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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 34—Interview With Jim Butler


Listen to the story of a man who watched a company start great but then with a series of bad decisions, run aground. Jim took those lessons and launched several successful businesses from that learning experience.  He is a font of information of how to keep things in check to make good decisions when you have your own company and are thinking of buying or selling. 


Main Questions Asked:

  • What was the business, what were you doing?
  • When you sold the company back in the days, did you stay with it through all the owners?
  • Did these guys have stars in their eyes when they took stock?
  • You’ve developed a real point of view on how to run a company, tell us about that.
  • When an entrepreneur comes to you and talks about selling a business, what is your advice? 


Key Points made:

  • I got into sales after college because I couldn’t get a job in my field. (:46)
  • We got the attention of several companies. (2:10)
  • We made these CD’s and multi-shaped business cards and presentations. (2:50)
  • It was toward the end of the phase and they just sucked all the money out of us. (3:39)
  • What they ended up getting was stock options, which were completely worthless in the end. (5:39)
  • Making a decision without knowing all the facts and getting excited about something, usually results in a bad deal. (8:09)
  • Learning how to control your emotions when buying or selling a business is a skill. (8:59)
  • 98% of CEO’s say their current business model is unsustainable.  Things are changing so fast now. (11:17)
  • I do coaching and consulting to help others not make the same mistakes I made. (12:10)
  • If you don’t know what you are trying to sell, then you are probably going to make emotional decisions that lead you where you don’t want to go. (14:06)
  • Understand your end game. (14:15)
  • For entrepreneurs it’s hard to stay still. (15:05)
  • If you don’t have to sell your business, you make more rational decisions. (18:35)
  • Use good competent accountants and attorneys and pre-qualify people who want to buy your business. (20:30)
  • Managing your emotions is very important. (21:59) 


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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