If you’re preparing to sell your business, be on high alert for warning signs that could potentially derail the deal. Time is of the essence when it comes to finalizing your deal, so why spend time negotiating with a buyer who is either not really interested or is simply not qualified to buy? Let’s take a look at some of the top buyer warning signs.
- Lack of Buyer Experience
When it comes to individual buyers, determine if they have experience in your industry. If a prospective buyer is not knowledgeable about your business, they might initially seem very excited but then get cold feet once they dive in and learn more about the industry.
The same can be said for a potential buyer who has never purchased a business before. If you’re dealing with a “newbie,” you’ll want to feel confident that this individual understands the factors involved in buying a business before you dedicate too much time to their deal. After all, the process of buying a business can be long and complicated. Inexperienced buyers might find they no longer want to continue progressing once they get a better sense of what is involved.
- Undisclosed Financial Information
Along similar lines, you’ll want to work with a buyer who is open about their financials. If you are denied access to financial statements, you will have no way to verify that this buyer is actually equipped to purchase your business.
Is your business exit ready?
If you’re planning to exit your company in the near future, you may find EastWind’s Exit Strategy Playbook helpful in developing your own exit strategy, making your company more sellable.
- Early Communication Issues
Another common red flag to watch for is when a company indicates it’s interested in buying your business, but the company’s actual decision makers are uninvolved in the communication. If a company is legitimately interested in purchasing your business, you will be communicating with a key player like the company’s president or CEO.
Protect Your Interests
When your business is on the market it is very important to ensure things stay consistent. If a legitimate buyer sees dips in sales or quality of your offerings, it could put a future deal at risk. That’s why you will want to protect your time by not wasting it with buyers who are not a good fit or who lack a high level of interest. Along the way, be sure to trust your intuition. If you sense something might be “off” with a potential buyer, this might very well be the case.
Working with a merger and acquisition advisor will offer you a high degree of protection against falling into a rabbit hole during the sales process, when you should be focusing on keeping your business running as successfully as possible. Your M&A advisor will carefully vet buyers to ensure they are viable candidates.