Beyond the Mt. Everest Deathzone

Mt. Everest


Business owners who want to sell often think they can “just lace up their hiking boots, put on their backpack and shoot to the top of Mt. Everest.”  In doing so they also want the highest valuation and the quickest close. The owner is convinced that the one or two interested buyers who have expressed an interest will pay top price for a quick deal.

Camp 4 on the Everest climb is known as the “Deathzone.”   To get to the summit climbers prepare for two or more years and invest heavily in the right equipment and guides.  Trying to explain to the business owner the nature of the investment and guidance required to get the best sale result, however, is a good way to lose a client; especially that client with one or two interested buyers promising the quick deal.  Owners who have “not been up Mt. Everest” usually don’t appreciate the difficulty of getting past the “icefall” and camps 1, 2 and 3 let alone through the “Deathzone” and up to the summit. I absolutely want the owner to be fully prepared and to know how to properly negotiate the sale of their business. If the owner does not engage in the correct process, we all die on the “transaction mountain.”  The following is a Guide’s quote regarding when you reach the Deathzone: “. . . it might simply be too late if you are not well prepared.”

It is an added irony that sellers who want the quick and easy deal also expect to receive the highest multiples.  They may not appreciate the fact that higher valuations are garnered by better preparation and a better sale process.  The best clients are the ones that understand the investment and effort it takes to get to the summit. “Preparation” really does lead to “Elevation.”

My goal is to make sure every client’s transaction is a success and meets their expectations.  A failed sale transaction is a very painful process that no business owner should have to experience.

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