Think big, buy small.
Are you looking for an alternative to a career path at a big firm? Does founding your own start-up seem too risky? There is a radical third path open to you: You can buy a small business and run it as CEO. Purchasing a small company offers significant financial rewards--as well as personal and professional fulfillment. Leading a firm means you can be your own boss, put your executive skills to work, fashion a company environment that meets your own needs, and profit directly from your success.
But finding the right business to buy and closing the deal isn't always easy. In the HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business, Harvard Business School professors Richard Ruback and Royce Yudkoff help you:
- Determine if this path is right for you
- Raise capital for your acquisition
- Find and evaluate the right prospects
- Avoid the pitfalls that could derail your search
- Understand why a "dull" business might be the best investment
- Negotiate a potential deal with the seller
- Avoid deals that fall through at the last minute
Richard S. Ruback is the Willard Prescott Smith Professor of Corporate Finance at Harvard Business School. He has taught a variety of corporate finance courses throughout his career. Over the last few years, he and Royce Yudkoff have been developing and teaching a new second-year case course, "The Financial Management of Smaller Firms," and a field course, "Entrepreneurship through Acquisition," both of which are focused on the entrepreneurial acquisition of smaller firms. Ruback earned his PhD in business administration at the University of Rochester in 1980 and taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management before joining the HBS faculty as a visiting professor in 1987. He was appointed associate professor in 1988 and full professor in 1989. Ruback has served as an editor for the Journal of Financial Economics and is the author of numerous articles on corporate finance and valuation. Ruback has served as a consultant to corporations on corporate finance issues and has acted as an independent advisor to outside directors. He also served as an expert witness on valuation and security issues.Royce Yudkoff is a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. Yudkoff cofounded and served for over 20 years as Managing Partner of ABRY Partners, a leading private equity investment firm. During his tenure the firm completed hundreds of acquisitions across various industries. Yudkoff also served on numerous corporate boards. Yudkoff earned his MBA at Harvard Business School, graduating as a Baker Scholar, and his AB at Dartmouth College, graduating as a Rufus Choate Scholar.