Prepping the Princess: Experts to Speak on What Makes a Business Attractive to Buyers

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With abundant capital, tax cuts and a very healthy merger-and-acquisition (M&A) environment, business owners are in a position to realize significant net cash proceeds from the sale of their businesses.

To help them be prepared for an exit, Trusted Counsel has united with FOCUS Investment BankingH+W | AprioNewport Board Group, Carabiner Communications and Wilmington Trust to present the second edition of “Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell?” 

The event, which includes a panel discussion, will take place at 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at The Buckhead Club in Atlanta. CEOs, Presidents, CFOs and Finance Managers for privately-held businesses interested in attending should visit www.preppingtheprincess.com to request an invitation. (If you happen to miss the deadline and are interested in attending a future panel discussion, kindly send us an email through the preppingtheprincess.com website).

According to a 2018 business trends study, more than 40 percent of current business owners are preparing to exit. Yet many are unprepared to sell:  

  • 58 percent have never had their company appraised;
  • 48 percent have no formal exit strategy;
  • 37 percent have no structures in place to shield cash proceeds

“Our first ‘Prepping the Princess’ event was extremely successful and business-exit topics continue to be among the most requested on our ‘In-Process’ podcast, so we felt as though it was the perfect time to bring back this popular event for Round 2,” said Evelyn Ashley, managing partner, Trusted Counsel. “Being prepared for a sale transaction not only gets you increased value from a purchase price perspective but also affects the time you spend in the process, which is rigorous. So, when you're prepared, the credibility with the buyer goes up that much more as well as increases the probability that you will have a successful transaction.”

Ashley added, “It pays huge dividends to get perspective from experienced legal, investment, accounting, advisory, branding, and wealth-management professionals who understand what sellers and buyers think about when going into a transaction.”

Attendees can expect to learn:

  • What makes a business attractive to a buyer?
  • What steps can be taken inside the business to make it more appealing for the sale;
  • How does branding factor into your plan for an exit?
  • How do you know your business is ready for the "Transaction Dance?"

Panelists will include Manan Shah, managing partner, FOCUS Investment Banking; Michael Levy, partner-in-charge, Transaction Advisory Services, H+W | Aprio; Doug Tatum, chairman of the board, Newport Board Group; Peter Baron, founder and principal, Carabiner Communications; Jonathan Fitzgerald, vice president and director of wealth and fiduciary planning in the Southeast, Wilmington Trust; and John Monahon, partner, Trusted Counsel. George Shea, a FOCUS partner and IT team leader, is slated to moderate the panel.

The fee to attend the event is $35, which will be donated to LaunchPad2x.com, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides mentoring and training for future CEOs. Subscribe to our show "In Process Podcast on iTunes to receive all of the episodes of the "Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell? episodes as well as future episodes to your smartphone.

Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell? Part Three

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How to Boost Brand Reputation Ahead of the Sale

This week on “In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century,” we continue with the next podcast in our series dedicated to the topic of preparing your business for sale. This series leads up to the physical event we are hosting at 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018, in Atlanta titled, "Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell?"  

When companies think about their brands, among the first things that come to mind are name, colors, logo design, and even a tag line. However, reputation is one of the most important―and most often overlooked―attributes for a brand. Brand reputation refers to how your company is viewed by others, whether it’s customers, prospects, partners or marketplace influencers such as media and analysts. Having a positive brand reputation means customers trust your company, and feel good about purchasing and recommending your products or services. Being able to demonstrate a strong and viable brand in the marketplace helps build value in the eyes of potentials buyers who might be interested in purchasing your company.

In the third installment of our six-part podcast series, show hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon speak with Peter Baron, Carabiner Communications founder and principal, about what companies need to consider from a marketing and branding standpoint prior to a potential sale. Carabiner Communications is a top PR firm in Atlanta, specializing in marketing and lead generation.

“Companies often don't put enough strategic effort and muscle into creating visibility for their brand, whether it involves a rebrand or support to boost an existing reputation in the marketplace,” said Peter. “Another mistake we see is not investing enough in a particular marketing channel―for example, choosing to go 1-inch deep in 10 different marketing channels instead of going 6-inches deep in three of them that really matter. Determining where your customers actually are and prioritizing those communications avenues will help.”

Sellers are often so focused on the legal and tax consequences of a potential transaction that they often lose sight of proven marketing strategies and tactics―and even reduce budgets for these activities―that will help them increase the value of their companies.

During the course of the podcast, entrepreneurs, business owners and C-level executives will learn about the:

  • Concept of brand reputation as part of the sale
  • Considerations for rebranding
  • Elements of a good brand
  • Marketing strategies, tactics and assets involved with a rebrand
  • Right mix of content to satisfy prospects’ and customers’ information needs

Learn how to develop an integrated marketing campaign to build or boost brand reputation ahead of a sale by streaming the conversation in its entirety in the player below, or download it to your mobile device via iTunes. Don’t miss a single episode, subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.

“Prepping the Princess” is an invitation-only event for C-level executives and business owners. The event will provide substantive information on the key elements, which most every business should possess, to make it an attractive participant at the sale dance. For more information on the event and to request an invitation, please go to preppingtheprincess.com.

 

Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell? Part Two

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Don’t Wait!  Get Your Legal House in Order Now

This week on “In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century,” Trusted Counsel continues with the next podcast in the series dedicated to the topic of preparing your business for sale. This series leads up to the physical event the firm is hosting at 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018, in Atlanta titled, "Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell?"  

Many business owners who have sold a company generally agree that it’s a fairly stressful experience for anyone who's not been through the process before. Sellers typically don't really understand all the complexities, how long it can take, and what actually is involved. While they’re thankful when it gets closed, most sellers don’t relish the overall experience. However, sellers who can get their legal house in order now with the help of good professional support will find the sale process much easier to navigate.

In the second installment of the six-part podcast series, show hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon go inside the firm to speak with two of Trusted Counsel’s law partners, Allen Bradley and Tom Wardell, about the legal side of selling a business―from before a buyer knocks on your door until the final distribution from the sale is made.

“A large issue for a seller is recognizing capital income rather than ordinary income,” said Allen. “Often, when the purchasing price is tied to an earn-out, there can be ordinary income issues. Today there's a 20-point spread in the two tax regimes, so capital gain is very important.”

Unfortunately, sellers often wait to bring in legal counsel once they’ve already gotten a Letter of Intent. That’s a big mistake. Sellers, especially first timers, can benefit greatly from having sound advice not only from the tax perspective but also from the legal side that can help determine the value of a business and identify strengths as well as weaknesses―because those are the things buyers usually focus on.

“There are some fundamental terms within a Letter of Intent,” said Tom. “Price is obviously one of them. Another is the nature of the transaction, for example, is it going to be structured as an asset sale or a stock sale? Will there be a continuation of management. If there are to be down-stream terms, then what are those terms? Sometimes you get further into things like expectations with respect to employment agreements. Usually a Letter of Intent will run two-three pages more or less.”

During the course of the podcast, entrepreneurs, business owners and C-level executives will learn about:

  • Often overlooked legal elements in the preparation process
  • What to expect during the actual negotiations
  • How contracts can be structured
  • The importance of network security and privacy to the sale
  • How and when to communicate customer information
  • Impact of employee incentive packages
  • The concept of escrow

Learn about the steps you can take to prepare your business for a sale now or for the future by streaming the conversation in its entirety in the player below, or download it to your mobile device via iTunes. Don’t miss a single episode, subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.

“Prepping the Princess” is an invitation-only event for C-level executives and business owners. The event will provide substantive information on the key elements, which most every business should possess, to make it an attractive participant at the sale dance. For more information on the event and to request an invitation, please go to preppingtheprincess.com.

      Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell? Part One

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      Preparation: The Key to Securing the Best Value for Your Company

      This week on “In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century,” we begin our series of podcasts dedicated to the topic of preparing your business for sale. This series leads up to the physical event we are hosting at 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018, in Atlanta titled, "Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is Your Business Ready to Sell?"  Visit the dedicated website of the event to learn more at www.PreppingThePrincess.com.

      There is certainly a lot of excitement in the merger and acquisition (M&A) market currently. Interest rates are low. Capital is abundant, both at private equity groups as well as strategic investors. The “strategics” seem to have more cash on their balance sheets than ever before in history, and so that lends to a very healthy M&A environment. Coupled with tax cuts, sellers are in a position to realize some significant net cash proceeds advantages―but you have to be prepared.

      In the first installment of our six-part podcast series, show hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon speak with Aprio’s Michael Levy, partner-in-charge of Transaction Advisory Services, and Yelena Epova, partner-in-charge of International Services, about financial and tax considerations. Aprio is Georgia's largest full-service CPA-led advisory firm.

      “From a due diligence perspective, you get benefits from experienced professionals who understand what sellers and buyers think about when going into a transaction,” said Michael. “Many of our clients are very interested in learning about the market and the process. The earlier you can start to have those conversations, the more prepared you can be to enter into a transaction. Preparedness absolutely translates into transaction value, i.e. more dollars in sellers’ pockets.”

      Being prepared for a transaction not only gets you increased value from a purchase price perspective but also affects the time you spend in the process, which is rigorous. So, when you're prepared, the credibility with the buyer goes up that much more as well as increases the probability that you will have a successful sale transaction.

      “You want to make your company is due-diligence proof,” said Yelena. “You don't want to find out through the process ‘Oops, I haven't done this or this is not right.’ There will always be some questions, but you don't want to have major surprises.”

      During the course of the podcast, entrepreneurs, business owners and C-level executives will learn about the:

      • Current state of the M&A market
      • Tax changes and implications to consider
      • Why due diligence is essential and the types of advisors you need
      • Importance of an audit and other financial reports  
      • Options for structuring a deal
      • Pros and cons of earn-outs

      Learn about the steps you can take to prepare your business for a sale now or for the future by streaming the conversation in its entirety in the player below, or download it to your mobile device via iTunes. Don’t miss a single episode, subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.

      “Prepping the Princess” is an invitation-only event for C-level executives and business owners. The event will provide substantive information on the key elements, which most every business should possess, to make it an attractive participant at the sale dance. For more information on the event and to request an invitation, please go to preppingtheprincess.com.

      Legal Industry Veteran Thomas Wardell Joins Trusted Counsel

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      Today, we’re very excited to announce that Trusted Counsel is expanding its team of seasoned lawyers with the addition of Thomas Wardell.

      As a respected legal expert with more than 40 years of corporate counseling, Tom joins the firm as Senior Counsel to provide our clients with his extensive transactional experience and unparalleled expertise in public securities and corporate governance. Additionally, he will be involved in the training and mentoring of new attorneys, sharing his extensive experience, but also his experiences as the CEO of a $250-million computer systems company from which he exited after leading its expansion and sale.       

      We see the addition of Tom as a significant piece of the puzzle in the growth of services provided by Trusted Counsel. In early 2017, Trusted Counsel combined with Siavage Law Group, founded by Mike Siavage who has an exceptional start-up practice. Now, Tom is bringing his public securities and corporate governance practice, as well as his transactional and operating experience. We see this piece giving us that additional platform to provide not only expanded expertise and service to our clients, but also helping to instill the professionalism, mentorship and knowledge that our young lawyers can benefit from in terms of their career growth.  

      Tom’s extensive corporate counseling background includes corporate finance and securities; mergers and acquisitions; and corporate reorganizations and restructurings. He has represented public and private companies across a broad spectrum of industries, and has counseled companies on compliance and governance matters, including investigations both internal and with regulatory implications. From 1988 to 1993, Tom was CEO of Versyss, a provider of computer systems for small businesses. He also served as an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Management and a guest lecturer at Harvard Business School. He is a Vice Chair of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has been recognized with numerous accolades for his advisory services and promotion of diversity in the legal profession.   

      “Trusted Counsel is the niche firm that every company that is past liftoff―and can see its future―wants,” said Tom. “The firm knows how to help its clients get to yet another level in terms of revenue, size, reach, and markets. I expect to add my skills and experience, especially from the operating side, to help make that happen. Additionally, I enjoy working with and mentoring young lawyers so I look forward to sharing my ‘battle scars’ with the team.” 

      Please join us in welcoming Tom to the Trusted Counsel team!