You are likely to only sell a business once in your lifetime, so getting help and support from a specialist team is critical… as early as possible, even if a sale is a few years away
Similarly, you are only likely to select a corporate finance adviser once so how do you choose? – we have listed below some criteria which will help you get the right support and input but we strongly suggest that you look at client feedback and references as former clients should be their strongest marketing tool
Personality and character
Do you get on with the individuals you will be working with? A sale is an intensive process where you will be working very closely together
Have you met the people you will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis? Can you be guaranteed senior involvement throughout?
Have they ever worked in a front-line role, sat where you are sitting and not just always been an adviser – have they ever set up a business or bought and sold a business themselves as a principal – in other words, can they really empathise with you and your journey?
You should select an adviser who is totally dedicated solely to corporate finance work and has the breadth and depth of experience to be practical, relevant, commercial and streetwise – there is no substitute for experience in corporate finance
Top of the list on a survey of clients – you should be able to readily access your advisory team
Are they focussed on transactions of a size and nature similar to yours?
Do they have a strong track record? – demonstrating that they know how to get deals done and exceed expectations
Value not volume
Experience is critical but you should look at the value-added within each transaction and not just a total number of transactions – you should not feel like just another transaction within a portfolio approach
Do they have the ability to both identify and access potential buyers across the globe?
You need to be certain that your advisers will be totally open and transparent, especially on potential conflicts of interest – in other words, you need to be happy that they will be acting solely and exclusively in your best interests
You need to clearly understand why you feel sector experience might be beneficial and the additional value that may bring – a true sector expert who does nothing more than work in your sector could be beneficial but too many advisers claim sector expertise on the back of one or two transactions – check out the relevance of their sector credentials to your specific transaction and be certain that they will be acting in your best interests
Quality of their documentation
Your adviser will be presenting your business so you need to ensure that their documentation oozes quality and professionalism