Hugh Slater struck out on his own after years in operational roles, assembling investors in a search fund and acquire EGC Enterprises in Chardon, Ohio.

"I'm fairly entrepreneurial at heart and was looking for something that I would really have responsibility for, but was looking to use a business as a launching point to try to grow an organization, to do something new, to develop products and find their space in the market," Slater says. "And this was a great platform to do that."

It was a unique experience bringing investors into a fund using a fundless sponsor model.

"I'd found this business, wanted to acquire it and needed to raise capital to do it," he says. "So, certainly invested my own capital. I had some family and close friends who wanted to invest as well. But raised both debt, both senior and some subordinated debt, as well as raised equity capital from primarily individual investors from the Cleveland area."

He had some experience running a division of Oatey, which helped him develop the skill set to be successful running an organization from the top. Though it's a little different than running a division, he says he felt ready to do it. After having looked at so many opportunities and seeing them top to bottom, he says he recognized that EGC was not only a really good business, but it fit his skills set.

"I really felt like this was a really solid business that had the potential to grow, as well as be improved," Slater says. "So, I really felt like this was a business that could be taken to the next level and I felt like I could do it."

Slater sold EGC Enterprises to CDI Energy Products, a Michelin Group company, in February of this year. He spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about the process from soup to nuts — the search, gathering investors, buying, growing and ultimately selling the business.