"I wish I had known that.” At VBB Advisors, the leading sell side broker for the convenience services industry, we often hear those words from operators after they sold their business without our assistance. Usually, the seller’s remorse comes from three big mistakes that are easy to avoid.
Big Mistake #1 – Going it alone
As an operator, you were successful in business. That’s why you can now sell your company, a highly coveted possession that you have worked hard to build. One of the reasons for your ongoing success was your ability to utilize experts in several areas including training, technology, accounting and on legal matters.
Now that you have decided to sell your company, this is not the time to stop relying on experts or to use a business broker that might not act in your best interests. Selling your business is potentially a life changing event. Having an attorney and an accountant in your corner is not enough – you need an experienced business intermediary on your team to ensure that you receive everything you want and need from the buyer – including confidentiality, terms, incentives, key employee protection and of course, the right selling price. Do you really know what your company is worth?
At VBB Advisors, we have been involved in facilitating hundreds of mergers and acquisitions in the convenience services industry. When selling, you only have one chance to do it right. You need the experienced, strong and solution driven sell side representation that we offer.
Big Mistake #2 – Focusing on one potential buyer
As an experienced operator, it is reasonable to assert that you have a strong handle on the industry. You attend conventions, you read the trade publications, you subscribe to my monthly newsletter – you know who the players are without a scorecard. In fact, in the back of your mind, you have always known who will ultimately be interested in buying your company.
Sometimes, the obvious buyer appeals to you because they are people you like, people you know – perhaps they are a friendly competitor. They are the easy choice to buy your company, but are they the optimum choice?
While it certainly makes sense to explore selling your company to the obvious choice, we urge our clients to resist the temptation to focus on one potential buyer for many reasons:
▪There are potential buyers out there that you don’t even know about. These include new players such as C-Store Chains, Bottling Companies and Investment Groups. They are hungry for your business and market share.
▪Competition is a good thing. Your obvious buyer wants to buy your business badly. Just knowing that competition exists will drive the price in an upward direction. At VBB Advisors, we see this happen – deal after deal.
▪Multiple potential buyers will help strengthen your negotiating position on secondary issues, such as key employee protection and the seller’s responsibilities after the transaction is closed.
At VBB Advisors, we know who the buyers are – beyond the obvious choices. With our help, there can be a bidding war for your company. Sit back and enjoy the experience of selling your company. We will bring the buyers to you.
Big Mistake #3 – Assuming Buyer Behavior
You know that if you were the buyer, everything would be done to ensure a seamless transition for employees and customers. Unfortunately, you are the seller, not the buyer, and you can’t assume anything.
There are many things that can go wrong after the sale of a business, some of which, you can’t even imagine.
At VBB Advisors, our experience in mergers and acquisitions has helped us create a very long checklist for our clients. Remember, we are a sell side broker with the seller’s interests in mind.
If protecting your key employees is important, we can make that a part of your deal. At the same time, we can build provisions into your deal to protect your company’s good reputation, to ensure that any upside sales incentives are realized (with no downside) and to make sure that the sale of your business is a smooth process for everyone involved.