Sometimes it may be easy to recognize what a successful person looks like because of the fancy car, expensive clothes or the big house or houses. But, what does a future Successful person look like?
Last weekend I was asked to speak at the Entrepreneur Law School at Florida Gulf Coast University. I spoke along with an attorney to a standing room only crowd of small business owners in Southwest Florida. These small business owners paid $100 to attend the day long event that focused on legal matters that affect the Entrepreneur. Our hour presentation focused on the Legal Considerations in Buying and selling a Business. The basic premise is that there are many considerations that an Entrepreneur who is contemplating buying or selling a business needs to consider before beginning the process . The Entrepreneur Law School is the product of Florida Gulf Coast University, Lugert College of business. Essentially the day long event had attorneys speaking on subjects such as :
- The Entrepreneur Checklist
- Common Pitfalls of Contracts
- Business Formation and Taxes
- Business Entity Selection
- Protecting Intellectual properties
- Legal Considerations in Buying or Selling a Business
…and a dozen other hour long legal issues as it relates to Entrepreneurs were presented. While I was there to present information for the attendees related to the legal aspects of buying and selling a business, I found myself as viewing this as a learning experience for me as well. I think I saw many future successful business owners in the crowd.
I was very impressed with the fact that the small business owner located in our area that is generally battling difficult economic conditions would pay good money and take almost 8 hours out of their Saturday to further educate themselves. Firstly, most small business owners are working so much during the week that sometimes the weekend is the only recluse that can be found. Secondly, money is tight, and expenses are looked at not just once but twice. But these attendees considered the investment in educating themselves to be money well spent.
The presentation the attorney (Attorney Donna Flammang who specializes in Business Acquisition and Sales) and I conducted was to a full room and essentially we ran out of chairs. I found it both interesting and exciting that most attendees chose to attend our presentation over others that were conducted concurrently.
Attorney Flammang started the presentation by stating the importance to consider the selling of your business the day you start your business, or more specifically the day you choose the type of entity when starting your business. Should you always use an attorney when starting or buying a business was discussed. Letter of Intent, Due Diligence, and how to prepare your business for sale was also discussed by both Attorney Flammang and I. We fielded many questions from the audience and as can happen we ran way short on time – the hour was not sufficient. After closing comments we were both approached by many with additional questions.
And again I found myself surprised by the energy and makeup of the attendees. I found myself talking with a husband and wife team that has owned their own bicycle related business for 20 years and were seeking further education!
Most Entrepreneurs have a voracious appetite for gaining knowledge and learning new things. But one may wonder – how long does that appetite for knowledge linger? Here was a couple that have a successful business for 20 years and could be sitting at home relaxing in front of the TV, instead they are paying $200 to attend a day long event covering legal aspects of running a business – which some can find as not that exciting. I personally find legal issue and accounting issues to be very interesting almost to the point that it makes me wonder about myself. Many would rather not bother with either of these components of a small business. These business owners embraced these challenging topics.
As I looked out into the audience, I felt I was looking at Successful people in the making. I know there is no real guarantee formula to success, but the people that would spend both their time and money to gain legal knowledge to further their business in difficult times like these sounds like a good formula for success to me.
Image by shho.