Welcome to the “Show Me The Way” podcast with David Seitter
In this episode of “Show Me The Way,” Dave sits down with Jim Sorebo, Former President, CEO & Founder of Four Seasons Financial Group, to discuss how changing industry regulations led to the sale of his business. Jim reflects on his own personal challenges that brought him to that point, the process of selling the business, and advice for others looking to sell their business.
Ep. 8 — Changing Regulations Lead to Selling a Business with Jim Sorebo
Introducing Jim Sorebo, Chief Distribution Officer at iCover
Dave asks Jim to discuss a bit of his personal background.
- He discusses his family and where he came from in Minnesota.
- Jim then discusses how he and Dave met at a firm called Strategic Coach, where they learned from other entrepreneurs.
Dave then asks him to describe how he made the transition from Minnesota to Philladelphia, where Jim currently resides.
- Jim discusses how he started his career in financial services, and after a few years started his own company called Four Seasons Financial Group, which is a wholesale insurance distribution company.
- He adds that after doing that for 25 years, he sold that company to Highland Capital Brokerage, which is what brought him to the east coast.
- He then discusses his history at some of those previously held positions, and how he looks to give back to the industry that has been so good to him and his family.
Overcoming Personal Challenges
Dave notes that Jim has had a number of personal challenges, and asks him if he would be comfortable discussing some of them.
- Jim starts by noting that it is a great thing to discuss those challenges, rather than hold them inside and suffer in silence.
- He then discusses a number of family health complications, deaths, and his own personal fight with cancer.
Dave says that in part because of those challenges, Jim became a public speaker to share his story, and asks him to discuss what that is like.
- Jim says that as an insurance salesman, they are beneath it all, a storyteller.
- He discusses some of the reactions he had to posting videos about his journey with cancer.
- He was then invited to join Life Happens, to share his story and discuss the importance of life insurance.
The Process of Selling a Business
Dave then asks Jim what his thought process looked like when he realized it was time to sell his business.
- Jim discusses how in 2017 there was a number of new regulations changes to his industry, and how it resulted in the loss of clients.
- He notes that at that time, he started looking at selling the business more out of necessity than anything else.
- Jim then dives into his mindset as a mid-sized company in the industry, how they were going to get squeezed out, and how that caused him to look at larger companies for acquisition.
- He walks through his process of how he selected his eventual partner for acquisition, and what drew him towards selling the company to them.
Dave asks how he went about communicating the incoming changes to both his employees and his customers.
- Jim says that he very openly and candidly discussed the whole process with his company during their weekly meetings.
- He noted that part of the goal in selling the business was to find more opportunities for all of his employees.
- With the clients, he notes that there was one longstanding that they approached before the deal went through, and the rest were after at the industry wide conference.
Dave then questions how long the process took between looking for buyers and the actual selling of the business.
- Jim thinks back and says that they sold in November 2018, though they had started looking in Q4 of 2017.
- He notes that there was a 3-5 month due diligence process to find the right purchaser, and once they decided on Highland, there was about another 6 months to close the deal.
Highlights and Advice for Selling a Business
Dave wonders what the highlights of selling his business were for Jim, and what were some of the goals he achieved because of the merger and acquisition process.
- Jim saw this journey as another opportunity, and was excited to learn.
- He says the exploratory nature means he learned a lot along the way, which helped make him a better business person.
- Jim thinks about things he would have done differently, saying consulting more people who have already been through that process, and taking more time to go through the process.
- He adds that business owners should be planning for their eventual exit now, rather than wait until your hand is forced.
- Recognizing they had built something of incredible value was one of the goals Jim says they achieved, in addition to getting rid of their debt, and taking care of their employees.
Dave asks Jim what advice he would give for others who are looking to sell their business.
- Jim says the first piece of advice is to gain as much knowledge about the process before you begin.
- The second, he says, is to build the right team around you with legal, accounting, etc. to cover your blind spots, emphasizing the importance of deal structures and negotiations.
- Lastly, Jim takes the opportunity to restate the importance of planning your exit strategy now.
Dave finishes by asking Jim what is next for him personally and professionally.
- Jim says his first goal is being happy and doing things that makes him happy, mixing in some travel, and getting his golf handicap down to single digits.
- Professionally, he says even though he is 65 he doesn’t plan to retire because he still gets excited about everything coming down the line, and about some other companies that are looking for his advice.
- To find out more about Jim, or to hire him as a speaker, go to jimsorebo.com
To reach out to Dave for advice or consultation, please visit www.davidseitter.com or email him at email@example.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.