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Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  857 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Entrepreneurs have a problem: startups. Almost all startups either fail or never truly reach a sustainable size. Despite the popularity of entrepreneurship, we haven't engineered a better way to start. ...Until now.What if you could skip the startup phase and generate profitable revenue on day one?In Buy Then Build, acquisition entrepreneur Walker Deibel shows you how to b ...more
Kindle Edition, 312 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Lioncrest Publishing
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Michael  Korobov
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book grossly oversells the opportunity of entrepreneurship through acquisition and irresponsibly excludes numbers that go against the book's pitch. As a book that's supposed to give you an in-depth understanding of this investment type, the author is actively misleading the reader. A few quick notes to make my point:

* SDE should not be included in its entirety in your return because a part of it (or all of it) is the salary for the 8-12 hour days you are putting in to run the business. It's
Taylor Pearson
One of the most interesting investment opportunities I’ve seen in the last few years is acquiring and growing a small business.

There are two macro trends driving this opportunity. One is a huge wave of baby boomers that are retiring and looking to sell their small businesses. The other is the proliferation of niche businesses on the internet which expands the number of small businesses that can operate profitably.

As Deibel points out in Buy then Build, these opportunities are largely overlooked
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Buying and improving small companies is indeed a fantastic opportunity.

It seems to me that this book could had been shorter. Typos distract readers and make us think that you haven’t thought much about what you are communicating. There are also mathematical misconceptions, you can’t just calculate investment returns without considering when you recieve the money (it’s very different to recieve say $60 after 5 years than $12 a year during 5 years, the latter case being way more profitable). A wa
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yes, it is a good book. Good all-round information from why buying to actually concluding a deal. I must admit I was more after information for buying companies with LBO type financial engineering. After reading more about acquisition entrepreneurship lately and not just in this book, I have come to realise that you can read a lot, but you can't learn the soft skills or on the ground skills that are required unless you actually do a deal (handheld or not). Where the author has had a tremendous a ...more
Jamie is
Jul 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly helpful. Lots of specific advice, little fluff. The frameworks and formulas were especially helpful. One of the 2 best books I’ve read regarding acquisition entrepreneurship. Check out the authors website for more helpful blog posts and spreadsheets. Considering paying for his advisory service (it’s between them and Acquira, but the latter focuses more on home service businesses and I’m looking more at health, analytics, and others)
Diego Cerezo
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book in a sentence: shows how to do entrepreneurship through acquisitions, in which instead of you starting a startup, you buy existing and profitable companies.

Lesson learned: the kind of entrepreneurship I've most identified with and want to pursue wholeheartedly.
Abhi Yerra
Nov 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Most products that we use on a daily basis were companies that were bought by others. McDonalds, Google Docs, Tesla, I’d argue the second time that Steve Jobs came back to Apple. None of these were the founders. They were the people who took a product market fit business and turned them into large scale businesses.

This book I’d argue is one of the best end to end books on how to be private equity/acquisition buyer of one. It goes through vetting different companies to but and how to actually ex
Héctor Pastor
Apr 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A hands-on, very pragmatic book about acquiring a small business.

Not too little but not too much information, just the right amount.
Ed Barton
Aug 04, 2022 rated it really liked it
A Great Optiom

Better than start up, the buy then build approach is a great option for the entrepreneur minded who want to reduce risk and get a head start with building a business. You’ll get a good overview of the process and the key steps and pitfalls. A must read to get started before you decide to start from scratch.
Jeff Evans
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A "Must Read" for Entrepreneurs

Walker Deibel has written the most valuable book about the challenges and rewards of owning your own highly successful business. When read in conjunction with the available Audio Narration Walter's message is clear and easily is far better to Buy Then Build a business than to startup a new one.
Richard Mowrey
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book for all "would be" new business owners. The strategy outlined is spot on and is the type of advice I personally have given dozens of people over the years. The author, Walker Deibel, delivers on his promise to help "outsmart the startup game"! ...more
Diana Ding
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Very little info (one short paragraph...) about the search fund model - instead assumes the buyer funds the acquisition using an SBA loan which requires a guarantee against your personal assets.
Fay Wu
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well defended arguments to buy businesses

Walker does a very good job in the first half of the book laying out the arguments that being an entrepreneur and especially when buying a company rather than starting from scratch is the more profitable and bears a higher likelihood of success.

The second half of the book drills down to details what one needs to be mindful of throughout the acquisition process, from negotiation to looking at the balance sheet and checking cash flow. The accounting line
Joseph Pepe
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an all-encompassing "how-to" tutorial on acquiring a business. The author did a good job of articulating his over-arching premise/hypothesis: the statistics show it is generally more lucrative to buy an existing business than to start your own. Many traditional entrepreneurs fail, and with the baby-boomer population nearing retirement (many without a true succession plan), there is great opportunity to acquire durable/successful business at fair prices, be your own CEO, add value throug ...more
Jonathan Birnbaum
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Walker makes a compelling case to go off and buy a small business, especially compared to starting one from scratch. 7000+ baby boomers are retiring daily, and many of them have small businesses that need a new owner, and have growth potential. Buy at a low multiple, use debt, and grow.

After making the case, he then walks through how to go ahead and do it. He hits the major steps, from getting debt, thinking about due diligence, closing and transitioning, while avoiding gory detail.

I am growing
Paul Dworianyn
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As someone that has started several businesses, the concepts in this book opened my eyes to how getting into new businesses can be so much easier by skipping all the startup steps and reducing overall risk. I can add capabilities to my existing businesses or leverage my skill set and complement it using other peoples in the business that I would acquire. After reading this, I can never go back to the idea of starting a business from scratch unless absolutely necessary. This book goes hand-in-han ...more
William Nelson
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: don’t read it if you aren’t ready to buy a business, it’ll get you looking. I had to stop reading it halfway through because I was starting to seriously think about buying another business and then build it. I can envision myself doing this one day, either to grow my current company through acquisition of another company, or to start fresh and run a different company once I retired from my day-job. Very good read. Will be picking it up again and reading it when I’m ready to make the ...more
Pai Buabthong
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great overview on the business acquisition process. Deibel goes into details on how the process work, mostly focusing on due diligence and deals. This is everything you need to know if you're considering acquiring a business. Some of these techniques are only applicable to US-based business (like SBA loans). However, the basic idea should translate to other markets as well.

The only thing that could be more written on is the "Built" part of the "Buy then Built". Only a small section towards the
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book - incredibly comprehensive guide on acquisition entrepreneurship from why it can be much more lucrative than doing a startup to a full soup to nuts guide on how to find, acquire and run an acquisition. The author’s overview on business strategy and key principles like Porter’s Five Forces and disruption is one of the clearest, most useful business summaries I have ever read. This book is worth reading for that section alone.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: entrepreneur
Great book on understanding how to acquire a business. if you are looking to buy a business and have zero experience or don't know where to start, this book will break it down for you and give you the confidence needed to go through the process.
The only reason I am not giving it a 5 star is because I have not yet implemented what I read, I just happened to have the opportunity to be a partner in a business so I am implementing what i read in the following book: "Traction" by Gino Wickman.
Austin Carroll Keeley
A readable and concise introduction to self-funded ETA by an entrepreneur with significant success in the field. While highly readable, the book is intended as a cursory introduction and does not delve into the minutiae of the process. Recommended to those who want to learn more about ETA and use this book as an entry point, but if you've read Rick & Royce or Jan Simon, you no longer need to read this book. ...more
Hans De Leenheer
Sep 19, 2022 rated it liked it
It’s a really specific book for a very specific type of person and a very specific type of acquisitions.

This book explains how you go about buying any CASHFLOW POSITIVE business for little (own) money (using the bank for the rest). It doesn’t really go enough in detail about how to run/pivot after the acquisition, just focusses a lot/predominantly on the search for what you want to buy. It’s about the buying, not the building.
Marc Prosch
Aug 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This is a very numbers oriented book. As an audiobook it's a little dry, but the content is strong and after listening to about 70% of the book, I've decided that this is a book that I need to continue in print. Most audio books that I listen to I finish and move on. This is one of the few "reading" books rather than resources that I will have to buy and revisit. ...more
Dominic Heng
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book giving lots of perspective into acqusition entrepreneurship but surprising the most I took away is the easy concepts of accounting that was taught in one of the chapters.

All entrepreneur should read it and adopt a growth mindset.
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good summary

Most of the MBA programs focus on entrepreneurs. This book gave insights into buying a business that aligned with my MBA but also built upon and reinforced. If looking at purchasing a business, I definitely would recommend this book.
Mikołaj Hudemowicz
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really good “food for thought” and definitely encourages to think and try acquisition entrepreneurship. However, it is very simplistic and lacks critical view about it. The author praises the lifestyle of AE but doesn’t really consider the difficulties and doesn’t dive deep into technical aspects.
Asheesh Saksena
Apr 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Basic. It useful

You are likely to get involved in M&A, one way or the other, if you work. If so, this basic book is a useful introductory compilation on the process. No more than that.
Dec 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Good book, lots of information regarding the process. I personally felt like the majority of information was in the first 3 chapters, but he needed to write a full book so a lot of the information was repeated throughout the latter half of the book.
Ana Caballeros
Aug 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Good book to start learning about acquisition entrepreneurship

I like this book because of it's fact based positivism. I think it provides a good initial overview of this type of entrepreneurship and gets ready to deepen the knowledge.
Michael Uehlein
Nov 06, 2022 rated it really liked it
Outside of the premise of the book which is “acquisition entrepreneurship” Walker teaches the basics of lower middle market transaction including m/a process, valuation, and need to know tips in an easy digestible format. I enjoyed ready this book.
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