ep136 patrick stroth sharon heaton

sbLiftOff: Elevating Businesses to New Heights in the M&A World

In this episode of M&A Masters, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sharon Heaton, founder of sbLiftOff. SbLiftOff specializes in providing advisory services to founder-led businesses and government contracting organizations across the United States, focusing on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and more.

Sharon, also the author of the Forbes bestseller LIFT OFF: 12 Things to Know Before Selling Your Business, shares invaluable insights into the world of M&A, the journey of founder-led businesses, and the essence of preparing for and navigating the sale process.

She’ll cover:

    • The future of M&A
    • The emotional aspects of selling a business
    • Her ideal client profile
    • Viewing M&A as a transition to a new chapter
    • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Patrick Stroth: Hello there. I’m Patrick Stroth, trusted authority in executive and transactional liability and founder of Rubicon M&A Insurance Services. Now a proud member of the Liberty Company Insurance Broker Network. Welcome to M&A Masters where I speak with the leading experts in mergers and acquisitions, and we’re all about one thing here. That’s a clean exit for owners, founders, and their investors.

Today, I’m joined by Sharon Heaton, founder of sbLiftOff. SbLiftOff is a trusted advisor to founder-led businesses and government contracting organizations based throughout the United States, where they provide advisory and related services.

Sharon is also the author of a Forbes best seller, LIFT OFF: 12 Things to Know Before Selling Your Business. And Sharon, great to have you here today. The group of not only authors coming on as guests is great, but you lead it with being on the Forbes top list, so congratulations to that, and welcome.

Sharon Heaton: Thank you very much, Patrick. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

Patrick: Now, although we’ve met a few times in the past, which is nice in person, most of my guests I don’t get to see until after we’ve had this experience together. But you know, before we get an sbLiftOff and your book, let’s talk about you. What led you to this point in your career?

Sharon: Let’s start off with a confession. I am a recovering attorney. As such, I started my career working at global law firms working on publicly traded companies doing M&A. And it was a great experience. I learned a lot. But I did not find it to be personally satisfying. I grew up reading lots of books about biographies of major political figures like Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedys, Eisenhower, Nixon, etc, and cared a lot about the intersection of public policy and the economy.

After I was at the law firm, I got an offer to go to Capitol Hill. And I worked in the US Senate for a number of years. As I got that offer, I got a phone call from my mother, and I was telling her that I had this new job offer. And she said, well, you’re working a ridiculous number of hours, will you be able to work fewer hours?

To which I said no, not really, it’s gonna probably be more hours. And she said, well, then clearly you’re going to be making more money. And I said, no, I’m not going to be making more money. In fact, I’ll be making about a two thirds pay cut. And she said, why are you doing this? And I said, I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do.

It’s kind of the same thing with sbLiftOff. SbLiftOff is not a sacrifice in any way. But it is very much the part of the market that I want to be focusing on. And I’ve been so pleased to be able to bring sbLiftOff to serve this part of the market.

Patrick: Well now we’ll get into sbLiftOff right here. If you can give us a little background, because I always ask, you know, how’d you come up with the name? Because this is not Heaton Enterprises or anything. So how’d you come up with the name?

Sharon: Great question. I used the word exit earlier in our statement. And when I first started getting involved in this part of the market, I was talking to people about exit planning. And I realized that if you’re talking about exit planning to a bunch of baby boomers, you might as well bring a coffin into the middle of the room and ask them to lie down in it.

There is nothing positive about an exit. And in fact, selling your company should in fact, be a very positive attribute. So we wanted to talk about, there are different stages in your life. There’s a stage in your life when you’re in school, and there’s a stage in your life when you’re out.

There’s a stage in your life when you’ve got young kids and then God forbid, you’ve got teenagers, then you’ve got kids that leave the house. There’s a stage in your life when you own your company. And there’s a stage of your life when you don’t. And we want to help people lift off to their next adventure in life. So it should be aspirational about what’s in front of them, as opposed to focusing on what they’re leaving.

Patrick: I think another way to look at this also is that there are a lot of owners and founders that may not be looking for an exit, they just want to elevate to another level, a higher level and the skill set that got them up and running in the first place is not the same skill set that’s going to get them to the next level. And many are looking for expertise in that front.

And so I think with this where you’re talking lift off I think it’s great for the perspective of people that say look, I want to be part of this great thing. I just need somebody to get me to that level, which is something you definitely bring. The other thing I like to see with this is that you’re looking at owner and founder-led businesses.

And let’s talk about that because we’re focused on the lower middle market. Not necessarily entry level, a little bit above that. But we’re looking at that segment. And you know, sbLiftOff has been around for years. You have not gone up market, you’ve stayed committed to the lower middle market. So let’s talk about the focus there. Why lower middle market for you?

Sharon: You really made some excellent points there, Patrick. There’s not one market, there’s multiple markets. And there’s a market that is the main street market. And that’s what many people think of when they think of small business. They might be companies with two, three, $4 million of revenue. And gosh knows, those are incredibly important companies, and there’s a lot of them. Then there’s the part of the market that is in the Wall Street Journal every day.

And they could be publicly traded multi billion dollar companies. In fact, there are companies that are 100 million to a billion, and those are considered mid market companies. That’s not sbLiftOff’s market. Our market are companies that have a minimum of 10 million in revenue to about 100 million in revenue. And we feel like that’s an incredibly important part of the market. As you said, there are breakpoints in companies.

Some companies can make it as far as two or 3 million in revenue, and that’s where they peak out. And then there are other companies that break that $10 million barrier. And they’re doing something very different. We saw that in those lower mid market, the skills of so many of the M&A advisors, they did not have the expertise that we would have liked to bring to this market.

So I’m bringing the skills that I learned at the absolute top edge of the market, and have built a team around that has those same skills to work in this part of the market, which we have viewed as underserved. I come at this from a very personal point of view. When I was in graduate school, I got a phone call from my mother, saying that she was thinking about starting a business.

And in doing so she was gonna have to give up her job and give up her salary, and was I ready to support her in that. To which I said, absolutely, you go for it. And one of the pleasures of my life is that many years later, I was able to sell my mother’s business and give her a liquidity event. That was truly wonderful. As a result of the experience of seeing her, and then working with people in this part of the market, I see the human side to M&A.

I see the people behind the companies that they’ve created. And that’s very much the part of the market that we focus on. As you said, the founder owner is really a unique creature. They’re the people who come up with an idea and turn that idea into money. That is like turning straw into gold. And they have lots of attributes. And one of them is that they may not know a lot about M&A.

I have found that there have been a lot of advisors that are a little bit scornful. How could you not know what EBITDA is or how to adjust it or what’s going on with networking capital? And my feeling is, I didn’t create a $30 million revenue company, God bless you for doing that. That’s wonderful. As a partnership, as a teamwork, we can get to a really good result.

Patrick: And as we’ve spoken in the past about and I love this human element that you bring is these are adults that are sitting down over the kitchen table. And they’re putting out their hopes and their dreams, and they’re facing real fear out there. And they’re resilient enough to go and take the plunge anyway and move forward.

And I’ve always looked at what we do here, as ‘m not as innovative as these people. I’m not as creative as these people. But if I can help them transition and make their dreams come true in this transition either upward or outward, that’s where we want to go and do that. And so, Sharon, let’s talk briefly about, and you can segue into one or two of the points from your book on the 12 things.

And we don’t want to give away all 12 today. But if you could go ahead and tell us what separates sbLiftOff from other M&A advisory firms? Okay. And with that, let’s talk about maybe one or two of the points that you bring in your book.

Sharon: I think that one of the things that separates sbLiftOff is empathy. We have real empathy for the seller, and in fact, the buyer who is going through this M&A transaction. The seller is often been raising their company as long as they’ve been raising their children. You’d like to joke that your children are in fact a liability.

And your company hopefully is an asset. But people are very, very tied to their companies. And it has a personal meaning. It is their work product. It is what has defined them for years, sometimes decades. And they know a lot about their company, but they may not know a lot about the M&A process.

I wrote the book, because when I speak to business owners, I get the same questions all the time. Is my company sellable? How are you going to maintain confidentiality? What is the process? What is this due diligence I keep on hearing about and when is it going to come up? So what I did is I sat down and wrote the answers to these questions without jargon.

I did not want to be using lawyer speak or accounting speak in discussing this with business owners. I wanted to make it very, very accessible. I wanted to deal with the human element of M&A. And hence, I start off in chapter one talking about that. That a lot of sellers have a lot of fear associated with selling their company.

Will they sell too early? Will they sell too low? Will their employees keep their jobs? There’s a lot of issues associated with the loss of identity. When you’re a business owner, and you go to the country club, and you put a little name tag on, it’s got your name and the name of your company.

Patrick: Or a founder.

Sharon: Or a founder. When you don’t have that name tag in your company anymore, who are you? So the loss of identity is very significant. I want business owners to kind of hear that they’re not the only ones feeling these things, and that it’s normal.

But there’s going to be a battle of the brain. There’s going to be a battle between your heart and your head. And that you need to understand what is going on both emotionally and intellectually, so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

Patrick: Yeah, and I think one thing to keep in mind is that for owners and founders that are considering a transition, okay, it’s completely new, and it’s totally understandable. The human element isn’t some weird thing that is just popularly come up in our awareness now. It’s an essential part of mergers and acquisitions.

A lot of people before you get to a point of an M&A deal for yourself, or as you see it, everybody keeps thinking about, okay, mergers and acquisitions is Amazon buying whole foods. Or other billion dollar deals that are out there that you read about. No. M&A is a group of people choosing to partner with another group of people where the goal is together, the sum is greater than the whole of its parts.

You cannot get around the human element. And there are people that feel a little guilty because they’re nervous, it’s new, they may be a little intimidated. It’s all natural. And I think that once you’re okay with that, then you got to get okay with the other human emotions that happen with change.

And everybody now is a lot more aware than 10, 15 years ago. Change is okay. Change can be scary, but you move forward. And I appreciate that you’re marrying not only that empathy, but also you’ve got Wall Street knowledge, and Fortune 500 talents and skills, and you’re bringing them to Main Street.

And I think that’s great. And owners and founders out there, this is a real plus for sbLiftOff, and what you’re doing there. Now, Sharon, let’s describe a profile of your ideal client for sbLiftOff. Who do you want to serve?

Sharon: I want to serve generally founder owners, or people who have bought a company. Sometimes it’s the second generation. But our clients are generally people. They are not necessarily private equity, or large corporations. It is people who are dealing with the human side of M&A. Several years ago, I was giving a speech on a panel. And on the panel with me was a commercial banker. And the commercial banker said M&A deals are easy. It’s all about the numbers.

And I looked at him, like do you not see 50% of what’s going on here? 50% of what’s going on, are people dealing with their fear and their loss of identity, and buyers being unsure as to what they’re buying. So our ideal target is a person who owns a company that’s got at least $10 million in revenue, that has been a successful company, and is looking to make that transition to the next stage in their life.

We very much view these deals as transitions, life transitions, not simply transactions. We have deep expertise in the gov con market. We also work very heavily in the commercial market for b2b services companies. I say that because it’s very important that when you’re choosing your M&A advisor, choose somebody who you don’t have to explain your industry to.

Believe me, a client should not hire sbLiftOff for a retail company. That’s not our expertise. But there are lots of firms who do that. On the other hand, if you’re in government contracting, or you’re a distribution company or something like that, we have great expertise in dealing with those kinds of firms. So work with somebody who really knows what it is they’re talking about in your industry.

So our ideal client is somebody with that level of revenue, who is looking to make a transition and has an orientation towards fairness. Because sbLiftOff is not looking to scoop every dime off the table for our client, and leave the other side with nothing there. We recognize that these are transactions between a buyer and a seller.

But there is an ecosystem surrounding that company as well. There are employees, there are vendors, there are clients. And we want to make sure that those employees continue to have jobs, at least those that should, after that transaction. So we’re looking for people who are interested in fairness, as well as maximizing their return.

Patrick: Yeah, and we didn’t talk about this earlier, but just off the top of your head, what percentage of your clients choose to stay on, versus go for a full exit?

Sharon: One of the things that I keep on hearing from business owners is that entrepreneurs make terrible employees. And I think I pretty much come to a conclusion that that’s true. I have found that transitions work quite well. Every seller that sells their company is going to need to be there for a transition. But I’ve seen transitions as short as two or four weeks.

We’ve certainly seen transitions that go on for multiple years, or where a buyer is coming in and possibly buying a majority of the company, but wants that seller to stay on. Those transactions can work, depending upon the realistic expectations of the buyer and seller. But I think it’s very hard for somebody who’s really been running the show for a lot of years to then not be running that show.

So you just have to have the level of self-awareness as to whether or not that’s going to work for you. It doesn’t make sense to stay for five years if you’re going to be unhappy for four of them. Do what makes sense.

Patrick: And let’s talk about just a ballpark timeline on the process, because there are some out there that say, well, if you’re just coming to the realization, you got to change out, it could take a year or two, which gets a little intimidating and quite frankly, depressing. At the same time, you’re not going to be able to do it in a matter of a week or two unless there’s some urgent fire sale situation. But an ideal scenario from your experience, how long has the process taken for your clients?

Sharon: Well, the fastest deal that we ever did, which I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to repeat again, was about four months. And that was an extraordinary situation, not normal by any means. Six months is short, nine months is pretty typical, a year is certainly not unheard of. The reality is it really depends upon where the seller is starting.

When people start thinking about getting ready to go to market, the question is, are they looking to go to market in the next very short period of time? Or are they thinking about it a couple of years in advance? So the actual process, from the time that you begin the process is preparation.

And if you’re pretty darn well prepared, that preparation stage could take three or four weeks. On the other hand, I’ve had clients turn to us and say preparation, well, here’s my abacus, and you try and figure out what my financials are. It’s going to take a lot longer to prepare that company. So the preparing really depends upon what that company has been doing.

The time to start preparing your company for exit is yesterday. The next best time is today. So we talked to people who are 3, 5, 7 years out from a sale, to give them some direction as to what it is that you’d be doing to prepare for that. Let’s say that you’ve decided, okay, now I want to sell there’s preparation, depending upon how long that takes.

And the second stage is basically finding the buyer. I refer to this as the dating stage. You might find the perfect company right out of the bat. But you may also have to kiss a couple of frogs. So that’s the part that’s the most uncertain. We’ve been incredibly lucky at times, and able to find buyers immediately.

And other times it takes a little bit longer. From the time that you get to an LOI to close, that’s usually about three months. That’s pretty standard. It’s a pretty intense three months. But that’s why the process usually should take about a nine month period of time.

Patrick: And time is a relative factor. I mean, I can remember when we’re kids, you got a week till Christmas. And that felt forever. And then when I’m going through planning our production for the coming years, you blink and we’re halfway through the year already.

These things go through that. So I think time is relative. But that’s a good framework that there are some people that feel guilty because I haven’t been preparing for the last couple of years, you know, what next?

Sharon: I think a lot of it depends upon who your advisors are. It’s incredibly important to understand that M&A is a team sport. It is not the business owner who is going to do it on their own. There’s all sorts of problems associated with that. The first being confidentiality? How can you possibly talk to somebody about the sale of your company without revealing the fact that your company is for sale.

So having your advisors and we of course, think M&A advisors are critically important in that, make a huge difference. As you’re bringing your company to market and going through the process, as a business owner, your first job is to continue to run your company. But the saddest thing is when we see owners get distracted by the process, and have their company begin to slide a little.

We did a deal at one point where the seller was very involved, and wanted to be kind of micromanaging everything that was going on. And I was saying, listen, this is a partnership. Let us handle the M&A side, you handle your company. That was very, very difficult for them. And during that time period, their revenue declined by about 15 or 20%.

That led to a price adjustment prior to closing. And that was very unfortunate. It was unnecessary. So sellers, when you’re bringing your company to market please focus. Focus on running your company, and don’t let it go sideways during this process.

Patrick: Great advice there. One of the drivers for M&A activity is not just the profile of the population getting older. But there’s been proliferation of M&A services out there such as sbLiftOff. And another key service that is available now where buyers and sellers can transfer the financial risk of these transactions away from the two parties so they’re now pointing fingers off to an insurance company.

The name of the product is called reps and warranties insurance. And in the conference we were at, M&A Source, their 25th anniversary, they were talking about, well, what’s the biggest change in mergers and acquisitions in the last 25 years? And they said, well, it was the creation and use of rep and warranty insurance.

And it’s been able to really accelerate deals. And if people have a loss, now those losses are covered. But you know, don’t take my word for it. Sharon, good, bad or indifferent, what experience have you and your clients had with reps and warranties insurance?

Sharon: Patrick, you’re making an excellent point. People don’t understand that in the purchase agreement, the agreement by which the seller is transferring to the buyer, about two thirds of that document is a series of representations and warranties that the seller is making about their company. They’ve paid their taxes, it’s duly formed, they don’t have litigation, there’s no EEOC complaints.

And it goes on and on and on and on for pages. It is by far the biggest part of that agreement. Reps and warranty insurance is a way of dealing with that risk. Historically, a significant percentage of the purchase price, maybe 10 or 12%, had to be put in escrow for a matter of years while the buyer was determining whether or not there were any breaches to those reps and warranties.

Reps and warranties insurance came in to say we won’t require that escrow anymore, there will be a premium paid, and the insurance company will take on the risk. That was initially a product that was really only available at the top part of the market, a little bit like my career. And then over the last 15 years or so, it went to companies at 100 million in purchase price, or 50 million, and then it was 20 million.

And now I’m seeing some deals with reps and warranty insurance with as low as $10 million in enterprise value. You’ve also introduced a new product that I’m keen to learn more about, which is seller rep and warranty insurance. Typically, it’s been the buyer who’s gotten the reps and warranty insurance.

And then there’s a negotiation between who’s going to share the liabilities for that premium and deductibles and all the rest of that. But this seller rep and warranty insurance is I think potentially a game changer. And very interested to see how this new product affects the market.

Patrick: We’re very excited about that, that the buy side traditional policies, those are based on the diligence the buyer performed on the seller. They tend to be a bit pricey, but given the risk that’s out there is a bargain compared to going uninsured. What happens though, for a lot of these deals that are between a million and as you said 10 million or 20 million, buy side rep and warranty may not be the right fit.

And it’s great because one of our markets, CFC out of London, is now offering a sell side policy where rather than worry about the buyer’s diligence, we just go ahead and we talk to the seller and we underwrite the seller. Nobody knows their business better than they do.

And based on the information they give us, we can go ahead and write a policy that in the event the buyer says there has been a breach that’s cost us money, seller just takes that notice from the buyer, sends it to underwriters, and underwriters will assign counsel to go and negotiate a settlement with a buyer.

The seller is completely protected from that. Buyer has certainty of recovery, so they don’t have to squeeze blood from a stone or pursue their seller. And it can get awkward if the seller is still on board with the new company going forward. And at a cost ,average cost, of about $15,000 per million dollars in limits, you’re hard pressed to find a better way to transfer risk at a lower rate.

And we are quite frankly excited because we are seeing smaller transactions that were dead and buried because of the disagreement about risk, brought back to life and carried forward because now the seller doesn’t stay up at night worrying about it. So we’re thrilled about that kind of thing. And it’s the way that organizations like sbLiftOff, can get some of these deals just across the finish line.

Sharon: Let me tell you a story about that. We were working on a transaction, it was somewhere between 75 million and 100 million in enterprise value. And the sellers cared a lot about cash at close. Made a big difference to them. And when we started talking about the level of escrow that was going to be required, it became very contentious. And the seller and the buyer had a very different sense as to what that escrow should be.

We were able to reach out to the R&W market and say, can we get a policy here? It ended up being shared, the premium and the deductible by the buyer and the seller. And we were able to close that transaction. So that was a really positive example of how reps and warranty insurance kind of put the risk off on a third party who was able to do that assessment and get a deal closed that otherwise was getting pretty contentious.

Patrick: And today, now, we’ve got risks, everything from $29 million, down to a $1.4 million glove manufacturer. And for $20,000, we insured the entire deal, they were able to move off into the sunset with what they had going on. So it’s going well. We expect good things. Which brings us to this question, which is, as we’re here, wrapping up q1 2024. What do you see going forward? What trends do you see either on a macro level or just with sbLiftOff?

Sharon: Seeing trends on both a micro level and a macro level. On a micro level as we’re sitting here in 2024, I think that we’re basically seeing that interest rates are likely to either stay stable or possibly even decline. The fact that we’re talking about the potential of declining interest rates is fundamentally different than where we were a year or so ago, when interest rates essentially got moved up 11 times.

That increase in interest rates did not create a high interest rate environment. I counter everybody who says that it does. But from a historic perspective, we’re kind of at a normal range of interest rates. But the fact that we’re talking about potentially declining means that we at least have stability, and that’s very good for the M&A market.

In addition, banks are a little bit more cautious in 2024 than they were in ’23. In the past, we were able to get senior bank financing at about three three and a half times, EBITDA multiples, where today, it’s more like two and a half. The significance of that is that lower mid market deals are more likely to be so called structured.

There are four ways that owners get paid for their company. The first is cash at close, which every owner wants, and every buyer wants to minimize. And then there is seller financing, which essentially is the seller saying you can pay me some of that purchase price over time. Equity rollover, and then the dreaded earn out.

We’re finding that more of these lower mid market deals have some level of structuring particular seller financing, because senior bank lending has pulled back a little bit. It also means the buyers need to come to the table with far more equity than they did let’s say in 2020 and 2021, where we were seeing deals being done by buyers with virtually no equity to the table.

That’s very unusual in today’s market. So we’re seeing that the further we’re seeing that there’s way many more buyers than there are sellers. While valuations haven’t really changed, sellers have a very good opportunity if they’ve got a strong company. In 2020, 2021, you just needed to be breathing in order to get sold. In 2024, buyers I think are a little bit more cautious.

But there’s a lot of buyers out there. From a macro economic perspective, the amount of m&a that’s going to happen in the lower mid market I think is only going to increase. The number of business owners who are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s is kind of at a historic high. And those people are going to be moving on from their companies one way or another.

We hope that they do it voluntarily, and that that’s going to create a tremendous amount of activity in the market. And that activity could be extremely positive. So I’m seeing both micro and macro trends that are positive for the M&A market.

Patrick: And I would also stress that there’s a mindset, if you think the future is not good, you want to get out while the getting’s good. So there’s kind of this exodus type of attitude. And so structuring is very challenging. They want all their money and want to get it and move on. If you’ve got a positive view toward the future, then I can say you’re open to structuring because then either rolling over equity, that rollover could be more valuable than the original sale of your company.

Or with the seller financing, if you’re a little flexible, then you can get the money coming back from a growing revenue base, or however the formula works going forward. So I think if things are looking positive, these alternative structures, I think, are going to benefit both sides. And I think that goes well.

Sharon: I think that one of the things that the book makes a major element about is that we talk a lot about how to buy and sell a house.

Patrick: Yes.

Sharon: When you sell a house.

Patrick: Great analogy.

Sharon: You get paid 100% cash, you drop your keys off on the table, and you walk out the door. That’s not how you sell a company. No matter how much due diligence the buyer does, on the day of closing, the seller will know more about the company than the buyer will.

So the buyer is looking to the seller to say, are you trying to sell me your problems? What is it that you know, that I don’t know? And sellers who basically say I want all of my money upfront, can get that, but they’re gonna get a lower purchase price.

So structuring is a way of increasing your purchase price, but it is a risk sharing. And if a buyer sees that a seller is totally unwilling to do that, they’ll buy the company, but at a lower price, because the risk to the buyer means lower price to the seller.

Patrick: And the final thing that I want to point out is that if it weren’t for organizations like sbLiftOff, I can tell you there are a lot of owners and founders that don’t know where to turn. And when it comes time that they just can’t go forward anymore, they literally turn off the lights, lock the doors. And there are so many companies that just closed the doors, and they’re gone.

And it’s a shame because there’s an infinite world of buyers out there. Not just private equity, not just strategic. We have independent sponsors. I mean, we got search funders, you got college kids, that would rather buy a company and grow it than get a job, okay. And organizations like sbLiftOff that know all of those players that bring that in. And so I, I’m sorry, go ahead.

Sharon: We love working with younger people who are interested in moving into business ownership. We think that business ownership is an incredibly important element to reaching the American dream. We did a deal recently where there was an 82 year old owner. And he basically did not have any family who wanted the company and he wanted to sell. We found two young guys, and I’d say they’re young, they were probably in their 30s, early 40s.

Patrick: Kids!

Sharon: Kids, kids who had the perfect background for this. The buyer and seller met many times. And this kind of became a generational transfer outside the family. But it was a generational transfer. And the buyer really walked into the shoes of the seller with a great deal of respect. And the seller was very helpful to the buyer in closing this transaction. There are so many different ways to do this. Private equity has all sorts of positive elements to it.

But it’s not for everybody. Gosh knows in the government contracting space, it can be challenging, depending upon, you know, what kind of designations if any that you might have. So understand that there’s a wide range of buyers out there. And in fact, the book sbLiftOff, LIFT OFF: 12 Things to Know Before You Sell Your Company has a chapter on who are the range of buyers?

Patrick: Right, Sharon Heaton of sbLiftOff two things. First of all, where can we find your book, and secondly, where can our audience members reach you and sbLiftOff?

Sharon: Well, the book can be found on Amazon. And I’m pleased to tell you that it became an Amazon number one best seller. So we’re very excited about that. Second is to reach us, the sbliftoff.com website as well as we’ve got a very significant LinkedIn presence. So those are probably the two best ways to reach out to us. And we certainly hope to be hearing from you.

Patrick: Well great. This has just been a fun conversation. Sharon, this is like the fourth or fifth one we’ve had and I just enjoy every time we talk. So Sharon, thanks for being here today.

Sharon: Thank you very much, Patrick.


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