The GABB Million Dollar Club Awards is a program that spotlights industry sales professionals recognizing business achievements of professional Business Brokers for successfully closing business acquisition transactions totaling one million dollars or more. The GABB has the only Accredited Real Estate School in Georgia that focuses on business and Commercial Real Estate-related transactions and CE Credits.
The top producer for 2019 was GABB Vice President Judy Mims, Qualifying Broker for Childcare Properties, LLC, who specializes in selling child-care businesses.
“I’d like to thank the entire team of Childcare Properties for the fantastic job they do and the GABB, Georgia’s professional association for business brokers,” Ms. Mims said. “The GABB is working hard to increase the level of professionalism of our profession and I am proud to be a part of that effort.”
Business brokers who were among the top seven brokers with multi-million dollars in business sales for the year are Tim Greene, a Business Broker and Consultant for DeFoor Business Services; Steve Weinbaum, a Certified Restaurant Broker with We Sell Restaurants; C. David Chambless, president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc.; Brad Coffman, managing director of PHP Business Brokers; and Robin Gagnon, co-founder of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com; and Matt Wochele, founder of Preferred Business Brokers.
Other top-selling business brokers with multi-million dollars in sales included: Steve Josovitz, Vice President of The Shumacher Group; J. Snypp, Vice President of Preferred Business Brokers, Inc.; Jon Merry, a senior business broker with THE BUSINESS HOUSE; Lisa Young, Business Broker at Transworld Business Advisors; Mannie Maddox, a business broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers; Eric Gagnon, the president of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com; Loren Marc Schmerler, President and Founder of Bottom Line Management, Inc.; and Nick Modares, GABB secretary and president and managing broker of Business Brokers Inc./Atlanta Business Advisors.
Mr. Modares was honored as a life member of the Million Dollar Club for achieving more than a million dollars in sales for three consecutive years.
Other leading business brokers in the Million Dollar Club included Greg DeFoor, founder and President of DeFoor Business Services; Pedro Ferreira, a business advisor with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta; David Still, the founder, designated business broker and lead business appraiser of Capital Endeavors, Inc.; Jon Roman, business intermediary, franchise consultant and developer at Transworld Business Advisors; Keith Turner, a business broker with Best Business Brokers; GABB President Dean Burnette, the founder of Best Business Brokers, and Brian Judson, a business broker with Best Business Brokers.
The Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) is the state’s only professional organization dedicated to buying and selling businesses and franchises. The GABB’s website t lists hundreds of businesses and franchises for sale throughout Georgia in a variety of fields, including automotive, business services, child care, cleaning, construction, electronics equipment, fitness, flooring, floral, food, gas stations, landscaping, manufacturing, medical, shipping, restaurants, retail, security, signs, and businesses related to the internet.
“GABB members have resources and experience that can smooth out the complicated processes involved in business acquisitions and mergers,” said GABB President Burnette. “Our business brokers are committed to a code of ethics in buying or selling a business in Georgia.”
GABB broker members have represented thousands of business sellers and buyers, and the group has a dedicated membership of lenders, attorneys and other professionals to assist business buyers and sellers at every step of the process. The GABB.org website has more than 400 business-for-sale listings. Find a professional business broker today at https://gabb.org/gabb-business-brokers/
JUDY MIMS Qualifying Broker for Childcare Properties, is the vice president of GABB for 2019 and 2020. Ms. Mims formed Childcare Properties in 2014 to provide the highest levels of integrity, experience and service for the childcare industry in the greater Atlanta metro area. Childcare Properties, LLC focuses exclusively on the sale of childcare facilities, preschools, Montessori and private schools. She is an active member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors (ACBR), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Georgia Child Care Association (GCCA), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA). She is a member of the Atlanta Commercial Board Million Dollar Club with more than $5 million in sales in 2016 and 2018, and member of the GABB’s Multi-Million Dollar Club in 2017 and 2018. Prior to her career in commercial real estate, Judy worked as an independent publisher’s representative, selling advertising space in various trade magazines. Judy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Scripps College, Claremont, Calif. She is married to Hugh Mims, lives in Brookhaven, and has three grown children and seven grandchildren.
TIM GREENE is a Business Broker and Consultant for DeFoor Business Services and specializes in the evaluation, marketing, sale and acquisition of businesses. His technical expertise, analytical background, and experience owning businesses enable him to provide professional services to buyers and sellers of many types of businesses. His areas of expertise include businesses engaged in document shredding/management, carpet/flooring, construction and engineering, asphalt paving, concrete construction, landscaping, HVAC, and hardware stores. During the past five years, Tim has provided consulting advice on more than 30 document management related business transactions and is well known in the industry. Mr. Greene has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University in 1979. He began his employment with Marathon Oil Company in Findlay, Ohio. After several promotions and transfers he settled in Atlanta, Georgia. Following his entrepreneurial drive, he purchased part ownership in an industrial company providing services to the oil, paper and power industries. That company was a fast-growing organization that grew primarily through acquisition of existing operating companies. In 1999, Tim purchased a concrete services business and grew sales volumes, later adding a significant volume of asphalt paving. He sold that profitable business in 2007 and is now using his knowledge and expertise to assist sellers and buyers of businesses. Mr. Greene lives in the West Cobb area of Acworth, with his wife, Sharon. His two children attended Harrison High School and are now adults.
STEVE WEINBAUM of We Sell Restaurants is a licensed real estate salesperson in Georgia and Florida and has been a Certified Restaurant Broker for more than four years with the ability to sell restaurants throughout the United States. He graduated from SUNY Albany and has over 30 years of experience in business analysis, marketing, sales, relationship management and contract negotiations. He is a member of the GRA, GABB and BBF. Steve can quickly and accurately review and evaluate financial data. This skill enables him to provide sound valuation feedback and business guidance. His years of experience negotiating complex business-to-business contracts translates to high closing rates. Steve has experience with Casual Dining and Quick Serve Franchise brands, growing both sales and customer engagement. As a Certified Restaurant Broker, Steve is closing an average of two businesses per month and is skilled in complex lease negotiations. His success is highlighted by the personal attention he devotes to each client.
C. DAVID CHAMBLESS is the president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc. which provides integrated services to sellers (and buyers) of businesses with revenues of $5-to-$30 million, with a focus on businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, technology, and services industries. A former GABB President, Mr. Chambless has earned the prestigious GABB Phoenix award for a decade of reaching the Multi-Million Dollar Club. Prior to Abraxas, he held various positions in sales, marketing, and executive roles in technology firms; as CFO for Aaron Rents as well as for private companies; and as a management consultant. Mr. Chambless has a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Georgia Tech. He is a certified public accountant (inactive). He is a longtime member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). Active in community work, he has served as a member of the Technology Association of Georgia board of directors and its executive committee and as the chairman of its Leadership Council, TAG-Finance and TAG-FinTech. Mr. Chambless has chaired the membership committee for the Atlanta chapter of Business Executives for National Security; he is on the board of the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center; and on the Sporting Clays Tournament committee for the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He has been on the boards of the Grant Park Conservancy and the Southeast Atlanta Business Association and is very involved in the All Saints’ Episcopal Church community. He served for 15 years on the board of The Samaritan House of Atlanta. He has served on the board of directors for the Resource Opportunity Center of Atlanta and on the Advisory Council of 24/7 Gateway, a homeless-services center under the auspices of the United Way of Atlanta. Mr. Chambless, along with his last at-home son, maintains his family’s home in historic Grant Park while his wife works in Beijing, China, where she is an educational executive with Three W International.
BRAD COFFMAN, CFC (Certified Franchise Consultant), BTS (Business Transfer Specialist), President and Managing Director of PHP Business Brokers has more than 15 years of experience in starting and growing businesses. Brad is an entrepreneur establishing his first startup company at the age of 20 which grew to a multi-million-dollar company with more than 30 employees within the first two years. Mr. Coffman’s diverse background as a founder and CEO of multiple businesses include, commercial real estate, commercial relocation services, mergers and acquisitions, restaurants and more. He is a member of the International Franchise Professionals Group, Business Brokers of Florida, and the International Business Brokerage Association. Brad has won awards for 2016 and 2017 Top Ten Business Brokerage Office in South Florida. Brad resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his wife and one-year old son.
ROBIN GAGNON CFE, MBA, CBI is the co-founder of We Sell Restaurants, the largest restaurant brokerage firm in the nation and the only franchisor dedicated exclusively to restaurant sales. A Certified Franchise Executive, she is one of the most prolific Restaurant Brokers in the industry and is a specialist in franchise resales. In addition, she has completed study, testing and experience requirements by the International Business Brokers Association to be awarded the credential of Certified Business Intermediary or CBI. Robin is the co-author of Appetite for Acquisition, an award winning book for restaurant buyers. She serves on the Women’s Franchise Committee of the IFA and is past chair of the Women’s Franchise Network Atlanta and current member of its Executive Board. Robin holds an MBA and graduated first in her class where she was named “Outstanding MBA” from her business school. She is a lifetime emeritus member of WHOSE Business Advisory Council and founding member of the Entrepreneurship Board. Robin is a licensed real estate salesperson in both Georgia and Florida and member of the Business Brokers of Florida and the GABB. She has been named a National Industry Expert by Business Brokerage Press in Franchise Resales. She teaches the only Certified Restaurant Broker training offered nationwide as part of the We Sell Restaurants franchise brand.
Matt Wochele CBI (Certified Business Intermediary) founded Preferred Business Brokers, Inc., in 1996 after a successful 17-year career in the investment banking industry. He is a life member of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers Million Dollar Club, membership chairman of the GABB board, a GABB Phoenix Award recipient and a member of the International Business Brokers Association. As president and managing broker of Preferred he has had the opportunity to be personally involved in hundreds of private business sales. The combined personal experience in the public sector with the private business sales has positioned the company to handle both the smaller main street business deals and the larger middle market business acquisitions. Matt and his wife Kathy, a professional artist, live in Sandy Springs, and have five daughters, one granddaughter and one grandson.
STEVEN JOSOVITZ is vice president of The Shumacher Group, having joined the firm in 1992. As an Associate Real Estate Broker, he heads up the company’s restaurant business brokerage division in addition to providing commercial retail and restaurant real estate site selection, sales and lease negotiation expertise. A former restaurant owner and trained professional chef, Steven has an extensive background in restaurant and hotel management. He also offers consulting, appraisal services and has been retained by law firms for his expert opinion to help settle disputes. Mr. Josovitz earned a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Florida International University in 1981 and has studied in Europe. Mr. Josovitz is a member of the Georgia Restaurant Association, Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB), International Council of Shopping Centers and the Retail Brokers Network. As a 27-year GABB member, Mr. Josovitz was awarded Life Member and The Phoenix Award and annually receives the Multi-Million Dollar Club Award and Top Five Award for business and restaurant brokerage sales in Georgia.
J. SNYPP III, a former GABB Board member, lives in Dunwoody, grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in marketing. Mr. Snypp spent more than two decades in the office furniture business before becoming a Business Broker and has been with Preferred Business Brokers, Inc. for more than 13 years. He has found success selling businesses in a variety of industries most recently selling a medical services company and a landscaping business. He is past president of the Dunwoody North Driving Club, a board member of the Dunwoody High School Gridiron Club and chairman of the Wildcat Classic Golf Tournament which benefits the Dunwoody football team. He is also on the board of the Dunwoody High School Tip Off Club. He is married and has two sons aged 16 and 21. Therefore, when he is not selling businesses, he is usually coaching a football or baseball team, camping, canoeing, water skiing, scuba diving, shooting sports or involved in some other family activity.
JON MERRY, a senior business broker with THE BUSINESS HOUSE of Gainesville, has been in the Business Mergers and Acquisition Industry for more than 10 years. Jon specializes in serving the Manufacturing, Distribution, Service, Medical, and Health Care Industries. He has a keen understanding of the buying and selling process and is well versed in the industry handling a wide range of deal making activities for the firm and has assisted with numerous M&A transactions. Since 2012, Mr. Merry has been recognized as one of the GABB’s top five brokers for closed M&A transactions and is a former GABB board member. In addition, Mr. Merry has been a Certified Machinery/Equipment Appraiser (CMEA) with the National Equipment Business Builders Institute (NEBB Institute) since 2000 and became a Master CMEA in 2014. As a CMEA, he is intensively trained in the legal requirements involving USPAP standards, as well as the methodology approach employed in establishing fair market value, orderly liquation value, and forced liquation value in any market condition. Mr. Merry is a member of the International Business Broker Association (IBBA) and the International Society of Business Analysts (ISBA). A native of Georgia, Mr. Merry was a professional umpire for Minor League Baseball for 11 years. He and his wife, RaeLynda, and their two sons, Jacob and Joseph, live in historic Dahlonega, Ga.
LISA YOUNG is a business broker with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta, working in the Dunwoody office. Ms. Young graduated from Georgia Military Prep School and Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville where she received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a major in Information Systems. She has worked in the real estate industry since 2000 as well as owning a couple of small businesses before joining Transworld. She enjoys gardening, swimming, boating, golf and volunteer work with organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and Lake Oconee Church. She has two grown sons, two grandchildren and she splits her time between Marietta and Lake Oconee.
MANNIE MADDOX is a business broker and Commercial Realtor with Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers. He has more than 35 years’ experience in Business Development, Sales and Capture Management in the Commercial and Federal Government marketplaces. Mr. Maddox successfully developed and led capture teams that won major Government RFPs with more than a billion dollars in revenue. His high level, large dollar volume sales experience at a Fortune 500 Executive Level has proven to be transparent and a major contributor to successful Commercial Real Estate Sales and Marketing as Commercial Realtor. He is a member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, and is a Certified Business Broker. He attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Patricia, and they have a son and a granddaughter.
ERIC GAGNON is the founder and President of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com. Eric is an industry expert in restaurant sales and holds the Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation from the International Business Brokerage Association (IBBA). A frequent writer and speaker in the restaurant industry, Eric co-authored Appetite for Acquisition, an award-winning book on buying restaurants. Eric was named a Fellow of the IBBA in 2018 for his outstanding contribution to the business brokerage industry and was a recipient of the Outstanding Producer Award given by the International Business Brokers Association for multiple years. Eric began his career in the financial services industry for Bank of America, Bank of New York and big five accounting firm, KPMG before launching the nation’s premiere restaurant brokerage firm and restaurant brokerage franchise nearly two decades ago. He oversees the development and training of Restaurant Brokers nationwide and has created the industry’s only Certified Restaurant Broker coursework and testing program. Mr. Gagnon is a past GABB president, a Lifetime Member of the Million Dollar Club and received the GABB Phoenix Award, presented to a select few who have received the Million Dollar Award for more than a decade. He is also a member of the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF). Eric is a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA) where he serves as a board member for VetFran, a strategic initiative of the IFA and the Franchise Education and Research Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of Directions for the Southeast Franchise Forum (SEFF). Eric has also been designated a Business Industry Expert by Business Brokerage Press.
Loren Marc Schmerler, CPC, APC is President and Founder of Bottom Line Management, Inc., an Atlanta-based business brokerage and consulting firm. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the prestigious Boston University School of Management and recipient of the Harold C. Case Scholarship for Academic Excellence, he holds an MBA with Honors from Georgia State University. Prior to entering the business brokerage and consulting field, he served as Chief Financial Officer or Controller for several firms ranging from start-up to Fortune 500 subsidiary. Mr. Schmerler is a Certified Professional Consultant with experience in over 200 industries and types of businesses and has helped thousands of business owners in his career. He was a 1998 national business seminar presenter for STAPLES, the world’s largest office products chain. Loren was INC. Magazine’s Cash Flow and Negotiation expert for INC. World EXPOs in 1994 and a speaker for that publication’s “Growing the Company” conference in 1991 and 1992. Mr. Schmerler is a member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA).
NICK MODARES, president and managing broker of Business Brokers Inc./Atlanta Business Advisors and the managing broker for the Georgia branch of Gottesman Company, a Mergers & Acquisitions group based in Manhattan New York. Mr. Modares has owned and operated several retail, service, and distribution companies in his lifetime. Along the way Nick has accumulated enormous education, practical experience and insight into what it takes to start, own, operate, finance, merge, sell, and acquire privately held companies ranging in size from very small to multi-national, million-dollar operations. Mr. Modares has a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management (MBA of Engineering) from the University of Evansville, Indiana and Purdue University towards his PhD. For two decades, he pursued an engineering and project management career before joining Sunbelt Business Brokers in Atlanta before he established Business Brokers Inc. In his community, he is treasurer of Atlanta Sister Cities Commission and chairs the Atlanta-Bucharest sister city committee. Nick currently serves on Board of GABB. Since 2006, Nick and his family have volunteered in the Adopt-A-Road program in Roswell. Nick and his family live in East Cobb, Marietta.
GREG DeFOOR is a business broker, a CPA and a Certified Fraud Examiner. He became a business broker in 2002 after working in public accounting followed by private industry experience as an accounting and financial executive in the healthcare and retail automotive industries. While in private industry, he was involved in several business transactions and decided to use that knowledge and experience to start his own firm. He has a unique blend of audit, tax, accounting, corporate finance, business advisory and transaction experience to use for the benefit of his clients. He has an active Georgia real estate broker’s license. His firm specializes in the sale of small and middle-market privately owned businesses in several industrial classifications. Mr. DeFoor has an accounting degree from Auburn University and lives in Powder Springs.
PEDRO FERREIRA is a Business Advisor with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta. Transworld Business Advisor is the world’s largest business brokerage franchise with more than a billion dollars in cumulative listings. Pedro is committed to creating win-win deals by listening to the needs of all the parties involved and providing the most comprehensive business sale process. Pedro has successfully sold business in several industries including Tech, Hospitality, Construction, Distribution, and Beauty. With a background in Business Journalism, Pedro has been a PR Director with the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce and has published several business and economics articles in government and international media publications. A native of Brazil, Pedro speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish. He lives in Grant Park and attends Passion City Church.
DAVID STILL is the founder, designated business broker and lead business appraiser of Capital Endeavors, Inc. located in Lawrenceville, Ga. David graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration. As an M&AMI and CBI, David has achieved the highest level of recognition possible from the International Business Brokers Association and the M&A Source. Furthermore, as a former co-owner and publisher of the Gwinnett Post-Tribune newspaper, he is familiar firsthand with what a business owner goes through during the sale of a business–both financially and emotionally. As a business appraiser, David focuses on privately owned corporations, family businesses, and partnerships that are looking to clarify their growth strategies and estate planning through planned exit strategies for the future. David specializes in the mergers and acquisitions of privately held companies with gross sales of between $1,000,000 and $50,000,000. In 2020, he will be the mayor of Lawrenceville.
JON ROMAN is the owner of Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Perimeter, an award-winning group of five agents, an office manager and a marketing sales specialist. For nearly 18 years, prior to Transworld, Mr. Roman had helped entrepreneurs to obtain funding when acquiring, selling or franchising businesses. He established, acquired, operated and sold his own businesses for more than 20 years. Mr. Roman is a former commercial banker with experience in a multitude of deals. Throughout his career, Jon financed mergers and acquisitions, business expansions, construction and development projects. He evaluated businesses, built and consolidated financial records and shared opinions regarding business plans, and/or exit strategies. Mr. Roman is a lifetime million-dollar member of the GABB and is currently serving as the group’s treasurer. Among other qualifications, Jon is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), a (Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) and a member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization. He lives in Lawrenceville with his wife, Laura, his children Ryan and Emma.
KEITH TURNER joined the B3 Brokerage Team (Best Business Brokers) in Savannah in 2017 as a licensed Business Broker. He holds a Real Estate License in Georgia, is a member of the Savannah Area Realtors (SAR), and the Real Estate Commercial Alliance (RCA). Keith was the Vice President of Armor Metals, a small manufacturing plant in Savannah. In 1995 he and his brother-in-law, Kevin Stanford, started Savannah Tank, another manufacturing plant that was eventually sold in 2013. Keith is active in local business groups and organizations including BNI’s, The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, Effingham Chamber of Commerce, and Savannah Small Business Chamber. Mr. Turner is a graduate of Georgia Southern University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Keith is an active volunteer with United Way, LIFE of Savannah, GAP Ministry and GLOW Ministries in Effingham County, and he has supported many foreign and local mission trips. He lives in Rincon, Ga., with his wife of 35 years, Wendy Johnson Turner, and they have two daughters and six grandchildren. Keith’s hobbies include being a numismatist, a coin and currency dealer.
DEAN BURNETTE is the founder of Best Business Brokers (B3) in Savannah. More than three decades of business ownership and management experience in various industries have given Dean a wide range of experience and business knowledge. These experiences contribute to his abilities to help identify and qualify appropriate buyers, put together sales prospectuses, negotiate terms of a sale, recognizing the importance of confidentiality in these types of business transactions. He has been a member of the GABB Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Club. Dean is excited about the many opportunities that the current economic conditions and recent economic events have created in Georgia. He is a sponsor of the Georgia Logistics Summit, a member and past president of the Savannah Small Business Chamber, also is a member of the Savannah CFO Council, Savannah Traffic Club, Savannah Real Estate Commercial Alliance, GAR, NAR, and serves on the Education Advisory Committee for the Georgia Real Estate Commission. He is married, has two children and four grandchildren.
BRIAN JUDSON is a senior business broker with Best Business Brokers of Savannah. He has more than a dozen years of experience in business assessments and sales and 30 years of operations management in the service sector. He is active in the Savannah Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Chamber, and in 2020 will be installed on the board of Buy Local Savannah, while continuing to mentor high school students and serve on the board for TEDx Savannah. Brian has served on the Historic District Board of Review, United Way Funding Review Panel and is a Master Docent for the Telfair and Jepson Museums of Art. His wife, Liza, works as a coordinator in student success advising for SCAD, they have a daughter, and are active in Savannah’s art community.Read More
You may not think that coping with a health challenge compares to selling a business, but former GABB President Eric Gagnon found similarities and grew. Eric and his wife, Robin, are the founders of We Sell Restaurants, the nation’s largest restaurant firm focused on selling restaurants. Both are GABB members and members of the 2019 Million Dollar Club.
Many of you may not know that I have experienced three ear surgeries in the last 12 months, all of which have left me fundamentally without hearing. That creates a pretty large challenge as I LISTEN to people for a living.
I have been without hearing in one ear for my entire life, a fact most of my clients and business associates would have never known. It didn’t stop me from pursuing an amazing career and learning English as a second language. French is my primary language.
How am I coping? I use the same approach for different phases of this challenge that a buyer, a seller or a broker would use to keep marching forward. I also use a lot of prayers and self-motivation, two universal tools that everyone should use daily.
Originally I was told by one of the best ear surgeons in the U.S. that I had an 80% chance my hearing would improve with the first surgery and less than a 2% chance I would go deaf. According to the specialists, the remaining ear issues in my only hearing ear would go away.
Translate this into a buyer’s language: “I’m buying a deal making strong money and proven books.” What can go wrong? Let’s do this!!
We scheduled the first surgery and went through all the testing and pre-op questions. In buyer language, we entered into a “purchase agreement” and did the first surgery. I was told to prepare for the worst — up to three months with no hearing. Once I woke up, to everyone’s surprise, especially the doctor’s, I could hear immediately!! LOUD and clear. In a buyer’s world, this would be equivalent to: “Initial due diligence fantastic. Almost too good to be true.”
Unfortunately, three weeks later, my hearing started to deteriorate. The doctor thought it was probably an ear infection, and said, “Take some meds, it will clear up.” Two weeks later, with no improvement, he says, “come see me.” I drive three hours each way so they can stick needles in my ear, do an audiogram and learn my hearing is rapidly deteriorating. Then the doctor says, “What about wearing hearing aids?” Remember, originally I heard perfectly from my single ear with no hearing aids.
The Broker in me started to kick in and realized this was equivalent to: “Expect some changes in the deal terms.”
Shortly thereafter, once again my hearing deteriorated to the point the hearing aids were useless. Back to the doctor. Read here: “Buyer is very upset with current condition, but due diligence is over so he can’t walk away from the deal and must find a solution.”
Doctor reveals that scar tissue is growing between the bones which impairs my hearing. Solution: Second surgery to laser out scar tissue and rebuild one of the bones. Read here: “as a broker, we’ve got new movement. We find out why we have this problem and the seller is willing to fix it. That’s great news. Buyer is now happy with the offer and keeps moving forward.”
Surgery #2 happens. I wake up with slight improvement in hearing and even back to my best hearing performance with the hearing aids two weeks later. Buyer thinks: “All problems fixed. Everyone is happy and we accept some compromise – let’s go to closing!”
Wait a minute. Four weeks later, back to square one. Hearing has dropped beyond hearing aid capacity and declining. The broker in me is thinking: “Maybe this isn’t the right deal for everyone, but how do we minimize damages?”
At this point the right thing to do was to walk away from this deal and find a new and better one. The new deal for me becomes a new doctor at the University of Arkansas Medical Center thousands of miles from home.
His assessment: Plan A: A new surgery to replace two bones with titanium parts that scar tissue won’t cling to. Success will be hearing well with hearing aids without any loss over time. Plan B: if Plan A fails, we will do a cochlear implant 60 to 90 days later, and this will work. As a broker, I like the “no surprises” approach. Always be ahead of the game, with a backup plan. This was music to my non-hearing ears!
Surgery #3 happened on Oct. 3. I spent two weeks with no hearing at all while my ear healed from the surgery and could not accommodate hearing aids. Once again, that was a little scary but different than the first two surgeries in which I heard quickly but failed in the long run.
Ultimately, hearing aids went back in and the results are not good. The last surgery did not heal the issue. I have now been fundamentally without hearing for the last year. The next step is a cochlear implant. This is a device implanted that goes directly to my brain stem. I will re-learn “hearing” in this fashion after the surgery and therapy.
During this time, I still maintained a full book of business and worked to the fullest of my abilities. Technology has advanced to help me with hearing impairment. I carry two phones. My normal iPhone has a Bluetooth connection to my hearing aids, and my Android that translates voice when I put it near sound (like speakers or a person). Some people did not even notice I was using a device to hear them. Others noticed a delay while I ‘read’ their comment before responding.
It would have been easy to give up and pity myself, but I chose to focus on what I have learned from the experience to make myself better. Here are some of the benefits I gained.
I listen better: At the beginning of this blog I said I LISTEN to people for a living. I used to do two or three things at the time while on the phone. Now I must read the phone so I cannot do any other task. I am now FULLY listening to the buyers and sellers on the phone and it made me a better broker for it. I also restate their comment or concerns which is also helpful to make sure I understood what they said. My results also reflect that this year.
Every call and every interaction must be meaningful, since listening is very tiring. I must make sure that this conversation worthy and productive, and if it’s not, I politely end the discussion and find a productive activity to engage with.
I focus better: My focus is more intense. If you cut out outside noise you will see things much clearer in focus. This applies when I look at financials as well as when I engage in my hobbies. I rely a lot more on visuals now than what I hear.
I write better: I also became a better writer as I have been sending lengthier and more detailed emails.
My interactions with my family have changed. Most couples married for nearly 20 years will just toss out a comment from across the room with music or TV in the background. My wife and I must be very close to one another for me to recognize that she is speaking. Since we run a business together, that means we talk a lot. We have relied on more communication by touch, where she lets me know she’s speaking. I can read her lips somewhat and understand what she’s saying or use my phone. Either way, I’m 100% focused on her and she on me when we are communicating. This is a great tip for any married couple.
My professional life has changed. I cannot sign up for certain functions I would normally attend. Board meetings are tough because so many people are speaking, and I can’t hear what is being said in a large table environment. My wife and I often speak or lead round tables at industry functions and that has not been possible without her picking up on most of the questions and bringing me in on the back end.
Make the Best of Every Single Day. This is part of my destiny and my journey. I am embracing it and making the best of it every single day. In the best-case scenario, I have just a few more months without the music and things will get better by the first quarter of next year with the fourth and final surgery.
Either way, I have spent a year without music and gained a new appreciation for communication.
Eric is an industry expert in restaurant sales and holds the Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation from the International Business Brokerage Association (IBBA). A frequent writer and speaker in the restaurant industry, Eric co-authored Appetite for Acquisition, an award-winning book on buying restaurants.Read More
By Lou Vescio, CBI, M&AMI, Managing Partner, Coastal Business Intermediaries & Agency Brokerage Consultants
2017 Chairman of the IBBA, Fellow of the IBBA, Fellow of The M&A Source
Having been part of the Business Broker or Business Advisor Profession for about 16 years, I have seen many new Brokers come and go! I have also seen many grow their practice into very lucrative and profitable enterprises. Why do some Brokers succeed and prosper, while others give up in six months to two years? Having participating in several professions in the past fifty years, from flying jets in the Air Force, to a 15 year career with a Fortune 500 company, to building a couple computer training businesses and selling them, and finally becoming a Business Broker, I believe I have identified a few traits that make the great Brokers great and why some Brokers fail.
Perseverance – If you have ever read anything about Navy Seals, they never give up! The Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) school includes some of the most difficult training that exists, and most participants drop out due to the physical and mental stress. Perseverance is the key to their success.
This is not to say that becoming a great Business Broker comes close to becoming a Navy Seal, but all successful Business Brokers that I know exhibit the “failure is not an option” mentality. The Business Brokers workday is not a “9 to 5” type of day; it’s an “I will do whatever work I need to do, whenever I need to do it” type of day!
Education – Great Business Brokers are always learning more about their profession. Education obviously includes taking IBBA and M&A Source courses and workshops attending professional conferences sponsored by associations like the GABB, but it also includes reading everything available that is pertinent to the profession. Great Business Brokers also network with other great Brokers across the country and even across the world. Every business is different, every deal is different, and sharing and networking with other professionals offers new and fresh ideas and concepts.
Learn to say “No” – One of the Brokers I admire is Jim Afinowich, Managing Partner with IBG Fox & Fin in Scottsdale, AZ. Many years ago, he taught a workshop on saying “no” to bad listings. New Brokers tend to take almost any listing just so they have something to sell, but statistics tell us that 75% to 90% of businesses listed by Business Brokers do not sell! On the other hand, great Brokers sell 80% to 95% of their listings. Learning to price businesses properly (that Education thing above), properly analyzing good businesses when writing a great CIM (again that education thing), and walking away from unreasonable sellers by “just saying no” (in a nice way of course) are a few keys to success.
Marketing – While we all like to receive great referrals, most Brokers would go out of business if they did not market their services. Without going into the details of what kind of marketing a Broker should undertake, the key is marketing costs money and it is a requirement to succeed. The IBBA offers courses, workshops and webinars on every type of marketing, and the costs can vary from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Fifty years ago, Tom West, author of The Complete Guide to Business Brokerage, suggested mailing a hundred letters a week and calling that same hundred business owners a week later. That is probably the bare minimum and may still be one of the most effective tools. Marketing is one of those “just do it” activities, and do as much as you can afford!
Salesmanship – While many people may disagree with me, we are saleswomen and salesmen. If we do not sell, we don’t make money! Some Brokers like to refer to themselves as advisors, consultants, or intermediaries, but in the end, we are still salespeople! More precisely, we engage in consultative selling, meaning we focus on creating value and trust with the prospect and exploring their needs before offering a solution. Our first objective is building a relationship, and then we provide the right solution to the problem. There are many courses and books on how to sell everything under the sun, but one of the best sales books a Broker can read is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (1936). It is more about getting people to like you, and that is the first step in selling. You can download and read it here for free.
Find a Mentor – Having a mentor when starting out as a Business Broker is a big plus, and joining a professional association like the GABB can help with this. Having an experienced and trusted adviser who will assist in training can shorten the timeline from “Start” to “Success!” It is also advisable to work in a successful brokerage when starting out to avoid many costly and time-consuming mistakes. Whether it be a franchised brokerage or an independent brokerage, find a mentor that meets the following criteria: 1) knows how to make a lot of money selling good businesses, 2) promotes IBBA education and certification, 3) assists in valuing and critiquing potential listings and 4) assists in negotiating difficult transactions.
Become an IBBA Contributor – One of the best ways to enhance your IBBA experience is to actively participate in the annual conferences, courses and workshops and share your experiences with others. Join a committee or two and be active. The friends you make and the experiences you share with others will enhance your Business Brokerage experience. (Note, the GABB also offers conferences, committees and monthly meetings.)
Finally, to all you Great Business Brokers out there, make friends with a new member at the next IBBA Conference and offer yourself as a mentor. You will find it very rewarding!
Reprinted with the permission of the International Business Brokers Association.
Rebecca Gunn, Vice President and Regional Executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, will speak about economic issues during the Tuesday, Nov. 19, meeting of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers. The GABB is the state’s largest association of professionals dedicated to buying and selling businesses and franchises.
The GABB meets at the Georgia Association of Realtors at 6065 Barfield Road, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328, and the meeting will last from 10:30 a.m. to noon preceded by a free networking session at 9:45 a.m. GABB Affiliate Bob Smith, a health and life insurance advisor for North American Health Plans, will sponsor breakfast. GABB meetings are free and open to the public; guests should register at the form below.
In Ms. Gunn’s role at the Federal Reserve, she provides strategic support for the Regional Economic Information Network throughout Georgia, working with other regional executives to provide targeted economic intelligence. She also provides support for public outreach, economic education, and corporate citizenship.
Since 2013, Ms. Gunn has served as assistant vice president and corporate secretary as well as assistant to the president and first vice president. In this role she oversaw governance, planning, reporting, and administrative support for the long-term plans regarding director recruiting across the District. She also provided support to the Bank’s Board of Directors’ Search Committee for the Atlanta Bank presidential search process.
Ms. Gunn joined the Atlanta Fed in 1996 as an analyst in the planning and control department. She was promoted to supervisor shortly afterward and then to senior auditor. In 2005, she transferred to the Retail Payments Office, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, including financial product coordinator and portfolio manager. In 2011, she joined the Human Resources department as a business liaison providing strategic support and guidance to business areas throughout the Bank.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Ms. Gunn earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the Atlanta Community Group Leader for the Marfan Foundation and a member of the Foundation’s Patient & Program Services Committee. She also serves on the Finance Committee of Camp Twin Lakes.
The GABB is the state’s largest and oldest association of professionals who specialize in brokering the purchase and sale of businesses and franchises. Broker members help owners determine the asking price of their business, create marketing plans and strategies for selling their business, identify and qualify buyers, and have the knowledge, experience and skills needed to help maintain the confidential nature of the process. The professionals of GABB relentlessly pursue professional development so they can provide superior, ethical services for all customers and clients. Affiliate members include bankers, lawyers, appraisers, insurers and other professionals who work closely with brokers to help owners and buyers get to the closing table.
For more information about GABB, please contact GABB President Dean Burnette at 912-247-3209 or email@example.com, or GABB Executive Director Diane Loupe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-374-3990.
If you are not a GABB member and wish to attend the meeting, please fill out this form. GABB meetings are free and open to the public.
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Georgia’s business climate has been named No. 1 in the nation by Site Selection Magazine, an internationally circulated business publication covering corporate real estate and economic development, for the seventh year in a row. Georgia is the only state that has received the distinction seven consecutive times in the history of Site Selection’s rankings.
“I am incredibly proud that Georgia has received the No. 1 ranking from Site Selection for the seventh year in a row,” said Governor Brian Kemp, who made the historic announcement at the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta, Georgia.
Site Selection releases its Top State Business Climate rankings each November. The rankings are 50 percent based on objective criteria and 50 percent on the input received from a survey of independent site location experts who are asked to rank and explain their choice.
“Our readers are keenly interested in our annual state business climate ranking, because they seek locations with the greatest prospects for success,” said Mark Arend, editor-in-chief of Site Selection. “Georgia’s seventh consecutive Top State Business Climate win reminds them that a Georgia location will contribute to their productivity and profitability long term.”
Governor Kemp said Georgia “will continue raising the bar and working with our economic development partners in the public and private sectors to ensure that Georgia stays the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family.”
“The nation’s leading site consultants see opportunity for growth across our state,” Kemp said. “Our top-ranked workforce development initiatives – combined with a conservative, pro-business policy approach, world-class higher education system, and a logistics network that puts the global economy within arm’s reach – make Georgia a top competitor for investment from businesses large and small – across the country and around the world.”
Georgia has long received recognition from leading companies and site consultants for its attractive business climate. The state’s workforce training program, Georgia Quick Start, is the top-ranked program in the United States. Logistics hubs like the Port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport connect businesses to their consumers far and wide, and the state’s pro-business policies make Georgia a competitive option for companies looking to locate or expand. In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, the Georgia Department of Economic Development supported the creation of nearly 29,000 new jobs through the location of 332 projects, 74 percent of which were located outside of metro Atlanta.
“We are thrilled that Georgia’s business climate has once again been named No. 1 by Site Selection,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Under Governor Kemp’s leadership, our partnership approach to economic development has enabled us to maintain a competitive edge in attracting new business and expanding our existing industries.
“Our world-class team at the Georgia Department of Economic Development is proud to work with our economic development partners throughout the state to make record-breaking achievements like this possible. We look forward to joining with Governor Kemp to continue spreading hope and creating opportunities for all Georgians in the years to come.”
Site Selection Magazine joins Area Development Magazine in naming Georgia the top state for business for 2019 – the seventh and sixth straight year, respectively, that both publications have awarded Georgia the ranking.Read More