An Acquisition Search Should Be BOTH Systematic and Opportunistic
It occurs to me that when you search for an acquisition opportunity, it is very important to have a well-designed process in place, but also be open to unforeseen opportunities to come your way. The more thoughtful your plan - the more likely you are to get "lucky."
1. Take whatever time you need to carefully study and to determine what kind of business you seek to acquire.
After a great deal of thought, determine what type of business you seek to acquire and why acquiring such a business makes sense for you. As part of this process, I recommend creating an acquisition strategy that includes detailed criteria.
Armed with the acquisition criteria, be systematic and thorough in your company acquisition search. Access relevant databases and lists and cast your nets widely to be absolutely sure that you are able to find all of the prospective acquisition targets that match your acquisition criteria.
2. Take a systematic and thorough approach to locating acquisition opportunities
I have worked with clients who have used advertisements, direct mail, telephone calls and various other methods for approaching prospective acquisition targets. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being both systematic and thorough in the acquisition search process.
3. Be opportunistic if a desirable acquisition opportunity suddenly becomes available to you.
While being systematic and thorough, also be opportunistic in your search. In other words, be open to the possibility that you might identify acquisition targets without looking for them. Quite literally you might stumble onto a legitimate acquisition target through networking, by speaking with your attorney and other professional advisors, or in other unanticipated ways.
I have put many buyers and sellers together over the years and in the process created a number of very profitable opportunities for my clients. More often than not it is sound planning that hits the home runs. But on occasion, my informal networking has created a winning combination that nobody involved could have seen coming. Most importantly, all participants were open-minded enough to accept a deviation from their plans as the unforeseen opportunity arose.
The more serious your process the greater the likelihood of success you have in your acquisition search. That is a sure thing. So set yourself up for success with a serious process. But be open to the possibility that the best acquisition opportunity might quite literally jump up and hit you in the face.