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Building a Service Business… Without Giving up Equity | Built to Sell News

At some point, every owner has a decision to make: remain a lifestyle business knowing the prospects of a big exit are limited or go for broke by reinvesting most of your profits into hiring a team to do the work without you. This is particularly true of service company owners, where there are no tangible assets.


This week’s Built to Sell Radio guest, Ned MacPherson, knows this trade-off well. Ned started Endrock Growth & Analytics back in 2016 to help clients optimize their website. He was going to keep it as a one-man band. His original plan was to have a lucrative consulting practice, nothing more.


Then demand for Ned’s time quickly outpaced supply. He decided to build a team. Within seven years, Ned had 70 employees, more than $2 million a year in EBITDA, and multiple acquisition offers.


Most service business owners that grow that fast end up giving away most of their equity to convince experienced professionals to join them as partners, but Ned used employees he found in the developing world to get first-class talent for less, enabling him to keep 100% of the equity as he guided Endrock to an eight-figure exit.


Ned’s story stands as a masterclass in building a sellable service business without giving up equity to partners.


Quote of the Week


“There is tremendous talent in Latin America if you know how and where to look for it.”


– Ned MacPherson discussed how he managed to employ workers educated in the United States at a reduced cost.


Clip of the Week


In this clip, Ned breaks down how he was able to hire specialized talent for pennies on the dollar.




Safflower Holdings Corp., the owner of Benihana Inc., is set to be acquired by the ONE Group Hospitality, Inc., also known as the ONE Group. Included in this acquisition are the Benihana and RA Sushi brands. Valued at $365 million, the deal places Benihana’s value at just over five times its EBITDA, considering its 2023 revenues of $575 million and EBITDA of $70 million.

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