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[Podcast] Business Innovators Interview: Preparing Your Business for Sale w/Rob Amerine

A special thanks to host Mark Imperial and Business Innovators for the interview of our very own President of The FBB Group, Rob Amerine.

Watch, listen or read the interview transcript as Mark and Rob discuss some outstanding insights for business owners.

Podcast Transcript

Mark’s Introduction: This segment is all about preparing your business for sale welcome to the program I’m Mark Imperial and the segments brought to you by it’s the place where busy professionals get their books published to educate consumers to grow their businesses and to leave a legacy.

Mark: Joining me on this segment is Rob Amerine he’s the President of The FBB Group Ltd., Rob, welcome to the show!

Rob: Yeah thanks for having me Mark.

Mark: Tell us a little bit about your work and specifically who are the types of folks that you specialize in helping?

Rob: Yeah we’ve been in business here in Colorado for 40 years so we have a large breadth of businesses that we worked with that really are those that are looking to retire but looking to transition. We’ve had serial buyers and serial sellers where a seller will sell a business and then buy another business come back to us and sell it again. So it’s a process that we run it’s very much flexible but it’s also very much of a vetted process that just maximizes what’s at the closing table.

Mark: Tell us a little bit about the business owners that you work with. They’re great at growing their business but when it comes time to sell how much you know thought do they really put into that and how prepared are they to sell?

Rob: Well we wish more were prepared sooner and that’s really what uh, that’s it’s a good timing for this Mark because we’re really trying to reach out to those business owners and maybe trying to sell preparing the business five to ten years out is is a good place to really start thinking about how are they going to exit. How are they going to you know drive value in their business and what are those value drivers. You know what what moves the needle in terms of value and then of course retirement. What number you know, what amount do they need to retire? What structure of the transaction do they need to retire and so we’re you know we’re we’re definitely talking those but it may be you know burnout comes easy. You know it comes, not easy, but also very much before someone is ready, right? Maybe they’re thinking they’re going to retire 10-15 years, but they’re burned out in the next couple years. COVID has created a lot of people just there they can’t find the labor, they’re burnt out and that tends to affect value pretty quickly when you start to just coast and you’re not really building the business as you were before.

Mark: When business owners consider selling their business I’m sure there’s a lot of information and maybe a lot of misinformation out there on the web. What are some of the like you know perhaps preconceived notions or maybe myths or misconceptions that business owners might hold from doing research like that about how to sell their business?

Rob: Yeah there’s a lot on the internet and you know there’s a lot of programs out there that try to say hey “you can do it yourself” or “you can cut corners” or “you can you can basically figure it out” and I think that’s probably the biggest issue that we see is people try and do it themselves. They try to think that they don’t need an expert that they’re saving on costs of hiring an expert when really they’re leaving money on the table, right? And it’s hard, it’s hard to really understand if you have a business that you know sells, for say three, to could sell between three and five million dollars. Where are you uh you know cutting corners and leaving that amount maybe another million dollars on the table that would have have been there had you had the right experts in place to go to market and prepare your business.

Mark: Let’s uh unpack that a little bit can you give us like some examples of maybe some common pitfalls or mistakes that business owners make when it comes time to selling?

Rob: Yeah I think you know, I had a client that for four years we tried to sell his business to both industry buyers and internally and he finally the light “went on” that he kept on going through the start and stop of all that and basically and he was a good good contract guy he understood. He was a good business owner but he finally realized that he’s just not the best to represent his business. There’s an emotional play on it and it’s also where he came to that realization now. We wish he had come to realization sooner, but but he knew that he wasn’t the one to do that. So it was really more of him then coming to us and say hey “let’s run the process” and we were closing a matter of about four or five months with a buyer that he had already identified. So those are the pitfalls I think that really caused people that they put all their emphasis into one buyer or they basically think that this is going to be “it”. A lot of times it sounds too good to be true and often it is. So when they get where the reality sets in they weigh it a year or two, you know trying to pursue that, and that Pitfall. That can, you know if employees are finding out about this or whatever, it could really hurt the business and it’s a big risk to go down that path without an expert involved.

Mark: Great insight, Rob, what inspired you to get into this field and help business owners sell their businesses how did you get started?

Rob: Well I bought my first business in 2004 and had gone through the ups and downs of the of the whole, you know with the recession and everything else to raise Angel funds, and realize how hard it is. I was working the hundred hour weeks I understood and I can see when I’m sitting across the table from a seller that they’re kind of in that same spot. Where they’re just tired they’re they know that they’ve been working and I think one of the things that I see more often than not and I ask sellers this “are you the one to take it to the next level?” Everybody wants to grow their business that but “are you really the one?” Do you do you have the capacity do you have the mindset to take it to the next level? All too often these business owners are really thinking they’re the person to do it and they’re really not you know it’s really that’s the time they should really look at selling

Rob Continues: I have a technology company right now that the guy you know he’s not ready for retirement but he’s come to a realization as well that he’s not the one to take this business to the next level. It’s a great business, it’s got a great potential, but now we’re on the market talking to the buyers that can grab that business and take it and grow it to the next level. He can still be a part of it, so it’s really a win-win for that standpoint versus them struggling year after year, after year and it’s just never getting above that threshold just because they’re just not the ones to to take it there.

Mark: Right on! Before I ask you my last question in regards to selling a business in today’s environment is there anything I didn’t think to ask you that you feel is important to share with business owners?

Rob: You know we like to say we’re, you know everybody wants to plan, but this is an event driven business. I think I was in a business group by a man this past week and even though people may not say “well that’s just too far out for me” I think you can never start planning too early about what would happen if you had to sell your business today. What would that look like, because you know health can come in on you know unannounced. There can be changes in the employee structure. There can be changes in the market, I mean we live that through the pandemic. So if they can ask that, if they could really be be honest with themselves about asking that question, what what could I could I really sell my business today? And if you couldn’t for some reason, why aren’t you making those changes now? Because that may be a reality at some point maybe not tomorrow, but maybe a year from now and maybe not the not in the five to ten year plan that you currently have.

Mark: Sage advice. For business owners listening who would love to speak with you and perhaps get your help. How can they find you and connect?

Rob: Yeah we we’re doing a lot of online in fact we’re getting ready to launch a couple other landing sites more educational based, but the main website that we have right now is FBB so that is short for our our initial name when we first started here 40 years ago, First Business Brokers. So we are now The FBB Group. From that standpoint in terms of branding, but um that’s a great place we have a lot of articles on there I’m getting ready to publish another monthly update on the cost of selling a business and understanding those you know those costs for people looking at possibly selling in the future.

Mark: Rob this has been terrific I really appreciate you taking the time to share with my audience today and I wish you continued success, for you and for all of your clients.

Rob: Yeah, I appreciate the opportunity Mark!

Mark’s Outro: Thank you! That was Rob Amerine, President of The FBB Group limited and this segment’s been brought to you by It’s the place where busy professionals get their books done and published to educate consumers grow their businesses leave their fields and leave a legacy. That’s all for now, I’m Mark Imperial and thanks for joining me.