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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 37—Interview With Al Esquivel


This is a unique talk between Jim and Al.  Normally Jim speaks about his guest’s successes, in this interview, Al talks honestly and openly about his franchises and the mistakes he made that ultimately lead to his selling the business before he was ready.

Main Questions Asked:

  • So you retired and then decided to go into business?
  • Tell us about what you did?
  • How long did it take to get all these franchises?
  • How much space did you have?
  • Were you thinking about an exit when you bought all these businesses?
  • It didn’t go well and you made the decision to sell it?
  • How did you know how much you wanted to sell the business for?
  • When you look back, what advice do you give entrepreneurs?
  • Do you work only in California?

Key Points made:

  • I started as a franchise consultant, where you match a franchises to people.(1:16)
  • I saw a yogurt franchise and decided to try it, they had a franchise in the juice industry as well, so I added that. (1:56)
  • I saw a cupcake place and a chocolate franchise, so I added them all. (2:50)
  • I thought yogurt was a seasonal business, so it was good to have others. (3:14)
  • I had 4 franchises in the same location. (3:20)
  • The contractor was 7 months late on finishing the space. (4:04)
  • No, I didn’t plan on failing, so I didn’t think about an exit. (5:50)
  • We were only allowed to put the yogurt logo on the shop, no one knew the other items were for sale unless they came into the shop. (7:00)
  • They also allowed an ice cream shop that was a direct competitor to yogurt. (7:40)
  • I started with a broker and the major factor was what kind of cash flow I had. (8:40)
  • The shopping center decided to renovate the center and that really impacted our business. (9:10)
  • It was winter and you never want to sell a yogurt place in the winter time. (9:45)
  • Make sure your location is very visible. (11:00)
  • Make sure you can put it in writing about competitors. (11:30)
  • Check the signage rules. (11:55)
  • Make sure you have penalties if the contractor doesn’t finish by a certain date. (12:10)
  • Negotiate with the franchisors.  Everything is negotiable. (12:40)
  • Plan your exit. (12:50)
  • Know how to advertise with technology. (13:15)
  • We primarily do reputation marketing now. (13:40)
  • We help people to achieve five-star reviews on review sites. (15:39)
  • We work nationwide. (15:50) 

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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