Making yourself irresistible for M&A: 7 tips to get you ready to sell your business
irresistible for M&A
to get you ready
to sell your
So, you’ve decided it’s time to sell …
You’re a private business owner who has determined the
time is right to transition out.
Whether it’s to bring in a partner to
take your business to the next level
or to realize fully on your time and
… there’s really only one more
“big” question to answer …
Are you ready?
We all know wanting to do something and believing the time is right
are no guarantees to a successful outcome. You have to work at it.
In the case of selling your business, you also have to make your
company irresistible to prospective acquirers – a value proposition
that they cannot live without.
Easier said than done, perhaps.
But follow these seven tips to
ensure the optimal result…
1. Know what you want
It’s very important to set transition priorities. Being irresistible is
one thing, but it doesn’t mean you should want just anybody to buy
under any terms.
But meanwhile …
Answer questions like these clearly and completely
and proceed accordingly.
Are you trying
Do you want
or a share of
2. Know that it’s not all about you
If you’re the critical link in your business,
it’s time to reduce the company’s
dependence on you.
Investors or buyers must be confident
the business can continue to succeed in
So, step back and make sure you have
experienced management in place that
can assume responsibility for key business
functions and relationships. That will only
enhance the company’s attractiveness.
Naturally, it’s in your best interest to …
3. Keep no secrets and tell no lies
Being able to produce high-quality, accurate, timely financial information
is vital to a successful transaction.
Meanwhile, do your best to …
Ensure your team routinely tracks monthly results to forecasts
and explains variances. In fact, get your team in the habit
of doing this now.
Similarly, you should have a talented CFO and the right
reporting systems and technologies in place to improve
financial management and better entice investors or buyers
as they gain confidence in your company’s performance.
4. Tell a good story of vision and growth
Buyers will put considerable effort into analyzing the historical
performance of your business. But the past truly is the past, and equal
effort will be spent looking to the future.
Narrative, after all, is powerful. Your successes and your failures tell the
complete story of where you started, how you got to where you are,
and where you’re going. Be bold about sharing it.
That also involves talking about (and running) the business with a focus
on the value propositions that set you apart and drive your success –
success, of course, that almost certainly depended on help of one kind
or another from various employees, advisors, customers, etc.
In other words …
4. Tell a good story of vision and growth
5. Remember them, too
To whatever extent possible, it’s wise to minimize adverse impacts
on front-line talent and external resources, including key clients.
True respect can be hard to win, but is frequently easy to lose.
Without adequate support from your existing networks, the risk
of a bumpy ride increases.
Now for a
You must …
6. Be realistic about your prospects
Understanding the business’s value drivers, industry benchmarks, and
key economic and market trends will give you a sense of what you can
reasonably expect before the transition process begins.
To that end …
Just remember: many factors that
influence your company’s value
are simply beyond your control.
You have to know what they are
and be prepared to frame your
company in that context.”
7. Get professional advice
M&A transactions are complex, time-consuming,
and often highly emotional once-in-a-lifetime
events that can distract management from
keeping the business on target.
An experienced M&A advisor can help you identify
suitable investors or purchasers, navigate issues,
and ultimately achieve your optimal outcome.
Specialized transaction tax advisors, meanwhile,
can help you make the most of any transaction.
Because, ultimately, what you
want to do is …
Make the absolute most of it
When you’re finally ready to transition, you’ll want to be confident everything
will proceed according to design.
So, what do you think?
Otherwise, people could get hurt –
However, if you’ve made the company
irresistible, the rest just about takes
care of itself.