Main Street News July 2013

Q2 Market Pulse Survey Closing Soon!

Time is almost running out to take the Q2 Market Pulse Survey and be entered for a chance to win $250 cash! The IBBA and M&A Source are working to provide timely and accurate data on the current brokerage marketplace. Those who participate in the survey will receive the 70+ page full report, as well as a press release draft for you to insert your name and submit to your local media. Participation not only ensures the best data, it also provides you invaluable insight into the current state of business brokerage.

George Lanza, CBI, M&AMI, CSBA, MEA
2013 IBBA Chairman of the Board and Chief Governance Officer

Chairman’s Message

Armed With Knowledge. Equipped With Confidence. Ready for Business.

george-lanzaAs a part of my professional journey there were several areas in which I wished to grow and have a continued interest: knowledge of my industry, the further development of my business, and the confidence in which to represent my clients. I realized that joining an industry association could prove to be helpful in achieving these goals.

The IBBA has several objectives, but two definitely stand out in the minds of our members: education and networking. These objectives are intertwined in just about every committee and with each decision made for our association.

The IBBA educational courses provided the knowledge that I needed to best represent my clients and continue to deliver, keeping me at the top of my industry. By putting into practice the ideas and concepts learned from the courses and workshops I attend, the IBBA has helped me to further develop my day-to-day business operation. Committing to obtain the CBI designation gave me an added tool to help gain the trust of my clients, letting them know that I’ve invested time in my profession and that they are important to me. Networking with other—new and long-time—members of the IBBA, offers me opportunities to ask questions, discover new ways to work through the tough deals, and collaborate with experts in all areas of our industry. Being armed with knowledge results in increased confidence, which is a key and essential element to achieving success.

As time went on, I felt the draw to do more for the association that was greatly benefiting my professional growth, so I began volunteering on committees. Getting involved was a great step for me. Committees offered me the chance to take on leadership roles, helping to make decisions, presenting ideas and seeing our members benefit through our work. By serving the IBBA, I became more comfortable around not only my peers, but my clients. With the added confidence I developed through these leadership opportunities, I was able to continue developing my business and take on larger transactions.

After attending conferences, taking courses, obtaining the CBI designation and serving on committees, I realized that the leadership potential seemed to intrigue me more and more. At this point in my career and equipped with my new found confidence, I was encouraged to share my knowledge and experience with other members, possibly helping those new to the association or industry—maybe someone beginning the same journey I had. The courses, workshops, conferences, and committees I was serving on were preparing me for the next step—becoming an IBBA or M&A Source instructor, a time consuming, but very rewarding opportunity. For me, this was part of my journey of growth.

Each of us has our own journey in our professional careers. We seek out opportunities to help us learn and gain the experience we need to continue moving forward, advancing our skills and reaching the goals we have set. We seek out industry related books, articles and magazines. We seek out peers whom we trust to answer our questions and we seek to form lifetime relationships with likeminded individuals to help us through our journey. We have sought out the IBBA.

Your journey doesn’t end with the IBBA, it is where it grows. The IBBA offers education and networking, not just for certifications or opportunities to spend time with other members, but the underlying advantages as well. Through what you gain by being a member of the IBBA and participating in all that our association has to offer.

Your clients have the benefit of knowing that you are ready to take on the challenge they have set before you—you are armed with knowledge!

Your clients know that you can take the deal all the way to a successful closing—you are equipped with confidence!

Your clients know—you are ready for business!

Why do you continue to be an IBBA member? What knowledge have you gained by being a part of the IBBA? Will you be willing to step out of your comfort zone with the confidence of what you know and share with other IBBA members? I challenge you to respond by getting involved in a committee and volunteering of your time. You will see your exponential personal and professional growth!


Karl Kirsch, CAE
IBBA Executive Director

Executive Director’s Message

New Staffing for IBBA

karl-kirschIt has been very exciting times for the IBBA since our last newsletter. Membership is strong and we have been hearing that business is improving.

The Spring Conference showed improved attendance year over year and early reports from attendee surveys indicate the educational offerings were a big hit. Seeing old friends and colleagues share stories, best practices, successes and challenges was the highlight of the conference for me.

None of this would be possible without the efforts of our terrific volunteers and staff that work tirelessly to plan, organize and execute events like this. I am particularly grateful to Lynne Weil, Director of Operations, Maggie Nicholson, Education & Certification Manager, Simone Shahdadi, Membership Coordinator, Darnette Holbert, Conference Manager, and Michelle Seitman, Registration Coordinator for all their efforts.

Now that the conference is wrapped up, I wanted to announce to all of you that Lynne Weil has accepted an internal promotion at Meeting Expectations. That being said, I am very pleased to announce Kay Ciesla as her replacement.

kay-cieslaKay joined Meeting Expectations in September 2009 as Association Manager for the Oracle Applications Users Group. Since then Kay has taken on membership responsibilities, sponsorship fulfillment support, completed a market assessment for the French American chamber of commerce, and most recently started providing executive support for Detroit Society of Human Resources Management, Meeting Professionals International, and the Children’s Literature Association.

Kay has always received high praise from her clients and brings to the IBBA a wealth of knowledge in operations management, governance, membership, sponsorship, and good humor! I am confident the members and committees who interact with her will be pleased that she joined the team.

Congratulations to Kay and the IBBA.


Kevin Dempsey, CBI, CMC, CMEA
M&A Source Chairman
[email protected]

M&A Source Chairman’s Message

Urgent: Time is of the Essence!

kevin-dempseyAs intermediaries, we know the significance of the words above in our profession, and they are equally significant in our industry. This is a critical issue for our profession.

As you know, there is a bill in Congress called HR 2274 and we need everyone to help get it passed. The likelihood it will get out of committee has jumped to 24%, but we still need more of you to contact your member of Congress for support.

One of our members, Leon M. Parker, CBI, President and Co-Owner of New Hampshire Business Sales, Inc., reported back to me what he has done. This may be helpful for you to get started.


Just FYI I have reached out to all our congressional delegation, and had good reception by our Representatives legislative staff members. Unfortunately neither of them are on the right committees, but at least the staff members claimed they were looking to have the reps (Carol Shea Porter and Annie Kuster) sign on as co-sponsors.

…tell everybody to get on board and talk to their Reps and Senators.

All I had to do to start the ball rolling was call the offices and ask for the legislative aide, then send the task forces one page summary of the situation and a copy of HB2274 and ask them to have their Senator or Representative support us. Representatives can sign on to co-sponsor right up until the day before the floor vote.

In the Senate any of our folks who have a Senator on the Banking Committee should be really pushing them to introduce a Senate version of the bill, and then others of us can push our senators to co-sponsor.


The main point to get across to your Representative is that this is about helping business owners retire while still preserving the jobs of the people working in the business. And with the sale of their business, well -funded buyers are more likely to grow the business which in turn means more jobs are likely to be created. No matter how you say it in your message to your Representative, be sure to mention more jobs and a better economy.

Thank you Leon for this outline of what you did. And thank you to you members who have already contacted your representative and sent in a contribution to our legal effort!


Steve Wain, CBI, M&AMI
2014 Chair Elect

Incoming Chairman’s Message

Help Us, Help You!

wainQuoting a famous line from a movie you’ve likely seen (OK, it’s “Help Me, Help You!” technically), it is important to remember that you work every day with the intention of earning more money. You joined the IBBA to obtain highly specialized information via education, networking with other professionals, and hopefully obtain the industry’s highest level of credentialing with the CBI (or even get an M&AMI for middle-market transactions with the M&A Source).

What do you do each day to earn money? Get new clients? Close a business transaction? Do consulting? In the span of all that, where does the IBBA come into the mix? Can you state that the IBBA is helping you earn money? If not, that’s a challenge you need to address.

The IBBA is an educational, advocacy, and best practices organization. We culminate the higher end of achievement by certifying practitioners with a CBI. But, does that mean you’ve now reached the pinnacle of your earnings? I doubt it. So, what’s after the CBI?

I expect you all would state the same thing. Keep working, keep growing, and figure out a way to make earnings easier. No one I’ve met in this industry would likely challenge that. And the way to make that goal happen is to continue educating yourself and to make those around you, either directly or indirectly, help you achieve that goal.

In the IBBA, we have committees that work towards helping your association provide those benefits to you. One of our charter objectives is to help members achieve what they need— more business opportunities and greater earnings. The IBBA committees work towards that goal. Are you a part of any committee? No, why not? Do you not have a limited amount of time to make your wallet bigger?

The IBBA has many committees. They are put together to achieve specific objectives that, on a whole, will allow your association to deliver more value to you. I will admit that in the last few years, our commitment to the committees has been somewhat lax. Now, as your association goes through many changes in our growth, we need you to help us, to help you.

As the current head of the technology committee, I’ve had many people tell me they wouldn’t join because “they don’t know technology”. But, that’s not the case. Members are not being asked to theorize technology or how to develop it. Their participation is about the use of technology in our profession and via the IBBA offerings now and potentially in the future. If you breathe, you are a user of technology, and therefore you likely could have valuable input about how we, as brokers and intermediaries, would use new or updated technology to make our lives easier and more productive.

Many of the committees we have do just that. They serve a purpose to help make each one of us better. The collective effort of each individual will assist in making your practice more effective, and by extension, earn you more money.

Our current association management company has been with us for a little over one year. They are not experts at every aspect of business brokerage, mid-market transactions, or investment banking, but they are experts at managing associations. They need our help in giving them guidance as to what’s important to us, what issues we face that the association can help solve or mitigate, and what needs to be focused on to collectively help us achieve our operational and earnings goals.

Consider joining a committee today! Committees do/will have periodic meetings via conference calls. The committees we have are a great chance for you to provide value, network, and gain insight. The IBBA committees are:

BIEF – Business Intermediary Education Foundation, Jim Afinowich (President)

BIEF’s goal is to promote the profession of business brokerage, and encourage greater education and professionalism. They are a not-for-profit organization that is not a direct part of the IBBA.

Bylaws Committee, Gary Papay*

The Bylaw’s Committee deals with the standard charter of our association, the regulations that govern our core objectives, and the rules by which we operate to achieve those core objectives.

Communications Committee, Keith McLeod*

The Communications Committee is responsible for outbound communications to our members. This includes items like our monthly newsletter, which ensures you are kept up-to-date with industry happenings, association issues, and to ensure we transparently provide members with information that the association deals with that concerns them.

Conference Planning Committee, Doug Robbins*

The Conference Planning Committee works with our management company to plan out the logistics and complimentary educational workshops of each conference. They typically work on the current and one future conference at a time.

Credentialing Committee, Joe Lindsey*

The Credentialing Committee deals with anything to do with our Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) certification, and issues regarding the acceptance of individual members who apply and then are accepted for that certification.

Education Committee, Cress V. Diglio*

The Education Committee is responsible for the identification of educational needs of members, crafting educational policy, and the development of courses to be provided to members at conferences, educational summits, and affiliate offerings.

Finance Committee, Steve Wain*

The Finance Committee is in charge of reviewing the Association’s finances and working with the Board of Directors and the management company to assess and recommend policy issues which impact the continued operations of the Association.

Government Affairs Committee, Andrew Cagnetta*

The Government Affairs Committee works to ensure our voice is heard in the U.S. Congress, as well as state and local governments on issues that impact our everyday ability to operate. This group, for example, currently works to ensure our needs are considered in the HR2274 bill now in Congress.

Marketing Committee, Scott Bushkie*

The Marketing Committee is our industry advocacy group responsible for ensuring the business world understands what business brokers do, what value we deliver to business owners and buyers, and the value of dealing with CBI’s and IBBA members versus others who just call themselves business brokers.

Membership Committee, Marcie Woolworth*

The Membership Committee deals with issues regarding the delivery of value to members. Why someone would join the IBBA, what is our value proposition, and ensuring member benefits bring justifiable value. The committee works on initiatives to help drive membership and maintain current members.

Technology Committee, Steve Wain*

The technology Committee deals with evaluating ways in which members can utilize technology to achieve both enhanced and efficient operations of their own business, and ways to increase the earnings of their professional practice. We deal in the implementation of available technology and are responsible for working with our management company and other committees to establish IBBA’s offering to achieve these goals.

*Committee Chair

Each of these committees needs your help. Pick one, and contact the committee chair via the IBBA office and ask to participate. No input is too small, and every idea is welcome. You do not need to be an expert in that area. The work done by these volunteers will help our management company in working to achieve our goals quicker, and with greater benefit to you.

Don’t think you don’t have time, or that someone else will do it. You are in this industry, in this association, and your input is valued. Everyone who participates does so because they are a practitioner who wants a better practice and to earn more money. The goals are simple – your participation will provide greater payback than the cost of your time. As someone who has volunteered for years, I can promise you that it pays you back 100 fold.

Make a difference! Help Us, Help You! I hope to see your name on the committee list soon, and meet you at the committee meetings in Savannah in November.

Thanks, and have a great month.


Scott Bushkie, CBI, M&AMI
Marketing Committee Chair

Marketing Committee’s Update

bushkieI hope everyone is enjoying their summer. We recently opened the Q2 Market Pulse Survey! Please take the time to complete it as we are really starting to get some decent traction with the media. Even if you did not close a deal in the last quarter you can still provide key answers to several questions. Here are a few reasons to take the survey:

  • Gain mission critical real-time information to help you get more deals.
  • Gain insight into current valuation metrics and deal structure along with much more to close more deals.
  • Become the “local expert” and receive a professional press release translating all the data into the current trends.
  • Separate yourself from your competition.
  • Enter for a chance to win a grand prize – upcoming conference registration or a $250 American Express Gift Card.
  • Work smarter and make more money!


Also, I am working on two videos that showcase why a seller or buyer should want to work with an IBBA member and/or an IBBA member with their CBI. I am looking for some great testimonials that past clients have given you that we can highlight in the video, or ideally get the past client to do a short video testimonial. Please forward your best testimonials to me at [email protected].

You will be able to customize these videos at the fall conference for a small fee. My goal is that they help differentiate you from any competition and help you stand above all the other noise that is out there.

Have a great rest of your summer—here in Green Bay, Wisconsin it’s almost over!


Marcie Woolworth, CBI, FIBBA
Membership Committee Chair

Membership Committee’s Update

woolworthSo what is membership all about, anyway? Merriam-Webster tells us that it is the relation between an element of a set or class and the set or class. Now what does that mean? To me, it means to be included in something greater than myself, to be involved, to embrace and welcome new opportunities. I know I don’t have to tell you this, but we belong to one magnificent organization which better equips and educates us, where we have access to industry specialists and resources, great courses (with new ones being developed), and the ability to sit down and talk with great practitioners in the business.

We have the privilege to associate with good people and do good things. We are part of a team of movers and shakers whose success can be attributed to the IBBA. We have the opportunity to mentor and/or be mentored.

We are part of an organization that has had, still has, and will have great influence in our industry. By being a part of IBBA, we are investing in our future. We need to be proud of that fact.

As part of any team, we all need to be involved in some way or another, and for those of you, who are not yet involved, please go to the IBBA website. Once you have signed in, on the right-hand side you will see a link to the Membership Manual. On page 11, the committees and their descriptions are listed. Please take the time to review these committees and contact the chair of the committee that interests you. You will be glad you did.

The Membership Committee will be sponsoring a New Members Breakfast at the IBBA Conference in Savannah in November. Please watch the newsletter for more information as the time draws near. Please plan on attending the Conference in Savannah the week of November 18-23, 2013! It will be awesome!

If you haven’t gone to the website and accessed the YouTube videos, do it soon! These members have shared from their hearts and it’s a great reminder why we belong to this organization. I also hope you will take advantage of participating in the IBBA and M&A Source Q2 Market Pulse Survey for a chance to win some cold hard cash!

As we continue to search for more valuable benefits, we would appreciate any input that you might like to share! Are there any benefits or services that you would like to see us add? Please email me at [email protected] or call me at (970) 663-9400, I’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you great success and blessings along the way!


Barry Berkowitz, Ph.D., CBI, M&AMI
IBBA Marketing Committee

2013 Affiliates Rewards Program

Barry-BerkowitzThe IBBA hosted an Affiliate Leadership Committee meeting on June 13 at the Conference in Anaheim, and I am pleased to report that there were more than 20 participants from a dozen of our Affiliates. Many IBBA Board Members were also present. We discussed many issues of mutual interest to the IBBA and its Affiliates. We thank all the participants very much for their insightful comments and positive suggestions.

The predominant issue of concern for nearly every Affiliate was the desire for the IBBA to continue to provide quality education programs for their membership. In response, the IBBA will not only continue to have a full slate of educational courses at the two national meetings each year, but will also have two regional educational summits. In addition, new policies and procedures are being developed to more efficiently provide IBBA courses locally. Going forward there will be multiple locations throughout the year to provide many opportunities for the members of all Affiliates to take the required courses in order to earn their CBI designation.

Another issue that was broadly discussed was how the IBBA can help the Affiliates reduce operating and overhead costs. With its new Member Suite software platform, the IBBA is now in a position to help the Affiliates with their own website platforms, membership administration, as well as joint marketing initiatives. The IBBA Technology Committee, Membership Committee and Marketing Committee are each working hard to find ways to share technology and thus lower costs and increase effectiveness for the Affiliates.

A third important issue that was discussed was ways to increase Affiliate membership. We explored opportunities for doing joint membership campaigns as well as providing more information to the business community regarding the benefits of using business brokers, especially those who have earned their CBI from the IBBA. A number of mechanisms, such as press releases and media articles in national and local magazines, will be coordinated with the local Affiliate to ensure visibility for both the IBBA and the Affiliate. We also discussed the Affiliate Rewards Program. All affiliates agreed that the free conference and course registrations provided the Affiliates with the incentive to promote IBBA membership and participation. The Program is viewed to not only increase membership for both IBBA and Affiliates, but increases their visibility as well.

The key for success is for the Affiliate Leadership Committee to actively work with the IBBA leadership and staff to find ways to benefit all of our respective members. There will be a meeting of the Affiliate Leadership Committee at the IBBA Fall Conference in Savannah where we will continue to make progress at developing mutual benefits for the members of the IBBA and those of their Affiliates. Stay tuned for ongoing developments.


Bob House

Sponsor Message: BizBuySell

Must Haves to Be Found Online
Part 2: SEO and Getting Found Online

bob-houseIn an effort to expand on material we presented at the Spring IBBA Conference, we’ve created an exclusive IBBA series to help uncover online trends, what they mean for you, and actionable items to ensure your company’s name will rise in the online search ranks. Last month, we reviewed company websites and what to include for an effective web presence. This post’s goal is to help you increase your visibility online.

Even though you have a website, how can you make sure new clients can find you? Placement is crucial in this day and age with an overwhelming number of search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing the visibility of a website or page in order to appear in the un-paid search results and drive more visitors to a website.

Appearing near the top of the organic (unpaid) search results is the goal. According to, the first ranked organic entry in search engine results receives 53% of clicks, and steeply decreases down to the fifth result which gets only 4%. It’s not enough to just create a website and hope for the best if your goal is to build brand awareness and clientele. Luckily, there are clear rules that can help you get better results, and we’ll explain how to help your website rank highly in the organic results.

Anatomy of a Google Search Results Page & How to Get There


Organic Results: Where 94% of searchers click.

How to Appear Here: Organic results are achieved through the use of keywords, inbound links, and relevant, timely content on your website. It is hardest to achieve top placement, but the use of local keywords and geographic modifiers will help. Take into consideration the following items when employing SEO:

  1. Relevant Content, Website Structure, and Referral Links: Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo have a hard job to do. These sites have to deliver the most relevant search results from trillions of searches each year or else users will leave to go to one of their competitors. As a result, they have to index all of the websites/webpages in the world and create a fast way to sort through this massive database to quickly return relevant results to the user based on the relevance of the keywords being entered. When sorting results search engines are looking at certain things to help them with this arduous task, including keyword matching, URL matching, examining how the website title tags are set-up, and the websites’ domain authority (how many referral links, and from what other trusted sources are the links from?) in order to serve up the most relevant match.
  2. Tags: Covered in more detail below, tags will help search engines to match your website with qualified traffic. These are titles you can designate as the visible links in search results, and will help convert impressions to clicks when crafted correctly.
  3. Links: Inbound links can help promote your website. Each link to your website is a ‘vote’ from that website for yours. Links from more important and established sites carry even more weight (or votes). Having links that direct back to your website are as good as word of mouth to search engines, and will help your content get found.

Pay Per Click (PPC): Paid advertising that allows you to bid on keywords. About 6% of visitors click on paid ads on search results pages.

How to Appear Here: Set up your Google Adwords Account and create your ads. Select the top 10 local search terms you’d like to “bid” on to match what potential customers are looking for. This option is the only one you’ll have to pay for, so if you’re still not seeing your site in the top 10 organic results after implementing the free optimization tactics, you may want to consider testing a Pay-Per-Click campaign.

Local/Map Search: Google local listings, or Google Places for Business, are free advertisements for your business, allowing it to appear when local search parameters are used.

How to Appear Here: By claiming the Google Places for Business profile (similar for Bing Local, Yahoo, etc.), your business is indexed when online users search by terms in your industry and location. Location-aware searches on mobile devices and search engines will indicate that your business is nearby and show it to local customers. For more tips on using Google+ which has merged with Google Places for Business, you can visit the BizBuySell Blog.

Website SEO Best Practices

The goal with SEO is to focus on the specific local area you serve and become #1 in your local market for various keywords. Here is how you can find which words to use, and how to effectively use them on your website.

Choose Highly Searched Phrases or Keywords

Use Google’s free AdWords Keyword Tool to see how people might be searching for your services and content. This tool will show you where search volume exists, and help identify how searchers are using keywords, business categories, location, etc. Choose to include phrases that have the highest monthly searches to rank higher in results when they are used.

Example: Instead of “los angeles business broker”, use “business for sale los angeles”, which has a higher number of local monthly searches.


Title Tags
The <title> tags are what you name your page, and will appear in search results. These title tags will tell the searcher, and search engine, what topic your page is about. Since your title is also what appears within the search result listing, it will also affect your click-through rate as well as your rank.

Here are a few simple rules to creating effective Title Tags:

  1. Make sure to use a unique title tag for every page to help search engines detect distinct pages of your site.
  2. Use keywords in your title tags and make sure your page content supports them.
  3. Create brief, but descriptive titles to make sure the full title is displayed.

Friendly URLs

Allow search engines to find our website through descriptive URLs. Remember the URL appears in the search result and will also affect the click-through rate as searches will determine if the content is what they’re looking for based on your link.

Tips for Creating Friendly URLs:

  1. Make your URLs as simple as possible while including descriptive keywords.
  2. Use names that relate to the content on the page. Ex: “san-francisco-businesses-for-sale”.
  3. Avoid parameters and non-alpha characters, which can confuse search engines and prevent clicks.

For additional reading, Google publishes a “Search Engine Optimization Starters Guide” which I highly recommend, as it will give you a clear understanding of how search engines will bring the right audience to you.

By making small changes to your website you can start to bring more traffic to your website and awareness to your services. In next month’s newsletter, we’ll explain how to guarantee local placement and increase your online presence through local profiles and directories. These will serve to supplement your website and marketing efforts, earning your brand more local awareness.

Google+ For Franchises and Small Businesses

Bob House is General Manager for – the Internet’s largest and most heavily trafficked business for-sale marketplace. Currently, approximately 45,000 businesses are listed for sale on BizBuySell and the site receives more than 910,000 monthly visits. BizBuySell also has one of the largest databases of recently sold businesses and a leading franchise directory



Member Spotlight

Failing to Plan is Much Like Planning to Fail!

doug-robbinsLeaving a business after 25, 30 or 35 years may sound like a great idea. Your client may be ready to go. But when he or she begins to consider the reality of what it will take to sell the business, they may find themselves with challenges they never even thought existed. If your client hasn’t planned ahead then you as their broker may find them dragging their heels and you may have to haul them out of their trench.

We often hear about preparing a business plan,a good business plan is like a road map. It’s about the future. It shows where you are and where you are going. In operating any business, unexpected issues may surface. A business plan’s primary purpose is to identify issues and plan around them. The issues have to be addressed at some point, so it is better they are dealt with before they become a big issue.

Selling a business is like that. There are on average, about 200 steps that an owner needs to touch before he can successfully complete the sale of his business. Since each business has its unique features, then the list for each business is usually unique in its own right, having different steps than another business, and perhaps even in a different order. Miss a step and lose the sale.

Here’s a tale from my recent book, about an element of planning that the owner didn’t foresee:

I had a client approach us to sell his small machine shop. It was absolutely pristine, located in a brand new 10,000 square foot building which was situated in a farmer’s green 10-acre field. It also featured a paved driveway and parking lot, and was very well landscaped.

We told the client that we felt it would be important to have a Phase One Environmental Impact Study done prior to going to market. When he inquired as to what the cost would be I indicated that it wouldn’t be a great deal, probably $2,000 – $3,000 and hopefully we’d have a ‘clean bill of health’, so to speak.

Jackson became rather perturbed at this. “You know, I built this building myself,” he told me. “This has always been farm land. There’s never been anything polluted on it. I’m not going to spend that money. Just sell my company.”

We found a buyer, who put in an offer, but the offer required that a Phase One Environmental Impact Study be done in order for the buyer to obtain financing. When the report came back, it demanded intrusion testing, which is the drilling of boreholes in order to take soil samples.

I approached the environmental engineer and challenged him as to why it was necessary to do the drilling. He took me to the back of the machine shop and showed me a stain on the wall where it met the floor. It was approximately six feet long and extended onto the floor and up the wall by about one inch.

When I inquired as to why the stain was there, the engineer explained that the machine operator at that screw machine had hurt his back at the bowling alley about six months prior, and had felt that it was too taxing for him to carry his waste-cutting oil up to the front of the building where the central disposal was. So, he had been meticulously and carefully pouring it down the crack between the wall and the floor.

The intrusion testing showed that the cutting oil had seeped approximately 80 feet into the ground. It had hit ground water in the form of an underground spring which carried the oil off the property.

Therefore, it was necessary to initiate a clean-up. This involved drilling holes into the ground around the perimeter of the property. Water was then pumped into the perimeter holes and recovered in holes drilled around the machine shop where it was filtered and finally recycled through the ground. This process took roughly 90 days before the ground was relatively clean.

During that period of time, a firm in Cincinnati acquired Jackson’s major customer. This customer accounted for 40% of Jackson’s sales. As a result, the customer’s plant was moved from Ontario to Cincinnati and Jackson lost the business. His sales dropped by 40%. His profits went from a comfortable level to zero. The value of the business dropped significantly. In addition, the clean-up cost almost $300,000.

Had the Environmental Impact Study been done six months earlier as I requested, it is likely we would have caught that problem before it became as serious as it was and would have been able to correct it prior to going to market. Also, the business would have been sold prior to the loss of the major customer.

And Jackson would have retired with much greater financial resources.

Tales from You Can Always Sell Your Business, by Doug Robbins


Joe Lindsey, CBI, M&AMI
IBBA Credentialing Committee Chair
M&A Source Conference Planning Committee Chair

Member Spotlight

The Trouble with Women

lindseyThe early days of “Saturday Night Live” had a sketch entitled, if I remember correctly, “Women’s Problems.” The punch line was that the panel of experts had no women. The panel of men talked about problems they had with women. Oh well, the more things change, the more they remain the same. This time around, I am a panel of one.

Now that I have your attention, let me say that I like women. I was raised by a woman, grew up around women, married a woman, work for a woman, and serve on committees with women. I am also a member of the M&A Source Board of Directors that next year will have a female chair: Dora Lanza.

The trouble with women, in my opinion, is that not enough of them have pursued or obtained leadership positions. Let’s talk numbers. The latest statistics from Meeting Expectations (our fantastic association management team, which includes a number of fantastic women in leadership roles), show the following:

July 3, 2013 Total Members Women Members Total Board Members Women Board Members Total Committee Members Women Committee Members
IBBA 660 11% 13 1 57 19%
M&A Source 265 12% 10 1 33 12%

The numbers show that our profession is largely one that is dominated by men, not only in total memberships, but also in the leadership positions. Of the IBBA’s total membership, approximately only 11% are women. The IBBA has thirteen committees:


Conference Planning
Government Affairs
Presidents Council


Those committees have a total of 57 committee members, which is only about 8½% of our membership. Several people serve on more than one committee. Of those 57 committee members, only eleven are women. Out of those thirteen committees, four ladies serve on the same committee (membership). Remarkably, only one of those ladies (Marcie Woolworth) serves as the chair of a committee. Marcie is also the only female member of the IBBA who serves on this year’s IBBA Board of Directors. Since the IBBA was founded, the IBBA has had only two females who have served as Chair of the Association: Julie Johnson (1996) and Linda Purcell (2005).

The M&A Source (MAS) produces similar results.


PEG Expo

Conference Planning

Those ten committees have a total of 33 members (about 12½% of MAS membership). Again, several people serve on more than one committee. Of those 33 committee members, only four are women. Dora Lanza serves on multiple committees, and she is the only female member of MAS who serves on the MAS Board of Directors. As a matter of fact, she will serve as the first female Chair of The M&A Source when she assumes those duties and responsibilities next year (2014).

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce and its 2012 Census, the population of this Country was approximately 314 million. About 50.8% (160 million) were women. The most recent statistics (2007) indicate that there were about 27 million firms in the U.S. and 28.8% (7.75 million) were owned by women.

A recent study conducted by the Wall Street Journal revealed that North American women account for 37% of high net worth individuals (investable assets of $1 million or more) and that U.S. women control $8 trillion in assets. Those assets are expected to grow to approximately $22 trillion by the year 2020.

Mary Beth Franklin, a contributor to states that only 25% to 30% of financial advisors are women. A study by Ameriprise Financial claims that only 20% of women have estimated their retirement needs.

It is a commonly held belief that 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age every day. Did you also know that approximately 1 million women each year become widows and that they live, on average, 14 years as a widow?

What do those women want to know, especially those who want to sell their businesses? It’s not so much about the value of the business and the net proceeds that can be generated by selling. Their focus is on the cash flow that can be generated by the net proceeds. Help them realize that the net proceeds can generate sufficient cash flow to pay their monthly expenses, and eliminate the fear of becoming a “bag lady.”

Ok, I’ve said all of that to say the following. The coming years will be ripe for harvesting by those who are prepared to take advantage of the change in control of women’s wealth. Let me suggest that the IBBA and The M&A Source may be better suited to serve the needs of the woman-controlled assets if both associations had more women serving in leadership roles.

Ladies, consider stepping up to the plate. It’s in the best interests of the associations that treasure your membership that you accept the challenges and rewards of leadership.


Clyth MacLeod, Lifetime CBI

News and Views


clyth-macleodThe one constant in the business sales world is change. To keep up-to-date with new developments, Glorianne and I regularly attend specialist conferences overseas. We are both just back from the latest International Business Brokers Association Conference in the USA. Apart from courses and workshops we attend, there are huge benefits from networking with other brokers from around the world. Some topics of interest included:

Seller Finance – A high proportion of business sales in the US involve vendor finance. Statistics show these deals provide sellers 11% higher prices and give buyers more confidence.

Specialization – All of our salespeople specialize in certain types of businesses which ensures more professional service for both buyers and sellers and makes us an information resource, not just salespeople.

Valuation – In the SME world, the Direct Market Data method has become the most persuasive method and should always be considered alongside earnings-based and asset-based methodologies. Deal Structure – US businesses have been hit even harder by the GFC than New Zealand, so there was a lot of focus on selling distressed businesses or those with negative earnings on creative deal structure which benefit both buyer and seller.

Demographics – There were lively discussions on exit planning and succession issues as the babyboomer business owners grow older and younger buyers become more sophisticated and selective.

As always, we were reminded how well we do most things “down under”, but there is always something new to learn.


Keith McLeod, CBI

From the Editor’s Desk

keith-mcleodThink back to the end of last year. Remember writing your new year’s resolutions? Remember your anticipation with what this year would bring with the economy turning? Six months have passed…pull out those plans and goals to see how you stack up. You have a little less than six months to complete these goals. In spite of the summer, you are moving full speed ahead while your competition is vacationing. They are allowing you clear sailing to increase your competitive advantage!

Do you like to write? Do you have some observations or members you would like to include in our IBBA Newsletter? It occurred intermittently for years. When I joined your Board of Directors in the beginning of last year, I told our Chairman at the time, Pino Bacinello, we need communication on a regular basis to reach our members. In addition, we needed to highlight the board of directors, committee chairs and individuals who have contributed to our association over the years. I’ve been able to call on valuable members who contribute monthly articles. I’ve been issuing our newsletter for nearly two years, and I am looking for an Associate Editor. If you would like to participate, please give me a call 520-529-1808 or email me at [email protected].


Upcoming Events

Sept. 9-12 IBBA Fall Educational Summit (Dallas, TX)
Sept. 11-12 TABB Conference (Dallas, TX)
Nov. 15-16 NEBBA Conference (North Andover, MA)
Nov. 18-23 IBBA Fall Conference (Savannah, GA)

View upcoming events!

New IBBA Members for July

Keith Pond
Richard A. Underwood
Bill Yankee

Thank You to our IBBA 360 Sponsor, Diamond Financial!


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