The Benefits of Attending BTF NOW East from a Serial Entrepreneur
October 5, 2020 | Business Transitions Forum
Paul LeBlanc is the Chair and MC of the upcoming BTF Now East conference and was also the Chair of the BTF Atlantic conference that was unfortunately cancelled last March due to COVID restrictions.
A serial entrepreneur, Paul loves doing deals and has started up and invested in multiple successful companies over a 25-year span. A natural story teller (perhaps because of his Nova Scotian roots), he has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share about the M&A world. Paul is a member of YPO. He is the recipient of the “Top 40 Under 40 Award” in Canada and has been awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young. He’s in the Top 50 CEO’s “Hall of Fame” and has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most influential Marketers. He’s also a mentor for the Wallace McCain Institute.
Paul sees great benefit for all types of business owners and entrepreneurs to attend this upcoming virtual conference. We recently sat down with him to talk about his connection to BTF Now and thoughts on today’s business environment compared to pre-COVID times.
Q: Why is this year’s new format for BTF NOW East a must-attend for entrepreneurs?
Many of the business people I’ve known in Atlantic Canada are great at operating businesses but don’t know how to build value in preparedness for an exit. BTF NOW will help them to understand the sales process, options and how to prepare to sell a business, which starts years ahead of when you actually sell. Years of planning and contemplation are required so you don’t leave huge money on the table.
BTF NOW provides access to top industry experts and people who have sold their business before (successfully and unsuccessfully). Knowledge is power and the high quality of speakers and people on panels is exceptional.
Q: You’ve been involved in M&A for years. How do you put this year, with COVID, in context?
Every 8 – 12 years we have a recession and an economic reset. This recession is unique because of the global pandemic. We didn’t know the fallout. There is a great deal of uncertainty relating to the pandemic that has major economic implications. Most businesses panicked and sought to simply tread water. Though many continue to struggle, many have pivoted and are continuing to prosper. I believe this pandemic will change any industry forever.
Q: What trends are you seeing?
Entrepreneurs are pivoting to stay alive and (some) thrive. Many haven’t been back to the office since March 15th but they have found a way to keep the lights on. People are forced to think differently.
I marvel at human resolve. How we are able to find ways to innovate and not accept a “bad hand dealt to us.” Zoom, virtual socialization and a move to e-commerce at breakneck speeds have happened en mass and within months.
Q: What are you seeing when it comes to M&A?
Companies with solid management and reporting strategies, as well as talented people and solid growth mandates, are still attractive to buyers. Innovation is really important as well, especially within small markets where businesses compete with global forces.
I believe that investors and Private Equity recoiled for a time when the pandemic landed as did those considering selling their business. But as we have acclimatized the desire to do deals from both sides have returned.
Hear more from Paul and many other business leaders and innovators at the upcoming BTF Now East conference — all without having to leave your office. Buy your tickets here.