Arlin Sorensen is the founder and CEO of HTG Peer Groups, a consulting, coaching, and legacy planning company. Arlin began his life on his family farm in rural Iowa. After learning how to maintain computers and accounting software, in the early days of the technology, Arlin founded Sorensen’s Computer Connection in 1985.
After a rocky early 2000s, Arlin pivoted the company through M&A creating Heartland Technology Solutions. HTG or Heartland Tech Groups began around the same time. In December 2012, Arlin sold his IT company to West Iowa Telephone and in January 2018 sold HTG Peer Groups to ConnectWise. Arlin’s journey to a sale was a long and complicated one.
Arlin tells me how he filled talent gaps in his team on the road to company growth. He explains how his mindset changed as the team changed. HTG has completed ten successful mergers and acquisitions over the years. He walks me through the process of an acquisition and shares why planning is a key part of any successful business.
You will learn about:
- Arlin’s background in farming and IT management.
- How Y2K changed Arlin’s business.
- The mindset change that caused Arlin to try M&A.
- The first company acquisition and the awesome team that developed after it.
- The second company acquisition and the shift into peer group consulting.
- How the new team helped get Arlin and his business become more financially disciplined.
- What is a platform and how to use it effectively?
- The factors Arlin and his team consider during an acquisition.
- The changes Arlin made to the company with every acquisition.
- Why HTS was sold.
- Arlin’s non-negotiable conditions to a sale and why they were important.
- Arlin’s advice to the listeners.
- Planning is key.
It takes a lot of hard work to plan a company exit. Know what you want from a business sale before you even start looking for a buyer. Have some non-negotiables to vet the right candidate. Have a legacy goal, a life after business plan, leadership plan, and business plan, when you plan the path is straight and decision making is a lot easier.
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Arlin Sorensen serves as the CEO and Founder of the Heartland Companies which includes HTG Peer Groups. When he is not traveling to speak and consult, Arlin is home on his farm in Iowa with his wife Nancy. He is a proud “Pop” to four precocious grandchildren who serve as daily reminders of why he is intentionally living to leave a strong legacy of faith and integrity. He loves making a difference in the lives and companies of small to mid-market business owners.