Sunday, August 28, 2005

Two days later, and I'm still very upset with Jack. He hasn't called or written me, and at this moment I have no plans of ever talking to the man again unless I have to for business reasons. Even then, we certainly can't go on sales calls together any more. I've become increasingly upset with him as a business partner the last few years, and this most recent act is just incredulous.

Buying a business partner's shares

Here are some notes I made when I wanted to buy Jack's shares in the business before. They may give you an idea of my problems with Jack as a business partner, at least from my perspective:

  • He doesn't seem to want to be a salesperson any more.
  • He's supposed to be the sales and marketing person, but doesn't seem open to ideas on marketing.
  • He hasn't shown up at our most recent technical seminars, and hasn't followed up with any prospects after these seminars.
  • He doesn't seem to want to hire good salespeople to work for him. On the technical side, we only hire people that are clearly better than I am, but he constantly hires inferior salespeople who don't work out, and seems upset when I recommend good people I know. (This isn't a huge problem, as we can't seem to hire other good technical talent, but more sales would at least push us harder to find other people, and maybe we'd figure out how to train and work with those people.)

On this point of not hiring good salespeople, even David mentioned this to me recently. He asked why we don't hire better salesperson, and after a few moments I couldn't think of much else to say other than "That's a hell of a good question."

None of this matters too much any more, as I just want to leave, but Jack looks like he's going to create some real problems here, especially if he does want to repeat his offer this week.

A business sales price I think is fair

Given Jack's pushing the situation, I decided to work harder to figure out what price I think is "reasonable" for my shares, especially considering that I want to be out of the company by April 30th of next year.

There are many ways to look at potential prices for the company, including:

  • Rob's offer.
  • Not receiving any other offers at our asking price.
  • The other business broker's back of the envelope estimate.
  • Our business broker's discretionary cash flow technique.
  • Book value of the company.

The company may be worth a little less than that with me gone, but the number I mentioned where "40% of the business comes in from my accounts" isn't an accurate way of looking at the impact on the business. In my opinion, current customers have come to like and respect David, and he can take over these projects. The only immediate lost income would come from me billing less, but I don't bill much of my time right now, and if they hire a new technical worker to replace David's previous role, they'll be just fine.

The biggest impact of my leaving might be to future sales, but that's where the existing "partners" need to step up, especially if they want to buy my shares. Only George has been any help in the role of "Sales Engineer" (handling technical questions while our sales people handle the sales role), and he's good in that role. If he's ends up buying any of my shares, I'm sure he'll step up here.

Plus, if Jack makes his offer formally to the company and then the Class A partners, I think it will be clear to everyone that I can't work with Jack any more.

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