The Business Transition Blog

Playing Poker

I got a phone call from a business broker.

I’ve had calls from brokers in the past and they usually say they have prospective buyers and investors who are looking to buy businesses and you know they are just fishing for leads. They want to get you on their mailing list and capture you as a prospective seller before someone else does, but they probably don’t have anyone who is actually interested in your business specifically.

This call was different. He had done his research, asked me a couple pointed questions and suggested that he had a specific  buyer interested in my call centre business. Was I interested in selling?

My immediate answer was, “Not really.” I had just gone through a turnaround situation in which we had done some serious damage control  because of someone trying to defraud me while I was away on a sabbatical. We had restructured the management team, done some serious training and development, coached for success and were now back on track to make some healthy profits.

“What if the price was right?” he asked.

“Then, I’d be foolish not to look at it,” I replied.

Through the process, we went through the financials, established the EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) and came up with a price that was worth discussing further. The prospective buyer did a preliminary check and decided they would like to meet.

I can go into other details about the process later, but what I want to comment on is that I am now like a poker player with a good hand, but not a great hand. If I wait a few more years, I could have a great hand, or as we all know, I might end up going backwards – through no fault of my own, because of external causes over which I have no control. The economy, higher interest rates, new laws restricting business, major clients going  bankrupt – the list is endless.

It reminds me of the Kenny Rogers song – “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to run.”