Entrepreneurs: What’s the dream? Is it to take a business from the bottom to the top? Is it to sell that business for eight figures? What about becoming an angel investor for other budding innovators? This business coach did all three — Here’s his story. On Bold Business, Scott Kallick discusses what investors look for, when to sell a business and more. Check out the interview for the full business strategy session!
Q. How did you start your first business?
A. It was just an opportunity that kind of came to me. My dad had an accounting firm in Chicago, and he had a client in the coin laundry business. He said, “Hey, I’ve got this little operation in Pittsburgh.” I’d never been to Pittsburgh before. But I just got married, so I said I wanted to look at the numbers. It was a very tiny, little business. And I said, “You know what — I’m going to take a shot.” So, I moved to Pittsburgh and started my life there. Really, it was this kind of hustle. It was grinding and hustling and getting out in the street every day — meeting people and knocking on a lot of doors.
Q. When you got ready to sell the business, what was that like?
So, because I was hands-on and was out there every day, I started realizing some of the headwinds coming. And the headwinds were that there was very little organic growth in the business. So, we really had to start taking a look and say, where is this business going? And number two, I started the company with my then-wife; we went through 20 years, and we got divorced. We continued working together, and that got really difficult. So, it was time to make a transition. And as it turned out, in the industry, there were cycles of consolidation. I recognized that was coming and that we may not be there for another 10 or 15 years, or at all.
Q. What do you look for when you invest in a business?
It all starts with the founder: There’s got to be some oneness with the founder, some connection. I really have to understand what their vision is. I want to know where they’re going, so I can help them, get behind them and see what their headwinds are. Entrepreneurship right now is at the crux. It’s never been more exciting, and there have never been more opportunities for entrepreneurship. There’s never been more excitement. So, for me, it’s an opportunity to learn what they’re doing, to understand and to really get behind them. My real power is working with some of these companies and helping them with their capital needs as well.