Business Lessons

Learn from Peers and the Past

As a business owner or manager, it can be easy to get caught up in the challenges of running a business. However, it’s important to remember that many of the challenges you face are not unique to you or your industry. It is daunting in this moment in time to have this problem to solve. Looking back to others in history, or even peers, can offer valuable insight and guidance on how to navigate these challenges.

One way to tap into the wisdom of others is by building a strong peer group. By surrounding yourself with other business owners and entrepreneurs, you can share insights, learn from each other’s experiences, and gain valuable feedback on your own ideas and strategies. There are organizations like YPO, Sam Parr’s recently launched Hampton, and Rand Larsen is building peer groups for SMB owners. 

But you don’t have to limit your peer group to your immediate circle. You can also learn from the “eminent dead” – those who have gone before us but have left behind valuable wisdom and insights that we can still tap into. High interest rates, building a factory, hiring and firing, it all has been dealt with before. One example of this is the popular Founders podcast host David Senra, who regularly draws on the wisdom of historical figures to inspire and educate his listeners. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to the “eminent dead.” There are many successful business people today who are worth studying and learning from.

The technology is going to continue to advance, but good business principles can be applied. Learn from these principles and you can even hyper-apply them with the technology.

When it comes to business, there are many people who have come before us and who are currently leading the way. By looking to these individuals for guidance, we can learn from their successes and failures and avoid reinventing the wheel.

Thanks to Everest Brady for his help, writing, and research in assembling this week’s newsletter.


Singleton Prize for CEO Excellence_ Charlie Munger in Conversation with Todd Combs_020623.pdf – Google Drive
Read Old Books · Collab Fund
Occasionally, you come across something that really makes you think.
An Analog Life – by Eric Weatherholtz – Asphalt Jungle
Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares


‎Making Media: Harvard’s Media Giant with HBR’s Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius on Apple Podcasts
We’re delighted to be joined by Adi Ignatius, the Editor in Chief of the Harvard Business Review. HBR is over 100 years old and has created some of the best business content ever produced but few people talk about it as a media force. Last year it made $302 million in revenue, had 11 million monthly…
‎The Fort – An Entrepreneur’s Podcast: Michael Girdley – Chairman of Girdley Enterprises – Becoming a Creator, Building a HoldCo, Going from Idea to Business Launch on Apple Podcasts
Michael is CEO of Girdley Enterprises, LLC, a diversified holding company of 11 businesses.  In this episode Chris & Michael discuss: ➡️ Becoming a creator and the business of creating ➡️ How he has built a hold-co and keeps everyone accountable ➡️ How he takes a business from idea to a running…

This Week on Think Like an Owner

‎Think Like an Owner: Chenmark Series 2: Ethos and Incentives – Ep.164 on Apple Podcasts
Please take 2 minutes to complete this audience poll and give feedback on the podcast This episode is the second in a three-part series we are running on Chenmark, a highly successful small business holding company founded in 2015. Today they have acquired 11 operating companies, completed 30+ acqui…

This episode is the second in a three-part series we are running on Chenmark, a highly successful small business holding company founded in 2015. Today they have acquired 11 operating companies, completed 30+ acquisitions when including add-ons, and have over 600 employees today.

This second episode focuses on their operating ethos, culture, and incentive structures. We discuss meeting cadence and formats across the company, the use of debt, CEO incentive models, broad incentives beyond CEOs, and lessons learned from building and maintaining good cultures. We hope you enjoy this second part of the series with James Higgins and Palmer Higgins.

When it comes to accounting, quality of earnings reports and financial due diligence, it is vital to have a partner that understands your business and what you are trying to accomplish. Jerry Zhou and his team at Hood & Strong in San Francisco have a specialty for search funds and lower middle market private equity with multiple podcast guests today trusting them with their partnership.

For advice and observations, this episodes Q&A features Jerry Zhou answering the question, “Is a quality of earnings a valuation of a business?” To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners, Jerry Zhou, at [email protected].

This Week in SMB Twitter

Think Like an Owner is sponsored by:

Ravix Group – Ravix Group is a fraction CFO, outsourced accounting, and HR consulting firm serving small and large businesses alike. Whether you or someone you know is getting started, searching to buy a business, or building out an organization, Ravix will help on the journey. To learn more about Ravix Group, head to their website and tell them Think Like An Owner sent you.

Hood & Strong, LLP – Hood & Strong is a CPA firm with a long history of working with search funds and private equity firms on diligence, assurance, tax services, and more. To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners Jerry Zhou at [email protected]

Oberle Risk Strategies– Oberle is the leading specialty insurance brokerage catering to search funds and the broader ETA community, providing complimentary due diligence assessments of the target company’s commercial insurance and Employee benefits programs. If you are under LOI, please reach out to learn more about how Oberle can help with insurance due diligence at Or reach out to the CEO, August Felker, directly at [email protected].

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