- How Ken is learning to lead a company effectively in an industry he’d never worked in.
- How the hiring of a dedicated People and Culture person helped relieve some pressure for him.
- What Ken is taking away from Acquira’s post-acquisition integration offering.
The business buying journey can be difficult to picture yourself in if you haven't already been through it. By bringing you interviews with Acquisition Entrepreneurs at different stages in their own business buying journey, we hope to give you the opportunity to picture yourself in their shoes.
One of those acquisition entrepreneurs is Ken Lavertu. He went through our training in record time, closing on a business just four months after bringing the deal to our Investment Committee. And the company was in an industry which he’d never worked in.
Ken is now in the second month of owning that business, a granite company in Florida. We caught up with him to see what he's learned in the second month. You can see the full interview below:
People & Culture
One of the biggest milestones that Ken has met is the hiring and onboarding of a dedicated people and culture person. Having someone else to help with the decisions around hiring, firing, pay scale, and other nuances of the business has taken a lot of pressure off Ken.
“It's nice for that not to be coming just from me,” explains Ken. “It’s now coming from somebody else who's a neutral third party advocating on behalf of our employees. So I think it's, it's been really, really helpful to have somebody else in the office to bounce off personnel and culture ideas.”
The new hire is now working to write job descriptions for the various positions within the company. She is also interviewing people and helping with general personnel decisions,” explains Ken.
“I wish we would have found her a week after I started,” he says with a laugh. Though, Ken wasn’t always convinced that People & Culture should be a priority.
“I didn't have a whole lot of faith that was the first person we needed to hire,” he says. “I thought we needed a shop manager or an operations director and all these other people to help fix all the problems. But now I really regret that mentality I had at the beginning. Because she's provided so much clarity and push-back on some things that I really needed to be pushed back on.”
The Learning Curve
It’s been a learning experience for Ken on more than one front. In fact, prior to the acquisition, he had zero experience working in granite.
Ken simply went through the Accelerator program, found a business that fit his investment thesis, and realized that it was the best deal for him. He eventually closed on the business and has been spending time since then learning the ins and outs of the industry.
While he hasn’t specifically been learning how to cut or sell granite – “Although I'm learning all that stuff,” he’s quick to point out – he’s been spending a lot of time learning about the overall process.
When a customer walks in the door, Ken wants to know what their experience looks like from beginning to end. What is each step in the process and what are the bottlenecks in those steps?
“I just need to understand how the process works here and I can fill in the blanks,” he says. “I have enough talented people here with enough experience that I can fill in the blanks. And we become this collaborative team, where what I bring to the table is more high-level strategy.”
In Ken’s position, he’s realized he doesn’t necessarily need to know the finer details of granite production. His job is to provide oversight and leadership, while allowing the professionals around him to do their job.
“I already have people here that have the years of experience,” he says. “So that's not the skill set that they need. What they need is somebody who can really bring a team together, create a leadership team.”
As Ken looks to the future, he will continue going through the ACE Framework – Acquira’s post-acquisition growth offering – and try to keep an eye on what’s important.
“My next milestone is to get a lot more clarity on our financials here and then decide which financials are actually important,” he explains.
Of course, Ken’s acquisition journey began with our Accelerator Program. The Accelerator is designed to help you close on a business in half the time at half the cost it would take you to do on your own. Sign up for the Accelerator now to learn how we can help.
- The introduction of a people and culture department will help relieve pressure on the business owner.
- It isn’t necessary to buy a company in an industry that you’re familiar with.
- Learn to measure what’s important.
Acquira is a business acquisition in a box service. We help entrepreneurs buy businesses and we invest in them and their chosen businesses. We are here to help ensure that each business we work with is posed to make the biggest positive impact possible for its owners, employees, and community.