It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.

The title above is a quote from Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values. A book I read for the first time two summers ago, and to which I return from time-to-time to see what I missed. Each time I learn something new.

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On a snowy Sunday in a coffee shop, I went out to see the last time I blogged, and I noticed it had been over a year. I contemplated chipping away at 4 or 5 posts and back dating them (a strategy I’ve used before : o ) but instead I decided to post anew, face the gap, and recognize sometimes you just need to keep pushing forward for Quality – a major topic in the modern philosophical novel by Pirsig.

During the year gap, there have been a number of personal and professional ups and downs, and a myriad of change – some initiated and some thrust upon us. At our firm, we sold a position in on of our companies, increased our position in another, and purchased the assets of a business out of a chapter 7 bankruptcy process.

The pursuit of investing as an independent sponsor is a flexible and unique existence – and it is also much more entrepreneurial than most styles of private equity. Particularly in our end of the economy where we tend to focus on businesses with $1 – $3 million of EBITDA. They are a unique project, and tend to require deeper involvement from investors if one is inclined to be active. We have been forced to be active sometimes out of necessity, and sometimes I’m sure when we didn’t need to be quite as active.

So this year, I will intend to choose topics to write about that focus here – on some of the unique aspects of investing in true “lower-middle market” – or small businesses – particularly when one is not using mostly their own capital. A component of our model we have for the foreseeable future. I will also write a bit about Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition – or “ETA” – a way operators can choose to pursue buying a business to run and grow. This is an emerging segment of small company PE that I am particularly interested we need more operations minded people trying to buy and grow companies in my opinion.

Check back through 2019 if you want, and feel free to reach out if you have anything you’d like to discuss in these areas. We enjoy connecting with like minded investors and operators – we always seem to learn from one another.