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Print VersionPrint version

  Thailand Articles

15 Feb 2008 20:31:10 GMT
New Page 1

12 Common Mistakes to Avoid

When Buying or Selling a Business

 

1. Don’t Concentrate on Disagreements
It’s easy in a competitive situation (which to some extent buying and selling is) to put the emphasis on problems. Approaching the process in that way, though, can build up distrust and resentment that can make it harder and harder to ultimately create a “win/win” solution. Neither buyer nor seller will get everything they want. But a positive approach that keeps an eye on the “big picture” is more likely to create an agreement that both find attractive than one that bogs down over every minor imperfection.

2. Don’t Hide the Flaws

There aren’t any perfect properties or businesses, and reasonable buyers understand that. Serious flaws should be disclosed even in the first offer to sell. Serious buyers and their agents will eventually spot flaws; if you point them out before they uncover them you’ll build trust that may be valuable as negotiations proceed.

 

3. Don’t Ignore the Market

Everyone would like to “buy low and sell high”. That’s why it’s a clich?. But most prospective buyers who insist on trying to pay a lower price for a business than the market supports never end up buying a business at all. And most prospective sellers who insist on overpricing their business end up owning it forever.

 

4. Don’t Be Combative

Unreasonable positions create distrust, and distrust ruins deals. Trying to “beat” your partner in the buy/sell tango creates bad feelings and leads to suspicion about motives.

 

5. Don’t Be Unrealistic (Buyers version)
Some buyers want the perfect acquisition: No risk; High Profits; No Competition; Low Price. We understand what you want. You can’t have it. You can, if you’re diligent and patient, find Low Risk; Fair Profit; Limited Competition; and Reasonable Price. Be happy when you find that.

 

6. Don’t Be Unrealistic (Sellers version)
Some owners want the perfect sale. The Sale “As Is”; All Cash; No Contingencies; No taxes; High Price.  We understand what you want. You can’t have it. You can, if you’re diligent and patient, find a Realistic Buyer; Attractive Terms; Tax-Minimizing Structure; and Reasonable Price. Be happy when you find that.


7. Don’t Miss Out on a Good Thing
Dragging out negotiations with multiple counter-offers over smaller and smaller differences can significantly decrease the good will needed to reach a mutually-agreeable arrangement. It can also open to door to other buyers/sellers.


8. Don’t Fail to Listen

Work at listening to the other side. Hear and consider what they say… and what they don’t say. Listen for their “real” position obscured behind the rhetoric of negotiation. They’ll often tell you how to make a good deal for both of you, even without meaning to. Remember to listen.

 

9. Don’t Negotiate Against Yourself
Not every objection need be met by raising/lowering the price. If the prospective buyer hesitates because the walls are painted red, the seller may agree to share the cost of a new paint job rather than dropping the asking price. Some negotiators will ask you to “do better” or “give your best price” before they’ve said “yes/no” to your last offer. Always ask for a definitive response to any offer you make before you make another.

10. Don’t Delay

Time is of the essence in every good deal. If you don’t move, someone else will. No deal is perfect, and everyone always has doubts. But if a proposed deal has met your objectives, move on it. “The search for perfection is the greatest enemy of achieving the good.”

 

11. Don’t Make Enemies

People like to do business with people they like. The Chinese have a saying: “Business is business.” Don’t take it personally that you didn’t get absolutely everything you might have wanted. You won’t. But there will other deals, other opportunities, maybe with the same buyer/seller in the future. Leave this deal with both parties willing to do another together.

 

12. Don’t Rely on Memory

This is the most avoidable, but the most frequently made, negotiating mistake. Whether through honest misunderstanding - or worse - the deal you thought you made won’t be the deal you end up with if you don’t put it in writing and have both parties (and, if possible, witnesses) sign and date all the terms and conditions. “Trust, but verify” as Ronald Reagan once famously remarked when asked if he trusted Russia to keep an agreement they’d made with the USA. It’s good advice.

 


 
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