Due Diligence

Anyone selling their business is going to be concerned about maintaining confidentiality.
If word leaks out, it can wreak havoc on the business; whether it is sold or not.

Customers, suppliers and employees can start an exodus.

Business buyers must be sensitive to this concern. After all, it can also harm you if you buy the business and you discover that you’ve lost some of these people.

However; the fact remains that you may need to validate what the seller is representing. This can entail a need for you to meet suppliers, customers and employees. Nevertheless, it must be done at the appropriate time and it requires a methodical approach.

If you’re buying a local deli then meeting the employees may not be necessary at all prior to closing.

However; if there’s a chef on staff who is critical to the business, then it may be required.

Regarding suppliers and clients, if their contribution to the business is critical, or if there are any substantial supplier contracts or customer concentration issues, then meeting with them may be an absolute necessity.

Yet, you must understand the appropriate timing which may only come after you have signed off on the financial review.

While respect of the seller’s confidentiality is crucial, likewise, if the future business success hinges upon any special supplier, customer, or employee relationships, then you need a mechanism to meet with these folks at the appropriate time and satisfy your concerns.

Perhaps you are introduced as an investor, or sales trainee, or an associate of the seller’s for a new branch office. There are numerous ways to do this discreetly but it must be done in cooperation with the seller.


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