By Ryan Binkley
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…
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
I am pleased that I was able to work with Andrew Byrd throughout this experience. From the first meeting we had in Minneapolis I felt that I was in good hands. His knowledge and expertise is second to none. He guided the process consistently throughout. I feel lucky that I was pared with Andrew and could not be happier that I chose Generational Equity to handle this major life event. Thank you Andrew and GenEq for everything!Eric Erlandson, Owner, Action Fastenings, Inc.
Through the sale process, Generational brought in several interested buyers and we closed in about 6 months. I am so glad I accepted that invitation to the conference and could not be happier with the whole process. The team at Generational coupled with their knowledge and guidance was so valuable that in the end, I know I could never have done this on my own!JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all that you have done for us. Not only did you take care of all the aspects of the sale but took extra care to make sure we knew what it looked like every step of the way. I will definitely recommend your company to anyone that is in a position to or looking to exit their business.Shane and Johanna Kline, Owners of Vision Upfitters
I must say that I have never worked with a more driven, competent and focused individual as Don Ho.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
I wanted to write you a quick letter to express our appreciation and our delight on the outcome of helping us through the process of our recent sale. We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
The most important contribution I think Ahmad made was with his personality and work ethic. He is sincere, efficient, and very hard working. He was available to me at all times, whether it was for specific detail of the negotiation or just to talk through the bigger picture. He listened, advised, and recommended, but never forced his idea or opinions. In the time we worked together, he became a valued colleague and also a friend.Salvo Stoch, Founder and CEO of Sleeping Partners
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
I couldn’t have asked for a better team than Michael and Deborah. We couldn’t have done it without them.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
Michael worked tirelessly, He followed every lead meticulously and urgently to make sure nothing was missed.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
The process was much more involved than I expected and your help, experience and advice was a big factor in making the negotiations go as smoothly as possible.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
I quickly recognized that Don was working for Sharpe Mixers above all else, and held our interests above others.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
We knew it would be a difficult task to have someone really understand our business and our market, prior to researching a possible buyer, so it was imperative that we found someone of your caliber, with definite proven experience in this area.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
Generational Equity educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
We were represented by Michael Goss with Generational. The due diligence was grueling and exhausting, but Michael propped us up and kept us motivated throughout the process. Debi and I continued to ask each other how we could possibly make it through this process without the assistance of Michael. Michael's professionalism and knowledge is absolutely amazing, and we are so blessed to have had him by our side as we made our future dreams come true.Bob and Debi Lee, Owners of BL Technology, Inc and BL Tl Services, LLC
We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
I need to say an immense thank you to Don Ho for his stellar work ethic, attention to detail, and tireless effort. Also thank you to the whole crew at GE! Without you, Don could not do such a phenomenal job. We were shooting for closing and funding before the end of 2020, due to the uncertainty of the political landscape and taxes. I am happy to report we closed last week and will be funding tomorrow.Dr. Caty J. Catron PhD, RN, VA-BC – Owner, Vic The Picc, LLC
Greetings Mike. Thank you for the captivating and compelling presentation you made at the Phoenix presentation last week. Over many years in business yours was the most informative and well-presented presentation, on any subject, that I have ever attended! Your energy and enthusiasm combined with your concise and captivating support of your positions with easily understood examples and data was compelling.Pete L.
Thanks to you, the entire GE team and especially Michael Goss for driving a great valuation, coaching me and driving the process across the finish line. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support GE going forward. P.S. Given my experience with GE I felt comfortable enough to sign up with Generation Wealth Advisors!Tom Currier, Former President & CEO, Rackmount Solutions
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.Rick Greene of Dobbs Equity Partners LLC
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
The professionals at Generational Equity then helped develop a roadmap for enhancing the value of the firm and an evaluation report. This was completed by June 14, 2021. We then developed the Confidential Information Memorandum and put Taylor Studios, Inc. on the market by July.Betty L. Brennan, President, Taylor Studios
Generational Equity’s professional staff helped me every step of the way. Their network and professionals are the only reason I sold my company this quickly. For me this is a once in a lifetime sale and I was unfamiliar with the process. I was able to lean on them with questions and concerns.
We were happy to see the interest in our company and what we cherished has not just a valuable company but an important company to the communities we served in.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
The help you provided us during each step of this process made us feel very comfortable and confident we were selecting the right approach to transition our Company.Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
After attending a conference with GE, I decided that the value they bring would be worth the expense and as soon as I started working with them, I realized that was the right decision. When we started to get LOIs, Fred Zweifel took the lead on the communication and supported negotiations throughout the process, which got tricky as we moved forward. I learned that it can be common for companies to make a great offer then work to erode that price with their discoveries, but Fred and the GE team kept that from happening.Caroline Connelly, CEO, OptoTest
Thank you again for all your guidance and support. Any company will achieve what they intend, if they have you on their team!Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
I decided to attend the conference and hopefully receive some guidance on how to structure an exit plan of my business. Upon arriving at the conference, I was so impressed with the presentation given by Generational Equity that I set a future appointment that week to discuss the possibility of selling my business with their Senior Managing Director David Robinson.JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
T.D., thank you so much! You are a great leader! I love how you are using your gifts and talents to better others. You are clearly a GREAT COACH! This 3 day session undoubtedly changed the future of our business, and very well may have been the sole catalyst to save my company, my health and my marriage! A genuine “thank you” from the bottom of my heart.Bryan D. Horn, Owner, Over Under Clothing
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