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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 52—Interview With John Stoddard


Jim walks Jon Stoddard, President of Century Hearing Aids, through his M&A journey.  Through his inspiration of starting a company and then making some changes, buying and selling new businesses, not all of which were successes.

Main Questions Asked: 

  • How did you find the company you currently own?
  • How do you resolve the personal service angle?
  • Do you think that your situation was unique to your business?
  • Did you have an expectation of what you wanted to achieve when you bought the business?
  • What was your exit expectation?
  • Can you share some lessons learned?

Key Points made:

  • I wanted to have a technology product and I checked out the demographic.  (2:36)
  • I found the first thing you do is get your hearing tested and see where you are at. (5:28)
  • Once we get our audiogram, we can program the hearing aid and ship them out. (6:27)
  • I searched every business sales site I could find on the internet.  (7:50)
  • I found a lot of success on  (8:23)
  • I purchased an information products business, but that was a fraud. (8:36)
  • I did have some flags on that business, but I bought it anyway. (10:22)
  • It was a very profitable business until Yahoo said I was in violation and cut me off. (11:18)
  • I should have looked into the guidelines and done more research. (11:56)
  • I think it could to happen to anyone in any industry, if I’m dependent upon leads from a certain source, I need to know if it is legitimate. (13:20)
  • Another rule was don’t be dependent upon one source of leads. (13:49)
  • I bought the second business without a business broker. (25:10)
  • I wanted to build the business and keep it as a lifestyle business or build it to sell. (18:00)
  • When everyone else sees you are doing well, then they get into the business and the game changes. (19:50)
  • I would surround myself with a team of advisors that can see the whole picture that I can’t see. (21:40)
  • It is a brilliant idea to select a mastermind group or board of advisors that are not your friends and have expertise. (23:26)
  • It helps you shore up your weak spots, you can count a buyer finding your weaknesses and asking for a discount. (23:45)
  • I don’t think you should ever be afraid to ask for advice from somebody. (25:08)

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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