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Selling your business is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. It may also be one of the most complex. An M&A advisor makes the process more manageable. They can also add value, free your time to focus on running your business and help you prepare for due diligence.

When you select an M&A advisor, it’s important to ensure you make your choice based on references and track record—not bluster and sales tactics. Anyone can throw together a nice website and claim to be the best. It takes time and expertise, however, to actually become the best. The advisor you select should be able to create strategic transactions, research resources, adopt an international approach, and have significant technical deal structure knowledge. Fees should also be linked to success to get the greatest return on your investment.

The right investor works from the outset to understand your objectives. They then create goals to achieve these directives. Here’s a selected checklist as you begin shopping for the perfect M&A advisor.

  • Does the advisor have a proven track record in your market niche?
  • Can they offer references for sold, current, off-market, and unsold clients? References speak for themselves.
  • Will you have the same advisor for the entirety of the transaction, or will you be working with a large firm?
  • Does the firm have the technical expertise and experience necessary to sell your business at optimal value?
  • How detailed is their research approach, and can they provide information about specific tactics they use?
  • Are fees linked to deliverables and success rather than being time or retainer-based?
  • How many projects are they working on right now?
  • Can they invest sufficient time in your sale?
  • Can they offer you a wide range of options for achieving your goals, or are they pushing a single approach?
  • Are they respected in the industry or a preferred partner? Do other people in your industry know about them and have positive things to say?
  • How deep is their network?
  • Can they refer you to other experts, including professionals who can give references?

The deal-making process is a complex undertaking requiring significant knowledge and care. Following the above considerations can help you find the right M&A advisor for your needs. No two deals are alike, so trust your gut and solicit input from people you trust.

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