A Twitter thread by Tim Ludwig.
Buying a business, especially a good one, is hard. But not impossible. And not without risks.
Reducing those risks takes a good process, emotional control, discipline, savvy advisors, and relentless hard work. Though just about anyone can do it.
Don't be put off by the jargon, pedigrees of others that are successful, or even necessarily a lack of capital.
What follows are 10 tips that cover each stage of the acquisition process (a lot is left out, but I want to show that the process isn't complicated)...
1) Decide how you are going to source opportunities: DIRECT (contacting business owners directly via cold calls, email, trade shows, etc.) or via INTERMEDIARIES (brokers, CPAs, lawyers, wealth managers, and others that may have a relationship with business owners.) or BOTH.
2) Determine your criteria: geography, size (FTEs, profits, sales), and industry are good starting points to help narrow your focus and make the process of filtering your opportunities more efficient.
3) Draft and rehearse your pitch. What differentiates you from other potential buyers, what does your ideal target look like, responses to common anticipated objections or questions.
4) Begin the outreach: Be Consistent. Set daily or weekly activity targets. Because the process is binary - you either buy a business or you don't - you can only measure effort, not progress. # calls per week, # seller meetings, # CIMs reviewed.
5) Work hard to make quick decisions. Decide if the deal falls into 1 of 3 buckets: go, pass, or need to learn more. The last one is the biggest risk and where you're likely to waste the most time. This is where experience helps. Sort without mercy and keep driving forward.
6) Once you find an actionable deal you like, identify the key risks and bets you'll be making and diligence those early and deeply. Also, build trust and rapport with the seller. You'll need both to survive the grueling process to get to a close.
7) Understand your skillset and try to find competent advisors (CPA, lawyer, etc.) that can augment your team. Control their scope to manage costs and always have them work for you and your interests and don't let them direct the deal.
8) Do the work, even if you don't need to raise any capital from outside sources. Build an investment memo that covers the business, market, competition, customers, growth plans, and risks. This sharpens your thinking and shows gaps in your knowledge.
9) Approach capital partners with confidence and listen to their feedback. These are long-term relationships; invest in them and be transparent, especially with news/data that isn't good. No deal is perfect and the partners you want know that and will appreciate that you do too.
10) Run through the finish line. The deal isn't closed until the money is wired and the docs are signed.
Surprise! The close is just the beginning...
Now, as an owner, be humble, communicate (a lot), and execute. Don't rush...you have plenty of time to shape and mold the firm.
Done right, this will be the most challenging and fulfilling thing you ever do professionally. And, YOU CAN DO IT.
There are no shortcuts. Some people get lucky and find a business quickly or a great business that is a rocketship, but every journey is special and will be YOURS