Two Trees is transitioning, looking for ideas

In early June, as some of you may know I, Harold, began working two days a week for the Maine Woodland Owners, a state-wide landowner advocacy organization and land trust. Of course, from a business standpoint, selling 100 days a year to one landowner provides a solid foundation for Two Trees’ stability and growth. At the same time, it is a great personal and professional challenge to help manage their ever increasing land base. With the boost provided by one family’s phenomenal gift of over 2,500 acres in New Gloucester, pushing MWO’s total holdings to over 7,500 acres, they felt it timely to consolidate/standardize their forest management, rather than continue contracting on-the-ground management to a number of foresters. However, as I launch a new phase of my career I want to assure you that Two Trees client projects remain a priority of Jon’s and mine.
Needless to say, the move fills our weekly calendars pretty quickly, though longer hours and less time spent marketing has us mostly on top of client projects. So far, so good. Though if work continues to come in at a good clip, we will likely be looking to bring on more help. And such was actually part of my thinking when I pursued the opportunity with MWO, for I’ve been pondering how best to transition the business’ ownership for a while now. What Mark Miller began in 1984, I acquired in 1999. But to whom from here?

Transitioning owners out of small businesses is often tricky, given our general desire to be compensated for what we helped create, while ensuring that clients continue to be well served. Though larger and quite capable firms have offered to buy Two Trees in the past, their offers always required me to remain and help introduce clients to them. I’ve not seriously followed up any of those offers, fearing that a larger and more distant company might not be as personally connected or available to you, as we’ve always tried to be. Though I don’t expect to retire until at least 2024, me working two days a week for MWO is forcing Two Trees to function with less of my time, and creatively adapt to the new environment. We’ve got time, and I’ll be on the look out for a win/win solution.

As many of you have been a part of this business for many years, and some for decades, I’m not joking when I ask you to forward any ideas that you might have as to how best to keep the business running smoothly and responsively, as we head forward.