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Beware the Falling Chain Saw

A guy in my neighborhood had a huge elm tree split during a recent thunderstorm. A broken limb leaned perilously close to his garage, so he had to deal with it quickly to avert disaster.

Had that happened to me, my first (and only) instinct would have been to call a tree removal service. But not my neighbor. The morning after the storm, I watched him lean a big ladder against the main tree trunk while using his chain saw to cut the huge limb. He was holding onto the trunk for balance with his right hand while operating the chain saw with his left hand. Fortunately, the limb was cut down without incident, but as my neighbor was coming down the ladder, he lost his balance and dropped the chain saw. His wife, who was holding the bottom of the ladder, came within inches of being hit by the falling chain saw.

OK, mission accomplished, the job seemed dangerous, but he got it done without incident, though I wonder about their conversation once they went back inside their house.

Some people in this world just don’t like to call a professional to do a job. I run into business owners like this. They are ready to sell their business, but their instinct is to do it themselves, to save themselves some money, to find the easy way out.

Sometimes it works, but most times there’s a dropped chain saw somewhere in the process. My neighbor has eliminated the most dangerous limb on the tree, but his damaged tree still needs work. Whether his accommodating wife will be willing to hold the ladder next step is still to be determined. But diverting disaster one time should not be the standard for doing it yourself the next time. Sometimes hiring a professional first is your best decision.

JIM CUMBEE is President of Tennessee Valley Group, Inc. a retainer-based business brokerage and transition mediation firm in Franklin, TN.  Cumbee is an attorney and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Jim is the author of Home Run, A Pro’s Guide to Selling a Business. .  He has a wide range of corporate and entrepreneurial experiences that make him one of the most sought-after business transition advisors in the state of Tennessee. The principles above are true, but the names and fact patterns are changed to preserve the parties’ identities.

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Tennessee Valley Group

Jim Cumbee established Tennessee Valley Group to help business owners fulfill their dreams for life after business ownership. It’s a mission that his 30+ year career history had prepared him well for—in addition to being an attorney, transition mediator and business broker, Jim has been a buyer, seller, and entrepreneur. His broad range of experience gives him unique insight into how business buyers and sellers can achieve their goals.

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