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Friday After Thanksgiving
A nonprofit with which I occasionally volunteer is organizing a trip to Houston in February to help Hurricane Harvey victims. By then, the headlines will have faded, but the building inspectors will finally be making significant headway in determining which homes are habitable and which ones will need to be torn down. Only after this critical step can homeowners begin the hard work of rebuilding their houses.
I love how the organization is referring to this service initiative. It’s calling this effort Friday After Thanksgiving to capture the notion that the hard work of serving communities continues unabated the day after all the organized and well publicized volunteer events on our nation’s official day for gratitude.
What’s this have to do with M&A?
The idea that the hard work continues after the special events and photo ops are over is amazingly applicable to Bootstrap Capital’s investment approach. We take a Friday After Thanksgiving approach with our portfolio companies insofar as our work to develop and grow them begins the day after closing. This approach is fundamental to how we honor the legacies of the entrepreneurs who founded our companies and how we build the foundations for their continued success.
The acquisition is not our endgame; the press release is not our goal; the canned kudos from our LinkedIn colleagues are not our objective. Only when we focus on the blocking and tackling of developing our companies do we eventually achieve our targeted results. Our experience is that, given the limited resources of the small companies that we buy, there is simply more work to do than our CEOs can accomplish on their own. As a result, it is imperative that we roll up our sleeves and collaborate with them.
Real Life Examples
It’s been several months since we released one of these email blogs, as marketing took a back seat to working with the companies we own. During the summer and fall, we were busy closing the acquisition of our second portfolio company, VeriLogic Solutions (www.veri-logic.com) and tackling several Friday After Thanksgiving initiatives at our first portfolio company, Clear Automation (www.clearautomation.com).
Since we acquired Clear Automation almost a year and a half ago, the business has grown more than 50%, undertaken an ERP installation, forged a strategic alliance with an innovative robotic equipment design firm in Europe, purchased the real estate where it operates and added incremental debt financing. In order to get all of these initiatives done, the principals of Bootstrap Capital have had to provide day-to-day leadership for several of them.
We understand the importance of a Friday After Thanksgiving mentality and are committed to supporting the management teams at our portfolio companies. In fact, we view the “lunch bucket” operational assistance we provide as an integral element of our lower middle market investment strategy.
If you are aware of business owners who would like to sell their companies, please consider introducing them to Bootstrap Capital. We are keenly in tune with the issues business leaders face when they decide to sell their companies, as well as many other nuances of transacting in the lower middle market. Bootstrap Capital is a patient counterparty that can be a constructive partner in helping sellers through the sale process. And, after the sale, we actively participate in the work required to honor the legacies of our companies’ former owners and to build the companies we acquire.