ASPIRE 2018 is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss

Entrepreneurs need a robust set of dealmaking skills in to compete in today’s economy. The market is flush with capital and private equity is paying big multiples, with an estimated $1.7 trillion already committed to PE firms, reports Bloomberg. The bottom line is there are deals out there to be made.

It’s up to business owners to identify the right move for their company and then develop a strategy to make it happen. ASPIRE can give you the tools you need to be a successful dealmaker. It was first held in Cleveland in 2016 and has grown this year to include Pittsburgh, which held its first ASPIRE in March, and Columbus, where an event is scheduled for September.

ASPIRE helps connect the dots for entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses. It’s an event that presents exciting keynote speakers, informative breakout sessions, and opportunities throughout the day to network while focusing on four key areas that every entrepreneur needs to think about:

■  Buying a business: Do you know what it takes to effectively buy a business? Have you thought about valuations, the importance of a strong management team, and why market share and competitive differentiation matter? You’ll hear from experts and business leaders who have grown through acquisition.

  Selling a business: When is a good time to sell? Do you understand how private equity values your business? Have you made those critical checklists of what to prepare? You’ll learn from entrepreneurs who have divested assets or sold their company and the experts who have helped them.

  Raising capital: Where does the money come from? We’ll discuss ways to finance your business — from friends and family to angel investors and early-round finance, we’ll explore options such as bank financing, venture capital and private equity.

■  Liquidity events: What happens once you’ve taken money off the table? We’ll dive deep into the subject and discuss how to spark these all-important events, plus what comes next after the deal is done.

This year’s keynote speakers in Cleveland are Frank Sullivan, chairman and CEO at RPM International Inc. and Ted Souder, Head of Industry, Retail, at Google. Other featured guests include Ray Leach, Greg Skoda, Ken Ganley, Lou Schneeberger and Stewart Kohl, just to name a few.

If you own a business, this is an event you can’t afford to miss. While the panel speakers provide tremendous value to attendees, the opportunity to network and engage in face-to-face conversations with your peers in the business community may be just as important. It’s an opportunity you won’t find anywhere else.

The role that dealmaking plays in today’s economy paved the way for the launch of Smart Business Dealmakers, a weekly digital newsletter that takes readers inside the world of M&A. Dealmaking needs to be part of any growth strategy that you are developing for your business. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain an edge at the negotiating table. Sign up today.

Register for ASPIRE, presented by Fifth Third Bank, at or by contacting Meredith Rankin at (440) 250-7023 or [email protected]

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network.