01. "Get to No Fast!.". "It is critical to develop the skills to remove a potential seller from the prospect list as quickly as possible. With only 24 months before flame-out, searchers have limited time to go down a blind alley. (See Blog Post-Making the Offer)"
02. "You can't overpay for a "great" business.".
"A "great" business does not have much room for improvement. If you pay too much, your debt coverage may give you no cushion when the inevitable down-turn comes. To many businesses fail when they become financially over-extended. A business like this is better off being purchased by a PE firm or synergistic buyer. (See Blog Post-Company Profile)"
03. "Goal to Close!.".
"Once you hit the LOI stage with a seller, clear the decks, focus on closing the transaction-lining up investors, funding and legal documents. Time is your worst enemy.(See Blog Post-Due Diligence)"
04. "Fight Seller Fatigue in Due Diligence!.".
"Sellers get worn out in this process. It is highly emotional for them, probably their first time at relinquishing their “baby” to someone else. During LOI stage, make it a practice to communicate with them, in person or by phone, every 2 days.(See Blog Post-Due Diligence)"
05. "For better or worse, but not for search!.".
"For many spouses or significant others the search process is filled with uncertainty about where you will live, your emotional mood swings, failure and rejection. Be sure they know what you are getting into! (See Blog Post-What to Expect)"
06. "Use metrics to drive decisions.".
"Track what is most important for your search - getting in front of prospective sellers to make offers to buy their business. Track the number prospects, IOI's, LOI's and set goals for yourself! If you measure it, you can improve it. (See Blog Post-Reporting on your search)"
07. "You are not a PE firm, don't act like one! .".
"Potential sellers resonate with your taking over their legacy, a PE firm is simply adding to their portfolio. Make sure your website looks personal and non-intimidating. (See Blog Post-Your Website)"
08. "Good to Great!.".
"Finding a “good” business at a great price is better than finding a "great" business. A “good” business has head room to develop into a “great” company. You may overpay for a “great” business, which you can’t afford to do!(See Blog Post-Company Profile)"
09. "Learn from others – read case histories.".
"Over 40 case histories have been written about funded and self funded searchers in a variety of industries and historical settings. Each have great “lessons learned” and are worth the $10 cost to read them. Searchers are learners! (See Blog Post-References)"
10. "Time works against you during the search, but for you after you acquire.".
"Searchers have limited time to complete the search process; they are concerned about funds to support themselves and the cost of “busted deals”. After closing, there is a much longer time frame to get things done and time to spend on doing things right.(See Blog Post-Due Diligence)"
11. "What you acquire will not be the same in 10 years..".
"The business you acquire, will look at all like the business you will own a decade from now. Entrepreneurs have the ability to "see around corners" and take advantages of opportunities over time. (See Blog Post-Company Profile)"
12. "Selecting a search partner is not like dating; you only get one chance.".
"You will be working with your partner for as long as a decade or more. This long term commitment must be based on more than just someone you know from one setting. Ask yourself how they are to work with under pressure. Are your skills complementary or equivilent? Think hard before you jump into this relationship.(See Blog Post-Selecting a Partner)"
13. "Every business owner is different, no one size that fits all.".
"While the search process seems consistent, each IOI is different and reflects the specific expectations of the seller and their business(See Blog Post-Seller Profile)"
14. "No never means no "forever", just no for "now"! .".
"Searchers must be persistent and have good follow-up systems to cycle back to prospects who have turned them down in the past.(See Blog Post-Prospecting)"
"Embrace brokers - keeping your eye on the net, not on the goalkeeper! They represent business owners who have committed to sell their business, unlike prospects from your proprietary campaign who need some convincing.(See Blog Post-Brokers and Intermediaries)"
"Partnered searchers should avoid Co-CEO titles; too confusing to the organization, customers and suppliers! Investors know they are partners, which matters, but to the external world they should have clear lines of responsibility and authority within the company.(See Blog Post-Search Solo or with a Partner)"
"Whether for funding your search or raising capital to purchase your company, you will find some investors who are very willing to support you and the deal. Others will not have interest, perhaps ever - just move on! (See Blog Post-Raising Capital)"
18. "Every day that goes by in Due Diligence raises the chance that you won't close!.".
"Time is of the essence when it comes to moving from a signed LOI to closing on your business. Seller fatigue sets in as the closing date gets extended and the seller constantly re-evaluates their motivation to sell. Only you can push the process along.(See Blog Post-Due Diligence)"
19. "Searchers need to engage with seller, but not too much or too little.".
"Building trust takes time and each interface with the seller adds another stone to the pile. Always make a commitment that you can keep and remind the seller that you promised to get back to them with it.(See Blog Post-Seller Profile)"
20. "Fire your unprofitable customers as your grow with new customers.".
"40% of revenues are unprofitable. In a period when sales are growing, gracefully removing clients from your customer list can reduce distractions from unprofitable accounts. It takes leadership courage!(See Blog Post-Growing Revenue)"
21. "Let the owner turn around their business, before you acquire it.".
"It takes a unique set of skills to bring a company back to profitability. Leave that to the bottom-feeders and hedge funds. Say no quickly to the seller and find a business with a stable earnings record to buy.(See Blog Post-Company Profile)"
22. "When in conflicts arise, remind professional advisors they work for you.".
"Inevitably, you will disagree with some advice you are getting. After checking multiple sources, do what feels right to you and move forward. You will have to "live" with your own choices, not the professionals!(See Blog Post-Professional Support)"
24. "Develop employee trust through consistency, openness, transparency and repetition .".
"Meetings and interactions with you as the business owner allow employees to see you deliver against commitments. Trust goes both ways though, be sure to show employees ways you trust them.(See Blog Post-Employee Communications)"
25. "Don't worry about having limited space for interns, they will thrive better than you expect..".
"Interns will thrive in close quarters and limited space. The opportunity to contribute to a searcher overcomes many of the challenges that come with finding space for them.(See Blog Post-Searching with Interns)"
26. "Searchers finding industry focused lenders get loans other bankers won't .".
"Seeking out industry focused lenders will yield bankers who are familiar with the business and extend better terms on loans. They will be valuable in helping you understand what to watch out for by setting specific covenants.(See Blog Post-Bank Financing)"
27. "Searchers become passionate about the business they buy, it grows on them .".
"Perhaps at first blush, a business does not seem "appealing", but these feelings quickly diminish once the searcher becomes engaged in running it, solving customer problems and developing a team.(See Blog Post-Company Profile)"
28. "Searchers should settle disputes with a sellers after closing in private; everyone watches.".
"There will be inevitable differences between the searcher and seller. After closing, everyone will be watching; best to keep these low key and in private.(See Blog Post-Seller Transition)"
29. "Searchers must manage sellers expectations; getting to closing is critical.".
"Sellers expectations need to be shifted to match reality, the sooner the better, else you won't get to a final closing. Keep asking "why are you selling and what are your plans" to help them clarify their reasoning. (See Blog Post-Seller Profile)"
30. "Searchers can always restart their search later in their career when they have to stop searching..".
"The skill-sets that are needed for search endure over time, like riding a bicycle. At another "turning point" in your career, you can embark again on the search path - new sellers come into the market each day! (See Blog Post-Exiting Your Search)"
31. "Bank debt is much lower cost than high expense equity capital, get the maximum you can. .".
"Funding your transaction will come from a seller note and bank financing. The more you borrow, the less equity capital you will need to raise. Bankers extract a higher level of discipline from you and keep you more accountable than equity investors.(See Blog Post-Raising Bank Debt)"
32. "Searchers need "Owner" title on their business card. Customers rarely see a "live owner" .".
"Take advantage of your title, most of your competitors won't be able to claim this. It may get you the "last look" when quoting new business and some "understanding" when you make inevitable mistakes! (See Blog Post-Growing Revenue)"
33. "Disciplines searchers learn during search are helpful when running their business.".
"Prospecting for customers is very much like searching for a business. Negotiating with vendors and customers are skills honed during search that will pay off handsomely as you operate your business.(See Blog Post-Searching Efficiently)"
34. "Searchers who get access to employees before closing are more likely to close .".
"Once the seller begins to confide in their employees about the sale of the business and introducing you as the "new owner", they are more likely to proceed to finalize the transaction than to change their mind at the last minute. Many sellers resist for fear of disrupting their business.(See Blog Post-Getting to Close)"
35. "Searcher CEO's need to be prepared to walk away from volume orders if margins will decline. .".
"The slippery slope of taking on lower profit, high volume business to cover overhead will lead to becoming a commodity business. It takes a forward thinking CEO to seek out higher margin, value added opportunities to grow profits, not revenue.(See Blog Post-Wearing the sales hat)"
36. "Searchers first message when taking over the business is "No change for now"! .".
"This is a promise you can keep. Employees don't like change, but know it will be coming. Let them get used to you first!(See Blog Post-Taking Over the Business)"
37. "Customers never provide accurate forecasts but you must still satisfy their rush needs. .".
"Effective use of "Strategic Partners" can give you "unlimited" capacity to serve fluctuations in demand. Treat those partners well.(See Blog Post-Utilizing Strategic Partners)"
38. "Your search partner is not only about you and them, but your and their life partners. http://wp.me/p5dvbm-3k .".
"This relationship will extend many years, perhaps beyond a decade. There may be f of you by then with many different viewpoints.(See Blog Post-Selecting a Search Partner)"
39. "The business seller is "hiring" you to run their business.".
"The owner trusts you enough to turnover the "legacy" of their business to you.(See Blog Post-Searcher Profile)"
40. "Searchers must develop a "broker" profile to identify those worth spending time cultivating .".
"Not all brokers are equal. You don't want those who are listing hair salons, gas stations and pizza shops.(See Blog Post-Brokers and Intermediaries)"
41. "Being in the sales role does not come naturally for most searchers.".
"It takes effort, practice and confidence as the owner of the company you buy to have a comfortable dialog with customers(See Blog Post-Wearing the sales hat)"
42. "Start early on legal documents, they often delay closings while under LOI.".
"Both the searcher and the seller are plowing new ground and it takes a while to comprehend the meaning of all of the legal details(See Blog Post-Getting to Closing) "
43. "Searchers want deals that should fall apart to have fallen apart .".
"As painful as it may seem, you can't afford to do a bad deal when you have a portfolio of one business(See Blog Post-When your LOI falls apart)"
44. "Plan ahead, give thought to the small details of how you present yourself as the new owner .".
"The first introduction to the employees of the business has a huge impact so you want every word to be rehearsed!(See Blog Post-Taking over the business) "
45. ""Strategic partners" are very important to the business searchers.".
"You want to rely on some trusted providers to support your business, you can't do everything yourself!(See Blog Post-Strategic Partnerships) "
46. "As a searcher CEO, you are also CTS-Chief Talent Scout for your company. .".
"Always look for new talent, even if you don't have an open position. Keep in touch with your #2 and #3 choices.(See Blog Post-Hiring) "
47. "The "itch" of owning a business may turn into a "rash" after seeing thousands. .".
"Search is not right for everyone, especially if it does not feel right to you after searching for a while.(See Blog Post-Life after winding down search) "
48. "Establishing pricing "policies" for each customer category will improve margins. .".
"Not every account is "equal", you want to extract optimal margin from each one.(See Blog Post-Pricing for Value) "
49. "You owe it to your “life” partner to prepare them for what to expect in search. .".
"They need to be on-board with the significant amount of uncertainty that comes from search. (See Blog Post-Your Significant Other) "
50. "Don't expect immediate "loyalty" from employees, the previous owner earned it, it takes time. .".
"You will need to earn the trust of your employees by your actions, not your words.(See Blog Post-Seller Transition) "
51. "Searchers should avoid jargon in your LinkedIn profile .".
"You want sellers to be comfortable understanding what your accomplishments have been.(See Blog Post-Searcher Profile) "
52. "If you have time to make cold calls, your outreach process has failed.".
"Your dealflow should be generating enough leads to keep you busy with sellers who are calling back to you and the IOI's you are working on(See Blog Post-Proprietary Prospecting) "
53. "Searcher-operators with monthly "all-hands" meetings show their transparency.".
"Trust employees with what is going on with the business and they will trust you more(See Blog Post-Communicating with Employees) "
54. "Searchers task interns to monitor and call out their own inefficiency.".
"Give them permission to help you address your weaknesses and when you stray from being focused(See Blog Post-Searching with Interns) "
55. "Searcher-operators put customer service as top priority for their business.".
""Established" businesses often suffer from treating customers as an afterthought and the organization needs to hear a new philosophy.(See Blog Post-Wearing your sales hat) "
56. "Searchers are frustrated at their relatives inability to understand search..".
"Families and friends often time struggle with the search concept, they just see you without a job!(See Blog Post-Your significant other) "
57. "Searchers accountant should be near the business you buy; lawyer near where you search from. .".
"Reduce costs by keeping the lawyer close at hand for one-on-one meetings. You will live with the accountant for a long time, best that they be local.(See Blog Post-Managing Professional Advisors) "
58. "Searchers use deadlines with investors to get them to respond quickly. .".
"Investors may be looking for a way to say "no" and you want to find this out sooner rather than later. Giving them a sense of urgency demonstrates your commitment to make this transaction happen and might convince them to say "yes".(See Blog Post-Raising Equity) "
59. "Searcher CEO's find pricing improves profits more than increased revenue. .".
"Developing the personal discipline to regularly assess pricing and resisting the urge to "put it off" is one of the critical skills of a CEO.(See Blog Post-Pricing for Value) "
60. "Searchers develop peer groups of other searchers to support their journey..".
"Work hard to establish relationships with searchers at the same level as you, 1 year out and those who are running their business as CEO(See Blog Post-Reaching out for help) "
61. "Personalizing your direct outreach message gets seller attention quickly..".
"It is well worth the effort to have your interns dig deep and collect information about your sellers that insure that your message resonates with them.(See Blog Post-Proprietary Prospecting) "
"Software/hardware systems will yield a strong competitive edge and require engagement by the CEO!(See Blog Post-IT Systems) "
63. "Searchers make promises they can meet to build trust with sellers.".
"It is important to provide incremental opportunities to show that you can be counted on to deliver.(See Blog Post-Building Trust with Sellers) "
"Don't make excuses for poor results, employees all know when business is soft.(See Blog Post-Practice and Repetition) "
65. "Searcher/CEO's use the first rule of profit sharing: no profit, no payouts .".
"Don't make excuses for poor results, employees all know when business is soft.(See Blog Post-Sharing profits, not equity) "
66. "Searchers who Self-fund obtain bank loans requiring a personal guarantee .".
"Be fore-warned, this requirement is standard for an equity hold of 51%+ or more. The bank wants you to be all-in(See Blog Post-Seller Financing) "
67. "Searchers use interns to review processes and keep themselves in line. .".
"Important to have someone to be accountable to. Set goals and have interns follow-up with you while in the search process(See Blog Post-Managing Interns) "