Our Story.... continued
So, we agreed to take on our first paying “sell side” client, a nice lower middle market engineering/construction management firm in Florida specializing in Federal contracting; then another engineering firm asked us to do the same, which lead to a third firm hiring us to develop a growth plan which included finding certain acquisitions to fulfil that plan. And so, it has gone. We have continued to grow and expand, but more importantly we have focused on streamlining the processes and tools needed to make both the buy and sell side processes be more efficient for our clients and us.
So, unlike the hordes of business brokers and lower middle market intermediaries who came to be in a more planned and logical manner, we evolved into this role with no plan of doing so at all, but we like what we do, for it is actually just a reshuffling of what we have been doing for over three decades, but rather than being the buyer, we are the advisor to make the best match come together for all involved Our clients truly like our very personalized and unique approach to matchmaking.
We are not a local business brokers that primarily work with small, “main street” type companies. We are not a traditional intermediary nor are we an investment banker. But rather we tend to do a bit from each of those categories. We do not have a long laundry list of clients plastered on our web site, but a select few firms that we find partners for in a very direct yet discreet fashion. We do not blast out ads.
We know the metrics, the lingo, how companies operate. We know the metrics. We approach our task in a professional, discreet and “rifle shot” manner to match with our buy side or sell side clients. One could think of our approach and style similar to a dating or marriage matchmaker. After all, the entire M/A process is more akin to the dating, engagement and marriage process than any other business analogy I can make. In that regard, we act as an advisor, transition manager and matchmaker…much more than what one thinks of in the intermediary role.
We approach our process very different than typical intermediaries. We first spend the time to gather as much data up front, we know the other party is going to ultimately request of us, and in so doing, we audit the client to see what needs to be cleaned up. All businesses need some adjustment, so they can be in the best position to attract the ultimate mate. We prepare an “Ideal Mate/Buyer/Seller” profile, from which we develop a very short target list of companies that fit the client’s objectives, culture, personalities and vision.
We contact that target directly. Naturally we belong to several M & A buy/sell groups where we profile the client in a very discrete manner, but the most interest and interaction comes from this very one on one personalized approach.
The result thus far is that clients our approach, for they get so much more from us than just the closing of a transition, but years of experience for advice and direction as we proceed through the phases to a closing and transition. We don’t just bring in buyers and sellers, but help find the right attorney, or the right accounting firm for the transaction. We provide draft closing documents if the buyer needs a set, and we will even draft the LOI to fit the best structure for both parties.
If the client has a political or internal issue, we are there to lend our assistance. We work with each party to craft the best creative employment agreements and provide advice to each side as to process and structure. In that regard, our best attribute is probably that we know how to structure transactions that are “win-wins” for both parties, as it should be. After 35 years of mostly buying, but sometimes selling, scores of companies, we have vast experience in this very important aspect of the transaction. Our philosophy that we try to impart to our clients is that” It is not the highest price, but the best structure” that makes not only the parties happy but also the employees, the community and the combined clients the merged companies serve.
And last but not least, having seen transactions with good intents on getting closed, only to fail miserably during the transition period, we are skilled a managing the transition beginning prior to the closing through the first few weeks after closing. The transition period is probably the most critical component of the transaction, where things can go terribly wrong if not planned out far in advance. Conversely, if done properly, the buyer has secured a smooth future, and the seller, who usually still has some skin in the game post-closing, can rest much easier knowing the seller notes, earnouts and equity are secured.