How long do we routinely drive through a place before we stop and get to know it? For me, the answer is about eight years. That’s how long I’ve been driving West on Highway 412 – usually on my way to Tulsa – and zipping through one small stretch of Siloam Springs, Arkansas without much more than a glance.
One of my first posts at the New York Times was titled “Buying a Business Instead of Starting One.” I illustrated the reasons for buying an existing business by telling the story of a business owner named Sam. At the end of the post, Sam is revealed to be none other than Sam Walton — founder of Walmart Stores, Inc. — who bought a Ben Franklin variety store in 1945 and turned it into the world’s largest retailer.
When I first meet with business owners they have many of the same questions. How long will it take to sell my business? What is it worth? How will you find a buyer? But after all the initial concerns have been addressed, I invariably get asked one more question: So, how did you get the New York Times gig?