Ok, so we couldn’t really spotlight one partner of a NextGen Succession Partners without the other could we?! Let’s chat with Steve Reis!
What is your company name?
NextGen Succession Partners
How did you get into THIS line of business?
After leading Paratroopers in the military and learning a lot working for accomplished entrepreneurs in the oil and gas industry, I felt like I was ready to make my own entrepreneurial leap. That idea formed while I was in grad school and it converged with meeting the person who would turn out to be my business partner – Danny Fields – and studying mergers and acquisitions. As we got to know each other better, Danny and I realized we had similar goals and entrepreneurship through acquisition was a good path for both of us – that’s really when it all came together. The decision was made, we started taking vacation days from work to fund raise, and when all the funding was secured we quit our jobs and officially started the hunt for a business to acquire.
How would you describe the early years at NextGen Succession Partners?
I’ve been at this for just over a year now so I’m in the throes of the “early years.” In terms of skill-set, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error about efficiently finding deals that are good matches for us and moving through the steps of getting the deals closed. There has also been personal learning in that my business partner and I are 100% autonomous. At no other time in my work life have I had the total freedom to choose what to do or not do, and the result has been understanding more about motivating myself and keeping myself healthy.
What challenges did you face then? What would you do differently?
Deciding what flaws or weaknesses are acceptable in an acquisition has been the toughest part. I debate those things with my partner and through that we help each other better understand the risks we’re facing. I plan to accept more risk as we move forward because waiting for a perfect company to buy would be a fool’s errand.
How has business grown? How have you evolved with the marketplace?
NextGen Succession Partners is a fund with the mission of buying a business, so we’re a money losing enterprise until that happens. If we’ve grown, it’s been in our own ability and expectations. I believe we’ve become more competent at the technical aspects of small business M&A, which involves finding target businesses, developing rapport with sellers, evaluating the business, and developing consensus among investors on the decision to buy or not buy. Regarding expectations of what business to buy, over time ours have been set to a more realistic level.
What advice would you give to someone else starting out in this industry today?
Talk to a few people who have done it to glean technical know-how. Beyond that, if you ask people who have done it for advise, realize you’ll largely be receiving their subjective opinions.
What’s been your biggest regret?
Spending too much time in the office. I’ve got out to network and meet business owners a bit in person but I think more is better in this line of work.
What’s been your biggest success?
Going into business with Danny Fields!
Did you raise any funds and if so, how?
Yes. I made a Private Placement Memo, clearly defined what the goal of the fund was, how we intended to achieve that, and what investors could expect. Then after reaching out to investors to set up meetings, we flew around the country to meet them in person and give them our pitch. Over 4 months we talked to about 25 parties and received funding from 13.
If you had to sum up your experience as an entrepreneur / business owner in one sentence, what would it say?
Don’t miss the thrill of the ride by fixating too much on the end goal.
Learn more about Danny or get in touch, https://nextgensuccession.com/