For many business owners, the role of an M&A adviser is seen in very similar terms to an estate agent. After all, both are selling large assets on your behalf. This is a fair comparison for the way that some M&A advisers operate – although, we would argue, none of the good ones. It may sound strange coming from the pen of an M&A adviser’s blog, but the role of an M&A adviser is not to sell your business for you! Confused? Allow me to explain.
Whose sale is it anyway?
The first thing any good M&A adviser should acknowledge is that the business is yours to sell and not theirs. It may seem a little obvious, but some advisers out there are more interested in achieving a quick sale, and therefore a quick turnaround on fees and maximum profit, rather than achieving your aspirations and goals.
At the end of the process, the only one who can make that decision to sell is you, but after the emotional rollercoaster of a business sale you want to be certain that the deal on the table is the best one available for you. Understanding your goals – personally, but also for the company, your team, and customers – should be a central concern for an M&A adviser.
Practically, the role of an M&A adviser falls into three broad categories – the first of which is preparation. Business owners who have bought and sold multiple businesses are a rare breed, and so most are unprepared for what is to come.
The M&A adviser is there to help prepare the business, and the business owner, for the ups and downs of the journey to company sale. This takes many forms, including but not limited to;
- preparation of sales documentation
- preparation of financial forecasts
- coaching of business owners ahead of meetings
- how to handle and respond to an offer
- who to tell, when to tell them and how to communicate your intentions.
One of the most valuable things an M&A adviser can do is to make introductions. Most business owners can happily name a handful of the usual suspects when it comes to who is likely to buy your business. But even if one of these few ultimately becomes the acquirer, introducing other potential acquirers from a wider pool of interest – such as overseas or from diverse industries – will have a positive impact on value and terms.
The third key role of an M&A adviser is all in the name… to give good advice. It may seem a little basic, but the key here is the difference between advice and good, qualified, experience-led advice.
At Entrepreneurs Hub, we understand the journey of a business owner – having been through that journey a number of times ourselves. We are time-served M&A advisers with hundreds of successful deals under our belts, on both sides of the fence. And we know our limitations, which is why we work as a team and why we bring in expert advisers where required in more specialist areas, such as Intellectual Property, tax or perhaps a trusted wealth adviser to give advice on how much you need and managing your wealth afterwards.
If you would like to talk to us about how we can advise you as you consider a sale, or even if you have been approached already, we would love to speak with you. We can offer a free, no-obligation meeting and business assessment session where we will find out about your business and your aspirations, and give our qualified and expert opinion on saleability and value ranges you could expect.
Give us a call on 0845 0678 678 or book a meeting here if you are interested.