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The Selling Versus Joining Mindset in Mergers & Acquisitions

Does the Freedom to Remain Agile and Creative Top Your List? It Does Ours, Too.

In the context of mergers and acquisitions, I am often asked what makes OneDigital different from other firms in the insurance, financial services, human resources, and PEO verticals. At the highest level, I always make the following suggestion to frame one's thinking. It is the difference between selling your business and joining a team. I would make the case that these are entirely different outcomes often completely misunderstood by owners and bankers alike. Our focus is the latter, so everything we do is fixated on getting to know owners/teams and understanding the people fit first and foremost. Do we want and believe in the same things. Do we see the world through a similar lens? As people, can we see each other working together, but more importantly, wanting to grab a coffee or beer after work?

I am a firm believer that words matter. Verbs are action words and give context to the action. Selling is about finality and moving on, definitionally so. Joining encompasses entering the next phase of your future with true partners on a team. It's about wearing the jersey and believing that life on that team will be better for you and your local squad. I would suggest that the difference between these words in our world represents opposites. I would also make the following statement about many acquirers: they make little to no effort to "own" the verb "join!"

When I graduated from college, Peter Lynch managed Fidelity's flagship Magellan Fund, and he made the following comment about investing that stuck with me.

A person who owns property and has a stake in the enterprise is likely to work harder and feel happier and do a better job than a person who doesn't.
– Peter Lynch

It was not until we started building OneDigital decades ago and sharing equity that I fully understood the true meaning of these words. In 2012, we started sharing equity with partners joining OneDigital. Today, more than 90% of leaders and teams that have "joined" us are still here and thriving. The S&P at the end of 2021 was up approximately 350% during that period. OneDigital's equity, 1250%. I believe that joining is a better way to build a company of consequence.

At OneDigital, we look for groups that want to join us to achieve something greater – groups looking to rise with the backing of a large, national firm and the freedom to remain agile and creative. If this sounds like something that aligns with the goals you have for your organization, visit, to discover the OneDigital difference.