One of my friends makes his living (and much more) by buying and selling businesses. Whilst some may regard his business as predatory, he is adamant that he and the business owner-vendor always strike a deal that is what each wants. Whilst for many vendors money is only one component of what they want from selling their businesses, it is clear that my friend sees value in each target business that its owner-vendor either cannot see or cannot see how to exploit.
Sometimes my friend has a business already that will benefit from being merged with the target, but often the target is a standalone business that he can transform in a few months and sell on at a sizeable profit.
Why is it that many owners cannot "see the wood for the trees"?
This may be the age-old trap of working IN their businesses much more than ON them. In working out the value that is latent in his targets, my friend is, in effect, working on these businsses. He never works in any business he controls, but either finds someone in the business who can step up to manage it, or contracts someone he trusts to work as MD. My friend then moves on to the next target.
When you distil this down to its essence, the only change my friend really makes is to move the owner out of the way. After that, he does nothing the owner could not have done.
Whilst there will always be targets for my friend to fix and flip, my mission is to reduce his pool, helping owners to do what he does in their own businesses.