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As with most important decisions, pros and cons exist in making the choice to purchase the business that employs you.  And some elements of the decision are both a pro and a con.  Such is the case when you decide to purchase your employer’s business. As an “insider” you are generally very familiar with the operations and personnel involved in the business, which gives you a distinctive edge over an outside purchaser.  At the same time, that advantage can create a blind spot as you make a buying decision based on your presumption that the business will continue operating as it had in the past, prior to you taking ownership.  Even if no immediate changes are made in operations, there may be changes in performance as the people who knew you as a fellow employee adjust to the idea of you as their new “boss”.  That being said, however, the advantages an insider has in purchasing a business generally outweigh the challenges.

Family-owned and operated businesses are an extremely important part of our economy. According to Grand Rapids’ Family Business Alliance, the greatest part of America’s wealth lies in family-owned businesses. Far too often, we see family businesses purchased by out-of-state buyers and private equity groups that are not connected with the community. They have to strip the company to make the deal work with little consideration of how this will affect the surrounding community. Art Van Furniture and Hemisphere Design were both fine examples of family-owned businesses that are now out-of-business after being purchased by geographically removed private equity firms. 

Muskegon Michigan - Hardware Distributors, Inc., founded in 1952, was a third-generation family-owned business operated by Dan Workman and his three cousins. In a recent transaction, Eric Seifert from Left Coast Capital was able to successfully sell Hardware Distributors, Inc to Greg and Jill Lamphere. Greg is a sales professional and has a worked in the paper and packaging industry. Jill operates a family business.

Eric Seifert once needed to sell a business he co-owned. He later realized it would have been an easier transition with more advance planning.
 
Now, the former banking executive and consultant at the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI-SBDC) started his own firm to help Muskegon small businesses plan for that scenario.
 
In August, Seifert opened Left Coast Capital at 297 W. Clay Ave., Suite 101, in Muskegon.
 
The firm specializes in helping owners of companies with less than $10 million in annual sales to retire or sell their businesses within five years or less.
 
Left Coast Capital also works with established companies seeking growth capital — including SBA loans, senior debt, revolving credit facilities, angel investments and private equity.
 
Seifert brings four decades of experience as a business consultant and commercial banker — including at Old Kent, Fifth Third and Community Shores banks — to his new one-man operation.
 
“I have no employees but a lot of strategic partners,” Seifert said. “I have developed a model that’s different than any other business brokerage house. I use the resource of my fellow business brokers.”

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MUSKEGON, Mich. - January 2018 - A veteran Western Michigan executive has launched Left Coast Capital Resources LLC to help small-business owners who hope to retire or sell their companies within a time span of five years or less.  

Lead by its founder and principal, Eric Seifert, the Muskegon, Mich.-based firm will specialize in exit planning and sale of companies with less than $10 million in annual sales. Seifert brings four decades of experience as a commercial banker and small-business consultant to the new firm, which will also work with established companies seeking growth capital, including SBA loans, senior debt, revolving credit facilities, angel investments and private equity.

A former small-business owner himself, Seifert has spent the bulk of his career working for organizations that serve small businesses. Launching Left Coast Capital was a logical next step, said Seifert, who most recently served as a consultant for Michigan’s Small Business Development Center during the past nine years. The Michigan SBDC provides business counsel to entrepreneurs and small business owners through a network of 11 regional and 20 satellite offices around the state. During his time at the Michigan SBDC, Seifert helped clients fine-tune their financials, obtain funding and sell their businesses.

As part of his personal commitment to West Michigan’s small-business community, Seifert also helped establish and serves as the Administrator of Muskegon Angels LLC, which makes equity investments in early-stage companies.

Prior to his tenure at the Michigan SBDC, Seifert worked in commercial banking for nearly 30 years, mostly along the West Michigan lakeshore, which he fondly refers to as the state’s “Left Coast.” He spent the bulk of his banking career as a senior executive for Old Kent Bank (now Fifth Third Bank) before moving to Muskegon-based Community Shores Bank Corp. Throughout his banking career, he specialized in helping small business owners obtain funding for growth, working capital and liquidity events.

Over the years, Seifert has built an extensive network of professional advisors and financing sources that he can collaborate with to help get deals done more efficiently for clients.

“When an owner decides to sell his or her business, it’s usually a big investment of time, money and emotions,” Seifert said. “Our approach helps owners realize their personal and financial objectives without having to make the sale process a full-time job. We tell clients, ‘We’ll run the deal, so you can run your business.’

Seifert holds an accounting degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA in finance from Grand Valley State University. He is also a certified business consultant. 

About Left Coast Capital
Based in Muskegon, Mich., Left Coast Capital provides exit planning, capital sourcing and consulting services to small businesses. The firm specializes in working with Michigan-based owners who are planning to sell their firm in the next 2 to 5 years. For more information, visit leftcoastcapital.com.