What are different opinions in the bowl on buying a more established existing business and enhancing operations versus starting your own?

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Like an lbo of a local dry cleaner, for example? While the economy is cooking, it could be very lucrative, but you'd have to be very good at it. The biggest mistake consultants make is that they think that, because they are smarter than the native employees/owners/stakeholders they know the business better. The key would be finding businesses where stakeholder interests are misaligned, such as a mom & pop who want to retire with a successor who isn't interested in stepping up, or a business whose suppliers are the owner's fishing buddies.

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The other thing is it's probably a bit of a vc (vulture capital) marketplace. Not that it isn't respectable to conduct these transactions, but it is probably way less clinical and way more grisly than the huge, sterile offices big firm consultants are used to.

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I had dinner with neighbor's one time and the guy was telling me about the restaurant and nightclub he and his brother bought and the theft they had to deal with while they owned it and the embezzlers they ended up selling the business to eventually.

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If you're looking for a side gig and you have capital to commit, a rental property makes a lot of sense. Mrmoneymustache has some good articles on making it efficient.

If you're looking for another place to practice manufacturing process improvement, your best bet is to make friends with the local factory manager.

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Great insights - thanks! Agree that tribal knowledge and experience would trump simply being smart or analytical. I would love to venture into something on the side, but it would have to be the right business. I have no interest in any restaurants/nightclubs - I know I don’t have the knowledge of that to run it. But a storage facility or certain franchise for sell by retirees is enticing. I cut my pre-consulting teeth in manufacturing process improvement and production management for a few years, so I’m naturally more comfortable making operations more efficient than originating new ideas for a startup.

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