Small Business M&A for Athletes with Jeff Driskel

Small business ownership can be a pathway to a rewarding future. Acquiring a business is a catalyst for professional change for skilled professionals looking for new opportunities or facing significant life transitions. Our guest on episode 25 of Private Market Insights believes that professional athletes should also consider entrepreneurship through acquisitions as a strategy for securing their wealth after their playing years are over. Jeff Driskel, an active NFL quarterback, spoke with us about small business M&A for athletes and his efforts to build a holding company. 

For the first time in our podcast, we explore the unique intersection of professional sports and small business ownership, revealing the challenges athletes face as they embark on search activities while juggling the demands of their sports careers and personal responsibilities. 

This article provides a snapshot of the key insights from our discussion, so we recommend watching the full conversation for the full:

  1. Securing the Future During Peak Athletic Years

Athletes face the unique challenge of maximizing their short-lived, high-earning years while planning for a future beyond sports. Jeff emphasizes the unpredictability of career length and the importance of actively exploring sustainable paths to wealth, such as small business acquisitions.

“You get out of college and next thing you know you’re making more money than you ever thought you would make in your life… But the interesting part is you don’t know how long it’s going to be.”

Jeff Driskel

  1. The Case for ETA Instead of Traditional Investments

Exploring income options, Jeff discovered the drawbacks of real estate and venture capital for athletes – operational demands and high risks. He chose Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) for its higher returns and lower risk, considering it the right strategic choice for generating reliable passive income and achieving financial success after sports.

  1. Surrounding Yourself with Smart People

Jeff stresses how important it is to really understand a business’s operations, past financial success, and growth potential, all while keeping in mind your own interests and risk profile. He suggests not waiting too long to make investment decisions and encourages taking action to make smart, strategic choices. Athletes without finance or private equity experience can really benefit from the support of an expert. Jeff worked directly with tenured industry professionals to ensure he was making the right choice in his initial acquisition.

  1. Embracing Employee Feedback for Business Growth

Jeff talks about the importance of unbiasedly gathering employee feedback after acquiring a business, which he did through internal audits conducted by a third party. This approach empowered employees to openly share their views and concerns. Jeff points out how such feedback is crucial for implementing changes that benefit both the employees and the business’s bottom line.

  1. Translating Athletic Competitiveness into Business Success

Jeff considers there is a parallel between the competitive nature of professional sports and the world of small business ownership. The relentless competition and pursuit of excellence in sports equip athletes with resilience and a strategic approach to overcoming obstacles, making them well-suited for thriving in the business environment.

  1. The Importance of Self-Education in SMB Acquisitions

Jeff considers self-education as the first step for those considering Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA). “Buy Then Build” was his starting point resource and, as a general approach, Jeff suggests leveraging social platforms for further recommendations, learning and community engagement. Jeff’s strategy revolves around proactive learning and networking as essential tools for achieving success in ETA.

In Conclusion

Jeff Driskel’s journey from professional athlete to small business owner shows that with determination and the right mindset, transitioning into entrepreneurship through acquisition can be a rewarding path for anyone, regardless of their starting point. Jeff’s experience is another example showing that embracing the search community’s collective wisdom and contributing to the local communities has an amazing appeal for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

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