The Indispensable Benefits of Using an M&A Firm

For entrepreneurs who have poured their blood, sweat, and passion into building a business from the ground up, the prospect of selling or seeking private equity investment can be both exciting and overwhelming. As the decision-makers of their enterprises, many business owners face a pivotal question: Why should they enlist the expertise of a Merger and Acquisition (M&A) firm in the intricate journey of selling their business? In this article, we identify the problem and uncover the compelling benefits that make partnering with an M&A firm a strategic move for business owners seeking a profitable and seamless transition.

The issue or problem:

The small business owner, typically with $500,000 of adjusted EBITDA to $5m adjusted EBITDA, does not receive good advice nor the attention of sophisticated investment banking firms. The related fees and time investment are not worth the effort for the high overhead firms representing these larger companies.

Owners know their business but not the merger and acquisition business – it would be like having an eye doctor perform heart surgery. The number one mistake a small business owner makes is attempting to represent themselves through this process. If you were in a legal battle, you would not go to court and represent yourself. A good M&A firm for small business will gain over 34% additional value for the owner, on top of helping you avoid the many legal and accounting traps that can really cost you in post transaction. The real risk of a transaction is in post transaction, not during the pre-transaction courting process.

Be aware of the business brokers who list your company. They serve the smaller market very well; however, a small business owner who is seeking a M&A transaction needs a skilled advisor to navigate the process and achieve the desired result.

The benefits who using a good firm are numerous and we will discuss a few below.

1. Expertise in Valuation:

One of the initial challenges business owners encounter is determining the accurate valuation of their business. M&A firms bring a wealth of expertise in valuing businesses, considering not just the financials but also market dynamics, industry trends, and potential for growth. There is a difference between an IRS valuation calculated by your CPA or other firms and a market valuation. The market valuation is what a buyer is willing to pay for the business. The most important first step is to determine if the market value is in alignment with owner expectations.

2. Access to a Network of Buyers:

M&A firms have an extensive network of potential buyers, both strategic and financial, cultivated through years of experience in the industry. This network allows them to identify the right cultural and economic match for your business. The cultural match is as critical as the economic match because you want the employees to continue to work at the business and maintain its success. There is nothing more aggravating then watching the business you built be destroyed and ruined by someone else.

3. Navigating the Due Diligence Process:

The due diligence process is a critical phase of any business sale, requiring meticulous scrutiny of financials, legal aspects, and operational details. M&A firms act as seasoned guides, steering business owners through this complex process, anticipating potential challenges, and ensuring all necessary documents are in order. This level of support not only expedites the due diligence process but also instills confidence in potential buyers.  A good firm will provide you with the support, so you are not attempting this process on your own.  Be careful – most firms will get you an offer and then turn you over to your attorneys and CPAs while even those professionals need the support to finish this process. Most transactions get lost during this stage due to improperly handling the situations that arise. One thing is certain, there will always be at least one thing in every deal. An excellent firm has a positive relationship with buyer and seller and mitigate the circumstances and manage the process to a successful close.

4. Optimizing Deal Structures:

Crafting a deal structure that aligns with the business owner’s goals while appealing to potential buyers requires a delicate balance. M&A firms bring a wealth of understanding for deal structuring, ensuring that the terms are favorable, and the transaction maximizes value for the business owner.  The most optimal deal is a win-win structure that meets the needs of both buyer and seller.

5. Maintaining Confidentiality:

Confidentiality is paramount in the M&A process. Business owners often fear that word of a potential sale may disrupt operations or unsettle employees and customers. M&A firms implement stringent confidentiality measures, safeguarding the business owner’s interests and minimizing potential disruptions during the sale process.

6. Negotiating with Authority:

Negotiating the terms of a business sale demands a blend of finesse and authority. M&A firms leverage their experience and market knowledge to negotiate on behalf of the business owner, aiming for terms that align with their objectives and maximize the overall value of the deal.

7. Focus on Core Business Operations:

Selling a business is an all-encompassing task that can divert attention from day-to-day operations. M&A firms allow business owners to stay focused on running their enterprises while the experts handle the intricate details of the sale process. This ensures continuity in operations and sustains the business’s overall health.

8. Mitigating Emotional Stress:

Selling a business is not just a financial transaction; it’s an emotional journey for entrepreneurs. M&A firms serve as supportive partners, offering guidance, reassurance, and an objective perspective. This emotional support is invaluable during the challenging moments of the sale process.  Great advisors know how to keep the main thing the main thing, always reminding the owner of their why.

Conclusion: A Strategic Partnership for Success

In the dynamic realm of selling businesses, enlisting the services of an M&A firm is more than a convenience; it’s a strategic move that can significantly impact the outcome of the transaction. The absolute best time to engage a business advisor is two to three years before you are ready so the advisor can help you mold the company for optimal value. At TREP Advisors, we understand the unique challenges faced by entrepreneurs in this journey, and we are here to be your trusted partners.

Our expertise goes beyond transactional details; we are committed to ensuring that the sale of your business aligns with your goals, preserves its legacy, and unlocks its full potential. For personalized insights and guidance tailored to your unique situation, let’s connect with a 30 minute consultation call. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together, positioning your business for success in its next chapter.

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Jeff Piersall

Jeff Piersall is a proven leader in all endeavors of his life having positively affected thousands of people throughout his career. As founder and CEO of TREP Advisors, Jeff and his team guide business owners through the process of growth capital, business succession and how to use these as tools to project their businesses forward. Jeff is known for his strategic vision and how to manage chaos; he is the classic multi-tasker for the successful obtainment of the goal. He is a tireless worker and known for his 4:00am emails to get things done. He is the ultimate problem-solver by uniquely taking the complex and breaking it down to the simple fundamentals for a plan of action and implementation. He is a sales savant with a diverse background in people and business skills making him the quintessential advisor for succession planning to entrepreneurs. Jeff is also co-author of Dogs Don't Bark at Parked Cars. 

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