Peter Christman is the founder and CEO of the Christman Group, which mentors business owners get the best value from their business when they are trying to sell. He was able to shed some light on this process during our interview.
Interviewer: Hello, today I am with Peter Christman, the founder and CEO of the Christman Group. Tell us a little bit about your business. What service do you provide to your clientele?
Peter: In 2005, we wrote a book called, “The 10 Trillion Dollar Opportunity,” which talks about Baby Boomers coming into the market. The following year, we started another firm called The Exit Planning Institute where we would train and certify business advisors in exit planning and since 2006, we have trained and certified advisors in 7 countries. I sold that company in the 4th quarter of 2012. so now the Christman Group mentors business owners through the exit planning process, so they can maximize the value that they get for their business and keep most of what they get through what we call three legs of the stool. First leg being maximize the value of the business. Second leg, getting plans personally from taxes state and financial point of view so therefore you keep most of what you get from that value. And third leg of the stool, we help them develop some kind of life plan so they can picture what they’re going to be doing after they exit their business.
Interviewer: Tell me about who your market is. Who would come looking for you if they were looking to transition out of their organization?
Peter: Baby Boomers who own privately held companies, whose values are between 2-3 million to 150-200 million, those are the people that we can really mentor for the rest of life. It’s built around the concept if you can visualize the 3-legged stool. What we do is we help the business owner develop all 3 legs of that stool. We are the only ones that coordinate all 3 legs of the stool in an integrated process. I am really proud of that because it’s a service business owner know they need but unfortunately their bosses can’t provide it but it’s really a valuable service for business owners to help them hit their goals and objectives.
Interviewer: Are your clientele also the different advisors out there, like accountants or attorneys, who are dealing with Baby Boomers and they introduce you to clients?
Peter: Yeah, it’s really an educational process to educate the advisor because you know most of the advisors are working their own style so they’re not familiar with this integrated process that I am talking about, and they really do appreciate once we educate them on what we do with business owners and they find out that we are not a threat to them and their style. They’re pleased to work with us, and once they’ve been educated in our process they love it.
Interviewer: What’s a common misconception that business owners might have about what you do?
Peter: Business owners are suspect of anybody that is not in their business or any type of advisor and they are always wondering what the hook is and what our goal is and our mission is to show them how much value we can add to them. And initially they are just like anybody else, “what can you do for me today,” and once we explain to them what we can do for them today, then they are very open to listening to more and embracing our value services because they can see the value that we bring to the table. We could increase the value of their business by maybe a multiple of 1 or 2 times and that’s very impressive to them and that’s very interesting in making money. A lot of them start out running a lifestyle business where they are minimizing taxes and taking everything out of the business to furnish their lifestyle, but once we convert them into a value creation management system, then they understand the total value they are getting and what it is like to be in business, the reasons they should be in business.
Interviewer: Is there 1 or 2 things you would like to leave a prospective client who stumbled across this interview?
Peter: I want them to be doing something, because 50% of business owners are leaving their business through what we call the 5 D’s which includes death, divorce and disability the other two escape me right now but there is no excuse for doing that. Business owners have got to use our process because they are human, with no guarantee they going to be around next week or next month, and they have responsibilities not only to themselves and to their legacy but also to their family and to their employees and to their vendors. I don’t care if the owner has 10 employees or 500 employees. Those families depend on that business owner being responsible and he or she owes it their responsibilities to provide the services that we offer.
Interviewer: I understand you have a book coming out that might outline some of this for people.
Peter: We are really excited about that, it’s called, “The Master Plan” and right now it’s available on Amazon in the Kindle version, and hard copy will be out in another 2 weeks. It is a short book because it is written for business owners and they are busy people and I don’t want to take much of their time, and it’s something that they should read and could read quickly and could get their rear ending gear to do what I said in my book.