Case Study: What It’s Like To Close A Business

Acquira’s Accelerator Program was designed to help Acquisition Entrepreneurs find and close on a business within seven months. Of course, it can take longer depending on how much work the individual puts into the process.

But every once in a while we encounter an Acquisition Entrepreneur who is deeply motivated to get the job done and it happens in less time. Ken Lavertu went through all of our training and recently closed on a granite company in Florida – the whole process took him just four months from the time he brought the business to our Investment Committee, which is much faster than normal.

Ken chalks his success up to a number of factors, including a positive relationship with the business seller and having a good team around him.

“I have people who have looked at this business with me, and who know me,” he says. “They’ve even tried to fill those knowledge gaps and shore up some of those insecurities by recommending a great book or giving me an outline to understand how processes should be done. And so it's excited me and helped me grow professionally.”

Check out the full conversation below:

Interview

Being Industry-Agnostic

When Acquisition Entrepreneurs begin their business buying journey with Acquira, we walk them through the process of defining their unique investment thesis. An investment thesis allows you to lay out your risk tolerance in order to quickly and efficiently disqualify bad deals or identify good deals.

An investment thesis can be built around a number of criteria, including geographic scope, industry, brand moat, company culture, and more. Whatever criteria you use, the thesis will help to remove subjective opinions and emotions from the analysis of a deal, as well as quickly screen opportunities and separate the signal from the noise.

Two key features of the investment thesis are industry and location. That is, what type of business you plan on buying and where you plan on buying it. The more rigid you are with your criteria, the harder it will be to find a business. That’s why we recommend that business searchers be open to looking at many types of businesses or in many areas – you can be industry-agnostic or location-agnostic, but never both.

In Ken’s case, he left himself open to different industries around the country, which helped him find something faster than normal. That led him to the Florida-based granite business he would eventually acquire.

“Originally, I was not interested in the business when it was presented to me by a broker in Florida. Just because I had zero direct experience, other than ordering a granite countertop for my kitchen remodel,” he laughed.

In fact, Ken was looking at multiple businesses simultaneously and was fairly confident that he didn’t want to buy a granite business. But his Success Coach advised him to go through the due diligence exercises included in Acquira’s training.

“And so I went down the road, I even called the seller,” Ken shared. “I think it was at the point  when I had that conversation with the seller that I knew there was some chemistry between me and the seller. And we both actually wanted a lot of similar things.”

Fostering Seller Relations

In fact, it’s that relationship with the seller that Ken says was a key component in the deal closing so fast.

“I'll keep things moving as quickly as possible. I do not want the train to stop with me. And the seller actually was the same way,” Ken says. “So we kind of had really good get-it-done chemistry from the very beginning. We didn't run into the typical hang-ups that I think that a lot of AEs run into where the buyer starts nickel and diming and the seller starts dragging his feet. Neither of us did that and I think it made for a really clean, well-oiled process to get everything done.”

This relationship will undoubtedly help Ken as he transitions to his new role as business owner. Being the owner of a new business is hard enough. Add to that the fact that the business has already existed for some years and the employees already have a way of doing things, making changes can seem impossible. Having the seller there to help troubleshoot this problem with the distributors, vendors, or clients can save you time and money, and gain you experience faster than you would if you had to do it on your own.

Signing The Documents

When it came time to sign the actual closing documents, it was a mix of positive emotions for Ken. He sat down with the brokers and the seller and everyone added their signatures to the appropriate documents.

“It wasn't awkward or weird at all. We said congratulations and shook hands at the end. Everyone was happy,” Ken said. “I've never signed so many things in my life. Like, I think the paperwork was about 10 inches thick. So that was mind-boggling.”

Ken’s Next Steps

Looking ahead, Ken is preparing to integrate his business through the ACE Framework, Acquira’s post-acquisition program that is designed to move a business from owner-operated to management-run. That began with a visit from an Acquira-Certified Integrator.

“He came down and we talked. He met everyone and did his own one-on-one meetings. And so it was a great sanity check on what I was thinking about the company and each individual,” Ken said. “It’s also really good to get somebody from a high level to say, ‘this is a good business.’ I just needed that. Somebody who was on the ground, met with the owner, saw the process, and then turned to me and said, ‘you're buying a great business, you need to keep this going.’”

“That was a big plus, having that integrator there. Someone who's done this before, who has seen successful companies grow and who has worked with companies this size to take them to the next level. That was a great emotional relief for me, to have that interaction with him there.”

Conclusion

Ken’s journey began with the Accelerator Program. And while Ken may have surprised many with his ability to find a good deal and close on it quickly, he also went through all of the training and took advantage of Acquira’s consultation.