Intentional Growth

#202: Lessons Learned from Growing a Company from $0 to $100M+ and Selling to a Private Equity Firm

Intentional Growth
#202: Lessons Learned from Growing a Company from $0 to $100M+ and Selling to a Private Equity Firm

Chris accomplished what many entrepreneurs strive too and is willing to share what strategies grew value, his successes along the way and what he would do different if he were to do it again.

What You Will Learn in Today’s Podcast Interview:

  • How Chris grew his company to over $100M in revenue without debt
  • Why Chris was able to get all his cash up front when selling to Private Equity
  • The difference between enterprise value, equity value and net proceeds
  • How Chris shifted his mindset away from only top line revenue to long term value creation
  • How to identify the key value drivers in your business
  • How to reduce client concentration and why it pays off
  • How one’s willingness to evolve and stay relevant are keys to success
  • Why passion can get you started but value growth education will get you to the top
  • The importance of differentiation and how to make your company invaluable to your customers
  • Why betting on yourself as an entrepreneur can have the biggest ROI
  • Where to spend your time and energy educating yourself as a business owner
  • The biggest differences between Strategic Buyers and Financial Buyers
  • Chris’s grueling experience going through due diligence when selling
  • Why a culture of trust and integrity is hard to quantify in the valuation (it’s not on the spreadsheet)

Podcast Summary:

In today’s episode, Chris Carlson shares how his passion for driving snow mobiles let him to starting Sportech—the company’s original product protects the lights of snow mobiles from snow in order to see clearly while driving.

Chris tell his story about how he adapted the business to match the changes in the market, invested time and resources to further his own knowledge—including joining a peer group, understanding value growth, investment banking, and implementing EOS—and what he learned from his experience selling Sportech to private equity.

Chris went on to grow the company to over 100 million dollars in annual revenue, diversifying their products and target markets along the way. After successfully growing the company over 15 years, Chris sold Sportech to a private equity firm in November 2019 and received all of his cash up front.

I’m excited about today’s episode because Chris’s story clearly explains how investing in yourself as an entrepreneur can lead to long-term success, as well as illustrating the many aspects of selling a business he wishes he knew at the time.

We get to benefit from Chris’s experience as a business owner who accomplished what many people strive to achieve, while also recognizing that even incredibly successful companies and owners can benefit from understanding value growth with your end goals in mind, the difference between financial and strategic buyers, and the key components needed to approach a sale.

Go to ARKONA.IO/Assessment or text 66866 to take a two-minute, twenty question assessment that we’ve created to help you shift your mindset and focus on value-creating activities that will help you get what you want with your business.

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 What You'll Learn in the Mastering Your Cash Flow Video Series

  1. How to Build a 13-Week Cash Flow Statement: Get clarity on where and how your cash is coming from and being used and then build a plan to manage it wisely. Learn how to build a 13-week cash flow statement from the top CFOs in the marketplace.
  2. How to Build and Revise Your 2020/21 Budget and Forecast: 2020 and 2021 are most likely not going to look like you thought they did back when you built your budget and forecast. Learn how to model out different scenarios using forecasting best practices.
  3. Create a Strategic Plan to Grow Company Value: Increase the chances you come out of the gates and capitalize on future opportunities when our new "normal" sets in. Start thinking about how you can create a strategic plan to grow a valuable business that gives you choices.

About the Guest:

Chris Carlson was the CEO and Owner of Sportech (a leader in OEM thermoformed plastic products). The company specializes in the design, development, and production of premium products and accessories for numerous markets including power sports. He bootstrapped that business out of personal necessity since he was a snowmobile enthusiast.

Chris grew up in an entrepreneurial family, and hopes to raise his kids in that type of environment as well.


11:55 – “It became fairly obvious that if we didn’t change, if we didn’t start working on products and developing products for ATVs and motorcycles and other areas (where I had passion but not equal to what I had for snowmobiles), had we not done that, our business would have died.” – Chris Carlson

19:45 – “It started with snowmobiles and I thought it had to be about snowmobiles but in the end it was really about value creation through design.” – Chris Carlson

34:00 – “I’m going to run this thing like it’s for sale, even though it’s not. Because it’s the right thing to do.” – Chris Carlson

Links and Resources:

Chris Carlson email:

Envision Company: website

Mastering Your Cash Flow Digital Course

ARKONA Boot Camp

Reach out to me if you have questions about the boot camp!

You can also reach out to me via email at, on my LinkedIn.

Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Intentional Growth