Throughout his childhood, Matthew Brunstrum resided in Libertyville, Illinois with his mother Susan Brunstrum. He went to Indiana University in Bloomington and studied Finance at Kelley School of Business. After he graduated, Matt made the move to Chicago, IL, where he began his career in private wealth management; working for Forum Financial for high net worth individuals as an associate. Matthew Brunstrum then transferred to Stericycle and became his positive as a Financial Analyst in their Mergers & Acquisitions Department. Matt worked with over 50 acquisitions and after 2 years of working for them, was promoted to Director. His responsibilities included sourcing, negotiating and closing deals. Currently, he is working as an Advisor with Sun Acquisitions and MCB Advisory LLC.
Matthew has always had a history of bringing buyers, sellers, accountants and attorneys together to make deals happen. He believes it is very important to maximize the value of the client’s business in every sale he makes. Currently, Matthew Brunstrum is living in Chicago, IL.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
I decided to create my own business and work for myself, as I have always been a self-motivator & self-starter. I got tired of the “Corporate Grind” and “Corporate Politics” and saw an opportunity to take my skills and knowledge I learned as a buyer of companies and use them to help represent sellers of companies. In addition, I like the “eat what you kill” mentality and that this business is a true meritocracy. You only get paid when you are successful and close a transaction.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I like that every deal & every day is different. Each company has its own set of characteristics and each deal has a different cast of characters. In addition, M&A involves a lot of strategy & planning throughout each phase. I love strategizing and creating plans for my clients.
What does a typical day consist of for you?
The beauty of my industry is that there is no typical day; which keeps me energetic and passionate about each acquisition. Each deal is different, and every business has different attributes & characteristics. Overall, I spend my days talking on the phone with both owners and potential buyers, analyzing company financials, reviewing legal documents like NDA’s & LOI’s, coordinating with my marketing team and sourcing new deals.
What keeps you motivated?
Getting to the closing table on each deal keeps me motivated. Clients hire me to maximize the value of their business and get them to the closing table for a successful deal in the most efficient manner. If I can’t do this, then I have failed.
How do you motivate others?
I motivate others by incentivizing them properly, by nature, humans need to have proper incentives in order to perform at their best consistently. I try to figure out what is important to others and then incentivize them properly to keep them motivated day in and day out.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
When I started out, I did not have any infrastructure. It was just me, my cell phone, and my laptop. Today, I have a lot of infrastructure, templates, processes and people in place to operate as efficient as possible.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have always generated inspiration from within. I ama self-starter and motivator by nature.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My mother, Susan Brunstrum, has been an entrepreneur for 16+ years and has always been my role model. She owns a successful interior design firm, Studio Brunstrum, in Chicago, and has always been able to run a profitable business and maintain an active and well balanced social & family life at the same time. She has inspired me to go out on my own and has prepared me for the ups and down of small business ownership.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
Each day I always make time for exercise and personal time. I am a big advocate of starting the day out by exercising prior to work. After work, I like to relax & enjoy time with family and friends.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
Ambitious, hard-working, relatable, ability to listen and connect with just about everyone, charismatic, strategic.
What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
Work-hard and always say yes to new opportunities. For your first few years, you need to be the first one in and the last one out. You need to learn the ins and outs of the business and all the different nuances and soft skills. In addition, saying “yes” to networking and other professional opportunities will do wonders for you in the long term.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
My father passed away when I was a child. This was a difficult time for my Family and me.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
An old boss of mine, when I was just starting out told me “Matthew, in the M&A world, it’s all about survival of the fittest. You eat what you kill”. That always stuck with me.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment continues to be growing my business year over year. Every year, I close more transactions and close larger deals. To me, continuous improvement and building on each year is my greatest accomplishment. I am never satisfied where I am at in my business life and that inner drive keeps me going.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
Find something you are naturally talented at and work hard at it. Everyone says to “find something you are passionate about” but I think it’s the opposite. Find what you are naturally talented at, become an expert in the field/craft, and then that success will in turn make you passionate.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
There is always someone out there in your field that is smarter, wiser, more experienced, has more contacts and is more successful than you are. Find them, develop a win-win relationship and learn all that you can from them.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
Outside of work, my family and my friends define me as a person. When I am not working or at the gym, I am usually spending time with my family or friends. My relationships (both personal and professional) are of the utmost importance to me.
What trends in your industry excite you?
The “Greatest Wealth Transfer of All-Time” which refers to the large number of Baby-Boomer owned Small Businesses (estimated at $10 Trillion in Value) that will need to be transitioned to younger generations or sold within the next 2 decades. For the M&A industry, this creates a lot of deal flow especially when interest rates are low, and buyers have a lot of excess capital to deploy.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
In 5 years, I still see myself and MCB Advisory plugging away & advising on transactions in the $1-$50M space. I hope to a have a few international transactions under my belt by then.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
The day I closed my first deal. It was a small landscaping acquisition, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Every M&A professional has numerous but different “war stories” but we all remember our first deal.