April 15, 2021

Delta Deal Team - Reinventing the Transition of Your Business

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If you have ever sold a business or expect you will at some point, you have probably heard the “war stories” from other entrepreneurs. It’s the same phenomenon that women face when they are pregnant—everyone has a labor story and none of them are good. Right?? In both cases, though, it’s really the unknown that causes the problem. Paralyzing fear, denial, or unchecked “know it all-ness” do not produce optimal results.

Each time I wrap up the sale of a business to an outside third party or to an “insider,” I lament that there must be a better, more efficient way to do this. For years, I have been working with Lisa Riley, a business broker and owner of Delta Business Advisors, LLC, about the inefficiencies in the sale process. Lisa and I started talking about flat fees and “teams” a few years ago. We have also each been talking to financial folks including Tiffany House, CAP, CEPA (a gift planning consultant and business exit planning specialist) about the challenges of helping business owners maximize the profit from a sale. It was just talk though because… well… the problem for lawyers looking to do “creative coupling" was always those damn lawyer rules (Arizona Rules of Professional Responsibility or “Ethics Rules” for short).  Creativity buzz kill.

But then something really unexpected happened. Arizona changed the Ethics Rules. You might have seen references to Alternative Business Structures (ABS), which allow non-lawyers to have an ownership stake in a law firm, and Licensed Paraprofessionals (LPs), licensed paralegals who can help clients with supervision in family, criminal, and certain administrative contexts, but it’s a different change that lets us finally play on the same team. Lawyers can now “share fees” with non-lawyers (and other lawyers). “Big whoop,” you say? “Double big whoop,” I say. Because it is a game changer.

So, what are we doing to celebrate? Just remaking the business sales process!

Delta Business Advisors, LLC, Framework Legal PLLC, and Exit Preparation, LLC have formed a marketing alliance called Delta Deal Team. Three separate businesses are coming together (via contract) to offer flat fee sales, including brokerage, legal, and financial planning services. We are working on the accounting piece because we absolutely know that is a need, but it’s tax time and this year is a train wreck for accountants, so they don’t have a lot of time to talk right now. We also have plans to add other professionals like coaches, marketing folks, and specialty providers needed by specific businesses when they are selling.

To say we are excited is an understatement.

Selling your business is a daunting process. We know it. We want to make it better. We can’t promise it will be seamless. What we are trying to manage as a team are those extra stressors brought on by redundant calls, professionals popping in at different times of the sale process leading to more cost as they get “up to speed,” and professionals who are not fighting one another but are all in the same boat rowing in the same direction. We are also automating as much of the process as possible. A win-win.

We have other plans, too, many of which involve a menu of services you can access during the 5 to 10 years before you sell. What if you are a family business and trying to transition to the next generation or have identified a long time second in command but she needs some coaching and you need help thinking through structure? You wouldn’t necessarily hire a business broker for that, but a business broker’s experience may help you. So what about a consulting relationship?

And then there is the education piece. You know I try hard to put useful content out there but there is a need for even more in the business transition space. We have to demystify the process.

So, how can you help? Feedback, please. Tell me what your biggest pain points were when you sold or what you need now as you ramp up for a sale down the road.

We’re so excited to share the benefits of the Delta Deal Team with you and the Arizona business community!