Over the years, the team at Calkins Law Firm has assisted many aspiring business owners to both find and buy their first business. Some of these aspiring owners know what they are looking for. Others just know that they want to own a business.
After many happy pairings, we have some reflections to share. Here is one key finding: if you are planning to invest in a business, don't underestimate the value of bringing in an expert.
Whether or not a potential business owner has a clear goal in mind, the team at Calkins Law Firm can often introduce them to one or more businesses that pique their interest. The process is far easier if we know specifics, but most of the aspiring business owners we have helped haven't had a concrete idea of their ideal prospect - practically everything sounded appealing. The hopeful potential owner thinks that intuition will kick in and that they'll know what they're looking for when they see it. But in reality it's tricky to conduct a search for potential candidates when a target doesn't exist. That said, it can be done.
A case in point is Scott. He was looking to buy a business and so approached us for help and also to serve as his acquisition counsel if all went well. Scott didn't know what type of business he was looking for. Regardless, we were able to introduce him to a tech company that was ripe for sale. The owner at the time held a rapidly growing company, but didn't want to raise the capital needed to grow the business any further - he was ready to sell. The stars seemed to align on this deal and Scott both acquired and grew the company to well over 100 employees.
Scott was talking to the right people at the right time. He knew that he needed guidance and was quick to reach out. We were able to end his search before it ever began, and in a way that benefited all parties involved.
Trial and Error
Another type of potential buyer is the person who is eager to buy, but can't seem to seal the deal on their own. Rick was an investment banker who saw business owners benefiting from ownership and decided that he'd like to buy a business himself. He had already put in some efforts, taking a swing at several opportunities but unable to close on any of them. Much like Scott, Rick sought our help in finding a business to acquire, along with seeking to tap our legal expertise.
Here again we were able to leverage a business relationship and introduce Rick to a packaging company that was available for sale. Our acquaintance needed a bit of convincing, but eventually agreed to make the connection. Rick loved the idea and saw this business as a great fit. He quickly closed on the opportunity without having to deal with a prolonged acquisition search.
Neither Scott nor Rick knew what they were looking for when they set out to buy a business. But by approaching us they were able to find an ideal business with very little effort and no costly search. In both cases we drew on our extensive business experience and helped to cut a long search short. These situations aren't the norm, but they are possible.
More often than not we help an aspiring business owner without a clear goal to build and operate a system for bringing in a continuous stream of acquisition opportunities for evaluation - a deal magnet. The aspiring business owner can then comb through the businesses until they find the right one.
The theory acknowledges that we can't search for a specific business when we don't have a clear target. So instead of finding highly specified business prospects, we show the prospective business owner opportunities of all types. With wide exposure to an array of options the potential buyer is likely to find one that stands out and suits them best.
We do the legwork, contacting as many business intermediaries as we can and making the introductions. After familiarizing both parties we help the buyer to develop relationships with dozens of companies. Along the way, we both encourage and induce business representatives to send their listings along to the prospective owner for consideration.
Creating a deal magnet is no small task - we need to enlist the cooperation of countless people to gather a large enough pool of quality business opportunities. But the effort is worth the outcome. We have worked with many buyers who ultimately found and acquired the ideal business that they didn't even know they were looking for.
A deal magnet is not the fastest or least expensive way to find a business, but time and again it has proven to be a solid method - it just works. For prospective business owners who have the commitment and patience needed, deal magnet creation and maintenance can be a very worthwhile process.
Partners with Experience
Every business acquisition story will be different, but one common thread remains: the process is made easier and more successful by working with an expert. At Calkins Law Firm, a keen eye and discerning nature are part of our everyday skill set. We also understand what it takes to run a business, and we know a good one when we see it. Having that kind of experience on your side is invaluable as you venture into uncharted territory. So if you are in the market to acquire a business, rely on Calkins Law Firm for solid guidance and sound legal advice. Reach out today and learn how we can put our knowledge to work for you.