Ep. 5 — Business Intermediaries with Col. Jeff Crooks

by | Nov 1, 2022

Welcome to the “Show Me The Way” podcast with David Seitter

In this episode of “Show Me The Way,” Dave sits down with Col. Jeff Crooks to discuss his career as a business intermediary. They dig into how his role helps both buyers and sellers, how expectations have changed over the course of his career, and some of the crazy things business owners have put in their books.

Ep. 5 — Business Intermediaries with Col. Jeff Crooks

Introducing Colonel Jeff Crooks

Dave begins by asking Col. Crooks to talk about how much his military background comes into play in his day to day job, and to discuss Apex Business Advisors.

  • Col. Crooks discusses how his military background guides his interactions with clients, and briefly mentions his time in the service.
  • He then talks about his history with Apex, and what types of businesses they help consult.

What is a Business Intermediary?

Dave then asks for more details about his role as a business intermediary, and what kills the ability to close a deal.

  • Col. Crooks shares the three things most likely to destroy the ability to close a deal are time, attorneys, and CPAs.
  • He notes that in his role as a business intermediary, engagements can vary depending on whether you are a buyer or seller, and goes into detail about what each of those sides looks like from his perspective.
  • He adds that while they handle any industry, certain industries are harder to sell.

Dave questions what aspects help a deal close or reach a conclusion.

  • Col. Crooks says that communication is the biggest piece that can help deals progress.
  • He continues by discussing how getting help early from advisors, specifically for your accountants and attorneys that may have never handled transactions like this before.

Differences Between Business Buyers and Business Sellers

Dave wonders what the key issues or points that Col. Crooks would try to get across to Dave as a seller.

  • He says that details about what the business does well versus what it could improve upon are very important, and explains why.
  • Col. Crooks adds that having an appraisal done is also an important step of the process, to figure out who the best buyer is going to be for your business.

Dave then flips it around and asks what the key points are for people that are looking to purchase a business.

  • Col. Crooks discusses some of the differences between an unprepared buyer versus a prepared buyer.
  • He continues by noting why deals are always found on the buyer side and not the seller side.

Dave then asks about some personal anecdotes such as surprises that have come about during his time as a business advisor, and his career in the military.

  • Col. Crooks discusses a few of the interesting items he has found, especially when it comes to the financial aspect of the business.
  • He then discusses his military career, including his rise through the ranks and different stations where he served.

Dave asks how clients typically find Col. Crooks or Apex Business Advisors.

  • Col. Crooks mentions their website www.kcapex.com and through a number of advertisements.
  • He says that in negotiations with buyers, a lot of them end up being referrals as they realize they need help in narrowing their purchasing scope.

Changing Industry, Clients, and Financing for Purchases

Dave leads this into asking how over the course of his career as a business advisor, how the industry has changed, how clients have changed, and how financing has changed over that timeframe

  • He responds by mentioning how though his role has largely stayed the same, he has learned from years in the industry to predict issues before they arise.
  • Col. Crooks then discusses how expectations from clients changed over the years compared to what they used to be.
  • He also talks about how the financing changes depending on the size of the sale in question, noting differences between sales under $5MM, between $5-10MM, and over $10MM.

Dave follows this up by asking what the main reason is that a deal might fall through, as well as digging down into how many clients Apex might work with at any given time.

  • Col. Crooks says that time is the biggest enemy, and lists out a number of scenarios as to what can go wrong.
  • He adds that Apex as a firm is working with about 100 different clients, and that 40 of them could close anytime from next week to the next six months.

Dave then asks about timeframes for the quickest and longest times that deals have taken, in what states they operate, and what is next for Col. Crooks professionally and personally.

  • Col. Crooks notes that the quickest time was 20 minutes for a deal to close, though that was a ‘right place right time’ circumstance, and that the longest time was over 5 years to get a deal to close.
  • He adds that they operate in every state, and that he has personally closed deals in 37 states.
  • Col. Crooks concludes by saying that he enjoys his work and plans to continue doing that while also focusing on spending quality time with family.

To reach out to Dave for advice or consultation, please visit www.davidseitter.com or email him at dseitter@spencerfane.com 

This podcast is provided for educational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. The recommendations contained in this podcast are not necessarily appropriate for every individual or business. In determining the best course of action, business owners should consult with an attorney on their distinct circumstances.