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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 32—Interview With Jean Kuhn

Jean and Jim talk about the first franchise Jean bought and how that one small decision has sparked her passion for franchises and helping others make theirs a success.

 Main Questions Asked: 

  • How long from the time you walked into the store, did it take you to close on the deal?
  • Am I hearing that you did not have a lawyer by your side through this?
  • What were you thinking?
  • When you went into the business were you thinking about the exit?
  • How did you determine the valuation, how did you know the number was right?
  • How have you determined what you want for the business now?
  • As you look back, what kind of advice do you give people?
  • What other mistakes did you make that you tell people about?
  • Is that the common dominator amongst those that are failing (no marketing)?
  • Tell us about your book and explain the title?

Key Points made: 

  • It wasn’t all peaches and cream, there were some failures along the way. (1:38)
  • You’ve become kind of a franchise operations expert. (2:10)
  • I could immediately see why that business was for sale and I could think of 100 things I could to make it profitable. (3:17)
  • It took me about 4 weeks to close on the deal. (4:28)
  • I didn’t know that the franchisor could have closed the shop and we would have lost our entire investment. (4:53)
  • I never had a lawyer at all when we bought that business.  I did not take it to an attorney. (6:30)
  • I didn’t ask for tax returns, they had only be open 11 months and showed a $5k profit. (6:58)
  • You might ask, why would someone buy this business. (7:01)
  • I thought this would be an awesome opportunity. (7:27)
  • It never crossed my mind that I could not be successful. (7:29)
  • I’ve had some setbacks along the way. (7:58)
  • I wasn’t thinking about the exit, I was too young and thinking I’m going to make a bazillion dollars from this. (8:50)
  • I didn’t know that the number was right.  I just went off the P&L he gave me. (8:54)
  • I spoke with a business broker and he told me how to value that, 2.5 to 5 x’s your cash flow. (11:15)
  • The one thing I tell them about buying a business, is to make sure the franchisor accepts you. (12:10)
  • I tell franchisees that you have to market your business even if you pay a marketing fee. (12:50)
  • Yes, you need to market your franchise. (13:47)
  • In 2015 I will be doing my first franchise event for any small business owner. (15:39)
  • Some mistakes I’ve made were so costly. (17:35)
  • The book is called F Ups Franchisee screw ups that will cost you thousands. (17:41)
  • The number one mistake was that I worked behind the counter in my store every day. (18:15)
  • It’s not always a good thing to hire your kids…I’ve fired two of my children. (19:06)
  • There is a bit of a dark side to a family business. (19:30)

Resources Mentioned or


F Ups – Franchisee Screw-Ups that can cost you thousands.

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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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