A private-equity deal may sound like a great idea, but John Warrillow cautions that business owners should consider just how valuable their management advice will be. He recounts a conversation with a private-equity firm partner that demonstrated how little the potential investor knew about the business. "I imagined having to sit through board meetings as an MBA-type, who spent the bulk of his time on other investments, questioned my decisions," writes Warrillow, who decided against a typical private-equity approach to selling his business.

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