This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Ryan Goral. Ryan is the Founder of G-Spire Group, a company focused on helping entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners acquire companies. Ryan has over 15 years of experience focused on working with small businesses. In addition to providing creative financing solutions, Ryan’s expertise is centered in adding value to entrepreneurs and executives with all aspects of executing their organization’s growth and mergers and acquisitions strategies. Ryan has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and is credentialed with just about all the top M&A organizations out there.
I asked him to come on the show because of his unique expertise in helping companies BUY other businesses. Many times, we talk about selling your business, but some of the best opportunities to grow your business or further its success come in the form of acquiring and it requires a different skillset and understanding to do it right – and that’s where Ryan can really help.
Ryan grew up in Colorado and played division 1 basketball at University of Denver. When he graduated, all he knew is he liked business and went through a few roles. He gravitated toward sales. He had a real interest in the buying and selling of businesses after seeing how things went when his dad sold his business. He wanted to find a way to help companies grow and build sustainable businesses to sell. He went into investment banking lending into mergers and acquisitions to get a good base. He got his MBA and then launched his first business, but it failed. He went back into M&A, and it became very clear that there was huge gap in smaller to lower middle cap businesses that have great operators needing the expertise of what the large businesses could afford. Ryan decided he would become a fractional M&A advisory to small and mid-sized businesses.
Why should business owners consider buying other businesses to help them scale and grow?
- It’s not right for every company.
- There is a process to understand when buying is a fit.
- For companies that would benefit from an acquisition, there are a couple things in play:
- Some companies need more or specific types of labor.
- Some may want to open a new market and buy there.
- Some may want to add on a synergistic product.
- The other thing is the lifestyle decision. For operators that have a business that can produce enough cashflow, they can hire an operator to run the business and create a better lifestyle.
What does a good candidate to buy look like?
- It does depend on the buyer.
- The buyer must be ready and have their organization ready to manage and successfully complete and acquisition.
- At the 13 min mark, Ryan gives some examples of readiness and what makes a company attractive to buyers.
- Typically, clients are looking to enhance cashflow, add strategic management, grow their customer base, growth potential that is untapped, and products that compliment theirs.
At the 15 min mark, we talk about the up-front work prior to doing an acquisition.
What should a business do to make sure they are in the best position to succeed in completing and after an acquisition?
- The things people miss the most is preparing operations of the business to integrate and take on the additional demand.
- You need to make sure all your systems and processes are tested and in good working orders.
- Buyers overestimate the capacity that their team has and need to mindful of what their current teams can actually take on.
- It is very important to assess your team/human resource capacity as you strategize and plan for an acquisition.
Talk to us about what is most important in setting up a deal and the structure for an acquisition…
- Structure may be more important than price.
- There are ways to structure a deal that addresses certain risks in a transaction.
- Ryan gives examples of scenarios and different structures.
- It is more about risk management than max leverage.
What are some of the risks? Where are the mistakes made?
- Human resource capacity assumptions vs. reality.
- Leaving room for error/cushion in bringing more equity vs. leverage (debt).
- Buyers need to create a scenario where they have cash on hand just in case things don’t go as planned.
- Make sure you understand the why and that it is good one – not just because you want to buy a business. Buyers must check their ego.
- If your why isn’t aligned with the acquisition, then do not do it.
- Change is hard for both sides, so you have to be prepared for change management.
Where do deals breakdown?
- If things are going right, deals breakdown before they become a deal.
- One in LOI, deals will breakdown toward the end because of diligence or not finding common ground on the purchase agreement.
- Things that are not expected by either side blow up deals.
- Not having your team or employees in a good place can derail a deal if a key employee threatens to leave, etc.
At the 31 min mark, Ryan shares some other insights and tips. Entrepreneurs should strive to become an owner vs. an operator.
Big lessons from your entrepreneur journey?
- Not having a focused, crystal-clear vision is something that derails entrepreneurs.
- There is a time and place to buy and sell a business. Timing is key.
Any big lessons from playing sports at a high level that you’ve used in your entrepreneur journey?
- Ryan wasn’t the most gifted athlete but had to work really hard.
- He expects it to be hard and is prepared for it.
- Business and sports parallel each other. In sports, you need to execute role well to help the team be successful. Business is the same.
- Great organizations become great when everyone is working together and executing their role at the highest level.
- Finding ways to work together and communicate are critical as well.
Best Quote: Entrepreneurs should strive to become an owner vs. an operator.
Ryan's Misfit 3:
- Growth and adapting are a necessary part of life.
- Growth requires courage. Pursuing excellence takes time and focus. It doesn’t come easy.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the journey.
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