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Mergers and acquisitions – are you ready to pass your life’s work on?

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There’s a stage in many successful business leaders’ professional lives when they begin to consider stepping down and taking on a different role. At this juncture, they will have to address the question of what they can do to ensure the fruits of their hard work over the years are not put at risk of deterioration or destruction.

Of course, there is always the option of ensuring that someone else within the firm is suitably prepared to take over its essential running, but the reality is that this is not always possible. In fact, in some companies and organisations there may not be a realistic candidate, while some leaders are, to put it simply, irreplaceable.

In these situations, taking the mergers and acquisitions route may represent the only plausible path to a succession planning strategy. However, mergers and acquisitions present plenty of challenges, which, if not properly prepared for, can scupper a smooth and winning transition. Conversely, if managed in the right way, with plenty of give firms an opportunity to consolidate their strengths while also allowing for growth and new opportunities.

However, there are other benefits, too, from expanding national or global reach to enhancing reputation and expertise, and those deciding to embrace mergers and acquisitions will have many diverse motivating factors.

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Preparing for mergers and acquisitions
It is a big undertaking to get the most out of the mergers and acquisitions process and a lot of hard work and diligence will be required.

For many, the foremost consideration will be to ensure that the firm has a fresh, attractive and dynamic client base. A business that is going stale will not be as appealing a proposition as one that is demonstrably operating on the cutting edge. As such, before embarking on any mergers and acquisitions process, it is important to refresh your firm’s contacts and clients.

The preparation process can also be an opportunity for your business to consolidate its identity; this means being clear about your area of speciality niche. Having a clear, definable character is a strong selling point for any buyer.

Furthermore, it is absolutely essential that you maximise the existing strengths and assets of your business. This means that you should identify what works about your firm and do your best to emphasise this to any prospective buyer, whether it is through testimonials or by compiling clear and compelling evidence of successful commercial relationships.

Another key aspect of planning for mergers and acquisitions is getting your firm’s data and accounts in order.

Whether it is financial information, partnership agreements, lease deals, client data, intellectual property or technology systems, having everything ready in time can put you on the front foot while also ensuring you are ready to respond positively if faced with an attractive offer or enquiry.

And remember, it is always beneficial to be proactive. There is no point hoping that the ideal buyer will just arrive at your doorstep as if by magic; make a list of the firms that you think would be suited to yours. Doing this can help ensure a positive future for your firm, its staff and its clients. And you can move on with confidence that you’re leaving your career’s work in good hands.

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