Winners Make Personal Contacts!

By by Glen Cooper, CBI, CBA, BVAL

Winners Make Personal Contacts!

Screening & Selecting Businesses:

Are you, as a buyer prospect, making a BIG mistake? Are you digitally disconnecting? Buying a business is a two-step process. First you screen, then you select. Don’t do both on the Internet! Taking time to make personal contacts is the strategy chosen by winners.

Trying to screen and select businesses for sale without seeing them – without meeting brokers or owners – creates a digital disconnection. You think you are searching the market, when really you’re just sifting through disconnected data. What’s missing is the personal relationship that makes it all happen.

You screen on the Internet. Whether it is right or not is a moot point. That’s the way it’s done these days. Nearly everyone searches the Internet before deciding what businesses to consider. As long as this screening process is preceded by a thorough self-assessment that’s probably okay. (See Why and How to Buy A Business.) You are screening by what you can afford and what interests you.

When it comes time to select from among the businesses that make the initial cut the only way to make it happen is to “pass the show-up test” and meet the broker and then the seller in person and talk. Buyers that develop an in-person relationship with brokers and sellers are WAY AHEAD of the game. When brokers get to know buyers personally, new opportunities are discovered. When sellers meet buyers they like, sometimes the clouds part in the sky! Previously impossible things become possible, even likely.

A business exists in a larger context than can be presented in a verbal or written description of it. Its market, geography, physical assets, intangible assets (like the people who work in it!) are all factors that must be reviewed with all the senses. You can’t do it from a distance. (See Value Drivers in Business Sales.)

Sellers can’t/won’t disclose everything long distance either. Until they trust you as a real person, they will not give you the added information that you need to spot that really good opportunity.

Our best advice: Build your personal relationships. Make a personal connection, not a digital disconnection.

Headlines

  • Buying or Selling a Business at “Peak Market”.

    The cyclical nature of the economy can add uncertainty to the timing of an acquisition, or an exit from a business. However, unlike the clarity of an improving economy or the risks inherent in a downturn, buying or selling at a market high creates a unique set of challenges.

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