Are You Experienced?

Headline in the Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2019: Help Wanted: Hitting Coach.

Question from (many) business sellers: Does the buyer have experience in my industry?

Question from business buyers: Do I need direct industry experience?

Let me answer the two questions by giving you the gist of the abovementioned article. Hitting a baseball is hard, good hitting coaches are even harder to find, 19 current major league hitting coaches played less than 100 games in the majors, 13 didn’t even play in the majors, and four never even played in the minor leagues.

In other words, being a good hitter is exactly what you don’t need to have been to be a good hitting coach. Baseball executives have realized there’s a lot more to it. It’s about understanding data analytics, teaching, mechanics, etc.

Business buyers rarely need direct experience. They need management and leadership skills. They need to be able to manage people, processes, money, and systems, with people being the most important (in most cases).

The most successful buyers are those who see the big picture not just how to “make the widget.” They’ve developed their skills in the corporate world or through previous business ownership. They’re willing to teach and train employees, delegate, see trends, and seek growth opportunities.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor Frankl

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