She is the perfect buyer for your company and you know there would be great synergy between your companies, 但 你们不能在估值上达成一致.
Kristen (not her real name) loved his business, and Jim (not his real name) wanted to sell it to her. They met 15 years ago while working for one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. 两人都是公司里冉冉升起的新星, yet each had entrepreneurial instincts that led them to eventually leave to start their own business. 克里斯汀在纳什维尔定居下来，而吉姆去了丹佛. They stayed in touch over the years through their involvement in an industry trade association.
Kristen and Jim had settled into successful lives; both were married and had young children, 两人都被视为各自行业的领导者, 他们都在建立成功的公司. 但他们之间有一个明显的区别. Kristen was the kind of entrepreneur who likes to build a business, whereas Jim was the kind of entrepreneur who likes to start a business then move on to the next one.
吉姆准备继续前进, and he told Kristen that when they met last year on a retreat sponsored by the trade association in which they were both active. Kristen saw a perfect opportunity to grow her company by acquiring Jim’s. Jim felt she was the right buyer for his company because she knew the industry well. He also felt his clients and employees would be pleased to be part of Kristen’s growing enterprise.
It was a 经营婚姻 seemingly made in heaven, except the parties could not agree on valuation. Jim had a healthy expectation, bordering on being unrealistic. When Kristen called for advice on how to get the deal done, 我建议我们调解一下这段关系, 而不是我成为她的经纪人, both parties should retain me to work on their mutual behalf to reach an agreement. 吉姆很喜欢这个主意，所以我们开始调解. It wasn’t long before the parties recognized that an outright purchase of Jim’s company was not in the cards. 他想要的比克里斯汀认为的要多, and she was afraid some of his clients and even employees might bolt if he was no longer in the picture. 底线, while Kristen acknowledged the long-term value of owning Jim’s company, the fear of potential short-term disruption was keeping her from making the investment.
That’s when I suggested the parties live together to decide if marriage made sense.
让我赶紧补充一下, research proves that living together before a real marriage does not serve as a meaningful proxy that the marriage will be successful (not to mention the moral quagmire it creates). 然而住在一起之前 经营婚姻 can be a productive and worthwhile experiment (and it doesn’t create moral ambiguity). 克里斯汀和吉姆, their “living together” business relationship would entail Jim selling Kristen’s service offerings to his clients, 而克里斯汀把吉姆的卖给她的客户群. The idea was to test the premise of synergy to determine how each party’s clients would view the others’ service offerings. 如果没有成功的话, the living arrangement should be terminated and talk of acquisition would be over. But if there were success cross-selling each other’s services, the parties would have more confidence about making the relationship permanent.
Living together before a 经营婚姻 takes intention and attention. Two companies might talk about the idea of synergy between them, 但 they have to dedicate and focus resources to test the idea. 在我们的调解过程中, I asked Jim and Kristen to each identify a key lieutenant to have responsibility to make the cross-selling test work, and we identified the metrics by which each lieutenant would be measured.
我们现在宣布胜利还为时过早, 但 we have a template to determine if there’s logic in a long-term relationship. If the parties decide walk down the aisle, I’ll let you know.
JIM CUMBEE是田纳西河谷集团, Inc .的总裁. a retainer-based business brokerage and transition mediation firm 在富兰克林,TN. Cumbee is an attorney and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has a wide range of corporate 和企业家ial experiences that make him one of the most sought-after business transition advisors in the state of Tennessee.