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Celebrating National Small Business Week

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 27 April 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Every year since 1963, the United States has celebrated National Small Business Week. It first began with a proclamation from John F. Kennedy as a way to recognize the unique economic contributions of small businesses and entrepreneurs. This year, Calhoun Companies has partnered with Thompson Hall to celebrate National Small Business Week May 4-8.

More than half of Americans own or work for a small business, which is defined as any company with 500 or fewer employees. Together, the nation’s 28 million small businesses create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the U.S., drive innovation and increase America’s global competitiveness.

At the beginning of National Small Business Week, the President of the United States will issue a proclamation announcing the event and kicking off the festivities. This year, President Barack Obama released an official statement saying, “America’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy. More than that, our small businesses represent what is best about America – that with hard work and ingenuity, anyone – no matter their background – can build a better future for themselves and their families.”

All next week, the U.S. Small Business Administration will honor small business owners and entrepreneurs for their outstanding achievements through various national awards. In the Twin Cities, we will celebrate with the Champions of Business Awards, co-sponsored by Calhoun Companies and Thompson Hall.

Join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn May 4-8 to help us celebrate the recipients of the Champions of Business Awards and all local small businesses! Follow #TwinCitiesSBW to join the festivities.

Tags: Champions of Business, National Small Business Week, small business
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7 Keys to Small Business Success

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 20 April 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Being a small business owner is hard work. Building a success business requires dedication, balance and a mastery of variety of skills. The Huffington Post recently shared seven deceptively simple keys to small business success. As we gear up to celebrate National Small Business Week May 4-8, we’d like to share these lessons with you.

1. Exceptional Customer Service

All other things being equal, small businesses can differentiate themselves by the service they offer. Every interaction your business has with a customer is a part of customer service. Take the necessary time to understand your customer’s needs and exceed their expectations whenever possible.

2. Marketing

You don’t need to spend a lot of money for your marketing to be effective. Simply pick one to three strategies that make sense for your business, then execute them wholeheartedly. Measure the results and adjust your approach as needed. For example, if word of mouth is your strongest marketing tool, use social media and implement customer rewards programs for referrals to amplify your voice.

3. Measurement

In order to be successful, small business owners must understand the fundamentals of their businesses, such as their biggest profits and costs. If you don’t know how to find your operational measurements, consider hiring a small business accountant to serve as your business advisor.

4. Focus and Plan

Know what you are hoping to accomplish in the upcoming year, then use your plan to evaluate opportunities that come your way. You can’t be all things to all people, so focus on who your customer is, how to reach them, and what you’re capable of doing.

5. Know Yourself

Know what you’re good at, what people think of you, what you’re not good at, and where you can improve. This awareness can help you know when you’re reaching your limits and allows you to use other people to fill in where you may not be as strong. If you aren’t naturally self-aware, surround yourself with people who will be honest with you and listen to what they have to say.

6. Network

Reaching beyond the borders of your own business will enhance what you are doing inside it. Take time to network with people who know things you don’t, who are in the same industry or who have something to offer you. To maintain these relationships, periodically share something meaningful and make time to meet up in person.

7. Evolve

Every industry evolves over time. Pretending this isn’t the case will stifle and eventually kill your small business. Keep in touch with what’s going on in your industry, talk with your peers, embrace new ideas from the next generation of small business owners and seek out people known for being ahead of the curve. You’ll benefit from being exposed to fresh approaches and you’ll have the opportunity to share your wisdom.

What are the keys to your small business’ success? Tell us about them in the comment below.

Tags: small business ownership, National Small Business Week, advice, small business
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Announcing the Champions of Business Awards

by Rose McKinney
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Thursday, 02 April 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Announcing the Champions of Business Awards:
Recognizing the Importance and Impact of Small Business in Minnesota

 

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Since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration hosts National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

During this year’s National Small Business Week, Calhoun Companies and Thompson Hall are co-sponsoring the first annual Champions of Business Awards to recognize the distinct and exemplary businesses and leaders in the Twin Cities metro.

 

Date: Nominations are accepted now through Monday, April 20, 2015, and winners will be announced May 4-8, 2015, during Small Business Week via social media. Please follow along to stay up-to-date:

          Facebook: www.facebook.com/calhouncompanies
          Twitter: @CalhounCos
          LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/calhoun-companies

 

Eligibility: Candidates must be owners, employees or professional service providers who work with independently owned businesses with 500 or fewer employees in the Twin Cities metro.

Do you know a Champion of Business? Nominate them today!

 

Social Entrepreneur – This organization has created social change for the world and community around them. It believes in people over profit and its goal is to create large scale and systemic social change. This organization embraces the triple bottom-line approach: people, planet and profit. Click here to nominate.

Right-Hand Award – This award recognizes the business owners “right-hand,” an employee who has gone above and beyond in their role within the organization. He or she has continuously shown exemplary work ethic, positivity, self-motivation and strong performance while remaining modest and humble. Click here to nominate.

Woman of the Year – This woman has distinguished herself within her organization, profession and community. She has shown excellence in leadership, business growth and innovation. She has contributed to her field and the community she lives and works in. Click here to nominate.

Industry & Community Leader – This person is a leader within the community, their profession and organization. This person has demonstrated a positive impact on their community. This person is a dedicated and active leader that provides guidance to others while trailblazing into the future. Click here to nominate.

Small Business Champion of the Year – This organization has provided benefits for their community and demonstrated excellence in their industry. This organization has an encouraging work environment and leads their industry in innovation and positive change. Click here to nominate.

 

Keep up with the latest Champions of Business Awards news on Twitter by following #TwinCitiesSBW.

 

Tags: twin cities small business week, National Small Business Week, Entrepreneurs, leaders, small business week, community, small business, awards, awards
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The Business Journals: How to maintain confidentiality when selling your business

by Rose McKinney
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Thursday, 19 March 2015 Category Sellers 0 Comments

 

Calhoun Companies President and Co-owner, Andy Kocemba, is a contributing writer for The Business Journals. Every month he offers advice on buying and selling small businesses.

 

Confidentiality

From the onset, one of the primary concerns of business owners interested in selling is how to keep their actions confidential.

They might say, "I don't want my customers to know I'm thinking of selling" or "My employees can't know what I'm planning."

While a business owner ultimately has to be prepared for the word to hit the street, there are ways to manage the sale in order to maintain confidentiality as long as possible.

Read about the four ways to maintain your confidentiality on the Business Journals website.

 

Calhoun Cos. Andy KocembaAndy Kocemba is president and co-owner of Calhoun Cos., a top business brokerage firms in the Upper Midwest. Calhoun Cos. has been connecting buyers and sellers since 1908, working with small- to medium-sized businesses across all industries. A graduate from Bethel University, Kocemba joined Calhoun Cos. in 2003 as a sales agent before buying the business in 2011. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Association, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Better Business Bureau.

Read More from Andy:

Tags: Business Journals, advice, confidentiality, small business, sellers, selling
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Speed Mentoring for Entrepreneurs, by Entrepreneurs

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 09 March 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Calling all early-stage entrepreneurs! Are you interested in taking your business to the next level? Consider attending the 4th annual EO Entrepreneurs Rally on Wednesday, March 11, starting at 5 pm.

EO Rally

The annual EO Rally is designed to bring the entrepreneurial community together to give back to those who may need guidance, contacts or just some inspiration. Every year, many of the Twin Cities’ experienced entrepreneurs gather to connect with early-stage business owners in a speed mentoring session. The event has proven to be a dramatic success for both the mentors and mentees that have participated each of the previous years.

This year, Calhoun Companies’ president, Andy Kocemba, will be among the 85 mentors looking to guide the next generation. Bring your questions, challenges, ideas and a healthy supply of business cards. Leave with answers and contacts.

Register here.

Tags: EO Rally, Entrepreneurs, lessons, Mentoring, advice
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Sell Your Business for More

by Rose McKinney
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Thursday, 05 March 2015 Category Sellers 0 Comments

Small business optimism is the highest it’s been in six years. With a sharp increase in interested and qualified buyers and sellers that are able to ask for and receive more money for their businesses, 2015 looks like a great year to sell a business.

If you’ve been following along with our blog, you are familiar with many ways to get the most for your small business if, and when, you decide to sell – be it this year, next year or 10 years from now. Today, we share another tip with you, courtesy of Patrick Good, president of PAG Associates, Inc:

Wait until your company is generating $1 million in pre-tax profit (EBITDA) before you sell.

At the million-dollar mark, the number of interested buyers dramatically increases. The more interested buyers you have, the better the multiple of earnings you command.

Since businesses are often valued on multiple of earnings, hitting the $1 million mark means you not only get a higher multiple, but also apply your multiple to a higher number. For example, a company with $200,000 EBITDA may fetch $600,000, or roughly three times EBITDA. Conversely, a company at the $1 million EBITDA mark would likely sell for $5 million, or five times more than EBITDA. This means that the company with $1 million EBITDA is five times bigger, but almost ten times more valuable.

Selling a business is a personal choice, and there are many factors that determine what time is the right time to sell for many owners. However, if you’re nearing in on the $1 million EBITDA mark, remember Patrick Good's advice and consider waiting. To learn more, click here

Interested in more tips on buying and selling businesses? Follow us on Twitter.

 

Tags: sellers, advice, EBITDA, selling
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Congratulations to Our Agents

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 25 February 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

10989956 836653906391913 5311248241589558074 nTwo great things happened in 1908: Calhoun Companies was established and the classic song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was written.

As part of Calhoun Companies tradition, we like to recognize and honor our agents with Louisville Slugger baseball bats and awards for the hard work they do. Last week, we celebrated all of Calhoun’s agents at our annual Agent Awards Banquet.

Congratulations to our Big Hitters!

- Steve Bragg

- Manoj Moorjani

- Duane Johnson/Chris Lappen

- Nick Strandberg

- Stan Gibbs/Jeff Krieg/Shaun Jackson

And kudos to our Top Listers!

- Steve Bragg

- Manoj Moorjani

- Duane Johnson/Chris Lappen

- Stan Gibbs/Jeff Krieg/Shaun Jackson

Thank you to our all of our agents for your dedication to helping former and future small business owners make the best possible business deals. To see more photos of the event, visit Calhoun Companies’ Facebook page.

Big Hitters Calhoun Top Listers
 Big Hitters  Top Listers

 

 

Tags: agents, awards, Congratulations, top listers, big hitters
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The Business Journals: Selling Your Business Without Regret

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 16 February 2015 Category Sellers 0 Comments

 

Calhoun Companies President and Co-owner, Andy Kocemba, is a contributing writer for The Business Journals. Every month he offers advice on buying and selling small business.

 

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When thinking about selling your business, it's important to examine your motivations, since that insight can be helpful for significantly reducing the chance of regret later.

Why do you want to sell your business?

It's the first question anyone contemplating the sale of a business must answer. Price and terms of a transaction might fade from your memory over time, but true happiness and peace with your decision to sell hinge on a firm understanding of your own internal motivations.

Let's take a look at those motivations, since that insight can be helpful for significantly reducing the chance of regret later.

Read more about the factors that can motivate you to sell your business on the Business Journals website.

 

calhouncosandykocembaAndy Kocemba is president and co-owner of Calhoun Cos., a top business brokerage firms in the Upper Midwest. Calhoun Cos. has been connecting buyers and sellers since 1908, working with small- to medium-sized businesses across all industries. A graduate from Bethel University, Kocemba joined Calhoun Cos. in 2003 as a sales agent before buying the business in 2011. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Association, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Better Business Bureau.

Read More from Andy:

Tags: sellers, small business, selling
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Calhoun Companies Agent Spotlight: Nick Strandberg

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 09 February 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Get to know our Calhoun Companies agents!

Each member of our staff has the unique knowledge and experience essential to helping you make a mutually beneficial business deal. Whether you are looking to jumpstart your future by buying a business, or retire by selling your business to the best possible buyer, these are the men and women who will make it happen.

 

JP Nicholas (Nick) StrandbergNick Strandberg

Family: Wife Pat and 3 adult sons -- Jason, Corey, Jeremy

Education: Benilde High School, first graduating class 1959; College of St. Thomas, BA in Business & Psychology; University of Minnesota, MS in Business

 

How many years have you been working at Calhoun Companies?

35 years

What did you do before Calhoun Companies?

I started in sales at age 15, door to door selling snow suits in summer and was a personal fitness instructor and sold personal fitness memberships during my college days. After college, I was a newspaper advertising copywriter and in sales for Star Tribune and finally a radio copywriter and in sales at various radio stations in the Twin Cities before joining Calhoun in 1979.

What type of businesses do you like to work with?

Manufacturing, distribution, and auto-related business

How do you like to celebrate a sale?

Buy my wife roses.

What is one of your most rewarding memories or the thing you like most about working at Calhoun Companies?

Helping a buyer buy seven businesses through me and seeing his business going from under $1 million in sales to two distinct businesses, each doing over $10 million in sales.

Where can people find you on the weekends? Or during a Minnesota summer?

Noremberg Garden Gazebo

If you had tickets to a concert, who would you like to see?

Basilica Choir, because my son sings in it.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Every day is a gift from God.

If you had to choose another job, what would it be?

Commodity trader for my own account.

Tags: agent spotlight, agent, auto, manufacturing, distribution, Calhoun Companies
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100 Great Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask – Part 4

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 02 February 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

As business leaders, we have to be ready to adapt to a constantly changing business environment. One way that we can evaluate our processes and reassess how we do things is to ask ourselves questions. Calhoun Companies has been asking President Andy Kocemba some of the 100 Great Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask, an article published in Inc. magazine this past spring.

To be successful, all small business owners need to know how their companies stack up to the current competition, then they need to anticipate what their future competitors might look like. In the question for today, Andy takes a look at how to keep your company ahead of the competition.

How can we become the company that would put us out of business? - James Champy, author and management expert

Andy’s response:

Planning and strategy. Most companies can’t achieve their goals, whether it’s sales targets or actually running competition out of business, without planning and strategy. At Calhoun Companies, we recently developed a five-year plan to help us set big picture goals and outline the steps, strategies and decision making parameters we will use on a daily basis. We regularly look back at the plan and determine if those things match our mission, purpose and goals. Even if your company doesn’t ultimately end up sticking with a long-term plan, the planning process itself often delivers invaluable insights into your company’s future.

How would you answer this question for your company? What steps have you taken to keep your company ahead of the competition? Share your answers in the comments below.

Tags: Inc., 100 questions, entrepreneur, small business, business owners, questions
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Small Business Trends to Watch For in 2015

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 28 January 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Each new year ushers in new business strategies, trends and technologies that force business owners to adapt. Forbes recently discussed six trends that could impact small business growth in 2015.

1. Alternative Capital Flows Will Gain Traction

Small business need cash to grow, but the traditional lending market isn’t working for everyone. In 2015, look for alternative flows of capital like Square’s cash advance and new peer-to-peer capital lending products to become increasingly popular.

2. 3D Printing Will Enable Small Batch Manufacturing

3D printing technology is finally ready for widespread adoption. Recent advances in quality and cost have now made small batch manufacturing possible. In 2015, expect small businesses to begin to leverage the technology.

3. Big Data Analytics Will See Increased Adoption

Over the next two years, 75 percent of small businesses plan to increase their investment in big data analytics. This year, expect small businesses to adopt affordable tools that allow them to quickly examine their data. The best part – big data tools are becoming increasingly user friendly meaning that they can be used by any employee.

4. Small Businesses Will Enter the Internet of Things

In 2015, small businesses will enter the Internet of Things using application programming interfaces to simplify the process of collecting data from Internet-connected devices and using that data for business goals. The result will be an increase in collaboration and innovation, and the removal of barriers.

5. The Cloud Will Be Critical

The cloud supports company functions with benefits that can’t be ignored, including efficiency gains and improved employee mobility. In 2015, the global market for cloud services for small and mid-sized businesses is expected to reach $95 billion.

6. Content Will Be King

In 2015, expect more small businesses to embrace content marketing and shift to a consumer-focused message. As more content creators lose their jobs with traditional media companies, it presents an opportunity for small businesses to work with journalists, writers and editors to produce content for particular industry niches.

What small business trends are you expecting to see in 2015? Tell us about them in the comments.

Tags: trends, 2015, small business, advice, Forbes
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Star Tribune: Minnesota sees strongest M&A action since 2007

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Monday, 26 January 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Calhoun Companies’ president, Andy Kocemba, recently shared his insight about the Twin Cities deals market with Star Tribune business reporter Neal St. Anthony. Andy spoke about one of Calhoun's most successful deals which is a great example of Calhoun Companies' dedication to helping real business owners achieve what matters most to them in a deal. Read below for the full article and Andy's insight on 2015’s mergers and acquisitions market in the Star Tribune.

 

ToolKraft

Gary Hadley is president of MultiSource, which bought ToolKraft in Fridley last summer. MultiSource wasn’t the highest bidder but offered the best future for ToolKraft’s workers, said former owner Roger Zbikowski.

 

Roger Zbikowski wasn’t positive he was going to sell until he got the offer he couldn’t refuse for ToolKraft, the high-precision machine factory in Fridley that his late father started in the 1970s.

“The company was a project we built together,” Zbikowski said. “After he died about 3½ years ago, I just didn’t have that feeling for the business anymore. And I have no kids, no next generation to pass the business on to.

“I’m pulling out earlier than I expected. But it’s a fantastic time to sell a profitable company that weathered the recession. We reduced hours, but I didn’t lay off one employee or cut benefits. This is a highly trained group, and we needed to retain them. When business came back, we were ready to go.”

Zbikowski, 55, accepted the offer last summer of Gary Hadley’s MultiSource, the growing contract manufacturer that kept the nearly 40 ToolKraft employees. The addition expanded MultiSource’s capabilities, with an eye to expanding the former ToolKraft, now known as MultiSource’s Fridley division.

Zbikowski indicated that MultiSource was not the highest bidder, but came close to his price and offered the best future for employees.

That was just one of the 416 deals announced last year in which a ­Minnesota company was a buyer or seller, making 2014 the most active mergers-and-acquistions year locally and around the country since 2007, before the Great Recession.

“The trends we currently see from the Twin Cities make us optimistic for 2015,” said Andy Kocemba, president of Calhoun Companies, the Edina business brokerage that represented ToolKraft. “Buyers and sellers are gaining confidence and local small businesses are performing increasingly well.”

Generally, growth in the buying and selling of companies, as well as increased levels of equity capital raising, are indicators that corporate ­sellers are confident that they can get a good price. And the acquirers, either financial buyers such as private equity investors or strategic buyers seeking to expand or deepen their businesses, have ­confidence that they are buying a decent firm that can deliver improved performance in an improving economy.

Nationally, mergers and acquisitions hit the highest annual volume on record with $1.61 trillion worth of deals announced in 2014, up 42 percent from 2013 and exceeding the previous high of $1.57 trillion in 2007, according to Dealogic.

“This [2014] was the first year of four good quarters in a row since the recession,” said Matthew Knopf, head of the M&A business at Dorsey & Whitney, which represents such companies as UnitedHealth Group, Mosaic and Medtronic, which have been active. “In the past, there was always fear about the economy or government shutdowns or something,” that would shut down the deal pipeline for a quarter or two.

“It’s hard to have four good quarters in a row,” Knopf added. “I haven’t worked harder in a long time, particularly in the fourth quarter. ­People wanted to get things done. If people were ­worried about the economy you wouldn’t see that.”

Significant fourth-quarter transactions included:

• Graco Inc. selling liquid finishing business assets to the Carlisle Companies for $590 million. Minneapolis-based Graco had acquired those assets from Illinois Tool Works in 2012, but had to sell the business after the Federal Trade Commission required Graco to divest liquid finishings over industry concentration issues. Graco used proceeds of the divestiture to make four additional acquisitions in January, including the $160 million acquisition of Pennsylvania-based High Pressure Equipment.

• Thomas McNerney Partners, a health care venture capital firm based in Minneapolis, was part of consortium of 13 investors who invested in InVitae Corp. a San Francisco genetic information company. The $120 million financing was one of the largest venture capital investments of a Minnesota firm last year.

• Olson, one of the largest advertising and marketing agencies in Minneapolis, announced it will be acquired by ICF International, a Fairfax, Va.-based professional services firm. The deal was valued at $295 million and the two firms said the 545-person Olson agency would operate as a stand-alone unit of ICF.

• UnitedHealth Group announced it would acquire Alere Health of Atlanta and closed the deal on Jan. 19. Alere provides rapid diagnostic tests for infections diseases and toxicology. Alere will become part of UnitedHealth’s Optum health services arm adding to Optum’s portfolio of health management services. The deal was valued at $600 million, the largest announced deal of the fourth quarter.

• The Pohlad Companies announced that it will sell Marquette Financial, the last of the banking empire founded by the late Carl Pohlad, to UMB Financial of Kansas City for about $190 million in stock. The properties are in Arizona and Texas. The Pohlads previously sold their Minneapolis-based banks to what are now U.S. Bancorp (1991) and Wells Fargo (2001).

Also in the fourth quarter, the $570 million sale price was disclosed for Henkel’s acquisition of the Bergquist Co. of Chanhassen, a deal that was announced in the previous quarter. The low-profile Bergquist, a maker of thermal insulation for electronics founded by Carl Bergquist 50 years ago, had revenue of about $200 million and employs about 1,000 at several Minnesota and Wisconsin plants.

Francis Murphy, Minneapolis-based director of transaction services at KPMG, the accounting and advisory firm, said the merger-advisory business is strong.

“We’re seeing an uptick in Twin Cities deal volume,” Murphy said. “The sectors that have been busy nationally have been busy locally: health care, technology, industrial products. The trends in health care and pharmacy and life sciences are drivers here.”

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144

Read more on StarTribune.com

Tags: transactions, deals, brokerage, small business, selling, buying, M&A
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The Business Journals: Strategies for buying a business without risking long-term regret

by Rose McKinney
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Friday, 23 January 2015 Category Buyers 0 Comments

Calhoun Companies President and Co-owner, Andy Kocemba, is a contributing writer for The Business Journals. Every month he will provide tips on making the most of your small business.

Biz Journal 2

I like to say that buying a business doesn't happen by accident.

There are challenges, hiccups or "gut-check" instances throughout any transaction, and it takes a truly committed buyer to get a deal done.

As a business buyer, how do you know you are committed to the right deal? Here are two major ways to purchase a business without risking long-term regret.

 

Read about the ways to purchase a business without risking regret on the Business Journals website.

 

Tags: buying advice, buying strategies, small business, purchasing, buyers
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Five New Year’s Resolutions Every Business Person Should Make

by Rose McKinney
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Tuesday, 20 January 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

Every New Year, millions of people make resolutions to improve themselves – lose weight, quit smoking, help others. Odds are, you’ve probably made a few resolutions of your own. However, you may not have made them for your company. If you didn’t, now is the time business owners should make resolutions to help their businesses thrive.

Ian Altman, CEO of Grow My Revenue, LLC, recently shared his suggestions for five resolutions every business person should make.

1. Know how to describe why people need your help.

It’s easy for small business owners to describe what they do, but not always why it matters. To run a successful business, resolve to explain why, and when, people may need your company.

2. Define three intermediate steps for a long term goal.

Achieving your goals is much easier if you establish an action plan first. You don’t have to lay out every milestone, but define the first three steps to get you started. For example, if your goal is to expand your business by entering a new market, your first steps might be:

1) Define the problem you solve for that market.

2) Identify three clients who would be influential in capturing your market.

3) Make a list of the first 10 clients you plan to approach to validate the market.

3. Don’t complain, act.

Things will not always go your way. Don’t allow yourself to be the victim. Think about what you can do to overcome obstacles, then do it. Once you overcome one major obstacle, you’ll start seeing potential in overcoming what seemed like even bigger challenges.

4. If you don’t like the weather, change your environment.

Life is too short to deal with jerks. If you work for a bad employer, or if you have a bad client, it might be time to move on. Define a plan to improve your situation and act on it.

5. Increase your value to your friends and coworkers: be a great teacher.

The best thing you can do in 2015 is to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. Make yourself valuable by being helpful and providing content that answers your clients’ and coworkers’ questions.

 

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Read more on Forbes.com.

 

 

Tags: business, small business, lessons, Resolutions
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Minnesota Business Magazine: Buying and selling of small businesses on the rise

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Wednesday, 14 January 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments
More qualified buyers and motivated sellers stimulate the market
 

By Erica Rivera
01-13-2015

andyIf you’ve been thinking about buying or selling a business, 2015 just might be the year to do it. A recently released nationwide survey conducted by BizBuySell shows that sales and purchases of small businesses are at record high levels since that online marketplace began tracking such statistics in 2007.
 

Increases in qualified buyers, motivated sellers, financing availability, and confidence are responsible for the uptick in small-business transactions. According to a Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index Survey, small-business optimism was also on the rise in 2014. Seventy-one percent of business owners surveyed reported “expecting their overall financial situation to be very or somewhat good over the next 12 months.” Small-business owners also reported plans to invest more in their companies and to increase the number of jobs in those companies. Overall, the survey concluded that “small-business owners are the most optimistic they have been in more than six years, and business owners are feeling the most upbeat about the year ahead since the start of the Great Recession.”

Calhoun Companies, an independent business brokerage serving the Twin Cities area and the Upper Midwest since 1908, has felt the recovery firsthand. Its 2014 transactions totaled 48, with one-quarter of them exceeding $1 million. “What the government would classify as ‘small businesses’ that we deal with are families, so that optimism and confidence comes into play very strongly in these situations,” says Andy Kocemba, president of Calhoun Companies. One might assume Baby Boomers going into retirement are responsible for the increase in sales, but Kocemba says the market isn’t seeing that full effect just yet. “Third quarter, nationwide, Baby Boomers were the top sellers — but they were also the top buyers.”

As the financials change, so do the reasons for selling a business. Company owners, Kocemba says, are “returning to the more traditional reasons for selling, primarily retirement. During the recession, retirement accounts and savings were hit and business values diminished in such a way that people weren’t able to retire. If they wanted to sell, or did sell, it was other reasons beyond retirement that was motivating them.”

Regardless of the reasons for selling, sellers are asking for more and receiving more. BizBuySell reports that the median asking price for small businesses in Q4 of 2014 was $224,990, up from $200,000 the previous year. Sales prices also rose, from $175,000 in Q4 of 2013 to $200,000 in Q4 of 2014. Median revenue and cash flow were also at record highs (since 2007) at the end of Q4.

Ultimately, these survey numbers are a guidepost indicating that the market is good and getting better. Whether you should buy or sell is a personal decision made on a case-by-case basis. “Our business is much less dollars and cents and numbers and analytics than you might think,” Kocemba says. “It’s more of a gut-based feeling, relationship kind of business.”

Tags: BizBuySell, 2015 Outlook, small business, brokerage, Q4
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Press Release: Record-Setting Year for Sale and Purchase of Small Business is Positive Indicator for 2015

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 12 January 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

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For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2015

Record-Setting Year for Sale and Purchase of Small Business is Positive Indicator for 2015

Calhoun Companies Averages Nearly $1 Million per Small Business Sold in 2014

 

EDINA, MINN., January 9, 2015 – In a nationwide survey conducted by BizBuySell, 67 percent of business brokers reported a year-over-year increase in transaction activity in 2014. This is consistent with reports that indicated 2014 was on track to record the highest number of small business transactions since 2007. In 2014, Calhoun Companies completed 48 transactions with more than 25 percent of those transactions surpassing $1 million.

“We regularly track these national trends and evaluate the extent to which they reflect what’s happening in the Midwest market,” said Andy Kocemba, president of Calhoun Companies.

In the fourth quarter alone, Calhoun Companies closed 15 transactions, representing more than $10 million in sales. Overall, the company ended 2014 with transaction totals of more than $47 million. The average price each business sold for increased from 2013, and included 13 deals exceeding $1 million.

The main driver of growth in 2014 was an increase in the number of qualified buyers, drawn in by an overall increase in small business performance and confidence. According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, in the fourth quarter of 2014, small business owner optimism increased to 58, up 34 points from this time last year. An increasing number of sellers and an improved overall small business environment were also significant contributors to growth in 2014. These trends are expected to continue into 2015.

“The trends we are currently seeing from the Twin Cities make us optimistic for 2015. Buyers and sellers are gaining confidence, and local small businesses are performing increasingly well,” said Kocemba.

The highest levels of optimism among brokers occurred in the Midwest and Eastern regions, with 22 percent of respondents expecting transaction levels to significantly improve. Nationwide, 82 percent of brokers expect transaction activity will improve in 2015. Surveyed brokers also expect sold businesses will command a higher price in 2015 due to an increase in overall business performance.

About Calhoun Companies

Calhoun Companies is a leading independent business brokerage serving the Twin Cities area and the Upper Midwest since 1908. Specializing in business valuation, buying and selling businesses, and commercial real estate, the team at Calhoun confidently connects buyers and sellers through a successful transaction. Current listings and additional information included on the Calhoun Companies website.

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Tags: brokerage, industry trends, small business, press release, Q4
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Calhoun Companies' Best of 2014

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 05 January 2015 Category Industry 0 Comments

At the start of every year, we all take a moment to look back on the things we’ve accomplished and the lessons we’ve learned in the previous year. In this spirit of reflection, Calhoun Companies would like to take a look back at our most popular blog posts featuring top brokerage tips, small business advice and business news from 2014. Click on the title of each blog post to read more.

  • Five Ways to Not Hate Public Speaking - As you become more and more successful as a business owner, chances are you'll be asked to speak in front of a group of people about your product or service. To some, this provides a great thrill, but to most, it provides anxiety, stress and fear. 
  • Minneapolis is a Top City for Women Entrepreneurs - Financial website NerdWallet revealed the top 10 cities for women entrepreneurs, and Minneapolis landed at spot number four in 2014.
  • Selling Your Business Can Take an Emotional Toll – Judith Glaser, an executive coach who has trained many business owners through transitions, likens the depression some sellers feel to the post-partum blues. She says that when someone else comes and takes your (former) business in a new direction, it's "like performing plastic surgery on your child."
  • Small Business Owners are Feeling Good - In January 2014, the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index hit its highest level in five years. Small business owners reported improved cash flow and a brighter outlook for revenue and earnings.
  • EMyth Shares Small Business End-of-Year Tax Tips – CPA Martin Kamenski provides tips and a brief explanation of some of the more common tax deductions small business owners may be able to utilize.
  • Three Traits Needed to Lead Your Company - Boris Groysberg, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, surveyed senior search consultants at a global executive placement firm to find out what headhunters are looking for in leaders.

Remember to subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on the latest small business tips, brokerage advice and local business news. Here’s to a successful 2015!

Tags: tips, small business, 2014, recap, selling, buying, brokerage, advice, business advice
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Calhoun Companies Agent Spotlight: Don Orke

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

Get to know our Calhoun Companies agents!

Each member of our staff has the unique knowledge and experience necessary to help you make a mutually beneficial business deal. Whether you are looking to jumpstart your future by buying a business, or sell your business to the best buyer possible, these are the men and women who make it happen.

 

Don Orke

Family: Wife Karen, one daughter and grandson, two stepsons

Education: BS, MS, University of Minnesota

Home: Plymouth, MN

Organizations: MN Lodging Association, Wisconsin

 

don orkeHow many years have you been working at Calhoun Companies?

13 years

What type of businesses do you like to work with?

Motels/Hotels

What is one of your most rewarding memories or the thing you like most about working at Calhoun Companies?

The opportunity for success

Where can people find you on the weekends? Or during a Minnesota summer?

Fishing, hunting, wildlife photography

If you had tickets to a concert, who would you like to see?

Josh Groban

What is one food item that you couldn’t live without?

Chocolate

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The opportunity to attend the University of Minnesota

If you had to choose another job, what would it be?

A retirement that would include teaching my grandson about nature and the joys of outdoor recreation.

Tags: agent spotlight, don orke, agents
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The Business Journals: 3 Reasons Why Family Succession May Not be an Exit Strategy

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 15 December 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

Calhoun Companies President and Co-owner, Andy Kocemba, is a contributing writer for The Business Journals. Every month he will provide tips on making the most of your small business.

Biz Journal 1

It seems just about every week there is a different seminar, webinar or blog that comes through my email inbox pertaining to succession planning. The experts want to share how to best transition your business to the next generation.

But what if transitioning the business to your children is not in your best interest, their best interest or the company's?

Here are the top three reasons why you may want to look to an outside buyer when it becomes time to transition out of your company.

 

Read more about why family succession may not be your exit strategy on The Business Journals website.

 

Tags: Succession, small business, planning, selling
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EMyth Shares Small Business End-of-Year Tax Tips

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

As 2014 comes to a close, small business owners often start thinking about end-of-year taxes. We recently found an informative article on EMyth.com that offers advice on what deductions small business owners may be able to utilize.

In the article, CPA Martin Kamenski provides tips and a brief explanation of some of the more common tax deductions small business owners may forget.According to Kamenski, deductions for small businesses could include: the use of a home office, travel expenses, year-end spending, inventory donations and the small business health care credit.

To read Kamenski's tips and explanations, visit EMyth.com.

Tags: small business tax tips, small business tax advice, advice, tax tips, tips, tax, deductions, year-end bill, industry, small business, taxes
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