Master Acquisition Entrepreneurship & build profitable businesses with less stress, less risk than the start-up game!

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Take the Fast Track to Business Ownership: as an Acquisition Entrepreneur

Let me guess – you’re here because you want to own your own business. Maybe you’ve tried the start-up approach. Maybe you didn’t even get that far because you couldn’t come up with the 
“Next Big Idea.” 

The Buy Then Build model will teach you how to approach ownership in the smartest possible way

This is the same strategy I’ve used to acquire 7 businesses and 10x my income – all in the same amount of time it took my first startup to start, grow, and die.

I created this Masterclass to help aspiring Acquisition Entrepreneurs execute the Buy Then Build approach. Consider this the next step in your journey.

We created this Masterclass to support...

Your First Venture

Learn how to acquire a business with all the infrastructure already rocking so YOU can jump into the fun stuff and start scaling.

Experienced Entrepreneurs

Use your existing resources & skillsets to generate exponential business growth on repeat.

Business Moguls

Make moves to acquire entire channels of distribution, expand your product lines, and absorb whole databases of customers.

Here's everything we'll cover...

In this module, you will learn the foundations of acquisition entrepreneurship (AE) as a strategy.

Lessons include:

  • AE Framework from an Entrepreneur Perspective
  • The Two Different Journeys for an Entrepreneur
  • Guest Speaker: The Power of Trying Crazy Things to Fix Perfect Problems with Jim McKelvey
  • Bonus Content: The 5 Myths of Entrepreneurship
  • Benefits of AE as an Entrepreneur
  • Guest Speaker: The Story of a Textbook Acquisition Entrepreneur, Dan Peskorse
  • AE Framework from an Investor Perspective
  • Gazelles vs. Venture Capital
  • Bonus Content: Alternative Retirement Strategies
  • Return on Investment
  • Upside Potential
  • Margin of Safety
  • Supplemental Reading: Upside Potential Walk Through
  • Accelerated Route to Value Creation
  • Skill Builder: Return on Investment
  • Bonus Lecture: The 4 Pathways of Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition
  • Knowledge Check

In this module, you’ll take the most important primary step filled with self-reflection that most buyers don’t take – determining who you are as a buyer.

Lessons include:

  • The Most Important Thing
  • Personal Impact
  • Attitude
  • Bonus Content: Will you actually buy? The secret sauce to execution
  • Skill Builder: Understanding Growth Mindset
  • Aptitude
  • Bonus Content: Leveraging Career Capital
  • Skill Builder: The Power of Your Story
  • Supplemental Reading: PERMA Model
  • Expert Interview: What Makes a Successful Acquisition Entreprenuer, Dr. David Weller
  • Skill Builder: Personal Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Action
  • Bonus Content: Determining Your Search Strategy
  • Supplemental Reading: Level of Individual Involvement
  • Skill Builder: Determining the most appropriate level of involvement
  • Skill Builder: Entrepreneurial Self-Assessment Survey
  • Skill Builder: Personal Goals
  • Skill Builder: Three A’s
In this module, you’ll gain clarity to your search as it relates to developing a unique target statement specific to your personal buyer brand.

Lessons include:
  • Bonus Content: Glimpse Into the Acquisition Lab – The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Buying a Business
  • Profiling Your Business: Eternally Profitable, Turnaround, Platform, & High Growth
  • Skill Practice: Identifying Opportunity Profiles
  • Resource: AE Matrix Reference Guide
  • Bonus Content: The Biggest Mistake I Made While Acquiring $16.5mm in revenue
  • Defining the Size of Your Business
  • Bonus Content: How Post-Close Liquidity Determines How Much You can Afford
  • Resource: What Can You Afford Calculator
  • Resource: Deal Size Reference Guide
  • Defining the Right Amount of Leverage
  • Skill Practice: Determining Net Worth
  • Defining Industry Type
  • Supplemental Reading: Evaluating B2B vs. B2C/DTC
  • Supplemental Reading: Industry Overviews
  • Formulating Your Target Statement
  • Skill Practice: Industry Reaction Worksheet
  • Skill Builder: Target Statement Worksheet

In this module, you’ll learn the various approaches to use to identify deals and build a transaction team.

Lessons include: 

  • Bonus Content: Glimpse into the Acquisition Lab – How to Compete as a First Time Buyer
  • Get Upstream
  • Broker Outreach
  • Bonus Content: Two Biggest Mistakes From Worst Buyer Ever
  • Supplemental Reading: Tips for Nailing Broker Outreach
  • Meeting with Brokers
  • Every Business is for Sale
  • Supplemental Reading: Managing Emotions to Reinforce Your Brand
  • Skill Practice: Understanding Seller Motivations
  • Guest Speaker: Leaving the Search Fund Model and Buying on Her Own, Monica Weaver
  • Banker Outreach
  • Debt Vehicles
  • Bonus Content: Is a personal guarantee required?
  • Supplemental Reading: Financing a Deal
  • Expert Interview: Undertanding SBA Financing with Stephen Speer
  • Supplemental Reading: Insight into the SBA Financing Process
  • Partners, CPAs, & Lawyers
  • Bonus Content: The Difference Your Team Makes on Your Acquisition
  • Fundamentals
  • Guest Speaker: How Ryan Begelman Built and Sold a $50mm Company
  • Resource: SBA Personal Financial Statement

In this module, you’ll learn the frameworks to use to evaluate a business and begin analyzing it’s performance.

Lessons include:

  • Offering Memorandums & Accounting Methods
  • Skill Practice: Evaluating Accrual vs. Cash Accounting
  • Balance Sheets
  • Income Statements
  • Cashflow Statements & Critical Factors
  • Supplemental Reading: Forecasting & Stress Testing
  • Asset-Based Valuation
  • Cash Flow-Based Valuation
  • Bonus Content: Is it a fair multiple?
  • Bonus Content: Shift Your Focus
  • SDE Analysis and Value vs. Asking Price
  • Bonus Content: Measuring Business Earnings
  • Bonus Content: Calculating Add Backs as a Broker
  • Business Strategy
  • Porter’s Five Forces and Lifecycle of an Industry
  • Supplemental Reading: Porters Five Forces
  • Bonus Content: Five Forces of Power
  • Skill Practice: Applying Porter’s Five Forces
  • Additional Frameworks
  • Bonus Content: Evaluating the True Level of Risk of Your Acquisition
  • Market Research and Market Strategy
  • Knowledge Check

In this module, you’ll gain insight into the seller’s perspective and what to expect as you begin to interact with sellers.

Lessons include:

  • The Seller’s Story
  • Bonus Content: The Journey of Deciding to Sell
  • Meeting the Seller
  • Negotiating Strategies
  • Discussion Strategies
  • Visit the Business
  • Knowledge Check
In this module, you learn the process of extending your first Letter of Intent (LOI) and how to move forward.

Lessons include:

  • Stop and Review
  • Expert Interview: Navigating the Legal Side of a Transaction, Joel Ankney, author of Here’s the Deal
  • Letter of Intent
  • Resource: Letter of Intent Sample
  • Supplemental Reading: Critical First Steps after Signing LOI
  • Supplemental Reading: Explanation of Related Documents
  • Bonus Content: When to use an IOI (Indication of Interest)
  • Deal Type & Purchase Considerations
  • Bonus Content: Asset Sale vs. Stock Sale
  • Bonus Content: Importance of Working Capital
  • Deal Structure and Closing Date
  • Bonus Content: Structuring Your First Offer
  • Bonus Content: Navigating Customer Concentration
  • Supplemental Reading: Key Considerations When Structuring Your Offer
  • Contigencies and Agreement on Agreement
  • Resource: Asset Purchase Agreement Sample
  • Pre-Negotiations and Seller Response
  • Bonus Content: Why Deals Fall Apart
  • Managing the Acquisition Phase

In this module, you’ll learn how to manage the transaction post-LOI starting with due diligence.

Lessons include:

  • Due Diligence
  • Supplemental Reading: Common Red Flags
  • Supplemental Reading: Legal Due Diligence
  • Supplemental Reading: Financial Due Diligence
  • Guest Lecture: Financial Due Diligence, Bill Wiersema, Miller Cooper
  • Optional Reading: Financial Due Diligence in Acquisitions by Bill Wiersema
  • Supplemental Reading: Operational Due Diligence
  • Resource: Due Diligence Checklist
  • Expert Interview: Conducting Due Diligence with Elliott Holland
  • Exploiting Opportunities and Closing Deals
  • Knowledge Check
In this module, you’ll get a glimpse into the closing of your deal and how best to manage it in the first 100 days.

Lessons include:

  • Closing Expectations
  • Closing Process
  • First 90 Days
  • Supplemental Reading: Communication Planning
  • Supplemental Reading: Role of Communication in Retaining Key Talent
  • Supplemental Reading: Role of Change Management in Employee Retention
  • Supplemental Reading: Role of Engaging Employees in Retention
  • Resource: Message Mapping
  • Day 1, First 30 days
  • Days 60 – 90
  • Bonus Content: Hiring a Manager to Operate Your Acquisition
  • Growth through Acquisition
  • Guest Speaker: The Ultimate Success Story: How Charles Bracken Grew His First Acquisition to Over $100M in Revenue and Exited
  • Bonus Lecture: Growing Your Business Through Acquisition
  • Bonus Content: Learning More about Growth Through Acquisition
  • Acquisition in the Entrepreneurship Economy
  • Guest Speaker: Building Value in Your Business, Brian Jones
  • Guest Speaker: Ensuring Transferability of Your Business, Richard Mowery
  • Bonus Content: The Business Buyer Playbook
  • Knowledge Check
This module was created to allow for easy navigation to the most commonly used financial analysis metrics.
  • Cash Conversion Cycle
  • Current Ratio
  • Debt-to-Equity Ratio
  • Growth Rate Analysis
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Vertical Analysis
  • Horizontal Analysis
This module was created to provide an easy searchable glossary of key terms for people new to Acquisition Entreprenuership who are trying to navigate new concepts.
  • Financial Statements
  • Cash Flow
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital
  • SDE & Add-Backs
  • EBITDA vs. Adjusted EBITDA
  • Margin of Safety
  • ROI
  • Accrual vs. Cash Accounting
  • Balance Sheet
  • Assets
  • Depreciation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Goodwill
  • Liabilities
  • Amortization
  • Owner’s Equity
  • Income Statement
  • Revenue or The Top-Line
  • Earnings
  • Seller Financing
  • Leveraged Buy Out
  • ROBS 401k Funding
  • Assumption of Debt
  • Indication of Interest (IOI) vs. Term Sheet vs. Letter of Intent (LOI)
  • Asset Purchase Agreement (APA)
  • Stock Purchase Agreement (SPA)
  • Escrow Agreement
  • Reps & Warranties
  • Indemnification Clause
  • Earn-Out
  • Hold Back
  • Stability Payment
  • Consulting Agreements
  • Forgivable Loan
  • BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)
This module is for anyone considering purchasing online businesses:
  • Expert Interview: Acquiring Online Businesses with Shawn Hussain, eCommerce Law Group
This module highlights how best to value your transaction if you’re working with investors
  • Bonus Content: Valuing For Investors

Featured Lecturers & Expert Interviews with Acquisition Entrepreneurs

Here are some of the experts you’ll be learning from throughout the Masterclass:

David Weller, PhD


For over 25 years, David has worked with executives to select, develop, and retain top-tier talent with the highest potential and the lowest turnover rate. He helps build succession planning systems and conduct human capital due diligence.

Stephen Speer

Founder of eCommerce Lending & Focal Point Lending

Stephen has funded over $300mm in online business acquisition loans alone. He leads the #1 source for online business acquisition financing. With nearly 30 years of lending experience, he is an expert at navigating SBA lending.

Joel Ankney

M&A Attorney & Author

After practicing M&A law for nearly 30 years, award-winning lawyer, Joel wrote the book, Here’s the Deal: Everything You Wish a Lawyer Would tell You About Buying a Small Business to share his expertise in a rarely discussed space.
Monica Weaver

Monica Weaver

Acquisition Entrepreneur

After exhausting her search through a traditional search fund, Monica successfully acquired a company as a self-funded searcher allowing her the flexibility to pursue targets that aligned to her personal interests.

Bill Wiersema

CPA & Author

With nearly 40 years of experience, Bill is a well-respected thought leader and trusted advisor in this space.  He partners with clients for due diligence and transaction support as well as strategy.

Jim McKelvey

Serial Entrepreneur & Author

Jim is most widely known as the co-founder of Square but has founded over 7 businesses. In his book, Innovation Stack,  he discusses what it takes to build a resilient, world-changing company.

Charles Bracken

Serial Acquisition Entrepreneur

After taking a unique opportunity, Charles founded Getix Health through acquisition. He then grew the business to an impressive size through 5 acquisitions with a significant exit.

Shawn Hussain

President, eCommerce Law Group

Aside from being a successful acquisition entreprenuer, Shawn specializes in assisting entrepreneurs and investor groups with buying and selling ecommerce businesses.

Get instant access to the complete Masterclass bundle:

Core Masterclass Content:

BONUS COURSES covering over 15 additional hours of practical insight!

Praise for the Buy Then Build Masterclass

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have and help you make the wisest choice for you.

Meet Your Instructors

Walker Deibel

Serial Entrepreneur & Author

Walker Deibel cofounded four startups, including his most recent endeavor, Acquisition Lab, and has acquired seven companies. He is the founder and Managing Partner of the holding company, Centra, as well as an advisor for online entrepreneurs. He holds an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis where he received the Declaration of Achievement in Entrepreneurship from the Skandalaris Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Walker is a Certified M&A Advisor and former SEC licensed stock broker. Walker has also produced almost a dozen films and had premieres at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including Sundance, SXSW, and Toronto International Film Festival. He is the author of Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game, released in fall 2018 by Lioncrest Publishing.

Chelsea Wood

Industrial / Organizational Psychologist

Chelsea Wood is a strategy consultant with an emphasis on maximizing organizational success through human capital. She is also the Managing Director of Acquisition Lab and a Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor. For over 15 years, Chelsea has partnered with leadership teams to identify and address their unique business challenges related to operational performance, strategy, business development and human capital. Her background includes training design & delivery and executive coaching. She has partnered with leadership teams as they grow through acquisition as both an external consultant as well as a member of the transaction team. 

She managed new growth initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions and other strategic partnerships, for a multi-state integrated health-delivery system growing from $3B to $6B through transactions during her tenure. Chelsea has a Green Belt, Six Sigma Certification and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University. Her master’s degree is in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School. 

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