After establishing yourself as a Key Person of Influence you have a unique opportunity to get on the next rung of the entrepreneur ladder, fast.

I believe that the fastest and most powerful way to grow a business is through Mergers, Acquisitions or Joint Ventures. I also believe that it’s intelligent to be considering an exit for your business – even if it’s simply an activity to focus your mind on building something of value. I would go further to say if you are dealing with anything else then you are behaving as a business operator not a business owner or an entrepreneur.

I can say that from experience. For over a decade I churned out long days selling, marketing, and looking after customers. Then I did my first deal to buy a competitor and almost doubled my company in a single deal. I did a few more deals and after I hit a certain size, I got the exit deal that freed me from the rat-race. I then started to see the world differently – I realised how much of my success was down to deals rather than operations.

As a Key Person of Influence you no doubt your product, you love your customers and probably like what you do, but there’s another layer of success just waiting for you to tap into it. If you have gone through the KPI programme and positioned yourself in your industry, you can really capitalise on that notoriety in your sector through deals. People who have a strong personal brand are able to do deals that most people can’t. You should at least be looking to add an acquisition strategy on top of your sales and marketing activities.

The primary way I know that you can get real scale quickly is to acquire the other businesses. Organic growth is just too slow – fast growth is considered to be just 20% per year! – whereas an acquisition could give you 50-100% growth from a single deal.

Acquisition can be used for much more than just growth in revenue and profit.

1. You can acquire talent, as an entrepreneur you are probably great at starting things, but not so good at running things, so you need good management. Good management is often busy running another business, so you buy the business and you get the talent.

2. You can safely add new products or services, adding a product if often like doing a start up within your business, it consumes all the time and resources that a start up would leaching of you existing business, with an acquisition your cost centre becomes a profit centre and the product is already proven.

3. You can create the necessary scale to pull off a lucrative exit. After an exit you can concentrate full time on being an industry commentator or look to go and get involved in other businesses as an investor without all the baggage that comes from day-to-day operations.

4. You can acquire best practice, it is tempting to think you do everything right, but two outwardly similar businesses in terms of turnover and profit can have wildly different ways of arriving at those numbers, that knowledge shared between the two enterprises is invaluable.

When I bought my first company we used no cash upfront, no debt, and we grew by a years worth of sales that afternoon. The seller had spent 13 years building it to that point and I had acquired it relatively easily. It was a huge epiphany for me, I realised you don’t need to run the whole marathon in business, you can take over for the last 10 yards and still get a medal.

As an entrepreneur it’s natural that you’ve been immersed in your product, sales and marketing and operations but it’s important you don’t miss the bigger picture. Doing these deals can seem pretty daunting at first, in fact it might be hard to comprehend how you could acquire your competitors without debt and without needing capital, yet it happens every day.

Since 2009 I have help hundreds of entrepreneurs learn exactly how to do deals, acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures. It if you would like a free report on how to buy small to medium sized companies you can access it here

I hope it helps you on your climb up the entrepreneurial ladder.