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Note from Editors
There also Entrepreneurs who do not wish to found startups. Rather, they look for small to midsized companies, usually family-owned, that they can buy, managed and grow.


by Alina Tugend
When friends heard that James Higgins, 31, his wife, Trish, 29, and his brother Palmer, 27, left their traditional jobs in finance and sold their charming Greenwich, Conn., townhouse, they assumed it was for an exciting opportunity elsewhere.

They did not imagine that would turn out to be a snow removal and landscaping company in southern Maine.

But the Higginses are part of a growing trend: people with an entrepreneurial bent who are not inclined to start their own businesses. Rather, these people look to buy small to midsize companies — often family-owned firms that are being sold by the founder — and help them prosper.

…money is easier to borrow than it has been in the last several years.

Interest in this area is growing, experts say, for a number of reasons. First, baby boomers who started their own businesses — and who do not have children or successors — are ready to sell and retire. Additionally, money is easier to borrow than it has been in the last several years.

And “it offers a third way,” said Royce Yudkoff, a professor at Harvard School, who with his colleague Richard Ruback teaches a course on the financial management of smaller firms.

While it is not as risky as a start-up, it is not as safe as going the corporate path.


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The option appeals to people who “want to be their own boss, help build an organization and be part of a community,” Professor Yudkoff said. And unlike working in a corporation, he says, it draws those who want to deal on a daily basis with people who are quite different from themselves.


“…use my education to contribute and be a business leader in a community.”


Those are the reasons the Higginses chose this path.

“I feel like I’ve spent a huge amount of my career analyzing and very little actually doing something,” Ms. Higgins said. “I want to go out and get my hands dirty and use my education to contribute and be a business leader in a community.”

Ms. Higgins left her job a few months ago as a strategy associate for AQR Management. James Higgins has converted Chenmark Capital Management, a hedge fund he founded five years ago — and which his brother joined a year ago — into a firm that invests in small businesses.

The three started their search in the most elementary of ways: with Google.

“We searched, ‘how to buy a small business,’ and found out there’s a whole world out there,” James Higgins said.

That world works much as the residential real estate market does. Sites like and advertise companies for sale, usually with a broker’s name included in the listing.



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Curated from A Path for Entrepreneurs, When a Start-Up Is Not the Goal –
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