Acquiring Minds

By Will Smith

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Description

Buying a business is an amazing path for many successful entrepreneurs. Learn how to buy a business from the entrepreneurs who have already done it. 1x per week: stories, insights, & valuable advice about acquisition entrepreneurship. Hosted by Will Smith, who is on his own path to acquire a business. Also on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@AcquiringMinds Sign up for episode summaries at: https://acquiringminds.co

Episode Date
6 Months to Buy a Business with $1m+ in EBITDA
5152

Shane Ehrsam went full-time in his search & used systematic broker outreach to buy a great business in his local market. 

Topics in Shane's interview:

  • Why he didn't acquire a franchise resale
  • Shane's experience in the Acquisition Lab, Walker Deibel's program to buy a business
  • Why talking to other searchers is so important before beginning your own search
  • Mechanics of his broker outreach
  • Importance of cold calling brokers
  • Buying a business in stock (vs. the more traditional asset purchase)
  • All about the dealership business
  • Full standby note — what is it?
  • Day 1 experience
  • How being an SMB owner feels different than life in corporate

Links & how to reach Shane:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Nov 29, 2022
Buying a Business to Escape the Middle Class
4601

Jordan Novgrod sold his house, tapped his 401k, and went all-in to buy an $800k SDE business he found on BizBuySell. 

Topics in Jordan's interview:

  1. Finding a great business on BizBuySell
  2. Blogging the search process
  3. Key rule of thumb on SDE
  4. Importance of buyer-seller chemistry
  5. Machine shop businesses - pros & cons
  6. Transferring key relationships post-sale
  7. Day 1 speech
  8. How Jordan built rapport with his new employees

Links & how to reach Jordan:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Nov 22, 2022
How to Buy a $2.3m Business with $100k in Cash + Your 401k
5660

Burk Adams tapped his 401k to buy a business that reinvented his career, gave him back time, and catapulted his wealth. 

Topics in Burk's interview:

  • Using your 401k to buy a business with ROBS
  • Buying a business being the most impactful thing he's done in his life
  • Realities of a C corp vs. LLC
  • Teaching his kids acquisition entrepreneurship
  • How it seems easier to have bought a business in 2015 than now
  • The feeling of giant SBA loan repayments every month
  • His business acquisition being a full send
  • How he thought about the failure risk
  • Why he liked PC Enclosures
  • Acquisition price & numbers
  • Buying a $2.6m business while only having $100k in cash
  • Revenue numbers
  • Handling the brutal first 6 months (and how it was healthy for the future)
  • What's worse: depression or panic?
  • Strong growth in the last few years
  • How to think about one-off purchase vs. recurring revenue businesses
  • How to think about buying a manufacturing business
  • Small business ownership vs. being a consultant
  • 2 new businesses that have come out of his acquisition

Links & how to reach Burk:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Nov 15, 2022
How to Survive Buying a Bad Business
5221

It looked like a dream: $2m EBITDA, recurring, large market. Only after Judd Lorson bought it did he learn the truth. 

Topics in Judd's interview:

  • Searchfund accelerator pros & cons
  • Understanding investors' role in your acquisition
  • Importance of 100% transparency with employees (even pre-acquisition)
  • Debt collection business pros & cons
  • Discovery that he's acquired a bad business
  • Managing hostility with sellers
  • What is the proper attitude for buying a business?
  • How to resign as CEO the right way

Links & how to reach Judd:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Nov 08, 2022
Buying Doggy Daycares After 10 Years in Tech
4219

Taylor Wallace was over tech. He acquired a small business and with it a renewed sense of impact (and opportunity). 

Topics in Taylor's interview:

  • Tech burnout
  • Working in tech vs. running a small business
  • Buying indy vs. franchise
  • Injecting tech-industry best practices & ambition into small business
  • How do friends in tech respond to his foray into doggy daycares?
  • Going from digital nomad to brick-and-mortar business owner in Tampa
  • Increasing doggy daycare capacity 2x
  • Will more than 2x revenue by next year
  • What he paid (roughly) for 1st and 2nd acquisitions
  • Growth strategy
  • Buying small vs. buying big
  • Doggy daycare business - should you do it?

Links & how to reach Taylor:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Nov 01, 2022
Would They Do It Again? 1 Year Later with 5 Early Guests
6358

Episode 100! To celebrate, 5 early guests come back to share how things are going at their acquisitions, 1 year later. 

  • 2:48 - Chris Edwards acquired a flooring business
  • 18:15 - Philippe Vanderhoydonck, a B2B media business in the pets industry
  • 35:49 - Cassi Niekamp, a fencing business
  • 1:02:12 - Andrew Pierno is buying multiple small SaaS businesses
  • 1:25:54 - Mike Botkin bought a small landscaping business and has quickly parlayed that into becoming a player in the landscaping industry

Links to guests' previous episodes:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Oct 25, 2022
How to Buy a Seasonal Biz: Buy Another for Low Season
3929

Andrew Harbin first bought an awning business, then bought a fencing franchise to keep his crew working through summer. 

Topics in Andrew's interview:

  • Should you buy a seasonal business?
  • Buying a second business to offset seasonality of first business
  • Twitter thread that opened his eyes to building wealth by buying  a business
  • Buying a business that is for sale by owner
  • Revenue + SDE of the awning business he acquired
  • Growth he's achieved in first years of ownership
  • How the awning business works (revenue sources, staffing, org chart)
  • Buying a $300-400k SDE business
  • Why hiring temps for seasonal businesses is unappealing
  • Fencing business: buying vs. starting from scratch vs. starting a franchise
  • Pros/cons of franchises
  • Big Jerry's fencing franchise
  • Tips for entrepreneurs considering buying a fencing business
  • Nature of stress in SMB vs. corporate
  • Loneliness of being a small business owner

Links & how to reach Andrew:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Oct 18, 2022
How a $40k Acquisition Led to a Franchise Empire
4664

James Temple & his mother acquired a struggling Mathnasium franchise in 2009. Today, they do $7m across 19 locations. 

Topics in James' interview:

  • Buying vs. starting a franchise location
  • Is rolling up easier in a franchise system?
  • Turning around underperforming franchise locations
  • How to assess the risk of a franchise system
  • 3 criticisms of franchises that MBA student always have
  • Numbers behind his first acquisition
  • Growing to 19 franchise locations in 13 years
  • How a 19-unit franchise business is structured & operated
  • Evaluating franchise opportunities from a risk-adjusted perspective
  • Revenue range of Mathnasium franchises
  • Mathnasium fees
  • What exactly do you get from a franchisor for the franchise fee?
  • Passion and purpose — is it necessary?
  • Franchise consultants (and how they are incentivized)
  • How to start investigating opportunities if you're interested in a particular franchise

Links & how to reach James:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Oct 11, 2022
Selling a Business for 5x a Year After Buying It
5736

Sumana Sanjeeva got into ecommerce by chance. 3 years later, she's acquired 4 ecom businesses & sold one for over $5m. 

Topics from Sumana's interview:

  • Brick & mortar vs ecommerce businesses
  • Best type of ecommerce to buy for a first-timer
  • Buying an ecommerce business knowing very little about it
  • Learning quickly how to sell on Amazon
  • Finding an ecommerce business on BizBuySell
  • Terms of her deal
  • One decision that made the business thrive during COVID
  • Selling to aggregators
  • Talking to 14 of them
  • Terms of her sale
  • Cash flow issues with a growing ecommerce business
  • Her 3 new ecommerce acquisitions
  • Focusing exclusively on FBA
  • Running in-person learning center franchises

How to reach Sumana:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Oct 04, 2022
Ups and Downs of Buying Small (and Keeping a Job)
4236

Toni Kononova bought a ghostwriting business for $500k to experiment with buy-then-build while limiting her downside. 

Topics in Toni's interview:

  • What to love about a ghostwriting & editing business
  • The business of self-publishing
  • What is "vanity press"?
  • Why a terrible website can be OK
  • Getting close on a small B2B SaaS business
  • Lowering her SDE criteria
  • Numbers & terms of her acquisition
  • De-risking an acquisition
  • Buying a business while having a full-time job
  • Why keeping her full-time job helped get the loan
  • Running the acquisition as a side hustle
  • Employee turnover & sales decline during transition
  • The popularity of search among Silicon Valley workers
  • Search in Russia

Links & how to get in touch with Toni:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Sep 29, 2022
Reflections After 1 Year of Searching Full Time
2821

Frustrated searchers: this episode is for you. Jesse Sunquist shares 4 lessons from a year of hunting for a business. 

Topics in Jesse's interview:

  • What he learned going from part-time to full-time searching
  • Why brokers prefer working with full-time searchers
  • "Spouse-funded" searcher
  • How TRULY difficult it is to get your first deal done
  • Embrace change when it comes to your search criteria
  • How personal each searcher's journey is
  • The perils of comparing your search to others'
  • The temptation to buy (very) small
  • Opening your mind to acquiring a franchise
  • Isolation & loneliness during search and how to counteract it
  • The importance of just getting started
  • Over-investing in your tech stack, website, LLC formation, etc. is procrastination

How to reach Jesse and other links:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Sep 27, 2022
Not Just a Young Man's Game: Acquiring at 60
3432

When most people would be considering retirement, Anne Ristic started a new chapter of her career by buying a business. 

Topics in Anne's interview:

  • Deciding to buy a business at age 60
  • How Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspired her to buy a business
  • How she budgeted her target acquisition size
  • Raising money from banks for an acquisition in Canada
  • Canadian banks' familiarity with search
  • About AES, the business she bought
  • Growth potential for PEO in Canada
  • How much industry research she did
  • How she envisions growing AES
  • Meeting the managers during the transaction process
  • Nuances to search in Canada
  • communEtA, the student-run investment group 
  • Being a woman when buying a business

Reach Anne at:

  • anne AT agencyemployment DOT ca
  • LinkedIn

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links:

Sep 20, 2022
Opening Up to Franchises to Buy a Great Business
5048

How Doug Johns overcame his reservations about being a franchisee to acquire a dream business with $1.8m EBITDA. 

Topics in Doug's interview:

  • Buying a franchise vs. independent business
  • Opening your mind to a franchise
  • The many (overlooked) benefits to being a franchisee
  • Calling yourself "independent investor" instead of "searcher"
  • Running a search like a B2B sales process
  • The appeal of a deal with few addbacks
  • Why home service businesses are so appealing as acquisitions
  • Loving, rather than running from, managing people
  • Why the top home service businesses have more sophisticated funnels than the Fortune 500
  • ServiceTitan
  • Where the opportunity is when the business you buy is already well-run and mature
  • Owning a plumbing company without knowing anything about plumbing
  • The numbers of Doug's deal
  • The exact multiple is way less important than you think
  • Using ROBS to buy the business
  • Why high growth can make a business harder to finance
  • Understanding debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) thresholds
  • Doug's tip for choosing an SBA lender
  • The $500k value of Doug's appeal to the seller
  • Going to meet a seller face to face

Reach Doug at:

  • doug DOT johns AT couffley DOT com
  • LinkedIn

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Sep 13, 2022
The Appeal of Lead Gen Businesses (Especially Old Ones)
4355

A primer on lead gen businesses from Jaime Arias, who bought a 14-year-old biz that generates online leads for dentists. 

Topics in Jaime's interview:

  • Choosing self-funded over a traditional search fund
  • Buying tiny sites on Flippa
  • The opportunity with "old" internet businesses
  • 3 types of sellers on Flippa
  • Using BuiltWith to generate proprietary outreach list
  • About Patients4you
  • Lowering acquisition targets from $750k - $1m cash flow to $200k - $400k
  • "Rank & Rent" model for local lead gen
  • What are you really buying with a lead gen business?
  • Lead brokers
  • SEO vs. PPC for lead gen
  • Isn't Google Ads too competitive already for local lead gen?
  • Getting comfortable with Google algorithm risk
  • Why Patients4you is an agency more than a lead gen website
  • Deal terms
  • Using BizBuySell for digital businesses
  • Centurica
  • How he's growing Patients4you
  • Slow feedback loop of local lead gen businesses

Reach Jaime at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Sep 07, 2022
Building an HVAC Holdco to £60m in Revenue
5173

Sam Turner is 3 acquisitions into a 5-year plan to buy HVAC businesses across the UK that together cash flow £6m/yr. 

Topics in Sam's interview:

  • How the businesses he buys are run and by whom
  • Buying without the benefit of an SBA loan
  • Why HVAC?
  • Why buying small business is more appealing than real estate
  • Harbour Club with Jeremy Harbour
  • The value in acquiring businesses in a highly-fragmented industry
  • Deal structure for his first acquisition
  • Sam's goal for revenue/EBITDA/multiple and his own wealth
  • Buying small vs. buying big
  • Buying an HVAC with mostly new construction vs. maintenance revenue
  • White collar people buying blue collar businesses

Reach Sam at:

  • sam DOT turner AT advantos DOT com
  • LinkedIn

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Aug 30, 2022
Rolling Up Real Estate Appraisal Firms
3253

Kevin Swenson shares his story of buying a $3m real estate appraisal firm as a platform to roll up the fragmented space. 

Topics from Kevin's interview:

  • Why the real estate appraisal industry?
  • How to add value as the entrepreneur doing a roll-up
  • Roll-up dynamics
  • Appraisal businesses vs. appraisal management companies
  • Story of his acquisition, the platform business
  • The "Your Sure Thing" philosophy
  • Buying in an industry where you DON'T have experience
  • The nature of real estate service businesses
  • How to mitigate risk when buying a real estate service business
  • Acquisition opportunities in real estate services beyond appraisal
  • How it's going since the real estate market slowed
  • Pivoting a roll-up strategy to react to the market

Reach Kevin at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Aug 23, 2022
Growing an Ecommerce Acquisition 13x in 4 Months
4405

Ramon Van Meer bought an ecommerce business doing $30k/mo. A few tweaks & months later, it was up to $400k per month. 

Topics in Ramon's interview:

  • What to look for in an underperforming ecommerce business
  • How to quickly improve an ecommerce business
  • The effect of turning on paid advertising
  • The true nature of running an ecommerce business
  • The power of niches
  • User experience buying a digital business versus an offline business
  • Who should buy versus build
  • How to make money in content
  • Growing a content site from scratch to a $9m sale in 2.5 years
  • The dangerous temptation of buying too many businesses
  • Buying a YouTube channel
  • Decline of a YouTube channel business immediately after acquiring it
  • SBA loan for a YouTube channel acquisition
  • Buying a SaaS business

Reach Roman at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Aug 16, 2022
Flower Power: Buying a Rose Distributor Primed for Growth
5229

Jason Cline left corporate at age 50 to buy a flower distribution business (in cash). SDE is up 3x after just one year. 

Topics in Jason's interview:

  • Pivoting from 20+ years in corporate to SMB ownership
  • 3 criteria for what business to buy
  • Buying a business in cash (no SBA loan)
  • The business of flower distribution
  • Selling to big retailers like 7-Eleven & Circle K
  • How to detect growth potential in a distribution business
  • 2 ways to retain drivers in distribution/route businesses
  • Distribution businesses are really car businesses
  • Scan-based trading
  • 2 key techniques Jason used to transition successfully into the business
  • Working "in" the business for the first 6 months
  • Testing changes
  • The numbers behind flower distribution
  • Ideal size of SDE for target business
  • What's more important than SDE
  • Jason's growth since acquisition and plans for expansion

Reach Jason at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Aug 09, 2022
A Brutal Search Rewarded with Success After 3+ Years
4978

Jordan Carter started as a part-time, generalist searcher. 3+ years later, he bought a biz doing $2.4m with 40% margins. 

Topics in Jordan's interview:

  • Part-time vs. full-time searching
  • Consulting in order to generate income while searching
  • Misconceptions about how easy it is to find a business to buy
  • How much cash Jordan saved for his self-funded search
  • Generalist vs. industry-specific search
  • Using interns for search
  • Value of speaking with owners (even if they don't want to sell)
  • Optimal percentage of time to devote to deal sourcing
  • Accessing equity capital
  • Adding value to a super niche business you're completely new to
  • Growing a business 40% in 2 years after acquisition
  • Buying a grant-writing business
  • The pain of losing an LOI

Reach Jordan at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Aug 02, 2022
Buy a SaaS Business in 2022: How to Compete in a Hot Market
5188

A deep-dive into the market for SaaS businesses with Thomas Smale, founder of leading SaaS brokerage FE International. 

Topics in Thomas's interview:

  • Pros & cons of SaaS
  • SaaS valuations
  • SaaS vs. ecommerce
  • Competing with private equity for SaaS deals
  • Using an SBA loan to buy a SaaS business
  • Micro-SaaS
  • First-time buyers doing a career pivot by acquiring a business
  • Most common mistake among first-time buyers
  • Passive nature of online businesses
  • SaaS products unlikely to go zero?
  • Acquisition strategy: converting on-premise software to cloud
  • Proprietary outreach to find SaaS sellers
  • How economic climate is affecting SaaS valuations & multiples
  • Ecommerce valuations & multiples
  • Young ecommerce businesses - dangerous?
  • Advice for first-timer buyers

Reach Thomas at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jul 26, 2022
Leaving Apple to Buy a Real Estate Business with 150+ Agents
4369

Kinza Azmat arrived in the US at age 6, speaking little English. Today she's the new owner of a thriving RE brokerage. 

Topics from Kinza's interview:

  • Becoming a business broker to learn acquisition & access deal flow
  • Thinking that finding a business to buy would be easy
  • How business brokerages generate deal flow
  • Financial & location criteria of her search
  • Unlocking deal flow by expanding geographic criteria
  • Dealing with gender, racial, and other biases in sellers
  • Tying seller note to business performance
  • The business of apartment locators
  • Competitive moats for apartment locators
  • Rebranding
  • Small business owner life vs. corporate cog life
  • Getting your spouse on board
  • Pregnant as a new owner
  • Type D and Type F reorganization
  • Following (and breaking) the Asian-American pattern
  • America as land of opportunity

Reach Kinza at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jul 19, 2022
7 Findings from the New Data on Self-Funded Searches
1747

Lisa Forrest shares key findings from a survey of 49 entrepreneurs who bought a business after a self-funded search. 

The findings discussed were based on these questions:

  • How did you find your deal?
  • Did you conduct a full-time search?
  • How long did you search before you found the deal you closed on?
  • Do you think your acquisition price valuation was fair?
  • How long did it take you to discuss valuation with the seller?
  • Did you have a competitive deal process where multiple buyers were vying for the LOI?
  • What do you think the critical success factors were in sourcing and closing your deal?
  • Did you go up or down market compared to your original expectations?

Reach Lisa at:

  • lisa DOT forrest AT liveoak DOT bank
  • LinkedIn

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

  • The report will be published at Live Oak Bank's search fund resources page... but not for 2 weeks.
  • If you can't wait, email Lisa at the address above👆 and she'll get you the raw data now.
Jul 15, 2022
Why Chenmark Bought a Boat Tour Business
4466

Seasonal. Nonrecurring. Key person risk. Trish Higgins recounts how Chenmark got excited about an unlikely acquisition. 

Topics in Trish's interview:

  • Building a holdco versus taking a job in private equity
  • What Chenmark does, why it's special
  • Chenmark's founders' goals: impact, interestingness, financial
  • Why isn't the holdco model taught in business schools?
  • The story of Cap'n Fish Cruises
  • Unit economics of a boat tour business
  • Is seasonality really so bad?
  • Managing seasonality
  • Are boat tour businesses attractive generally?
  • Finding differentiation in a crowded industry
  • Bait & tackle shop framework
  • Chenmark's second boat tour acquisition
  • How Chenmark approaches learning an industry where they've acquired a business

Reach Trish at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jul 12, 2022
The Weird & Wonderful World of Vending
6429

Ujwal Velagapudi acquired a multimillion dollar vending empire with thousands of machines & 7 figures of cash flow. 

Themes from Ujwal's interview:

  • Big vending businesses vs. small
  • Building a big vending business by acquiring small routes
  • Economics of vending
  • Logistics of vending
  • Tiny acquisitions to build confidence & experience
  • Differentiating yourself as a buyer on MicroAcquire
  • Using phantom equity to hire general manager
  • Benefiting from OnlyFans growth
  • Working with a dishonest seller
  • Buying an online business
  • Buying an FBA business
  • Buying a small gym
  • Buying a historic neighborhood sports bar
  • Buying downmarket commercial real estate
  • Using Craigslist for acquisition of businesses & real estate

Reach Ujwal at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Learn more about Walker Deibel's done-with-you buy-side advisory:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jul 06, 2022
Don't Be Tempted: 8 Signs of a Bad Business
3993

A lender and a searcher explain how to quickly identify a business you should NOT buy, saving you months of wasted time. 

Themes from Ryan & Heather's interview:

  • Killer #1: Valuation
  • Killer #2: Stupid Margins
  • Killer #3: Going Too Small
  • Killer #4: Bolt-on vs. Platform
  • Killer #5: Competing with Private Equity
  • Killer #6: Geography
  • Killer #7: Red Flags
  • Killer #8: Needs to Support Leverage

Links & mentions:

Reach Ryan at:

Reach Heather at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Jun 28, 2022
How to Acquire & Grow an FBA Business
3547

Alex Michael bought a wallet brand doing $650k on Amazon. Alex delves into how FBA works & what the growth levers are. 

Themes from Alex's interview:

  • Why ecommerce?
  • Difficulty competing to buy an ecommerce business
  • Process of a ecommerce acquisition with a Quiet Light listing
  • Anatomy of the first call with a seller
  • How to be a good buyer
  • What to say to a seller in a competitive environment
  • Diligencing an ecommerce business
  • Cost breakdown of an FBA business
  • Supply chain risk in ecommerce
  • Promoting an FBA business on Amazon
  • Amazon's PPC flywheel
  • ACoS and TACoS
  • Daily ad spend, net margins, revenue, SDE
  • Platform risk with FBA businesses
  • Adding a Shopify store to diversify distribution

Reach Alex at:

**** Register here for the live session with Chelsea Wood of the Acquisition Lab:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jun 21, 2022
Good News for Ecommerce Buyers
3469

Multiples for ecom businesses jumped 50% since 2018, but Quiet Light's Joe Valley says that trend is about to reverse. 

Themes from Joe's interview:

  • The ecommerce buying mania of 2021
  • 2 pieces of advice for acquisition entrepreneurs looking at ecommerce
  • How ecommerce multiples will change
  • How ecommerce deal terms will change
  • Seller financing in ecommerce
  • Future of the ecommerce aggregators
  • History of the ecommerce aggregators

Reach Joe at:

**** Register here for the live session with Chelsea Wood of the Acquisition Lab:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jun 20, 2022
Search Success in a Small City: $500k SDE, 95% Recurring
4267

How James Maxwell & his partner found a 22-year-old janitorial biz & successfully installed a GM in a city of 100,000. 

Themes from James' interview:

  • Searching in a small market
  • Choosing NOT to outsource due diligence
  • Janitorial business pros & cons
  • Partnered search
  • What deal flow looks like in a 100k city
  • Hiring a general manager
  • Does an MBA help with buying a business?
  • Why self-funded over traditional?

Reach James at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Register here for the live session with Chelsea Wood of the Acquisition Lab:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Jun 14, 2022
How to Get Good Deals from Brokers
4205

Business broker Clint Fiore explains how to most effectively work with brokers to find good businesses to buy. 

Themes from Clint's interview:

  • Brokers' pet peeves about acquisition entrepreneurs...
  • ...and how to avoid them
  • Most important thing you communicate to a broker
  • Life cycle of a business for sale
  • Searcher branding
  • The reality of the "silver tsunami"
  • Seller psychology
  • The master skill right now for buying businesses

Reach Clint at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Register here for the live session with Chelsea Wood of the Acquisition Lab:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jun 07, 2022
What Searchers Can Learn from Big PE
4065

Alex Mears draws on years of experience at Carlyle & Blackstone to support and invest in searchers (70 & counting). 

Themes from Alex's interview:

  • The most valuable businesses of all
  • Attractiveness (or not) of home service businesses
  • Seller integrity
  • When to require speaking with key employees
  • Thesis-driven search
  • Search accelerators
  • New accelerator The Brydon Group
  • Alex's pivot to entrepreneurship: why now?

Reach Alex at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Register here for the live session with Chelsea Wood of the Acquisition Lab:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jun 02, 2022
How to Buy a Big Business with a Buy-Side Advisor
3987

Jason Andrews paid $250k to a buy-side advisor to help find & acquire his first business — and would 100% do it again. 

Themes from Jason's interview:

  • Paying a premium for a good business
  • Working with a buy-side advisor: price, value, what they do
  • Speaking to 30 sellers
  • Buying a business in your 40s
  • Taking a big swing
  • Where he invested his time during due diligence
  • Whether he was "buying a job"
  • The consulting agreement he structured with the previous owners
  • Buying big or buying small
  • Going from corporate to small business
  • Pros & cons of group purchasing organizations (GPOs)

Reach Jason at:

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Register here for the live session with Chelsea Wood of the Acquisition Lab:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Jun 01, 2022
7 Common Mistakes Across 250 Searchers
2817

Chelsea Wood has worked with 250+ business buyers & identifies 7 challenges that commonly interfere with their success. 

Themes from Chelsea's interview:

  • The irrational need to be an expert on every part of your acquisition‍
  • Incessant need for more, more, MORE information
  • ‍Good ol' imposter syndrome
  • ‍You don't brand yourself
  • ‍You're too rigid
  • ‍You're too loose, get desperate
  • You don't put in the effort for deal flow

Reach Chelsea at:

  • chelsea at buythenbuild dot com
  • LinkedIn

Get complimentary due diligence on your acquisition's insurance & benefits program:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

May 23, 2022
Acquiring a Business in Florida, Living in California
3809

How Chris Munn runs his first acquisition, a $800k cleaning business in Tampa, while being based in LA. 

Themes from Chris’s interview:

  • Real estate vs. small business acquisition
  • The importance of getting reps — modeling deals as practice for the real thing
  • Running an acquired business remotely
  • Buying a business that’s too small
  • Being an African-American man and dealing with “pattern matching” from banks
  • How Chris gained 30k followers in six months

Reach Chris at:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

May 16, 2022
Why Buy a Small Manufacturing Business
2926

Ex-cop John Hubbard bought a $5m trailer manufacturing biz from an absentee owner & expects to grow to $12m by 2024. 

Themes from John’s interview:

  • Learning how to run a business, hands-on, before acquiring one
  • Transferring military skills to business acquisition
  • Raising money on Searchfunder.com
  • Asking “dumb questions” to learn quickly
  • Choosing self-funded over a traditional search fund to achieve the lifestyle he wanted
  • Firing half his customers in the first month of ownership
  • Why your search shouldn’t ignore manufacturing businesses

Reach John at:

  • By email: john at blue cord capital dot com
  • On LinkedIn: John Hubbard

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

May 09, 2022
Buying Digital Businesses in 2022
3062

Digital business buyer Dom Wells shares where he looks for opportunities today in the shifting sands of online business. 

Themes from Dom's interview:

  • Affiliate, e-commerce, and SaaS businesses and each one's pros/cons
  • Online course and content businesses
  • Where Dom sees opportunities in digital acquisition
  • How to source deals
  • Leading brokerages of digital businesses
  • Flippa & MicroAcquire
  • How to approach the digital space as an outsider

Connect with Dom:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

May 02, 2022
Lessons from a Founder Who Then Started Acquiring
3437

Mike Loftus started his landscaping business from scratch, then began buying others to accelerate growth to $4m/yr. 

Themes from Mike’s interview:

  • Growing a landscaping business organically from the ground up
  • Acknowledging your weaknesses and handing them off as soon as you can
  • The advantages familiarity with technology bring despite a lack of experience
  • Finding acquisition opportunities through unconventional methods
  • The importance of recurring revenue in landscaping
  • The potential exit opportunities for landscaping owners

Connect with Mike:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Apr 25, 2022
Self-Funded Search vs. Traditional Search Funds
3526

Lively debate between Greg Geronemus & Robert Graham about the 2 most common models searchers use to acquire a business. 


Covered in the debate:

  • Quick definitions of each model
  • How the economics differ
  • Why are traditional search fund terms so fixed?
  • CEO vs. Owner
  • Accountability, governance, boards, mentoring
  • Flexibility & optionality
  • Relative risk of both models
  • Probability of close
  • Probability of success
  • Assembling the board as a self-funded searcher
  • Is either model preferable for particular industry targets?
  • Who is your model not for?

Connect with the debaters on LinkedIn:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Apr 18, 2022
8 Figure Exit, 2 Years After Buying the Business
4408

How Keith Leimbach paid 6 figures for a business he saw on QuietLight, then exited for 8 figures two years later.

*** Register for live episode here: https://bit.ly/3r6P1bD *** 

Themes from Keith’s interview:

  • The difference between buying and starting a business
  • It’s never “just add marketing,” even when it seems like it is
  • Growth by creating new products that customers are telling you they want
  • Not being afraid to outsource or delegate
  • Why Amazon FBA businesses aren’t for everyone
  • The Smash My Trash franchise
  • Building laundromats from scratch
  • Keith’s near-death plane crash

Connect with Keith:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Apr 11, 2022
2 Common Risks in Search & How to Mitigate Them
1620

Due diligence expert Elliott Holland looks at industry & owner/seller risk, and exactly what you can do to address them. 

*** Register for live episode here: https://bit.ly/3NGoSKa *** 

How to reach Elliott:

Apr 07, 2022
How to Buy a $4m HVAC Business (at Age 24)
3878

After big success with affiliate marketing online, @Gundwolf sought to acquire & build a more durable business. 

*** Register for live episode here: https://bit.ly/3tXHIEH *** 

Themes from @Gundwolf’s interview:

  • Appeal of durable offline businesses vs. online marketing businesses
  • Getting up at 4am to work 4 hours before going to day job
  • Achieving success in the affiliate marketing world
  • @Gundwolf’s personal philosophy of goals
  • Not being taken seriously as a 24-year-old
  • Protracted acquisition process
  • The importance of the buyer-seller relationship
  • Earning credibility among blue-collar crews
  • Challenges when both buyer & seller are doing their first acquisition

Reach @Gundwolf at:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Apr 04, 2022
What to Love About HVAC Acquisitions
2778

Nathan Lenahan acquired an HVAC company with ~$1.2m in revenue for $400k. He's aiming to double sales in 2022 to $2.72m. 

Themes from Nathan’s interview:

  • The appeal of HVAC over other businesses in the trades
  • All the numbers behind Nathan's acquisition
  • Benefits of “buying small” in the SMB acquisition world
  • High professional satisfaction for skilled trades 
  • Acquiring an HVAC business without industry knowledge
  • The importance of first-rate customer care
  • Leveraging multiple acquisitions to create a platform for easier home ownership

Reach Nathan Lenahan at:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Mar 28, 2022
How & When to Make Changes at Your Acquisition
3226

This is the rebroadcast of a panel that Acquiring Minds recently moderated at the annual ETA Summit at MIT. 


MIT's panel description:


"First do no harm, then pull on the growth levers." Should you wait to make changes? Or take every opportunity you see? How and when should you make changes to your team or to your organizations that will help you get the most out of your organization?


Speakers:

  • Trish Higgins - Partner, Chenmark Holdings; CEO, Cap’n Fish Holdings. Trish Higgins is a founding partner at Chenmark Holdings, a Portland, Maine based firm focused on the acquisition and long-term ownership of small businesses throughout North America. Outside of work, Trish can be found spending quality time with her husband and business partner, James, and their two kids.
  • Markus Scott - CEO, EyeQ Monitoring. Markus Scott is currently the CEO of EyeQ Monitoring, an AI-enabled surveillance and business intelligence technology company located in Atlanta, GA. He acquired the business in 2015 after raising a search fund at Kellogg in 2013. Prior to Kellogg, he worked in middle market private equity and played football at the University of Florida. He is married with two small kids, Ava (8) and AJ (7), and enjoys coaching, spearfishing and bourbon in his downtime.
  • Kush Das - CEO, Ennoble Care. Former healthcare consultant, healthcare lawyer, and EMS provider with value-based and community-based care experience. Kush acquired Ennoble Care in 2021.
Mar 24, 2022
Shut Out by Industry Brokers, an Entrepreneur Finds a Way
3490

Having witnessed the power of clean books, Patrick Dichter was driven to buy a $1.2m bookkeeping & accounting business. 

Themes from Patrick’s interview:

  • The appeal of bookkeeping for acquisition entrepreneurs
  • Seeing the power of clean books to transform a small business
  • Messaging used to reach out to owners of accounting & bookkeeping firms
  • Definition of bookkeeping vs. accounting
  • What it’s like to acquire a bookkeeping business when you’re not a CPA
  • Industry- and geography-specific search
  • Building a proprietary search funnel

Reach Patrick Dichter at:

Connect with Acquiring Minds:

Links & mentions:

Mar 21, 2022
How to Buy a Business Using Tactics from B2B Tech Sales
4066

George Vallone unpacks how he used cold outreach to find an off-market cleaning biz doing $1m and buy it for 2x EBITDA. 

Themes from George’s interview:

  • Prioritizing recurring revenue in the search criteria
  • The importance of messaging when approaching business owners
  • Using a funnel approach in the search
  • The differences between residential cleaning and commercial cleaning
  • The economics of apartment turnover
  • Using customer service as a marketing tool
  • Getting a good deal by betting big
  • How to avoid cash flow crunch during transition

Reach George at:

Mar 14, 2022
Transatlantic Search for a $1m+ EBITDA Business
2717

Before embarking on his search, Alex Glasner interviewed 50 searchers & uncovered 2 key attitudes necessary for success. 

Themes from Alex’s interview:

  • Wanting to run a business, but not knowing where to start
  • Learning from people whose searches failed
  • The importance of moving quickly with sellers
  • Buying a mission and not just a job
  • The value of being decisive in a search
  • Merging proprietary and brokered search styles
  • Pausing to understand the business before making another acquisition

Reach Alex at:

  • alex at workpays dot co dot uk
Mar 07, 2022
Buying a 20-Year-Old Online Business
1991

Looking to buy a part-time online biz as he neared retirement, Dave Bramlett found it in a resume service doing $1.5m. 

Themes from Dave's interview:

  • Making a career of buying small businesses
  • Buying a functioning business allows for immediate cash flow
  • Finding businesses on BizBuySell
  • Bring in the experts for due diligence
  • Maintaining a positive relationship with the seller
  • Know your strengths as a buyer
  • Always be open to new businesses for sale

Reach Dave at:

  • dave at resume writing group dot com
Mar 03, 2022
6 Months in the Truck: Buying an Ice Delivery Biz
3437

Brandon Adams bought a $850k EBITDA ice delivery company only to discover he'd be doing deliveries himself for 6 months. 

Themes from Brandon's interview:

  • Doing a local proprietary search
  • Identifying brokers you can trust
  • Managing purchase price after an anomalous year
  • The silver lining of a due diligence oversight
  • Being a great leader as a new owner
  • The appeal of owning businesses in various industries

Reach Brandon at:

  • brandon at k4inv dot com
Feb 28, 2022
Nailing the Trifecta: B2B + Remote + Scalable
2931

Damon Chlarson had 3 key criteria, and he found them in an insulation supplier doing $380k EBITDA and selling for $1.1m. 

Themes from Damon’s interview:

  • Defining your acquisition criteria 
  • Finding your niche in the market
  • Imagining yourself doing the job before buying the business
  • Tapping into people’s talents
  • Mental health and business success
  • Finding opportunities in times of crisis
  • Looking back and growing ambition

Reach Damon at:

Feb 22, 2022
Overcoming a Career Rut by Buying a Business
3210

Frustrated after losing 3 jobs, Bruce Vann used savings to acquire a 25-employee, 7-figure curtain manufacturer for 2x. 

Themes from Bruce’s interview:

  • Paying 2x for a growing 70-year-old business
  • Buying a business to pull out of a career rut
  • Why finding a business is like a full court shot
  • The need for persistence
  • Abandoning a proprietary search because of seller overvaluations
  • Chasing down leads and not becoming complacent
  • The importance of documenting business processes in case of sudden staff departures
  • Dealing with uneasy staff during the transition period
  • The experience of acquiring a business as a Black man in the U.S.

Reach Bruce at:

  • bvann at luxout dot com
Feb 14, 2022
Building a Blue Collar Empire
4300

After seeing 9-figure businesses built through acquisition, Adrian Pinto bought a landscaping biz to build one himself. 

Themes from Adrian’s interview:

  • Buying a $3-5M landscaping business with 15-20% margins
  • Paying 3x, but rapid growth making it more like 2x
  • What a buy-side advisor is and when it might make sense to work with one
  • How COVID helped his search process
  • Why doing his own search was less stressful than a traditional search would have been
  • The excitement versus the reality of acquiring bolt-ons to your platform business
  • Beginning with the idea of building a strong base for future growth (chassis concept)
  • Waiting & observing for months before introducing changes to company processes

Reach Adrian at:

Feb 07, 2022
7 Years Later: Leaving Wall Street to Buy Small Businesses
4539

The 3 founders of Chenmark left promising corporate careers to pursue a multi-decade path of acquiring small businesses. 

Themes from the interview with James & Palmer Higgins:

  • Why the Chenmark founders decided to do this
  • Lessons learned from 30+ acquisitions
  • How the founding thesis is performing 7 years in
  • The value of an "extreme delayed gratification muscle"
  • Intellectual stimulation in corporate life vs. small business
  • Buying big vs. buying small
  • How has competition in search evolved over the last 5 years
  • Chenmark’s diversification strategy

Other recommend podcasts where Chenmark has appeared:

Subscribe to: Chenmark’s Weekly Thoughts.

Jan 31, 2022
How to Build a Holdco (4 Acquisitions So Far)
2669

With 4 acquisitions since starting in 2018, Justin Turner explains how his team is building a permanent equity holdco. 

Themes from Justin’s interview:

  • The appeal of holding on to companies for a longer period
  • Why buying a $4-5M business might be easier than buying a $1M one
  • Letting the seller relationship develop naturally
  • Why paving companies make great acquisitions
  • Waiting to finalize the equity until after the deal is in hand
  • Setting acquisitions up in a holdco structure

Reach Justin at:

  • j turner at traction cp dot com
Jan 24, 2022
Buying a Business & Having a Blast
2748

@Fundof1 was searching for a business in a tight geography, and found a great fit in a $760k appliance repair company. 

Themes from John’s interview:

  • Buying a $760k appliance repair company
  • How to balance very specific search criteria
  • Choosing a steady industry
  • Walking into a business with an established sense of community
  • Deciding between using investors or not
  • Focusing on improving the business rather than day-to-day operations
  • Remembering to have fun
  • Building trust with employees who don’t work in the office

Reach John at:

Jan 18, 2022
Buying a Manufacturer with 1 Good Employee & 2000 SKUs
3014

Knowing zero about manufacturing, Josh Paulson found purpose when he bought a small & struggling producer of pet cages. 

Themes from Josh's interview:

  • Owning the business saved his life
  • What manufacturing is like
  • Firing all but 1 employee (who spoke little English)
  • Reducing the product line from 2000 SKUs
  • Rebuilding a business with limited resources

Reach Josh at:

Jan 13, 2022
The Key to a Profitable Liquor Store
1854

Devin Wanzor went from a corporate gig with 50 employees to buying a $3M liquor store and playing golf 3 times a week. 

Themes from Devin's interview:

  • What makes Devin's liquor store so profitable
  • The major risk involved in acquiring a liquor store
  • The self-image shift from corporate manager to liquor store owner
  • Boosting revenue with an easy price cleanup
  • Maintaining a 15-hour workweek

Reach Devin at:

Jan 10, 2022
It's All Your Fault: How to Become CEO of Your Acquisition
3053

Mike Curry bought a business only to struggle for years as its new CEO. He shares the lessons that unlocked 2x growth. 

Themes from Mike’s interview:

  • Entrepreneurship through acquisition (ETA) isn’t just for MBAs
  • Buying a business is art and science
  • The perks of the traditional search fund model
  • Building a strong community of fellow entrepreneurs
  • Becoming CEO of an established company
  • Earning your employees’ trust
  • The need for diverse business leaders

Reach Mike at:

  • mcurry at apex physics dot com

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jan 03, 2022
A Cautionary Tale of Buying Too Small
4045

JD Klein bought a print shop for $100k, thinking such a small acquisition carried little risk. The opposite was true. 

Themes from JD's interview:

  • Running a strong-growth, low-margin business
  • Selling your house to make ends meet
  • Why very small businesses come with higher risk
  • Acquirers should hire a financial planner
  • Pivoting your strategy when uncontrollable roadblocks emerge
  • Pros & cons of the printing industry for acquirers
  • Personal victories vs. financial victories

Reach JD at:

Dec 20, 2021
Choosing Laundromats over Real Estate
3077

Geoff Oliver bought 2 laundromats in rural Texas. He shares his numbers & what to consider when acquiring a laundromat. 

Themes from Geoff's interview:

  • How working as an SBA lender lit a fire for acquisitions
  • Looking for a real estate investment and finding a great business instead
  • What makes laundromats competitive
  • Self service vs. full serve
  • Why quality of laundromat equipment can matter more than earnings
  • Understanding your customers’ preferences before making changes
  • The growth potential of asset-heavy businesses
  • The appeal of “zombiemats”
  • How to hire a manager for your laundromat

Reach Geoff at:

Dec 16, 2021
5 Takeaways from Harvard's ETA Conference
2136

Harvard's acquisition entrepreneurship conference took place last week. Organizer Michael Ledecky shares 5 takeaways. 

Themes from Michael's interview:

  • Buy a good business in a great industry
  • 4+1 Model for searching
  • 3 industries for acquisition entrepreneurs to consider
  • Mental health in search
  • Women in search
  • Thai Lee, acquisition entrepreneur who became a billionaire
  • Diversifying paths of search
  • Predictions for search in 2022 & 2023

Tons of names & resources cited in this episode. Here they all are:

Dec 13, 2021
Lessons from 14 Years in Search
2344

Having searched, acquired, and exited a business himself starting back in 2007, today Mark Sinatra invests in searchers. 

Themes from Mark's interview:

  • Running a traditional search fund
  • How search has changed over the last 15 years
  • The challenge of staying optimistic during a traditional search
  • The capacity of small and mid-sized companies to absorb change
  • Client management during a recession
  • Dealing with clients’ attachment to familiar processes
  • What a search investor looks for in searchers
  • Importance of bringing a deal to investors sooner than later

Reach Mark at:

Dec 09, 2021
What to Acquire: 3 Hot Sectors for Business Buyers
1845

Casey Clark talks hot industries, identifying growth potential in a business for sale, and avoiding common SMB pitfalls. 

Themes from Casey's interview:

  • Choosing the right industry for you
  • 3 hot industries for acquisition  
  • Acquisition opportunity checklist
  • How to convince a seller to let you speak with management
  • The “propeller” methodology
  • 3 common traps for small business owners

Reach Casey at:

Dec 06, 2021
Buying the Family Business & Growing 4x During COVID
3174

Resisting at first, Mark Litton eventually realized that buying the family biz was the perfect path to entrepreneurship. 

Themes from Mark's interview:

  • Buying a business from a family member
  • Redefining “real” entrepreneurship
  • Structuring a deal with 100% financing
  • Understanding the business’s numbers before you buy
  • Getting through struggles in your first year
  • Recession-proofing your business
  • Free resources for aspiring acquisition entrepreneurs

Reach Mark at:

Nov 30, 2021
How to Hire an Attorney for Your Acquisition
2153

Learn how to find a lawyer for your deal, how much you'll spend, what to look for, and how to avoid suing the seller. 

Themes from the interview with @SMB_Attorney:

  • Absolutely necessary: a good lawyer
  • What to look for
  • References? Reviews? Hmm, difficult
  • What you'll pay
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate price
  • Do they need to be in the same location as your deal?
  • You don’t want to sue
  • Indemnification: Get familiar with it

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Nov 23, 2021
Buying a Therapy Practice & Selling for Millions
3322

A husband & wife bought a therapy practice for $120k, almost dumped it, then grew it for 8 years when PE came knocking. 

Themes from Neil's interview:

  • Growing a mental health practice from $615k/year to $2M. 
  • How working in your acquired business (not on it) can save you
  • Owning a business with your spouse
  • Equipment leasing as a solution to keeping overhead costs low 
  • To sue or not to sue (the seller, post-acquisition)
  • Preferring businesses for sale rather than cold outreach to owners
  • When to sell a fast-growing business

Reach Neil at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Nov 22, 2021
The Argument for Self-Funded Search
3970

Jordan Carter & Robert Graham argue for self-funded search over traditional search funds or the "buy small" approach.

Themes from the interview with Jordan & Robert:

  • Self-Funded Over Traditional
  • Buy Bigger
  • Turning $200k into $4M+
  • How Much Money You'll Need
  • Be Prepared to Move
  • No Deal Experience? No Problem
  • What Makes a Good Searcher

Reach Jordan & Robert on LinkedIn:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Nov 15, 2021
How to Buy a Salon as an Industry Outsider (and Survive)
3132

Sarah Romer bought a large but tired hair salon in Austin for $80k. Her first year as owner was the hardest of her life.

Themes from Sarah's interview:

  • The formula for estimating the value of a salon or beauty business
  • What to do when sellers overestimate the worth of their company
  • Where to cut costs after you’ve made an acquisition 
  • Underestimating the importance of company culture
  • The stress of owning and managing a retail business
  • The process of exiting a business you’ve acquired

Reach Sarah at:

  • Sarah dot Romer at gmail dot com

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Nov 08, 2021
Starter Acquisition: Buying a $25k Business
2172

Neil Granberry bought a bubble ball business to prove himself as an entrepreneur while pursuing an MBA at the same time.

Themes from Neil’s interview:

  • The advantages of a small starter business as a first acquisition
  • Looking past media hype that paints billionaire startup founders as the only entrepreneurs
  • The value of a customer list
  • The beauty of acquiring a small business that is already profitable
  • Taking a hard look at a company’s books to negotiate a better sale price
  • Delegating operations to trusted employees to better position yourself for a sale later on

Reach Neil at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Nov 04, 2021
Stay Open to the Many Flavors of Search
3425

Thanks to changing his search from traditional to self-funded, Chris Williams bought a $1m EBITDA bookkeeping business.

Themes from Chris's interview:

  • Traditional versus alternative search fund models
  • The advantages of self-funded search (if you can afford it)
  • The appeal of bookkeeping businesses
  • How to stand out to potential sellers who have heard it all before
  • The first six months after acquisition

Reach Chris at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Nov 01, 2021
From Search Misery to Successful CEO
2884

Steve Divitkos shares tips from his acquisition, from the solitude of search to the delicate balance of being a new CEO.

Themes from Steve's interview:

  • The full lifecycle of a traditional search
  • The biggest myth about entrepreneurship
  • Surviving the search process
  • Why he bought Microdea
  • Managing relationships with the sellers (the price of peace)
  • What to do in your first two weeks as CEO 
  • Why you should diagnose before you prescribe

Reach Steve at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 28, 2021
Buying a 45 Year Old Software Business
2838

A podcast exposed Jason Budd to buying businesses. After 10 years in corporate, he'd found his path to entrepreneurship.

Themes from Jason's interview:

  • How Jason found the right business with the help of a mentor and a podcast
  • Due diligence when it comes to finances and staff
  • Keeping your options open in case a sale falls through
  • Technical understanding of your acquired business
  • What the history of an established business can tell you
  • Getting to know the stories of the people who will work for you
  • Being the project manager of your own deal

Reach Jason at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 25, 2021
How to Buy Landscaping Businesses
2804

Closing on his 2nd acquisition in 10 months, Mike Botkin just became Central Florida's largest landscaping business.

Themes from Mike's interview:

  • Acquiring a second landscaping business
  • Dropping customers to grow 
  • Developing a playbook for operating a landscaping business
  • Treating your employees right
  • Downsides of SBA loans and traditional search funds
  • The invaluable resource of keeping the previous owner in the biz
  • Viewing landscaping from a logistics perspective
  • Why landscaping businesses are great acquisitions

Reach Mike at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 21, 2021
Anatomy of a Search: 40 Interns, 25 Months, 20 Offers
3063

Jessica Markowitz used a traditional search fund to search for & ultimately buy a great business. But the road was long.

Themes from Jessica's interview:

  • Acquiring a business through a traditional search fund
  • Leveraging an army of interns to power the search
  • Search fund partnership with a close friend 
  • Maintaining a good relationship with a business owner even after they decline you
  • Running a legal services company without a law degree

Reach Jessica at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 17, 2021
How to Choose Your Lender When Buying a Business
2834

There are many lenders out there eager to finance your acquisition. SBA loan expert Lisa Forrest explains how to choose.

Themes from Lisa's interview:

  • Working with lenders to secure an SBA loan
  • Choosing the right lender for you
  • How to prepare for your SBA loan conversation
  • Getting an SBA loan for SaaS and eCommerce businesses
  • How business owners can plan ahead for a cash crunch
  • Why now is a great time for buyers

Reach Lisa at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 14, 2021
The Poetry of Buying a Blue Collar Business
3483

Shannon Jones explains how acquisition entrepreneurs should navigate the realities of buying a blue collar business.

Themes from Shannon's interview:

  • Killing relations with a blue collar seller by being too "quant"
  • Importance of vulnerability when negotiating
  • How to know if a blue collar business is in an industry that’s right for you
  • Managing blue collar employees and common pitfalls
  • Transitioning as a new owner of a blue collar business
  • When is the right time to make changes as a new owner?

Reach Shannon at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 11, 2021
What You Don’t Understand About Buying a Small Business
2743

Due diligence expert Elliott Holland shares the top things he wishes he’d known when he first started buying businesses.

Themes from Elliott's interview:

  • Started the due diligence firm he wished he’d had himself
  • For LOIs, don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good
  • Early information on an acquisition is +/- 40% correct (and that might be OK)
  • The information you get post-LOI is what matters
  • Don’t be surprised if the seller doesn’t trust you right away

Reach Elliott at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 07, 2021
6 Ways Buying a Business Has Changed Since 2016
1603

Nick Haschka shares what's changed in the market since acquiring his first small business in 2016. (Hint: it’s harder.)

Themes from Nick's interview:

  • The rise and fall of the “silver tsunami”
  • Private equity’s pivot from hands-off to getting dirty
  • MBAs jump into the acquisition arena
  • The labors of labor shortages
  • Why B2C is beating B2B 
  • Saying yes to no-code

Reach Nick at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Oct 04, 2021
How to Buy a Medical Billing Business
2735

Less than a year after acquiring a $1m medical billing business, Curt Neider is already looking for his second deal.

Themes from Curt's interview:

  • Buying a medical billing company doing ~$1 million/year
  • The appeal of medical billing businesses
  • Becoming a certified professional biller to understand the business
  • How Curt immediately improved operations
  • Separate line of credit for working capital (not rolled into SBA loan)
  • Acquiring with a partner
  • "Altruistic kicker" of buying a business that helps people
  • Second acquisition less than a year after the first

Reach Curt at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Sep 28, 2021
Investing Like an 1880s Businessman
3002

Key lessons for acquisition entrepreneurs from Andrew Finn, who has grown a service business & acquired SaaS businesses.

Themes from Andrew's interview:

  • Opportunity in sub $1m EBITDA businesses
  • SaaS vs. services business
  • Grooming an operator to extract yourself from the business
  • What makes a good SaaS acquisition
  • Your acquisition journey — just start
  • Jumping from labor to capital
  • Capital Camp

Reach Andrew at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Sep 24, 2021
Using Investors to Buy a Business with SBA
3174

Don't have the 10-20% cash to buy a business with SBA? Search investor Steve Ressler explains how to attract investors & structure the deal.

Themes from Steve's interview:

  • The 4 flavors of search
  • Choosing the right investors
  • SBA loan math
  • Raising the 10%
  • Buying a business in an industry you don't know
  • Setting investor expectations
  • Common mistakes to avoid

Reach Steve at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Sep 21, 2021
Growing a Flippa Business to $2 Million
3128

Sales had dropped to zero when Martin Bispels acquired Upper Park Disc Golf. A year later, they are nearing $2 million.

Themes from Martin's interview:

  • Buying a business on Flippa
  • What Martin asks himself every day to be a good CEO
  • Criteria used to identify a business to buy
  • Hiring the seller of the business
  • True cost of buying a business
  • Making a detailed plan before acquiring the business
  • Building a team before acquiring the business

Reach Martin at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Sep 14, 2021
How to Build a Portfolio of Micro SaaS Businesses
4316

Hard-won lessons about buying micro SaaS businesses from Andrew Pierno, who has acquired 3 and plans to buy many more.

Themes from Andrew's interview:

  • Breakdown of the XO Capital portfolio
  • How to source micro SaaS acquisitions
  • Micro SaaS due diligence
  • Paying for operators
  • The appealing product roadmap of tiny software vs. large
  • Bottlenecks of the tiny model
  • Whether moving upmarket make sense
  • Wins so far
  • MicroAcquire & Flippa

Reach Andrew at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Sep 09, 2021
Making a Career of Buying Businesses
3529

Pete Seligman stepped off a comfortable corporate path to buy a small business in 2013. He's since acquired 4 more.

Themes from Pete's interview:

  • Why Pete exited the corporate track to acquire a company
  • How risky is acquiring a business?
  • Role of passion when deciding which business to buy
  • Role of industry experience when deciding which business to buy
  • How long it takes to succeed in acquisition entrepreneurship
  • The type of person who should buy a company

Reach Pete at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Sep 06, 2021
Buying a $1m Coffee Biz After Years of Starting from Scratch
2775

After years of struggling to launch products from scratch, Casey Allen pivoted to buy a $1.7m coffee supplies business.

Themes from Casey's interview:

  • Struggling for years to launch products from scratch
  • The benefits of acquiring a company instead
  • Buying an e-commerce business as COVID sales take off
  • Buying a 24-year-old content site with 12 million annual visitors
  • Content vs. e-commerce
  • Advice for acquirers who have $10k, $50k, or $250k in cash to buy a business

Reach Casey at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Sep 02, 2021
Top 3 Pitfalls When Buying an Online Business
2786

Due diligence pro Ahmed Raza on the 3 key things to evaluate when buying a business in e-commerce, SaaS, or content.

Themes from Ahmed's interview: 

  • 3 things to evaluate in an e-commerce business you might buy 
  • 3 things to evaluate in a SaaS business you might buy 
  • 3 things to evaluate in a content/affiliate business you might buy 

Reach Ahmed at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 30, 2021
Why Plumbing Companies Make Awesome Acquisitions
3477

Charles Barr just acquired DiMartino Plumbing. He considered HVAC & electrical as well but plumbing was the sweet spot.

Themes from Charles’ interview:

  • Buying a small business as a path to wealth
  • Why plumbing?
  • Why he decided against HVAC & electrical
  • Numbers on the business & his deal
  • Why he’s getting his plumbing license

Reach Charles at: 

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 26, 2021
Buying an Online Side Hustle (for Less than $5k)
2278

Vivian Chen bought an abandoned online business for almost nothing, then grew it to $5k/mo — while keeping her day job.

Themes from Vivian’s episode:

  • Years of false starts before deciding to acquire
  • Advice to side hustlers
  • Parallels between buying an online business & real estate investing
  • When to go full time
  • Knowing yourself is key to your journey as an acquisition entrepreneur
  • It takes longer than you expect...
  • …so get started

Reach Vivian at: 

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 23, 2021
How to Survive Acquiring a $3.5m Flooring Business
3009

Chris Edwards' first 6 months as new owner has been a “bloody knife fight.” But things are looking up, with the business projected to profit $750k this year.

Themes from Chris’s interview: 

  • Chris’s advice for new owners (be a shock absorber) 
  • What made Chris a competitive buyer 
  • Solo buyer vs. having a partner 
  • How to implement changes as a new owner (hint: slowly) 
  • High stress, high stress, high stress…less stress 
  • “The worst decision he’d ever made”? 

Reach Chris at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 19, 2021
Acquiring an $8m Distressed E-Commerce Biz
2666

Brute Force thrived during COVID, but 2021 hit hard. Sales plunged 60% in one month. Mike Brown bought it to fix it.

Themes from Mike’s interview: 

  • Why Mike was "acquisition curious" and what made him pull the trigger
  • Betting on yourself 
  • Unsexy local businesses vs. e-commerce 
  • How the iOS privacy updates are affecting e-commerce 
  • How Mike handled sales collapsing 60% from May to June 
  • Adversity making you -- or your business -- stronger (h/t Jocko Willink)

Reach Mike at: 

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 16, 2021
Buying a $1.2m Fencing Business & Earning Trust Quickly
2874

Cassi Niekamp didn't know anything about fencing when she acquired Bowden Fence. But she turned this to her advantage.

Themes from Cassi’s interview: 

  • Bringing a student’s mind to your acquisition 
  • Using vulnerability to earn trust 
  • Doubling production in 60 days 
  • Building rapport with the seller 
  • Buying the first business you see 

Reach Cassi at: 

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 12, 2021
Making $100k/mo by Buying Websites
2634

Mike Gardon bought websites to be his own boss. His best acquisition does $100k/mo — and he bought it for 5 figures.

Themes from Mike’s interview:

  • Why buying a website is better than building from scratch
  • SEO & affiliate websites
  • Opportunity for smaller buyers of affiliate sites
  • Thinking about your websites like a financial portfolio
  • The importance of a foundation business

Reach Mike at: 

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 10, 2021
Buy an E-Commerce Business: Tips from an Aggregator
2610

5 tactics to boost sales of acquired e-commerce businesses — and other insights from e-commerce aggregator TCM Digital.

Key themes from Golan's interview:

  • There is still plenty of room for solopreneurs to made good e-commerce acquisitions.
  • Prices of e-commerce businesses have gone up, but still good value there.
  • 5 tactics TCM uses to quickly boost sales of the e-commerce businesses they acquire.
  • TCM Digital is an e-commerce aggregator based in Tel Aviv that has acquired 28 e-commerce businesses to date.

Reach Golan Manor at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 05, 2021
€5m a Year by Acquiring Translation Agencies
2812

How an outsider started with little money and bought 12 translation agencies in 6 years, aiming to reach €5m in revenue.

Key themes from Cédric's interview:

  • Acquired a translation agency in 2015 that was doing about €1.5m annually.
  • He had little of his own money at that time and took a large loan to make the acquisition happen.
  • 6 years later, he's acquired 11 more agencies and is aiming to reach €5m in annual revenue by the end of 2021.

Reach Cédric Sigoire at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Aug 03, 2021
How to Build an E-Commerce Acquisition Company
2197

With 6 e-commerce acquisitions and counting, Kelcey Lehrich has built 365 Holdings rapidly over the last 4 years.

Key themes from Kelcey's interview:

  • E-commerce as a path for acquisition entrepreneurs
  • Other businesses Kelcey likes for acquisition entrepreneurs
  • Business-buyer fit
  • Personal guarantees

Reach Kelcey Lehrich at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 29, 2021
Acquiring a $280k SaaS on MicroAcquire
2178

An early buyer on MicroAcquire, Spencer Scott acquired a SaaS for $280k. He analyzed the deal like a rental property.

Key points from Spencer's story:

  • He wasn't looking seriously for an acquisition but saw an opportunity and grabbed it: Median.
  • The tech is what impressed him most. He couldn't believe the product was a small indy SaaS built by a couple developers.
  • Median was selling for about 4x revenue, which was $75k ARR.
  • Spencer learned the hard way to include teeth in an acquisition letter of intent.

Reach Spencer Scott at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 27, 2021
Buy a Septic Business & Make $3m ARR
2430

Dan Spracklin acquired a septic pumping business doing $1M annually, then grew it to $3M and margins to 30% in 2 years.

Key points from Dan's story:

  • Gray Brothers was a septic pumping business founded in 1929, run by Dan Spracklin's father-in-law.
  • It was generating about $1m per year in revenues from 22,000 customers. Septic pumping companies typically have margins of 10-15%.
  • Dan & his wife added adjacent septic services to Gray Brothers and improved operations. Within 2 years, they'd pushed revenues to $3m and margins to 30-35%.
  • Septic pumping is a great lifestyle business for existing owners: low customer churn, high barriers to entry, recession proof.
  • It's difficult for entrepreneurs to start a new pumping businesses, so best to buy out a retiring owner if you can find one.

Reach Dan Spracklin at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 22, 2021
Pivoting to Swag in 7 Acquisitions Over 8 Years
2194

Two brothers took over a 110-year-old business in a stagnating industry. 7 acquisitions later, the future is bright.

Key points from Ben's story:

  • Ben Grossman & his brother pivoted their 110-year-old family business from printing to promotional products.
  • The strategy was executed by acquisition: 7 of them from 2013 through 2021.
  • Ben discusses the importance of treating sellers well to build a list of happy sellers that he can show future sellers as a reference.
  • He explains how he uses suppliers to source leads on potential acquisitions.
  • He also explains how to effectively work with business brokers.

Reach Ben Grossman at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 20, 2021
5 Lessons from Acquiring a $2m Portfolio of Websites
2582

How an online entrepreneur teamed with a family office to acquire & grow a portfolio of 15 websites for over $2 million.

Key points from Paul's story:

  • Paul Lemley teamed with a family office to source, acquire, and grow a portfolio of websites.
  • They ultimately acquired 15 sites across 3 acquisitions, spending between $2 and $3 million in total.
  • Paul highlights 5 lessons from this recent foray into the website deal world.

Reach Paul Lemley at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 15, 2021
How to Buy a Ski Resort (at Age 22)
2101

Rick Schmitz was an inexperienced 22-year-old with no money when he acquired a run-down ski resort and turned it around.

Key points from Rick's story:

  • Rick Schmitz was a 22-year-old graduating senior uninterested in pursuing a career in finance.
  • He saw a small ski resort for sale in his native Wisconsin. It had been on the market (and losing money) for 5 years.
  • Negotiated the original list price down from $1m to $625k.
  • Most banks rejected him outright for a loan, but gradually he cobbled together the purchase price.
  • 17 years later, Rick has acquired and operates 2 other resorts in the upper Midwest.

Reach Rick Schmitz at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 13, 2021
How to Buy a Landscaping Business & Boost Profits Quickly
2519

In just 9 months, Mike Botkin decided to acquire a business, negotiated a great deal, and dramatically improved profits.

Key points from Mike's story:

  • B & B Landscaping was generating around $800k in annual revenues.
  • Acquired it for 2x of SDE.
  • Paid 50% cash up front, then the remaining 50% was seller financed with a 4-year loan at zero interest.
  • Turns out a third of customer accounts are unprofitable, costing the business money & weighing down margins terribly. Money-losing customers are let go, and prices raised for many others.
  • In 9 months, acquisition entrepreneur Mike Botkin has the idea to buy a small business, negotiates a great deal, learns the business, and boosts profits dramatically.

Reach Mike Botkin at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 08, 2021
How One Small Acquisition Led to 9 More in 5 Years
2448

Nick Haschka left a Silicon Valley career and bought an office plant service in 2017, then acquired 9 more through 2021.

Key points from Nick's story:

  • The Wright Gardner was doing $1-2m in annual revenue, with margins in the 20% range.
  • Acquired the business in 2017 for ~3x of SDE.
  • Used SBA for 65-70% of the purchase price, 15% seller financing, and cash for the rest.
  • Four months after acquisition, SBA banker came to them with another indoor plant services business looking to sell. Acquired that business, plus 8 others since then.
  • Acquired businesses average a couple hundred thousand dollars in annual revenue, though some as small as $100k. All asset purchases.

Reach Nick Haschka at:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Jul 06, 2021
How to Acquire Your First Business in 3 Months
3272

How first-time acquirer Philippe Vanderhoydonck found a 30-year-old trade media business & bought it in under 3 months.

Reach Philippe Vanderhoydonck at:

Key points from Philippe's acquisition:

  • PETS International is a 30-year-old trade publication that publishes 6 magazines and hosts 2 conferences per year
  • Generates 20-35% margins on low-seven-figure revenues
  • Opportunity is to expand online presence and product offering
  • Acquired for low seven figures, a 3x multiple of annual earnings
  • Acquisition went very quickly, only about 10 weeks

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

May 27, 2021
How to Buy a $800k Clinical Trials Firm & Grow It to $3m
3633

How former management consultant Scott Whitt acquired and grew a small clinical trials business into the millions.

Key points from Scott's acquisition:

  • Triad was generating $850k in revenues & large 70% margins
  • Scott acquired it in 2015 for 3.5x earnings
  • Used ROBS for part of the acquisition financing
  • Grew revenues to $3m in 5 years
  • Predicts business can grow to $6-7m

Reach Scott Whitt:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

May 20, 2021
Buying a Manufacturer for Just the Value of Assets
1907

Tyler Deike bought a small manufacturer for the cost of property & equipment, making the business itself almost free.

Key points from Tyler's acquisition:

  • Blackhawk Fiberwerx was doing $500k in sales with $100k in profit
  • Seller was a retiring and overwhelmed 80-year-old
  • Tyler couldn't due-diligence the deal to death — had to "cross fingers and dive in"
  • Huge margin of safety. Business was selling for the combined value of its assets, so if business collapsed Tyler could recoup loan by selling assets.
  • SBA wouldn't make a loan without soil testing the land, so Tyler got a loan from a small regional bank

Reach Tyler Deike:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Apr 16, 2021
How to Buy a $2m Dying Business Then Sell It for 5X
3052

Mike Yarmo bought a struggling distributor & turned it into a local powerhouse in a different niche — then sold for 5x.

Key points from Mike's acquisition:

  • Owner was disengaged, retiring, and looking to sell his food distribution company
  • Company was 25 years old but had terrible margins
  • Mike & team acquired for low 7 figures, or ~2x earnings
  • Pivoted the company, grew aggressively over next few years
  • Sold 5 years later for 5x earnings, and 5x original acquisition price

Reach Mike Yarmo:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Apr 09, 2021
Doubling Revenue 6 Months after Acquisition
2442

How a 9-month search was rewarded by the discovery of 2 tiny e-commerce companies primed for growth.

Key points from Justin's acquisitions:

  • Acquired first company for $160k, or about 3x earnings
  • Generated $200k in revenues during first 6 months
  • Represented more than a 3x year-over-year increase
  • Acquired 2nd co with 100% seller financing
  • Plans to 10x both cos value in 3 years

Reach Justin Harris:

Justin's two acquisitions:

Official episode page & full show notes at AcquiringMinds.co:

Apr 01, 2021