Seasoned Advice for Business Buyers
(The Bouncy Kind)
Whether you’re a first-time entrepreneur or an experienced business owner, purchasing a company is a critical investment financially and emotionally. To help increase the likelihood of it being a success in both areas, there are a number of aspects to keep in mind when evaluating if a business is the right fit.
Jerry Rachwalik has been researching companies for the past three years, waiting for the right opportunity to arise. His search was the result of spending his career working for larger organizations in a number of areas, including delivery, installation, customer service, inventory, accounts receivables, scheduling, and managed up to 35 people at a time.
Unfortunately, Rachwalik said working for a corporation the policies and philosophies can change, making them less family friendly. “With the previous companies I worked for, they switched from caring about employees to making money and the bottom line,” he said. “I stuck it out for several years and then decided I needed something different.
An entrepreneur by nature, over the last seven years Rachwalik built up a rental business, buying foreclosed homes and duplex properties, completely renovating them, and renting them back out. He now has 15 properties and enjoys helping families by providing nice homes that are affordable. “I want people to feel good when they come home at night after a long day at work,” he said. He wanted to find a business that allowed him the flexibility to respond to his tenants when needed, whether it’s addressing a furnace break or a plumbing issue.
"The kids are happy, the parents are happy, and the employees running the parties are happy. It'll be a big change from the environments I used to work in."
- Jerry Rachwalik
When he first started looking for a business, Rachwalik was drawn to home health care because of his experience helping to take care of relatives, and it was a growing field. However, nothing was available at the time. So he expanded his options and began researching businesses in a variety of industries, including a flooring company, a sandwich shop, and even a hair salon. “I was open to anything, and if I could make the numbers work, then I would consider it,” he said.
Then The Firm Business Brokerage presented him with an opportunity that was the right match: Bounce U in Omaha. There were a number of factors that appealed to Rachwalik. First and foremost were the financials, but it would also offer him the flexibility he needed for his rental business, and that an entire team was already in place who was seasoned at managing staff and scheduling parties. “They do a great job. I don’t plan on making any personnel changes,” he said.
But what he’s most looking forward to with this new venture is the positive environment. Bounce U’s primary business is its birthday party packages, and Rachwalik said he can’t wait to watch the excitement on the kids’ face when they walk through the door. “Everyone there is happy,” he said. “The kids are happy, the parents are happy, and the employees running the parties are happy. It’ll be a big change from the environments I used to work in.” He’s already planning to have his twin granddaughters’ birthday party there too.
The transition includes a week of training with the company’s corporate facility in Arizona as well as on-site training. Even though the Omaha location is an existing store, all of Rachwalik’s training will be as though it’s a brand new site. One aspect to the business is its catering. Bounce U has traditionally partnered with local restaurants to provide food for birthday parties, but Rachwalik wants to explore the option to build a kitchen and provide food on site. He also hopes to continue to grow the business at least 5 percent per year. “Anything I do I will communicate with my employees and get their input and suggestions first,” he added.
For anyone who is considering buying a business or is going through the process, Rachwalik stresses to be open minded and not rule anything out. “If an opportunity is presented to you, run the numbers and see if you can make it work,” he said. “I did a complete flip flop of the type of business I thought I wanted versus what I ended up purchasing. But if you keep looking, you’ll eventually find a match.”