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Entrepreneur’s M&A Journal Episode 54—Interview With Greg Greenwell


Greg and Jim talk about Greg’s unique transition from the corporate world to owning his own company.  He talks about how he did things right and what it takes to run a successful business.

Main Questions Asked:

  • As you were in the corporate world, were you looking for an opening into entrepreneurship?
  • What caused you to make the jump?
  • Why did you start the business you did?
  • Why did you buy the companies you did?
  • Did you have an exit in mind, or did you just make the jump?
  • When you got to the point that you wanted to sell, what was the catalyst that made that the right time?
  • Did you retain a third party advisor when you decided to sell?
  • How long did it take to go to closing when you decided to sell?
  • Did anything not go as you had planned?
  • What are the one or two things you would tell entrepreneurs when they start to think about selling?
  • Did you negotiate an employment agreement?

Key Points made:

  • I always had it (entrepreneurship) in my mind, but it gets harder as you make more money, get more security and learn about the corporate world. (2:55)
  • The company I was working for was relocating to NY, I wanted to stay in TN, so with my severance and savings, I started in my guest bedroom. (3:55)
  • I had seen different dealers that had tried to evolve into the managed print company, so I decided to start it. (5:00)
  • We found a small company to buy that would help us as we started to grow. (5:50)
  • I always knew I wanted to sell it.  I had thought I wanted to sell it in 5 years. (6:30)
  • It took about 2 and half years longer than I thought it would to build the company up to sell it. (7:00)
  • We had the recession help us because we had a cost saving solution. (7:30)
  • Consolidation really started to heat up, so then we got pretty serious about either selling or buying. (8:57)
  • Both my partner and I have business and M&A experience, so we ran that ourselves. (9:48)
  • It took about 8 months from our original mailing to closing. (10:35)
  • We kept things pretty much on track to meet out closing deadline. (11:59)
  • It was a “my price your terms” or “my terms your price” kind of thing.  We structured it very well for both parties. (12:05)
  • You need to be very intentional.  (13:00)
  • You have the set time frames, deadlines and clear goals. (13:33)
  • You want to maximize your assets by having multiple buyers at the table. (13:50)

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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