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? comp

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.




 No matter how big or small a business is, good managers will always make a business better. What traits make a highly effective manager? Experience being a given, here are a few points to consider:


Effective managers are known to make decisions quickly and are slow to change those decisions. This is often seen as being stubborn or resistant to change, but a manager that changes his or her decisions frequently is seen as indecisive, confusing and loses respect as a team leader. Often, those who change decisions often rely too heavily on impressing others with their title and position instead of understanding what’s in front of them. Well informed, quick decision making is a signature of highly effective managers.


Good managers make definite plans and know how to execute them. Leading by guesswork without definite plans can be seen as disorganised. For the most part, effective managers take the time to think things through, weigh up all the options and then come up with viable ways to address positive and negative risks that may arise. Essentially, they plan their work and work their plan.


Good managers empathise with their team members. It’s easy for some managers to dismiss the personal issues of team members, but truly effective managers realise that paying attention to staff as well as their work is essential to having a productive team. Not only does it make the employee feel like they matter, it is also good business. A boss that sympathises with and provides resources to his/her team is a part of the holistic business approach that is good for team morale as well as the firm itself.

Knowing the Detail

Good managers understand the detail but focus their efforts on the big picture. They delegate tasks to the team and trust those team members to deliver. A good manager will always impart an understanding of the overall plan to the team and then give each person a part to play in delivering the plan.