CEO – SITESCAPES HOLDINGS LLC
Ask Steve Lawton how he heard about Chenmark, and he can’t help but laugh. “Ironically,” he says, “we were both trying to buy the same company. When that didn’t work out, our broker suggested that Chenmark buy my company.” While he wasn’t really looking to sell at that point, after talking to the Chenmark team, Steve realized how it could be of benefit for his company and his family.
After working in the banking sector, Steve Lawton found himself considering other options that would provide a more consistent revenue stream and economic stability. “I didn’t want to invest time in something that could be taken away.”
He analyzed what industries would be the most consistent, with little variation in revenue regardless of economic conditions. Steve formed a business plan and launched Sitescapes, a landscaping company. In Steve’s own words, the business took off “…beyond my wildest dreams.”
Steve attributes part of the early success to his investment in growth and expansion, which is how he was introduced to the Chenmark team. “We were both pursuing the same company,” he says, “When that didn’t come through, the broker suggested I consider selling my business.” It wasn’t an easy decision, one accompanied by a lot of questions.
“I wanted to know what kind of transaction this was. Were we a buy and hold or were we a flip? I wanted to preserve the legacy that I’d worked so hard to build. Could we retain the staff? And it was important for me to still be able to earn an income after the sale.”
Through discussions with the Chenmark team, Steve was relieved to discover that they didn’t want to disrupt his business. They weren’t looking to change the way things were done; they just wanted to improve them. “The team has incredible business savvy,” says Steve. “They were able to show me how to run the company through the right metrics to achieve growth.”
Chenmark’s long term orientation and attention to detail helped seal the deal. As Steve noted, “I was impressed with how diligent they were about covering all the bases, including my role in the company. There’s a real focus on professionalism.”
Steve couldn’t be happier with the role he is in now. Or more grateful. “I’m still an active participant in the company that I started. I have this opportunity to lead it, to achieve even bigger and better things than if I hadn’t sold.”
“Honestly, I wish I could have connected with them sooner. It would have really made a difference in the company’s growth trajectory.”
When asked for his advice to business owners who might be thinking of selling, Steve says it’s simple. “If you’ve reached your company’s maximum operating capacity, and you’ve got your books in order, I would definitely recommend Chenmark.”