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December 23, 2020

Being a one-person corporate development team is not easy. And if you are new to that position, chances are, the people around you don't even know who you are and what your role is. But with the right approach, you can build that corporate development team and grow the company you are in. Sharing their experiences as a one-person team are:

  • Scott Kaeser, Owner/ Head of Corporate Development at First Choice Dental Lab
  • Barak Routhenstein, Vice President, Corporate Development at BioIVT
  • Brian Buchert,  Vice President, Corporate Strategy and M&A at Church & Dwight 
  • Brian Hamilton, Managing Director, Business Development at Blue Sky 
"The great thing about being just one is it focuses you on only the best opportunities out there, and you stay away from the mediocre and you stay away from talking yourself into things" - Brian Buchert

Starting Alone

When starting your journey as the one-man corp dev team, the first thing you need to do is completely understand your organization's business. Understanding the strategy they have in place, understanding what the customers need, and how management operates will give you a clear picture of what M&A is going to look like. If you don't understand the business, you will never figure out the types of acquisitions that the company will need to transform and grow. 

Developing trust with the people around you is also crucial. To fully understand your organization's strategy, you need the people around you to explain everything you need to know.

Creating your list 

One of your key roles is building your pipeline of deals. Start creating a database of potential targets. Not too small that it is easy to exhaust, but also not too big that it's ridiculous. Just keep collecting information regarding these companies to understand who the priority targets are and how you can create synergies off of them. 

Developing Relationships

At some point, you have to start building relationships with the people in your organization. You cannot execute a deal alone, and you will need people's help. Getting their buy-in is crucial for your success. 

Transparency is an excellent way to build relationships. Explain your role and why you are doing a deal. It helps when people know what they are working towards and what they are trying to achieve. 

Assessing Fitness

When it comes to assessing the target company's fitness, culture is always on the top of the list. How they do things, and how they behave will ultimately affect how you will achieve your synergies. 

Economics is also another crucial factor in selecting your target company. It has to be a scalable and profitable business. Some other factors will be dictated by your deal rationale, such as geography, human capital, etc. 

Criteria for success

You shouldn't be caught up too much in evaluating success. Deal success is tough to measure because deals are long-term investments. Just because you closed doesn't indicate success. Realizing your thesis will take years.

However, you can put definable metrics that will help you track your acquisition's overall progress, such as MOIC and IRR.

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