March 6, 2024

Owners’ Roundtable Welcomes New and Old Faces Alike for Latest Destination Education Event in U.S. Virgin Islands

By Mike Trabert, CPA, CVA, CMAP, CEPA, CM&AA, CBEC, Partner, Advisory Services

man on beach with laptop Transaction Advisory

Trips to an island paradise are more frequently associated with destination weddings than group seminars, but Marcum has found a match made in heaven by combining paradise retreats with business owners hoping to learn more about the principles and practices that enable value generation.

Marcum’s Owners’ Roundtable series, a long-running workshop offering intensive education for business owners hoping to establish and enhance the value of their businesses, recently celebrated its 25th successful event with the completion of the 4th annual international program.

Led by Advisory Services partner Mike Trabert, the Owners’ Roundtable (ORT) series offers business owners a course covering key principles of business planning and exit strategy – high-priority but low visibility topics that are too often lost in the day-to-day shuffle.

Your business is too valuable to entrust anyone but Mike Trabert to convert your value to cash.

– 2024 Owners’ Roundtable Participant

In his everyday practice as an advisor, Mike works with clients to launch efforts that generate value for their business, while preparing owners to meet their personal financial goals with an eventual exit. He brings that same thematic focus to ORT events, leveraging interactive lessons and workshops informed by decades of hands-on experience.

Water view

The material covered by ORT events changes in its particulars – to accommodate recent developments concerning economic trends, market events, technological innovations, and highlight areas close to the speakers Mike selects to participate – but always derives its core content from Mike’s eBook The 5 Stages of Value Maturity, also available as a free download. Mike’s aim with ORT events is to introduce or reassert the methods by which every business owner can establish and grow the value of their business with the ultimate aim of achieving a favorable exit.

The Exit Planning Paradox

Exit planning is, in some ways, a misnomer as it too heavily emphasizes a sale or leadership transfer. In truth, exit planning is often less about the exit itself and much more concerned with maximizing value. In fact, according to a survey taken before the ORT program, attendees of Mike’s workshop generally scored low on studies of their “mental readiness to sell” and high on their “commitment to growth.” To support value raising efforts, Mike’s instructional content and workshops cover the five stages of value maturity, which are:

  • Identify Value (stage one);
  • Protect Value (stage two);
  • Build Value (stage three);
  • Harvest Value (stage four); and
  • Manage Value (stage five).

The principles and techniques covered in each stage are relevant throughout a business’ lifecycle and reflect best practices for identifying latent strengths, bolstering any weaknesses, and pursuing investments that best enable value generation.

This is an excellent opportunity for business owners to take TIME to pause, think, plan and be refreshed.

– 2024 Owners’ Roundtable Participant

As a member of the Exit Planning Institute (EPI), Mike knows that things can change quickly and for that reason, among others, it’s essential to have an exit strategy in place – whether or not a sale or transition is a priority. EPI President Scott Snider was recently invited to address the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Enterprise to lay out the importance of exit planning. Those interested in learning more about the factors making exit planning so essential in today’s market are invited to watch Mr. Snider’s testimony, with relevant comments beginning at the 32 minute mark.

Expanded Curriculum

The international iterations of ORT expand the scope of material covered dedicating additional time to guided workshops and open-ended discussions. Further, the international ORT’s multi-day schedule makes more time for guest speakers to contribute their knowledge of select key issues. Speakers change every year to address top-of-mind issues. At the most recent session, seven guest speakers covered a variety of pressing topics. Among those discussed were artificial intelligence and how business owners can leverage AI tools, personal financial planning including important wealth management and estate planning issues, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (a powerful but underutilized structured transaction with uniquely lucrative benefits for qualifying owners), tips on identifying and preventing fraud, and pointers on the techniques and incentives that can help build effective management and leadership teams.

Every business owner would benefit greatly from participating in ORT, this is our first year and we will be back!

– 2024 Owners’ Roundtable Participant

Mike Trabert

In testament to the value and relevance of the topics covered, the international ORT has sold-out in each year and always features attendees from prior years. Repeat attendees come back seeking new timely insights, as well as to refresh their command of the core curriculum. Over half of this year’s international ORT attendees had attended previously, and one star student has participated in every international ORT to date.

Setting the Stage for Success

The ORT’s international series doesn’t just offer attendees more of a good thing by taking additional time to deliver crucial principles for business owners, it – quite literally – transports attendees to a new world. This year, the program’s lucky participants enjoyed a resort in beautiful St. Thomas, home to the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The beachfront setting of the intensive ORT education program helps attendees digest important concepts, while encouraging participants to strengthen their relationships with other owners and enjoy resort-style recreations like boating, sunbathing, and exploring the local culture. It’s also a great opportunity for often overworked business owners to better appreciate the fruits of their efforts and taste the sweetness of a lifestyle enabled by their hard work.

As a first-time attendee I am coming home with a wealth of knowledge and the direction needed to educate myself further to know how to build value, protect it and pass on our legacy.

– 2024 Owners’ Roundtable Participant

Community-based Accountability

Of course, realizing the maximum value of a built-from-scratch business means applying the principles of value creation and maturity. To that end, one of the premier benefits of the ORT program is the sense of camaraderie it instills among owners. As companions on a shared journey, colleagues in the classroom during ORT sessions, and friends enjoying a relaxing beach paradise, participants in ORT tend to develop strong relationships quite quickly and help to keep each other honest in applying the value generation principles they learn. This year’s farewell gathering lasted twice as long as the 90 minutes that were allotted for goodbyes and, while ORT networks can’t be packed in a suitcase or purchased at a giftshop, they’re lasting souvenirs that serve as a great support system once owners have returned home to focus on their business.

The high rate of reattendance among ORT grads has enabled a new accountability-focused tactic that Mike sprung on this year’s attendees for the first time. In the past, Mike has concluded ORT sessions by asking participants to make a list of no more than five business and personal actions they can and will take to apply the principles of value maturity to further their goals. He surprised familiar faces in the most recent ORT class by reuniting them with their former action items to simply ask, “how did you do?” Hopefully this tactic will further incentivize participants to act on ORT principles and avoid disappointing their fellow owners, and themselves, in future sessions.

What’s Next?

Water view

With participants expressing appreciation for this year’s program, Mike is eagerly anticipating the next international ORT. He’s particularly excited for the destination he has in mind, which, in another first, was unanimously requested by this year’s attendees. Without ruining the suspense, he promises that returning guests will not be disappointed.

Interested in learning more about ORT?

If you or someone you know is interested in attending a future ORT session or has any questions about maximizing the value of their business or value acceleration and exit planning issues, contact Mike Trabert, CPA, CVA, CMAP, CEPA, CM&AA, CBEC at 440-459-5760 or [email protected].


Michael  Trabert

Michael Trabert


  • Advisory
  • Cleveland, OH