What do you wish you knew prior to searching?

“What You Wish You Knew” Compilation

39 searchers, operators, and searchers who’ve exited shared their experience in running their search and company. One question I asked was what did you wish you knew prior to searching? This is a compilation of those responses. For individual surveys, compilations, and resources, head to the search fund page on this site.

What do you wish you knew prior to searching?

  • Everything! How to use CRM, convince owners/brokers, screen/structure deals, write legal documents, operate companies, etc. Search is a learning experience. I’m having a blast because I don’t know everything.

  • Not to waste too much time finding the perfect tech tools while also being cheap. Pick some and go with it.

  • Legal templates, how to source advisors that are trustworthy and cost-efficient.

  • How hard sourcing would be. Difference between broker released financials and financials after diligence.

  • How slow it can be at times.

  • You will review a lot of deals before finding any “great” ones. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger.

  • Most brokers have proven to not add much value.

  • Not a specific piece of information, but I wish I would have interned for a searcher and/or search fund acquired business. It’s hard to know if you’ll like the search process, types of businesses, management challenges, etc. until you’re in it.

  • Think I was well informed but has been even harder than expected.

  • It is hard, but so worth it.

  • I kind of knew what I was getting into from talking to lots of people beforehand, but you don’t really internalize how hard it can be at times until you’re actually in it.

  • It is ok to look at smaller businesses. Traditional search investors have little to no overlap with self funded investors because the terms and types of deals looked at are way different. Do not spend much time chatting with traditional investors as a self funded, other than if you just want to do general networking or learn about industry trends.

  • I dug into the model for several years before actually embarking on my search, so I was fairly well-prepared.

  • Just start.

  • There will be many slow days! That’s okay… There will be many deals you get your heart set on. That’s also okay.

  • 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.

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

  • How long it would take and not to be afraid to wait for the right opportunity.

  • Covid.

  • Self-funded acquisition capital structures with investor partners. What does that look like.

  • Top industries for growth.

  • Start earlier, why wait?

  • You aren’t going to be great at it week 1. It is a learning process!

  • So far nothing unexpected.

  • More investors and family offices. I’ve met many over the years, and should’ve stayed in touch.

  • How time flies by during search, even though at times it feels eternal.

 

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