Kyle Valentine leads Viking’s efforts in the East Tennessee market and brings with him more than a decade of business development and recruiting experience. Kyle has partnered with some of the most respected companies in American business to provide talent across all departments. With this experience, Kyle brings a valuable perspective when guiding and assisting East Tennessee entrepreneurs with the most important financial decision of their life – selling their business.
After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with his Master’s in Athletic Administration, Kyle began his career in staffing and recruiting, specializing in the tech industry. Then, in 2011, Kyle relocated to Knoxville for an account manager position with Aerotek. There, he worked for Jeff McKeehan (who would go on to become Managing Partner in Viking’s Western NC market). From those early days at Aerotek, Kyle has maintained a great deal of respect for Jeff, and the two were still in contact years later when Jeff sold his tech company (assisted by Viking M&A) and joined the Viking team.
Jeff ended up reaching out to Kyle about providing M&A services in East Tennessee. They recognized that local Knoxville business brokerage services were in short supply, that Viking could help meet that need, and that Kyle had the experience and skill to serve this market.
In Kyle’s years in staffing and recruiting, he honed the valuable skill set required to successfully find jobs for people, and people for jobs. Today, he employs that skillset in the nuanced world of M&A, finding buyers for sellers, and sellers for buyers. Kyle’s experience translates across a wide range of industries, but he is particularly experienced working with folks in manufacturing, skill trades, and engineering support. Kyle’s long history of working with operations managers and HR managers has also given him insight into the problems and pain points of business owners, what moves an owner toward exiting (common threads are time, money, or freedom), and what kind of exit or buyer would be a good match.
Advice If You Are Thinking Of Selling A Business
Selling a business can be the biggest decision in a person’s life. Like all of our advisors across the southeast, the Viking business advisors in Knoxville, TN, are experienced professionals who are here for the long term. We have no interest in rushing our clients through a sale or purchase.
If you’re thinking of selling a business in East Tennessee, Kyle’s advice is to start planning early. “Reverse engineer your timeline. Choose your goal timing for your exit, and then work backward. You can do things now that will help reach your goal. For example, get a ‘state of the union’ valuation, clean up your books, and don’t wait so long that you become too tired or burned out to do the things that will help get you top dollar.”
Like all of Viking’s divisions, our business advisors in Knoxville, TN, engage with potential clients early on in the sales process and remain engaged until the timing is right for the client. Every business is different, and so are the needs of the business owner, especially when forming an exit strategy. Our advisors understand that selling a business is not an isolated event. Rather, it is a process that deserves careful planning, communication, and execution.
Each of our East Tennessee clients has a dedicated business advisor in Knoxville, along with a team of analysts and marketing professionals providing support through the entire selling process. We also recognize that it often takes different perspectives and ideas to ensure the best result for a client, and that is why Kyle Valentine has a whole team behind him.
Advice If You Are Thinking Of Buying A Business
If you’re thinking of buying a business in the Knoxville area, Kyle has some advice, particularly for first time buyers: “Choose something that interests you or that you’re already good at. Buying a business is not the best way to try something new to see if you like it. Also, don’t hop on a trend if it’s not something you’re already passionate about. I recommend that new buyers resist casting a wide net when shopping for a business. Identify your passion, experience, and skill, and focus there.”
Additionally, be sure to obtain the appropriate amount of information about the companies you’re considering – and that the information is accurate. Among other things, that is one area that our business advisors in Knoxville can help with, including pre-qualifying businesses through SBA lenders. We work hard to ensure that the buyers we work with can have confidence in their purchase.
If you are considering business advisors in Knoxville, TN, contact Viking today for a confidential consultation or business valuation at no cost, no strings attached.
Advice for Those Considering a Career in M&A
Although half of Viking’s Advisors have owned their own business, don’t count yourself out if you haven’t. Kyle suggests that someone with successful experience in B2B sales would be very well-equipped for this kind of work. In his words, “You’ve got to be wired for building something out of nothing. If you’re skilled at building a territory and accustomed to the ebbs and flows of closing deals, this could be a good move.”
Kyle and his wife call Knoxville home, and from the start of his work with Viking in early 2022 he says that all of the Advisors have been extremely generous in sharing their knowledge and experience. “It’s an exciting place to be.” If you think you have what it takes, let’s talk.
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