There are several critical and tactical decisions you will need to make before exploring acquisition opportunities. First, do you want to do a proactive search versus being reactive, which is simply waiting for a competitor to call you?
You need to put a time limit or time frame on looking to do an acquisition. You need to create a pipeline of acquisition candidates. You need to minimize other distractions and put off other major decisions while searching.
Finally, you need to set goals and expectations.
Nowadays, I spend a majority of my consulting time dealing with printers who either want to sell their business or are looking to acquire. Activity has been increasing this year. I believe that many sellers were waiting for the recession to be over in the hope that their sales would come back. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so now they need to sell. Others are calling because they see opportunity in doing a “tuck in” acquisition or they have had competitors contact them wanting to merge or sell.
In my next column, I will tell you how to get your team ready to either sell or buy, how to prepare for negotiations (it’s not all about the price), what a deal may look like and, finally, whether you should hire an outside industry expert to assist.