Keeping Pace:Stacking Multiple Prospects

When Market Outreach begins in earnest, there’s a careful juggling act required to keep things moving well. In the previous post, I talked about the step-by-step process we go through in our initial contacts with a prospective client. But remember—at the outset of the Market Outreach phase your team of M&A Advisors will have assembled […]

The Mechanics of Market Outreach

During the Market Outreach phase, the three-stage process of buying a business can feel like a school dance in the 1980s—young men clumped together along one wall, young ladies arranged on the opposite side, neither side willing to take the first step. The goal is to get any of them to meet in the middle. […]

Lessons From Experienced Buyers

In a previous post, I mentioned that a structured series of smaller acquisitions over time is often a wiser course of action than one larger, splashy purchase. An acquisition strategy built in this way has a lot of powerful advantages in growing your business over the long term, but today I want to talk about […]

The Creative Approach

In the previous post in this series, I took a moment to warn against over-relying on Google and other public search engines in conducting market research. I suggest using the same caution regarding the industry use of paid databases. Like every other M&A firm, Stillwater sometimes uses paid databases—they offer enormous swaths of information on […]

The Big Funnel

We start the Market Outreach Stage of the acquisition process with a list of prospects that in some way fit what you’re looking for. Your Advisors have done their work in the preparatory phase and have developed a good picture of you and your company—your acquisitional capabilities, what you’re looking for, and an idea of […]

On Collaboration

Once the acquisition process begins, you’ll quickly discover that your new team of M&A Advisors are suddenly very present in the life of your company. Contact is almost daily; this team of recent strangers is asking questions and looking for information, and meetings are called. For the duration of the process, your advisors are just […]

From Preparation To Outreach

If you’ve read Stillwater’s previous series on the Steps to Selling Your Business, you’ll know that the three-step process is the same for sellers and buyers. 1: THE PREPARATORY STAGE 2: THE MARKET OUTREACH STAGE 3: CLOSING Those who read that series will also know that, for the seller, the preparatory phase is a daunting […]

Who Is Your Champion?

One guarantee that comes with choosing Stillwater Capital as your M&A Advisors: you will have astonishingly organized people working on your behalf. Some degree of organizational ability is necessary for anyone handling the myriad of moving parts involved in a successful acquisition, but at Stillwater, we look for the highest level of skill in everyone […]

Don’t Bet The Farm

The overall goal of the Preparatory Stage of the 3-step acquisition process is to get your business ready to face the market, and to develop a clear idea of what you’re looking for. It’s demanding, and requires a lot of precise communication and analysis, but in some ways it’s also the most fluid step in […]

Public or Private

In my last post, I discussed the high-value Stillwater places on highly adaptable people who can make smart decisions in real time. I call people like that situationally fluid. This skill set gives an advisor the power to change direction and tactics on a dime, to pivot as a situation demands. People who excel at […]

Preparing For Scrutiny

So far, in this series, I’ve largely focused on the preliminary preparations you and your company can make before the formal process begins. I want to re-emphasize here that the most important preliminary step you can take is choosing the right M&A Advisors. They are a key factor in the transaction’s quality and the relative […]

On Post-Deal Integration

In this post, I want to highlight a critical and often overlooked piece from the very end of the acquisition process that needs to be carefully considered from the beginning—Post-Deal Integration. When the ink has dried, and the keys are in your hand, how will you integrate the new business into the daily reality of […]

Extension or Transformation

We continue to focus on the importance of the preparations you make before the formal acquisition process begins. Adopting the right mindset and making robust preliminary preparations sets you up for success in the end. In this post, I want to focus on another critical facet that you need to consider concerning your plans to […]

What shade of yellow ?

When your advisors eventually turn their focus from internal discovery to market outreach later in the acquisition process, they will start to develop an initial longlist of potential candidates for acquisition. It will be a long list, too lengthy for you to scrutinize every prospect. However, if you were to review it, you would see, […]

What Are You Looking For?

The whole act of buying a business hinges on finding the right one to buy. The company you acquire must align with your company’s mission, contribute to your strategy for the future, and tick other boxes unique to your needs and situation. In the early days of the three-step formal acquisition process—the preparatory phase, the […]

Are You Future-Proof?

The initial posts in this series on the steps to buying a business outline the preparations you can make before the three-stage, formal acquisition process begins, along with the mindset you must adopt to achieve the best results. The formal process begins after you’ve engaged an M&A Advisor, but your preliminary preparation will give you […]

One Question Is The Key To Everything

A tale of 2 companies – A North American management team and a European management team walk into an M&A Firm… It sounds like the start of the kind of bad joke that the keynote speaker tells at an industry conference, but it’s not. It’s the true story of two companies who came to Stillwater […]

The Shopkeep And The Hunter: Two Mindsets

In the introductory blog to this series, I laid out why, in the process of buying a business, you should not do it alone. You need skilled, experienced M&A Advisors working with you at every stage of the 3-step process of buying a business: STEP ONE: PREPARATION STEP TWO: MARKET OUTREACH STEP THREE: CLOSING THE […]

Bring the Right Advisors

Bring the Right Advisors If you and your management team’s strategic plan includes buying a business, you’re starting in a good place right here. In this space, I want to share some insights my team, and I have learned over years of walking our clients successfully through this process. I want to offer you some […]

Sometimes You Don’t Want a Bargain

We all know the thrill of finding an item vastly on sale. “It was a steal!”, we exclaim to our friends. In the world of M&A, buyers are always cautioned about the dangers of overpaying. In the classic Harvard Business Review article “Are You Paying Too Much for that Acquisition?”, Robert Eccles et al warn, […]