Business acquisitions involve a multi-layered process that first-timers may find confusing. It may be risky, and some might even describe it as a gamble. But as with any actions you take in business, there are ways to mitigate risk. Do your due diligence, find out as much as you can, and what was once a challenge may become as easy as following a step-by-step manual.
In this episode, Elliot Holland, founder of Guardian Due Diligence, joins our host, Tim Winders, to discuss business acquisition. He shares his tips on what to do and not do when it comes to the field of business. Elliot also shares his own story of struggles and how he ended up where he is today.
If you want to know more about buying and selling businesses, tune in to this episode just for you!
3 Reasons to Listen:
- Learn from Elliot's life lessons and journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
- Find out what you should know when buying or selling a business.
- Discover how humility and patience go a long way in business.
- Born on Third Base by Chuck Collins
- Buy Then Build by Walker Deibel
- HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business by Richard S. Ruback
- Stanford Search Works Catalog
- Elliot’s resources
- Elliot on Twitter and his Znaplink.
- Visit our YouTube channel
- Episode’s full-length episode
- Episode’s short clip
Elliot Holland is an expert in the field of business acquisitions and private equity. He has spent more than a decade studying, working, and honing his expertise. Elliot has worked for The Watermill Group and Linx Partners before starting his own acquisition firm.
Elliot earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech before he found his passion in business and studied at Harvard Business School. He founded Guardian to provide buyers with the help and guidance they need through the risky process of business deals and acquisitions.
[03:29] What Elliot Does
- Elliot helps his clients buy small and medium businesses.
- He studied to be an engineer before attending Harvard's business school.
- After gaining experience, he started his private equity firm, where he found a problem in the market.
- Ellio started Guardian Due Diligence as a solution to his clients' needs in business acquisition.
[06:28] The Complicated Path to Business
- Elliot grew up in Detroit. He completed a general science degree at Morehouse College before getting his engineering degree at Georgia Tech.
- Georgia Tech would have helped for a career in engineering. However, Harvard Business School gave Elliot more opportunities in private equity.
- Elliot’s father did Small Business Administration loans and financing. His mother worked in a bank and municipal bonds.
- When his father died at 15, Elliot focused on getting a good education to make stable money.
- He experienced both the ups and downs of business with his family. Growing up with entrepreneur parents allowed him to grow up experiencing business.
[15:07] Finding His Path
- If Elliot could chat with his dad, he'd ask for his opinion on how he did in his life.
- He had to find his path without guidance and validation from his father.
- Going alone allowed him to go through life without worrying about the world's opinions. Instead, he receives validation from his faith, family, and friends.
- You can succeed regardless of your parents’ involvement.
[18:02] “I guess the thing I would put out here is even if you don't have entrepreneurial parents, or your dad's not around, you're smart enough to get this stuff done.” - Click Here To Tweet This
[18:55] Elliot’s Definition of Success and Money
[19:10] “To me, success is achieving the goals you set for yourself without undermining your own integrity.” - Click Here To Tweet This
- For Elliot, success means achieving your goals without losing your integrity.
- He measures success by maximizing his income per unit of freedom restricted. This method allows him to balance his personal priorities against his professional ones.
- Money gives people more freedom to choose. Someone with less money would be less able to prioritize their personal life over their work life.
- For Elliot, having more than enough gives him the freedom to focus on his priorities.
- Many of his clients feel the same. They want to have more freedom to be sustainable.
[22:50] “I think money up to a certain level of sustainability, like being able to cover your bills, is really about covering your responsibilities. And I think money above that starts creating freedom for you and others and choice freedom to deliver and manifest your priorities on this planet.” - Click Here To Tweet This
[24:50] The Struggles of the Underprivileged
- People of color have experienced too many injustices and difficulties in the name of fair treatment.
- Some demographics have it easier, while others, including black people, have struggled to reach the same level of treatment or success.
- Be aware of the advantages others may have and the difficulties of other groups.
- When Elliot went to Harvard, he couldn’t even compete with the children of influential people. He could only hope for an opportunity.
[28:06] “I think it's just paramount that we recognize or have some consciousness of what other groups may have been through.” - Click Here To Tweet This
[31:04] Elliot’s Harvard Experience
- Elliot splits the people who went to Harvard into three types. First are the wealthy who can come out on top no matter what due to their family.
- There are also the people who may have come from nothing but had great experiences supporting them.
- Lastly are the folks who were able to somehow scrape their way in.
- Elliot didn’t let himself be distracted by the variety of people and their stories. Instead, he focused on doing his best there.
[35:10] Working With Small and Medium Businesses
- Elliot makes an impact on small and medium-sized businesses.
- He’s able to help see deals through with due diligence.
- For Elliot, his clients are the coolest entrepreneurs. They are the people who have the drive to better their business and themselves.
[35:41] “I am an enabler...through my company Guardian to take someone who just has the idea to do it, has the gumption to set enough time and resources aside to give themselves the ability to go through the process. I can take them from there to the finish line.” - Click Here To Tweet This
[38:31] Running a Business to Success
- Don’t overpay for what you’re getting. However, don’t be too cheap as this can lead to failure.
- One of the best things you can do is use free or low-cost sources of information such as Twitter.
- Understand the risks when you invest.
- One big mistake people make is believing they can complete a long process in a short time. Be patient as you go through the process.
- Another mistake is being overconfident. Be humble.
[44:35] Elliot’s Stories
- One of Elliot’s successful clients was planning to buy a country club and found a good deal. Realizing it’s out of their expertise, the buyer asks for his help with due diligence.
- A problem with the deal came up and, through the Due Diligence process, his client determined the best course of action.
- Another experience Elliot had with an impatient client led to the deal almost falling apart due to the buyer’s attitude.
- Fortunately, they were able to pull the deal back together.
[49:20] What to Keep in Mind For Sellers and Buyers
- One of the first things buyers should do is to find a reliable data source and learn more about it. Additionally, set aside your resources in preparation.
- Talk to both successful and unsuccessful people who you can also reach online. They can give you the best data.
- For sellers, be mindful of keeping your financial affairs in order. A consultation with a certified public accountant can help you smooth the process.
- Don't be greedy. Deliver the honor that you want to receive during the process.
- A person you hired for your finances can be easier to work with than the person your buyer paid to do the same.
[56:10] The Field of Business
- Elliot is wary about how artificial intelligence might wipe out many jobs from those who need it.
- A great thing happening in the business field is how resources can be easily accessible on the internet.
- Anyone willing to work hard can learn much and achieve a lot.
- The most sustainable businesses are the ones that can manage with the fewest resources.
- Similarly, the toughest people can push through despite smaller resources.
[59:05] Elliot on Creating
- Elliot’s taking on his newest adventure and enjoying Columbia.
- Between the words "Seek," "Go," and "Create," Elliot chose "Create."
- If you have something to share, start creating content and resources.
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