An entrepreneur/investor delivers a solid approach to business ownership.
Early on in this impressive debut, Deibel sets up his enticing argument, advising that “the startup phase is a company killer” and proposing “a path that could bypass the startup phase altogether.” His concept, “acquisition entrepreneurship,” involves buying an existing business and growing it instead of starting from scratch. On the surface, this may not seem like much of a revelation, but the author, who has acquired seven companies, claims the idea “hasn’t penetrated the entrepreneurship community much beyond the elite universities.” For those entrepreneurs intrigued by the idea, this book is a top-notch, start-to-finish, comprehensive manual. Divided into four parts (Opportunity, Evaluation, Analysis, and Execution), the smart volume covers all the bases, offering a complete plan for exactly how to go about finding a company to buy, making an offer, purchasing the business, and transitioning ownership. Deibel uses his own experiences, supplemented by research and interviews, to present a substantive case for his entrepreneurial method. The guide is an excellent blend of strategy and how-to with liberal doses of both. For example, it explores the strategic potential of buying a company from baby boomers, who “are already selling off their established, successful small businesses at record rates.” On the tactical side, the work runs through the specifics of how to define a target company by identifying an “opportunity profile” and creating a “target statement.” In the section on analyzing a potential acquisition, the author’s strength as an investor shines through as he carefully walks readers through the basics of evaluating a business, analyzing financial statements, and valuing a company. This part of the book should help to demystify the business valuation process for many entrepreneurs. Of great benefit is a chapter that delves into the mindset of the seller. Here, the author provides several techniques for the buyer to engage in meaningful, nonthreatening conversations with the seller. There isn’t much lacking in this work; the manual wraps up with all the steps involved in executing a sale and closes with a useful three-month plan for ownership transition.
A deftly written, exceedingly thorough, and highly informative business guide.