Southard Financial

Your Company’s Future: Begin with the End in Mind

ESOp Trustees

You’ve probably heard more than one pithy statement about planning:

The 17th century Spanish writer Cervantes stated, “To be prepared is half the victory.”

Winston Churchill declared, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”

Management expert and author Lester R. Bittel wrote, “Good plans shape good decisions.”

While they might sound simplistic, these famous quotations are crucial reminders that, in business as in life, you must plan well — and well in advance — if you want to reach your goals. This may never be truer than when the future of your company or family business is on the line.


First things first, where do you want to end up?

As a business owner, the best way to start your planning is by establishing your ultimate goal. Do you aim to retire from your company? Pass it to family? Sell and cash out? Go public? Beginning with the end in mind will help ensure that you position your company appropriately, and put all the elements in place for a successful resolution.


The experts of Southard Financial can help you get there.

With over 75 years of combined business valuation and investment banking experience, the principals of Southard Financial share a keen appreciation for the elements that go into a successful sale. That’s why we recommend the following approach.

Put your company in order, operationally and financially. This may mean setting yourself up as CEO, solidifying your management team, or seeking out knowledgeable partners or mentors. The goal is to make the company viable and attractive to a new owner, to make it “transferrable.”

Consider potential exit strategies. These include sale to a friendly buyer — possibly a customer, business partner, or family member — sale to a strategic buyer, sale to a private equity group (majority or minority sale), or taking the company public with an initial public offering (IPO).

Maximize value. This could mean developing niche products and services, expanding and diversifying your customer base, or taking other steps to ensure a defensible market position, and a stable and predictable cash flow. We can work with you to look at other areas for potential improvement.


We’ll also be there when you’re ready to make a deal.

Finalizing a deal to sell your company can easily take several months. The initial phase, which focuses on benchmarking and valuation of your company, typically lasts about a month. The second phase, which includes prospecting, identification of potential buyers, selection of a candidate, and early negotiations ending with a letter of intent, generally takes one to two months. It takes another month or two to negotiate the final agreement, manage due diligence, complete the legal review of the contract document, and close on the sale.


For more information, contact Southard Financial today.

Call us at (901) 761-7500 or use the form on our contact page.

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Recent Activities

  • David A. Harris and Mark A. Orndorff spoke at the 2019 Annual Fall Conference of the New South Chapter of The ESOP Association

    David A. Harris and Mark A. Orndorff spoke at the 2019 Annual Fall Conference of the New South Chapter of The ESOP Association held in Orlando, Florida on October 16-17. They gave a presentation titled “Can Employees Really Impact Company Value?”

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  • David A. Harris and Matthew L. Jakes spoke at the 2019 Spring Workshop of the New South Chapter of The ESOP Association

    David A. Harris and Matthew L. Jakes spoke at the 2019 Spring Workshop of the New South Chapter of The ESOP Association held in Atlanta, Georgia in February, 2019 on the topic of “Valuation Appraisal Checklist – 10 Things Your ESOP Appraiser Should be Doing”

  • David A. Harris spoke at The Fall ESOP Forum of the NCEO

    David A. Harris spoke at The Fall ESOP Forum of the NCEO (National Center for Employee Ownership) held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October, 2018 on the topic, “Communicating Valuation: Tools, Tips, and Examples”.

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    David A. Harris spoke at the 2018 Annual Fall Conference of the New South Chapter of The ESOP Association held in Birmingham, Alabama in September, 2018. He led a workshop called “The People’s Roundtable Interactive Workshop – A series of ‘Build to Last’ activities that focus on developing successful communication and team building programs for employee owners of all generations.” Speakers included Dolores Lawrence, Blue Ridge ESOP Associates; Lindsay Baublitz, SCandH Capital; David Harris, Southard Financial LLC

  • Mark A. Orndorff spoke at the ESOP Nuts & Bolts Seminar of the NCEO

    Mark A. Orndorff spoke at the ESOP Nuts and Bolts Seminar of the NCEO (National Center for Employee Ownership) held in Indianapolis, Indiana in August, 2018 on the topic of “What’s Your Company Worth? – ESOP Valuation.”

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    Mark A. Orndorff spoke at the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute 2018 held in Memphis, TN in January, 2018 on the topic of Succession Planning titled “What is Your ‘End Goal’?”

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