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April 8, 2024

Becoming A Business Owner: Humble Learnings From A Successful CEO

Christi Loucks, CEO of Revenue Accelerator, discusses the transition to ownership and shares valuable lessons on acquiring businesses. Read her story.

Becoming A Business Owner: Humble Learnings From A Successful CEO

Christi Loucks, CEO of Revenue Accelerator, transitioned from a thriving career in cybersecurity firms to acquiring a company that helps businesses grow. In her path from corporate America to business owner, she overcame buyers' common fears and learned valuable lessons. 

In an open conversation with Boopos, Loucks addressed her misconceptions about acquisitions, why discipline is key, and how she finds purpose in her business.

Overcoming business buyer's fears

When she started this journey, Loucks "was nervous about many aspects of the acquisition,” from getting funding to not knowing enough about the business she would acquire. However, it all went away once she was there.

"You don't know what you don't know until you're in it, and you're actually running the company. And then, once you're doing that, it's not as scary as you thought it was going to be. But I did have to learn a lot of things really quickly to be able to step into that role," said the executive.

6 lessons from a successful CEO

Throughout her interview with Boopos, Loucks shared wisdom that can save new buyers a lot of time and negative surprises. Here they are: 

1. Be humble

"The core of our business is running outbound sales like email campaigns for our clients, and I had a lot of assumptions coming in about what good outbound sales teams looked like. I wasn't humble enough in understanding that I might be wrong on some of those assumptions. In hindsight, I would have taken a step back and learned a bit more first, as opposed to bringing in just my own experience and applying it to the business."

2. Learn as much as you can first

"As the owner and the operator in those first months, you have to learn so much. I found myself caught in two minds: absorbing the information and assessing it for how we could improve at the same time. So instead of simply taking it in, learning it, and sitting with it, I was trying to optimize things as I learned. I do have to optimize, that's my job, but I found myself caught between trying to absorb the information versus trying to improve. That was hard."

3. Ask yourself what role you want

"Ask yourself the question: do I want to own a business? And do I want a job in that business?

"Some people think that they can buy a business and it yields immediate passive income, but it's not necessarily a get-rich-quick thing. You might have to (and probably will have to) work really hard to grow and sustain the company so that you can generate solid income. I think understanding that is really important before you acquire a business."

4. Find your why

"Make sure you feel passionate enough to be in the business as much as you have to be. You have to have a why, a reason for doing it day in and day out, or you're going to be unhappy and miserable." For example, for her, seeing businesses flourishing and creating a healthy culture within organizations was key. "I care about my personal values also being reflected in the business,” says Loucks.

5. Surround yourself with a trustworthy team

"Your whole deal team should be trusted partners and advisors," recommends the CEO. "You need to have a lender, you need to have a lawyer, you need to have a diligence team that you feel confident in."

According to Loucks, "even the broker (if there is one) can also impact the health and trajectory of the deal."

6. Accept when it is time to walk away

Loucks recognizes that there's always "a level of trepidation" in acquisitions. 

"That's normal, but when you start seeing those red flags in diligence, whether it's financially, operationally, or even the character that you see demonstrated - you've got to be able to walk away. It's okay to get emotionally involved in a deal, but you have to have the discipline to walk away. Because what's worse than buying no business is buying a bad business." 

Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced entrepreneur, Loucks’ insights are valuable to avoid painful and potentially costly mistakes. Her story is a great reminder that you don’t have to have everything figured out when diving into the business acquisition world, and that surrounding yourself with the right partners is key to success.

Getting support in the path to business ownership

As Christi points out, surrounding yourself with a great team is essential for a successful transaction. If you want to buy a business, Boopos partners with you in every step of the journey, from finding potential businesses to purchase to conducting thorough due diligence, getting financing, and closing the deal.

Learn how Boopos can help you acquire your next business!

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