Wednesday anecdote: Turn around leader uncovered PE firm need in portfolio company.
It's the law of averages. Any PE or VC firm that has 5 or more portfolio companies will have at least one that is not hitting its targets. Most partners don't want to admit this in the first conversation. They don't want the world to know some of their investments are tanking.
We teach our CEO clients how to uncover these needs. It's not easy. You have to build some rapport first. The PE firm has to see you as a solution to their problems. But, it can be done without it taking too long.
"We've both been around the block a time or twelve. You have 10 portfolio companies," he said in conversation with the PE partner. "At least two of those are not on track to hitting their targets. Let's talk about those. I want to help you sleep better at night."
This usually gets the dialogue flowing. You just let them know it's OK. Everybody in the game has some ouchies.
"Yes, there is one. We're 18 months from the exit," the partner shares. "I don't think we can replace him at this late stage. But, he needs some help. Convince me you can turn it around in that time frame."