The first time David Phelps sold his dental practice, he ended up in a legal battle that cost him more than $100,000. Phelps eventually got his practice back and was determined to sell it the right way the second time around.
David Phelps started his dental practice in 1986 and built it for 20 years before his daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. Fighting for his child’s life, Phelps decided to sell his practice in a hurry.
He agreed to provide financing to the new owner to buy the practice, which would end up being a decision he would come to regret.
Bobby Martin had built First Research up to $6.5 million dollars in revenue when he sold the business to a Fortune 500 company for 26 million dollars. But despite getting four times revenue for his business, Martin ended up feeling empty after the sale.
In this week’s episode of Built to Sell Radio, I interview Bobby Martin. Bobby built his business from the ground up and had a great exit. He sold his business to a Fortune 500 company for $26 million dollars – four times his top line revenue at the time.
Martin’s exit was a financial success but life after the sale took a big turn for the worse.
John Ratliff started Appletree Answers in a spare bedroom of his house in 1995 and by 2012 had grown it to 650 employees and 24 locations when he decided it was time to sell.
John Ratliff was able to scale Appletree Answers by buying small competitors for around 3 times EBITDA using borrowed money. He quickly went from 1 to 650 employees in less than twenty years while his EBITDA went from nothing to more than $5 million a year. Then one day, he got a call from a strategic acquirer that would change his life forever.
Finding a buyer for Killer Shade was relatively easy. Closing the deal -- and getting paid -- was a whole lot harder.
Mike Campion had built Phoenix-based Killer Shade up to more than $3 million in sales and $700,000 in profits when he decided he wanted out. Killer Shade was in the business of constructing shades and awnings for playgrounds, patios and parking garages. They did large, profitable jobs but city hall paid slowly and Campion was always stressed about cash.
Campion was able to find a buyer and agree to a price, but that’s when the problems started.
Rick Martinez is a military nurse who stumbled into the staffing business by accident and grew his company to 600 employees. Then, when he decided to sell his business, he took a surprisingly zen-like approach to negotiating the deal.
It typically takes a hard-nosed, sharp-elbowed entrepreneur to build a 600-employee company but Rick Martinez built a successful staffing business with no previous entrepreneurial experience. Years later, when he went to sell his company, he took a low-key approach to negotiating the sale. Rick’s story provides a welcome alternative to the often adversarial business of selling a company.