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Redefining Acquisitions

Portrait of Trish Higgins, Partner at Chenmark


Key Highlights

  1. An Unconventional Approach: Trish Higgins shares crucial insights for aspiring holding company owners. Ponder your motivations, get your hands dirty, and embrace the challenges of small business operations. Learn why patience and a strategic mindset are key to success in this evolving landscape.

  2. Learning from Chenmark: Discover the Chenmark GVP Program, an exceptional path offering eager individuals a chance to acquire vital skills while providing access to a diverse network of businesses.

  3. Innovation and Determination: Trish emphasizes the need for individuality and creativity in achieving success. With no 'one size fits all' approach, chart your unique course guided by your vision and strengths. Embrace the exhilarating journey of entrepreneurship and unlock infinite possibilities in the world of acquisitions.


Hailing from Vancouver, Trish Higgins embarked on an inspiring journey. From the revered halls of Yale and Harvard, she journeyed to the pulsing heart of Wall Street, ultimately finding proper alignment in establishing her own respected and flourishing company with her husband and brother-in-law: Chenmark. They have made a name for themselves by being innovative and disciplined and championing a team-first approach. As a thought leader in acquisition entrepreneurship and one of Chenmark’s founding members, Trish shares their fascinating perspective on navigating the highly fragmented space.

With no definitive path to success, this diverse and turbulent ecosystem is teeming with opportunities waiting to be discovered by those willing to plunge into the fray. Breaking from traditional pathways, the Chenmark team created a holding company encompassing various industries. While not mainstream a decade ago, this innovative approach resonated with the founders, allowing them a first-mover advantage in an increasingly popular space.

HoldCo Considerations

"In establishing a holding company, ponder your motivations," says Trish Higgins. She suggests asking: "Am I truly invested in the intricate workings of a business, or am I more attracted to the investor lifestyle?" This is vital, as she highlights that "when you're working with small businesses, even if you're in a holding company structure, you're gonna have to get involved and get your hands dirty."

It's not about "passive ownership," where one might sit around "thinking capital allocation thoughts all day." Instead, it's about ensuring you're ready to "step in and run it" when facing leadership issues. She advises future entrepreneurs to "make sure you're getting into it for the right reasons" and to understand the need for patience.

Further, she notes that establishing a holding company "can be slow going." It begins with "buying one business" and then another, learning how to navigate these operational waters along the way. Higgins concludes, "It pays to be patient in the early days to build up what you want your company to really be and stand for, and not rush into it."

Carving Your Path

Despite her remarkable achievements, Trish underscores the need for individuality and creativity in the pursuit of success. She stresses that there is no 'one size fits all' approach, and each person must chart their own course, guided by their unique visions and strengths.

"There's a lot of opportunity in the space, which can be wonderful, but it's not at a stage where you can just rinse and repeat."

Every deal is unique, and every venture a new adventure, making the journey as exhilarating as the destination itself.

Guidance for Searchers

When asked what advice she would give traditional searchers looking to build their cap table, Trish advocates for investors who bring a rich blend of practical experience and theoretical knowledge to a search fund venture. These seasoned veterans, who have 'been there' and 'done that,' serve as guiding lights with their wisdom and understanding in the complex journey of a searcher.

Investors like A.J. Wasserstein, equipped with both financial acumen and real-world business experience, exemplify the type she recommends. Yet, Trish also understands that the final choice depends on various aspects, including the founder's background, personality, and strategy.

For those interested in running a small business, there's another path worth considering - the Chenmark GVP Program. Specifically designed to equip ambitious individuals with the necessary skills, this program involves one to three years of progression through three stages, with advancement determined by performance, skill set, and opportunity availability within Chenmark's network of businesses. Notably, the program values character and attitude above prior experience, focusing on moulding effective future CEOs. So, if you're eager to join an impressive team and are ready to embark on an exciting journey, the Chenmark GVP program might be the perfect fit.

An Uncharted Voyage

Trish urges those interested in the field to define their path to success. No strategy is set in stone in small business acquisitions' vast and varied world. Trish challenges everyone to discover an approach that resonates with them and to pursue it courageously.

Trish Higgins's extraordinary journey is a testament to the power of innovation and determination. Her experiences and insights illuminate the path for budding entrepreneurs and underscore the infinite possibilities for personal success in this dynamic world of business acquisitions.

Chenmark's blog offers bite-sized wisdom - quick to digest yet rich with insight. Perfect for those who value their time but crave substantial knowledge.


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