Buying a Business with Kylon Gienger

If you’re thinking about entrepreneurship, have you considered buying an existing business? Kylon Gienger shares his perspective on who it’s a good fit for, how the process works, and the important variables to consider! 

Nov 17, 2021 | Podcast

About the Episode

LifeBlood: We talked about buying a business that’s already up and running, how the process works, who it’s a good fit for, and the most important variables to keep in mind with Kylon Gienger, President of Acquira, an investment fund and accelerator for acquisition entrepreneurs. 

Listen to learn why your ability to learn new skills and information could be your superpower if you cultivate it!

For the Difference Making Tip, scan ahead to 19:16!

You can learn more about Kylon at Acquira.com, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening!  If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and subscribe as well. 

You can learn more about us at MoneyAlignmentAcademy.com, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact George at Contact@GeorgeGrombacher.com.

George Grombacher

George Grombacher

Lifeblood Host

Kylon Gienger

Kylon Gienger

Guest

Episode Transcript

Come on. We’re like blood. This is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful. kylan gingher kylan. Are you ready to do this?

Kylon Gienger 0:20
I am ready, George. Thanks for having me on man.

george grombacher 0:22
excited to have you on. Caitlyn is the president of acquiror. They’re an investment fund and accelerator for Acquisition entrepreneurs, Kyle, and tell us a little bit about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do?

Kylon Gienger 0:36
Absolutely, man, well, I just finished kind of explaining where I’m standing right now. It’s in a home we just bought in Montana that we’re remodeling. We bought this and this is kind of on the personal side, we bought this because we just bought a plumbing company, actually here in Missoula a few months back. And so that’s been a new adventure. We’re based out of Washington State, still a place over there. acquirers based out of Washington as well. And what I do professionally is help people buy businesses. So you’ve heard of house flipping, heard of people buying real estate, and fixing it up and then holding it renting it out. For the cash flow, we essentially do the same thing. But for businesses a little bit more complex. But there’s definitely tons of opportunity out there. And I’m excited to talk to folks about that.

george grombacher 1:26
Nice. So this is what you went to school for.

Kylon Gienger 1:31
I am a proud I’m a proud dropout man. All the way did go to school at all. But his school life, I guess you could say every business is different jumping into these things. You You certainly learn a lot, a lot about people a lot about numbers. You got to kind of grow to be strong in both areas, for sure. Yeah.

george grombacher 1:54
Well, there’s no doubt about that. Obviously, it goes towards

Kylon Gienger 1:57
my tip that I’ll share that the difference making tip towards the end.

george grombacher 2:01
Perfect. So I don’t think that there are probably entrepreneurship courses, and you can go to business school, obviously. But how did you get into this?

Kylon Gienger 2:11
That’s a good question. I i’ve always started businesses. In 2012, I got out of the Navy, and started a residential commercial painting company with a really good friend of mine, we grew fairly quickly. And we’re working in six different states and had had a bunch of employees and kind of went through the school of hard knocks, making some some pretty big mistakes there too, that we had to recover from built to other businesses in the process of that to brick and mortar retail locations in Washington State. And we got got our wives involved. But we started these businesses from the ground up from scratch, you know, proving the market generating business, knocking on doors, talking to customers, it’s a lot of hard work. In around 2017, I got a hold of some of the guys at at acquiror. They were with a different company that was buying up online websites, online businesses, blogs, e commerce, that that sort of thing, SAS companies, and that’s when I got introduced to the world of business buying and that eventually morphed into what is acquiror today, where we help people buy businesses, but once I got introduced to that, I knew I wasn’t going to go back to starting businesses anymore. Buying a business is sort of like it’s like a legal way of cheating the system, you know, cut cutting in line, basically, you can skip all these years of blood, sweat and tears building something from scratch, proving it from nothing. And step right into a business with an existing customer base cash flow. So that’s how I got into it. And that’s why I’m I probably won’t ever start a business again, I’ll probably just keep buying them from now on.

george grombacher 3:55
Nice. It’s it’s super interesting. It’s a certain person who is entrepreneurial, I suppose, kind of by nature. Perhaps that’s a good question. Or they’re just entrepreneurs, or Can anybody sort of step in and do this?

Kylon Gienger 4:14
So, you know, I don’t I don’t think it is my personal belief, you know, entrepreneur, being an entrepreneur entrepreneurial ism, I really want to put it is something that can be learned, we certainly work with a lot of folks that I think wouldn’t consider themselves to be entrepreneurs. Actually, the the main kind of profile person we’re working with is somebody who’s kind of in their mid 30s, to maybe mid 50s, and spent a lot of time in kind of corporate, the corporate world and probably has some experience, you know, managing people, maybe a p&l has done well for themselves. You know, in that that world and now they’re looking to do something that gives them a little bit more freedom. Because obviously, I think owning your own business is what comes to mind when people think of kind of ultimate freedom in life. These people I think, are also looking for an adventure, meaning, it’s going to be tough, you’re gonna make lots of mistakes, you’ll wake up some days feeling what why the heck am I doing? Am I doing this? Yeah. But the right kind of person will grow and thrive with that. So it’s no I like I’d say, even if you don’t consider yourself entrepreneurial, this is something you can you can do, we could dig into a little bit more, if you want to some of the kind of hard and soft skills that I’d recommend people have prior that I think would be helpful, or you just find yourself it’s a bad fit, or you’re overwhelmed, you know? Yeah, that’s, I

george grombacher 5:44
think, digging into that really, sort of making the case for why do this versus starting your own thing. Right. And, and who is suited for that? So I think that’d be great.

Kylon Gienger 5:58
Yeah, I mean, the skills, buying a business. If we start with hard skills, right, it’s a couple things I’ve already mentioned, it’s great to have some sort of business or financial experience under your belt, if you manage people, if you’ve had a kind of a side gig, you’ve done a side hustle, you managed a p&l or you know, experience in sales, that that’s, that’s very helpful, as far as hard skills go. Developing business systems, that that other people follow. As far as soft skills go. Honestly, I’d say that the high EQ, basically high emotional intelligence is going to get you a long ways, because at the end of the day, with these small businesses, it’s all about it’s all about people enable the transaction, you know, finding the deal, getting it financed, you know, talking to the business owner, the seller, it’s all about people and relationships, when it really comes down to it, that’s, I think about that, in business, in general really just comes down to people. And there’s, there’s a lot of kind of nuanced people, stuff that you have to deal with all the time. And so you need to be have that kind of high emotional intelligence, it can go a long way. So you know, the types of businesses that we’re we’re typically talking about here are businesses doing, you know, one, one to 10 million in revenue, you know, 200,000 to, you know, a million in EBITDA, or you know, net profit or seller discretionary earnings. And eight, seven to 50 employees, basically. So these are really true small businesses, the backbone of America, businesses that been built up by people that started from scratch decades ago, blood, sweat, and tears, these are their babies, and there are a lot of these sellers that are retiring. And they’re looking to pass that asset on to somebody else, or dies, and people lose their jobs. And we lose a great small business and in this great country. So that’s, that’s kind of profile you’re dealing with. And so that’s hard and soft skills go go a long ways, for sure.

george grombacher 8:13
Yeah, for sure. I’m sure. I’d love just to hear a little bit about how you approached, like, how did you identify the plumbing company that you’ve just acquired? And it’s, I mean, it’s all EQ, right? You’re, you’re coming in, like, Hey, it’s me, Kyle, and I’m now the boss, and here’s how things are gonna be now.

Kylon Gienger 8:35
Yeah, that was a, that’s always a fun conversation, when you’re the new guy stepping into a business where you’re your newest employee there who have worked there for 10 years, and they’ve been doing things a certain way the business is severely under optimized, needs to grow, you need to come in and make changes, that is a very, it’s a, it can be a delicate situation. So navigating that can be complex, at the end of the day. Just don’t be an angel. It’s like it’s, it’s this pretty, pretty, pretty simple at the end of the day, but you’d be surprised some people they come in, they want to make all these massive changes, they don’t care about what people have been doing. Well, that that speech, whenever we step into a new business, it always includes and it’s true. You know, nobody here is gonna take steps backwards, we’re coming in to actually improve everybody’s quality of life. You know, a lot of these businesses people don’t have like benefits, right when we come in and we can give them the benefits. A lot of these businesses, there’s no clear roles or responsibilities. Everybody kind of just does whatever because they’re good at it or they want to do it and so coming in and you know, bringing in better systems or you know, e RP it makes everybody’s job easier, streamlined. At the end of the day, you’re you’re building you’re building this business and taking it to the next level. So as far as like the process, we can, we could talk on this for a long time, but high level our process and what we’d help you do at acquire is, you know, first their sourcing, right? You start working with us, we need to find a business, this includes identifying who are you? What are your strengths? What kind of what kind of business are you looking for? What’s that? What was that investment thesis? And where are you looking for this business? Let’s define. Basically, let’s it’s kind of like setting goals with what you want to buy and where you want to buy it. And that’s sort of your filter. When you go on your on your search. When you search, you can go through there’s there’s brokers or you can do off market deals where you’re, you’re directly connecting with business owners out there, and we can help you do both. Once you find a business, you have a whole diligence process, right? How do you make sure if you’re spending it most often the size of business, we’re buying people are putting down six figures to cash, it’s a decent amount, and you’re getting could be a seven figure loan debt to buy this business. So how do you make sure you’re not stepping into something that’s going to come back to bite you later? How do you buy a business that’s going to be stable and healthy and profitable? There’s a lot to dig into there. So there’s a whole diligence process that we help people go through. You know, after that, it’s you get the thing financed, you actually pay pay for the thing. And then there’s the legal aspect. Once you then get it closed. Now and that’s right there what I just went through that that could be a six to nine month process. Yeah, search to actually getting the thing closed once it’s closed. Like I often say anybody can buy a business, it’s once you have the business now what do you do with it? That’s where the, the rubber really meets the road? So you have to optimize and grow it. But what are the what? What’s the step by step there? What do you do the first day, first week, first month? first year was that roadmap look like? And that’s where we can help as well?

george grombacher 12:02
Yeah, so many potential pitfalls at every stage there, you don’t want to make a bad decision about targeting? And how do you even approach the business? So every single aspect of it, and from what I understand, you can get somebody all the way to the closing table, and then they have then they get cold feet and, and the through and happens all the time? And so just from every step of the process? How? I don’t know if it’s knowable or not, but are most businesses bought through a broker of some kind? Or is this a big industry, business brokering or just just and and, and what acquirer does,

Kylon Gienger 12:48
it’s, it’s growing. So we call the people that work with us, we call acquisition entrepreneurs, right? You have startup entrepreneurs, that everybody’s familiar with, these are acquisition entrepreneurs, a really good book to read that will, I think, firmly will give you a firm base of knowledge on the subject would be, it’s not our book, but it’s a good friend of ours by then build book is by them built by Walker duyvil. Or you can get on acquire and read and any number of put up blog posts and articles every single week. There’s plenty of stuff on YouTube and stuff that you can, you can find. But this space is the space is definitely growing. I think more and more people are understanding this idea of buying businesses and starting them. So we’re seeing it become a larger a larger space. And partly why that is is because we have this mass and you can google this and see who there’s a massive massive wave of baby boomers reaching retirement age. So much so that over the next decade, it’s something like it’s it’s a trillion dollars or so it’s a very large figure worth of small business assets are needing to switch hands from people that are retiring to somebody else. And these small businesses, they are the backbone of America, they’re the they’re the backbone of our economy, responsible for millions of jobs. And if these businesses aren’t passed on, they, they they die like these these people are retired spend time with their their grandkids or a lot of times they’re burnt out, they don’t know how to take it to the next stage. They’ve you know, they own their own business but they’re in a full time job and don’t know how to kind of systematize and grow the business. So that that is that causes a lot of supply and opportunity in businesses coming online now. biz, buy sell calm is like most people are familiar with Zillow for real estate biz, buy sell a.com is the Zillow for businesses for sale and you can go on there and just find hundreds of 1000s of businesses for sale in every state. And yeah, most of them are three Business Brokers, you know, a business broker, it’s not like real estate, where you can just get in touch with the business broker and pretty much only work with them to buy a business. Not all brokers are created equal. And these are much more complex assets you’re buying, you really do need to know what you’re looking for how to identify it. And once you’ve identified it, how to do proper diligence on it, dig into the numbers, dig into the people dig into the culture to make sure again, you’re buying something solid, and then how to finance it. At the end of the day, we’re talking, most of these businesses go for seven figures. So most people don’t have a couple million dollars sitting in their bank account, you need to finance that with debt. And there’s a whole there’s a whole structure there that people need to be aware of. So again, that’s a that’s what we do. Yeah,

george grombacher 15:53
I appreciate that. And certainly, the people who are listening, probably gone through the process of just buying a home. And they understand that there are a lot of moving parts to that. And so yeah, you add on the complexity of everything you’ve been talking about, and all the different parties to it, and the emotions and the other human beings and everything else, it is an absolute lot. For people who are listening this so yeah, you know what I’ve I just go through sort of the scenario that that I was part of a startup company, and I made a bunch of money, because I’m a software engineer or something like that stock option there and really common,

Kylon Gienger 16:32
right? A lot of those people for sure.

george grombacher 16:34
Right? So what what should they start doing, just to kind of to proactively get ready to to engage with a firm like yours,

Kylon Gienger 16:46
I would I would go to, honestly, I would just do some some quick googling, I just start start learning where you can, there’s a bunch of stuff out there, a lot of people surprisingly, haven’t heard about acquisition or entrepreneurship. But if you start googling, you’re gonna find a lot of good stuff. They don’t Harvard’s put some good good stuff out and articles and books. Again, there’s this buy and build book by Walker diable. There’s a couple others as well. Acquire a.com, our website, again, is a is a great place to start as well, there’s a lot of good articles on there. But there’s other resources out there too. Some googling around, I think will give you a lot of good information to set sort of a rudimentary base of knowledge on business acquisitions. But then beyond that, now, if you actually want to get serious about it, start, you can have a couple of chats with our team. It’s, it’s really easy to get started, you know, with our process, we have a kind of a no risk kind of program that people go through to find out if business buying is the right decision for them. And also to find out if we’re a good fit. It’s called the gauntlet and we Yeah, we call it the gauntlet because when we when we actually do work with somebody to buy a business again, by now you should know it’s it’s a long and a complex process, and involves a lot of work. We want to make sure that at the end of the day, we’re working with the right person, and we’re working with somebody that actually has what it takes to buy a business. So there’s we, you know, the gauntlet? Is that is its purpose, is this right for you? Are you right for us? If not, you know, you’re not losing any money or anything. Again, it’s no risk, you walk away just having learned a bunch. And if so you can move forward into our acceleration program and in and beyond. I love

george grombacher 18:39
it, it you know, making a good selection decision up front, just It is so wise and that’s a good selection decision by the buyer and by you just to make sure that it’s going to be a good fit, and that this is going to be a successful thing. So nobody waste the time and their money. So

Kylon Gienger 18:53
appreciate that. Well, nobody’s familiar with business buy a lot of people just don’t have anything to compare it to. So we’re like, Hey, we need to we need to create something here that people go through so so by the time they’re done it’s it’s either a hell yes or Hell no, you know, that is the gauntlet

george grombacher 19:11
Carolyn, people are ready for that difference making tip, what do you have for them?

Kylon Gienger 19:16
Learn how to learn, it’s by far the best and highest leverage skill that I have, again, I I’m a dropout, I but I buy businesses for a living which which is it can be very complex, and there’s, there’s a lot that goes with it. You’re just you’re not going to learn that in a controlled environment. You can’t take courses or classes on it. So the entire reason why I’ve been able to do what I’m doing and successful at it is I I’ve just developed that habit of learning you know, I there’s a natural curiosity you have to pursue but learning how to learn is very, it’s very important. So I would recommend there’s a gal out there It was kind of a pioneer here named Barbara Oakley. If you Google learn how to learn YouTube, Barbara Oakley, she’s got a great TED talk on there. And then if you like that, she’s got a great course on I believe it’s Coursera. Again, it’s called learning how to learn. And I had a podcast for a long time called successful dropout, I, all I did was interview other people that dropped out of school and are kind of doing cool stuff. And one of their core concepts was this, this idea of just in case learning versus just in time learning. And you know, in school in life, a lot of people they, they focus on just in case learning, they learn a bunch of stuff that they’re not really applying anywhere, it’s just because that somebody told them to, or they think they need to, you know, focus on this idea of just in case learning, it’s okay to take steps towards something. When you don’t, you don’t see the full path in front of you. And you don’t necessarily know what’s going on. I’m remodeling a house right now. A lot of the stuff word I flipped houses before, but I’ve usually hired a lot of stuff out. I laid a bunch of carpet the other day, I’ve never laid carpet before. But I spent an hour just watching 10 different YouTube videos of experts doing it. And between all those 10 I picked up all those best practices, I went and got the tools, I took my time with the first one and the rest I just cruised and it looks pretty damn good. But that that is a great example of just in just in time learning. And this idea of if you can get very, very good at learning how to learn and learning and applying Well, you’re literally superhuman, again, it’s the highest leverage activity I think you can you can have that and probably learning how to attract and get the right people to work with you or for you. Probably to the highest level of skills you can you can ever focus on in life. So that would be my, my different speaking tip, man.

george grombacher 21:49
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets come up. Come on, we might have to pan the camera down and check out that work there. Carlin just to make sure that the carpet just kept around. That’s awesome.

Kylon Gienger 22:01
Okay, well, the uncarpeted part of the house but

george grombacher 22:03
thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and how can you engage with acquiror?

Kylon Gienger 22:09
Yeah, please would would love to chat. And my team would love to chat with you, you can go to acquire a.com if you want to learn about business buying and engage with us, that’s a C qu ir a.com or you can reach out directly to me. My name is kailyn gingher by my email is Kyle and gingher@gmail.com that’s KY l o n g, E and G are collinear@gmail.com or you can go to Kyle and gingher.com and there’s links to my LinkedIn and acquire and a bunch of other stuff there as well. So we’d love to chat Connect.

george grombacher 22:44
Love it. If you enjoyed this as much as I did so Carolyn your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to acquire a calm that’s a cquira.com shoot Caitlyn an email kylan gingher at gmail good to Caitlin ganger.com as well. Thanks Kate Carlin. Awesome. Thanks, George. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

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