Positive Enterprise Value Blog

Pete Worrell's latest thought leadership on how the character of EOMs influences decision making.

How is it that some privately owned businesses end up with terrific new majority owners, the Entrepreneur Owner-Managers (EOMs) moving gracefully into the next interesting and rewarding chapter of their lives, surrounded by friends, their positive legacy assured, their independence powered by the fortune just realized…while others’ outcomes look more like a train wreck? Is it merely luck, or is it more than that?

We think it’s more than luck. Nobody ever knows what goes on in the life of another EOM, but by listening to and learning from them, you very quickly realize that you are standing in front of a mirror, and that the EOM that you are listening to is giving you the framework and the language for the understanding you want to achieve.

Am I a Victim of Endowment Bias?

As an Entrepreneur Owner-Manager (EOM), are you willing to buy your business today at the same value that you would agree to sell it for today? We exhibit endowment bias when we value an asset more when we own it than when we don’t. Traditional economic theory holds that a rational person’s (“homo economicus”) willingness to pay for an asset should always equal that person’s willingness to sell it for the same price.

Entrepreneur Life Arc Video

So many of you—our Entrepreneur Owner-Manager friends and your expert advisors— have asked us about ways to easily access and immediately use some of our experience as you think about building durable Enterprise Value and a capital gain someday. Here’s a short video illustrating a concept we call the Entrepreneur Life Arc. It will be familiar to our friends who have attended the Bigelow Forum. Hope you enjoy it.

Is My Business Annual or Perennial?

Ask yourself this question: do you know whether you are operating your business in an industry that will give you a capital gain or not? If not, why be preoccupied with Enterprise Value? One of the most powerful drivers of wealth creation in an enterprise is answering that perennial question. Most managers (and owners) manage their business annually, and in between year ends, by the month according to a forecast or budget. Few consider whether the ultimate destination requires them to be harvesting some value each year (an annual), or accumulating value in planning for a capital gain.

An “Off-the-Shelf” Entrepreneur Inspires Us to Rediscover The Power of Print

Thatcher Wine grew up in an entrepreneurial household (upstairs from the business in fact). He tried a stint in a large consulting firm before he got fired (just kidding, before he was “called”) and became an founding entrepreneur in the tech sector of a startup that didn’t gain traction. Paid the tuition on that education, then moved to Boulder and slowly, the idea for Juniper Books began to germinate. Juniper is now a leading provider of curated libraries for both residential and institutional customers—some of them with Juniper’s artistic custom jackets. Juniperbooks.com.

Thanks-Giving: Crisis, Realization of Impermanence, Blossoming Community… Whaaat?

Knowing I speak with my friends in the Abacos daily and that I personally returned from a week on the ground there, many of you have asked me my reflections about it—so I will share a couple of musings.
The physical destruction is so far beyond “extensive” or “traumatic” than can be realized from photos or videos, even if examined closely and repeatedly, it’s…heartbreaking.

What About “Brittle” Employees?

They may go by labels like overly sensitive, thin-skinned, defensive, take themselves too seriously, poor self-image. “Brittle” employees often possess an inner narrative which makes for deep disappointment when they are not better understood. But their obvious problems in communication need to be literally confronted if as promising team members, they are to unlock their capabilities, and accordingly, their contributions to organizational objectives.

Listening in on an EOM Scramble

At The Annual Bigelow Forum in September 2019 we experienced a…well let’s just say… an energetic group discussion among and between four seasoned, successful high-performing Entrepreneur Owner-Managers (EOMs). Our friends/clients learning, growing and generously sharing their experiences with their EOM peers. Happily, it was recorded. So here’s your chance to “listen in” on this live private panel discussion we hosted including Deb Grass, Co-founder of Astroseal Products Manufacturing, Jan Blomstrann, Co-founder of NRG Systems, Ross Silverstein, Co-founder of iPROMOTEu.com, and Mark Taylor former owner of Reading Plus.

Continuing the Bigelow Forum Conversation with Harvard Professor, David Laibson

Listen to my interview with David I. Laibson, the Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics at Harvard University, Faculty Dean of Lowell House, and this year’s Featured Speaker at the 12th Annual Bigelow Forum held in September at the Wentworth by The Sea Hotel.

Find out what David’s passions are, his thoughts on what is (and what is your) “unlearning” as we think about cognitive biases that negatively affect Owner- Manager good decision making. We also discuss why, as a senior professor, he lives in an undergraduate residence hall, and what his professional life may look like ten years from now.

Terra Incognita

This Latin term for “unknown land” was used by ancient mapmakers for labeling undiscovered territories, or regions that had not been mapped or documented, or were merely inaccessible to ordinary men. (Another common term for unknown land at that time was “Dragons Be Here!”). Could that description be apt for the external landscape that Owner-Managers face today?

A Bold Young Entrepreneur Leading a Vision of the Future

Maxx Bricklin is a twenty-something Principal and Co-Founder of BOLD Capital Partners, a Los Angeles based venture firm that invests in the best, experienced entrepreneurs who employ exponential technology in AI, AR/VR, Robotics, 3D printing, robotics, and sensors. These technologies are typically used in highly leveraged domains like health care, or productivity (Mfg 4.0) where they believe they create opportunities that will yield unusual growth.

As High-Performing Entrepreneur Owner-Managers, Should We Listen to Expert Advice?

Or as Entrepreneur Owner-Managers (EOMs), …should we reject most expert advice?
All of the best high-performing EOMs I know read voraciously and constantly, and listen to as many informed opinions they can find, and then… they ignore what mostly everyone else says, and make up their own mind. They aren’t content being content simply receiving advice. They listen and read enough of other people’s experience and advice, compare that with their own scar tissue and intuition, and then know what to apply and what to reject. They hear input and ask “Is that true? Is that true for me? Is that true in my context? Am I going to put it into action?”

A High Performing Entrepreneur Owner-Manager… or a Puzzle Maker?

Like many EOMs, Mark Taylor joined the family business he would ultimately lead “in the breach” to solve a business problem on what he thought was a temporary tour of duty (a year or two). Fifteen years later he successfully completed the redesign and rejuvenation of Reading Plus’ leadership team for its next chapter, and designed its majority stockholder recapitalization resulting in a great fit new owner who is energized and capable of supporting the team’s go forward plan for the next stage of growth for the company.

Should We Entrepreneur Owner-Managers Trust Our Intuition?

When asked if our human intuition is reliable, Nobel Prize recipient Dan Kahneman comically replied “Oh, our intuition is reliable, for sure. It reliably fails us”. As high performing Entrepreneur Owner-Managers, thinking about challenges like ownership transition, and capturing Enterprise Value– or just learning in the private transaction market, are our intuitions about it correct or not? Let’s look at the characteristics of the private transaction market we operate in for ownership transition, and see if it fits Kahneman’s rubric for whether it is sensible to trust intuition or not.

What’s it like to be the CEO of a new start-up founded by Tony Robbins, Peter Diamandis, and Bob Hariri?

Many of us are learning from both scientific breakthroughs and the popular media about the promise of stem cells, and what they might do for our health, from anti-aging to therapeutic applications. In this podcast Pete has an eye-opening conversation with Todd McAlister, PhD, the CEO of Fountain Therapeutics discussing the reality of stem cell therapy, some regenerative realities, and why it makes sense to keep our expectations realistic.

Entrepreneur Owner-Manager ROUND TRIP?!?

Why would someone—anyone—first acquire a fledgling business in their 30’s, invest 20 years building it into one of the most successful firms in its industry, choose the best fit next majority investor in a successful capital gain transaction, then retire from the business and join the public sector as a civil servant…only to acquire the business back again nine years later?

Mindset:Entrepreneur – Making Our Hearts Sing?

Eugenie is an animated and extroverted student Entrepreneur Owner-Manager who attended the Mindset:Entrepreneur discussion I led in Kigali, Rwanda recently. I was visiting there with a few other members of the Southern New Hampshire University (“SNHU”) governing board, it’s senior leadership team, and SNHU students.* Our goal was to learn and think about the SNHU pilot program delivering online education there at the UN Refugee Camp at Kiziba, and in three other locations.

Appreciating Practical Wisdom

From time to time, we are asked by prospective clients (or their advisors): “Should we engage an M&A advisor who specializes only in our industry?”  The notion goes to the question of whether those who work solely with clients in a single vertical industry bring more knowledge, wisdom, or necessary contacts than those who work in multiple industries.  It is an intriguing question to us because our firm, now in its 85th year, has a clear specialty, but it’s not a single industry. 

A Personal Logistics Business
With White Glove Service

George Antoniadis always knew he’d be an entrepreneur. In this private, one on one interview with Pete Worrell, he describes how he took his “flying club” concept to what is now one of the top fractional aircraft ownership companies in the world.

Complexity is a Drag (Literally)

Re-reading the legendary Fischer Black’s address to the American Finance Association titled Noise (1986) is valuable and entertaining given the context of the world we now live in. His narrative defines Noise as information that hasn’t arrived yet. It is uncertainty about future tastes and technology within and across sectors. He argues that because there is so much noise in our world, many truly important things are essentially unobservable…that the noise in the information we observe is simply clouding our vision.

Why Does Diversification Within a Business Always Destroy
Enterprise Value?

As Entrepreneur Owner-Managers, our decline almost always begins during the most successful period of our business lives. Often, it is a time when accomplishments become increasingly interrupted by preoccupation with the ultimate reality of transition, the final test of leadership. Must we be reminded that

Fighting with Our Self: Has Your CEO
Been on the Job Too Long?

As Entrepreneur Owner-Managers, our decline almost always begins during the most successful period of our business lives. Often, it is a time when accomplishments become increasingly interrupted by preoccupation with the ultimate reality of transition, the final test of leadership. Must we be reminded that

How Do You Build an Enterprise to be Durable?

Cam Brensinger just might be the embodiment of the phrase often uttered to job seekers, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  Merging his passion for all the outdoor life offers with his interest in design, Cam found his way

An Accidental Entrepreneur?

Meryl Levin definitely took the road less traveled when moving from Manhattan to Manchester, NH, she exchanged her photojournalism boots for educator flats.  In this podcast, Meryl shares her wisdom gained by creating and founding the Mill Falls Elementary School, New Hampshire’s first public Montessori School.

Morning Routine: A Way of Being More Alive?

What are the possibilities for our human potential, and for the enterprises we lead? Those of you who “get” me know I am endlessly striving and experimenting on the most effective ways to unlock potential, in myself and in others. I’ve tried to stop; can’t stop. As part of that, many Entrepreneur Owner-Manager friends / clients have heard and repeatedly asked for more color and detail on my morning routine.  So this is currently what my morning routine looks like…

A Teenage Dream Coming True

In this week’s episode, I interview John Ready in our offices in Portsmouth, NH. John is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Ready Seafood, the largest lobster processor and distributor in North America. Hear how he progressed from winning a business plan competition in college to becoming a global seafood leader in this hour-long, unedited podcast.

If I had a chance for a do-over on the sale of RAPID Manufacturing, the company I founded in 2005, one of the few changes I would make is to partner with an M + A Advisor earlier.  My naivety on the question of “what value does a good M + A Advisor provide?” may have cost me money — and certainly added unneeded stress.


A Cooperative Builder and Innovator with Heart

In this week’s episode, I interview Howard Brodsky in the studios of his headquarters in Manchester, NH.  Howard is the co-founder and co-CEO of CCA Global, a $12 Billion co-op, one of the most successful co-ops in the world. We talk about his early inspirations, motivations, successes, disappointments and even… wisdom in this hour-long, unedited podcast.

How Much of Our EOM Behavior is Fear of Loss?

As Entrepreneur Owner-Managers (EOMs) build their businesses, one massive uncertainty we face is the number of decisions about and among the proliferation of marketing and selling channels—wholesale, online, retail, catalogue, big box, boutique, branded, private label, others.  One major driving force in the growth of some businesses over the last ten years has been their decision to sell to—or concentrate in—online customers like Amazon, or in the big box retail channel….

Is There Life After A Capital Gain?

This panel was recorded at the 2018 Bigelow Forum. In this week’s episode, we have a really rich learning opportunity, because, more than our usual interview of a single person, we actually have a panel of successful high-performing entrepreneurs who speak very candidly…

What I’m Reading

Private Enterprise Value readers and podcast listeners frequently ask what I am reading; here’s a quick update.

High Performing EOMs – Episode 5

Our Private Enterprise Podcast interview this month features Jay Jacobs, parallel entrepreneur and Founder of many companies, the most well-known…

High Performing EOMs – Episode 4

Our Entrepreneur Owner-Manager podcast interview this month is with Paul LeBlanc, President and CEO of Southern New Hampshire University. Most…

High Performing EOMs

This month at Private Enterprise Value we are kicking off an experiment to regularly deliver you some thought-provoking interviews with…

Learning or Un-learning?

How fast do you learn? Perhaps a more fitting question is: how fast do you un-learn? Why does it matter?…

What Drives Demand?

I’ve been giving some thought to the drivers of demand. At Bigelow for example, is our practice driven by industrial…