One Horse and a Whole Team of People


I hope everyone is having a good summer so far. Here in Upstate NY, we like to say we have two seasons, "winter and the 4th of July".

A "work-related" highlight for me was an event at the Saratoga Raceway (that's horses, not cars). It was put on by the great folks at Upstate Capital Association of NY- this group connects companies with investors, dealmakers, and advisors. Always great to see old friends and make new ones.

If you've never been to a horse race, go.

Even if you don't bet a penny, it's an incredible thing to see a 1,000 pound animal running at top speed. It shakes the ground, whizzes by and it's "gone baby, gone."

Now, I know next to nothing about horseracing but I was fascinated to learn how much goes into it.  Aside from the cost of feeding these horses, there are trainers, veterinarians, jockeys, ferriers (the person who puts the shoes on the horse) and many other people who make this game work, all so the horse will be ready to line up and when that starting bell rings, run as fast as it possibly can for about a minute and a half.

That's a lot of work for such a short event.

The event also held a panel discussion about how one company was sold to a private equity group and how all the pieces came together. I don't think it was intentional but I saw lots of similarities to horseracing.

Getting the deal done required accountants, attorneys, bankers, not to mention the company's management. Interestingly, the company hadn't considered a sale prior to receiving an offer - but they were ready in case one showed up. Sometimes opportunity knocks unannounced and being ready to line up and flat-out run like the wind when the bell rings can be the difference between a successful deal and a last-place finish.

The clear message from the panel was that if a business owner is even thinking about a sale, whether it is now or in 3, 4, 5 years from now, having everything in place sooner rather than later is essential because you never know when you have to line up and go. That means having the financials all cleaned up, having a trusted team of advisors, knowing the value of the business and really understanding how the business looks from a buyer's perspective (I call these "the 5 C's" which would take too long to discuss here - call me if you want to learn more).

So whether its frontrunners, furlongs, fillies or fiberoptics - it's a good idea to be ready to run when the bell rings.

  • "Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people" - Steve Jobs
  • " I can make a general in five minutes, but a good horse is hard to replace" - Abraham Lincoln
  • "Fortune favors the prepared" - Louis Pasteur
  • "Horse racing is animated roulette." - Roger Kahn
  • "A Horse, A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" - William Shakespeare

I hope your summer has been a great one so far - we're on the backstretch with a little bit more to go so make it count.

Be good and be well.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.