-ups because most businesses will not find buyers if they are not viable.

“If you buy an existing successful business, it already has a client base,” said Ed Pendarvis, founder of Sunbelt Business Brokers. Also, said Mr. Pendarvis, “in a typical financing case, most sellers have a financial stake in the company they are selling for several years after the sale, so they have a vested interest in its continuing success.”

If Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition, the class taught by Royce Yudkoff and Richard Ruback, professors at Harvard Business School, is any evidence, interest in small-business acquisition is growing rapidly. Five years ago, when they first offered the class, only a handful of students were interested. Last year 270 students took the course.

Small-business loans grew to $8 billion last year from $6 billion in 2014, Ms. Olson-Urtecho said, and many of them went to people buying operating companies. And the sale of small businesses grew by 53 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to, which now has more than 47,000 active listings.

Acquiring a business and keeping the original owners on as partners is less typical than taking over completely, but has its advantages. “The positive is that you have someone deeply experienced in the business,” Professor Yudkoff said.

Randy Shayler, who bought a musical instrument rental company in Reading, Pennsylvania, took over the entire ownership of the 93-year-old business, Zeswitz Music, three years ago. He was a management consultant before attending Harvard Business School, and thought he would probably run his own company later.

Although the owner no longer helps run the company, “she is a great resource, as is the highly experienced work force” Mr. Shayler said.

Devin Mackoff, 30, like the Higginses, was featured in The Times article six months ago, right after he bought a landscaping company, Landscape Cod, on Cape Cod. He put $150,000 down and guaranteed the sellers about 10 percent of the revenue over the next three years. After a hectic summer, the winter gave him much-needed time to regroup.

He decided to shift his business more toward gardening and project work and away from landscape maintenance. After some employees left him in the lurch, he said he was seeking a better way to recruit and keep staff.

“We grew the business 10 percent last year, which is good, but I really needed the break to step back and say, ‘This is working and this isn’t.’ ” he said. “I need to have more people on deck rather than scrambling for them if someone just quits by text. I want people who want to work.”

Buying a small business, unlike creating a start-up, means inheriting someone else’s procedures, decisions and vision. And it may take a while not only to create a new vision, but also to determine the best way to get there.

However, the most difficult hill to climb is surviving the first 5 years in business and the best way to overcome that obstacle is purchasing a existing, successful business.

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