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A Strategic Alliance Steeped in Legacy

By Ryan Binkley

Ryan Binkley Jack Nicklaus

I’m sure you’re familiar with the age-old saying “Never meet your heroes”.

It’s a piece of advice grounded in the idea that those you idolize growing up can never live up to your expectations of them. And while it may ring true in some circumstances, I can state for a fact that it isn’t 100% accurate.

Because in the last few months I did more than meet a long-held hero of mine – I formed a partnership with him…

The Nicklaus Companies: A Background

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love golf. I play it as often as time allows. At Generational Group we host an annual golf tournament raising money for our veterans, and in 2020 we began sponsoring Harry Higgs, one of the brightest new talents on the PGA Tour.

And, if you grew up watching golf in the 1970s and 80s, then you recognize one man as the greatest to ever step on the green – Jack Nicklaus. A record 18-time major winner, Nicklaus is rightly held as one of, if not the best, golfer of all time. But, his legacy extends beyond his exploits on courses across the globe.

Nicklaus is also a very successful businessman and entrepreneur, creating dozens of companies over the years. The Nicklaus Companies cover a breadth of businesses dedicated to enhancing the golf experience and delivering quality branded products and services. This includes the famed Nicklaus Design, which has created over 420 golf courses in its lifetime, spanning 45 countries and 40 U.S. states.

In 2007, Nicklaus partnered with fellow entrepreneur and philanthropist Howard Milstein to institutionalize his brands and global business – in a similar way to how our clients at Generational seek to monetize their business and establish a legacy for future generations.

Forming a Strategic Alliance with The Nicklaus Companies

In March 2021, Generational Group announced that we had signed a three-year endorsement agreement and strategic marketing alliance with The Nicklaus Companies.

Through this arrangement, we will act as an investment banking partner for their organization, helping business owners plan strategic growth, enterprise valuation, exit strategies and multi-generational planning.

The Nicklaus Companies consistently looks for industry leaders in each market segment or product category that is relevant to their audience. It was incredibly gratifying for Generational to have been identified, based on our years of experience and commitment to excellence in all areas, and I am incredibly excited about what this partnership will mean for both sides, a feeling that is shared by both Nicklaus and Milstein.

“The Generational Group is family-owned, like-minded, and we share many of the same core values in both life and business. I have always believed in the importance of creating a legacy, and leaving things better for the next generation. That is part of Generational’s mission. They are focused on what a client is trying to accomplish in business, in life and for future generations.” – Jack Nicklaus

“There is perhaps no greater responsibility or honor than being entrusted with protecting and enhancing this legacy. We look forward to working closely with the Generational Group to establish success for both our companies.” – Howard Milstein

What Makes This Alliance So Compatible?

While this opportunity was somewhat surreal due to my admiration for everything Nicklaus has accomplished in his career and the world of golf, as discussions developed it became apparent just how fitting an alliance between our organizations was. This is for several reasons:

Connected core values

Much like the man himself, the Nicklaus brand stands for excellence and integrity. Their winning heritage means they are dedicated to activating modern strategies and techniques that will enhance their customers’ lives and meet the high standards that Nicklaus himself exhibited throughout his playing career.

At Generational, we’ve followed a very similar philosophy, underlined by the fact that our five-part GUIDE core values include Integrity and Excellence. We hold ourselves up to the highest standards in our industry to deliver consistent, quality support for all of our clients, and are guided by a strong, moral code of ethics.

These qualities are mirrored across both of our organizations, as well as our status as family-owned businesses. We complement each other in numerous ways both in and outside of business, and that made forming this alliance a very easy decision.

Shared audience interests

If you were to draw a Venn diagram of “business owners” and “golf enthusiasts”, you’d see a lot of people sitting comfortably in the middle section – myself included! In fact, a Forbes article from 2016 stated that 90% of Fortune 500 executives play golf, with 80% saying it’s valuable in forming new business relationships.

This balance has persisted in the years since, and illustrates the salient point that if a business owner’s not at work or at home, you’ll probably find them on the course. And this creates an amazing synergy between our clients at Generational Group and customers of The Nicklaus Companies.

Due to this connection, it only makes sense that our audiences will have shared values and interests, and therefore both sides will feel the benefits of this partnership.

Commitment to the future

If anyone has a right to bask in the glory of the past, it’s Jack Nicklaus. But, that’s not his mindset – as he stated in the quote from earlier, he understands the significance of creating a legacy, and establishing something that will benefit future generations.

At Generational Group, this is our core focus. We enable our clients with the tools, insight and guidance to enhance the value of their business, time their exit strategy, identify eager, optimal buyers, and negotiate a deal that leaves no money on the table. Through this, we secure our clients’ financial legacy, and deliver the resources and freedom to make the most of their future.

This includes providing a foundation for their children, grandchildren and future generations to fulfill their potential and make a difference in their own right. It’s important to us that our clients get to reap the rewards that their hard work building their business has earned.

In these ambitions, again Generational and The Nicklaus Companies are totally aligned – and we’re excited about the prospects for this alliance moving forward.

Brands that give back

For those that played alongside Jack Nicklaus, the unrivaled ability and poise he showed on the PGA Tour was only outdone by his character and generosity. As former player and broadcaster David Feherty so aptly puts it:

“What you need to remember when you talk about him is that he wasn’t just the greatest winner in golf history, he was also the greatest loser.”

That generosity of spirit has persisted through his entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors, and Milstein has helped instill this in The Nicklaus Companies with the philosophy of “A Brand That Gives Back”, with products and partners committing to donations that support the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and other charities.

At Generational Group we also make a concerted effort to support great causes and help our community, whether it is our aforementioned Salute the Troops Golf Tournament or our annual sponsorship of the Dallas Jingle Bell Run.

Alliances That Raise Each Other Up

Generational Group is fortunate to hold numerous mutually beneficial partnerships that make us better and more effective for our clients. We work closely with great organizations such as:

Our alliance with The Nicklaus Companies bolsters this even further, and I am incredibly excited for what the future holds for both sides. I believe all signs point towards this being a fruitful partnership, with all stakeholders committed to making this as successful as possible.

I feel this final statement from Nicklaus sums up why we are all hopeful for the future of this alliance:

“I know how important and how emotional it is to create a company and build it over many years in hopes of one day providing for the next generation. This is exactly why I partnered with Howard Milstein, and why I believe we identify so well with the Generational Group’s clients and prospects.”

You can read the full press release behind this partnership here, and if you would like to know more about our approach and services at Generational Group, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
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Salvo Stoch, Founder and CEO of Sleeping Partners
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Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
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Dr. Caty J. Catron PhD, RN, VA-BC – Owner, Vic The Picc, LLC
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Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
We had the pleasure of working with Mr. Ahmad Behjati Managing Director, M&A, for Generational Equity during our acquisition of Papa's Dodge in late 2021. Generational Equity and Mr. Behjati represented and marketed Papa’s Dodge. As our primary contact, Mr. Behjati was professional in every facet of this acquisition process, conveying valuable advice most times and assisting us in every step of the process.
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Betty L. Brennan, President, Taylor Studios
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Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
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