Frank E. Beane, CBI, CBA, ASA
M&A Source Chairman, 1993
Those of us who were around back in the early 1990’s know that Darrell Fouts was the primary force behind the creation of The M&A Source.
Until that time, most of us pursued the philosophies of Tom & Barbara West in that we were all listing and selling Main Street, mom & pop-type businesses. Many of those small business owners were not aware that they could sell their businesses. When the time came, they just closed the doors on the place. Those business owners deserved to have competent representation and it was our goal to provide that service to them.
We didn’t have online services in those days, so every meeting was done face-to-face. Those meetings might be held in an office, or at a coffee shop, or in the business owner’s home. We didn’t worry too much about establishing a price. We sold businesses with an approach of a down payment from the buyer and monthly payments to the owner until the debt was paid off.
Because business brokerage was in its infancy, there were no standards and the actions of some brokers caused our industry to get a bad name. Through the efforts of The M&A Source and the IBBA, we established ethical standards in an attempt to weed out the charlatans and avoid lawsuits.
We could earn decent livings selling small businesses, and many of our broker friends were ill-equipped to represent larger businesses. Some of them washed out of the industry because they fell victim to “Big Deal-itis” and stopped pursuing the Main Street deals that paid their bills.
We, mainly Darrell, saw the need to create a program that would teach business brokers how to list, represent, and sell larger businesses. Darrell was a bit of a cowboy, a “big picture” guy, but he wasn’t an administrator. I came from a large corporate accounting practice, and helped bring some organization and administrative skills to The M&A Source. Darrell and I were long-time friends, so it was my pleasure to follow him as the new association’s second Chairman.
Ed Telling (1994 & 1995 M&A Source Chairman) and others were more instrumental in taking us from informal processes to an association with real organization and administrative abilities.