In any merger or acquisition, buyers and sellers must have a clear vision of why the deal makes sense. This may sound like an obvious statement. However, even in today’s economic climate, firms continue to jump headfirst into deals with little strategic direction.
No matter where you perceive your readiness, a first step to your future success is in understanding the M&A process, and possible pitfalls along the way. It is easy for the uninformed to make one small oversight or misjudgment that leads to major problems later on.
To avoid the pitfalls on the path to M&A success, keep the following ideas in mind:
Know yourself. Begin with a thorough understanding of your firm: your position in the marketplace, your strategy, your culture, and why you want to buy or sell.
Know potential buyers or sellers. Identify them carefully, and get to know them thoroughly.
Take your time. Identify and study all aspects of the deal. Weigh all the pros and cons.
Develop a full integration plan. Before you sign the contract, anticipate every management and marketing issue that might arise.
Ensure a cultural match. Look for good chemistry among leaders, a shared professional and business philosophy, and compatibility of staff and clients.
Look for complementary strengths, not the same strengths. In an ideal agreement, each firm strengthens the other.
While there’s nothing wrong with being an opportunistic buyer or seller, deals will almost always end in trouble if the opportunity does not fit within your strategic or personal plan.
Looking for more tips to help your firm navigate through the M&A process? PSMJ has just released a complimentary ebook M&A Survival Tips for A/E Firm Leaders.