A Descent Down the Mountain
When I became involved in acquisitions/mergers (descending down the mountain), I was fortunate: I was able to learn "not what to do" by someone who had "come my way" prior to my advent into business consulting. Just like we learn from other's achievements, we, too, learn from other's failures. This consultant left debris all over my path. People cursed him, acquisitions and mergers ended up in litigation or the threat of litigation…just days after signing the agreements. So my experience has always been about "mutuality," searching diligently to find an almost perfect fit for both the seller and the buyer, whether it be another company or the employees themselves...
In using the metaphor "descending down the mountain", I thought about whether it was "a" descent or "the" descent because it depends on the person. Some start the descent and then change their mind, some start the descent and never look back. Most of all, in my opinion, it has to be "spiritually based"; not in the traditional religious sense but in terms of the inner joy that comes from "next"?
The ultimate consideration is: "who do I turn the keys over to?"
It needs to be well thought out:
- Financially what do I need?
- Realistically, what can I earn by "letting go" and transferring control or ownership?
- Is "my baby" only pretty to me?
- Do I need a fall-back plan?
- Am I large enough to acquire a significant down stroke and a payout?
- Have I developed a strong second tier that I can pass the baton to?
- Is there an opportunity to bless those that have been there for me and give them a realistic opportunity to carry on?
- Am I "the brand"?
- Do I share the brand with others? And, if I do, what percentage is at risk with my leaving or transitioning?
- Should I consider merging or acquiring another group to "prop up" my asset base so that as I transition out, either the management process is secure or the client base and capabilities are broad based?
- Can I phase out over three to five years (the traditional approach)?
- What is "it" that I want to do when I hand the office keys over?
- Am I simply tired or "tired of?"
- At this time in my life, what brings the most "belly laughs?"
- Are you one of those "who just knows that it is time?"
When the "time comes"... Let me help you do a "universe-type" search for who might be interested and who might be the best fit; and, let me help you answer the questions (above).
And by the way…be wary of brokers, CPA's or Financial Analysts who specialize in "making deals."