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Identifying the Best Time and Strategy for a BIG Business Sale

Guest: Jennifer Wilson, founder and CEO of ARMSRx, a pharmacy benefit consultancy and a Strategic Partner of CEO Coaching International.

Overview: In many cases, the most challenging step in a successful business sale is the first: deciding that now is the right time to sell. Once you’ve identified favorable market conditions or an optimal partner, the CEO has to clarify her objectives and build out the support team she needs to prepare herself and her company for its next BIG chapter.

On today’s show, Jennifer Wilson explains why, after turning down suitors for years, she finally decided to sell her company, as well as the nuts and bolts strategy that she implemented. Jennifer also shares a personal story of overcoming adversity that was formative to her entrepreneurial drive and determination.

Jennifer Wilson on the turning point that led to her business sale:
“When people were knocking on my door, it was really just to give us money. It was really more to fund us and to partner and we felt like we were doing okay on our own. I wanted the luxury of being able to run our own company at the terms that I wrote. Then the competition started getting very tight in the last eight years and we started losing some business and winning some business, but we were feeling some pressure. I felt like we had a good-sized book of business and a sale might be worth exploring.”

Jennifer Wilson on improving her company’s valuation:
“In the first go-around, we learned a lot and we realized we weren’t getting credit for what we felt was revenues that were going to be coming in. We had just started getting a big incline of new business and so we decided to wait and let our business grow for three years. We needed to show three years of steady, increased income instead of the level income that we were achieving year over year. So we did wait and it was worth the wait to show that we could demonstrate that our increased revenue was real. It was described to us as we were a hockey stick — we had a trajectory going upward and nobody was going to pay us for that until we could prove it. And so we were able to prove it and then it was time to go out to market.”

Jennifer Wilson on assembling and managing a top team:
“Almost everybody that works for us we have met somewhere along the line in the industry. They’ve worked for a pharmacy benefit vendor that we used, they worked for a client, we met them at a conference. So there’s always been some sort of interaction along the way. I think one of the reasons why our employees work so well together is I don’t micromanage them. Most of our people work remotely from their homes, and they have the entire time they’ve worked for our organization. I give them a long leash and they do their jobs. I have no reason to micromanage them. Everybody that works for us is an expert at what they do.”

How to Prepare Your Business for a BIG Exit Andy Harris, Managing Director of STS Capital Partners, explains how owners can prepare their company for a sale, present it in the best possible light, and sell it to a strategic buyer who might pay a significant premium over a financial buyer.

This Financial Plan Led to a $170 Million Exit Don Schiavone, Managing Director of CEO Coaching International, explains how to fine-tune your baseline forecast to create a compounding effect that will accelerate your growth way beyond what companies can accomplish with more traditional top-down planning.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 67.8% during their time as a client, nearly four times the U.S. average and a revenue CAGR of 25.5%, more than twice the U.S. average.

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