Selling your business requires honesty.
You must be prepared to answer the questions that buyers have in an honest, almost clinical way.
Starting strong in your business exit process involves being honest about your motivation, your numbers, your employees, your customers and your competitors.
It’s a bit like going to the doctor to get your moles checked – annoying, frustrating, a bit anxiety inducing but you come out on the other side aware of what needs to be removed and what looks a little funky but is actually just fine.
As merger & acquisition professionals, we know that much of our job is education. The work we do day-in and day-out is a little bit complicated, a little bit obscure, and a whole lot different than a business owner’s day-in and day-out work. We value and enjoy our role as educators but sometimes we get frustrated when our clients get tunnel vision and choose to focus on any problem but the one that matters. We find ourselves having the wrong conversation over and over.
Are you ready to buy a business?
Below are six questions to help you find out.
These questions are tailored specifically for the individual executive seeking to acquire a business (a different set of questions should be asked by corporate buyers). If that’s you, take some time to consider these questions.
Jeff Hutsell sold his company, Levels of Discovery, in 2013. Recently, we interviewed Jeff to find out what he recalls about the process and what advice he has for others.
“What do M&A advisors do?”
I find that people are often confused about what I do as an advisor at a mergers and acquisitions firm. If you search for an answer about what people within the industry do, you are inundated with posts about dog-eat-dog competition and long hours. Well, turns out, it’s possible to care about other people and get home to your family for dinner as an M&A advisor. Here’s a peek into a day in my life: Read more
“Which industry is best for
my business acquisition?”
Whether you are a corporate or individual buyer, one of your first questions in the process is likely that question.
Let me tell it to you straight – no industry is the best industry.
And I’m not just saying that so I don’t hurt any of the industries’ feelings.
You may have preferences and some industries may be better than others but, speaking from experience,
there is not a golden ticket industry that will take you to the chocolate factory of ideal businesses.
“I got an unsolicited offer on my business. What do I do?”
Not many things are more overwhelming or intimidating than when a business you respect approaches you asking that you consider selling your business. Whether you’re ready to sell or not, there is a rush of emotions: fear, excitement, trepidation, pride. Every fiber of your being wants this to work out for the survival of your business, for your employees, your family, your legacy.
You found the business you want to buy. Congrats!
There are many things that need to happen before a deal closes. One of the first steps you’ll need to take is to write, sign and negotiate a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the seller. An LOI is a non-binding document, meaning there is not a legal requirement for things to play out exactly as the document states.
SBA financing – particularly when used for business acquisition – involves very specific limitations and requirements. Because of its detailed and complex nature, using just any bank for SBA lending would be a mistake. Do your research and pick a bank that has experience and that you trust.
This is not an exhaustive shopping guide but these two tips will get you well on your way to making a solid choice in your SBA lender.
There are two main considerations when thinking about who would and could buy your business.
The first is your management team.
The second is the size of your business.
Why are these the two main considerations?
They’re the first two aspects of the business a buyer will go to in order to evaluate.
Your management team and the size of your business matter to buyers.
Buying a business is no easy task. When you make an acquisition there are real consequences for you and your entire team.
Before you set off down the road in pursuing an acquisition you should address the following five questions. Questions one and two are particularly vital and often overlooked.
I enjoyed my time talking to Bill Black about the buyer’s perspective in business acquisition. These insights might be helpful if you are a motivated seller and desire to be attractive to potential buyers of your business.
Check out more of Bill Black’s Exit Coach Radio interviews here.