Reed Kelly’s journey from a small town in Tennessee to a Senior Advisor at Viking M&A is an inspiring one. He has navigated various challenges and changes in his career and emerged as a successful leader in the financial services and M&A industry. His story is a prime example of how hard work and a willingness to adapt can lead to success in any industry.
Reed grew up on a farm in rural Tennessee, where his father was a farmer and a lawyer. He says it was a good way to grow up, but anxious to experience what life might offer outside of a small country town, Reed left to study business at the University of Tennessee. In addition, he spent much time with a friend’s family who lived there in Knoxville. His friend’s father was a successful financial advisor and a great encouragement to Reed. This connection inspired him to pursue a career in financial services.
After college, Reed began his career as a Financial Advisor. He quickly found success in the field and was asked to move to New York City and then to San Diego to train new financial advisors. Next came the management track and a series of promotions and transfers. Reed and his wife and children moved to Nashville, Knoxville, Charlotte, and Richmond. Then, the time and opportunity came for a move back to Tennessee where Reed spent years in a corporate management role covering Tennessee and Kentucky.
A few years later, Reed left the financial services industry to start his own business in Nashville. “I was coming up on 30 years in financial services, and I had always wanted to start a business,” says Reed. “To work for myself, get out of Corporate America, and start a business. And that’s what I did.” He successfully ran and grew that business, and after about four years, he sold it. While discussing what to do next, a friend suggested Reed connect with Kyle Kerrigan, Managing Director of Viking M&A Nashville.
Getting to know Kyle and Viking, Reed saw that a transition to the M&A industry made perfect sense. He describes it like this: “A 30-year career in the stock market and wealth management gives you a pretty solid understanding of the financial markets and how they work. You understand corporate finance. You understand businesses trading hands. On a larger scale, you understand the mechanics of what finance looks like. And then, having been through a private transaction myself, I felt like I understood exactly what these transactions look like, because I saw one happen from the inside.”
Reed brings abundant knowledge and expertise to Viking’s dedicated Nashville division. In addition, he has the personal and professional experience it takes to understand a client and their business, narrow down prospective buyers, and get into the heart of negotiations to get a deal done right.
In Reed’s words, “It fits perfectly. I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Advice for Selling a Business in Nashville
Reed emphasizes that the sale of your business is a significant financial decision that is both professional and personal. Various factors, such as market conditions, seasonal fluctuations, and buyer interest, can influence this decision. However, he says, “The critical factor is your own readiness and mindset. Only you can determine if you are prepared for this step. As someone who has been a business owner and dealt with similar issues, I enjoy assisting other business owners in navigating this process. Guiding individuals through the timing of selling their business is the most fulfilling aspect of my job.”
The best place to start is with a complimentary business valuation. A valuation will provide you with a wealth of information that can help you confidently identify next steps.
Advice for Buying a Nashville Business
If you’re considering buying a Nashville business and have never owned or managed a business before, Reed recommends evaluating your strengths and determining what you can bring to a business platform. “Are you skilled in managing employees, accounting, sales, or big-picture strategy? Business owners must perform all these tasks and more on a daily basis, so it’s important to find a business that aligns with your strengths.”
The Nashville business market remains strong and resilient despite the recent economic slowdown. Nevertheless, it’s essential to locate a business that complements your personality and skill set, no matter which geographic market you choose to call home.
If you are looking for a Nashville business broker, contact Viking today for a confidential consultation or business valuation at no cost, with no strings attached.