What You Need To Know Before Acquiring Your Next Business

June

21

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Our blind spots can cost us a lot of time and money, especially when acquiring a business. Our special guest today is a mergers and acquisitions pro. We're going to discuss deal killers, deal negotiation, qualifying opportunities, and a whole lot more. If you are considering acquiring and even selling a business anytime soon, you do not want to miss this conversation.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Hartland Ross for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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What You Need To Know Before Acquiring Your Next Business

Tim Fitzpatrick
Our blind spots can cost us a lot of time and money, especially when acquiring a business. Our special guest today is a mergers and acquisitions pro. We're going to discuss deal killers, deal negotiation, qualifying opportunities, and a whole lot more. If you are considering acquiring and even selling a business anytime soon, you do not want to miss this conversation. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth and marketing shouldn't be difficult. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. Super excited to have Hartland Ross from eBridge Marketing and The Host Broker. Hartland, welcome and thanks for being here.

Hartland Ross
Excellent. Thanks, Tim. Looking forward to it. This is going to be a fun session, so sign me up.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, me too. Looking forward to it. So before we jump into the heart of the conversation, I want to ask you a few rapid fire questions, help us get to know you. You ready to jump in with both feet?

Hartland Ross
Let's do it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

Hartland Ross
I like playing sports and I coach my kids. So love playing with them and coaching them.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. How many kids do you have?

Hartland Ross
Two.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Two. Cool. They keep you busy. Right. And they grow up fast. What's your hidden talent?

Hartland Ross
I think I'm quite good at being able to anticipate what could go wrong before it goes wrong and trying to come up with a plan or ensuring that we're sort of one step ahead.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a great talent to have as long as you listen to it, right?

Hartland Ross
Yes. True.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Hartland Ross
I, as I've gotten older, I've appreciated it more. Is appreciating what you have and not sort of wishing life away, wishing days away, waiting for Christmas, waiting for holidays, just enjoying appreciating every day.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. I love it. Have you ever read any books on stoicism?

Hartland Ross
Not specifically.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a, that's very, that that philosophy is very in line with stoicism, which is why I asked.

Hartland Ross
There's a lot of programs and courses and articles and other books that I've read that will contribute but not sort of specific on a topic.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. What's one thing about you that surprises people?

Hartland Ross
I think the ability for me to have insightful questions, detailed questions, some might argue too analytical, too detailed. But it's a useful tool in toolbox.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. What does success mean to you?

Hartland Ross
I just like being able to show up every day with integrity and authenticity and be able to feel good about myself and kind of the value that we deliver as a company and me personally in my everyday life.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Where's your happy place?

Hartland Ross
I have a cabin that's a few hours away and it's seasonal, but I love spending time there.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What qualities do you value and the people you spend time with?

Hartland Ross
Yeah, I have to say one of my top core values is integrity. And I appreciate that with anybody that I'm working with.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, awesome. Thank you for that. I want to ask you a little bit more. Tell us more about eBridge and The Host Broker because you're doing a few different things there. Tell us a little bit more about the history and what you guys are doing.

Hartland Ross
Yeah, I mean, I guess the quick version, we started just after September 11, frankly, and we began working with in the hosting industry, with IT firms that were providing hosting solutions of one sort or another, primarily shared hosting along the likes of GoDaddy, but others hostgator was, for example, firms that we spent a lot of time with and we're growing those businesses. And as time went on, we started going up stack if you like, through to managed hosting, managed infrastructure, data centers and managed service providers as sort of a part of the ecosystem. And as we started providing more and more marketing services, companies started growing, the space became more crowded. Some groups decided they wanted to take advantage of that and get out. Other groups wanted to take advantage of that and grow larger. And at the same time, marketing was becoming more expensive and more difficult. And as a result, some groups, they put either in camp of I want to get out and do something else, or I want to double down and grow. Those who are struggling also sometimes face capital constraints. And so they came to us because we had a pretty darn large sort of ecosystem of IT companies. And speaking at conferences, had a lot of connections and conversations. And some people who wanted to buy, wanted to know who they could buy, and people who wanted to sell wanted to figure out who they could sell to. And so we built out our m and a practice and you know, fast forward to today. And we have two sides of our business. We have our marketing agency side focused on IT firms and MSPs, and then our MA practice, which is under the brand, thehostbrokerandthemspbroker.com.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And on the MA side, what specifically are you doing? Are you helping both buyers and sellers? Are you bringing them together? What does that look like?

Hartland Ross
Yeah, I mean, our real focus is doing just that. Right. We're acting as an intermediary and we're trying to put buyers and sellers together, frankly, with the intention of a successful outcome. And a successful outcome for us is a question afterwards to say, hey, buyer, hey, seller, would you do that transaction again? Was that a deal that you're happy with? And we're looking for a yes on both sides of that. And it means they got value for what they were, if they were a buyer, for what they invested. If they were a seller, they think they got fair value for what they were giving up, and that the experience more so than just money, but the experience was good all around, and that means it was good for them, it was good for their employees, if they have any. It was good for their customers. So it ends up being a win, win win. And that's really our focus. And so as a result, there's all the touch points in the process prior to that that we are looking forward to try to ensure that we have that kind of an outcome.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So are you guys brokering in the deal or just making the introduction?

Hartland Ross
Yeah, we're full service, start to finish. We're brokering, facilitating both sides, and that goes all the way from the deal origination on our side with sellers, to introducing those opportunities to buyers, and then facilitating all of the questions and due diligence that's necessary and letters of intent, and then further due diligence all the way through to, ideally through to a close.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Got it. So when that happens, are you typically working, you're obviously working with the owners of each company, but do they typically have representatives like cpas, legal folks on their sides that you guys are dealing with as well?

Hartland Ross
You know, it depends on who the buyer is. I would say if they're more sophisticated, the answer is yes. If they're less sophisticated than typically, no. And sometimes they might say they do. But, for instance, we were working on a transaction recently where we had to recommend to the group that you need another attorney. This attorney is, they're not. They're a real estate attorney, for instance, MA or transactions. Right. So they're just asking their own questions. Their processes is wrong, they're giving them wrong, and bad advice is just not going to be conducive to getting a transaction done. So we really want to ensure that if somebody's bringing their parties to the table, that those parties are familiar with MA and all of the different processes around that. If they aren't familiar with MA, it can still be done. But in some cases, we get somebody who's not familiar with it, nor are they familiar with MA and it's just a disaster. So those resources need to be in place on both buyer and seller side. Typically, the buyers are more likely to have that in place than the seller. But sometimes we have to help with both and we don't. When I say help, we don't provide those services. We can just make referrals to groups that do.

The Most Common Reasons Deals Fall Apart

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, okay, got it. So you bring buyer and seller together, what, what kills deals? Right. What are the most common reasons deals just fall apart?

Hartland Ross
Yeah. So look, I mean, there's, there's a lot of answers to that question. If I, if I had to pick my top one, I would say it relates to valuation. And that may seem obvious, but let me just sort of explain in a little bit more detail. So sometimes what somebody wants for their business as a seller isn't aligned with what the business is worth. So it may be that they're retiring and they need a certain amount to retire and be able to support themselves and their family, their spouse for the rest of their life. But that has no bearing on whether the business is worth that same amount. So the first question is, what is the business worth and is that aligned? Right? Does the seller rather believe that that's reasonable and is that sufficient for them to sell the business? And is the buyer got a good sense of what the seller is looking for from a valuation perspective. Most of the transactions don't have an asking price. And so as a result, it's hard as a buyer to sometimes evaluate that. But most of these businesses are valued as a multiple of, in the case of MSPs, a multiple of EBITDA or adjusted EBITDA. And so there's a range in there. But having said that, there's other factors like payment terms. So, you know, if someone's getting paid over ten years, obviously it's a different deal than if they're being paid 100% cash on close. Whether there's an earn out component to it, that means that as a seller, the seller is going to get paid contingent to something happening. Customers are staying, revenue being similar to some sort of baseline that's established. So there's these trade offs. And to the extent that the buyer has to take more risk, in other words, putting more cash upfront, less, no earn out or less aggressive earn out, then they're going to want some upside and the upside is going to be a lower price. So setting these expectations around valuation is huge. And then the other aspect that we see is that, and this is usually, I'm talking to this question from both a buyer perspective and a seller perspective. And I think that's a useful exercise or a lens to look through, because it's important that the buyer understand whether the seller have reasonable expectations, not only in terms of price, but also have they factored in tax. Right. They're not going to be able to take home 100% of what they're going to be receiving. So have they factored that in? What about debt? Is there any debt? Are there partners or investors that need to be paid out at the end of the day? Is there alignment there? And mismatch of valuation expectations is probably the biggest driver. There are other aspects related to trust which are extremely important. I don't know if we have time to kind of go into more, but time and trust, time kills all deals, and those two are other significant components.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So, and so I want to pull a few things out because you just dropped a ton of really good stuff there. When you say time kills deals, you mean too much time passing kills deals, correct?

Hartland Ross
Yeah. I mean, another way that you may have heard of it or, you know, groups have heard of it is deal fatigue. Right. So, yeah. Not sticking to timeframes that have been laid out, sticking to commitments, and that can be on both sides. And sometimes there's a bit of a finger pointing exercise. The buyer says, well, you know, seller didn't get me the information in a timely manner, and that may well be. So on both sides, it, you know, both sides to kind of treat the whole process with timing of the assets.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You know, it's, so we have to go into this with realistic expectations. When you were talking about sellers not being realistic about what their company's worth, it kind of reminds me of like people selling homes. Right. Most home sellers think their house is worth way more than it actually is. We need to go into it realistic. The other thing you touched on was most companies are sold based on a multiple of EBITDA. For those that don't know what that is, let me make sure I get this right. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. For, to keep it simple, think of it like net profit. Right? I mean, it's close, not exact but it's close.

Hartland Ross
It's oftentimes identical because there's not a lot of interest or amortization in most cases. I think the other piece to add on there, and I did mention it, but very quickly, was the adjusted part. Right. So what we're looking for is to, or normalize, if you prefer that term, but another term that's used. And what we're trying to do is look at what the business would look like under a, from a buyer's perspective, under their management. So ensuring that salaries, you know, yeah, your business is extremely profitable. That's because you're not paying yourself anything.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right. Right.

Hartland Ross
So, like, we need to put in a salary that's reasonable for the value that you're bringing as a business owner, for instance, or your expenses are inflated because you have been writing off everything because you're trying to reduce your tax liabilities. But now the business shows that it's not making money. And so, yeah, you know, are there some things there that could be added back? And usually those are things like cell phones, travel, entertainment vehicles, health benefits, et cetera.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So those are, if you're, if you're selling, you need to understand that obviously, the more profit that you're making, typically, the more you're going to be able to sell for outside of making any of those, those adjustments. The other thing you touched on, which I think is a really interesting thing for most people to think about, is like, just because you sell doesn't mean like, you're riding off into the sunset immediately. Like some of these deals, like you said, sometimes they're making 100%, but oftentimes the owner is having to stay on for a certain period of time. They've got a period, maybe it's one, two, three years, where they're staying on to hit certain revenue goals to make additional money. Right. These things can be structured all different kinds of ways, and those things all have an impact on how much the business sells for. Right?

Hartland Ross
Absolutely. And when you talk about valuation, I mean, from my perspective, I always recommend looking at it holistically. So valuation in and of itself is. So I got x multiple, but it also. But, oh, wait a second. I need to work for the next two years and I'm not being paid for it, or the next two years, and I'm being paid peanuts or flip side, actually, for tax implications, sometimes you're paid a, quote unquote, management fee for the next two or three years, which punts the tax liability down the road. And you may or may not even necessarily need to do anything for that money. It's on paper as a management consultant agreement, but there's no real expectation for you to do very much. So take into consideration this full package and also the stress and the role that you'll play. Right. If you're involved, presumably, and in all likelihood, you're going to wear far fewer hats than you were wearing before. And so that will get rid of some stress and maybe make life a little bit more pleasant for you, particularly if you're not inclined to certain aspects of the business, like managing people or sales or something, then it makes it a more pleasant experience. And you might be willing to accept a lower salary, you know, in exchange for that trade off.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What are the, what are the typical, what's the multiple range right now in the managed service provider space?

Hartland Ross
Well, you know, it's obviously very much dependent on a number of different factors, the biggest one being the size of the business. And so, you know, if you're a $10 million msP, it's a different story than if you're $250,000 msp annualized revenue. You know, if I was in an elevator, in the 32nd elevator pitch is going to be three to five x is my answer. But does that mean it can't be lower than three? No, absolutely, it could be. Could it be higher than five? Absolutely. But, you know, we are typically dealing with the kind of one to $5 million operations revenue, not valuation. And so, you know, they're going to fall in the higher than, if you're 5 million, it'd be higher than five x, but oftentimes it's kind of that three to five window.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So if you're doing more revenue, there's the potential for the, for the multiple to be higher. Am I hearing you correctly?

Hartland Ross
Yeah. So, you know, it's look, as a very general statement, I mean, if you're doing more revenue and it's all hardware and you're making five to ten points on it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Then no.

Hartland Ross
Then no. But, you know, on the assumption that you've got a significant portion of recurring managed services revenue, then yes. And revenue is the single biggest driver. But there's lots of other factors as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah.

Hartland Ross
And of course, you're going to get a bump because a bigger business generally will be more profitable. Not always, but generally more profitable. So you're getting a multiple of a larger number, but also you're getting a higher multiple. So it's sort of a two pronged, you know, bonus there.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, yeah. You're getting two bonuses there.

Hartland Ross
Yeah.

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The Most Overlooked Aspects of Deal Negotiations

Tim Fitzpatrick
What, um, so you're bringing two people together. Right. Two companies together. They got to negotiate. What, what's one of the most overlooked aspects of deal negotiation?

Hartland Ross
I think that some groups appreciate this, um, and I think some people do it naturally and some people do it strategically. Other people don't appreciate it and don't do it. And I think that the answer relates to trust. And if trust is not there, the, the chances of the deal falling apart are exceptionally high.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah.

Hartland Ross
And so what am I talking about? And you might say, well, that's obvious, but like, how could we do that? What are some things that, that will grease the wheels, if you like? And one of them is understanding the motivations of the seller, trying to structure a deal to cater towards the motivations of the seller. And so if you hear the seller saying that they hate sales and they don't want to do sales, don't try to create a deal where they've got anything to do with sales going forward, post close and recognize that if the upside is all related to increasing revenue, if they don't have anybody who can increase revenue other than the owner who doesn't like to do sales, it's probably not going to be something that's overly interesting to them. So really, if there's some urgency around why they're selling a health issue, which we've been dealing with quite a bit recently, frankly, time is of the essence. Some urgency there to try to structure a deal to cater towards someone in that situation, probably they're not worried about cash five years from now. They'd probably prefer just to get the deal done, lower price, more cash upfront, and just kind of be done with it. So to really try to understand their motivations. And so to the extent that you can, the seller can feel like they've been heard, you're starting to build rapport when you come on to initially anyway, a Zoom call, teams meeting or whatnot, or if it's in person right away, and sometimes it is to jump into some of that rapport building like, who are we? What do we believe in? What's our company as a buyer? Right. Why do people stick with us? Why do customers stick with us? What's our philosophy around IT? To jump straight into, hi, my name is Hartland, and just start grueling with questions without building that rapport for the first few minutes. And I've seen it done, they just sort of say, well, thanks. Nice to meet you. Appreciate your time. I've got a question for you about your business. And they drive straight in within 30 seconds. And I just think they're overlooking a good chance to build rapport and leave that buyer with a, sorry, leave that seller with a good feeling. And so talk about culture, talk about look for alignment. How can we bring things together? Meeting in person is a great way if possible. It's not always feasible. And then related to, again, trust. These are all sort of components that I think are foundational with respect to supporting trust is looking at what's fair. Fairness creates a supportive seller. And if you're looking as a buyer, post sale or post close, rather, you want that seller to be sending you referrals. You want that seller to jump in on a meeting, if need be, to save a customer who's considering switching, you want them to be part of the transaction and be supportive and endorse you. And if they feel like they got the short end of the stick on everything because you were trying to muscle them too much, it's not going to be to your advantage in the months and years to come.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You know, it seemed to me one, I love this, right? Because when you talk about starting to build rapport, it's right from the beginning, right. How do you enter the transaction right from the beginning? Because that is setting the tone for how things may end up going down the road. The other thing too, that I think people may overlook too, is how are you engaging throughout the process, right. When you buy a business, you go through due diligence, right. The seller, the seller is being asked for all kinds of information so that the buyer can evaluate the opportunity. If it takes the seller forever to get specific information, like, man, that's not giving the buyer warm and fuzzy feelings, right?

Hartland Ross
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You know, and so how you conduct yourself through the transaction is also going to help continue to build that trust. And, you know, just, I mean, look, these people in a lot of cases are putting out, the buyers are putting out a lot of money and they want to make sure they're doing everything that they possibly can to make sure that this is a solid investment. They cannot do that without the right information. So, you know, if you're not getting it to them quickly, if you're not getting them accurate information, like, yeah, that's the kind of stuff where they're, they're starting to not get warm and fuzzy feelings. Right?

Hartland Ross
And so what you're speaking to is, is trust going both ways, right?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes.

Hartland Ross
I was talking a little bit more about the, the seller trusting the buyer, but the buyer you're talking about, which is, I think, extremely important as well, is the buyer not trusting the seller. Because when the, when the, when the buyer is ready to write a check and they feel like, well, wait a second, I'm not sure that I'm going to get what I thought I was going to get or what he was or she was presenting or talking about, then the buyer is just going to get cold feet and run away and that does happen. And it happens because exactly as you're saying. The seller promised them they would get them something by last Friday, and now it's Thursday the next week, and they still haven't got it. There's no end in sight. And, oh, it's only partial information. And you can accept that happening once, maybe twice, but as it continues to happen and then they start to see other issues and of course, now they're more, they're heightened of kind of scrutiny is heightened and looking for problems.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It kind of makes the buyer wonder, like, how are they running their business if I can't even get this information right?

Hartland Ross
That's exactly it.

How to Qualify a Deal as a Buyer

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So, so, like, as a buyer, how do I qualify? How do I qualify a deal? Right. What do I, what do I look for when I'm screening opportunities?

Hartland Ross
Yeah, I think this is something that's, that's a very important topic because buyers who are not experienced tend to get fixated on elements of a deal that, at the end of the day, are not what I would call deal killer issues. Right. It's like, it's information. It's useful information. It needs to be factored in. A decision needs to be made, but it's not going to be instrumental in deciding whether there's a good fit for that business or not. And so I always suggest that groups really focus on the things that are going to be push this to a yes or a no as quickly as possible for everybody's time. You know, as a buyer, particularly those who are not so experienced, there is a learning process, no doubt. I mean, they, you know, most, most groups are not. Even if they've done a deal, the next deal is entirely different. And maybe it was a couple years ago and they're not doing this like every week. You know, some are, but most of them aren't. Even if they did like two a year, it's still not something that they're doing on a regular basis. So to get familiar with what's important to you and to try to screen opportunities out as quickly as possible. So this customer base, are they going to be adding some value to your existing business? I mean, the last thing you want is to buy a book of business where you've essentially got two customer bases that are disparate from each other and there's no real way to integrate them. Right. Maybe they're different industries, maybe it's a different profile. You've got some enterprise customers and you've got some small business customers. So they really need to fit. So how do they, this business strategically fit into your business, are you able to upsell some of these customers, cross sell some additional services? Wow. This would open up the door now for our existing base and now we can offer this, that and the other thing to this existing base. Right. Maybe there's an Aqua hire type situation. So there's some people that are being brought along on the, as a buyer that you're going to get that will allow you to have some expertise that you didn't have before. Right. In selling other products or services, looking for customer concentration. I don't think that should be a deal killer, but it is for some. I just think there's ways to manage it. Right. You're going to put a heavy focus on earn out, so contingency structures in place for customer concentration. And so that's an important one. And if it's something that is important enough that you feel that I'm not willing to take that sort of a risk, then let's discuss that upfront. Right. And some customer concentration might be one customer who represents 20, 30% of the business.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. Thank you.

Hartland Ross
It could be one customer representing 80% of the business. And we have those. Right. So at that point, you know, does that change your mind? So looking at that, are customers on contracts and if they are on contracts, what's the nature of those contracts? Can they be canceled? And if so, under what terms? Ideally, auto renewing annual contracts are kind of the best. Can't be canceled within, except, you know, subject to like 30, 60 days prior to renewal. But otherwise there's a index, pricing is indexed to inflation or something. So that's a component of it. But customers are on contracts. Gives the buyer security. So as a seller, you would want that, even if you don't want that for running your business as an existing business, if you're trying to sell the business, it's going to be extremely attractive and ultimately benefit you with better payment terms. You know, another one is just pricing mismatches. Right. So if you're, if you're at $175, $200 a seat device, endpoint, and you're looking at a deal where the person's charging dollar 75, you're never going to move, yet you're never going to move that $75 customer a month to dollar 200, it's just not going to happen. And so you're going to lose them. So what is that differential? How far can you move them? What does the seller say about that base in terms of their openness or receptiveness to making that jump? And I think it would be impossible to do that. But what if it's 75 to 125? That might be a doable increase, especially if there's value that can be presented.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Harland, the biggest takeaway that I'm hearing from what you just shared, and there was a ton of good stuff in there, is that as a buyer, we need to know why we're doing this. Right. Why are we doing it? What are our plans? What do we want to accomplish? And that is going to help dictate what we need to look for in the deal.

Hartland Ross
Yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right. And then if it's checking enough of those boxes, then maybe we should move forward. Right. To go back to the house analogy, when I'm a buyer, going to look for a house, like, you never find the perfect house. There is no perfect house. You have to know, you know, what exactly. What are you looking for? What are the must haves? What are the nice to haves? And like, you know, everything else just goes away. Right. And so, I mean, it's a pretty simplistic way of looking at it, but it's pretty similar. Right.

Hartland Ross
It's that old saying, right. If you don't know where you're going, any path road will take you there. If you don't have a clear idea as to what you want, then you just, you just get confused. You're asking kind of random questions, you're going down different roads. It's the questions. And it will come off to the broker, if there is one. And it'll certainly come off to the seller that at least even if they're not experienced in going through a sell side process, if they talk to others who are very clear on what they want and ask questions, you will then be sort of compared to another group that they're talking to. And it's just not going to reflect well on you. So, absolutely, you need to be clear on what you're looking for. Another one just to add in. I was thinking about that's important is the revenue mix. Right. So if there's, if we talked earlier, if it's primarily a hardware and maybe break fixed business, like, most people aren't interested in that. But at what point does it become interesting? If you've got some managed services and some projects and some hardware, you need to decide what the threshold is. We typically see around 40% managed services being where people are interested and anything less than that, they're not or there's a significant drop off in interest, anyway.

Conclusion

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. This is awesome, Hartland. You've shared a lot of good stuff. Any last minute thoughts you want to leave us with as we think about this?

Hartland Ross
Look, I think that someone like having a conversation with someone like myself, if you're a seller and having a conversation with someone who's gone through the process, even if it's a different industry, could be helpful if you're a buyer again, having conversations with someone like myself or someone who's gone through the acquisition process. Obviously there's plenty of stuff on the Internet, including on our site, that you can use to prepare yourself. But I think that on both sides, preparation is important and you'll feel more confident in the process at some point. There is the you just got to jump in and start moving forward. You're never going to have everything using your house example. You don't know what you're looking for. But when you look at your first house and you think, oh, that sounds interesting, but then you look at the second house and you go, well, geez, this is much better than the last one. So now the last one's out of the picture. But you see, you have something to compare. And so there is benefit in that. But it is important, as we've said, to at least have some kind of filters in place that you're going to use before you set for foot in the first house, or in this case, as a buyer, setting up conversations with sellers, and vice versa.

Tim Fitzpatrick
If people are considering this, whether they're on the buy or the sell side, what's the best way to get in touch?

Hartland Ross
Yeah, so you can go to our site, thehostbroker.com. there's a couple of things that I would just draw your attention to there. One is that if you're a buyer, we publish a list of companies for sale every week. It comes out on Wednesdays, generally speaking, and it's free to subscribe. You can access the sort of the deals each week or the listings each week there. They're primarily in North America. About 86% of our businesses in the United States, with the balance being in Canada and a bit in Europe. If you want to speak with me, you can reach me at hartland@thehostbroker.com. The other thing that might be of interest, and Tim, I'm not sure that you're aware of this even, but we're in a couple of weeks doing a session that is focused on the sell side process called Exit Con. It's a half day online session, and for those who are listening to recording of this, that session may have passed by that point, but there will be a recording of it as well, and it'll be a deep dive on a lot of things that are useful for primarily for sellers or, and I would argue that, you know, anybody's a seller at some stage, even if it's not today.

Tim Fitzpatrick
absolutely. Awesome. Well, Haartland, thank you so much, man. I really appreciate you taking the time to, to share your experience with us. There was a ton of value in there, so thank you for that. If you're an MSP in the IT space you're thinking about buying or selling, please reach out to Haartland and his team over at The Host Broker. Those of you that are watching, listening, appreciate you doing so. Look, if you're at that stage where you're thinking, I might want to sell, the more you can drive revenue, the better that's going to be for you. And we can help with that. So connect with us over at rialtomarketing.com or if you want to know which of the nine revenue roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that over RevenueRoadblockScorecard.com. So thank you so much. Till next time. Take care.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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