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Catastrophic Events = Business Purchase Opportunities

As a buyer, everyone likes to get “a deal”. Finding a bargain often means being at the right place at the right time, whether intended or by fate. Finding a lucrative

opportunity to buy a business that is for sale because of an unexpected catastrophic event requires a disciplined approach.

As a business buyer, you often need to use “creative” means to position yourself to get the first, if not the only, shot at a promising business acquisition candidate. You need to explore as many ways as you can to find quality companies that are for sale that can be bought with extraordinarily favorable purchase terms. Pursuing acquisitions that surface due to unexpected business events or catastrophic business owner life situations can a “win–win” opportunity for both business buyers and sellers.

Unexpected Personal and Business Events
Assuming you have clearly defined business purchase criteria and have the purchase skills and financial resources to effectively respond to an unexpected, short term disposition business purchase opportunity, you may want to leverage common personal and business events to your purchase advantage.

Although catastrophic events are relatively rare in business, they are genuine realities and must be dealt with in a prompt fashion by business owners to reduce further company value deterioration or even potential liquidation.

Personal life events for business owners such as death, divorce, indictment, sickness, disability or addiction to expensive vices often significantly accelerates the need to recapitalize or sell the business owner’s viable business.

Unexpected catastrophic business consequences, realized from unexpected events or neglect, stupidity or devastating reactive business tactics such as: large liability claims, loss of a major customer(s), government seizures or new legislation, employee fraud, strikes, lender financing changes or no viable contingencies for acts of God, to name just a few, also significantly accelerate the need to refinance or quickly market the business for sale.

How Fast Do You Need To React?
Business buyers typically do not want to purchase a company that has experienced a major unexpected setback or have to put themselves through a quick “buying blitz” to qualify a rapidly deteriorating acquisition candidate. However, high return on investment purchase opportunities resulting from catastrophic events, of viable businesses that are consistently profitable with immediate, critical, financial or human resource deprivation are often well worth the extraordinary effort.

To quickly restore a business to its established efficiency a business buyer must act quickly to qualify and close the business purchase. Often the business buyer who can react the quickest in its purchase methodology or offer immediate purchase funds will easily offset a higher purchase price offering from another potential buyer.

For a business owner personal tragedy, a business buyer typically has less than 60 days to buy the company before major value deterioration occurs. For a wide variety of major business catastrophes, a business buyer typically has slightly more time, but not much more!

How Do I Find These “Deals”?
Effectively locating immediately distressed businesses that must be recapitalized or sold because of unexpected personal business owner situations or business management misfortunes does not happen overnight. It requires a premeditated, organized and ongoing program of communication and documentation of your distressed business purchase interests to legal, financial and business brokerage intermediaries who typically must handle these extraordinary situations. Reinforcing your unique interests and abilities to respond to specific business catastrophe situations also requires periodic oral and written communication to these same types of business service providers.

Steps to “Get the Word Out”

  • Define and document your distressed business purchase criteria
  • Define business: legal, financial and acquisition service providers who typically deal with distressed business situations: M&A or Probate attorneys, Bank Trust
  • Departments, Commercial bank “workout” managers or “turn-around” acquisition intermediaries: investment bankers, business brokers, consultants or CPA’s
  • Get the word out! Implement an organized effort to communicate and document your specific catastrophic business purchase criteria to all above noted service providers
  • Periodically reinforce your distressed business purchase interests and criteria with broadcast mailings, announcements or advertisements
  • Embellish your successful acquisitions of distressed businesses with press releases and formal printed or electronic announcements to like business service providers

Often the more “creative” you are to find deals, the quicker you’ll find the “right” deal. The more diverse your means to locate viable companies that are for sale, the better your chances of finding a quality acquisition candidate that few others are aware of.

As a business buyer, you have two ways to look at buying businesses based on catastrophic events:

  1. as negative, taking advantage of distressed sellers, or,
  2. as positive, taking advantage of a unique opportunity to become a business seller’s, “savior”, the best means available to allow their employees to keep their jobs and continue to provide for their families. You make the choice… like most lucrative business opportunities, if you don’t participate, others more than likely will!
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