Roughly ten months ago I started this firm with my first client. In the intervening period, I’ve helped a few companies get a handle on what they are trying to accomplish, how they are trying to grow or exit their businesses and, most importantly, why. The tools of the acquisition and sale process, my chosen context for this endeavor, are exactly that . . . tools. The word context is important in this conversation. There are myriad professionals assisting business owners with the challenges of growing an organization, managing people, streamlining operations and many more. In my experience, there were few (maybe none) who handle Merger and acquisition activity with that simple context in mind; that is the need to satisfy more than purely financial motives with a business transition. The context for a business sale is many times a complicated subject tied up in an abundance of emotional and mental flotsam. But try to find a professional well-versed in the practice of business transition that will treat the subject with respect, both for the transaction and the individual. You’ll find plenty of intermediaries whose client will ultimately become the transaction, meaning the focus of their efforts will ultimately become a closed deal, in spite of the impact on the owner, his or her wishes and the ecosystem that they’ve built through the years. It’s into this environment that business owners pinch their collective noses and hope things work out for the best. I’m grateful to the marketplace for acknowledging ThirdSide Capital’s effort to bring some light into this dark place for business owners. It’s in this context that those owners who refuse to “go quietly into the night” have a real choice. I’m looking forward to the next year.