Concepts to consider for a complete life as a search fund CEO

Case note authors: ^Searchfunder member‌, ^Searchfunder member‌, ^Searchfunder member

One issue that has not been examined in the search fund ecosystem is how young, first-time, inexperienced CEOs can successfully integrate their professional and personal lives. In the entrepreneurship through acquisition (ETA)* journey, aspiring entrepreneurs hunt for a business to acquire before ascending to a CEO position. Once these would-be CEOs don the CEO mantle, they confront myriad business tasks and challenges – growing the business, leading and managing people, and being a first-time CEO. The search fund community has produced a plethora of valuable literature on what type of business to acquire in an ETA journey, how to search for a business, and how to operate a business once it is acquired successfully. We think these are all valuable topics for an ETA entrepreneur to delve into, but building an integrated and fulfilling life that encompasses the personal and the professional is essential and cannot be ignored. This case note will explore the often-challenging proposition of integrating work and life dimensions as a search fund CEO.

There is no lack of general information on the topic of work–life balance, and we think some of the existing resources are quite relevant and useful. But what makes the work–life question unique within the search fund context is the fact that ETA entrepreneurs are CEOs – not just employees. Additionally, they are CEOs in a developing business at a young age – typically in their early to mid-30s. Furthermore, this often aligns with some of the busiest family-building years, filled with marriages and new and young children. Finally, search fund CEOs may have investors and directors to whom they report but certainly not on a daily basis. These CEOs largely control their own time. This confluence of circumstances makes the work–life conundrum idiosyncratic for search fund CEOs.

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