Apr 8, 2024

155: Successfully Exiting A Family Business After Turning It Around, JV Crum III

Succession Stories host Laurie Barkman, The Business Transition SherpaⓇ, sits down with JV Crum III, founder of the Conscious Millionaire Institute and Conscious World Foundation Inc.–a global non-profit that trains youth to become conscious leaders.

What happens when you’re asked to join the family business but then discover there are BIG financial challenges? JV shares his experience how he helped turn around a family trucking company and became a millionaire by age 25. He overcame conflicts with his father, improved business performance, and sold to a larger family-owned trucking line, resulting in a transaction that took only three months to close.

In this insightful episode, they dive into the complexities of family businesses, founder-led enterprises, and the unique challenges faced by hired executives. 

Listen in to learn more about:

  • Understanding the importance of aligning personal purpose with business goals to achieve fulfillment and success.

  • Recognizing the impact of family dynamics in business and learning strategies to navigate them effectively.

  • Gaining insights into the process of selling a business, including finding the right buyer and negotiating a successful deal.

  • Embracing a mindset shift towards prioritizing internal growth and mindset development as the key drivers of business success.

  • Discovering the three essential areas of focus for business growth: mindset, strategy, and execution.

Things often happen at the right moment when you least expect it. 

Enjoy this Succession Stories episode about successfully exiting a family business after turning it around with JV Crum III.


Find JV Crum III Here:



❤️ Show us the love on Rate This Podcast: https://ratethispodcast.com/successionstories




“Endgame Entrepreneurship: Build With The Exit In Mind”


Unlock deeper insights into entrepreneurship and scalability by engaging with us through various social media platforms:

My Links:

🌐 Website: https://TheBusinessTransitionSherpa.com

⏰️ Meet With Laurie: https://thebusinesstransitionsherpa.com/connect/

📘 Book: “The Business Transition Handbook: How to Avoid Succession Pitfalls and Create Valuable Exit Options”

🎙 Podcast: https://podfollow.com/succession-stories

🎥 YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@TheBusinessTransitionSherpa

😎 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauriebarkman/

✖️ Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurieBarkman

😺 TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@businesstransitionsherpa



Get a free PDF copy of “The Business Transition Handbook” by author Laurie Barkman: 




Laurie Barkman
Welcome to Succession Stories. I’ve had the pleasure to get to know you over a series of conversations, including your show, which I was so excited to be on–The Conscious Millionaire Podcast. I’m so happy that we’re together today. Thanks for being here.

Well, I am excited. I just want to say hello to everybody who’s listening, because you’re listening to Laurie’s show. I know you’re in the right place. And I’m excited to have this time together.

Laurie Barkman
Let’s start with you. I want to hear about you and your experience with your family’s business that became your business to you became part of it. So take us back in the time machine.

Sure, I’m going to take you back to age five because I grew up in this little country town to 300 people, nobody had any money. By the time I was five and would go to the grocery store, and my mom would give me a little lecture: Don’t ask for a candy bar, people think we’re poor. Of course, that meant I couldn’t get my candy bar. I was sitting around like a little kid would and I’m gonna answer to this problem.

Well, on television, the rich people had nice homes and limos and I imagined they could have candy bars or whatever they wanted, right? So I made a declaration told my parents told the whole town went knocking on doors and said, When I grew up, I’m going to be a millionaire. Now, it wasn’t like a hope and a dream. It was like done. I never questioned it from that moment on. I never once thought it won’t happen at 25, partly by taking the family company that was almost bankrupt, turning it around.

I was in the four-storey home, the Mercedes, the trips to Europe, and I was a millionaire. I set myself out with that intention. I think that’s a very important part of the story is that people go, you’ve got they’re so young. I had 20 years think about it. When I was going to grad school in LA, I’d go drive around Beverly Hills and my little Datsun v210 and go, I know, I’m not supposed to be in that little studio apartment, I’m supposed to be in one of these homes, I’m in the wrong place.

I was always visualizing that life was going to be different and I still do that today. I plan to sell my company for 100 and 50 million, and I visualize it on a daily basis. I was finishing my first graduate degree was in psychology and I came home and my dad was very depressed. I’ve not seen my dad depressed before. He talked to me and he told me that the company was not doing well, it never done well but apparently now is like almost bankrupt. He said, Will you come work with me and help me with the business? Now, I never had a business background but I think my dad knew that somehow he’s gonna figure it out which he did. I told him, I’d work six months, and then it was going to law school.

I did go to law school three years later after I’d already become a millionaire and had a home and everything. I was there for 18 and a half years. So the start out is that I looked at the business and I just every day said, What do I need to do to make this business profitable? Because at that point, that was the problem. After three months of doing that, I’m a very numbers-oriented guy. I’m actually trained as a tax attorney. I sat down, I pored over all the numbers, all the bank accounts, all the billings, and I spent a whole weekend doing it. I remember that Sunday night. I was living in Tampa, my dad actually lived in Ocala, we’d come down for the week. The business was in Tampa because everything we did was imported or exported everything we hauled it was a regional trucking line.

I went over all the numbers and I remember calling him like gleefully, I had found the problem and I had, but you kind of laugh when I tell you this. I went I’ve discovered the problem. Every week, we pay out more money than we bring in. Now, as simple as that sounds, that’s a lot of businesses’ problems. Monday morning, I started calling our clients and saying we can’t work for these, these rates anymore. I got as much as a 25% rate increase that day. A month later, things are now going well because in the meantime, I was picking up the mail, and I discovered there were nine major leins against the business that went back for years.

By the book, but I didn’t know the book at that time. I call them all because now it could project the cashflow, because I knew what was going on and we had the higher you know revenues. I’d say I’ll pay you 25 cents on the dollar in three weeks if you’ll take the lien off. Everybody said yes because it’s yours and they were expecting it anything. 25 cents was a whole lot better. Then on the end of the fourth month, I’m looking at all of our bills from repairs because you get trucking line, we had 50 different units. I said, Okay, this is way out of whack and I told my dad, we’re going to open a second business, we’re going to create our own maintenance company, hire maintenance people, and take care of all our maintenance and repairs. Our cost went through the floor, and our revenue was going up.

All of a sudden, there’s this big gap called profit that we were creating. After three years, we had a really well-growing company that was highly profitable. We had learned a lot about how to build a business and I have to say, I primarily work with service businesses now. Most of them have a whole lot larger. Profit lines, no trucking line, it’s the problem that you have so much capital investment, right? But what was good about me having to figure that out, and turn that company around is that if you can do well with a regional trucking line with all that, you can certainly do well with most service businesses. I work with companies that have software that provides coaching that has a wide range of services. All of a sudden, those companies can make a lot of mistakes and still do really well, we could.

I’d say the biggest thing was the second year, you have to laugh with all the money. I’ve spent about a third of a million on degrees and trainings and masterminds and everything. This was $75 and I remember it was Ron Simckes, customer service book. This is the first time anything like this had ever happened was held at universities, and they had 25,000 people at different universities. And for four hours, you got lunch? And then you got to ask him questions, and you got the book for $75 and I had to think about oh my gosh, is that reasonable? It’s really one of the reasons the company was the third part. I looked at revenues, I looked at sales, and then we had lousy service. People were always calling every day, like, where’s the truck? Where’s up? We had meetings for six weeks, and we analyze, I said, don’t look at our company. If there was an ideal trucking line out there, what service would they provide. This is what we came down to andn we modeled everything off of it. We became number one in our niche, and we never lost customers, dependable and timely service, that in trucking, that’s what they wanted, they wanted to know the truck was going to get there and was gonna get there on time. That’s all they cared about and that’s what we focused on delivering. If we ever had a truck delayed because it was an accident, whatever. The next day, we were at that customer taking them out to lunch and explaining what happened and telling them how we were going to handle it. It didn’t happen. We kept the customers and we just became service-driven and that’s how I built the business.

Laurie Barkman
What was the transition point with the company when you and your father or the other shareholders decided to sell?

That was great. I wanted to go on and do something else. This was my father’s dream and he was 76. I’m going, so we had conversations and this is very important, because he was determined not to sell. We were 50-50 partners at that point, and I was determined to sell because I didn’t have the life I wanted. I wasn’t living where I wanted to live. I wanted to go have a different life for me, to have my choices. Here’s what happened: He’s all was constantly talking about, well, what am I going to do with my life? Coming to the office and having lunches with clients is what I do. He was just straightforward about it that said, Okay, I had to sit down with him. In effect, a life plan for the rest of his life. What he was going to do? How he’s going to use the money? How he’s going to travel and enjoy the world? How he’s going to become more involved in civic affairs? Because he was all about giving back. He lived to 90.

Everything he did after we sold that company was exactly the blueprint I created for it. Amazing. I had to create a blueprint so that he believed there was a compelling future. He wasn’t just going to be sitting at home in a chair and he created that compelling future. In fact, my dad didn’t take up golf to 72, and part of that compelling future, they had two holes in one, which most people who don’t take up golf to 72. All the people who’ve been playing since their 20s are jealous because most people never have a hole-in-one, right? I had to create that compelling vision for him and that’s how I got him to the closing table.

Laurie Barkman
That’s amazing. This thread that I keep hearing, and your conversation with me, is visualizing. Even visualizing, like you said, when you were back and five years old, and visualizing that you wanted to be a millionaire. Of course, when you’re five, I don’t know what that means but that’s okay. It took you there at the trans time of transaction or finding the right fit the suitor who was the right buyer, for your trucking company? How did you go about that process?

That was a great situation. I was just finishing up my MBA two years before we sold. And I went and talked to five different agents. What I quickly realized was I thought I could do a better job. With the exception of one he had been a banker, and he was the one I wanted to work with, but then he got sick, that didn’t work. There were a couple of issues that were very important. It was very important because of our position in the industry that nobody knew we were for sale, that was going to hurt our business, I was very clear about that.

The way people were going to advertise, people were going to quickly know who was for sale. The other thing is, I looked at their prospectus, and I go, God, I can write better than this. I talked to my tax attorney, and he handled transactions. We agreed he would do the paper, even though I was an attorney, I had no business people, just because your attorney have no business doing something you don’t do, because the transactional paperwork agreement was 200 pages. He handled that part, I handled the negotiation part. I got my accountant to front for me. We put anonymous ads in the major magazines and stuff for trucking, they would go to my accountant blind, they would have to fax them back in the world of faxing, I would look at him and make a decision whether to count, contact them.

I went through in a year and a half, seven negotiations. It was the seventh one we sold to but before we ever put an ad, I am a whiteboard guy at a whiteboard in my office, I created the criteria of who is the ideal buyer. I knew exactly who I was looking for so I could go through these meetings and know pretty quickly, Nope, this isn’t the right person. When we sold, it matched our criteria. In fact, my dad and I went and had lunch with the company. We both walked out of the lunch and looked at each other and said, That’s the buyer.

It was a very rapid transaction, it took three months, it normally would have taken about six, especially 200 pages a lot that had to be negotiated, but they were motivated, we were motivated. We both just apparently, they knew well they wanted to acquire us. It was another family trucking line that was just larger than ours and we fit a niche that they weren’t covering. It was a perfect match, it just was perfect. Everything about the deal worked out perfectly but that really was because as much as I wanted to get on with my life, I hadn’t made that decision. I was more focused on getting the right buyer because I knew the deal wasn’t going to work if we didn’t have the right buyer.

Laurie Barkman
Gotcha. I’m assuming this was a cash that closed deal was to cash in.

We have paperwork for for a while, but all those payments came through.

Laurie Barkman
Okay, and then you achieved your goal of becoming a millionaire.

No, my coal company no here when I was 25.

Laurie Barkman
What was the experience at 25?

It was a great, great experience. I bought the home, I had the dream home, I had the Mercedes, I had all those trappings, and actually within three months I went through a meltdown one day I was on the water. I was looking out, I had palm trees in my front lawn and sailboats out, and I literally in a minute, had a meltdown. It was a very, very important pivot moment in my life. I realized, wow, I got the money, but something was missing because my life still is a mess.

I didn’t know how to build rapport, I was horrible in relationships, I just figured out how to make some money. I sit and I don’t even like myself, and that was an honest statement, that 25 I’ve just gotten here, but nothing else works. That’s what took me on a deep journey of trying to figure out what was missing. Wayne Dyer, and Tony Robbins, and all these books and training and, going what’s missing, and I finally realized, I’m not connected with any inner purpose, it’s one of the things that I do with basically every client is I help them get more clarity about, well, you’re on the planet for some reason.

If you build your business and life, so it’s aligned with it, not only will it be more successful, you’re gonna be a lot happier and more fulfilled, because your life’s gonna be in harmony with your business, the two are going to fit together. That’s what I had to do is finally sell it because I realized this, this has nothing to do with running a regional trucking line, 12,000 loads a year, this was not what I wanted to do. Really unconscious millionaire, I help my clients tap into the higher levels of their mindset tap into their potential, and then because I understand the hard side of business, we put that together with the hard side. They have to uplevel to uplevel the hard side, and they realize that they can’t just try a new strategy, because somehow they’re going to choke it one way or the other day.

Laurie Barkman
Sorry, I didn’t mean interrupt, why do you think people struggle with defining their mission and purpose?

I think because they don’t know the process for how to do that. They don’t know how to discover it. That’s one of the things I’ve perfected in everybody I work within two or three weeks, it’s the longest I can get them to a very deep purpose. It’s because they’re just not connected there. They don’t know how to articulate that. It’s not something we grow up in, are taught how to do in school. It isn’t that there isn’t an urging, I want to do something, I think everybody would say, a building my business, living my life, I want to do something at the end of the day, I feel that what I did mattered. But that doesn’t mean that they have a process for discovering it. Most people just don’t know how to discover but they want to I think everybody wants to live with with a higher sense of meaning.

Laurie Barkman
What are some of the things that people could do on their own that they just want to explore?

I’m going to offer you an opportunity for us to get together and have a performance breakthrough session for everybody who’s listening, if you’ve got a 6,7, or 8-figure business, I’d love to talk to you. I’ll tell you more about that in a moment but I’ll give you three quick steps that come out of my book Conscious Millionaire, on how to begin to discover that purpose is the first one is what is something some activity that you do that you’re totally passionate about.

Typically, if you’re totally passionate about an activity, three things happen. At that level one, you get lost in time, you think a half hour passed, and it’s four hours. The second thing is that people tell you, wow, you look different. The truth is you do the blood is flowing in your in your face differently, your muscles are different. There’s this excited energy that’s kind of pouring off of you. The third thing is you’ve probably done this activity, absolutely free to help people, even strangers, because you just love doing it so much. You love helping people in this way. You know.

Then the second thing is that you’re able to say, Oh, there’s some difference I want to be making out there. Maybe it’s for a type of people, like in my case, I love working with entrepreneurs. Maybe it’s for a cause, like the environment. Maybe it’s to help animals, but it’s something outside of you.

Then the third one is based on my passion and who I’d really like, what would I like to do? Now this is actually the reason it’s, most people don’t approach businesses ways. It’s the opposite of what I was taught in my MBA and the MBA I was taught to go find the problem in the external market and create a solution for it, but what you’re really doing is you’re starting by creating a solution. This is the answer I want to be delivering to the world.

As I go, the great thing is for any answer or purpose or difference you want to make, there’s probably 100 niches you could work with then you gotta go out and look at the niche. You gotta go, Is this the way the problem shows up for them? Is this going to excite me to get out of bed? If not, not your niche. Are you going to enjoy working with them? And do you think you can get predictable consistent results working with that person with your answer?

The third one, which a lot of people overlook is like, Do they have the money to pay? If those three things aren’t going on with your prospect, it’s not going to match your purpose. Your purpose is isolated, it’s moving out into the world, and now you got it delivered. You got to deliver it in the way they want it but the question is: do you want to do that?

I think a lot of entrepreneurs fail to answer that question and so they get off on a path, they go, Oh, I could make money doing this, they will quit, you could make money, probably doing anything. You could probably sell ice to an Eskimo if you had a really good offer. Instead, you’ve got to look at how you bring the two together. That’s one of the things I help basically every one of my clients do, because it allows them to be passionate every day, and then that changes who they even want on their team.

I can tell you in a conscious manner. Everybody believes in our vision of uplifting entrepreneurs and helping them build highly profitable businesses that are also making a positive impact. At the end of the day, the entrepreneurs are happier, even if it was a bad day, because we’re gonna have those, but they still go, Yep but I know why I’m doing this and it’s because I think it’ll make a difference to other people. Do you see a difference? Yeah, if you can’t say that, I think it’s hard to hard to stay the path when things aren’t good.

Laurie Barkman
For sure. Do you see a difference when you work with clients who are in a family business? Or if they are the founder? Or if they are, let’s say a hired gun trying to figure out their place in the world?

Let’s talk about the family business. First of all, one of the things that I’ve learned and I’ve worked with people who are in family business or not. I work with both in the family business with my dad, and then I actually went some conferences on trainings for family business, and I went, Oh, it’s perfectly normal, we’re having these problems. Every family business has these problems, every part of your family dynamic is going to come into that business.

I’d walk into my dad’s office, and I was a fast decision-maker, he was a very slow decision-maker, because he was very, very visual. He was very kinesthetic, so we have to feel it. I’m just going, this is the 32nd decision here and it might be six months to get his sign-off on it, which was very frustrating for me. I’d walk in his office and sometimes I’m thinking we’re business partners. Then he’d say, you’re being disrespectful to me as your father, and I’m thinking doesn’t have anything to do with you take my father, we’re business partners, and we have to make business issues, let’s just make it right.

I’m going to listen to what you have to say, and you’re gonna listen to what I have to say didn’t have anything to do with you being my father and me being your son. He would bring those in and then we had to work through that kind of stuff. There were a lot of family dynamics that came in and we had to work through them because they were there. You can’t pretend they’re not there; they are there. I worked with a couple of brothers who, ultimately part of what they were engaged with me for as they they wanted to build this and a little bit more than they wanted to sell it. They wanted to sell it because they basically didn’t get along. When they sold it, they both went and did their own things.

I’ve worked with husbands and wives and sometimes, in those situations, we do joint sessions, during the month might do a joint session. We might do some independent sessions so we can work on what they’re working on. I remember one, they were all they had their family dynamics. It was the only time I thought it was being actually paid very well to create their family weekly schedule. But they needed help because they were giving power over to their children. What their children wanted was dictating the whole week schedule and go, You can’t do that. You’ve got to put some boundaries here and you got to decide. They weren’t getting their needs met because they were too focused on whatever the children want. We’ll just give up our date night, we’ll give up this. So that worked with him on boundaries and going you have a right to have date night. Doesn’t matter if your kids like it or not, it’s your night, right? I find those kinds of things come into the business whenever there’s family involved.

Laurie Barkman
That’s great. That’s great. For people who are doing planning whatever time of year it is, if they’re doing it on their fiscal cycle or doing a mid-year, there might be things that they could think about what might be two or three things that you say are prior ready?

I’m gonna give you the answer that I give everybody, it’s the answer that works. That’s the accelerator blueprint is that there are three and only three areas of business that will account for 100% of your growth. That’s your internal mind and mindset, how you’re operating, the strategies you’re employing. By the way, your business model is one of your most important strategies. A lot of people don’t even think of their business models as a strategy but oftentimes, when I work with clients, they’re either in one of two or both positions, they want some kind of a pivot and that may be changing the business model, it may be changing team members, it may be, ultimately I want to sell this and build something else, it can be a lot of things.

Typically, the other thing is they want more wealth, and the farther you go up, seven, eight figures, I’ve proven for billionaires I’ve created it’s not just sales and profits anymore. Now it’s sales profits and investable income and the business as an asset. They look at the business differently because almost always they’re now thinking about selling it at some point. So they’re looking at how do I create wealth? How do I create impact? And how do I get a life is more fulfilling, because I work with extremely successful entrepreneurs who are still working 70 hours a week.

As I pointed out to someone I met with lack yesterday, because I’ve known him a long time, I said, I think you actually don’t know how to relax. I think that’s part of the 70-hour week is you have no plan for what you’re going to do called relaxation or personal time. You haven’t planned for that, because you’ve been living to 70 hours for 30 years, right. But so I always work on the Think about the mindset, the strategy execution, I want to give you a performance breakthrough session, it’s 30 minutes with me. What we’re going to do is we’re going to look at what is the biggest outcome you want in the next 12 months and then I’m going to shift your identity is one of my seven money mindsets I work with. It’s at a much higher level, and all of a sudden, it during that 30 minutes, you’ll be able to see yourself achieving that big outcome.

A significant number of people I do this session with increased the big outcome. They go, Oh, if I become this person, and there’s like maybe five different shifts, they’re going to make themselves, I now realize I can actually accomplish more than that the next 12 months. You can get that just go sign up at consciousmillionaire.com and then it’s talk with JV and just choose the performance breakthrough, I’d love to give you that session, and help you get much more clear about how to create your biggest outcome ever. Then how to have the identity so you could do it.

Laurie Barkman
Well, thanks, JV, I think that’s awesome for our listeners, because people who listen to this show are builders, and they’ve got big decisions to make. Everybody’s thinking through, looking for that next big idea or that next advisement, and that’s such a nice offer. Thank you so much. We’ll be sure to put that link in the show notes for people.

Just remember that the group that I primarily work with their sixth, seventh, and eighth. If you’re not yet at six, that really isn’t quite yet for you but six, seven, or eight, just go to consciousmillionaire.com/talkwithJV/.

Laurie Barkman
Six, seven or eight-figure businesses, for sure. JV, there’s a lot of things that you’ve shared today, a lot of inspiration. Leave us with something that inspires you what inspires you as a Conscious Millionaire.

I’m gonna give you my personal motto because I’ve had it for 30 years. I feel very confident, it’s probably not changing, because it works. This is my personal motto and now tell you how I play it: Trust perfect timing. What I find to me, and by the way, that’s not a woo-woo station, that’s very concrete.

When I’m present when I’m in flow, which is something I teach people to be in deep flow. When I’m in flow, everything around me is actually occurring with some perfect timing, that there is a timing to all of this. If somebody has an appointment with me, and they have to cancel it, if they don’t reschedule, which most of them do, I go, Okay, we just that would that open and wasted half hour, right? So it’s fine. Or if they schedule, they and I in three weeks, let’s say are going to be very different people, because we’re going to go through our own evolution shift. We will be in a better place to have that meeting.

I say the same thing with clients, they’re not ready to start and they need another week, they need another week. That’s just the way it is. I have to sell to them what they want on their terms and part of that is time. Also when you’re in a business deal, a lot of people want to take out a hammer and just pound it. Like you’re going to somehow get that square peg in the round hole and it’s not going to work. instead of doing that, if the timing isn’t quite where everything’s not quite working out, I step back and go, what is there a player that needs to change? Or is there a belief system someone has that needs to shift? Or is there some aspect of the steel that isn’t quite right yet? And what needs to shift? It’s going to work for everybody and I find when I take that viewpoint, you can very often get to the deal very quickly. That’s because you’re not trying to force it. You’re allowing it to happen in the right time, but also simultaneously asking what might be missing or what might need to change to get to that right time.

Laurie Barkman
Trust perfect timing. I love it. JD, thank you so much for being with me today on Succession Stories and sharing your story and sharing your insights.

It’s great and thank you for being on The Conscious Millionaire Show. It was wonderful having you as a guest.

Laurie Barkman
Thank you so much. All right, listeners. Be sure to follow Succession Stories in your favorite podcast player and YouTube. And leave us a review because five stars helps the show get discovered. Learn more about maximizing the value of your business and planning for transition at the business transition sherpa.com. Join us next time on Succession Stories for more insights from transition to transaction.

New Episodes Available Weekly On:


Get Succession Stories in Your Inbox Free

Case studies, examples, templates, and tools for business transition, plus notification of new episodes.

The Business Transition Handbook

The Business Transition Handbook

Preparing owners to navigate the emotional and practical nature of the transition process so you can exit on your terms and avoid succession regrets.

“A game changer to help you win in your exit and in life.”


Browse More Episodes

Crafting Your Exit, Laurie Barkman on The Bootstrapped Unicorns

Crafting Your Exit, Laurie Barkman on The Bootstrapped Unicorns

Ever wondered what it takes to master the art of mergers and acquisitions? No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, this episode of the Bootstrapped Unicorns Podcast can provide you with valuable insight. Laurie Barkman joins host Josh Pies to unravel the mysteries of M&A and...