Steps to Selling a Business Series

Selling a business well is one of the most important milestones in the life of a business owner. Getting this wrong is like dropping the ball on the 1-yard line in the Super Bowl’s final seconds. Follow along with our Selling a Business series as we walk through the journey we take our clients on […]

The Remedy to Risk

Risk in the Current Environment Risk, real and perceived, is a critical factor in M&A. Risk informs valuation and drives deal structure. The market today is full of risk. Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, increases in interest rates, inflation, and global supply chain issues have created an unpredictable economic environment. Risk, left unattended, can […]

Choose Well

Steps to Selling your Business Part 38. As we bring this exploration of the process of selling your business to an end, I want to reiterate the principle that will determine the quality of your success: YOU MUST CHOOSE THE RIGHT ADVISORS Fail at that, and you jeopardize the outcome of the entire sale. The […]

The Purchase Agreement

Steps to Selling your Business Part 37. The purchase agreement is the kingpin of the sale process—a binding contract that will significantly impact the next stage of your life. Your Advisors must play a crucial role in shaping the final terms of the agreement to your advantage and have a responsibility to ensure they clearly […]

Representations, Warranties, and Indemnifications

Steps to Selling your Business Part 36. A critical section of the Purchase Agreement outlines the representations, warranties, and indemnification limits. Get any of these wrong, and you could devalue your earn-out or potentially turn a great-looking sale into a personal disaster. Getting it right, though, requires experience and expertise —this is complex work. Before […]

From Letter of Intent to Purchase Agreement

Steps to Selling your Business Part 35. The Closing Phase moves you from a completed Letter of Intent (LOI) through Due Diligence to the signing of the Purchase Agreement. By this point, your M&A Advisors should have a robust and well-crafted Letter of Intent secured and in your hands with the best buyer with the […]

Negotiating Around Risk

Steps to Selling your Business Part 34. In a previous post, I explained that a great Advisor’s mission is to get the best deal for the seller in a form that also works for the buyer. We face a significant hurdle in helping your buyer accept risk, and we need to minimize the impact these […]

Structuring Earnouts

Steps to Selling your Business Part 33. One of the critical components of this last stretch in selling your business centers around structuring how the purchase price will be paid. This post will cover a common and crucial component of many Letters of Intent—the Earnout. Most business sales must deal with the differences between how […]

Two Foundations of Good Negotiation

Steps to Selling your Business Part 32. At this point in the sale of your business, you will have one or several Letters of Intent from interested buyers. When we work with clients, we do a lot of heavy lifting in thinking, analysis, explaining, and positioning. We have found that buyers respond very well to […]

A View of the Finish Line

Steps to Selling your Business Part 31. Management visits are complete. You and your team of Advisors have stepped into the third and final phase in the sales process. Congratulations! Phase One – Preparation: you have provided your advisors with all the information needed to tell your business’s story. Phase Two – Market Outreach: all […]

Choosing Buyers for your Shortlist pt.2

Steps to Selling your Business Part 30. In our last post we discussed creating your shortlist of buyers by eliminating prospects based on a lack of certainty of closing. Cutting those who aren’t as likely to close will save you a lot of otherwise wasted time.

The elimination process doesn’t end there. You will make further cuts as you apply the remaining three criteria: valuation, deal structure, and chemistry.

Choosing Buyers for your Shortlist

Steps to Selling your Business Part 29. Last week we discussed how we continue the process of cutting the list of potential buyers. In terms of a shortlist, there isn’t a precise target, quota, or arbitrary goal, for example naming a top three or reducing your pool of candidates by half. Remember, you will be […]

After the Dance

Steps to Selling your Business Part 28. Your Management Visits are over. You are sick of hotel boardroom coffee, dreaming in pre-scripted responses to questions about your run-rate analysis, and—if you’re like most—may feel a little exhausted, talked-out, and out of adrenaline.  These are signs of a robust and healthy round of Management Visits. After […]

The End-Goals of Management Visits

Steps to Selling your Business Part 27. Before we move on to the next step in selling your business, I want to take a moment to consider the end goals of Management Visits. The first is to thin out the pack of prospective buyers. After these meetings, the people you move forward with will be […]

Being Coachable

Steps to Selling your Business Part 26. There is one thing we require of our seller clients during the week of management visits: We ask them to be extremely coachable. It can be demanding (and possibly a little humbling), but I believe being coachable is a necessary component of creating the best outcome as you […]

How Not to Derail a Management Visit

Steps to Selling your Business Part 25. Sellers can, at times, inadvertently sabotage their own progress during a management visit. Our team is skilled at managing any problems that may arise and work diligently to ensure our clients are successful. Below I outline four common missteps and how Advisors at Stillwater manage these.  MISSTEP ONE: […]

Management Visits are Critical

Steps to Selling your Business Part 24. The management visit – the meeting between you and the shortlist of qualified buyers – is the highlight of the Market Outreach phase. A lot is riding on your success here. If you have done it properly, you should have confidence in every name on that shortlist of […]

Narrowing the Field pt.2

Steps to Selling your Business Part 23. In my last post, I outlined our first step in cutting the extensive list of interested candidates down to a list of the highest-quality potential buyers through a request for a written Expression of Interest (EOI).  The EOI request quickly removes bargain hunters, value investors, and tire kickers from […]

Narrowing the Field pt.1

Steps to Selling your Business Part 22. The Market Outreach Phase is an energizing time in the sale process. Lots of time has been spent researching and reaching out to a robust list of prospects. As I’ve discussed earlier, this is no small feat, so what needs to be done next might seem counterintuitive.  Here’s what […]

Removing Obstacles

Steps to Selling your Business Part 21. Removing any obstacles that stand between you and the sale of your company is a key job for your M&A Advisors. Dealing with obstacles is a systematic process for a skilled team: Identify an obstacle Deploy the best strategic response to properly position it Anticipate future obstacles Prepare […]