Business Development Strategy: Three Tips from Principal at CVF Capital Partners
An interview with Stefan Okhuysen, Principal at CVF Capital Partners
Stefan Okhuysen is Principal at CVF Capital Partners, a lower-middle market private equity firm based in California. CVF Capital Partners has been around for more than 15 years, investing in businesses from various sectors. In a Zoom interview, he recently told me about his business development strategy and the lessons he has learned over the past five years working as a principal at the firm.
Lesson #01: Be Broad in Your Search
It is a numbers game. The more deals you see, the more likely you will close a deal. Being broad in your search increases the likelihood of finding an investment prospect that fits your firm’s criteria, he said.
“We’d like calling it internally kissing a lot of frogs to find a prince,” Okhuysen said. “We’re trying to see as many companies as we can, through as many different referral sources as we can to really find the right fit for strategy.”
Lesson #02: Keep Networking
Networking is time-consuming, but it is good for business. As Okhuysen noted in the interview, it’s those relationships that will continue to give you referrals and introductions as well as help close deals.
“You might talk to somebody today who may have nothing to offer in terms of a new deal,” he said. “But that person may remember you for any particular reason, a couple of months down the road, or maybe a year down the road, and they can refer you a deal that is actually a good fit for you.”
In other words, genuinely be interested in people and remember to follow up.
Lesson #03: Pipelines Need Nurturing
Okhuysen pointed out how important it is to strike a balance between cultivating and maintaining existing relationships as well as nurturing new ones. At his company, he said they have their own approach of how to keep pipelines filled.
“We all do a little bit of everything,” he said. “I know some firms have people who are solely dedicated to deal flow. At our firm, we all tried to do a little bit of pipeline generation and being out there.”
A significant advantage of this approach is that the firm is not dependent on one person for its referrals.
“That also means that when somebody in the team is busy, the other person can step in and continue doing business development. We kind of see the pipeline like this thing that’s alive and needs to be nurtured and taken care of and continuously growing.”
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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect