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The Messy Marketplace: Selling Your Business in a World of Imperfect Buyers

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The marketplace for small and midsize businesses is messy. Having peeked behind the curtain at over 10,000 companies, this book aims to demystify the buyers, the process, and the inevitably emotional journey that is selling a company. Read it. Reference it. Share it. Think about what outcomes are important to you and why. Here's a cheat sheet: I want between $__________ and $ The marketplace for small and midsize businesses is messy. Having peeked behind the curtain at over 10,000 companies, this book aims to demystify the buyers, the process, and the inevitably emotional journey that is selling a company. Read it. Reference it. Share it. Think about what outcomes are important to you and why. Here's a cheat sheet: I want between $__________ and $___________ of cash as a financial result. (You'll have to pay off debt, taxes, and transaction costs. Also, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.) I want to work for ___ years in my current position, and am willing to consult with the company for ___ years thereafter. (It's okay to say you want to stick with the company long-term, or leave the day of closing.) I'm looking for a buyer/partner that will take the ________ role in the company. (Example roles include advisory board, passive partner, CEO, and CFO.) The characteristics/values of an ideal buyer would be: My ideal timeline for a transaction would be ______, but I'd be happy to sell in _____ years. My top non-financial goals are:


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The marketplace for small and midsize businesses is messy. Having peeked behind the curtain at over 10,000 companies, this book aims to demystify the buyers, the process, and the inevitably emotional journey that is selling a company. Read it. Reference it. Share it. Think about what outcomes are important to you and why. Here's a cheat sheet: I want between $__________ and $ The marketplace for small and midsize businesses is messy. Having peeked behind the curtain at over 10,000 companies, this book aims to demystify the buyers, the process, and the inevitably emotional journey that is selling a company. Read it. Reference it. Share it. Think about what outcomes are important to you and why. Here's a cheat sheet: I want between $__________ and $___________ of cash as a financial result. (You'll have to pay off debt, taxes, and transaction costs. Also, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.) I want to work for ___ years in my current position, and am willing to consult with the company for ___ years thereafter. (It's okay to say you want to stick with the company long-term, or leave the day of closing.) I'm looking for a buyer/partner that will take the ________ role in the company. (Example roles include advisory board, passive partner, CEO, and CFO.) The characteristics/values of an ideal buyer would be: My ideal timeline for a transaction would be ______, but I'd be happy to sell in _____ years. My top non-financial goals are:

30 review for The Messy Marketplace: Selling Your Business in a World of Imperfect Buyers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laurent Michiels

    I learned about this book via Twitter, where I started following Brent Beshore (before I knew he owns a private equity fund). I would highly recommend this book for business owners thinking about selling their business, since I am not aware of any other complete sources on this subject. It's also a good reference for advisors and buyers, although most of the content is quite basic. Easy to follow and always clearly explaining jargon, Beshore walks the reader through the more technical financial I learned about this book via Twitter, where I started following Brent Beshore (before I knew he owns a private equity fund). I would highly recommend this book for business owners thinking about selling their business, since I am not aware of any other complete sources on this subject. It's also a good reference for advisors and buyers, although most of the content is quite basic. Easy to follow and always clearly explaining jargon, Beshore walks the reader through the more technical financial and legal aspects of a transaction as well as the inevitable emotional side of a deal. In addition, the book contains an extensive information request checklist to guide all parties involved through due diligence.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    The Messy Marketplace is a compact, step-by-step guide to selling a small- or medium-sized business that I believe is essential reading for any business owner beginning to contemplate selling their business, or aspiring small business owner-operators (or search fund operators) looking to buy a business. As the title suggests, the world of small and medium-sized business is not subject to the “neat” standard operating procedures that govern the corporate world. As a result, a guide like the Messy The Messy Marketplace is a compact, step-by-step guide to selling a small- or medium-sized business that I believe is essential reading for any business owner beginning to contemplate selling their business, or aspiring small business owner-operators (or search fund operators) looking to buy a business. As the title suggests, the world of small and medium-sized business is not subject to the “neat” standard operating procedures that govern the corporate world. As a result, a guide like the Messy Marketplace is invaluable in breaking down exactly what to except from all stages of the sale process – from deciding to sell to the deal’s closing – even touching with “seller’s remorse” and other similar maladies drawing on his vast professional experience. Brent is unflinchingly honest about the misalignments in communication, expectation, price, and seemingly every facet of the sale process that can take place between buyer and seller, and writes from a place of comprehension, empathy, and experience. As the book explains, while the process may not be altogether painless, the Messy Marketplace will ensure that you will go into the process fully aware of the experience to come. One of the best parts of the book is its ‘egoless,’ straightforward approach to the process – have you ever held back on asking a question or clarification for fear of looking (gasp) stupid or uninformed? Of course, we all have. The book seeks to disambiguate the investment world’s seemingly secret world of concepts, terms, acronyms, and abbreviations. There’s even a handy glossary in the back, to quickly consult if needed! Brent’s firm, adventur.es has long distinguished itself for its commitment to operating from a place of honesty, integrity, and a community-oriented mindset. The Messy Marketplace is no exception. The Messy Marketplace is a book that I plan to consult often in my career, and believe will save me no shortage of money, time, and confusion down the road. Thank you to Brent & team!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brian Nwokedi

    Introduction The Messy Marketplace is a book by Brent Beshore, CEO of adventur.es, that focuses on selling a business from the sellers perspective. It’s a very simple stroke of genius and is written in such an easy to follow fashion that any person interested in selling their business will benefit from this book. Heck any person interested in learning about deal structure in general will benefit from this book. Why Should You Read This Book? At exactly 100 pages of content this book is the perfect Introduction The Messy Marketplace is a book by Brent Beshore, CEO of adventur.es, that focuses on selling a business from the sellers perspective. It’s a very simple stroke of genius and is written in such an easy to follow fashion that any person interested in selling their business will benefit from this book. Heck any person interested in learning about deal structure in general will benefit from this book. Why Should You Read This Book? At exactly 100 pages of content this book is the perfect read for entrepreneurs, business owners, and generally anyone interested in how the process to sell a business works. Brent has clearly been successful doing it time and again and he shares some of the simple lessons he has learned along the way. You should read this book if you are interested in learning some of the basics around selling a business. You should read this book if you are interested in buying a business as well. And you should definitely read this book if you are interested in direct investments into private businesses. Final Thoughts Brent Beshore gives really simple and excellent insight into how to get a business sold. The tips in this book are bi-directional, meaning they apply to sellers but can be understood by buyers. In fact, regardless on what side of the coin you are on (buy side or sell side) you will benefit from reading this book. Regardless of your experience level with deals this is a great refresher and summary for anyone involved in business transactions. Easy to Read: (5/5) 100% Deep Content: (3/5) 60% Overall Rating: (4/5) 80%

  4. 5 out of 5

    Spence Byer

    This book is great for what it was created for: a reference guide for sellers looking to sell their small business without experience from previous transactions. This book would also be an incredible educational tool for interns or recent college grads to read on the first week of their job in M&A. Outside of those 2 cases, I wouldn’t recommend this book. With that being said, Brent Beshore is the man and you should check out every talk or piece of writing he’s done online.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard Mowrey

    A good look behind the curtain for business owners who are considering the sale of their business. It addresses and dispels a number of myths that too many business owners encounter. The section on "exercising buyers" carefully is important and excellently presents the proper processes. A good look behind the curtain for business owners who are considering the sale of their business. It addresses and dispels a number of myths that too many business owners encounter. The section on "exercising buyers" carefully is important and excellently presents the proper processes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Remo Uherek

    Brent Beshore has evaluated 10.000 small to midsize businesses for purchase. In this book, he summarizes his process and offers a comprehensive guide for buying and selling private businesses. It’s especially useful for people who think about selling their business.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

    Disclosure: I've met Brent, listened to his interviews and talks he's given and greatly admire his approach to investing and business. He's looked at thousands of deals and is not coming at this from an academic point of view. I think this book is a wake-up call as well as a playbook for small business owners that are nearing the end of their working careers and haven't a clue where to start the process of harvesting the fruits of the business they have built over the years. Many owners are too b Disclosure: I've met Brent, listened to his interviews and talks he's given and greatly admire his approach to investing and business. He's looked at thousands of deals and is not coming at this from an academic point of view. I think this book is a wake-up call as well as a playbook for small business owners that are nearing the end of their working careers and haven't a clue where to start the process of harvesting the fruits of the business they have built over the years. Many owners are too busy managing their business to worry about selling it. Even if a sale is on their radar, this will likely be their only sale while the buyer may have closed on dozens of businesses and seen hundreds if not thousands. Beshore starts with asking the seller to examine their motivations and manage their expectations. From there, he looks at the various types of buyers, their goals, limitations, and expectations and how these affect the seller. Along the way he takes care to familiarize the reader/seller with the metrics and jargon of the transaction process, the players they'll encounter, and the pitfalls to expect. Though the mechanics of the deal are spelled out in great detail, Beshore never loses focus on the fact that owners, employees, customers, and suppliers are all people and need to handle themselves and be handled with professionalism and grace throughout the entire process. For advisors and financial professionals, I found this to be a good companion to HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business by Richard S. Ruback and Royce Yudkoff. That book, of course, looks at the process from the buyer's point of view, but the overlap between the two books reinforces the expectations you'll encounter in a deal. Beshore also stresses the importance of having good, experienced advisors on your side. Those advisors who are not experts on the process (and sorry, reading this book doesn't qualify you - or me) should have the humility and professionalism to help their client-owners find someone who is. Finally, a word on the book's design. I was delighted when I unpacked this book like I have been with no other in recent memory. With a hard, glossy cover sans dust jacket, it immediately reminded me of my elementary school textbooks. Appropriate, because Beshore, like most good teachers, loves his subject and has generously shared his knowledge with the rest of us.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Korey

    Good overview for buying/selling a general business for $5-$30mm. Highly targeted market. No specifics in to tech related companies. All high level overview with things to expect.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joao Camargo

    Tons of valuable information for small business owners. Even if you are not thinking about selling your business, its always important to know what makes a company attractive for a buyer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kiyo Egashira

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Meza

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo Del campo

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steven Hoffer

  14. 5 out of 5

    Justin Garrett

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Heaney

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Schneider

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Evans

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leon Coe

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian Agnew

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kirk

  21. 5 out of 5

    P A

  22. 5 out of 5

    Corey

  23. 4 out of 5

    Flynt

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ryan McGrotty

  25. 4 out of 5

    PAL BERG

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jared Work

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Turgut

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rich

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