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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 46—Interview With Bill Watkins


Bill and Jim walk you through Bill’s journey of starting his own company to the emotions that bring you to the point where Bill decided it was time to sell.  Bill also tells you about his new business.

Main Questions Asked:

  • When you started your business, did you have an end point in mind?
  • What did you do to move toward that?
  • When did you decide to sell and what provoked it?
  • Did you have the business on the market, or did someone just show up?
  • When did you enter into the buy/sell?
  • When you look back, is there anything you would do differently?
  • What are you up to now? 

Key Points made: 

  • I wanted to remember that the choice (for starting my own business) was for my family. (1:37)
  • I exited in about a year from my other job. (3:19)
  • My wife and I always joked that the business was our third child. (4:09)
  • I had two exits in mind, my kids would be my exit or it was general, I did not want to die owning this business.  (4:30)
  • I needed to convert my business to wealth. (5:40)
  • 95% of my effort had to go to building the business. (6:30)
  • Every entrepreneur is rich on paper and poor in cash. (7:00)
  • In 2008 I started to think more seriously about an exit. (7:49)
  • If you are prepared to sell, you will have a much better outcome. (9:20)
  • The company was 8 figures, 150 people, I had a leadership team that didn’t need me. (10:00)
  • I’m an entrepreneurial leader, “Ready, Fire, Aim”. (10:30)
  • I had a partner that was interested in keeping it. (12:07)
  • There is a discount when selling internally. (12:30)
  • We did a shotgun buy/sell. (12:50)
  • I wanted 100% cash deal. (13:40)
  • We did prepared the buy/sell agreement early, on my first thought about leaving. (14:50)
  • We did the buy/sell and tucked it in a drawer and when the time came, we took it out and dusted it off. (16:45)
  • The worst thing that I did was still try to be a quarterback (running the deal). (18:20)
  • I needed to step away from the emotion and I needed to let it happen. (19:40)
  • The best thing was putting my team together, the worst thing was not using them all the time. (20:10)
  • We do coaching with men, 30-49, who have a family wealth business. (22:50)


Resources Mentioned:

Built to sell by John Warrillow

9 steps to goal setting.  How to live an extraordinary Life.

45 minutes training course on goal setting along with an ebook  go to

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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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