Negotiating & Structuring The Deal

The reason I wrote “when a problem comes up” in the title is because I guarantee that it / they will surface. In fact, prepare for plenty of them when buying a business because that’s just part of the process.

If you’re the type of person who’s easily derailed, cannot make adjustments, keep an open mind or set some issues aside while dealing with other concerns, then do yourself a favor and don’t even consider going into business for yourself, let alone thinking of buying an existing one.

The entire process of buying a business involves personalities and egos and emotion and logic.

Some issues are indisputable as they may relate to the actual financials – after all, numbers don’t lie; people do. But once all the different personas get involved – buyers, sellers, accountants, attorneys, brokers, spouses and nosey brother-in-laws, it can get a bit messy and rest assured that problems will arise.

Personally, I enjoy the messy parts of a business sale transaction; I find them challenging. I always believe there’s a resolution to every issue as long as both sides truly want to get a deal done. Yes, it’s true that sometimes the resolution or decision can be to walk from the deal, but that in itself is a resolution.

Neither buyers nor sellers should ever be too quick to throw in the towel. Find common ground to the issues. Play “what if.” Work on uncovering the other party’s real “hot buttons.” Sometimes, you have to give in to get.

Whatever problem may arise avoid any knee-jerk reactions.

It’s surely a good negotiating tactic to express immediate concern, but there’s no need to draw a line in the sand right away. And definitely do NOT make a habit of reacting to every issue as being a deal breaker. The other side will soon see right through your tactic and they’ll win out in the long run.

Whatever problem may arise digest it and think about the various solutions. It’s always best to sit with the other side face-to-face to settle disputes.

The one saying I’ve followed with great success in any business for sale discussion is from a quote I heard years ago that stated not to treat any incidents as catastrophes nor any catastrophes as incidents. The sooner you learn how to identify which scenario any problems fall into, the more successful you’ll be.


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