Many small businesses fail for one reason or another – it’s an acquisition nightmare, the product doesn’t meet expectations, or the company is run by” Acquiry Acquisition Specialists” (the worst kind). While there are no strict legal guidelines for these things, we generally think of acquisition specialists as being: (a) knowledgeable about the acquisition process and what needs to be accomplished in order to close a transaction, and (b) experienced in turning promising ideas into valuable acquisitions. Of course, all three aspects are important, but let’s focus on (a), because the real essence of an acquisition specialist is his or her knowledge about what makes a business good for acquisition.
Most successful acquisitions involve two elements: a clear opportunity with a good return on investment (ROI) and a competitive process for acquiring that opportunity. The acquisition specialists are charged with helping the buying team identify their most attractive acquisition opportunities and turn them into profitable transactions. The experts must also demonstrate a high tolerance for risk and understand the need for constant customer relations. If the acquisition specialists don’t like the deal they’re working on, they won’t stick around long.
So, what does an Acquisition Specialist do? They evaluate a company’s current assets, identify its most promising acquisition opportunities, and make recommendations for how to proceed. Their recommendations can be either a recommendation to invest in the business or a referral to a business buyer (sometimes both!). It doesn’t hurt to have multiple professionals helping you do this – a financial officer, a business development officer, and a marketing manager might be useful. Once they determine what makes a business good for acquisition, they help the business to acquire the next best thing.
An acquisition specialist’s job is to identify a target company’s strong suit and apply their acquired skills to the target company. For example, an area analyst will analyze the market and determine the best products to add to the sector. Then an area manager develops a plan to acquire and leverage the best performing companies in that sector. Acquisition specialists are almost always named because of their specialty: mergers & acquisitions.
It’s one thing to hire acquisition specialists to help you close a deal. It’s another thing to train them to do specifically what you want done. Make sure you have a well defined process for acquiring and using your acquired people. If you can’t put a time schedule on when they should produce results, you shouldn’t hire them. Give them reasonable deadlines and give them regular updates about their progress so they stay focused.
If you have an acquisition specialist on your team, it’s important to pay attention to their professional style, their skill set, and their work ethic. You don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t get along with others or doesn’t deliver on time. They should also be able to fit into a work environment and work well within your established structure and work habits. Some acquisition specialists will do very well working in a small office because they’re used to working alone and understand the nature of smaller offices. They might not work well in a large corporation where they might be expected to collaborate with dozens of other people all at the same time. Before you make any decisions in this area, be sure to communicate clearly with them and get their input before making major decisions to hire acquisition specialists.