By Martin Hansen, CEO – Mavrek
Date: May 2023
In this case study, we will explore the story of James and Michelle, small business owners who faced the difficult task of selling their agriculture service business due to James suffering from a debilitating health condition. We will examine the challenges they encountered and the lessons we can learn from their experience.
At the age of 58, James received the devastating news that his condition would worsen, which would leave him unable to operate the business. He started the business 36 years ago alongside his high school sweetheart, his wife Michelle. Realizing the urgency of the situation, they sought the advice of their company CPA on how to proceed with the sale.
The CPA’s Advice
Unfortunately, the CPA had limited knowledge on selling a business and could only suggest listing it on a “Business for Sale” website. At the time, the CPA was unaware there was a solution available to her – the Mavrek.com platform. James and Michelle inquired about the information a potential buyer would require, the CPA mentioned financial statements, tax returns, and a list of assets and customers etc. However, the CPA clarified that she only handled their taxes and did not have access to most of the other critical information that would be necessary for a buyer to review. Furthermore, the CPA emphasized the need to also be able to prove the income generated by the business.
Feeling defeated and unprepared, James and Michelle left the meeting with a sense of worry. They realized their business was not ready for sale, and they were unsure of how to proceed.
James then reflected on the advice he had heard at various conferences and small business events over the years. He recalled the recurring message of “Don’t wait until you have to sell because by then, it may be too late!” Additionally, he remembered a CPA / Exit Planner in a small business seminar emphasizing the importance of always being prepared to sell a business, regardless of the circumstances.
Six months later, James and Michelle made the difficult decision to close their business and liquidate the remaining assets through an auction. Tragically, James passed away just three months after the closure. At the time of the decision, the company had achieved $3.7M in annual sales with a growth rate of 6% and a net before tax (NBT) of approximately 10%. The business had no debt, $469K in accounts receivable, and $72K in accounts payable.
However, after the liquidation the final net to Michelle was $655K before tax. The number was a product of the asset value + cash + A/R – A/P. It is worth noting the market value of the business as a going concern would potentially have been two times the final number mentioned above, meaning they may have left almost a million dollars on the table.
The overwhelming burden of dealing with James’ terminal illness, coupled with the challenges of gathering the necessary documentation, finding a buyer, and closing a deal quickly, prevented the family from maximizing the value of their business.
The Solution: Mavrek
To prevent such situations, small business owners and their trusted advisors need to feel confident about selling, buying, or transferring their businesses. Mavrek is free and provides a solution that empowers accountants, business attorneys, advisors/brokers, exit planners, and financial planners to better assist their clients in these endeavors.
By utilizing Mavrek, the small business owner will always be better prepared to sell or transfer their businesses. With millions of businesses expected to undergo such transitions in the next 12 months, Mavrek offers a free platform that will facilitate the processes behind every transaction.
Join the Mavrek community and gain the confidence and support you need to navigate the world of selling, buying, or transferring a small business. Visit www.mavrek.com to get started today!
James’ story serves as a reminder of the importance of being prepared to sell a business at any time. By taking proactive steps to gather the necessary documentation, small business owners can maximize the value of their businesses and avoid leaving money on the table. With Mavrek‘s assistance, the process of selling, buying, or transferring a business becomes more manageable and less overwhelming for all parties involved.