We met with all the Class B partners at the office after 5 p.m. today, making sure everyone else was out of the building before we began our meeting to tell them what we had been investigating selling the business. We told them the truth, that we investigated the business sales process out of curiosity after receiving a letter, and brought them all the way up to where we are now.
The Class B partners seemed to be in shock initially, but once they had a chance to catch their breath they seemed much better. I'm sure the feeling that their shares might be worth $20K each helped calm their nerves.
I think the question they asked most frequently was why we were considering doing this. I told them that from my part the business had become stale, that I had been trying to grow it forever, and I was frustrated at not being able to do so. I told them I had no idea how things might work out, but if the choice was between staying at the same size for a few more years versus selling to a larger company, or merging with some other company to get larger, those things were more interesting to me now.
In the end the Class B partners may not have been too excited by my motivations, but they agreed the company felt a little stale. Fourteen of the fifteen employees have probably been with us for over five years now, and without growing or doing something different, it seemed like the phrase "same thing, different day."
Although I told the Class B partners they should think about this overnight (or longer), they said that we should go ahead and pursue this. They said it wouldn't help with the general staleness problem at the company, but it would certainly be something interesting for all the partners, assuming we kept them in the loop, which we promised to do.
They added two other concerns. First, they said that if this got out publicly it would be disastrous for the company, so we needed to do whatever we had to do to keep it quiet.
Second, they shared the same concern David had much earlier: They would still need a job after the sale, and wanted to make sure they were still welcome to work at whatever the new company was. I told them I didn't think that was a problem, and also assured them that if something did happen after the sale, they certainly had my recommendation if they needed to go to work somewhere else.
With this behind me, the next step is to sign the business broker paperwork and learn about Marty's prospects.