Debra Robinson owned and operated Debra Robinson Law for over twenty years. Her practice offered services for family law, estate planning, and wealth management.
Having run a successful law firm for many years, Debra began entertaining the idea of retirement. She had put it off by a few years, but the birth of her grandchild unexpectedly accelerated her plans. Unsure where to turn, Debra did a Google search. It led her to a national advisor who looked promising and quickly engaged.
Debra worked with this advisor for six months but made no progress on selling. They even provided her with such a low valuation that she contemplated closing up shop and forgoing selling altogether. Frustrated, Debra needed a new advisor who could help her get the number she deserved. She examined her contact list and was surprised by what she found.
Working with a Certified Value Builder™
Leafing through her network, Debra came across Victoria Collier, a previous acquittance. Victoria was a lawyer who owned her own firm and recently sold it. Her next venture was running an advisory practice called Victory Walk Coaching, where she helped law firm owners build valuable companies and get acquired.
Debra knew that Victoria was the right advisor to sell her business in their first meeting. Impressed with her process, Debra said, “In the first ten minutes, Victoria asked me the right probing questions about my business that let me know we were the perfect match.” Along with developing a personal synergy, Victoria’s recent experience with her firm gave Debra comfort. She was working with someone who had navigated similar waters.
They completed Debra’s Value Builder Score to understand the business’s value. This diagnostic questionnaire assesses the current business value based on eight metrics important to acquirers. When evaluated together, the 8 Key Drivers of Company Value provide owners with a score out of 100. Reflecting on this activity, Victoria said, “Debra was unique. She built her company the right way and was already very valuable.”
Looking at Debra’s score, Victoria pinpointed specific drivers that contributed to her company’s value. Debra developed a maintenance plan that clients could purchase at a monthly fee. Of all her annual revenue, roughly 30% came from recurring revenue—one of the 8 Key Drivers—generated through maintenance plans.
With reliable maintenance plans and processes in place to run smoothly, another key driver skyrocketed. Debra scored highly on Customer Score. Maintenance plans ensured her staff kept in touch with clients regularly. They were also trained to provide a consistent customer experience, regardless of who they interacted with. Impressed with what she saw, Victoria said, “Debra was a unicorn. She had the pieces in place that contributed to an incredibly valuable company. She had a turnkey business.”
In addition, Debra scored highly on her Hub & Spoke score, another of the 8 Key Drivers of Company Value. Hub & Spoke examines how reliant a business is on its owner. Debra Robinson Law was a self-sufficient firm. Debra began working four-day workweeks and training her employees to operate independently. She also developed detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for every critical process in the business.
Victoria had the arrows in her quiver to pitch the business: recurring revenue, no reliance on Debra, and extremely satisfied customers. With the Value Builder Report summarizing these key findings, Victoria had the confidence to list the company for almost three times more than the previous advisor suggested. Victoria found a willing buyer in a matter of months. Even better, they gave a full-cash offer.
Rather than let a negative experience with a previous advisor deter her, Debra understood the importance of finding the right fit. With Victoria, she knew she had an advisor who deeply understood the industry and vouched to give Debra the exit she deserved. In the end, Debra Robinson Law sold for more than double what the previous advisor had predicted. Upon selling, Debra began transitioning the business to its new owner. In a few short months, she completely exited the company and began to spend her newfound time with her grandchild.