James Kruse Survey

 James Kruse

Current Searcher, Self-Funded

Survey submitted September 18, 2020.

Why did you choose your model? Would you make the same choice again?

Geographic restrictions & desired equity ownership were the drivers. Yes I would.

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?

Solo. Geographic restrictions, desired equity ownership %, & having a few years of experience post-MBA

Did you get an MBA before searching? If so, where and why?

Yes. IE Business School in Spain

What is your work experience prior to searching?

6 years Engineering (Aerospace), 2 years Strategy (O&G), 2 years Operations (O&G), 1 year M&A (O&G)

What industries and sizes of companies are you pursuing?

Industry agnostic, geographically constrained to the Pacific Northwest. I’m looking at smaller acquisitions in the $3m – $4m EV range.

Are you doing a geographically focused search? If so, where?

Yes. WA, OR, & certain parts of ID

How long have you been searching?

5 months.

What systems do you use? (CRM, Email Manager, etc)

None yet, still searching part time. In 3 months I will leave my current employer & be full time searching, at which point I may use some systems.

How do you organize your day?

I’m searching part time, so on nights/weekends I reach out to brokers & potential intermediaries. I take calls during my lunch break & whenever I have time during the day.

How do you identify prospects to acquire? Do you use only brokers, only direct outreach, or both?

Started with Brokers, now expanding to other sources in the geographic footprint that I’m targeting (small PE/IB firms, part-time CFO companies, etc.)

Approximately how many direct outreach calls and emails have you made to owners?


How do you find company lists?


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?

1 LOI, it took about 4 months.

What has been the most challenging part of your search? What was harder/easier than you expected?

Raising capital is easier. Finding companies is harder.

What articles, books, and resources were most helpful to you in preparing to search?

HBR Guide to buying a small business, Buy the Build, Jim Stein Sharpe blog, Searchfunder.com

What do you wish you knew prior to searching?

The highs & lows are more intense than I would have thought, even though I expected them.

What single piece of advice would you share with prospective searchers?

Most people seem to focus on quantity over quality (in terms of reviewing businesses for sale), but I’m focusing on the reverse.


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