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Think Like an Owner

Business & Economics Podcasts

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital. Episodes released weekly. Learn more at

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital. Episodes released weekly. Learn more at


United States


This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital. Episodes released weekly. Learn more at






Victoria Sylvester - Growing a Training Company with a Global Focus - Ep. 63

My guest on this episode is Victoria Sylvester, or Vikki for short. Vikki is the founder of Acacia Training, a U.K. based training company focused on childcare, healthcare, and dental care. I was very excited for this conversation for a number of reasons. First, Vikki sold Acacia to MBH through their Agglomeration model whereby Acacia’s private stock is exchanged for MBH’s public stock. We discuss the model in great length and it’s one of the more unique models for SMB acquisitions I’ve come...


Steve Ressler - How to Invest in Search Funds - Ep. 62

My guest today is Steve Ressler. Steve has been an entrepreneur for much of his career in software and government services and has recently been translating that experience into search fund investing, among other projects. A good portion of our discussion focuses on evaluating and scaling niche software businesses and whether niche means limited growth prospects or a formula for other markets. I’ve gotten to know Steve pretty well and he’s an absolute wealth of knowledge for searchers...


Palmer Higgins - Removing Sales Roles at Mainely Grass - Ep. 61

This is the second episode of an experiment I did on a new episode format that was shorter, 20-30 minutes, and focused entirely on ideas and challenges operating small companies. The first episode in this experiment was last week’s episode with Jason Hill on adding food to the office and some of these interesting benefits there. On this operating focused episode, I talk with Palmer Higgins of Mainely Grass and Chenmark on why he’s getting rid of sales roles and doesn’t operate on a...


Jason Hill - Benefits to Making Food a Stronger Priority at Work - Ep. 60

This episode and next week’s episode are both experiments I did a while back with Think Like an Owner when I was considering launching a new podcast series. The aim for these was to have short, 20-30 minute episodes on specific ideas and challenges operating small companies. I may eventually launch the new series, but I have other projects I’m excited about and want to invest more time into. Let me know what you think of these next two episodes and if you want to see more episodes with a...


Justin Vogt & Ed Redden - Creating a Long-Term Holdco at Evermore Industries - Ep. 59

My guests, Justin Vogt and Ed Redden are the co-founders of Evermore Industries, a holding company looking to acquire industrial service companies with a time horizon measured in decades. Justin and Ed also happen to be the co-founders of the Stanford Search Fund Club during their time at Stanford. They hosted over 20 events and met professionals all across the search space and used that experience to shape what they wanted to create with Evermore. One interesting podcast connection,...


Deepa Talwar - From Silicon Valley to Searching on Main Street - Ep. 58

My guest on this episode is Deepa Talwar. Deepa is currently searching for a company from her home in Fort Collins, CO. Her background includes working with prominent Silicon Valley tech companies like Uber, Thumbtack, and Stripe, and she decided she wanted to become an entrepreneur, but not in the typical Silicon Valley way. During our conversation, we talk about how her tech experience gives her a new perspective when looking at companies, red flags she’s seen looking at deals, how she...


Ross Brendel - Investing in Permanent Capital Vehicles - Ep. 57

Ross Brendel is the cofounder and managing partner of Westerly Group alongside cofounder Rich Littlehale. Westerly Group was founded on the principle of supporting acquisition entrepreneurs with committed, permanent capital to pursue a specific industry thesis over an indefinite time horizon. Groups they’ve invested in thus far have theses in the water industry, mission-critical B2B services, industrial services, and route-based and multi-site consumer businesses. Permanent capital and...


Ayo Phillips - Small Company Firefighting - Ep. 56

Ayo Phillips has the wildest story I’ve ever heard on the podcast. He’s from Nigeria, immigrated to the U.S. when he was young, worked in engineering before getting his MBA at Kellogg, acquired countertop and bathtub refinishing company called Perfect Surface in Houston while his wife had their second child in Chicago, and went on to discover major structural problems in the business including the use of strippers and suspicious financial activity. Oh, and he recently became a U.S. citizen....


Mark Valdez - From a16z to Eads Bridge Holdings - Ep. 55

My guest, Mark Valdez, is starting a new permanent capital holding company called Eads Bridge Holdings to acquire small profitable, durable companies with a long-term focus. What I found so interesting about Mark is he began his career in venture capital and was one of the early employees at Andreesen Horrowitz, an extremely successful and storied venture capital firm. We talk about Mark’s time in venture and parallels to the search fund world, a thesis of Eads Bridge they are exploring, and...


Mark Hunter - Lessons from a Career in Micro Private Equity - Ep. 54

Mark Hunter is a treasure trove of insights and stories from a career in micro private equity. Mark is a co-founder of KLH Capital in St. Petersburg, Florida and has been a part of deals all over the country from all walks of life. In this episode he shares many counter-intuitive methods he’s used in buying companies, how to develop emotional intelligence, be more thoughtful about who you work with, and what felt like dozens of stories buying and running companies. This conversation is...


Kelcey Lehrich - Building an E-Commerce Portfolio - Ep. 53

My guest, Kelcey Lehrich, is the co-founder of 365 Holdings, a firm that acquires and grows e-commerce brands with a focus on shared services and vertical integration. He and his firm view e-commerce with an interesting lens, one of their most interesting ideas being their view on product vs customer focused brands, which we dive into. During the episode, we discuss which services they began sharing across portfolio companies and the timing on when those became shared, a story of a failed...


Ryan Callaghan - Oilstop’s Customer-Focused Culture - Ep. 52

My guest Ryan Callaghan and his partner Nick Parisi set out to finding an enduring business where the owner was in need of a transition and continue what they started. Through a friend of a friend they found a company named Oilstop and made it their first acquisition. Oilstop is a car service business on the west coast with 30 locations across 4 states and a strong customer focused culture. During this episode, Ryan and I dive into what makes Oilstop’s culture so unique and what he and Nick...


Rob LaBonne - 6th Gen Family Grocery Store and Self-Storage - Ep. 51

Rob LaBonne has been an entrepreneur his whole life. His early business pursuits include a small summer landscaping business, web development, and a tent rental business he owned for a brief period. He now works in his family’s 6th generation grocery business, LaBonne’s Markets, and recently purchased a self-storage business. Through our conversation we talk about the long history of his family’s business, stories and lessons his family has passed down to him, operating in the grocery...


Jason Hill - Growing a Custom Countertop Business - Ep. 50

My guest on this episode is Jason Hill. Jason acquired Precision Stoneworks, a custom countertop fabrication and installation business, from his father-in-law and now runs it as the CEO. Since acquiring, he’s been relentlessly focused on customer service, improving efficiencies in the company, and making sure employees have the tools they need to do their jobs. I loved learning from Jason’s experience constantly searching for a better tool and better way of operating. And if heavy machinery...


Nick Haschka - Buying Small - Ep. 49

I’ve had my guest, Nick Haschka, on once before for episode 5 and I wanted to have him on again to talk through a thesis of his more in depth. The core element of his thesis is acquiring a small company, between $200k and $500k in cash flow, quickly can often be more beneficial for someone looking to buy a business than going the traditional search route. This is the path he’s taken and so draws a lot from personal experience as well as deals he’s seen over time. We talk about advantages...


Mike Botkin - First 30 Days in a Small Landscaping Business - Ep. 48

My guest Mike Botkin has recently acquired a landscaping company in Orlando, FL called B&B Landscaping and has finished his first 30 days in the business. One unique aspect of his deal is he raised his equity entirely through Twitter, which we talk about at the end of the episode. Mike and I discuss why he decided to acquire a landscaping business, what he’s learning from the seller and employees as he’s getting adjusted to being the new owner, building trust with employees and customers,...


John Wilson - Growing the Family Plumbing Business - Ep. 47

My guest on this episode is John Wilson. John purchased his 3rd generation family business, Wilson Plumbing, which was started by his grandfather and has grown it from 4-5 plumbers to 20 and still growing strong. I’ve had guests with just one company and those with a half dozen companies or more. John’s in the middle and we spend some time talking about his evolution into a holding company role and desire to build a portfolio of companies. We also talk about building his plumbing...


Bill D’Alessandro - Acquiring and Scaling E-Commerce Brands - Ep. 46

My guest on this episode is Bill D’Alessandro, CEO of Elements Brands. Elements buys digitally native consumer brands and uses their expertise and playbook to scale them upward. Bill also co-hosts a podcast called Acquisitions Anonymous with Michael Girdley and Mills Snell, which I highly recommend checking out. Bill and I talk about his experience starting a skin care brand while working in investment banking, why he decided to acquire more brands, the use of debt to acquire them, and...


Matthew Hinson - Acquiring Orthopedic Surgery Practices - Ep. 45

My guest on this episode is Matt Hinson. Matt is a director of corporate development at Orthopedic Care Partners, a private equity group focused on acquiring orthopedic surgery practices. Matt and I talk about how he acquires these practices, some operational improvements they apply in new acquisitions, how their strategy unlocks value for physicians, and how to hold onto physicians after buying their practice. One last note, Matt recently published two articles on Substack, one about...


David Krock - Operating for Serendipity - Ep. 44

This is the second time I’ve had David Krock on the podcast, the first was episode 6 where we broadly discussed his investment firm, Sunset Coast Brands which has now become PermaVentures. This second episode with him goes off the beaten path a bit. We talk about his firm’s rebranding, his hospitality and wedding investments during 2020, a concept he calls serendipity-as-a-service and how he designs his companies to benefit from serendipitous moments, and a few things he’s learned from doing...