Nope! We have lab members acquiring in every vertical across every market imaginable. We don’t specialize in a single industry, location, or type of business. Most of our members are looking at traditional businesses; however, many are open to remote workforces or online businesses.
Because we spend a lot of time vetting new members, we really focus on not rushing the decision making process, and have only had a single refund after starting our intensive.
We don’t want this to change so we encourage you to really think through your capacity, your commitment, and your timeline for execution before joining the Lab.
If someone truly feels like they’re not a fit for the Lab shortly after starting the Intensive, we would provide a refund because that’s the right thing to do.
However, we would hope that refunds continue to be a thing that doesn’t happen at the Lab.
Walker’s first online course, 6 Months to CEO, was a minimal viable product launched with his book release. It provided similar content as the book as well as several resources to help you begin applying the concepts discussed in the course to your own search.
We designed the Masterclass as an upgrade to the existing online course. It was developed as a DIY solution that provides foundational knowledge as well as a deeper dive into the topics Walker introduces in the book. It is designed more like an MBA course than the original 6 Months to CEO with resource guides, skill practices, supplemental readings, guest lectures, as well as the traditional lecture videos from my first course. We also wanted to add some practice experience-based content so we included the Commonly Asked Questions course from our Lab cohorts Q&A sessions with Walker & our lending partner as well as 30+ expert interviews.
The Acquisition Lab is an accelerator that is designed to hold your hand as you buy a business. The content we have created for the Lab is proprietary to the Lab and can’t be accessed elsewhere. It’s the framework for execution which can’t be found in our Masterclass.
We have a 4 week intensive led by technical advisors as well as Walker that we put our members through to ensure you have the foundational skills necessary to succeed in your search as well as a strong buyer brand to go to market with. We then support you with a team of advisors who are available through a variety of methods. Walker also hosts a call every other week for any member who has a deal they are seriously considering putting an LOI on and/or are under LOI for to address any questions that are preventing them from moving forward.
It’s a community of highly vetted, driven, and qualified buyers.
The content of the program definitely applies across markets; however, our knowledge base of transactions is specific to the US market. As a result, we like to be very transparent with our international applicants that there will be certain aspects of the Lab that they won’t find value in. For example, we do not have access to lenders, broker networks, or transaction service providers in other countries. Our tools are designed for the US legal system as well as US financial markets so they would have to be adapted for your own market.
That being said, many of our international members join because they’re looking for the structure, tools, and community that the Lab provides as well as the sounding boards in our advisors.
Yes – from our advisory team and from other members.
Our program is built around the value of group learning. While our managing director is always available as a thought partner to discuss listings or deals, best practice is to lean on your Lab members as well as our advisory team for feedback on deals. The value of the Lab is that everyone learns from everyone’s deals so we try to limit the one-on-one sessions as much as possible and/or highly encourage our members to take aspects of the discussion to the Slack channels to gain insight from other members and our advisors.
Because we have a pool of over 400 highly qualified buyers, we are getting brokers and business owners reaching out to us to try to sell their businesses. As a result, we do bring in about 2 deals per month to our members to help aid in off-market deal flow.
We are an advisory service only, and do not participate in the ownership of your business.
We invest no money nor do we ask for equity ownership status in your deals, which would undermine the primary goal of most of our members, which is to retain 100% ownership of the company they acquire.
The services of the Lab officially end at closing. However, you’re more than welcome to continue dialing into our Live Deal Review/Search Forum call and asking any questions that may come up. The closers within the Lab also have a private Slack channel as well as regular member-led meetings. Given our Managing Director’s background in strategy consulting, she’s also always a resource for our members post-close.
We get members who are in all stages of their search.
We have some experienced acquisition entrepreneurs who join after acquiring other companies because they want the structured framework and community. We have others who know they want to acquire a business but nothing else is figured out yet other than they have the money to do so.
We also have people who join the Lab even after they are under LOI. Those members are given access to the advisory services a little early because our primary goal is supporting your deal.
As a result, we will move you around the Lab as much as necessary to get you the required support but you’ll fall back into the natural cadence of your cohort, too.
The primary reason people don’t close is probably due to not seeing “qualified” deals or not having the confidence to actually execute on a deal.
That being said, our goal at the Lab is not that everyone buys a business. We feel like if that were the case then it’s highly likely that some mistakes would have been made because not everyone should buy a business.
Our goal is that our members are prepared, educated, and comfortable with whatever decision they make. So some of our members have chosen not to acquire and instead have invested their money in other member’s deals. Others have pursued start-ups again while some have taken promotions in their professional careers.
Between October 2020 and July 2022, we had around 50 closings.
We aren’t here to sell you on the concept of buying a business. There are some people in the market who are glamourizing buying a business as a get rich quick scheme.
The fact of the matter is that it is hard. It’s the most engaging and demanding thing you can do. It’s not rainbows and unicorns, it’s hard. It’s messy. No matter how thorough your due diligence is, you’re going to find things that were missed.
Ultimately, we’ve only heard from one member who regretted his choice. He acquired a turnaround situation and regretted going into that situation the way he did.
Our other closers’ journeys are not perfect. They experienced challenges but all of them that we’ve talked to are happy with their choice – warts and all.
This is one of the most challenging aspects of your journey. It’s the primary reason why we require the 4 week intensive. We feel like understanding who you are as a buyer is the biggest risk mitigation strategy that there is – you are the biggest risk in any transaction you do.
By the end of our 4 week intensive, you’ll have greater clarity around both of these components. After working one-on-one with our branding advisor, you’ll have a completed buyer profile that gives you confidence in your ability to execute.
We do have a partnership with a financing company. More details can be discussed if it’s determined that the Lab can support your journey.
According to our slack analytics, we typically have 50 members posting per day. We always seem to run just north of 100 active members on a daily basis.
Because of our focus on understanding your unique value proposition as a buyer, we find that our members RARELY if ever compete on a deal.
We’ve had only single situation that we know of but the members weren’t aware they were competing and it was truly only a fit for one of them. Because both members may be looking for the same type of business but have completely different value propositions – it makes it unlikely that it would be a great fit for both.
For example, if one member is looking for a manufacturing company to do process improvement work and the other is looking for a manufacturing company to implement a sales strategy and hire sales staff then a business would not be attractive to both people. One would be attracted because he saw sales potential and the other would be attracted because it already had sales in place but needed some refinement around operations.
There’s little focus on this aspect of business acquisition but to us at Acquisition Lab, it makes all the difference.
Walker hosts a live kick-off call with every cohort as well as the live ask-me-anything session to close out every cohort. He also hosts a biweekly live deal review call, Search Forum.
His instruction is also simulcasted at the beginning of every session during the intensive prior to the live workshop kick-off with the technical advisor.
Our program is modeled after an MBA course. It has videos, recommended reading, self-evaluation work, worksheets, small group work, and resource guides. Each portion of the Lab intensive kicks off with video instruction but then moves into a live workshop. We do have a lot of videos of interviews from guest speakers and interviews in our archives.
The initial intensive requires between 3 and 5 hours of your time per week. The live workshops are weekly on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 Central. We also have two sessions the first 2 Mondays from 4 to 6 Central. Then there is a pre-recorded course, The 3 Forces of Search, that drops on Thursday mornings. Between the live workshops, 3 forces modules, and the outside work – it takes 3 to 5 hours per week; however, only 2 hours live on a call.
We keep a ‘Great Wall of China’ between Walker’s listings and the Lab. We do highly encourage members to leverage their listings for educational purposes because Quiet Light has the best listing quality but we don’t market Walker’s listings to our members.
In the event that a Lab member is interested in a Quiet Light listing, they go through the standard process.
The first step is to apply if you think it could be a fit. Chelsea, our Managing Director, really enjoys hosting strategy calls with potential acquisition entrepreneurs as a way to talk through their acquisition strategy to ensure they will be able to achieve their overall objectives through acquisition entrepreneurship. In this call, she’ll screen for whether or not you’d find value in our program, whether you’d add value to our membership base through the various calls we host, and whether or not she feels like you’re going to be aligned to the values of the Lab – open, honest, and respectful.
If she feels like you’re abrasive and could potentially hurt the collaborative culture of the Lab then that will prohibit you from getting an invitation. We also don’t work with anyone interested in “flipping businesses” as we feel like those situations aren’t designed to allow you to be successful and can potentially damage communities. We don’t work with anyone trying to buy a business with no money down because those aren’t strategies that we historically have seen succeed unless the deal specifically warrants that structure. We don’t work with anyone looking to “get rich quick”.
We partner with acquisition entrepreneurs that are ready to take control of their time and future by becoming business owners in their community. They understand the gravity of this commitment and are excited to do it and potentially keep doing it for years to come.
Our Lab isn’t here to glorify buying a business. We’re here to discuss and support you through the good, the bad, and the ugly of business buying so we want engaged community members that are willing to have honest conversations and aren’t looking for an echo chamber.
We consider ourselves to be one of the most high-end memberships available on today’s market. However, every provider in this space fits a different niche, and offers different degrees of hand-holding.
In this regard, our level of support offered to members is second to none. Our advisors are what really separate us from the competition.
Another source of pride that we carry about our program is that it is not an echo chamber nor is it the Walker Deibel show. We named it the Lab because there’s not a single “right” way to execute on this strategy. We have a team of highly skilled, successful people who all openly share their experience and advice and our members get to decide what works best for them. The beauty is that rarely is there no one that has had a similar experience.
The goal of the Lab is that you’re never spinning out there alone with a question. The Lab provides a myriad of places to get your questions answered.
Our program is designed to support people who are more collaborative in nature. They’re not necessarily lone wolves. They may know what they’re doing and believe they can do it on their own but they don’t want to. They want to be surrounded by like-minded people who are also doing this because buying a business is isolating. Most of us can’t talk to our neighbors or friends or family casually about buying a business. This gives you a sounding board of people who have done it, are doing it, and can help you do it.
It’s a high-touch, high-caliber service for those that are serious about acquiring.