• Fri, Aug 13, 2021
  • No Big Startup Idea? No Problem. Here's How to Buy a Business.
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  • Click here for a link to the full article by Michael Curry, published in Entrepreneur on August 10, 2021.

    Not every entrepreneur needs inspiration; entrepreneurship through acquisition might be where you shine.

    When you think of an entrepreneur, you probably imagine some visionary with a grand new idea... It’s great if you have such an idea, but if you don’t, you still have options. For one, you can just buy a business...I can offer advice on how to do it and what to do once you’re at the helm.

    The search-fund model is perfect for entrepreneurship through acquisition 

    The search-fund model was designed for folks like me who are on the path to being a leader but don’t necessarily have the desire or idea to go after a bootstrap startup. It’s a good middle ground, where you find a business that has a proven track record and make your own mark.

    You’ve acquired a business; now the work begins

    You can buy a business, but you can’t buy the hearts and minds of your new colleagues or customers. 

    In his popular book The Outsiders, William Thorndike chronicles several executives who succeeded in industries they weren’t technically versed in. One of the themes is that as an outsider, you have a unique perspective of the industry and its opportunities. You have a free pass to poke and prod and ask the dumb questions. When the answers to those questions boil down to “That’s how we’ve always done it,” you have a chance to make a change.

    In other words, your ignorance of a company or industry isn’t a liability — it’s an asset. 

    Entrepreneurship through acquisition is a marathon, not a sprint

    I’d rather see slow and steady growth that honors the company’s values than preside over rapid, unstable growth at the expense of the company’s staff and their families.

    While the path of entrepreneurship through acquisition may not result in instant, stunning profits, and it may not be a vessel for your one great idea, it offers plenty else.

    When you’re the CEO of a company built around your idea, it’s easy to make everything about you. I still have a ways to go before I’m the CEO I want to be, but I understand that the role of CEO is not about me: It’s about what I can do in service of the company and all its stakeholders. The lessons I’ve learned about humility, accountability and leadership can’t be found in a textbook. These are ideas I’ve worked for, and they’re worth more to me as an entrepreneur than any one big idea.

    Interested in acquiring a business? Please contact me if you would like to discuss.

    Steve Niehaus, MBA, CBI, CM&AP

    [email protected]