Our guest for this #PoisedforExit episode is a media celebrity; Lee Schafer with Star Tribune. Lee has been a Business and Economics Columnist for the paper these past 9 years, and is the winner of a couple national awards as well. But what you probably didn't know, is that Lee spent many years in the world of Mergers and Acquisitions as a partner, an adviser, and a deal maker.
Lee's first taste of entrepreneurism came from growing up on the family cattle farm. After college he was recruited to be an Analyst for Attrium. With no experience in M & A, they made him a V.P. and Lee found himself on the front lines looking for acquisition opportunities. You could say that he learned a lot on his own in those trying days, but because he asks good questions and takes a genuine interest in the people first. He became a very successful deal maker for Private Equity firms seeking privately held business investments.
His style was a welcome change from some of the hard-hitting, transaction minded investment bankers, and he represented buyers who aligned with and appreciated his unique style.
One of the many things he learned about entrepreneurs is that those who had key advisers, who really knew the owner's business and gave good advice, were the owners whose companies tended to be worth more and were the easiest to transition. The owners who had no outside advisory help tended to have unrealistic beliefs of what their companies were worth and were found to be more difficult to work with, because they were not accustomed to getting outside advice. Lee brought more opportunities to sellers with advisers, as they were easier to work with and had more realistic expectations.
As a Business Columnist at the Star Tribune, Lee understands what entrepreneurs are going through and what it takes to be a successful one, since he's lived it in so many forms himself. He gets it.
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