Private Equity or Pizza Equity?
So here's my dilemma.
I'm working on finishing my undergrad. Long story short, one thing led to another and I was able to find full time work in commercial banking (including leveraged finance). Since I was working for a regional bank and wanted to move up, I felt that my unfinished degree would get in the way.
Breaking into PE was the goal. Even got some interest from an UMM PE shop out of Chicago. At the same time, my uncle is willing to sell me his business. He started a pizza shop 35 years ago and is now getting ready to retire. The business is getting sold one way or another, the question is, will I be the buyer?
His store is in Pennsylvania, where the cost of living is awesomely low. From what he tells me, I can earn $150-180K as a full-time owner/operator. Since I don't have significant equity saved up, he'll carry a seller note for a couple years and then I would theoretically refinance. He's got money saved up for retirement, plus I would be paying him on the note monthly.
As sexy as PE is, there are pros and cons to everything. Depending on the market, there's a chance I can earn up to $250K (including bonus). The caveat is that its going to be a market with a higher COL than Bumblefuck, PA. BTW, my uncle's pizza shop is not too far from UPenn, so its not extremely rural or anything. According to him, I can potentially earn more than he's making as a younger, more energetic/enthusiastic operator. The fact that I'll have to wear multiple hats is a double-edged sword; it won't be the same boring old tasks everyday, but the buck will stop with me. There isn't any prestige (possibly negative prestige? lol) and I won't be surrounded by white collar professionals (but hardworking folks nevertheless). There's a chance the business could fail under my watch, and there's a chance I could sell in a few years for $500K+. Even then, I won't be a millionaire by 30, but I'll be close enough for my satisfaction. Obviously, there wouldn't be any "exit opps". I'm not even sure how competitive I would be in the work force after an entrepreneurial stint.
If I can grow revenue and groom a loyal employee, there's a chance I can get superior work-life flexibility. Yes, no employee will work as hard as me as the owner, but if you pay fairly and treat employees with respect, I know they'll put in their all.
Lastly, this is rare opportunity. Either I take it or leave it, but the clock is ticking. Obviously gotta do what's right for me, but I value the feedback of other like minded people (especially those who have a background in PE or entrepreneurship!).