Faith, Family, and Financial Growth: A Conversation with Duane Donner at Founders Advisors
01 / 20 / 22

Faith, Family, and Financial Growth: A Conversation with Duane Donner at Founders Advisors

On Episode 24 of The 3 Wins Podcast, I sat down with Duane Donner, founder and CEO of Founders Advisors, a Birmingham, Alabama-based merger, acquisition, and strategic advisory firm serving lower middle-market companies generally defined as companies with enterprise values from $20 to $250 million.

Duane leads a team of over 30 talented and skilled M&A professionals across three offices and six practice groups with a focus on serving clients with excellence in a relational values-based approach summarized best by the “Golden Rule Plus”: to treat others better than you would expect to be treated.

We talked about Duane’s challenges and lessons learned from balancing faith, family, and financial growth as a long-time entrepreneur.

If you’re a founder—or aspire to start your own company—and faith and family are important to you, you don’t want to miss this episode!

Watch the full episode here. And below are three highlights from our conversation for easy reference.

(Watch Episode 24) 

1. Duane’s “wake-up call” as a young entrepreneur.

Proverbs 16:25 says, “There's a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death.”

And my business was taking off. But I woke up about four years later, and I was about to lose my wife, had no relationship with my kids, and it was a bad day. My wife pretty much told me, “If you don't sell this business or do something different, I'm leaving.”

It was very painful. I was very angry. But it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me because I was in a dysfunctional bad place just chasing this American dream. But it was doing a tremendous amount of damage because I was lost; I wasn't tempered by the Holy Spirit.

I would have probably never been able to do what I do now without that experience.

2. Why you should build your business to sell—even when you don’t intend to sell it.

There's never a case I've ever seen where it's not tremendously valuable to start that process [of getting your business ready to sell] well ahead of when you're ready.

Because, as you do that, you're going to have way more options, and your business will be worth a lot more. You're going to have a much higher probability of a good outcome [with the sale of your business].

This way, if somebody comes knocking and you've done this, you're in a much better position.

3. The impact great coaches can have on your business and life.

I think we all should have coaches. After all, professional athletes at the top of their game have great coaches. It's not a weakness; it's how you get better.

I hired a coach, Phil Nicaud, who's been a dear friend.

(In case you missed it, see Episode 22 that features Phil Nicaud, CEO at Legendary Leadership Consultants, here)

And he helped me gain clarity on my purpose. My life purpose is to invest in and to connect high-capacity leaders to multiply for kingdom purposes.

And I realized, ‘Hey, I love hosting events.’

I have a gift of hospitality. And I think there's something valuable about getting away to an undistracted environment with a group of guys and connecting. So that led me to putting together the Heritage Forum about five years ago. I just felt led to do that—to add value to people who can multiply and invest into what I call high-capacity leaders.

Connect with Duane. 

Connect with Russ.

Connect with Sean. 

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About the Author: Russell Clemmer is president of Legacy Advisory Partners, an Atlanta, Georgia-based financial services firm that believes that the key to unlocking your company’s full growth potential can be found in The 3 Wins Framework.

To learn more about how to apply The 3 Wins Framework in your business, download our FREE whitepaper, “The 3 Wins: How to Unleash the Collaboration Effect on Profits in Your Company,” here.