Innovation & Experimentation in Entrepreneurship

Jun 8, 2021

Robin Williams was one of the greatest theatrical talents of my lifetime.  His contribution to society in terms of innovation and experimentation in entertainment is sadly missed.  He was never afraid to push limits in standup comedy, on television, or the movie screen.  In his movie role as Patch Adams, he has a wonderful interaction with Harold Gould, playing the role of Arthur Mendelson ( where the lesson is “See what no one else sees. See what everyone else chooses not to see”.

This message directly correlates with a foundational component for future achievement for many entrepreneurs, providing a product or service to a community that is different, better, or easier to access than other offerings in the market to address a need.  It is more difficult to be successful as a business owner providing a product or service that is already provided in high quality at a fair price in a marketplace. In a five mile radius of your home, how many vendors can provide you with a hamburger? To get you to stop and spend money purchasing a hamburger requires a compelling reason from quality to convenience to price.  A new entry into the marketplace selling hamburgers needs to steal customers from other businesses to survive long term.  Trying to reslice a market pie is a pathway to success as a business owner, but it can also be a recipe for failure, if a persuasive argument for a product or service cannot be made to the jury of consumers.  This is one of many reasons it often makes sense to buy an existing business to enter a marketplace, so market share exists to nurture and grow versus develop from zero.

A much more promising pathway to success as an entrepreneur is providing products and services not already existing in a community.  One of the joys of being a business broker is exposure to business models that you did not know existed.  It never ceases to amaze me the number of ways people can achieve personal fulfillment and financial prosperity in America’s free market economy where the only limitations placed on our population are those resulting from a lack of vision and execution ability as a business owner.  As an example, In May, IBA was exposed for the first time to Kratom as a product by a client.  If you do not know what Kratom is and what it does, you are not alone. Could Kratom be the next big thing, like Kombucha or Ginseng. Time will tell.  We elected not to bring the company to market because we believe the marketplace still needs to mature with consumers.

Innovation & experimentation by entrepreneurs often occurs virtually in the 21st century with E commerce and cloud based business models.  In the past IBA has successfully sold companies that sold products ranging from metal detecting and prospecting equipment to jewelry and watch boxes.   Both of these companies identified marketplaces underserved by brick & mortar businesses, big box stores, and E commerce behemoths.  Today, IBA is representing a company that sells insects direct to consumers as pets and food.  Who would have thought a six figure income was possible providing packaged & shipped bugs?  Virtual service companies sold by IBA have covered the spectrum from SBA banking support for lending institutions to mold remediation education for professionals identifying and addressing issues in the field.  COVID-19 has demonstrated that many services can be successfully performed virtually that were previously thought to require live engagement.

IBA has also sold many companies that provide unique services valued across the spectrum from publicly traded companies to individual consumers that require in person engagement with the customer.  Past transaction examples include companies that provided outsourced service and repair of ATM’s for banks and autoclaves and anesthesia machines for hospitals to businesses that rented laptops to contractors for Microsoft to keep a bright line between employees and temporary staff and recruited and found staff for agricultural and timber industry employment throughout the Pacific Northwest.  We have also sold franchised business models for first generation entrepreneurs who brought new ideas to the region like onsite hydraulic hose repair through Pirtek ( or a marriage of technology and motor coordination development through Great Play (

A wonderful venue for entrepreneurship innovation and experimentation is in the manufacture of products.  As a market leading M&A firm in the sale of manufacturing companies IBA often has the ability to see new products in their infancy of building a loyal customer base.  We have seen this with industrial products, technology, and consumer products.  Currently, we are working on the sale of a company that will grow from $3.8 million in revenue in 2020 to $6 to $8 million in 2021 through identification of an underserved female centric marketplace and another business that manufacturers superior travel related products from backpacks to duffle bags.

Often a reason entrepreneurs reach out to IBA to sell their businesses is recognition that they have taken a business model as far as they can or because they enjoy company creation more than management.  We welcome the opportunity to help these individuals convert the time, energy, and resources they put into company creation into an event where this “sweat equity” is transitioned into cash that can be used to facilitate retirement or as seed capital for their next great idea.  The world is a better place because of the innovation and experimentation in the small business community.  IBA has been honored to serve this demographic group for almost fifty years in the Pacific Northwest.  Please contact us if we can provide education on the market value of a privately held company and or the process associated with selling a business employing best practices in an environment of confidentiality.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, accounting, legal, wealth advisory, and real estate communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.