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A Case For Boring Business

Amidst the glamor of sexy businesses which are very attractive for the world’s eyeballs, boring business can be more profitable on a risk-adjusted basis.

Benjamin Graham even pointed out that mid-cap stocks can provide more returns because nobody even bother to research them! Thus even though they have robust company fundamentals, there are not enough buyers, hence the price multiples remained low. Hold the stocks long enough, you can profit handsomely.

I think this is not only through in passively holding their stocks, but also in actively managing the company itself. Some considerations for buying boring companies:

  • Buying a slow growing company is cheap because their price multiple is low
  • Less risky because they have already crossed one big chasm: they already found their product-market fit and also already retaining their loyal customers

“If you’re considering entrepreneurship by startup, that path involves building a company from scratch, without knowing whether the product or service is something that can be the basis for a profitable business. When you start a company, before you make any money, you need to develop a product or service, identify potential customers, figure out how to deliver the product or service to the customers, hire all your workers, market to customers, build a management system, and then hope the product or service is something customers want to buy at a price high enough for you to make a profit. Buying an existing, enduringly profitable business is less risky — not riskless, but much safer because the product or service is already established and, if you buy the kind of company, likely to produce steady cash flows while you focus on improvements and growth.”
Source: Why Buying a Company Can Be Better than Starting One

Those are the reason for Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (EtA). However, I would argue that starting a boring business can also be profitable, although it would lack some advantages that is inherent in buying an already operating business, and hence would need more work before it can be operational (much less profitable).

A thorough research in business environment is needed. I should slowly research business opportunities through publications, and, more importantly, mentors and friends who already understand the local context in Indonesia.

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