Feb 5, 2023

111: Don’t Wait To Plan Your Exit Strategy, Bill Prinzivalli

What can go wrong if you wait too long to plan your exit strategy? Executive coach and organizational consultant, Bill Prinzivalli, joins Succession Stories host Laurie Barkman to discuss why your entrepreneurial journey is not just the start but also the exit. Bill grew a software company to a $30 million valuation but eventually, the doors of opportunity closed and so did the company. Bill shares the highs and lows of his journey and lessons learned along the way. 

Listen in to learn more about:

  • Having an exit strategy throughout the lifetime of your business
  • Knowing how long you want to work in the business
  • Planning for the transition
  • Having trusted advisors to lean on
  • Surrounding yourself with a trustworthy team

Show links:

Learn more about business transition planning at https://thebusinesstransitionsherpa.com 

Visit www.meetlauriebarkman.com to request a business exit readiness assessment

Subscribe to the Succession Stories YouTube Channel

About Succession Stories Podcast

Succession Stories is an award-winning podcast guiding entrepreneurs from transition to transaction. From building value to letting go. The show received the 28th Annual Communicator Award for Audio & Podcast Excellence and is ranked in the top 2.5% of podcasts globally.

Join host Laurie Barkman, The Business Transition Sherpa, as she talks with entrepreneurs, family business leaders, investors, and industry experts as they explore the journey from business growth and innovation, creating a more valuable and transferable business, and avoiding succession regrets when exiting and selling your company.

If you are an entrepreneur looking for inspiration to create a more valuable business, or an owner who wants to figure out the best way to transition or sell their closely held company, this podcast is for you.

To learn more and subscribe to our newsletter, visit https://thebusinesstransitionsherpa.com

Support the show on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lauriebarkman 

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Transcript

Intro:

What can go wrong if you wait too long to plan your exit strategy? Bill Prinzivalli is an executive coach and organizational consultant. In this episode, Bill shares the highs and lows of his entrepreneurial experience. Bill founded a software company in his basement, growing it to $10 million in revenue. And at one point, he had a $30 million valuation and offers to buy the business. Eventually those windows of opportunities closed, and so did the company. Going through the growth, and then the contraction of the business, taught Bill some valuable lessons that you’ll want to hear. What struck me were these three things: Having an exit strategy along the way, not just waiting till the end. Knowing how long you want to work in the business, and planning for that transition. And measuring your business valuation along the way. We don’t usually think about these areas as we’re growing our business but it’s critical. Enjoy this Succession Stories conversation about why your entrepreneurial journey is not just the start but also the exit with Bill Prinzivalli.

Laurie Barkman:

Bill Prinzivalli, it’s awesome to have you here with me today. I’ve never had an expert in improvisation, so I think this is gonna be a key aspect of what we talked about a little bit later but I want to welcome you, and we’ll dive right into your entrepreneurial experience, so welcome to the show.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Great. Thank you, Laurie, it’s great to be here.

Laurie Barkman:

Tell us a bit about you and your background as an entrepreneur.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Okay, well, first of all, I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I grew up in Brooklyn with immigrant parents and so our goal was; go to college, get a good job, work in corporations, become maybe a manager, Vice President, have a nice 401 K plan and retire. That was the plan but somehow I started that process, went to college got some good jobs, I was working as a computer programmer but then I got laid off and due to several circumstances, I found myself without work but with an opportunity to become an independent rep, selling computer software for other companies so I did that and that just grew and grew and grew. I mean, I started out in the basement of my condo, with one person the old story, I got two file cabinets for 50 bucks, bought a door, put it on there screwed it together, bingo, I had a desk and for mail station, which was we needed snail mail back then, got an eight foot table, little cubies put all the literature in there, I was set to go and then as the company grew, I brought in another person and another person, I basically had four people in my basement and finally the condo police came knocking at my door and said, “Hey, what’s going on?” and so I got a letter from them saying, “Get your business out of here,” so I got some legitimate office space and then another company found out I did this and so one company after another, there were several companies I had connections with where I did all the sales and marketing and they did the research and support until one of those companies wanted to sell out and they came to me. 

They said, “Bill, we want to sell you our company.” I said, “Well, I don’t know how to buy a company. You know, I’m a kid from Brooklyn, what do I know?” So he said, “Well, we’ll make it easy for you. Get a lawyer, whatever, we just want to give you the product cuz you know what’s the best one. We want to get out.” So I got a lawyer and I bought the company, paid them out over a few years time and it was a piece of cake and it just kept growing like that. People just kept hearing about me and I kept selling this software and then I eventually had a team of my own when I bought that company so now I had research, development and support and so we were developing our own products and so the company just kept growing and growing and growing. Every two, three years, I got a new office space, until ultimately we had over 50 people and we were doing $10 million of business annually. company’s worth $30 million and we had 19 international distributors selling our products. I mean, it was a huge company from you know, it just sort of happened.

Laurie Barkman:

When you bought it, how big was the company?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Oh, my goodness, I bought that company, there were about a dozen people. There were a dozen people and I had about five or six, maybe seven of my own so yeah. Then we moved, we merged together, and I said, “Okay, now I have research and development staff, what do I do? Well, okay, you’re in charge of research and development,” and actually, it was pretty seamless.

Laurie Barkman:

It was kind of like an accidental entrepreneurship, you sort of stepped your way into it and as you were going through that, or those early days where you regret as you said, you were growing, were you on your own? You didn’t have a partner, right?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Correct. I was on my own number one, and number two, I had no role models. Like I said, I never want to be an entrepreneur, because my family, like I said, were immigrants. They were laborers. They worked in a garment industry. There were no models whatsoever. We didn’t own businesses, we just worked in corporate. That was the huge goal to work in a corporation and to become maybe a manager or vice president. That was a huge, huge success for us and that’s all I was aiming for and then you’re right, I was an accidental entrepreneur.

Laurie Barkman:

Bring us back on a timeline here. This is in the 80s?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Yes, I started the company in 86. Yeah, that’s when I got laid off and that’s exactly December 86. I started in my basement.

Laurie Barkman:

Okay, and this is Prince Software as the name of the company.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Correct.

Laurie Barkman:

Gotcha. Now 86. Okay, so some of us listening can remember back those days IBM, Big Blue, were kind of…there wasn’t as prolific amount of computer software companies out there and technology companies so you probably stood out. What specific problems were you tackling at that time?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Yeah, that’s very astute of you Laurie. Prior to that in the 70s, in the early 70s, first of all, we were only talking mainframes. That’s all that really existed then. Many computers were out there, but not very prevalent. All the fortune 500 companies had mainframes and IBM mainframes came with all of the software included so it was the 1970s that the independent software market emerged and companies started to build products for the IBM mainframe that were a little better than what IBM provided. That’s how that industry blew up in the 70s and in the 80s and so I was with companies in that regard, with products like that and that’s why when I offered my own, I knew the market, I knew the IBM market, I had all of the contacts so when people had a product that they built for an IBM mainframe, they came to me, I had all the sales and marketing and the contacts, expertise. That was the environment and also the environment was snail mail packaging, you send out a flier and then when they buy the product, you send out a tape and the manual, I mean, there was nothing online.

Laurie Barkman:

And so you grew and grew. You were finding your niche and then there were some challenges, or there were opportunities and challenges. There always are, so tell us a little bit more about the story.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Sure. Well, the growing challenges were great. When you’re in a growth cycle you have stresses, but those are good stresses, right? I mean, it’s like, okay, you’re overworked, you need more people, or you’re getting in more business and you need a bigger office, and you need some financing so those are all good problems alright, because you’re growing, and you need to support the growth and somewhere either with people with capital with products, you’re not getting the product out fast enough, you don’t have your support team is not big enough and so you’re hiring and hiring so those are great problems. During that process, we kept adding products and adding products. 

Now, in the late 90s, there was a set of products that we developed and co-sold, which was awful y2k, I mean, that was huge. The kind of products that we had was system software wasn’t application software, it was all system software for the IBM computer itself, so that it operated more quickly for the applications that ran on it, so y2k software was a perfect niche for us. We developed a couple of components ourselves, and other sister companies, brother companies had products that we sold so we had a beautiful package of y2k software. Now, the thing that I didn’t do well, because I had no models, I was thinking about the exit strategy, right? I mean, we just kept growing and growing and growing and that’s where my focus was. We knew, for example, that after y2k, we’d have to develop new products and we did, we had new products developed, we had other products ready to go so in my mind, we were just growing. 

Now, one company came to us around 1997 and said, “Bill, I think we’d like to take you public.” I go, “Okay, what does that mean? How does that work? And he says, well, we’d have to go around the country and sell you to whoever,” I don’t even know who but then of course, I knew what would happen is that I’d be constantly called by the Wall Street folks saying, “How are your quarterly earnings doing?” I knew who they would be; young MBAs right out of college and I didn’t want to hear from them. I mean, I knew what I was doing and I always had a long range approach, and I know Wall Street doesn’t so I didn’t want to be subjected to the quarterly earnings. Plus, I would have had to take a good amount of time off, to travel around the country to sell the company and I wasn’t set up to do that. If I was gone, because the company is still growing quite rapidly. If I was out of the office every day for a while, we wouldn’t have survived so I turned that down. 

The next thing that happened is that a company came to us about our size, about another $10 million company, and wanted to merge with us in order to potentially sell to someone else. Now, in retrospect, that could have been a good deal, right? But he came to me and it was just he came to me in such an insulting way, talked to my people and asked them if they wanted to do that, and I said to myself, “Hey, this is my company. You want to do stuff like that, come talk to me,” so I just got turned off by the whole approach and I don’t know if he did that consciously or if he was trying to manipulate the situation by getting them excited. I don’t know what was behind his thinking on that but I turned that down. Now he ultimately sold that company for about $40 million of stock and I think the stock eventually went down so big deal went down to 20 million.

Laurie Barkman:

He approached your senior leadership or who did he talk to?

Bill Prinzivalli:

We had a meeting, he asked for a meeting because he wanted to discuss the synchronicity of our products and so in that meeting, he brought his senior staff and I had my senior staff at my office so we had about a dozen people around the table and we’re talking about products and how they might work together and how we might refer to each other. These are all very appropriate things to talk about to senior staff people but then he brought up the merger in that room and I said to myself, “No, no, timeout, buddy, timeout, this is not an appropriate conversation. You want to have that conversation. You have that after,” so yeah, “Hey, Bill, you know what, let’s talk privately,” and then he can tell me what his thoughts are, what his ideas are and then I can listen to him. I could ask him questions, and we can mull it over and then I might have considered it but with the way he did it, I was just so turned off I just said no.

Laurie Barkman:

Was this a business competitor, or just someone in the ecosystem that you knew of or had deals with?

Bill Prinzivalli:

I knew of them, because a lot of the founders came from a larger software company that we both worked at so we worked in the same realm, but they had different products so we really were not competitive, and it would have been a reasonable merger, because we all had products for the IBM mainframe, so there was, it did make sense to at least consider that.

Laurie Barkman:

Interesting lessons learned because for anyone who’s either in the position to do an offer or in receiving an offer can probably relate that it’s not only the offer itself, but it’s the way it’s delivered and that setting was just the wrong setting. To your point, if he had come to you privately, or one on one, you might have entertained the idea but it just set you, it turned you off completely from his approach.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Yeah, and it really moved the whole conversation from a potential merger to I don’t see how I could work with you the way you’re talking to me. I mean, it just, I didn’t even get into the conversation about the value of a merger, the considerations of a merger and all the things that we could have talked about, because I was so turned off by the approach

Laurie Barkman:

Right. You had this–sorry, go ahead.

Bill Prinzivalli:

It really shifted the conversation from the technical or logistical possibilities of merging to companies like a normal business meeting of consideration. Let’s consider this. We didn’t even get to that, because he turned me off so badly by inappropriately talking about this to my staff.

Laurie Barkman:

Yeah, it shut the door.

Bill Prinzivalli:

It shut the door. I did. Now was I too stubborn? I don’t know. But you know what I just said, sometimes you just gotta go with your gut and I said, “You know what, this is not right.”

Laurie Barkman:

That’s fair, and at the time, you had the IPO discussion, and then this discussion, what was this? Was it still all around maybe the late 90s?

Bill Prinzivalli:

This was still the late 90s, so what I did, then the third thing I did was I worked with a merger and acquisition company because it was hot. I mean, my friends were selling their companies for 8 million, 10 million, 15 million, whatever so now I started working with a prestigious company on the West Coast and they said, “Yeah, Bill, this is great.” They said, “Your company’s worth about $30 million and this should be good interest in it. You’ve got good products.” I always say this is the sweet spot and selling a company, right? I’ll just divert here for a second, then I’ll get back to the story, which I learned afterwards. If you try to sell too early, you are unproven. Companies, the buyers are gonna say, “Okay, we don’t know if your product works. We don’t know, you’re totally unproven.” There’s a sweet spot in the middle, where you can see that there’s where the buyers see there’s a proof of product. There’s a management team that works and is effective, that there are customers there that have bought the product and liked the product, and that the service department is servicing them well, alright, when you have those elements in there, then the buyer is interested, but the buyer wants to buy before they reach the big growth cycle because they want to get a return on their investment so if I had sold, if I had gone through that process about two years earlier, I probably would have sold a company because when I was working with the merger and acquisition company, it takes a long time. I mean, they set up meetings and I spoke to many, many large organizations with them. We had great meetings, they put a big book together. Beautiful, professional job but time went on and it kept ticking on and as time kept ticking on the buyers are saying, “Well, okay, y2k by the time we do this, your y2k growth spurt will be over. What do you got after that? Well, what do we have after that?” And they go, “Well, we don’t know if that’s going to work.” The time to really had would have sold, it would have been, like 96 timeframe, maybe six, maybe even 97. I feel I was about a year and a half too late. If I had started that process with this M&A company, these larger companies would have bought us up snap maybe not for 30 million, but maybe 15 million. Oh, well, that’s okay.

Laurie Barkman:

Well, that’s a really interesting point. I mean, at the time of that growth curve, we can kind of think of that, let’s say you would have been, you said your valuation at one point was 30 million. If you had sold, you think it would have been more like 15?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Sure, because we were doing about 10 million by the end of 99 and at that point, they were talking about three times the revenue, which is really outrageously high. We all know that. I mean, nowadays, you’re talking about EBITDA, and just the profits, and maybe two, maybe one to three times that based on the product. But those days, the software market was so high, they were paying companies three times the annual revenues, right? Go figure. So if I had sold it, like two years earlier, instead of 10 million, we might have been doing 7 million so when we were doing that amount of annual revenues, 6 million, 7 million, maybe even five, even 5 million, whatever we were doing about two years prior to that, you know, 5-6 million, they would have been able to see and projected growth curve because of the y2k software, and said, “Okay, so we’ll give you three times 5 million, or three times 6 million.” That would have been enough.

Laurie Barkman:

Right, so then the bankers as they were, you had these meetings and these conversations you were learning about the market dynamic and what the appetite was, it was almost like this bad news tour, that you were hearing this bad news sort of consistently that that may be the peak you’re headed for, you were on the other side of that peak.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Yeah, I was on the other side of the peak and the companies were doing some of the logic. Companies were saying, “Well, we’ll just take this product and just take that,” just a cherry picking type of thing and so yeah, the excitement was not there as much as it would have been two years prior. I mean, think about the excitement in 97, for example, I’ve got an entire suite of y2k products. At that point, the sky was the limit and I think we were all giddy with it. I mean, all of them. We had, we used to have trade shows with all the y2k companies, we were all totally friendly with each other, because the market was so huge and there were only about a half a dozen of us, maybe a dozen that had products so we said we’re all going to be rich so it was very friendly and very cordial and we were all very excited so if we had tried to sell a company back then with that level of excitement, launching companies would have would have bought us up in a snap.

Laurie Barkman:

What ended up happening to Prince Software?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Well, it went all the way up and then it went all the way down. As the short story. The longest story is y2k happened and I needed to we business really stopped in August 99. I’ll never forget it, August 99, all of a sudden, all business stuff and it was like somebody put a sign out saying you don’t have to do any more work and we didn’t understand what happened but companies were tired, finished, whatever so I had to keep the entire staff down until the end of the year, because there was still projections that there was going to be a lot of problems come y2k In terms of third world countries, US government industries, and several organizations that were that were reported to have not done their y2k work, including several Asian companies. We said, “Okay, we’re just going to wait, keep the staff, keep everything going for the next five or six months, because we’re going to get busy.” Y2K came and nothing happened. I mean, it was like a non event so why we still don’t know it’s a big, it’s a big mystery. I mean, many companies probably took care of the situation so basically, then I laid off some people and then we leveled out, had the new products coming in, it was okay but then something else would happen and we’d lay off another 20% of people, level out, then the dot com bubble hit, 2008 hit, It was just one thing after another after another after I was just relentless. I mean, at all the times that we lay off and level out we would think we would pick up again, somehow, it just didn’t happen, so for 15 years, it was a decline from a company that was bringing $10 million a year down to zero.

Laurie Barkman:

Wow, what a story.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Yeah, it was. It was really awful. I mean, ultimately, I let off every employee. In the end, a couple of employees actually worked for nothing for me just to try to keep it going, the loyalty was good and the personal stress levels were off the chart. I mean, literally, I mean, during that period, I lost every asset I had. I mean, I had like four houses, four cars, a yacht in St. Maarten, I was living big based on all of that. All of that was stripped away. There was a divorce involved because of the stress levels and I mean, it was just, it was just total devastation and the levels of depression personally, was off the chart.

Laurie Barkman:

I can’t even imagine, and I appreciate you sharing that. I’m sure that this is, unfortunately, more common than we think where sometimes we hold on to our companies longer than maybe we should and I think that’s certainly a message that you’re sharing and the other side is, is it possible to time the market and in your situation, hindsight is 2020 seeing that optimal time. In the moment, it felt really good as you’re saying, your profits are going up and you had all these houses and you had the place in St. Maarten, and living La Vida Loca. I mean, it’s hard to walk away from that. Do you think if you were going to put yourself back in that time, and you’re going to talk to yourself and say, “Phil, hey, here’s the future,” you’re coming from the future, “Listen to me, this is what’s going on?” Do you think you could have convinced yourself?

Bill Prinzivalli:

That’s a great question. That’s such a great question.Two things come to mind. First, I never had any concept of an exit strategy. That was the biggest problem,  and I tell my clients now, “Hey, if you’re going to start a business, one of the first things you have to do is design the exit strategy>” I never really had an exit strategy, because I don’t think I wanted one, honestly. I mean, it’s like, this is my baby, as you’re saying, and I wanted to grow it as much as I can and as I said, it wasn’t in the world of buying and selling and wheeling and dealing like maybe Wall Street is on so I didn’t know that world. I didn’t know how to do that and in my mind, no, this was my company, I was going to work it forever. Now, I don’t know if I built that consciously but unconsciously, that’s the way I was acting so if you ask me now, would I have sold it back then? Oh, when you’re in the middle of all of that excitement, I mean, it’s such a great point, Lord, you’re in the middle of that excitement, and you juiced up and all you’re thinking about is growing and working and working. At that point to think about exit strategy is almost counterintuitive.

Laurie Barkman:

Very, very counterintuitive. Because you want to ride that ride, you want to see where it goes.

Bill Prinzivalli:

This is what all the work was for.

Laurie Barkman:

You can’t get off that roller coaster, you’re going up, let’s see where it’s at. No, I can imagine and I also am curious, with riding the highs, and then going through the lows. How did you bounce back? Is that how you got into improvisational training with humor? Because if you’re not going to cry, you gotta laugh, right?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Well, that’s a great question. It didn’t exactly happen that way but how did it happen? Well, first of all, I learned a lot more on the way down and on the way up. I mean, probably 10 times more. I mean, you learn about yourself, how you handle situations, do I just go out and bark and yell and scream at everybody? I mean, I didn’t, thank God but a lot of the employees, I got to see the true colors. Some of them, like I said, worked for me for nothing in the end, whereas others wanted to sue me if I didn’t pay them and everything in between. You learn about your perseverance, you learn about your morality, you learn about your bravery, your courage, how can you handle all of this? I mean, so anyway, having I don’t call that a failure anymore, I just call it a contraction. It’s an expansion and contraction. It’s like an in and out breath. That’s life, right? Everything cycles, everything cycles, which I think is something we need to keep in mind. I learned a ton during that contraction. 

Now, how did I get through that? A ton of faith, I mean, really a ton of faith. In the end, I just said, you know, there’s no such thing as security. In fact, I used to teach this stuff. I used to say security’s an illusion. I said, “The only thing you really have is yourself, and connection to spirit,” if you believe that. That’s it. Everything else is gravy, the money, the cars, the children, the family, spouses, that’s all extra they could all disappear and in my case they did so that’s what you have. You just have to have faith and I did and because I wasn’t going to I mean, even though I went to bed many nights saying, hey, if I don’t wake up in the morning, it’s okay. I mean, I truly looked up in the sky and went to bed that way lots of times, but I wouldn’t do anything myself. I said no, “I’ll just work through this somehow,” and I just kept doing it, kept doing it and then finally when everything got down to literally zero, I got a large consulting gig, which lasted four years so it was sort of like, like a sketch, like, etch a sketch of my life, somebody more powerful to me to say, “Okay, you did it.” All right, you wanted to succeed in business, you did it. We had this big company, you had it, you had it all, now at your sketch and now let’s get to the real purpose in life and I said, “Oh, okay,” so that’s how I got through it and so I did get a consulting gig and improv was just something that again, happened accidentally, he goes another accident.

Laurie Barkman:

It was a happy accident, it took you on a path that helps you towards your mission.

Bill Prinzivalli:

You know what it really did? It really did. I mean, you know, I just took a class and a lock and said, “Hey, improv, whatever,” and I did it and I found it so compelling, because it really is about such authenticity, about learning about yourself about awareness and learning so much about yourself and exploring different parts of yourself that you don’t get to explore and so with that, yeah, that has helped me and that’s what I ended up writing about and it’s a book I always wanted to write since the 90s, about integrating business and mindfulness and now that I was doing improv, I included improv in that, because it’s all very related the right brain nonlinear stuff and now I’m sort of out there, I can’t hide anymore, I used to just call myself a business consultant, or a business person, even though I was building it all on consciousness principles and mindfulness principles but I really didn’t put it out there. I just did it quietly, but now that I wrote a book on it, I’m out, so I can’t hide it anymore so I’m rebranding myself now. Now in a sense, doing what I feel like I was put on this planet to do and what is that, to bring greater consciousness to the business world. What that means is, it’s not a sacrifice, if anything, the way if anything, it provides better performances for the companies. I mean, the simplest way I could describe it is to, I’m encouraging all business leaders, they know that they know this skill, they know their craft this skill, I’m not there to teach him sales one on one management one on one, they know how to do that. I’m encouraging them to incorporate all of their nonlinear attributes of their right brain, which means their intuitive qualities, their imagination, creative qualities that we never learned in school, and we almost downplay them, oh, that intuition, gut feeling go away but every business leader knows that that’s really important so I’m encouraging them to bring it out even more showing the many ways in which they can use that and improvisation falls in line with that, because improvisation is about awareness, authenticity and if they do that, they have bringing more resources to the table, they’ll have better decision making, they’ll, they’ll perform better in their corporations and they’ll do it more consciously because they’re aware of what’s going on.

Laurie Barkman:

Having that mindset, having the focus, letting yourself improvise to your point, maybe in different settings in different ways and challenging ourselves in unique ways. I think that’s a really cool thing that you’re doing and how you brought it all together and finding your path is not easy and your path has had ups and ups and downs and I appreciate how you shared that, Bill. I wanted to know if you had any words of wisdom from your experience that you’d share to business owners that are listening today.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Sure, yeah. Well, let’s say there’s business suggestions, and then other suggested business suggestions are, get get a good coach, I didn’t have that, get a good model, whether it’s a board of directors, or a good lawyer or accountant, someone that you can, that you can be accountable to, in the sense to speak of what’s going on in the business to get guidance. Alright, there’s always it’s always important and whatever job. I didn’t have that, I didn’t do that so in a business sense, definitely do that and the other piece of it is, work on a basis of awareness and consciousness, because you’ll get better performance out of your employees out of all of your relationships with all your stakeholders, you’ll have better results, and you’ll be able to sleep better at night.

Laurie Barkman:

Yeah, absolutely and I think from the learnings that maybe I take away from what you’ve talked about is you made a point about thinking earlier about some exit strategies. Yeah, then you did. Maybe knowing what that business is worth as you go through building your company so that you can have points of decision along the way And recognizing that there are timing issues and it is difficult to try to know if there’s a peak or a valley but being mindful of all those things, and maybe also, there’s a lesson in here about sort of keeping yourself in, check through your advisors, as you mentioned, and surround yourself with people that you can trust.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Those are the people that will talk to you about that because when you’re in the midst of that excitement, as you’re well pointed out, you’re not thinking about that so if you have advice, as well as the board of directors, some some advisors, accountants, lawyers, they can help give you a bigger perspective on things and help you think or at least think about when you should pull out pull out or when you want to know.

Laurie Barkman:

Absolutely. Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Well, I have something I keep on my desk here and it’s a little paperweight unless you can see it, but I’ll see it. It says-someone gave this to me, I think was my daughter for a gift–what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? It’s pretty famous and I keep it on my desk to remind me, okay, just do it. If you got an idea, and I thought, don’t hesitate. Now we all come from different places, right? The place I come from is I don’t take big chances so for me, sometimes, I need a little push but if you’re on the other side of the spectrum, where you’re taking chances every day, well then maybe you need a little bit of balance. There’s the balance of the two of them but clearly, I think most of us are in the sight of I want people to go inside and find out what the deepest desires are, what their deepest yearnings are, the deepest talents are, and then have the confidence to just go out and do it.

Laurie Barkman:

Great. Thank you so much. And if people want to get in touch with you to learn more, what’s a good way to do that?

Bill Prinzivalli:

Sure. My website is billprinzivalli.com and it’s pretty straightforward. You can call me or email me or whatever. I’ll be happy to have a conversation with you.

Laurie Barkman:

That’s great and I’ll include that in the show notes as well. Thank you so much for being on the show with me, Bill. I really appreciate you sharing your story and your honesty and authenticity in all of your experience.

Bill Prinzivalli:

Thank you, Laurie, it’s my pleasure. 

Laurie Barkman:

Listeners, thank you so much for your support. Catch Succession Stories on your favorite podcast player or YouTube, and subscribe to the show! If you want to maximize the value of your business and plan for future transition, reach out to me for a complimentary assessment at meetlauriebarkman.com. Join me next time for more insights from transition to transaction. Until then…here’s to your success.

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