Ben Malick, Avalome Capital
Avalome Capital, Current Searcher, Self-Funded
Survey submitted September 18, 2020.
Why did you choose your model? Would you make the same choice again?
I have time and ability to do self funded. And it provides more flexibility about timeframe, deal size, geography, etc. Yes, I would make the same choice again.
Are you searching with a partner? If so, why did you choose them? How did you find them? If not, why did you choose to search solo?
No. I wasn’t opposed to a partner. But I’m searching in a tight geography, so not sure if any partners are/were even available in my area.
When is the right time to start speaking with investors? How did you select your search and/or acquisition investors?
I’m still trying to figure this out. I think early is better. What I’ve found is that there are a lot of investors who are interested…once you have a deal (which is completely understandable).
Did you get an MBA before searching? If so, where and why?
Yes, but it had nothing to do with search. I earned my MBA through the University of Kansas in 2015.
What is your work experience prior to searching?
12 years in investment management and entrepreneurship.
What industries and sizes of companies are you pursuing?
Services industries – looking mostly at B2B service businesses. Size range from $500k owner earnings to $1.5 million owner earnings.
Are you doing a geographically focused search? If so, where?
Yes – within 30 miles of Kansas City.
How long have you been searching?
From the sidelines: 1.5 years. All in: 6 months.
What systems do you use? (CRM, Email Manager, etc)
AtoZ Databases (through local library), HubSpot, G Suite.
How do you organize your day?
My days are different each day because I have some obligations from my current businesses. Here are some things I do on a regular basis: Reach out to business owners directly. (via email) Reach out to potential investors. Check in / update interested investors. Reach out to local brokers monthly. (via email) -Initial review of financials, meet with owners, etc., when appropriate
How do you identify prospects to acquire? Do you use only brokers, only direct outreach, or both?
Both. I’m very targeted and personal with my outreach.
Approximately how many direct outreach calls and emails have you made to owners?
How do you find company lists?
AtoZ Databases – resource available through local library.
Do you subscribe to broker deal lists? Which ones?
Do you use interns? If so, how many? What do you have them do?
Approximately how many deals have you reviewed?
How many companies have you gotten to the LOI stage with? How long before your first one?
3. 6 months.
What has been the most challenging part of your search? What was harder/easier than you expected?
Finding a good business with an owner who wants to transition within my geographical constraints has been a challenge. I would say it’s been harder than expected.
What articles, books, and resources were most helpful to you in preparing to search?
Content specifically related to search/business ownership:
Books: HBR Guide, Buy Then Build, Messy Marketplace, Raise Capital on Your Own Terms, Small Giants, Finish Big.
Podcasts: Think Like an Owner (yeah buddy!), Big Time Small Business
Groups: Chenmark, Permanent Equity, Little Engine Ventures
Twitter: Tim Ludwig, Brent Beshore, Brandon Laughridge, Post Close, Rich Jordan
Other: Stanford search study, BizBuySell reports, Searchfunder
What do you wish you knew prior to searching?
I floundered for the better part of a year in my search because I wasn’t clear on my objectives and the why behind the search. I think it’s so important to take the time and hammer out why you’re doing this and what exactly you’re looking for in a business. This saves a ton of time and energy because now you know what to say “no” to. I spent a lot of time going down rabbit trails on businesses because they looked interesting, when I should have passed on them immediately.
What single piece of advice would you share with prospective searchers?
I’m a self-funded searcher on no real timeline. So take this advice for what it’s worth. I think if you enjoy talking to business owners and take a genuine interest in them and their business, you’ll eventually find something. At least I hope so. 🙂