REGIONAL SEARCH: 2 MOVES TO INCREASE YOUR DEAL FLOW
There is plenty of good advice on this forum about networking, email campaigning, and good old-fashioned cold calling (it works!) for building your proprietary deal pipeline for a regional search. Developing a proprietary pipeline for your local search takes time and discipline.
About six weeks into my regional search back in the olden days of 2014, I had two a-has that had a material impact on my deal flow.
A-ha #1: While your search is regional, build a national intermediary pipeline of deal flow. Brokers and M&A Firms are cold calling across the U.S. to create their book of business. I worked with intermediaries in New York, Baltimore, Houston, Seattle, and San Diego that were representing deals in my region of the Great Plains (these are the cities I could remember; there were probably others). Avoid cutting off potential deal flow by thinking that you can’t use resources outside the border of your regional search.
A-ha #2: Attend CFA, ACG, and similar intermediary/deal conferences. I went to two of these—one in Chicago and one in Denver—and met with several dozen intermediaries. Establishing those face-to-face connections with these folks brought immediate deal flow, and higher quality deals. Almost akin to in personal contact and rapport building with a seller, and this type of contact with these deal professionals had a discernible impact on deal flow.
I ended up buying a company through a broker for my first deal.
I hope this is helpful in your endeavors. Good luck!