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Finding Value In Time


So I met a guy who had a career in mergers and acquisitions. As a businessman, his job was to find companies, assess their real value, make an offer, buy the company and do all the paperwork necessary to make it legal.

I assumed he was successful at it because he was good with numbers and very detailed. But the real reason he was great at it was because he was good with people and understood the mistake that many business owners make.

“Jeff,” he said “these companies are like their children. They spent so much time building the business that invariably they think it’s worth 30% more than market value.

You can understand why they think this and you can also understand why they won’t budge on the price. They would be insulted. So I never do that. Instead I asked him about the company. I asked about all the hard work that went into it and all the hours and all the sacrifices. They’re happy to answer, the long, long days of work, missed vacations, missed ball games and recitals, missed holidays.

“I nod, appreciating their sacrifice. Then I ask ‘So, how much time do you have left?’ They usually look puzzled and then I say ‘Well I mean how many more vacations are you willing to not go on, how many birthday parties are you willing to miss, how many holidays will you skip, how many life events will you not be able to go to in the next year because you still have this business?”

“Invariably this stops them cold. In many cases, within one short week the business is sold and they leave in a hurry, eager to live their lives.”

“Pretty clever.” I said

I have misunderstood his motives.

“No, no! I don’t do it for the money!

I do it for them.”

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“Gould’s newest offering, Heartland, is a thoughtful collection filled with meaningful musings, wit, and wisdom. Whether reading from cover to cover or just a page or two, the truths told are valuable life lessons.”