150 episodes

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital.

Episodes released weekly. Learn more at alexbridgeman.com.

Think Like an Owner Alex Bridgeman

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital.

Episodes released weekly. Learn more at alexbridgeman.com.

    Judd Lorson - Designing a Healthy Mindset as CEO - Ep.147

    Judd Lorson - Designing a Healthy Mindset as CEO - Ep.147

    My guest on this episode is Judd Lorson. Judd acquired Alliance CAS, a specialty collection agency, in 2018 as CEO and in 2021 resigned from the role after a much more difficult road and path than he’d anticipated. Judd’s story was recently profiled in a Yale paper by A.J. Wasserstein titled “The Judd Lorson Story” which we will link to in the show notes and I highly recommend reading for background on Judd’s time as CEO.
    For this conversation, we are focusing on new daily habits and foundations he has created influenced by his experience, what he values today, how those values have changed over time and the power of having a growth mindset.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 
    Links:
    “The Judd Lorson Story” by A.J. Wasserstein
    The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
    Judd on LinkedIn
    Contact Judd via email at Judd.lorson@gmail.com

    Topics:
    (4:10) - Judd’s background and career
    (14:44) - What was a typical day or week like for you as a CEO and what would that ideally look like today?
    (21:10) - How do you feel now in your emotional balance now vs. when you were working in the business?
    (23:07) - Do you think if you had started your work as CEO with these habits it would’ve been a more successful experience?
    (24:42) - How are you planning to adjust your work-life balance in a potential second stint as CEO?
    (28:13) - What advice would you give to young searchers who are in the process of making life changes outside of work such as starting a family?
    (31:30) - What are some tactics you could use to engage with those changing dynamics over time?
    (33:32) - What goals did you have for 2022?
    (38:06) - What are some of your Slight Edge Habits?
    (41:55) - Are you totally caffeine free?
    (44:06) - Was there anything to simulate day and night while on the submarine?
    (47:04) - What other changes in your daily habits or values are you looking to achieve in the future?
    (50:04) - Is there a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?
    (53:12) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

    • 57 min
    Luis Reyes - Fire Protection Thesis in Spain - Ep.146

    Luis Reyes - Fire Protection Thesis in Spain - Ep.146

    My guest on this episode is Luis Reyes, managing partner at Iberian Ventures in Spain. Luis worked in strategy consulting before acquiring small companies in Spain in a similar vein as the search fund model through Iberian. We kick off by talking about the buyout market in Spain and what makes it particularly attractive. For example, all private companies in Spain have to file their financials with the government. As a result, the full financial picture of any company in Spain can be found and sorted.
    We also spend a great deal of time talking about one of their core investment theses, the fire protection market, and why it’s an ideal market for consolidation.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 
    Links:
    Luis on LinkedIn
    Iberian Ventures
    Topics:
    (3:42) - What is Spain like as a buyout market?
    (9:05) - What are the regulations around requiring private companies to make their financials public?
    (12:17) - Did you have any previous ties to Spain before deciding to plant roots there?
    (13:52) - Was your previous career experience in finance and consulting helpful in working with business owners?
    (15:12) - Can you give us a walkthrough of the companies you’ve purchased so far and how you structure acquisition?
    (18:32) - What does the fire protection industry look like country-wide and how does it compare to how you’ve approached it?
    (25:00) - What are financing options for acquisitions?
    (26:33) - Can you walk us through an example of a transaction and integration?
    (32:18) - What are your options for exiting?
    (34:38) - What are the options or paths you’re thinking about in the long-term?
    (36:07) - Do you see other Searchers in Spain stepping outside the traditional model?
    (38:09) - What other industries do you find interesting and is there any limit to your team's capabilities to manage over multiple industries? 
    (42:13) - Are you raising money to build internal software?
    (45:25) - What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?

    • 50 min
    On Revenue Quality with Bradley Roofner and Logan Brown - Ep.145

    On Revenue Quality with Bradley Roofner and Logan Brown - Ep.145

    My guests on this episode are Bradley Roofner and Logan Brown, who together, along with a third partner Kade Thomas, acquired WLE, a landscaping firm in Austin, Texas, in 2017. After nearly four years of operating, they sold the company to Brightview, a public landscaping company and one of the largest in the country.
    Our discussion today focuses on revenue quality, a topic Bradley and Logan have given a great deal of thought to. We talk about defining revenue quality and how to identify high and low quality revenue, creating your ideal customer profile, how to sell that customer building a motivated sales organization, emphasizing high quality revenue across an organization, writing more valuable customer contracts, and various tips they have for CEOs looking to boost revenue quality and thereby their company's valuation. Enjoy.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 
    Links:
    Bradley on LinkedIn
    Logan on LinkedIn
    The E-Myth by Michael Gerber
    Topics:
    (2:44) - What was the business you ran in Austin?
    (4:29) - What would you say are some aspects of high-quality revenue and aspects of low-quality revenue?
    (6:57) - Was there any revenue that wasn’t as clear cut to be either high or low quality?
    (8:35) - How did you beef up the quality of revenue in your first 90 days?
    (15:350 - How did you go about determining who your ideal customer would be?
    (19:38) - What decisions are made based on the ideal customer profile?
    (28:09) - How did you build out your outside Sales Org?
    (31:31) - Did you have more success hiring people for Sales that had industry experience or Sales experience?
    (33:15) - How did you instruct Sales people to navigate price increases?
    (35:01) - Was your Sales Team compensated based on margin?
    (36:07) - What were some levers in cash and collections that improved Quality of Revenue?
    (44:04) - Did you find that as Quality of Revenue increased, the number of customers in collections decreased?
    (46:40) - Did you find some interaction between construction and maintenance?
    (50:47) - How did you go about measuring the conversion rate from low to high quality revenue?
    (53:11) - How did Quality of Revenue impact your lives?
    (59:11) - What advice would you offer CEO’s looking to do general clean up in their business?

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Josh Schultz - Scaling CaneKast - Ep.144

    Josh Schultz - Scaling CaneKast - Ep.144

    My guest on this episode is Josh Schultz, current president CaneKast and previously co-founder of the Chess Group. Josh has partnered with Reg Zeller, a former podcast guest from Episode 81 and CaneKast founder, to acquire and streamline foundries across the country. But as Josh and I talked about in the episode, that is far from their only ambition.
    Josh and I talk about what has changed the most in the year since joining CaneKast, how he approaches scaling, organizations, and teams, documenting processes, change management, and finding a complementary partner to work with.
    Josh is also a great friend and a person I deeply admire. He's incredibly intelligent, process driven, and creative, and I always love talking with him. Please enjoy our conversation.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 
    Links:
    Josh on Twitter
    JoshuaSchultz.com
    CaneKast
    Reg Zeller on Twitter
    The SMB Ops show

    Topics:
    (2:58) - What would you say are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your business in the past 10 months?
    (4:45) - Do you feel like there’s an order of operations for changing or tracking different things?
    (7:00) - How did you go about understanding pricing and mold counts?
    (10:47) - Do you believe you’re creating a competitive advantage beyond pricing that contributes to growing sales?
    (12:40) - What’s the most challenging piece to improving service?
    (14:45) - How much do you think making internal data more transparent has impacted your efforts?
    (19:46) - How do you get someone with deep domain expertise to share and document knowledge?
    (20:51) - What is the goal for building multiple solo companies within CaneKast?
    (23:42) - What are some business models that are inspiring this move?
    (25:05) - The importance of building a competitive advantage
    (27:15) - Do you feel your competitive advantage will allow you to acquire other foundries?
    (29:02) - Do you think there’s correct pacing to change?
    (30:45) - How do you approach setting a vision for the company?
    (34:49) - How do you view what types of aspects of the business will change next?
    (36:51) - Where do you think you’ll feel the strain as you start acquiring companies?
    (38:34) - How do you go about learning a new topic?
    (42:10) - How have you used media and podcasting to build relationships?
    (43:47) - What advice do you have for finding a good partner?
    (46:00) - How did you think about your role at CaneKast?
    (48:18) - Have you always had this Entrepreneurial Impatience?
    (50:43) - Where do you feel like you need to be patient?
    (54:56) - Evolving the CEO role to pure people & executive team management
    (59:26) - What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?
    (1:00:09) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?
    (1:03:24) - What’s next for you in manufacturing after foundries?

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Selling your Business with Brandon Kuchta - Ep. 143

    Selling your Business with Brandon Kuchta - Ep. 143

    My guest on this episode is Brandon Kuchta, the former CEO of Analytical Technologies Group, which provides repair, maintenance, and contract services for lab instruments. I say former because he sold ATG last October, and today's episode is going to cover all things selling a company from determining the right timing, what is typical in a process, and communication across stakeholders. We also talk about life after the sale, including Brandon's consulting period with the new owners and how operators can relax and give themselves a well-deserved and often much-needed break. Enjoy.
    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 
    Links:
    Brandon Kuchta on LinkedIn
    Seven Springs Partners

    Topics:
    (2:31) - What was the business you ran and what was the process for selling it?
    (4:09) - How did you know it was the right time to sell the business?
    (7:03) - What advice did you get from other folks about selling a business and planning for life after the sale?
    (8:27) - How long was it between deciding to sell and selling the business? 
    (9:25) - What sorts of things would you do to prepare to sell a business if you had a 2-3 year runway?
    (13:12) - Would you run a business differently if you knew you would be selling it?
    (14:39) - What made you decide to hire a bank to represent the company instead of going directly to buyers?
    (16:18) - How did you filter which bank you would partner with?
    (19:41) - What types of offers were you fielding?
    (22:11) - What were the typical terms you saw for seller financing?
    (23:38) - How did you think through rollover structures within offers?
    (26:04) - What were some expectations buyers had if they wanted you to roll over some equity?
    (27:48) - What was your thinking on a strategic sale vs. a PE sale?
    (29:33) - How do you think about communicating the process of selling with different stakeholders?
    (34:28) - What was the reaction from your team when you announced the sale?
    (36:32) - What did the consulting agreement look like?
    (38:41) - What is your role today?
    (39:16) - How have you relaxed and decompressed as the former CEO?
    (43:31) - What are your health and fitness plans?
    (49:10) - What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?
    (50:59) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

    • 53 min
    A.J. Wasserstein - Living a Happier Life - Ep.142

    A.J. Wasserstein - Living a Happier Life - Ep.142

    My guest on this episode is A.J. Wasserstein. Early in his career, A.J. founded Archives One, a physical records management business he operated as CEO for 17 years before selling to Iron Mountain. He then acquired One Source Water, which was eventually sold to Water Logic in 2016. He then began teaching at Yale School of Management where he has written ad nauseam about nearly every topic within growing and running small companies and search funds. His writings are my go-to resource for many questions and business concepts I want to learn more about, and I'm quick to recommend them to others.
    A.J. and I talk about being a professor and how to get involved if you’d like to teach, why students do not pursue entrepreneurship through acquisition and work-life integration as CEO, a topic A.J. has written and thought very deeply about, among other topics. Please enjoy this fantastic conversation with AJ Wasserstein.
    Links:
    More on A.J. Wasserstein
    The Judd Lorson story by A.J. Wasserstein
    Why MBA Students Do Not Pursue Entrepreneurship through Acquisition by A.J. Wasserstein
    How CEOs actually spend their time? by A.J. Wasserstein

    Topics:
    (3:14) - What made you excited to publish a paper covering an unsuccessful search?
    (4:26) - Is it a conscious part of your process to present both sides of an issue in your writing?
    (5:45) - What was your experience like going from a CEO to academia?
    (8:39) - What were some challenges you faced as a CEO?
    (13:49) - In your experience, did you find your workload felt reduced as you grew different departments?
    (15:20) - Is work-life integration as a CEO possible?
    (18:03) - Are there any CEOs you know who have achieved this balance?
    (19:39) - How do you think about the ROI of your time spent as an investor, professor, and content creator via research papers?
    (25:52) - You said it takes 5 years to be a successful CEO, would you say it takes the same amount of time as a professor?
    (27:04) - What are some best practices for being an effective professor?
    (30:20) - What moments as a professor bring you the most joy?
    (32:02) - How do you help students think by asking them questions?
    (34:25) - For someone in the process of selling their business, how would you recommend testing out the waters of academia?
    (37:59) - What were some interesting observations you saw in students after they went through the Search Fund curriculum? 
    (43:20) - For students wanting to pursue Search, what roles were most effective in helping them feel ready
    (48:41) - Do you have any desire to turn your papers into a book one day?
    (49:55) - Do you find there are any themes that come up consistently in your writing?
    (52:15) - Do you get the sense more folks are thinking about work-life integration than ever before?
    (55:18) - What strongly held belief have you changed your mind on?
    (57:42) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Chin Tan (Bristol) ,

Excellent stories

Alex has a very low key and thoughtful interviewing style which allows the business owners and acquisition entrepreneurs he has on this podcast to really tell their story. I enjoyed listening to many episodes and have learnt a lot so far. Thanks Alex!

Jamspencer ,

Brilliant Micro PE / Permanent Equity Insights

Alex brings the world of small business investing to life with insights from those who have been there and done it

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