TIPS FOR BUYING OUT A COMPETITOR.
As the economy begins to recover, many businesses are finding themselves in a rather enviable position: large cash reserves in the bank and weaker competitors just waiting to be snapped up (for a bargain price!). So you know you want to expand by acquiring another firm, but where to start?
Analyse Your Business
Start with a good old-fashioned SWOT analysis. Get a flip chart and a marker and, with your management team, write up the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your business. Now identify the gaps; if for example, a weakness is that you have only 3 large clients, you could fill that gap by buying a competitor who has a further 4 large clients, thereby giving you 7 large clients. Repeat this process for the other areas.
Search for a Business
Now that you have your criteria from SWOT analysis, make sure you know how to look for a business. Don’t just go to one source; really check multiple (and reliable) sources to find the business that is right for you. Talk to your team and establish a list of competitors who are considered to have a good client base, good products or services, a good reputation etc. Get the right team of advisors in place (accountants, lawyers, etc.) and draw up a plan.
Value the Business Properly
Your accountant can help you with this, but you should read up and understand the basic financial techniques to value a business; it’s cash flow and other assets. Know how to prepare a basic business plan in order to make projections into the future. You should conduct research in order to understand how the business is getting its customers. Know how it delivers goods and services. You should try to gain an understanding of the cash flow and think about how you can maintain this flow before thinking about increased profitability.
Structure and Finance
Your advisors should be able to give you a basic understanding of how the business valuation and related cash flow tie together. Make sure you examine a number of possible ways to put a transaction together in order to overcome different risks. Your legal team and accountant should provide guidance on the best way to structure the deal and finance it in order to complete the acquisition.