One of the best aspects about selling businesses is visiting
business owners for the first time and seeing their operation. Yesterday one of my partners, Graeme Plant,
and I flew into the Carson Valley of Nevada to visit two companies.
I fly a Cessna 210 that I use frequently for business, so
after picking up Graeme as his local airport we flew directly over
there was a chance of thunderstorms over the mountains and the forecast was for
strong winds in the afternoon.
The winds were already fairly strong at 11:00 am, and I had
to lower my landing gear to slow down in turbulence once we started to descend
after passing the last ridge. We rocked
and bumped down to
and landed without incident. The only
problem was that I told the business owner to meet us at Mountain West (which I
got out of a pilot’s guide), which turned out to be a fuel pump island, not a
After some looking around, we met up with the business owner
and went for lunch, then a tour of his business. Like many businesses in
this business is a transplanted
business. As he explained, not only are
the tax benefits compelling, but he was able to build custom facilities for a
fraction of the cost of building where he used to be in
An added bonus is that the
to raise kids.
His business is growing and since it involves rebuilding
equipment for extended use it is recession resistant. However, managing a growing a business is
stressful and he increasingly has to travel for extended periods of time. He wants to “take some money off the table”
and continue to work. For a profitable,
growing company like this, that is possible by selling a portion of the company
to a private equity group.
After our visit, about 3:00 pm, it was time to head south
for a seven minute flight to
were blowing and not howling I decided to go.
Winds were blowing 22 knots at about a 30 degree angle to the
Minden runway. Besides, I need the practice in
landing in a crosswind. It turned out to
be a good landing, although I had such a wicked crab angle on approach that made me
wonder why I was there. Graeme said he
also wondered why we were there.
As a young engineering I worked in
so it was good to visit the area although it has changed a lot since the
80s. The company owner we visited also
was transplanted from
and seems to enjoy living there. His
company can be labeled a “green” company and is also growing rapidly. His needs fall more into the venture capital
area. Graeme is an amateur venture
capitalist (also known as an “angel investor”), so he knows quite a bit about
/ northern Nevada VC activity. We talked
quite a bit about how to raise money while I also kept an eye on the clouds
building over the Sierras.