Talk to Me Now Versus Later
I was recently visiting with a business owner who was going through a lot of change in the way he financed his business.
He said, “I will call you and we can talk when I have everything ready.”
For starters, I have never met a business owner who “has everything ready” – ever – but I know what he was trying to say.
Too many business owners want to wait until they are 100% ready to sell their business before they give me a call.
Too many business owners want to have all the problems solved before they look at exiting the Company.
Too many business owners make short-term decisions without the help of a financial advisor even though those decisions will affect the long-term vision of the owner.
I want business owners to know that it is OK to call an investment banker at any time. They can be of incredible assistance when you are struggling with issues related to structure, performance, management succession or exit planning.
Thinking about a new banking relationship? You can call an investment banker. They won’t be the person lending you the money but they can tell you how this new debt might change your business valuation.
Thinking about selling, even if it’s a long time from now? Let’s talk about what actions you can work on now to prepare your company for sale.
Been approached by a competitor offering to buy your business? Let’s talk about what you think about that offer and why.
Worried that the same competitor is entering your market? Let’s talk about ways to insulate you financially.
This could be a very long list of scenarios where it is OK to call an investment banker and pick their brain. The good news is that this transfer of knowledge is totally free. A good investment banker will invest time and energy into you and your company long before he or she is engaged to sell the business.
Use them as a resource.
Investment bankers and business brokers are ultimately used as advisors when you are selling your business. But because of their history in dealing with many businesses over many years, there really isn’t much these financial professionals haven’t seen. An investment banker will also have a good sense of what costs you from a valuation standpoint in today’s market. Asbestos issue? Might be a big number or it might not be a big deal. Unfunded pension liability? They’ve probably seen and dealt with those issues as well.
A good investment banker wants to help you plan for your sale as much as they want to execute it. Calling them in as part of your management of the business is a great way to get market-driven, real life advice from a savvy business professional. And the best part? Most investment bankers will work with you prior to a transaction for free. There will be fees for a sell-side or buy-side engagement, but for lots of early discussions, most bankers will welcome the interaction and the early introduction.