Appointing the right advisors
Sarah Vick discusses the importance of doing procurement due diligence when looking to sell your business or attract investment, and offers her advice on finding the right advisors to work with.
Selling a business or attracting investment can be a challenging experience. It’s quite often the first time business owners and their boards have gone through the process, and that makes it a steep learning curve for people at a time when their focus needs to be on making their business the best it can be. That’s why when businesses start to think about gathering the right team of advisors, it’s crucial to get this right. Here’s our advice on finding the right advisors to work with.
DO YOUR PROCUREMENT DUE DILIGENCE
Your goal when gathering the right team to help you through a transaction is to seek out advisors that really understand the market, the process and the size and shape of the deals that are happening in that space. You might not necessarily use the advisors you have for running the business on a day-to-day basis. Your existing accountants, solicitors and advisors might not have the depth of specialist knowledge needed to take on the project, so it’s good to conduct a search for the right firms to represent you. This is essentially a procurement exercise, so you want to make sure:
- They have worked on similar sized deals to yours in the past. Can they provide you with references for these deals? If their experience is working on much bigger deals they might not give you the attention you need. If your deal is much bigger than they have experience of working on they might not have the knowledge you need.
- They really understand your sector and what deals are happening in the space. Do they know the buyers and sellers in your market well? Do they know exactly what buyers are looking for? Are they able to help you expand your network not only in the context of the deal, but beyond as your business continues to grow.
- The team you appoint has the right depth of technical expertise. They need to be able to lead you through what can be a very complex process, helping you to avoid the pitfalls.
On top of this, you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time with the advisors you choose for your business. In most deals, there are times when people are under pressure and you want to make sure you get on with the team and that you’re certain they’ll be there for you when the pressure is on. This is where personal recommendations can really help, as you’ll be able to take references from people you know who have gone through similar processes.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF GETTING IT WRONG?
There are considerable risks in not appointing the right advisors including not achieving the right value for your business, or being left with legal liabilities that could come back to bite you in the future. Therefore, it’s really worth taking the time to line up your advisors in advance of a deal process starting so you know you have the right people in place who will be able to support you when the time comes.
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