Moving from software development to mosquito control may not be the traditional route to business acquisitions, but it is the route Bradford Kindergan took, and very happy he is about it!
What’s your story?
I was a software developer and tester in my “career”. I was working for an Army contractor and the contract ended, so I found myself jobless. I decided to open my own business and bought a mosquito control franchise. I did that for 6 years (what a pain) before selling it. Then I saw an ad on Facebook for buying and selling companies and took the plunge. Now I’m in acquisitions. It’s been a wild ride!
What excites you most about your industry?
Now that I’m in acquisitions and mergers, I look at business completely differently. Small businesses are being bought up left and right by larger companies and private equity groups. Baby boomers are retiring at an alarming rate and sometimes just shutting the doors on viable, profitable companies.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I like people. I like business, but it doesn’t move me like people do. I want to help people get the most value out of their business. I want to help them be happier with their business, or be happy they got out of it. If I can help a business owner and he thanks me, I’ve done my job, and a good thing for society.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
I like processes. Anything that you can systematize will make running your company much easier. How great would it be if you could just hand a new employee some sheets that outline exactly how to handle everything in black and white? Applying systems and processes isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
My mom told me once “sometimes you have to do what you want and be willing to accept the consequences.” I believe that’s true in everything in life. If you’re not willing to accept the consequences of falling in love with someone, then quit dating. If you don’t want the consequences or responsibility of running a company, stay an employee. If you’re willing to accept the consequences, go for it!
Who inspires you?
Elon Musk inspires me. I don’t care about his personal life. I care that he has no limits. I don’t idolize him and won’t cry when he’s gone, but the fact that he does things others only dream of really inspires me. Why can’t I run a billion dollar company? He’s got nothing more than I do other than connections and money – and I can get those.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
I learned a little over a year ago that bigger businesses sell for a higher multiple than smaller ones. If you have a $5 million profit company, it might sell for 3x profits, or $15 million. If you have a $50 million profit company, it might sell for 10x profits, or $500 million. Public companies routinely trade at 20x-30x profits. I was blown away. So now all you have to do is acquire till you get to the next threshold and you’ve multiplied your multiple (if you’ll pardon the pun).
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I like my life now and don’t live in the past, but if I were to do my entrepreneurial journey again, I’d have bought a competing pest control business when I had my mosquito business. I would have doubled my client base over night and instantly become profitable early on.
How do you unwind?
I like to tinker with my MINI and go on MINI drives with other owners. I’m a MINI fanatic! Sometimes I’ll just go to the dealer to say hello and have a coffee.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
As I mentioned earlier, my big “ah ha” moment came when I learned larger businesses sell at a higher multiple than smaller ones. It changed the way I look at building a business.
Everyone in business should read this book:
There are so many great books, but I loved The E-myth (Michael E Gerber). That book talks about making your business run like clockwork. If you were building it to franchise and you systematized everything, what would it look like? Amazing.
Shameless plug for your business:
I’m into acquisitions. I’m building a group of companies to take advantage of the spread between the small 3x multiples and the 5-7x multiples the larger companies get. So I’m putting together several small businesses to make a larger one. Then I hope to take that public. And since I care about people, it would be really cool to be able to take the owners of these companies on the multiplier journey with me.
How can people connect with you?
I’m on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradfordkindergan/
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