Let's Do Business: I Made a Sweetheart Deal Last Week

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Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

There are many special terms in the world of business.

The following story is about a sweetheart deal which I made last week. I made the deal with a friend, and we both made a profit.

I had started a small company several years ago. I worked hard to make it successful. It was a sign-making business. It was a small compay, not a blue chip company. It was not known nationally for the quality of its signs. It did not make millions of dollars in profits. And it was private. It was not a public company with shares traded on the stock market.

Still, I worked hard building up my business. I did not work only a few hours each day -- no banker's hours for me. Instead I spent many hours each day, seven days a week, trying to grow the company. I never cut corners or tried to save on expenses. I made many cold calls. I called on possible buyers from a list of people I had never seen. Such calls were often hard sells. I had to be very firm.

Sometimes I sold my signs at a loss. I did not make money on my product. When this happened, there were cut backs. I had to use fewer supplies and reduce the number of workers. But after several years, the company broke even. Profits were equal to expenses. And soon after, I began to gain ground. My signs were selling very quickly. They were selling like hotcakes.

I was happy. The company was moving forward and making real progress. It was in the black, not in the red. The company was making money, not losing it.

My friend knew about my business. He is a leader in the sign-making industry – a real big gun, if you know what I mean. He offered to buy my company. My friend wanted to take it public. He wanted to sell shares in the company to the general public.

My friend believed it was best to strike while the iron is hot. He wanted to take action at the best time possible and not wait. He offered me a ball park estimate of the amount he would pay to buy my company. But I knew his uneducated guess was low. My company was worth much more. He asked his bean-counter to crunch the numbers. That is, he asked his accountant to take a close look at the finances of my company and decide how much it was worth. Then my friend increased his offer.

My friend's official offer was finally given to me in black and white. It was written on paper and more than I ever dreamed. I was finally able to get a break. I made a huge profit on my company, and my friend also got a bang for the buck. He got a successful business for the money he spent.


This VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by Jill Moss. I'm Faith Lapidus.