5 Questions to Ask to Find Out if ETA is Right for You

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Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition is not for everyone.  But for those where the shoe fits, it can be a rewarding and prosperous journey. 

Is ETA right for you? I am a strong believer that we all are most successful when we’ve taken the time to assess our values and strengths and align them with our aspirations.

Here are five questions to help you do just that. 

#1 What is your motivation to become a business owner?

If financial reward is your primary driver, there are a lot of ways to make money – some potentially much less risky than being a business owner.  So, you’ll want to give your motivation some serious thought.

If you like the idea of having a title, set schedule, sick days, vacation days, and a regular paycheck, then perhaps finding a Monday through Friday job is the best route for you.

But if you are a person who is driven to find a vocation that aligns with your calling in life and you are looking for meaningful work that is authentically right for you, work you can feel passionate about, then ETA might be the right path for you.

Or your motivation could be more opportunistic. Perhaps you have experience in a certain industry and a target company with a solid position in that industry presents itself, you could be motivated to buy because the timing is right.

My advice:  Take the time to seriously explore your goals, aspirations and motivation before embarking on an ETA journey.

#2 What do you value?

Values play a critical role in ETA success.  Entrepreneurs typically value flexibility, freedom, independence, and control over their own schedules.  They are more comfortable discerning their own priorities than they are in a structured corporate environment where the priorities are set for them. 

Entrepreneurs also value that as investors, they are directly rewarded for their efforts. They recognize that the road ahead will be stressful, with lots of responsibility and emotional ups and downs – but they are so exhilarated by the upswings of the endeavor that they are willing put the miseries aside. And they enjoy the fact that every day is a learning experience.

Another value that many successful entrepreneurs I’ve met is that they embrace risk; not necessarily taking giant risks but the risks that come with running a business. They are also not afraid of experimentation and enjoy solving problems and providing solutions.  And many are avid readers who value the opportunity to learn and explore new ideas.

These are just some examples of values that many acquisition entrepreneurs possess, and the list is not intended to be all-inclusive.  The key is to be true to yourself: Will ETA align with those things you value in life?

#3 Do you have the drive and decisiveness to be a leader? 

As the owner of a small to mid-sized business, you can’t escape the leadership role – it’s germane to your success internally as you motivate employees, attract top talent and command the respect of key stakeholders. Being a leader is also critical externally in your dealings with other industry leaders, suppliers, and customers.

Whether you prescribe to the theory that leaders are born or made doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that you truly love to lead.  Ask yourself:  Have others told you that you are a leader?  Do you know your own leadership style and work on sharpening your skills to be a better leader?  Do you seek opportunities to have significant responsibility for all stakeholders, including employees?  Have you or can you thrive in a managerial or leadership position?

Perhaps an even more basic question to ask yourself:  Are you capable of making decisions?  Decisions must be made on a daily basis and can become overwhelming if you are not decisive.

#4 Do you have the personal and financial stamina to commit to a lengthy search process with no guarantee of success?

Having stamina is the clincher for many aspiring entrepreneurs.  The search process is typically a full-time effort that can take up to two years to find an appropriate match, with no guarantee of success.

And even if you have the personal stamina to weather the process, lack of financial stamina could be the determining factor, as there could likely be loss of income during the search process.

That’s not to say that not having significant personal financial resources is an absolute barrier to becoming an ETA.  If you have the passion, reach out and I can help you explore the pros and cons and your financial options. 

#5 How can a mentor help you decide?

As an acquisition mentor, I begin each conversation with a potential entrepreneur by helping him/her assess his/her goals to find out if ETA is the right path.  I educate you on the nuances of buying a business.  And I can ride along with you on your search journey as a coach and sounding board.

If you think acquiring a business is a realistic opportunity for you, I’d welcome the opportunity for an introductory video call to tell you more about this exciting pathway and learn more about you and your goals.

You can schedule a free 30-minute consultation here.

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