AmpliFi’s Steven Swanson and Nick Lipetzky sat down (virtually) with Leah Berend, CFO of Oxbow Industries, LLC to discuss how Oxbow, a private equity firm, chooses which companies to invest in.

In this article, we want to expand on some of the ideas Leah offered in our conversation to help companies who may be gearing up for a sales process identify the ways in which they can stand out and make an impression on investors. Watch the video below for the full conversation, or scroll to get an idea of what a private equity investment firm like Oxbow cares about.

It’s all about the people … with a caveat.

You’ve probably heard this one, right? It’s the people who are able to successfully pitch ideas, close deals, etc. Well, it’s not wrong. But Leah took this idea a little further. It’s all about the right people. With private equity firms like Oxbow Industries looking for companies with revenues of ​​$20-250 million, strong leadership and thoughtful management need to be evident from the start. Being profitable isn’t enough, and neither is a flashy sales presentation.


The key? Decisiveness

If there was one takeaway from our conversation, it was the importance of decisiveness within an organization’s leadership. The most successful partnerships are formed with companies led by strong management teams that can make informed decisions that align with their values quickly and effectively. Costs of gathering information to present to investors need to be weighed against the costs of making the wrong decisions.

Being decisive in this context isn’t a skill that you can pull from mid-air. It’s built on a foundation of clear objectives and values. It’s the mission of the organization that’s permeated through every team that empowers leaders to make decisions—easy or tough—to move the company forward.

Leah emphasized just how important this trait was to Oxbow’s decision-making process. She noted a study that showed huge business growth after managers were trained to be more decisive. This, she said, helps cut down on hemming and hawing, helping everyone on the team unite behind a clear objective.

Do your due diligence: Know your business’s weaknesses and address accordingly.

Strong leaders aren’t afraid to examine their team’s weaknesses. In fact, it’s this skill that sets the best managers apart for the team at Oxbow Industries. Successful leaders identify weaknesses and find the people who can help offer support for better performance.

This same concept applies to the fielding process at Oxbow. Team members looped into the sales process need to be adequately prepared with the right information. Finding investors is a rigorous process, and Leah’s team has seen the full gamut of preparedness: from being handed tax returns to fully fleshed out financial statements.

Leaders who prepare their team for this difficult process are setting themselves up for success when presenting to investors, and it goes a long way to the team at Oxbow Industries. Knowing when to look outside the company is an indication of awareness and dedication to the process, so if you need to bring on outsourced help to audit your finances, it’ll set your team up for a greater chance of success.

For a more in-depth conversation, we encourage you to listen to Leah’s perspective in the video above. But if you know you need assistance during the fielding and sales processes, AmpliFi’s team of experts is always here to help advise you.