Micro PE Course Review: Learn how to Buy & Sell Businesses
Micro PE is a course built by Ryan and Hideko Kulp where you will learn how to buy, grow and sell small businesses (mostly digital ones) profitably. They share all the tools, documents and recommendations they have from buying more than 10 companies with little or no money.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you buy the course after registering with my link, I will get some $$. Having said that, I’ve made this article 100% unbiased.
I’ve personally taken the course and checked all of their documents. I’ve read many people on Twitter talking about the course, so this aims to be a complete and detailed review that helps you decide whether you should or should not buy it.
What’s the Micro PE Course?
The Micro PE Course is a $249 online course that teaches how to buy, grow, and sell small businesses.
Over the different lessons, you’ll be learning some strategies and tips to identify businesses that fit your skills, how to negotiate with their founders and all the assets you’ll need to do so, and once you have bought it, how to grow its revenue and eventually sell it for a lot more money than what you bought it for.
The course starts from 0, so there aren’t any problems if you have never bought a company before. In fact, I’ve never done it and didn’t have any problems understanding the lessons. However, I personally believe that’s better if you have some entrepreneurial experience. Otherwise, it may be quite difficult to understand the mentioned concepts and strategies.
An entrepreneur with some experience in marketing, design, and coding would be the perfect fit as the strategies related to growing the business you acquire are all related to these three skills. Anyway, one more time, you don’t necessarily need to know about any of these three things as you can outsource them or partner with someone to work on them.
The problem with this course and with acquiring a business, you may be thinking, is that you need a lot of money. Well, that actually isn’t true. Ryan acquired his first business for $0, and it is now making over $1,000,000/year. He was able to do that through a financing strategy he covers in the course
What I’m trying to say is that you don’t need to have thousands of dollars in the bank in order to be able to execute what’s taught in the course.
The course is divided into six modules and has over 50 classes. Ryan, its creator, is constantly uploading more content based on feedback users provide them. On each module, there’s a quiz and some bonus files or scripts. The course is probably around six to seven hours, but it will take you ten or more if you stop the videos to take notes, check the links, read the documents, etc.
But… Why Buy a Business Instead of Building it?
As the title of the article says, I believe that, by starting from 1 and buying a business, your chances of failing are fewer than if you build the business from scratch.
We are a site focused on failed startups, and we’ve seen hundreds of startups fail during these last years. However, if you do a great sourcing and acquire a business that’s solid and has already been validated, your chances of having to shut it down are fewer.
Who’s Behind the Course?
The creator and instructor of the course is named Ryan Kulp (he’s super active on Twitter). He’s an online entrepreneur, with a huge amount of businesses and side projects in his portfolio. He’s been mainly focused, over the last years, on Fomo, a SaaS he has acquired for $0 and grown it to more than a million dollars per year.
During this last year, he has mainly been focused on Fork Equity, a “private equity fund that buys, grows, and sells small tech companies”, which he runs with his wife, Hideko Kulp.
Ryan has vast experience buying, growing and selling companies, such as Notify, Lobiloo, and Cross Sell. Although he is kind of focused on Shopify apps and SaaS, all the strategies he shares can be applied to any kind of business.
It was after this podcast episode that went viral and controversial that Ryan came with the idea of launching this course. He immediately tweeted about his idea, and the rest is history.
As mentioned before, the course is divided into six modules, with five to ten classes each. These classes vary in length - some last three to five minutes, others an hour. At the end of each module, there’s a short quiz to test if you were paying attention. There also are some bonus videos & files on each module.
The structure of the classes varies, as well. The majority of them are presentations and Ryan’s or Hideko’s voice behind. However, Ryan also uses the format of face-to-face, interview, and blackboard.
The first module is called “Getting Started” and it covers topics related to entrepreneurship, niches, investments, and the formation of companies. Right now, the course explains how to set up a company in the USA, Australia, and Canada, but new lectures are being created for the United Kingdom, South America, and others.
The second module is named “Sourcing” and it provides you with a step-by-step explanation on where to find interesting companies to acquire and how to source them. You’ll be given a spreadsheet to use in lead generation and some email templates to contact the founders of these businesses. You’ll also learn about the red flags that you must check before any acquisition. Furthermore, there’s a really great one-hour lesson that covers in detail the process of searching and sourcing for e-commerce stores.
The third module is titled “Negotiation and Diligence”, which explains how to value the company you’re interested in buying and all the legal stuff that’s involved in a negotiation. You’ll also be provided with NDA, LOI, Asset Purchase, Phantom Stock, and Equity Partner legal templates, which Ryan claims are worth more than $3,000.
The fourth module is called “Financing and Closing” and it goes over the different financial forms you can use to buy a business. It also explains and compares some methods for getting money from banks and investors, and it goes really deep into the Debt option. In my opinion, this is the hardest module.
The fifth module is “Relaunch and Scale” and it is related to the design, marketing, and sales strategies you can use in order to upgrade the business, catch more customers and make more money. It starts with getting to know about your customers and the market, then talks about building new features and re-designing, then launching into the market and then building a 90-day marketing plan, oriented to the acquisition channels that work well.
Finally, the sixth module is named “Exit Strategy” and it explains how to beat your competitors, become a market leader, and then make your company sellable. You’ll also be learning about what to do and what not to do when selling a business.
The course will provide you with all the legal templates you need to start buying and selling businesses. All these documents have a high value if you need to hire a lawyer to produce them. They can probably be found somewhere on Google, but if you’re going serious into this business, you probably won’t want to use legal documents you found on a blog from someone you don’t even know. All these documents are the ones used in Fork Equity, the fund ran by Ryan, so you know everything’s fine with them.
One thing to take into account is that the course offers to refund up to 30 days after you’ve bought it. However, once you’ve requested all the legal documents, you can’t ask for a refund anymore.
Tools & Other Courses
Over the different modules, you’ll receive access to different spreadsheets used by Ryan to source and analyze companies he’s interested in buying.
The most useful spreadsheet, probably, is the one to analyze deals and be able to come with a valuation for the business. It’s a huge Google Sheet with a lot of rows you need to fill once the founder of the business provides with all the information and stats.
Ryan has also recently launched Dealflow, a tool that scrapes a lot of businesses from different sources and lets you filter them based on your investment thesis. It also allows you to set email or Slack alarms for deals that fit your criteria. I haven’t personally tried it so I can’t say much about it. The price is $9/month for the limited option, and $29/month the unlimited one. If the tools save you at least one hour per month, I think it's worth it.
Apart from this tool, Ryan has built an alumni-only community for those entrepreneurs who want to exchange deals, share strategies & tips, or network about the buying and selling business industry. I don’t form part of it, but I think that if there’s a significant number of members, a community like this one can be super valuable. The price is really cheap: $9/month and $49/year (so $4/month if paid annually).
Furthermore, Ryan has some other courses that are interesting to complement with the Micro PE one. These are:
The 60 Minute LBO Model: In this 60-minute course, Hideko explains how to build an LBO model in Excel. An LBO model is used to evaluate the acquisition of a company using a significant amount of debt. The price is $59, which in my opinion is a little bit high, as there are many other great videos about this topic on YouTube for free.
Sales Hacking: This is a detailed course in which Ryan explains how to build a system to generate leads without having to hire sales reps or buying sales services. The price is $49.
How to be Creative: When you buy the Micro PE course you’re given a huge discount on this course. This is a short 30-minute course that aims to encourage people to come with and try innovative marketing campaigns, more than the typical ads carried out by “most marketers nowadays”.
The All-In-One Newsletter for Startup Founders
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One of the things that I like the most about the course is that, if you really want to get involved in the business of buying and selling companies, you’ll be able to network with a lot of other students and Ryan himself.
I really think there’s a community of support around the course. Even when Ryan tweeted that he was interested in building this course, there were a lot of responses with feedback on what to include, typical questions, some recommendations, etc.
Ryan is constantly sending newsletters and uploading new stuff. The +250 members who have already taken the course tend to reply to his tweets, and you’ll probably be able to get to know other alumni with similar interests who might even become your partner.
And I think that, if many people subscribe to the alumni Rainmaker’s Club, this community idea will be even stronger.
So far, I’ve mentioned almost only positive things, but I think there are some negative ones as well:
There are no subtitles. I’m not a native English speaker, as you may have noticed from my writing. I was able to understand all the courses, but the technical stuff was a little bit difficult to follow.
Each video has some comments below, but they aren’t really worked out. It’d probably be better to have a scheme of the video, or, at its best, the transcriptions of everything that’s said plus some images.
The videos don’t have much editing and production. The course was recorded and launched super fast, so don’t expect to see animations, illustrations, high-quality images, etc.
The process by which legal documents are provided can be quite tedious, as you need to request them through email. This is done in this way because, once you ask for them, you’re removed the 30-day refund option you have when you buy the course.
I’m from Argentina and some of the financing tips and legal classes are only focused on the US, Canada, or Australia, so I didn’t get any benefit from them.
Finally, quizzes are just okay. Some of the questions are just funny. The quizzes weren’t created as a way to consolidate your knowledge.
Conclusion - Who Should and Shouldn’t Buy?
I think you should definitely buy this course if you really want to try out and get involved in buying and selling businesses and you’re willing to invest some time and money into this activity. In those cases, $249 is a super low price, as the return on the investment will be enormous (contacts, tools, legal templates, etc).
However, if you aren’t really sure about getting into PE and have neither the time nor money to invest in buying a business, I think $249 is a high price. I wouldn’t acquire the course if you just want to learn about the PE industry.
Again, this course isn’t intended for buying big businesses so having a lot of money in the bank isn’t a requirement you need before acquiring the course. On the opposite side, if you are looking to invest hundreds of thousands in buying a new business, this course might be the perfect fit.