There are ways that business deals can get off track that occur due to chance or something unexpected. But very often deals blow up because either the buyer or the seller fails to follow an unwritten rule. We’ve put together a short list of those rules to help you keep your transaction where it belongs: on track to a closing.
1. No Surprises
Surprises are fun in real life. Not when you’re going through a business transaction. Disclose everything you think you should and when in doubt, ask your broker. When you uncover a “surprise” in getting the paperwork ready, disclose it as soon as possible so that everyone can make a decision to carry forward (or not) with that knowledge in mind.
2. Silence Isn’t Golden
A transaction is a process built on momentum and part of that momentum is having an open line of communication. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to get an item requested for due diligence right away, but it does mean suddenly going radio silent for a week or two in the middle of the deal is unacceptable.
3. Speed Matters
Yes, there’s a mountain of paperwork required for due diligence and for the banks. Yes, getting these bits of paperwork put together faster rather than slower makes a big difference, not just for your own stress, but for the confidence of the other party.
4. Emotions Don’t Help
While you might be very attached to your business — understandably so, as it often represents years of blood, sweat, and tears — you need to set any emotion you have about the business to the side when having conversations about it.
Don’t take requests or questions personally. This is part of a process that many have gone through before you and many will go through after you. Stay professional.
5. Beware of Texts and Emails
There’s an old rule that says if you think something would be better said by voice or in person, do so. Email and text will always lack the nuance of voice tone or the reality of body language. Mitigate this by refusing to deal with critical, possibly emotional (see Rule #4) issues by email and text, opting either for voice memos, phone calls, or even a Loom video.
6. Face-to-Face Meetings Win
While it’s not always possible to meet face-to-face, the normalization of video meetings because of the pandemic has given us an extra tool to keep both parties talking and seeing that everyone is on the same page.
When possible, do meet in person as this will help establish rapport that can help you get through tougher parts of the transaction or when you want to hammer out deal points.
7. No Such Thing as a Stupid Question
We all know the hackneyed line about why we don’t “assume” things. Lean into that in a business transaction. If you have a question, ask it. If you have several, ask those. The more clarity there is about every aspect of the transaction, the easier and smoother it will be when it’s time to finally cross that finish line.
We’ve saved a few rules for our clients. Interested in becoming one? Give us a call.