Great Culture or the Best Price?

Jeff Thomas, CEO of Archetype Wealth Management, and Matt Gilbert, Principal of GaP Business Advisors, share how planning ahead, having a great deal team and strategic execution allow you to maintain control of the values, culture and things that are important to you without having to sacrifice on price.

  • The reality is, if you don't plan your exit well or have a good team put together to execute the strategy, then you do have to make some trade-offs.

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[00:00:04] JEFF: Once again, it's Jeff Thomas here with Archetype Wealth Partners. We have a special guest today, Matt Gilbert of GaP Business Advisors, which is a lower-middle market investment bank, kind of focused on the same market as Archetype. They are focused on business owners with business valuations of ten to one hundred million. Matt, thanks for being with us. I appreciate it. We have a few questions for you. One of the questions we had was on culture.

 

[00:00:32] JEFF: One of the questions that we get a lot from business owners is, you know, “is the buyer going to be able to continue this great culture?” They want to take care of their family members in the business, and they certainly love their employees, other employees. They'd love to continue the great culture, but they figure there's probably a trade off between the price they're going to get for somebody who's going to continue the great culture they have -- or the best price they feel like they get to make a choice between one or the other. Is that really true?

 

[00:01:02] MATT GILBERT: No, no it's not necessarily true at all. I think for some business owners it is true. Right. If you don't plan your exit well, you don't put together a good deal team. You don't run a good process. You do have to make some of those tradeoffs. But if you're on the other side of the coin there and you plan this exit, right. And you have your advisers like (Archetype) who we're working on this thing, we've got a goal. We're going after it. We have a strategy. You put together a great deal team that surveys the buying community, then a competitive process where you maintain control, your values, your culture, the things that are important to you -- are the framework of the deal.

 

[00:01:46] MATT GILBERT: Then you're going to have a couple of buyers that that generally emerge that line with those values. And then the beauty of this is so many of our business owner clients are concerned about the employees that are like family to them. Right. But they've topped out in their organization. When a bigger organization comes along, values align. It's a good, solid transaction for all parties and all parties are the shareholders and the owner that's selling the employees, the vendors and the customers. When that all aligns and you have a really good transaction, your great employees that you love so much, they now have a career ladder that they can continue climbing. Right. They also have better benefits. In most cases they get other things. And so it can be a win-win situation, but it's totally got to be planned and strategically executed.

 

[00:02:36] JEFF: What I'm hearing is and that's the drumbeat we use a lot. We've talked about this getting ahead of it. The more the earlier you start, the better. And that can result in keeping the great culture you have and getting the top price.

 

[00:02:49] MATT GILBERT: You know, you read stories about all those entrepreneurs that exited well and then you read stories about all this “carnage”. You never read about the in between. It's either one or the other because that's what sells. And it really the difference between being in this camp, in this camp is generally the plan that you put together and who helps you execute that plan.

 

[00:03:15] JEFF: Thank you. I think that's counterintuitive to what most people are thinking -- and in wise counsel.


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