If you are looking to begin a career in the limousine industry or if you are an existing limousine business owner looking to expand through acquisitions, below are six tips to help improve your chances for success.
1) Google it. Before you get deep into discussions with the seller, research the business and the owner on the internet to make sure you know what you are getting into. If your discoveries are unpleasant, you will save significant time and money by obtaining that information early in the process. You may also discover some positive facts about the business and the owner that enhance your interest in getting a deal done.
2) Make sure you understand the complete financial benefits available through the acquisition. Buyers can walk away from good deals prematurely when they misunderstand the facts surrounding the sale or if the seller (when working alone) fails to effectively represent the financial benefits of acquiring the business. Through the help of an industry specialist, make sure you understand how the acquisition will impact your monthly cash flow, increase your existing business value, and all other benefits.
3) Resist the urge to focus exclusively on “steals.” I come across buyers from time to time who tell me that they are only interested in deals that are steals. This is a very limited approach to business development through acquisitions. Not only does this attitude turn off many prospective sellers from dealing with you, it also wastes a tremendous amount of a buyer’s time. In the time it takes to identify a seller desperate enough to give their business away, you could buy a couple of “good” businesses at a fair price and receive a much stronger return on the money and time you have invested.
4) Consult an Industry Specialist before making your offer. Sellers are extremely sensitive about others evaluating their “baby.” Buyers can unintentionally shut down negotiations with a motivated seller if they do not handle their initial offer carefully. Buyers also have to be careful about paying the right price for the business. Overpaying for a business is a mistake that can take years to fully recover from. Take the time to make sure you are putting your best foot forward in the process.
5) Keep an open mind. The Tenney Group deals with buyers with all levels of acquisition experience on a daily basis. Buyers that are most successful in their acquisition efforts are those that are receptive to new ideas and creative solutions that help both buyers and sellers accomplish their respective transaction goals.
6) Don’t forget it is business, but it is also personal. Be respectful to the seller in every way that you can through the process. Listen to the seller, and do what you can to help the seller address the things that are important to him or her through the transaction. Obviously, there are some concessions buyers can not make. But your effort to try will be not go unnoticed. The goodwill created by the gesture often translates into lasting post transaction success.