The First Step Starts With Us

We can help you decide what’s next for you. And your company.

Leave A Legacy

SELLING YOUR BUSINESS

Selling your business isn’t easy. We know how hard you’ve worked, how much of your life you’ve invested in it. Now you’re thinking about options and what’s next. There’s excitement, stress and maybe even some guilt. We get it. We can help. It starts with a relationship built on trust, integrity and experience.

Make An Impact

JOIN OUR TEAM

Running a business is challenging. If you’ve always wanted to lead a company, why not earn the opportunity to lead one of ours? We’re always looking for dedicated, passionate people who believe they have what it takes.

What Our People Say

There was so much trust and confidence in dealing with Chenmark. Selling to them was the right decision for me.

Booth Hemingway / / Founder, Piscataqua Landscaping

Rarely in business do you get an opportunity to have such an impact with each and every project.

Dave Schwetz / / Director of Technology and Innovation, Chenmark

For any owner who’s looking to sell but wants to keep their dream alive while ensuring the well-being of their staff, talk to Chenmark.

Bruce Glaicar / / CEO, OK Frozen Dough

Chenmark is a family business and we were a family business, so for us it was a great fit.

Steve Lawton / / CEO, Sitescapes

Weekly Thoughts

Partners

Second-year MBA students graduate in late Spring, and as some of that group embark upon a search for a small business acquisition, we tend to observe a consistent seasonal uptick in advice requests around that time.  We often get asked for our opinion on working with a partner, and lately, we have noticed a trend towards “solo” searchers in place of search fund partnerships

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Careers as Asset Classes

We recently read a LinkedIn post from Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, who opined “careers are asset classes – don’t go where it’s over-invested…. if a sector becomes overinvested with human capital, the returns on those efforts are suppressed.”

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What We Learned About Capital Allocation at the Canucks Game

We recently decided to pay down a large chunk of debt at one of our portfolio companies ahead of its scheduled amortization.  The company in question had a fantastic 2017 and generated significant excess free cash, which put us in the welcome position of having to determine the most prudent allocation of that capital.  Our options in this regard were relatively straightforward

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Words Matter 2.0

This week, we, like everybody else in the US, have been reading about the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Don’t worry, we aren’t going to jump into the foray of Supreme Court nominations.  We will, however, outline a great RBG story from WNYC’s More Perfect podcast series.  From a talk RGB gave about her 1970’s strategy to provide women legal protections against discrimination:  

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Gross Profit

At Chenmark, we live and die by our Free Cash Flow numbers.  Free Cash Flow is a no BS way of knowing how we’re doing; it tells us how much cash we have in the bank after operating our business and meeting all of our financial obligations. On a day to day basis however, we actually speak much more frequently about gross profitability and work with all our companies to make sure we understand it at a customer and service line level.

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Seriously?

We recently listened to a Radiolab segment on Translation, part of which investigated how words can have different meanings depending on your perspective–which can lead to misunderstandings.  The word in question for this segment was “serious”.  As Greg Warner, NPR’s East Africa Correspondent highlighted, the word “serious” in East Africa has a different meaning than it does in North America

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It’s the Pricing, Stupid!

A common area of anxiety in a small business is pricing. The central tension is a concern that a price increase will automatically result in reduced demand (and angry customers).  A reluctance to increase prices can lead some companies to chronically underprice their goods and services. 

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Mind Blown

The Chenmark team is not a big drinking group.  We’re generally the type that opt for water during a work dinner and club soda with lime at a cocktail party (boring, we know).  That said, when back in beautiful British Columbia, we always make an exception for a delicious Okanagan Cider (apple or peach, preferably).  These ciders are simply delicious and unlike anything we’ve been able to find in America. 

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Tax or Return?

At Chenmark, we try to maintain a bias for action. This means we attempt to drive toward decisions with an eye toward championing those initiatives that will earn a return (make things better), while trying to identify and eliminate those things which will result in a tax either now or in the future. Importantly, we don’t necessarily mean ‘return’ or ‘tax’ in the traditional finance sense of the word, as benefits or costs can manifest themselves in many forms across many time frames.

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First Follower

When we started Chenmark, many thought we were a “lone nut” by quitting lucrative Wall Street jobs to “become landscapers in Maine”. As we have built out our company over the last five years, however, we have been lucky enough to attract a couple of first followers.  These are the core team members who believe enough in what we are doing that they are willing to do something a bit different and join us in our pursuit of becoming the acquirer of choice for North American small businesses.

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