I know what it takes to pull the process off because I personally searched for and successfully acquired a firm in 2017 after a hyper aggressive process. Best of all, I pulled off my search and had a perfect deal under LOI in about 3 months.

The trick to this success was that before I started searching I spent about a year researching what others were doing and looking for patterns of what worked. Communication, I thought, was the key. Months were spent building and A/B testing little tools to scale outreach as well as testing email copy and measuring response rates. If I raised any money, I didn't want to waste it learning how to search or burn cash learning what communication would work.

I also figured out how much communication I could actually send in a day without getting into trouble with sending providers or getting personally burned out. I needed to build a process to scale my outreach effortlessly when I eventually brought a team together. Over time I built a list of tested communication templates that would allow me to hit the ground running. And, id built a mechanism for tracking the performance of those emails and other communications once they were sent.

Once I felt like I had a workable and scalable process ironed out, I kicked off my search for a business while simultaneously exploring traditional search fund and equity raise routes. I launched my efforts with a team of about 5 full time interns and a full time employee focused on finding a business running my process. My entire process was templated out in some powerfully macroed spreadsheets that were largely point and click efforts. Tracking data was a bit of a nightmare but it worked.

Ian Reynolds - OnCourse CRM
Managing Director - Thesis Capital

Partner, Owner - Zibtek, LLC

Owner, OnCourse

Oh, and did I mention that I was working full time in a pressure cooker of a consulting firm? My process had to be bulletproof. While I was working, and exploring a raise and talking to business owners my team members were responsible for:

Building a contact list for businesses in specific total addressable markets
  • Following my planned mechanism for staggering communication to all these resources
  • Using templates for communication to these parties that were relatively automated
  • Qualifying businesses before they got onto my schedule
Building a list of business brokers in the US
  • Staggering communication to all these resources
  • Leveraging templates for communication to these parties that were relatively automated
  • Qualifying businesses before they got onto my schedule
Reaching out to businesses
  • In my case, my team did virtually all of the outreach when you look at the numbers
I wanted to spend all of my time on the phone and moving to the next conversation. On my lunch breaks I'd make 2-3 calls minimum and a handful of calls late into the evening.

It felt like I blinked before I had a company on the hook. When the Zibtek acquisition was completed I knew that future acquisitions were on the table and lingered with the concept of building a tool to make the whole process easier for about a year.


When I acquired the business, we were using SalesForce - but it was clunky, expensive, and only getting more expensive with each passing year. We were also paying for web to lead automation, separate email and SMS marketing tools as well as some generic marketing automation components. And, we were paying for separate phone systems and dialers for each of our reps. None of these systems played well together and data had to be imported between systems manually in many cases.

The total cost for this jumbled mess was about the cost of a vp of sales when spread across the number of licenses we were using in each system. When we decided to stand up a new office in another city we needed a mechanism to get all the newly hired engineers on the same page with our processes, communication, culture and quality standards before we could put them on client projects. Cutting cost out of the business and getting something we wanted and needed was a no brainer. As soon as the lease on the new office was signed, OnCourse, a new breed of sales and marketing CRM was born.

Oncouse has everything a searcher or small PE firm needs and reduces cost when considering every other tool needed to get up and running.

  • Drip email sequences
  • Email Templates
  • SMS drip tools
  • Web to lead
  • Built in phone dialer
  • Fully functional CRM
  • Reporting of opens, clicks, replies for emails and sms
  • Powerful task automation

And much more on the way.

CRM is not a new concept - but there are no better CRMs on the marketplace when it comes to searching for and acquiring companies. Searching in the lower middle market is getting more competitive, searchers and firms will need to step up their game if they want to be successful. When it comes to searching for a business to buy OnCourse, in my humble opinion, is definitely the best tool available. I hope you will consider it for your process.

There is always plenty of value to be found in the market - Hunt on!


A spreadsheet that contains 63 of the best places where you can distribute your sales message with the world.