Private Equity and Small Business

    In the small business acquisition world, deals where a seller keeps some equity for a future round of merger or acquisition activity is generally known as getting a “second bite of the apple.” Private Equity Groups (PEG), of which some 5,000 currently operate in the US, specializes in these two-stage deals.  

    Reasons for Optimism in 2015!

    About this time every year, I try to find some optimistic views for the coming year. Here’s a sample: Small business owners are anticipating an improved financial situation in 2015 and are the most optimistic they've been since the start of the Great Recession, according to a recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey. Business owners across the U.S. were surveyed to gauge their perceptions of their present situation and future expectations in six key areas: financial situation, cash flow, revenues, capital spending allocation, hiring and credit availability. The overall index score, which measures small business optimism, was a positive 58 for the fourth quarter; significantly up from a positive 49 in the previous quarter and a positive 24 points a year ago. Any score above 0 represents optimism about the economy. While still below pre-recession levels, the score is the highest it has been since January 2008's index score of positive 83. The increased optimism was mostly due to the future expectations (next 12 months) score, which rose to a positive 37 in the November survey from positive 17 in the prior year. The present situation (past 12 months) score also jumped to positive 21 from positive 7 during the same period last year. "With steady improvements in the operating environment and the economy, small businesses in general are making great strides, are in a better financial position and are seeing more opportunities to invest in their businesses for the long-term." said Lisa Stevens, head of regional banking sales and marketing and small business at Wells Fargo. "Positive trends in hiring and stronger cash flows show us that small businesses are healthier and are on much more solid footing as they look toward 2015." Let’s hope Lisa is right.

    “I got BURNED by another Consulting Company”

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this story. I’m going to be brutally honest here. Some colleagues have told me not to address this issue. Some have told me to focus on Hardesty Hackett & Partners, not other companies. “They say “There’s no need to cry over spilled milk."”

    Well, I will never say anything bad about another company. In fact, I have a great deal of respect for every consulting company out there as they all ultimately start with the best of intentions.

    Most small/medium sized business (SMB) consulting today is done INCORRECTLY, from start to finish. I hear this “I’ve been burned” phrase so often from small business owners. I’ve seen the look of guilt, anger and defense that comes across their faces when they revisit these experiences with one of these firms and it upsets me. I was mentored from a very young age by entrepreneurs so I know what they’ve been through.