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Walker Deibel – 5x Owner, “Buy Then Build” Author & Creator of the Acquisition Lab


In this episode, Peter Lehrman sits down with Walker Deibel, a serial acquisition entrepreneur, successful small business M&A advisor and author of the canonical work Buy Then Build, How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game. Walker is also the founder of Acquisition Lab, an acquisition entrepreneur incubator. He has acquired seven companies over ten years and co-founded several startups. His bestselling book, Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game, was recognized by Forbes as “one of the top 7 books all entrepreneurs must read,” and is currently being used in many universities.

Walker discusses his journey into the world of acquisition entrepreneurship and the creation of the Acquisition Lab. You’ll hear his experiences in acquiring and building businesses, and how he has developed tools and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking success in small business M&A. The Acquisition Lab supports potential business buyers by providing a common language, tools, and analysis, as well as case studies and peer group support.

This podcast is produced by the team at Axial ( Axial is a trusted online M&A platform that makes it easy for small business owners and their M&A advisors to confidentially research and connect with vetted acquirers and capital partners. I am your host, Peter Lehrman, Founder and CEO of Axial. In every episode, I explore the vast world of small business M&A, interviewing both the proven and the emerging owners, operators, investors, and advisors whose strategies and methods are being put to the test.

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider giving us a review on Apple or Spotify. If you’d like to go deeper, head to, where there are dozens of recorded Axial member roundtables, downloadable tools for dealmakers, quarterly league-table rankings, and lots of other useful information. If you’re a business owner, professional acquirer, or M&A advisor, you can start using Axial for free at

Discussion points:

  • The genesis of the idea for “Buy, Then Build”
  • Walker’s grandfather warned against certain business practices
  • Conducting interviews to create foundational frameworks
  • Creation of the Acquisition Lab and its curriculum
  • Building a common language, tools, and analysis for potential business buyers
  • World-class winners in the business of M&A
  • Coaching around record-keeping and accounting in small businesses
  • The importance of having a broker in the small business M&A process
  • Valuation gaps and understanding private capital markets
  • The future of acquisition entrepreneurship and the impact of network externalities on the M&A space
  • Contact us with your podcast topic ideas!

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