Authors: Richard E. Jackim and Peter G. Christman
Every year hundreds of business books are published, however very often they are superficial-containing a great deal of hype but little substance. In many cases the author lacks expertise and the end result is a book filled with cliches, generalizations, and oversimplifications.
It is a given that the principle elements of a good business book are how worthy is the subject, who is authoring it and how is it being presented. Moreover, you can't fake interest in a subject -you have to really know what you are writing about, as the best business books are firmly grounded in research and personal experience. Readers must be confident that the author has done his or homework and has something useful to share.
Richard E. Jackim is an experienced attorney while Peter G. Christman is a skilled entrepreneur and both specialize in counseling clients in profitably and successfully exiting a privately held business. With their second edition of The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners, Jackim and Christman once again have shown they know what they are talking about.
Mingling personal case studies with research, the authors have created a credible voice to an elusive subject matter that is very rarely written about in such detail. In fact, it is doubtful if anyone else has appropriated the subject in such a comprehensive and integrated approach.
The format and contents of the second edition have for the most part remained the same, as the authors again refrain from dumping on the reader great heaps of information with little structure. They rather carefully organize their advice in such a way that their vast experience and knowledge logically unfolds toward a climax of accumulated meaning.
Beginning with a general introduction to exit planning and its importance as a business development tool, readers are then given an overview of such topics as the benefits of exit planning, the actual process, the roles of the various professionals in planning and implementing the exit plan, evaluating a business and obtaining maximum value, understanding and implementing various options, the importance of estate and financial planning, as well as other elements that are vital to effectuate a successful exit plan.
The presentation is alive and certainly not dry or abstract. Case histories are carefully integrated and effectively connected to the principle topic of a chapter. Moreover, the authors present clear directives and suggestions as how to plan your exit as well as how to put it into effect.
For example, if we look at the chapter pertaining to Business Valuation, the authors set out the vital components of an effective business valuation. A case study is presented where we read about a fifty-seven year old businessman who was ready to exit his business. He had planned to retire at fifty-five however the economy had softened resulting in a significant drop in his company's revenues and earnings. Unfortunately, he continued to work although he found it unfulfilling or energizing.
We are informed that two common mistakes were committed: first he had postponed planning his exit based on a gut feeling that things would get better and secondly he lost his enthusiasm. As he failed to secure proper business valuation, he didn't realize that the business could have been sold for much more than the asset value. Furthermore, his lack of enthusiasm prevented the business from bouncing back in the way it happened in the past. Sadly, our businessman at the age of sixty-three was diagnosed with prostate cancer and wound up selling his business for slightly less than he would have received six years earlier. From here the authors describe in detail how you can help clients avoid the same situation stressing the importance of a thorough evaluation and the different types of valuations, performed by different types of valuation advisors, for different reasons.
What I found particularly interesting in both editions of this book is the last chapter, Introducing Exit Planning Into Your Practice. For over thirty-five years I practiced law and a good part of my practice was devoted to estate planning. During the course of my practice there were many dramatic changes that affected our profession, particularly our earning capacity. Unfortunately, many of us lacked the imagination or the creativity to look around and find new specialties where we could step in and remedy our situation. Richard E. Jackim and Peter G. Christman have now provided a unique niche that as they state "will truly differentiate yourself." However, as they point out, "exit planning does not and should not replace your existing services. Exit planning is a framework in which your existing services and products provide valuable solutions to business owners."
The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners (2nd Edition) is intelligently written and packed with a great deal of sound advice. As an added feature, the authors include a comprehensive glossary, a resource section and a helpful index.