Here at Dealmaker Wealth Society, we talk a lot about the importance of putting together your Dream Deal Specification… to help you target specific businesses you want to buy.
Well – today I’m going to talk about the unexpected benefits of buying a business you never meant to own…
An “accidental acquisition,” if you will.
A little over a year ago, I noticed a new breakfast and lunch spot had opened up near the office. It hadn’t even been open a month when I decided to check it out one day…
The place was clean and bright and it smelled incredible. Then I noticed a small sign on the counter that read:
Honestly, I think it was the sign that did it. Either way, something about the vibe of the place was instantly appealing.
I ordered my lunch and sat down to wait. There weren’t many other customers around, so I started making small talk with the two women behind the counter.
Turns out they were the owners – sisters – and this restaurant was their dream.
I got to know them pretty well during that first chance meeting by asking open-ended questions about who they are and how they got started.
I didn’t delve into their business too much – except to ask if they offered catering and if I could see a copy of the catering menu (for future business lunches).
A couple days later, I just couldn’t help myself…
I stayed late at the office and composed a two-page email full of suggestions for streamlining their menu and increasing their margins.
You see, I’ve got several years of restaurant and catering experience. And I saw opportunities to improve their model and add value.
It was completely unsolicited, sure. But because of the awesome rapport we had built in that first conversation, the sisters took my feedback in the spirit it was intended and made a couple of the changes I proposed.
After that, whenever I’d visit – at least once a week when I wasn’t traveling – I’d take the time to talk to them while I enjoyed my meal…
I’d check how they were doing, and they’d bounce ideas off me and ask for advice…
I even connected them with a network of local businesses that are part of a neighborhood shopping program.
But I still NEVER thought about buying the business.
The idea didn’t cross my mind.
A few months later, I flew to Prague to meet Carl and do some work on the rebranding of Dealmaker Wealth Society. At some point, the restaurant came up in conversation and I talked about wanting to help the business grow.
So when I got back to the U.S., I stopped in to get breakfast and asked the owners if they were open to investors. They were.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Carl and I are now owner-investors of an awesome breakfast and lunch place here in Baltimore.
The sisters still manage the day-to-day operations so Carl and I can focus on finding other opportunities and closing more deals.
And that’s the story of my accidental acquisition.
There are a couple lessons here…
First – as Carl is fond of saying, small-business buying is about relationships. Build rock-solid rapport by asking the seller open-ended questions – about themselves, not just the business – and really listen to their answers.
Second – when buying a business, it’s important you have some knowledge and experience in that sector, as well as passion or interest in the type of business.
Finally – you always get more when you give.
I spent weeks – months – offering my expertise and experience without asking for anything in return. I truly just wanted to help out a local lunch spot.
Not once in all those conversations did I ever think I would become part-owner.
But I’m glad I did.
Because sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name.
You’re only one deal away,
Co-founder and publisher, Dealmaker Wealth Society
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