Seven Attributes of a Successful Acquisition Search

Finding the right business to buy can be a long process. Many buyers slog through frustrating acquisition searches only to find dead ends, a lack of suitable targets, or that a competitor has acquired a prime target. It can be frustrating.

At O’Keeffe & O’Malley, we’ve seen many searches fail – and we’ve seen what makes successful searches work. Buyers who complete effective acquisition searches share these key attributes:

  1. They’re focused. Successful buyers have a list of acquisition criteria and they stick with it. They know right away their deal killers and where there is flexibility. They also know that there is no perfect business. Criteria can include size, location, cash flow, product lines, industries, and management team.
  2. They have a strategic plan. These buyers know where they want to be in three years or five years. And they know exactly how an acquisition can help them meet their goals.
  3. They know their own strengths and weaknesses. A little self-knowledge goes a long way. Buyers who know what size acquisition they can handle and if they can truly be a competitive buyer are ahead of the game. They have cash on hand and their investors (if any) are committed to a purchase.
  4. They get the word out. Networking in the industry can make all the difference. Being involved in trade organizations and attending industry events can help you let folks know that you’re looking to buy. It will also raise your profile and help you build relationships with potential targets. Many businesses that sell never formally hit the market.
  5. They have multiple targets. Many buyers go after targets one at a time. But deals take time and can often get derailed. Pursuing multiple targets means many irons in the fire and a greater chance of success.
  6. They get good advice. Buyers who partner with mergers and acquisitions experts and other professionals often have the advantage. Some consultants are skilled at identifying targets but don’t have the experience in negotiating, structuring, or closing sales. Finding knowledgeable advisors can make all the difference.
  7. They take their time. Searches are time-consuming and are just the beginning of long-term relationships. While a potential target might not be ready to sell now, that connection may pay off years down the road. Successful buyers play the long game.

Many buyers struggle to find good potential targets, but there are always businesses out there. O’Keeffe & O’Malley can help you identify potential targets you didn’t know existed, and will assist you throughout the process. Call us at 913-648-1085 for a confidential meeting.