SBM #14 - Nikolas Hulewsky being data-driven - Part 2 

Buying Off Market Companies

Subject: Buying Companies Off Market 

‘The Small Business Mentor' exists to tell insightful, interesting stories about initially successful small businesses that faced obstacles and somehow found a way to overcome them through whatever means necessary. 

Last time, we heard about Nik Hulewsky an entrepreneur extraordinaire and how he “growth hacked” his way to buying an RV park.. 

This week we are going to learn how to apply the techniques to buying a business. 

📓 The Overview:

  • Business: Tree Trimming 

  • Barrier: Finding a gap in a competitive market

  • Learning: Be data-driven 

📓 The Story:

Last week we learned about Nik and his partner Chris and how they used creative market analysis to help them purchase an RV lot. This week we are going to learn how their approach helps them buy businesses off market.

When people think about buying a business, the first thing they do is go to online brokerage websites. These are mostly useless. They are overgrazed and the good deals are snapped up immediately before they get to these sites. Most of the deals on there are aging and aging for a reason. They don’t make sense.

Another thing first time buyers tend to do is scattershoot their efforts. They are looking at all types of businesses across multiple geographies. Flexibility has its place but the boil the ocean strategy rarely works. Nik has a different philosophy. He likes to be  as specific as possible. 

Let’s take the example of the tree trimming business he and his partner bought recently. He started with the general geographical area he wanted to be in (Dallas) and the basic type of industry (home services). 

And as we learned last week Nik is methodical and data-driven. 

Using web scraping tools, he and his partner scraped the names of every home service company in the local area. Then they used inexpensive offshore labor to cold call every home services company in the geography that looked interesting. They had the callers focus on three things: 

  1. How long did it take the business to answer the phone or return a call/respond to an inquiry? 

  2. How long would it take for them to quote a job? 

  3. And if possible, ask how much the service would cost.

Now they had data on the services with weak, slow, and unresponsive competition.

Simple but effective. 

They also joined groups on  Facebook, Nextdoor, and any other platform they could find to not only understand what services were in demand but also to see which types of services lacked an active presence in the groups. Being the only provider available in the place where people are looking for that service makes marketing a lot easier.

So what did they find? 

Tree trimming. 

Now they had a focused geography and a service. They began reaching out to every company in the target size range in the area, explained exactly what they were looking for, and offered to buy if the owner wanted to sell. The focused approach paid off and they are now owners of a North Texas tree trimming business. 

This is next-level stuff and I’m already thinking of dozens of applications of the methodology. It works in almost any industry. Nik himself used it to buy a metal health clinic, a tree trimming business, a medical payments business, and many others.. 

Follow Nik and his partner Chris closely. I don’t think they are done yet.

🧑‍🎓 The Lessons: 

  1. Creative market research is your edge. 

  2. Always be data-driven.

  3. I know I said it last week, but I will say it again. Spend some time with Nik and Chris and you will learn something. 

📅 Next Week:

Next week we are going to deep dive into  scrapyard guru Sam Bacon. We will learn more about his small business journey and how he made millions in the scrapyard industry. 

Keep growing,

Alan

P.S. 
Next Tuesday, February 27th I will be hosting my own SMB spaces on X with a great friend and podcast guest Jon Matzner
We will take a deep dive into global talent and Jon’s new business Sagan Passport so make sure you follow me on X and join us next week at 4 pm EST. 
You won’t want to miss this! 

Follow me to get notified: @apentz

P.P.S. 

Do you have a small business growth story and want to be featured? Ping me on X @apentz, or submit at http://www.fame.so/sbp-story

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