Many years ago, I was irritated with an attorney who did not seem to be taking the acquisition deal I was working on seriously. I was actually more confused than irritated. After all, I was the client and he wasn’t working on my deal. Some time later, that same attorney was in a completely different mode – working as hard as he could to get the deal documents together on one of my deals. As we took a short break one evening, he explained the difference to me. He simply said “Every deal has its time.”
I reflected on what this highly deal attorney had said to me. Over time, I came to understand what he meant. What he meant was that it really wouldn’t do us, as the client, any good if he was to focus on my deal if it wasn’t really ready to proceed.
There are really two sides to that concept worthy of consideration. The experienced attorney was definitely right. He could even convince himself he was doing us a favor, saving us fees, if he did not focus on deals he considered were not yet “ripe.” The other side of the concept is that is very difficult to determine when a deal may have its time. As a result, it is extremely important to recognize when its time comes and be sure to be ready to move heaven and earth to make it happen when its time has come.
We have clients who are both business sellers and business buyers. It is not uncommon for clients in either category to be impatient at the pace of the process. Business buyers are understandably impatient because they see the opportunity that they can can take advantage of if only they can get an acquisition done. On the other side, business buyers are often understandably impatient that a sale of their business takes longer than they hope, perhaps delaying whatever their after-sale plans may be.
Considering this phenomenon, one might be tempted to say that the efforts of those business buyers and sellers in pursuing an acquisition or sale was a waste of effort because the timing was not yet right.
That conclusion would be a mistake. The reality is that those who are prepared are the ones most likely to be able to take maximum advantage of the situation when a deal does become ripe. Those business buyers who are prepared are the ones that will be able to execute an acquisition strategy as good opportunities develop. Similarly, business sellers who are prepared will be much more likely to be able to take advantage of good opportunities to sell their businesses.
Even though it is true that “Every deal has its time,” that does not mean you wouldn’t be well advised to pursue opportunities. Get your team together and prepare to move quickly as opportunities ripen. Be ready when the time does come and you will increase the chances of completing a successful transaction.