Working With an M&A Advisor

You can help your client further by preparing him for working with an M&A advisor. Marketing a business is a collaborative effort between client and advisor. The advisor has the experience and skills to effectively market the business, and does the heavy lifting, but the client’s input and involvement is necessary every step of the way.

Depending on the nature of your client’s business, the M&A advisor will determine the appropriate research required. In some cases, the M&A advisor will do extensive research to find as many qualified buyers as possible, while in others the seller may only desire a select group of potential buyers. Your client likely has insider information about his industry and many industry contacts, and can suggest other potential buyers. Similarly, once a list of potential buyers is identified, the client should be able to review the list of potential buyers and delete those he thinks are not suitable.

The Client’s Commitment

Once your client starts working with an M&A advisor, he will need to commit to the process. Without regular involvement, the chances of obtaining the best deal possible are reduced. If your client leaves everything up to the advisor, the advisor won’t be able to do the best job.

It’s A Long Haul

It can take 6 to 12 months, or even longer, to close the deal after signing a letter of engagement with an M&A advisor. Your client still has a business to run; if he doesn’t give it the attention it deserves, profitability can slip and, along with it, the value of the business.

At the same time, the sale process requires the client’s attention. Essentially, the client now has two jobs and needs to prepare for the challenge of doing both.

There are some things people can do to help ease the workload during the sale process. You may want to advise your client to:

How To Help Your Client Cope

  • Enlist the help of a key employee in the business to assist with the sale process to help ease the demands of these two jobs.
  • Develop a plan with the M&A advisor for the amount of time that can be committed on a regular basis.
  • Insist that the M&A advisor provides regular—weekly or bi-weekly—progress reports so your client is always up to date with developments. The progress reports should also contain a task list for the client to carry out before the next progress report.
  • Draw on you and other advisors to provide some of the required information, and get your input along the way.