The Targeted Search for Acquisition Opportunities

Working with a partner who has connections in the business world can prove so helpful to clients who are looking to buy a company. For those without a clear goal, building a deal magnet is a necessary first step. This approach attracts an unfiltered and unsorted array of opportunities and is best for the buyer who is open to any and all opportunities. But for the prospective buyer who already has a solid notion of the type of business they are interested in owning, we recommend a targeted, data-driven search.

Sure-Fire Target

When it comes to setting up and executing a targeted business acquisition search, data is king. And right now, data on businesses has never been more available or more detailed. At Calkins Law Firm we can leverage that data availability on behalf of our business-buying clients who already have well in mind the type of company they would like to own.

Once a potential buyer restricts their goal to obtaining a business of a certain type, we can more readily help them with further definition, searching, and eventual acquisition. With a defined search we develop a database and then use various methods - from direct mail to telephone calls and old-school networking - to reach and communicate with the current owner of the business in question. We then assist our client in developing a positive rapport with them, ultimately convincing the current business owner to sell to our client.

We have performed targeted searches from time to time, and with great success too. What we've learned is that sometimes it's best to refer clients to have this work done by more uniquely qualified business intermediaries. We'll generally partner with these experts to share in the reward of seeing a good deal done. But let's drill down to some real-life musings.

Prime Examples

Looking back to Scott and Rick's situations, highlighted in our deal magnet article, let's imagine that they didn't just want to buy any business. How would things have been different if they already had a vision? 

Had Scott been looking for, say, a search engine optimization (SEO) business available for acquisition and located in Northeastern Ohio, we could have performed the necessary research and then targeted businesses meeting those criteria. Once we'd nailed down a few top contenders we could then have found the opportunity that he did ultimately close on.

The same is true for Rick. Had he come to us knowing that he was looking for a plastic packaging business located in Northeast Ohio, we could have used a variety of ways to search for and target the right businesses. With that detailed insight of Rick's end goals, we could have also referred him to a business intermediary for an even more targeted search. 

Of course, that isn't how things went down for either client, but their outcomes are exceptions to the rule. Normally it would have been best to develop a deal magnet for them. But they lucked out because we were able to short-circuit the process. We used our business connections to locate an ideal acquisition opportunity without the need for a lengthy search. We succeeded in finding a business for each of them to buy, but it wasn't because they had a specific focus that led us there.

Work With What You Know

Knowing what you're looking for when searching for a business to acquire is the best way to begin the process. But not everyone will have this insight at the beginning, or at all. The next best option is to stick with a business in an industry or sector that you're familiar with. 

Prospective business owners who don't have a clear focus can narrow an impossibly wide array of options by homing in on businesses that they have at least some knowledge about. This is a natural fit, since would-be business owners can best add valuable contributions when they fundamentally understand the nature of the company they're looking to buy. This is a more likely path to success for the buyer, the business, and the employees they will be managing.

If a client's area of interest is beyond our reach, we would refer them to a more seasoned expert for better assistance.

Seeing the Forest

As mentioned earlier, Scott and Rick didn't have clear acquisition goals, yet we still helped them find and buy businesses that were a good match and fit their needs. And that's where a solid, professional partner comes in - our connections helped us to better serve them both. We focused on their main goal of buying a business and worked to make that happen.

For these two clients, the process was fast. But it doesn't always go so smoothly. And we're never going to stand in the way of a client's wishes or prospects. So if we ever find that our initial suggestions aren't a good fit, we'll do the work to build a robust deal magnet to source acquisition opportunities of all types. We didn't have to resort to that approach with Scott or Rick, but we surely would have.

The deal magnet and the targeted search are two very different methods for reaching the same end result - sourcing acquisition opportunities. Both can and do work. But here's the point: whether a prospective buyer has a clear, defined goal, or just wants to buy a business, a reliable partner will do the needed work to make that dream a reality. 

Partnering with Experience

At Calkins Law Firm, we are ready to help clients realize their dream of owning a business. Our keen eye and discerning nature help us to make the most of available opportunities. And our genuine desire for clients' success allows us to determine when another helping hand is key. Having that kind of honesty and experience on your side is invaluable as you begin your acquisition journey. So if you are in the market to make a business your own, rely on Calkins Law Firm for solid guidance and sound legal advice. Reach out today to learn how we can start working for you.

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Benjamin Calkins

Benjamin Calkins

Ben Calkins is a well-educated, top-rated, and highly experienced business law attorney.

Ben Calkins is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. After law school, he clerked for a Federal Judge before joining one of the World’s largest law firms, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. Mr. Calkins has also worked at, and been a partner in, several of the most prominent “old style law firms” in the World.