Case Study
Unexpected-approach-for-sale-bailey-street-furniture
Unexpected-approach-for-sale-bailey-street-furniture
By Alex Dodgshon

Are you prepared for unsolicited buyer approaches?

TAGS:  Business Exit Strategies, Sellability, Value Builder Methodology

Picture this: you’re sipping your morning coffee, overseeing your bustling business, and mulling over your expansion plans. Suddenly, you hear a metaphorical knock at your door – It’s the sound of opportunity.

Surprisingly, this opportunity doesn’t come from your own efforts; it’s an entrepreneur who’s come knocking wanting to buy your business. Now, you might be wondering, “Why would a buyer approach me out of the blue?” Well, for the best companies, it happens more often than you might think.

This is where our journey into the essential art of preparedness begins.

When Opportunity Takes the Lead

In the symphony of SME business sales, it’s usually the business owner who orchestrates the selling process. But increasingly frequently, buyers are taking the lead. Metaphorically, they show up unannounced simply asking if you’re interested in selling. Not turning up at your doorstep (that would not be acceptable), these ambitious entrepreneurs will often employ the expertise of buy-side Brokers to scour the market for them.

Whilst this opportunity may be unsolicited for you, for the potential buyer this is a planned and methodical strategy that will give their business growth into new markets, products or geographical regions. There is nothing accidental about it. They are targeting your sector, your type of business.

How you respond to this initial approach can make it or break it.

The Constant Vigil

At Uscita, we are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities that match our client’s requirements. But having been in this space since 2005, it is not just current clients we have in mind, but the many other businesses we’ve worked with in the past and areas of interest which may be noteworthy for the future. We also build relationships with other professionals and get to know those who represent their clients honestly and with integrity.

Bailey Street Furniture Group acquired by CRoWD

When a mailing from Langcliffe International hit the inbox outlining an acquisition search in a very specific niche, it was an existing rapport from previous work with Bailey Street Furniture Group (referred to hereafter as Bailey) that brought them to mind.

Our first call with Bailey was a simple question. “Would you be interested in a conversation about the sale of the business?”

The owners of Bailey had no intention to sell the business at that time. It wasn’t for sale and they weren’t actively researching the sales market, but they were also open-minded and willing to explore the opportunity that was unveiling itself. So with a positive answer and a curiosity to understand more, we were off on a journey of discovery.

The value of preparedness

Seizing an unsolicited opportunity like this doesn’t equate to a done deal. The match on paper between CRoWD and Bailey was promising, but it would have stopped before it started had Bailey not been able to satisfy CRoWD when it came to confirming the commercial and cultural fit for the 2 companies.

Part of the exit planning work we do with clients helps them to identify and document the standard operating procedures in their business. Those things a business does that make it run smoothly without the owner overseeing every little aspect. Those things which deliver customer satisfaction, delivers work to a deadline and ultimately contributes to bottom line profitability.  These become key factors for a buyer who has to assess the impact a change of ownership will have on trade. We also look at financial records, forecasting and key data metrics that help to drive business decisions.

Whilst we hadn’t worked with Bailey specifically on their exit strategy, they had naturally set the business up this way. They had the systems in place and the data at their fingertips. There were no major factors that would undermine the value of Bailey as an acquisition target for CRoWD.

Bailey could easily pull out data and reports that evidence what CRoWD needed to know about the operation. Had they not been able to make those assurances and provide such information in a timely manner, CRoWD would possibly have lost focus, lost trust, undermined confidence and moved on to find a different acquisition target. We see it happening time and time again in underprepared businesses.

Despite the lack of an intent to sell at the time, the preparations Bailey had put together in their day to day business had secured this deal. 12-months of due diligence still ensued. This was a UK company being purchased by a Dutch company so there were a few extra considerations just from a legal standpoint.

Symphony of Success: Harmony

Every grand symphony requires harmony, and the acquisition by CRoWD of Bailey Street Furniture Group was no different. It was that preparedness that set the groundwork for a successful deal. Being able to respond to questions and information requests quickly.  Open communication was also critical. Both sides could have faltered at different stages, but the alignment of goals, values, and vision ensured their focus was always on moving forward.

Preparedness

Sometimes the journey towards a remarkable sale begins long before it hits the market. Preparation is the compass that guides buyers towards you, puts your business on their radar, even if they come knocking when you least expect it.

You are welcome to assess your preparedness with our benchmark Value Builder Score, free to take at any time.

 

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