For the past few months we've been asking Inc. readers whether Norm should sell his business. The Norm in question is, of course, Norm Brodsky, our Street Smarts columnist and proud owner of CitiStorage, a document storage company here in New York. In response, Norm has received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls, which in their quantity and tenor confirm my belief that entrepreneurs are quite happy telling other people what to do (a trait I happen to share with our dear readers). The readers are split just about down the middle. Fortunately, Norm is a man who doesn't shy from a big decision. And he's made his.
We've moved Norm's column this month into the feature well (click here), where it's part of our cover package, along with a story about the fascinating courtship between GoLite, a small outdoor apparel company, and Timberland (NYSE:TBL), and an article about the pitfalls of taking investments from private equity firms. Together, these three stories paint a vivid picture of the complications--financial, logistical, and emotional--of selling a company.
Selling seems like such a huge deal, in all ways. But for entrepreneurs, it's rarely the end. John Tu and David Sun, winners of the Distinguished Alumni Award at this year's Inc. 500 conference, sold their company, Kingston Technology, only to buy it back a few years later (for a lot less than they got when they sold), and it's growing again. Other entrepreneurs sell one company just to start another. We trust that if Norm's sale goes through, we won't find him lolling on a beach. He'll be out and about, being an entrepreneur.