While Opportunities in Business usually just helps people sell businesses, we often tell the story of when we helped create one. It happened when Bob Griesgraber and Tom Green, owners of OIB, learned of a change taking place at the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Court Provides Documents to Law Firms
It was the early 1980’s, before the digital revolution, and like many enterprises the court system generated vast quantities of documents. Some of these papers documented important changes in the law at local, state, and federal levels each year.
Historically, the Minnesota Supreme Court administered this information. A team of three employees were in charge of organizing these documents, which they compiled in three-ring binders. The court itself relied on these records, and attorneys and law firms also needed to stay up-to-date on these changes in the law. When legal professionals needed access to the information, they requested copies and paid a fee for the service.
Court Divests from Business
Eventually, the court concluded it was inappropriate for the courts to engage in this for-profit activity, and proposed that the enterprise no longer continue under the auspices of the court.
Griesgraber and Green got wind of this effort to privatize this vital service, and recognized the value of it. Here was an existing system satisfying an existing need for an existing market.
Meanwhile, they knew of someone seeking a new business to run. A local accountant (full disclosure: the accountant for Opportunities in Business) had an underutilized office and an underutilized wife. The wife had the skill set to manage such a business, and they had asked OIB to be on the lookout for a business which would be a good fit.
Family Buys and Expands Business
The wife-and-husband team bought the “business” for less than $50,000. They improved the systems by refining the collection and codifying the information, assembling it into a handbook for lawyers. Annual subscriptions were offered to the legal community, which responded positively: within a short time most law firms in Minnesota subscribed. Then they expanded to other states.
OIB Helps Family Sell, Very Profitably
Within seven years they had grown to 13 states. Ready to downsize their stake in the business, they asked OIB to sell about 80% of the states’ copyrights interests. OIB found qualified buyers and made the deal, netting well over a million dollars. They also sold the accounting practice.
With OIB’s help, this talented team got into a fledgling business for a relatively small investment. In seven short years, they boosted the business value by a factor of over 20 times. When they were ready to step back from their project, OIB was on the job again, helping them capitalize on their investment.