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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 33—Interview With David Phelps


David and Jim take you through David’s M&A journey with all its bumps and lumps and learning experiences.  If you have ever wanted to hear what to do right and what not to do, listen to David’s story.  He has done it all.

Main Questions Asked:

  • Did you plan your exit at the time you started your dental practice or were you thinking you were in it for the long haul?
  • What made you decide to exit?
  • How did you go about selling your practice?
  • How long before you realized you had a problem?
  • So, you got the practice back, did you find yourself practicing dentistry again?
  • When you sold it the second time, did you retain an advisor of any type?
  • When did you reach the valuation?  How did you get consensus with the buyer?
  • What are you doing now?
  • What is the most fundamental piece of advice to someone that has capital to invest?

Key Points made:

  • It is interesting how people come into your life and they have an impact and they don’t even know it. (1:48)
  • Getting started and being hopeful to scratch enough together to pay the debts was my goal. (2:55)
  • There was no exit plan until the day I decided to exit. (3:15)
  • I was chained to that business. (6:44)
  • I was going to set my schedule and my life up around what was important and everything else was going to fit around that. (6:56)
  • I want an associate or buyer, I’m ready to transition out. (7:55)
  • You need a third eye, when you are emotionally tied to these things, sometimes you don’t make good decisions. (8:30)
  • I did not do enough due diligence, I didn’t know all the pieces. (9:11)
  • When I turned the practice over this guy, it was like giving the keys to a Ferrari over to a 16 year old. (10:00)
  • I had to wrestle this thing back. (10:20)
  • The practice had no value, once I got it back. (10:40)
  • This is the good side of the story, this is where you take adversity and turn it into opportunity. (9:45)
  • I was going to walk away and sell the hard assets for what they could bring. (9:01)
  • That wasn’t right, I had staff, I needed to serve them as they served me. (8:45)
  • I brought in 3 associates to bring my practice back. (13:27)
  • I’m a big believer in advisors. I had a broker, a CPA and attorney. (14:25)
  • I did an evaluation before I brought people in, then did another when we ready to sell. (15:45)
  • I have real estate holdings and we do focus groups. (17:58)
  • You learn how to orchestrate the management of your investments. (19:25)

Resources Mentioned

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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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