There are a lot of programs from service providers that seek to advise business owners on what to do after they have decided to sell their manufacturing business. I equate it to trying to jump on a ship just as it is entering port.

What happens, however, if you don’t know what to do or, more commonly, you don’t have the time to consider all of your options? This week, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion with Tom Heide (CEO, Heide & Company) and Jeff Klaus (Regional President, Connecticut, Webster Bank) on these topics. We covered a broad range of issues, including the various options for accessing capital needed to grow, including debt and equity investments such as from family offices, private equity, and the like. If you are interested in the recording, please contact me at jwhite@rc.com.

Here are some of the takeaways offered by the program panelists:

  1. Know your value / be in control by being realistic; have a clear well-defined strategy and a set of objectives you want to accomplish; evaluate what resources you have and those you need so you can execute on that strategy. The key is in the execution.
  2. As an owner / operator you spend the vast majority of your time “working in” your business because you love it, but not so much time “working on” your business. That’s where the difference in incremental value is gained. If you don’t do that, you’re going to leave a lot of money on the table. That’s just a fact.
  3. Access to all forms of capital (debt, mezzanine, equity) is more widespread than ever for privately-held businesses with under $100 million in revenue.
  4. If you are considering growing your company through acquisition, seek the early advice of a commercial banker who works in acquisition finance to understand what may be possible for financing.
  5. Understand the importance of “recurring revenue,” particularly as it relates to your contracts, because that is where investors will start looking first.
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Photo of Jeffrey White Jeffrey White

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or…

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or family owned manufacturers. For those looking for my detailed law firm bio, click here.

I am often asked why I have focused a large part of my law practice on counseling manufacturers and distributors. As with most things in life, the answer to that question is tied back to experiences I had well before I became a lawyer. My grandfather spent over 30 years working at a steel mill (Detroit Steel Company), including several years in its maintenance department. One of my grandfather’s prime job duties was to make sure that the equipment being used was safe. In his later years, he would apply those lessons learned in every project we did together as he passed on to me his great respect and pride for the manufacturing industry.

Because of these experiences, I not only feel comfortable advising executives in a boardroom, but also can easily transition to the factory floor. My experience has involved a range of industries, including aerospace and defense, chemicals, energy, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, nutritional and dietary supplements, and retail and consumer products. While I have extensive experience in litigation (including product liability and class actions), I am extremely proactive about trying to keep my clients out of the courtroom if at all possible. Specifically, I have counseled manufacturers and distributors on issues such as product labeling and warranties, product recalls, workplace safety/OSHA, anti-trust, and vendor relations, among other things. I always look for the business-friendly solution to a problem that may face a manufacturer or distributor and I hope this blog will help advance those efforts.