10. Understand why buyer is buying – Determine what your customers need and work backward, Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and founder
The best deal-makers understand that, from a buyers perspective, the ultimate business value is a combination of the value of the company that they are acquiring plus the perceived value they will bring to the business post transaction. Therefore the better a seller understands why the buyer is interested in investing, the better he can position his company for an optimal transaction. Business owners should take the time and effort to understand the buyers strengths, their needs and then build their confidence.
Always remember that buyers are buying into the future and they need to be confident in their ability to meet their own strategic objectives.
11. Quality Advisors You are known by the Company you keep. Aesop
Sellers need to surround themselves with first-rate advisors: bankers, lawyers and accountants from day one. Although this is always sound advice, it is particularly true in M&A transactions where the uneven playing field heavily favors experienced buyers.
It is intuitive but rarely appreciated that there is a significant experience mismatch between an M&A team from a Fortune 1000 and an entrepreneur who is doing a once in a lifetime transaction. Failure to recognize this can be detrimental to the transaction process and ultimately to maximizing value. Entrepreneurs need to level the playing field during this strategic transaction by surrounding himself with a strong and experienced deal team. Failure to consider and address such detailed issues such as corporate organization, poorly structured leases, customer contracts, unprotected IP, weak non-compete agreements and so on can put the owner at a considerable disadvantage.
Talk to other business owners and your trusted advisors about attracting a top flight M&A team of experienced, professional advisors.
One Truism is to Expect the Unexpected
The one consistent truth I have experienced in every deal over 25 years is that there will be surprises. Successful entrepreneurs have developed extraordinarily good instincts, but when it comes to the worlds of capital raising and selling their business their instincts often fail them or fail to arrive on time. Understanding the process, from the technicalities of the deal, to selecting the right team and being prepared for the human elements of fear, excitement, confidence and more is what enables the owner to maximize value. The best dealmakers remain calm, focused and have back up plans to deal with the inevitable surprises. By keeping the 11 factors I have shared across these 3 articles in mind a business owner is taking important steps in laying the groundwork for the completion of a successful transaction.
Parts 1 and 2: