When it comes to seeking out and engaging with acquisition targets, Tom Pozda, HBD Industries Inc. president and CEO says there are strategic targets and there are opportunistic targets.

“From a strategic standpoint, that process takes a long time,” Pozda says. “We've developed internal lists of companies that we feel would be strategically important for us. And then it's a process of continually building relationships with principals — owners of those businesses — over time, whether it's at trade events or going out and just making a visit a friendly visit to create the relationship, learn more about the company. Hopefully at the time at which they're ready to transition you have a relationship and you're at least going to get a phone call.”

Trust takes time, he says. It’s a lesson he learned years ago. The company had a target it got close to, but then fell apart. Fortunately, he says he had a relationship with another principal, and that enabled the company to have open dialogue, which eventually helped the target feel that HBD Industries would be a good home.

“So, strategically it's a longer period of time,” he says. “It could take five years by the time someone's ready.”

When it comes to more opportunistic deals, Pozda says he has personally gone out and met with probably many of the top investment banking firms so they knew him, his company, its story and the types of businesses they’re looking for. He says he provided them with that information so that when opportunities came up, HBD Industries’ name was on their list of contacts. That’s helped the company connect with businesses that were a great match, some strategic interests that it might not have otherwise known about, and others that were interesting but outside of the core focus.

“It's one of being known and engaging when those opportunities come up to make sure if one's not it, the next one might be,” he says.

Pozda — along with Copper Run’s Andrew Hays and The Huntington National Bank’s Mark Slayman and Chad Lowe — spoke at the recent Columbus Smart Business Dealmakers Conference about drafting an acquisition playbook. Hit play on the video about to catch the full conversation.