Customer Testimonial: How One Entrepreneur Learned New Skills Through Selling His Business
When Idaho entrepreneur Nate Brennan decided to take a step back from 20 years of working in the home construction business, it was ultimately serendipity mixed with a curious business mind that helped him successfully-- and discreetly-- sell his family business, Cornerstone Siding.
While he had been in the siding game for the better part of two decades, Cornerstone had become his family’s business for the past seven years. Brennan had sold a franchise business in the past, but the complexity of running a family business while trying to sell it seemed like an insurmountable task. It took a vacation to Mexico to open his mind to the possibility of selling, as luck had it, but it was truly his fascination with the selling process that helped him not only sell his business successfully, but also truly reevaluate Cornerstone, himself, and his business acumen for the better.
“The process was a truly healthy one. It made me constantly look at my business and reevaluate it. There was a point where repeat feedback came to me, and I had to stick to my conviction and know that what I was doing was right. My experience with Raincatcher left me with new confidence in myself and the business.”
While Raincatcher’s business is to help entrepreneurs buy and sell remarkable businesses, our mission is to serve them at every stage of their exit planning journey. We aim to guide business owners into growing healthier, more dynamic enterprises along each step of their exit-planning journey.
And while the Cornerstone deal definitely took some twists and turns, in the end, Brennan and Raincatcher were able to forge a deal as unique as the company itself. Read on to learn more about Nate Brennan’s experience selling his company and how he became a better businessman in the process.
Give us a quick history of your career and business.
My name is Nate Brennan and my company is Cornerstone Siding and it’s a business I’ve been in for 20 years. It’s been my family’s business for the past seven years. We do siding for large builders in this area. It’s the same job over and over again, but the population in Idaho is booming so it’s a solid, repetitive revenue base.
That said, I was ready for a change after 20 years of the same thing. As luck had it, I was on a vacation in Mexico and I was talking to some people about our businesses. The people I was chatting with were talking about selling and it just led me to think more about selling. It was totally serendipitous. I had sold a franchise business before, which was easy. But the notion that a business that I spent so much time running could even be sold, much less easily, was not something that I had considered.
I found Raincatcher much in the same, lucky way. I saw the website and it just felt like it was what I was looking for. It just looked right.
What was your biggest challenge before selling?
I was looking for a clean exit that wouldn’t let people down- everyone from my family to my employees and my sub employees. I was honestly pretty nervous about it. But I had gotten to the point where I knew that in the next five years or so I would let it go. I knew I wouldn’t continue doing what I was doing. In the best-case scenario, I would perhaps make the company small and not too profitable, but to a point where it just didn’t need my full attention. I took some of the risk off the table.
What was unique about your experience with Raincatcher as a brokerage experience?
The Raincatcher team did a great job assuring me. I also was fascinated by the process and learning about it. Raincatcher helped me understand that they have done this several times, and even early on I understood the full scope of the process and even how much the selling price would be. I remember telling my wife that the process would be a good exercise. It was something to learn, and I was interested in learning about it all regardless of if my company ever sold. I’m not going to go fishing for the rest of my life, so it was truly just time well spent.
Another advantage was confidentiality. Rocky Mountain business is often everyone’s business! But jokes aside, I was able to run the business as normal by a national broker who had out-of-town contacts and I could keep quiet.
How did your first talks with a buyer go?
It wasn't too bad but it certainly didn’t go as planned. I kept my expectations fairly low. The fees were low, to be honest, but it made me know exactly how to be in the next deal- what I needed to do and what I needed to get out of the business.
I didn’t have the best feeling about those first buyers. I talked with Raincatcher and I understood the larger picture. But the experience did get me to the point where I had developed a Plan B-- one where I wouldn’t sell the business but instead reduce its operations.
While the outcome was unexpected, are you satisfied with it?
No deal is set in stone. In all aspects of small business, you have to get creative, and Raincatcher definitely had that creativity. They were able to look at my unique realities and come to an unexpected solution, yet exceeded my expectations. Everyone was happy and everyone won.
Did you feel guided by Raincatcher as the process unfolded?
Raincatcher was able to steer the ship. And although the journey had many tacks, I felt guided along each step of the journey.
Because Raincatcher talked to the prospective buyers, they gave me a unique insight into each buyer’s mind. I had insights into what the buyers wanted, which was invaluable- and I had that information from my teammates. Raincatcher always had my best interests at heart.
The process was a truly healthy one. It made me constantly look at my business and reevaluate it. There was a point where repeat feedback came to me, and I had to stick to my conviction and know that what I was doing was right.
My experience with Raincatcher left me with new confidence in myself and the business.