Alexander Sams, Walden Merger & Acquisition Services
What inspired you to start your business in Athens?
Athens is my native hometown. The people and businesses often need “big city” services like Walden offers, but with a local connection. Plus, Athens is where I want to live and work, so why not serve here?
What made you decide to become a Chamber member?
I’ve been watching the Chamber over the years, and I’ve seen that the leadership has an understanding of the community it serves. Businesses are people. People need people. Our large corporate contributors provide many needed resources, BUT, I think the Chamber leadership now touches the soul of the city better than it ever has as it gets closer to locally owned businesses. Athens was here long before Herschel Walker and R.E.M., so we have to reach back as well. Athens has a distinctive vibe, and the Chamber has finally picked up on it with Doc at the helm.
Do you have any mentors or mentees in the business community you connected with through the Chamber?
Not “officially”, but I keep an eye on several people. I watch some, so I might help if they stumble, and I watch others so that I might avoid a stumble.
How has being a chamber member helped you reach your business goals?
Having just opened the Walden M&A Services office in 2014, I’m spending much of my time introducing our services to small businesses. Every event is a learning event where I can always meet a new person. I’m continuing to learn the climate of “Business-Athens”.
What advice can you offer to fellow members of the local business community?
Don’t settle for poor service. Spend the extra money on superior services and products. This will motivate and inspire greatness out of our great people. Low price does not equal value. Demand our best! Also, your brand is valuable. Protect it and enhance it.
What are some goals you’ve set for your business this year?
As I develop the Athens and North Georgia region, my simple goal is to increase awareness of my service. I can’t help a company owner sell his or her business, if they are not aware that I exist. Many companies just sell their inventory and close the door at retirement, leaving all of the goodwill, branding, contacts, etc., in the trash. When I see this, I know that I have failed to make them aware of how I could have helped them sell the whole company. The M&A and brokering business seems like a big business sort of activity, but it is in Athens now. I need to do better letting people know that we can help. The Chamber will help me form those relationships.
In your opinion, what’s the most valuable asset the Chamber offers its members?
Contact. I tell our main office in Atlanta that Athens is a referral town. I never hire a service unless I know the people or know someone that can tell me that they are worthy. Why should I expect anything different toward me and Walden?
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