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AmiSight 6/21: Acquiring a Second Business is No Easy Task: Especially During a Pandemic

Today on AmiSights, the podcast, we have the CEO & Owner of Colorado Mountain School, Russell Hunter! After starting his career as an accountant, Russell chose to step off the tracks and become an outdoor educator and mountain guide. After two decades of leading others in the mountains, Russell saw an opportunity to acquire a mountain guide service and an avalanche education school. As an owner/CEO, Russell brings together his experiences as an accountant, leader, adventure seeker, and risk manager to lead his two companies (he bought another business during the pandemic). Russell strives to advance a growing industry into a more professional industry that provides opportunities for guides and instructors to make an honest livelihood doing what they love to do, teaching others to play in the mountains, and igniting passionate living!


I wanted to talk to Russell today to find out how he chose which business to buy, how he got financing, and any tips he has for someone just starting the process. The second business acquisition did well to diversify Russell’s portfolio of businesses. Like his current company, this was a school that provided outdoor survival and adventure training. This meant that Russell already had the knowledge needed to run the company. In addition, the differences between the two companies served as an excellent method for diversification. One ran year-round and was geared more towards beginners, while the other was seasonal and for professionals.

Russell decided to have both businesses remain separate on the front end since there was a lot of brand recognition, and comingle the back-end processing to be more efficient. Instead of going in and changing things right away, Russell decided to sit back and watch how the first season played out to see what was already working in the newly acquired business and what could be improved upon. The previous owners also stayed on for a bit to help with this. The one thing he would’ve done differently? Not assume that his big bank would get him the best terms/rates. Branch out and explore all your options.

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