Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their
There are many special terms in the world of
The following story is about a sweetheart deal
which I made last week. I made the deal with a friend, and we both made a
I had started a small company several years ago.
I worked hard to make it successful. It was a sign-making business.
It was a small company, not a blue chip company. It was not known
nationally for the quality of its signs. It did not make millions of
dollars in profits. And it was private. It was not a public company
with shares traded on the stock market.
Still, I worked hard building up my business. I did
not work only a few hours each day -- no banker’s hours for
me. Instead I spent many hours each day, seven days a week, trying
to grow the company. I never cut corners or tried to save on
expenses. I made many cold calls. I called on possible
buyers from a list of people I had never seen. Such calls were
often hard sells. I had to be very firm.
Sometimes I sold my signs at a loss. I
did not make money on my product. When this happened, there were cut
backs. I had to use fewer supplies and reduce the number of
workers. But after several years, the company broke even.
Profits were equal to expenses. And soon after, I began to gain ground.
My signs were selling very quickly. They were selling like hotcakes.
I was happy. The company was moving forward and
making real progress. It was in the black, not in the red.
The company was making money, not losing it.
My friend knew about my business. He is a leader
in the sign-making industry – a real big gun, if you know what I
mean. He offered to buy my company. My friend wanted to take
it public. He wanted to sell shares in the company to the general
My friend believed it was best to strike while the
iron is hot. He wanted to take action at the best time possible and
not wait. He offered me a ball park estimate of the amount
he would pay to buy my company. But I knew his uneducated guess was
low. My company was worth much more. He asked his bean-counter
to crunch the numbers. That is, he asked his accountant to take a
close look at the finances of my company and decide how much it was worth. Then
my friend increased his offer.
My friend’s official offer was finally given to me in
black and white. It was written on paper and more than I ever
dreamed. I was finally able to get a break. I made a huge
profit on my company, and my friend also got a bang for the buck.
He got a successful business for the money he spent.
This VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR
STORIES, was written by Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus.