Tenney Group managing partner share advice for first-time sellers

Business owners need to keep emotions in check, be flexible and stay engaged throughout the process when negotiating the sale of their company, mergers and acquisition expert Spencer Tenney said Thursday on the FreightWavesTV show “Fuller Speed Ahead.”

Headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., The Tenney Group advises transportation companies on buying, selling and valuation. The family-owned company also provides strategic planning services.

Sellers often feel that they’ve started too late, but anytime is good once one has emotionally prepared themselves to part with the business they’ve built, the Tenney Group managing partner said.

“When you have time to prepare yourself to see what it’s going to look like and then in fact you do see those things, more than likely you’re going to be more controlled in the process and have a better result,” Tenney said.

Newcomers need to recognize that their goals will evolve over the course of the process. One recent client, Tenney explained, was initially focused on getting the highest possible offer, but ended up accepting $10 million less in exchange for a commitment to keep his employees from having to relocate, which he felt was important to his community.

Tenney has more than 17 years of experience selling trucking and bus businesses in the U.S.

“I learned how hard business leaders work, what’s required to be in this industry and what’s required to be successful,” Tenney said.

Tenney advises new sellers to realize that maximizing a sale requires involvement throughout the process, not just at the closing table.

“When you kind of think of it in those terms, it allows a lot more flexibility to get the right deal done,” Tenney said.