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The Slings and Arrows of Buying Your Own Business

Executive Roundtable Dinner with Elizabeth Shutters Inc. CEO Dean Frost

Have you ever thought, "Wouldn't it be perfect if I just bought my own company? It would be up and running already, and I'd just acquire it and then run it myself--and of course do it much better than the current owner(s)!"

It's not that simple.

Think about what you'd need to know or be able to do to actually buy--and buy smartly--the right business. First you'd need to have the experience and skill set to source and cull through perhaps hundreds of potential companies to find the right one(s) to make an offer on. Second, you'd need to figure out how to structure the deal, negotiate effectively with (often squirrelly) sellers, arrange for any financing you need at your end, and--wherever possible--minimize your own risks. Finally, you actually need to have some ability to run a company or at least bring in the right management to do it for you.

Note especially that these can often be three very different skill sets, and now imagine how long and how painful it might be to get yourself up to speed and proficient on all of these skill sets.

On Sunday, April 3rd, the Wharton Club of Northern California has an opportunity for you to discuss the entire process with someone who has lived this experience!

Dean Frost, CEO of Elizabeth Shutters (and former CEO and founder of six other companies) has been through exactly this process. Dean set out four years ago to purchase a company. In the process, he examined over 900--yes, nine hundred!--opportunities, made 10 offers, won 6, and closed on just one, Elizabeth Shutters, a company with over 100 employees and $10 million in revenues. Dean had to deal with flaky sellers, unending due diligence, and a need for financial prudence in structuring an offer. It took levels of fortitude, savviness, focus, and a belief in himself that pushed his own limits.

Join us for dinner at the Fish Market in San Mateo on Sunday evening, April 3rd, in a small-group format as Dean discusses his experience with us and takes your questions. If you've ever thought about buying your own business, this is a rare opportunity to learn from someone who has already been down that road!

Dean Frost
Dean Frost has served as founder and CEO of six profitable companies in disparate fields from insurance claims management and process consulting to investment banking, plastics recycling, and software export. Notable startups included ASAP, the largest service station promotions company in the U.S. and Frost Capital Partners/Frost Capital Europe, the dominant investment bank worldwide at the time in entertainment & education software. In addition, Dean ran two successful software startups for venture capital firms. Dean has undergraduate degrees from U.C. Berkeley and an MBA from The Harvard Business School.

Dean is currently the CEO and owner of Elizabeth Shutters, a ten year old company that manufactures, sells and installs custom wood shutters. It is the largest direct-to-consumer shutter manufacturer in California with over 100 employees and about $10 million in revenues.

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