Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game

A book by Walker Deibel “Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game”



The big – and very contrarian – idea behind Walker Deibel’s “Buy then build” is that entrepreneurs are much better off BUYING a business instead of STARTING one.

Entrepreneurs are enamored with the idea of starting a business – it’s the new American dream.  BUT, did you know that MAYBE 10% of startups survive… and only 4% of companies in the US ever exceed 1 million of dollars in revenue?

Instead, why not BUY an existing business, with paying customers, a tested infrastructure, and a team in place who can execute predictably?


This is called Acquisition Entrepreneurship, and right now there’s a confluence of factors making it a compelling proposition for any entrepreneur.

One- Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day, so there’s a supply of great companies, and not enough buyers, so it’s a “buyer’s market”.

Two- there’s a great way to add value to these companies because online marketing didn’t exist when baby boomers were building their businesses and many have antiquated processes or poor customer experience.

And three- Capital has never been more available, with the government lending up to 90% for you to go and buy a business, at very favorable rates.

The best part about Acquisition Entrepreneurship?  You don’t have to spend years testing your idea, product-market fit, and customer acquisition channels.

You can buy an existing infrastructure, and innovate it based on the trends you’re seeing in the marketplace.  Which can be just as rewarding of an entrepreneurial journey as starting your own company.

The only difference is that you’re buying existing cashflows with cheap money, and then you can use those cashflows to buy other businesses in order to accelerate growth.


So if you’re thinking about starting a business, or building a new capability WITHIN your business, or investing in infrastructure… do it through Acquisition Entrepreneurship!

Think about this: if you’re a Services business and want to take your valuation from 1-2 times revenue to 10-20 times revenue, you should be thinking about technology, automation, and productizing your service or creating a platform.  But don’t CREATE it… chances are there’s a small business out there already doing what you want to accomplish – perhaps with a few tweaks.  Go out there and buy it!

Don’t risk your hard-earned money, or your friends and family’s money, or waste a year to find investors to back your dream.  Find a great, existing company with plenty of cashflow; buy it with cheap, government-backed debt; and jumpstart its growth with your entrepreneurial drive.

Buy Then Build (book storyboard image 1) Buy Then Build (book storyboard image 2) Buy Then Build (book storyboard image 3)

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Walker Deibel (author)

Walker Deibel

Book Author

Walker Deibel is an entrepreneur and investor who has cofounded three startups and acquired seven companies. He holds an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, where he received the Declaration of Accomplishment in Entrepreneurship award from the Skandalaris Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Walker is a certified advisor and former SEC licensed stock broker. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife and their three resourceful children.

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