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A smiling man in a suit is featured on a promotional graphic for "The Owner's Corner" podcast. Text on the graphic reads "EP4 Doug Conner Alex Shortle: Tips for Selling Your Business.

Owner’s Corner – Maximizing Value and Optimizing Outcomes when Selling your Business with Doug Conner and Alex Shortle (podcast)

Over the last 30 years, Doug Conner has been buying and selling lower-to-middle-market businesses in the Midwest. During this time, he has also worked as the Managing Director at Periculum Capital Company and the Principal at BrightPath Capital and Cardinal Ventures. Doug holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics from DePaul University and received his Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.

Alex Shortle has spent the bulk of his career supporting growth stage and lower-to-middle-market companies through the various inflection points of the corporate cycle. He has executed merger and acquisition advisory, private placement, and turnaround engagements, and helped launch the venture capital firm, Meridian Capital, where he also served as the Principal. In 2019, Alex served as the Vice President of Periculum Capital Company before co-founding EO Advisors. 

Doug and Alex join me today to discuss what business owners should consider when selling their businesses. They outline the process of searching for an ideal business buyer and describe the perfect time for an owner to sell their company. They describe the current changes and trends in the mergers and acquisitions market. They also highlight the role of patience in selling a business amid uncertain times and underscore the value of hiring advisors and consultants when selling a company.

“Maximize your value, but that shouldn’t be the only consideration. You also want to optimize outcomes: find the ideal partner who will take care of your stakeholders and employees.” – Alex Shortle

“Put your foot on the accelerator and figure out how you can sell your business with momentum.” – Doug Connor

This week on The Owner’s Corner:

  • Doug’s background and what led him to investment banking and private equity
  • Alex’s background and his journey to entrepreneurship and the tech industry
  • The difference between investment banking and private equity
  • The advisory and consultant functions of an investment banker
  • The process of looking for a business buyer
  • Weighing business risk, thinking like a private equity owner, and the value of diversification
  • The perfect time to initiate the process of selling a business
  • The meaning of EBITDA
  • The types of businesses EO Advisors work with
  • What it means to be a platform or add-on business
  • How a private equity firm’s specialization can make a difference in acquiring a business
  • Utilizing investment bankers to find the right buyers
  • Changes and trends in the M&A and private equity market
  • Consolidation strategies and being comfortable with partnership
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict, COVID-19 pandemic, and their impact on the M&A industry
  • The number one issue Doug and Alex see when business owners sell their companies
  • The value of independent advisors and consultants and why many business owners don’t know how to assess talent gaps

Our Favorite Quotes:

  • “Private equity opportunities are being presented to dentists, orthodontics, and oral surgeons, for whom the financing side can be overwhelming if they’ve not been through it.” – Seth Whicker
  • “Investment bankers help someone sell or buy businesses; private equity firms buy companies, hold on to them, then flip them over for profit.” – Seth Whicker
  • “Every company is different; every deal is different. Seeing the ups and downs of the market is an invaluable experience, and it’s important to have an advisor who can help you deal with those nuances.” – Alex Shortle

Connect with EO Advisors:

Connect with Doug Conner: 

Connect with Alex Shortle:

About SYM Financial and The Owner’s Corner Podcast

The Owner’s Corner is a show for business owners. In each episode, host and financial planner Seth Whicker sits down with business owners and the professionals that serve them to talk about what it takes to build a business. Our guests come from many industries and walks of life to share their biggest wins, mistakes made along the way, and their thinking about the all-important exit planning.

Email Seth at swhicker@sym.com with questions, comments, and to schedule a one-on-one conversation.

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Disclosure: Certain links above are to third-party sites and are not affiliated with SYM Financial Corporation (“SYM”).  SYM is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about SYM including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

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