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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 40—Interview With Smita Singh


Smita Singh takes Jim through her very interesting story of corporate life to serial entrepreneur.  In this engaging “American Dream” episode gain some true insight on how to sell your business and start a new one with some very good and never heard before tips from Smita. 

Main Questions Asked:

  • How long were you in the corporate world before you made the entrepreneurial leap?
  • What kind of business did you buy?
  • Were you thinking about an exit when you started your business?
  • What made you decide to sell?
  • After you made the decision to sell, what were your next steps?
  • Did you have a point of view about valuation?
  • How long did it take from the time you received the offer to go closing?
  • What advice do you give people about selling a business?
  • Did the buyer come in and work in the business before you closed?

Key Points made:

  • I launched one business and three businesses later I am in front of you today. (1:40)
  • I worked in a corporation for about 5 years. (2:05)
  • I had my first son and I couldn’t get up and leave him, so I decided to buy my own business. (3:40)
  • The first business I had was a tutoring business. (4:10)
  • I knew that this business was not going to be forever. I didn’t per say have an exit strategy, but I did know that I would move on. (4:40)
  • I had the business for about three years and I think I grew and came to realize that the next opportunity was waiting for me. (6:15)
  • There was a point where I actually had two businesses up and running. (6:45)
  • This was my first business and it was almost like a baby to me. (8:02)
  • When you mention in a franchise that your business is for sale, a lot of people hear about it. (9:11)
  • We did not leave the valuation to chance.  I think it is so important to know what to expect and to be realistic. (9:47)
  • We did not have a formal evaluation, but we did know our assets, what we put into the business and what our value was. (10:57)
  • It was a long process to go to closing, it took us about 8-10 months. (11:40)
  • You have to get your business ready to sell.  You have to get your business processes in place. (13:01)
  • All your assets and liabilities need to be completely accounted for. (13:20)
  • You don’t want to put something on your balance sheet and it isn’t the right thing.  Tie up your loose ends. (13:45)
  • Make sure your accounts are audited. (14:13)
  • Make sure your customers are aware there is going to be a change especially if it is a customer service oriented business. (14:40)
  • The most important thing that I did, I made the new buyer come in and work with me for 4 months. (14:50)
  • The buyer came in during the buying process working together so there were no rude shocks about the business. (15:40)
  • I have a retail store now, it is much larger than I started with. (16:35)
  • I think women don’t ask for funding, and they need to stand up and ask. (17:33)

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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