John Gleason’s commitment to transparency in business transactions seemed like a recipe for success until he encountered a twist he never expected- it shaped his career and the success of countless others. Who could have guessed that his mentor’s advice would become a key factor in his own journey?
“Answer questions directly and honestly from the heart instead of by rote, really answer them the way that you would answer a family member.” – John Gleason
My special guest on this week’s episode is John Gleason. John Gleason, is the founder of Genuine Business Advisors and a seasoned entrepreneur with decades of experience in business and finance. With a background in cost accounting, mergers and acquisitions, and management accounting from prestigious institutions like Columbia Business School and Cornell, John has a wealth of knowledge to share. He has successfully helped numerous business owners with their transactions, providing guidance on the importance of transparency and honesty throughout the selling process. As a guest on the Business Legacy Podcast with Paul Dio, John offers valuable insights into the complexities of business transactions and the significance of building trust between buyers and sellers.
Mistakes in Selling a Business Selling a business is a significant undertaking that requires thorough preparation and attention to detail. One common mistake that business owners make is failing to seek professional guidance from specialized M&A experts. Due diligence is crucial, as it is the business owner’s responsibility to ensure all financial documents are accurate and up-to-date. Avoiding these crucial steps can lead to regrettably unfavorable outcomes for both the seller and the buyer. John Gleason shares his perspective on common mistakes that business owners make when selling their businesses. He emphasizes the importance of utilizing experienced professionals in the field of M&A transactions, as well as the need for maintaining transparency with potential buyers regarding financial documents. By avoiding these pitfalls and taking a proactive approach, business owners will be better equipped for successful transactions.
About John Gleason:
John is an insightful consultant, entrepreneur and management executive who has spent over three decades improving the operations and bottom line of businesses across several industries. His experience includes both corporate finance and entrepreneurship—from co-founding and selling well-known commercial printing firm Bay State Press to a national Private Equity firm to then serving as Vice President and then Senior Vice President at the national investment banking intermediary Gottesman Company. John’s broad experience advancing companies’ goals, and his expertise in delivering accounting, bookkeeping, consulting, and QuickBooks support services to small businesses made him the ideal candidate to deliver outsourced bookkeeping and accounting services. As a multiple unit franchisee for national bookkeeping firm Supporting Strategies, John launched his first franchise in Massachusetts in 2015, and now owns five franchises in 2 US states. John most recent venture is Genuine Business Advisors. GBA is a financial clearing house providing the multiple services necessary to a business buyer or seller, under one roof, in a sale transaction. GBA is focused on Asset Purchase Agreements for small businesses and will not engage in stock sales. GBA will bring in additional business partners, as needed, in an engagement to properly address the needs of a particular seller or buyer. John holds a Management Accounting Certificate from Cornell University, studied Economics at UMass Boston and completed professional courses in Graphic Arts at Northeastern University. He is a member of the USA 500, ProVisors and the Charles River and Worcester Chambers of Commerce, and co-founded a virtual business to business networking group in the greater Boston area.
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Chapter Summary below
00:00:00 – Introduction, Host Paul Dio introduces John Gleason, founder of Genuine Business Advisors, and discusses his ability to connect people and bring them together.
00:01:41 – John’s Career, John shares his career journey, from co-founding a commercial printing company to working in investment banking and eventually starting Genuine Business Advisors.
00:05:15 – Market Trends, Despite concerns about interest rates and inflation, John notes that there is still a strong interest on the buy side for businesses, particularly from business owners who feel more confident running their own business than investing in the stock market.
00:08:14 – Mistakes in Selling a Business, John highlights the importance of transparency in financials, cautioning against keeping two sets of books, and advises against using a personal family attorney for M&A deals due to the complexity of the legal documents involved.
00:13:09 – Stipulations for Buyers, John explains the concept of anchoring and how it can affect a seller’s perception of the value of their business, and discusses situations where a buyer may have to stay in the business or hit certain metrics before exiting. Proper documentation is necessary to protect both the buyer and the seller during a transaction.
00:14:31 – Understanding Earnouts and Non-Competes, John Gleason discusses the importance of having a business transaction attorney to protect sellers during an earnout period. He emphasizes the need for transparency when selling a business and the enforceability of non-compete clauses in business sales transactions.
00:19:49 – How to Find a Business to Buy, John recommends working with a business broker or franchise broker to find the best match for buyers’ personalities and backgrounds. He discourages inexperienced buyers from directly contacting sellers, as they may not be equipped to handle the process effectively.
00:22:05 – Best and Worst Business Decisions, John shares his best business decision, which was to sell his commercial printing business at the right time. He also shares his worst business decision, investing in an antique business he knew little about and misjudged the metrics.
00:24:29 – Leaving a Legacy, John’s legacy is to be true to himself and help others. He believes that legacy means setting an example for future generations and making the business and people communities better through individual effort.
00:15:39 – The Risks of Earnouts, John explains that earnouts can be beneficial for both buyers and sellers in a synergistic strategic buy. But, earnouts may not always work out as intended due to the difficulty of predicting post-transaction culture and synergy.