Hi All --

I want to introduce myself to the search funder community because I recently closed a $1.2 mm deal in the pet services space and transitioned from building and managing a data analytics team to business ownership in about a year.


I quit my job around mid March last year, and dropped out of my last semester of my Masters program in Computer Science to pursue business ownership. I'd built and established the data analytics department at the company I was working for and felt confident in establishing, building & growing teams and automating systems. At the moment I felt capable of handling operations and I knew that if I could solve for sales, I'd have a system I felt confident and comfortable running.

After going full-time on my own business the first 4 months were mostly sourcing and doing due diligence. My team and I sourced hundreds of deals mostly using websites like website closers, empire flippers, bizquest, etc. We entered multiple LOIs during the first 2 months, but were unable to get past certain contractual agreements or lost the LOI to other bidders. It was around the 4th month that we found the company we purchased today. Here are some of the problems we faced and what I would do differently. i) The buyer did not want us to meet the staff until after we signed the APA - he argued that he did not want his employees getting scared and making a decision like leaving the business. Obviously, I would recommend against this at all cost, we lost over 50% of our staff the first month of operations. We were quick on our feet to start and build our HR department, and started hiring immediately. Today, we have a phenomenal team of experts who love what they do - but the headaches experienced could have been avoiding by meeting the staff way before hand. ii) You need to get into the habit of checking everyone's work. A lot of the issues we faced might be because we were in the small business market, but we experienced issues in a wide range of professional services, including CPAs, inspectors, insurance companies, payroll providers, etc. One of the experiences that really affected our operations was the building inspection (we purchased the business' property as well as the business) and we had several inspectors pass building, water, sewer inspections. The first week we had the business in operations we found a gas leak that had supposedly been there way before we had the building inspected which should have been found with one of the inspections we had, but somehow it was never found. If I were to redo this process I i) would have been there in person to walk the facility with each inspector and ii) would have had a list of items for them to review. There seemed to be a theme of non-responsiveness and/or poor work quality after sending companies a paycheck. Lastly, iii) I'd cross reference any sensitive or important information with employees &/or customers - we found there was a mismatch between what was communicated to us directly by the seller and what was being communicated to us by the staff. Today, all is well and anything that could have been a problem was resolved, but I can one hundred percent see how a seller can put themselves in a complicated position by providing misinformation for the sake of selling &/or a buyer assuming everything that's being communicated to be true and running into problems further down the line.

In terms of successful operations and building autonomous systems this is what I found to be most helpful: i) be transparent and supportive. I feel like part of my job in hiring great team members was getting them excited about joining a strong team and being part of a project with growth opportunity. I think a lot of respect and trust between teams (and in general) comes from communicating changes that will be made, explaining why their being made and them making them. (in other words, communicating what you're going to do and then doing it). ii) leverage technology - we're obviously in a very special era where technology is extremely powerful and is quickly becoming more and more powerful with AI integrations. There is no process we didn't "techify" and while this required a lot of upfront effort it made it so processes are seamless and less error prone. The leverage of technology is especially powerful in services businesses like ours where a lot of processes are usually done manually (for example companies requiring us to mail checks for services). Lastly, iii) put the customer experience and staff experience first! Our business is experiencing the strongest April ever and experienced the strongest March ever, and our business did with all owners hands off. I attribute the success of the last two months to listening to our team members and making their jobs easier (equipping them with the tools they need to be successful; whether it's knowledge, education, equipment or some type of accommodation) the more you empower them the better they will perform. On the other hand, customers are what make business and so it's important to take care of them by ensuring the business is providing the best service possible. And providing the best service possible isn't something that happens overnight, it's a function that needs to continuously be improved and so making their lives easier from one day to the next goes a long way (it doesn't necessarily require large amounts of money being thrown at the problem), it can be done by listening and implementing changes that cause them concern, struggle or lack of comfort.


My background is in Mathematics and I graduated with my BS from New Jersey Institute of Technology (class of###-###-#### I withdrew my last semester of my Master's program in Computer Science and quit my job in Data Analytics to buy a business with my team. We purchased a business in the pet services space; process took about 6 months. We integrated and updated operations and currently have a hands-off business, this integration process also took about 6 months (we just finished experiencing the strongest March and April the company has ever seen). We are now in the process of initiating and/or acquiring a second business, and I would like to connect with individuals who would like some insight and thoughts into the process my team and I just went through, and or individuals who need M&A advisory services (sell side or buy side or consulting). Please reach out with any questions or comments - I'd love share my experience with the search fund community to help fellow soon to be business owners in any way possible! Thanks!