Recently, I was contacted by a trucking business owner in Wyoming. Through the course of our conversation, the owner shared with me that he has owned a couple of trucking and third party logistics companies over the past 15 years. Because of a health crisis five years ago, he had to close the doors of a very successful company. He shared that the health issues were a serious challenge to him mentally and physically. The knowledge that he had a perfect opportunity to sell his business two years prior to the health incident (a heart attack) compounded his frustration of the financial loss.
It was at this point in the conversation when the business owner impressed me. Rather than dwell on the past, he shared that he had started a new business and was in the final stages of merging operations with a friendly competitor. He shared, “I am not going to make the same mistake again. I want to clearly understand the value of my business so I can protect my investment over the next 5 years—and sell at the right time.”
The owner will have revenues of about $10 million in 2011. He expects to triple that in the next 5 years. During the development of his business, he understands that he will make thousands of financial decisions that will ultimately affect the value of his business. Obtaining a reliable business valuation regularly through his 5 year plan (every 12 -18 months) will allow him to make sure he is staying on track and to identify areas in his trucking business where value can be improved.
Many trucking and third party logistics companies go 5 to 10 years or longer without seeking an appraisal for their business. What an advantage this practical business owner will have over competitors, just by knowing the facts about his own business.
It is not that complicated. Though we may have a variety of financial investments working for us, our greatest financial investment is typically the business or businesses we own. That is where we invest the most time, energy, and capital. Despite this, it is common for trucking and third party logistics owners to monitor their shares in stock market daily while allowing the value of their trucking or third party logistics business to go unchecked for years.
Most trucking or third party logistics business owners do not get a second chance with an exit strategy. This gentleman is very lucky—to have first dodged death and to have the opportunity to apply his new perspective to his current business development and exit strategy. Make sure you are protecting your greatest financial investment and positioning yourself to identify the right time to sell.