We have all heard the phrase ‘quality over quantity,’ right? Well, I recently heard the statement ‘quantity before quality’ and really appreciated it.
Before mastery, one must persist through a substantial quantity. A child’s first shot at the basketball hoop is poorly formed and only miraculously made. People are not born master pianists. A true craftsman is at least ten times better than an amateur.
In our business we must look at hundreds if not thousands of companies before acting. Most are off-key air-balls. A handful pass beautifully by. A few come safely into our portfolio. Most tumble in through a somewhat bumpy ride.
We have purchased four businesses in 2018. This brings our total control count to nine in less than three years. One might think we are on a company count rampage. At times it feels like it.
The reality is buying a small business is a process where we believe mastery can be achieved. Other buyers may do this once in their life. A few might take two or more shots. Our process and structure is built to move swiftly on deals that meet our criteria. And it’s built to improve over time. Long term we win on speed and quality. The speed to closing and the quality of experience. What do they trade? A price maximizing experience.
Most repeat buyers try to dupe sellers into believing they may be a maximum price buyer, only to attempt to negotiate down once the amateur seller engages. We find this dishonest. Our preference is to sort out the price-only sellers and focus efforts instead on the people that care about Time, Team and Vision.
Some people call the business “their baby.” My experience is that selling your business is more like sending a teenager off to college. It’s time for the parent to move on the company to enter a new phase. Both are going to meet some new challenges and probably change a bit, but you hope a few of the principles you have instilled in the child will persist for generations.
We aim to be a place for companies to flourish. But, we’re a bit like a new community college right now. You might not brag at a cocktail party about sending your company to LEV but the professors are going to care very deeply about helping your student succeed. Our entire future is resting on these young endeavors and we are pouring our lives into them with all our might.
We will make mistakes. But, they are unlikely to be the kind that ruins. And, we aim to get better with each one. This experience is compounded and our quality should grow exponentially.
I like to write cheesy blog posts at times. It’s part of keeping it real. Selling a business is hard. Buying a business is hard. I know I’ve appreciated many of the people I’ve met. Those whom we’ve purchased from and those whom we haven’t. Just yesterday I was telling a friend that it has already been an amazing adventure and we are just getting started.
What craft are you working on? How many repetitions until you expect to get it right? How many misses until you quit?
I say, persist. Persist until you master it.