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CEO Survey: The Magic Number

Sixty-one percent of the CEOs who responded to our survey have more than half of their net worth wrapped up in their companies; 26 percent have more than three-quarters of their net worth tied to the business. So it's a little surprising that a minority of CEOs, 36 percent, have brought in an outside expert to value their companies, and fewer than half have a specific amount for which they would sell. Those who did have a magic number in mind had different ways of arriving at the figure.

"It is based solely on what I think it would be worth to give up the most exciting time of my life and walk away to do something else."

-- Michael Biggerstaff, Nxtbook Media

"It was arrived at based on risk, time to value, and financial lifestyle goals. In other words, my wife told me the number."

-- Joseph Hillesheim, AspireHR

"This is the amount of money that it would take for me to give up my baby."

-- Mark Zoske, SaltWorks

"It is a combination of future growth potential, goodwill, and what it would take for me to stop running this business."

-- Scott Mandell, Enjoy Life Foods

"In my case, this is the number when you feel that you have to take the business from the entrepreneurial level to a more corporate structure."

-- Vlad Sadovsky, Merchant Processing Services

"I want to build a building next to the Sears Tower that would block their view of the lake. My magic number would be a great start."

-- Chuck Tanner, Wholesale Interiors

"It was a goal I set several years ago. I know where the business is heading."

-- Bradley Grubaugh, Bradley Excavating

"Funds sufficient to allow me to retire -- assuming I actually wanted to -- plus enough to take care of key staff and family."

-- Miles Feinberg, Miles Consulting

"This would provide me the money I expect for starting this company, growing it, and managing it."

-- Lisa Shaffer, Signature Genomic Laboratories

"This is just a number out of the thin air."

-- Ravi Srinivasan, Sunray Enterprise

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