Kamen has similar success stories to report, including a client with a manufacturing business he thought he might attract an offer of $20 million. “We put together a beauty contest of investment banking shops,” says Kamen, “which resulted in the client getting $45 million—and that was after he took the building out of the company name into his own.”

Despite such upbeat reports, Kamen adds a cautionary note. “The sale price of a business is really largely irrelevant,” he says. “You need to look at the covenants and clawbacks in the deal. We demand that the buyer include a marked-up contract with a bid.” As with so many things in the lives of business owners, it’s not so much what they get but what they get to keep.

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