I started 2015 with an “Ask Me Anything” post on Facebook. Over the last month, I have gotten some pretty neat questions!
A few of them are short and sweet, so I will address them quickly before I launch into the post a bit further:
1) From my friend Andrea Dunbar – Are you a feminist? – I have put a lot of thought into this question, and the short answer is “no” but I reserve the right to revisit it. Also, very neat question and one that I have never been asked!
2) From my Aunt – Can you teach me how to pay off debt? – I get asked this a lot. My answer is always the same: Yes, but it will be incredibly painful. Let me know when you are ready to participate without complaining. It will involve major “sacrifices” and will result in extremes like early retirement and financial freedom faster than you would imagine is possible.
I have saved the rest of the questions in a log that I can refer back to if I get asked the same thing more than once. For today’s post, I’m going to dive a bit deeper into a two part question from Dean*.
“When purchasing a business what do you do to ensure that you’re making the most effective investment of your time and money? Or do you just buy every business you think you can manage? How do you secure financing for business acquisitions?”
My initial response to this question is ” I don’t”. Truth is, I actually don’t ensure I am making the most effective investment of my time and money before purchasing a business. I don’t buy every business I think I can manage, as evidenced by the fact that I don’t own more businesses than I do, and I certainly don’t “secure financing” for business operations. I’m not entirely certain if my methods are unique or unconventional – but they are mine.
Some of my businesses were purchased from their original owners, and some of them were started from scratch. The basic premise behind each business ownership or startup comes down to one question: Can I fill a space in the market in a way that provides a quality product or service?
If the answer to that question is yes, I can take it from there. In the intinal stages of business ownership for me, whether it’s something I start or acquire, I usually leave thoughts of financing and profits out of the equation. Admittedly, this drives Brent a bit nutty.
However, what I have found is that if keep that one objective at the top of my mind, then I don’t have to ensure I am making the most effective investment of my time and money. It happens automatically. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction out of each of my businesses and they continue to serve in their respective markets. My firm belief is that this has less to do with me personally, and largely to do with the quality people I have the privilege to work with. I find that people are attracted to employment opportunities that challenge them and that provide the ability to be a part of an organization that makes customers happy.
Now, on to financing. This is where the practical side of my business mind takes over, because at the end of the day, all the “but this will be fun and make people happy” actually has to earn money. In past years, I wasn’t as careful as I am these days with the financing aspects. I have made some poor choices and gotten myself into cash flow crunches. These days I’m averse to this sort of stress, so a take a lot more care to avoid it when making business decisions. My biggest influencers are (in order):
1) Brent – my level headed, patient and tolerant husband
2) Mr. Money Mustache
3) Tim Ferriss
These three guys know how to give financial advice in a no-nonsense way that is applicable to every single situation. Many of my companies didn’t require large amounts of start up capital. For some I have used my friends at Copperfin Credit Union to leverage my operations, and often times I ask the predecessor to assist with the financing. Much of succession planning these days involves the outgoing owner or partner to assist the successor with the acquisition. It’s all creativity and determination from there.
*Dean Stamler is one of the smartest and funniest guys I know. Seriously, find this guy and engage him in conversation. You won’t regret it.