The serious buyer's guide to making a successful acquisition - Part 1

The serious buyer's guide to making a successful acquisition - Part 1

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, with hundreds of thousands in operation across the country. But for each business, there are countless more companies and individuals on the lookout for an acquisition.

Yes, strategic growth through acquisition remains one of the fastest ways to grow a business and for would-be owners buying a business is a much safer bet than starting a business from scratch. So with the demand for quality acquisition opportunities so high and with so many competitors looking, how can you ensure that you are the prospective buyer that sellers want to speak with?

Here at the Business Sale Report we speak to successful business buyers every day and hear about the methods they routinely follow to ensure that their acquisition enquiries are successful. We also speak to business sellers to find out what types of buyers they are more inclined to deal with. Below are a few tips that will hopefully help you make a successful acquisition.

Make a good first impression

One comment that we hear over and over again from less successful buyers is that they have sent a seller an email and not yet heard anything back. When we ask them what they sent to the business seller often it is something like this;

  • An opening letter detailing who you are, your motivations for the purchase and a formal declaration of their interest in the business.
  • A copy of your CV or acquisition profile if you are an existing business owner. You should display qualifications, corporate achievements either recent or historically, and overall clearly display your suitability as a new owner.
  • If a structured acquisition criteria exists or if the purchase falls in line with an existing corporate mission statement, it is a great opportunity to display your long term goals.
  • Business references from people within similar industry as the target business are a great way to solidify interest if they are available of course.
  • Proof of finances is probably the most crucial piece of information you will have to present to anyone as it clearly displays that you have the means behind you to successfully complete on the deal. Buyers who quickly produce this are often the ones progress to the final stages of the acquisition process the fastest.
  • Legal representation is necessary evil when acquisition is concerned. Supporting documents from your lawyer will help confirm your seriousness to the various parties involved.