To Buy or to Build

As I’ve been contemplating ideas for my next business, I’ve also been casually looking at listings of businesses for sale on Flippa.

I like the idea of buying something that already has traction and proven profitability.

Last week I was talking to my EO forum about three possibilities – starting something from scratch, partnering up with a founder on an existing business, or acquiring a company.

One of my forum-mates asked me a question that’s been stuck in my head for days.

“What’s your decision framework?”

I didn’t have a good answer.

I have some filters, but my exploration has been guided primarily by intuition and feel.

I’m at 11 months post-exit and feeling the itch to get something going.

To add some structure to my process and more seriously evaluate businesses for sale, I’ll be re-visiting a book I read a few years ago, Buy then Build by Walker Deibel.

Walker started three businesses and acquired seven others. He’s also an advisor at Quiet Light Brokerage, a firm that helps people buy and sell businesses.

We spoke when I was in the early stages of putting together the offering to sell my business.

I was considering using Quiet Light as my broker, but at the end of our conversation Walker said to me, “Matt, if you want to hire us, I’m happy to take the commission. But it sounds like you already know the ideal buyers in your industry and I think you can do this without a broker. Just call me if you have questions.”

I took his advice and ran the process on my own, along with an experienced legal team.

I appreciated his candor and perhaps we’ll end up working together on the buy-side of a deal this time around.

Either way, I’m looking forward to re-reading his book and fully considering all my options.

- Matt

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