Bigger fish eyeing your company?

Back in the early 1990s, my partner and I were owners of a thriving ambulance business in Ohio and Texas. At that time the industry was undergoing a dramatic transformation. Small local or regional businesses were being consolidated by national corporations.

In late 1993 my partner and I were approached by American Medical Response and invited to join its family of companies.  After giving the matter considerable thought, we decided to accept the offer.  In February 1994, we merged our companies in Ohio and Texas with AMR.

That experience eventually brought me to writing my book, How to Sell Your Privately Owned Company.  In my case, the offer made sense (and dollars!) After reading the book, chances are you’ll have a clearer idea of the appropriate course of action for you. Below is an excerpt addressing one question of whether to sell to a larger company:

Does my business offer a specialty product or service that a larger company wants?

Perhaps your decision to sell the business is prompted by the request of someone for you to do so. If your company is successful (and oftentimes, even if it’s not!), there’s someone out there in this vast world who wants to buy it. The old adage, “Everything’s for sale,” is certainly true when in comes to businesses. This is especially true if your business offers some type of specialty or niche service or product.

If your business offers something that is popular in a small but expanding market, then you should expect that tap on the shoulder from a prospective buyer – if he hasn’t already knocked you over with phone calls, e-mails, luncheon invitations or neatly written, yet legalized pleas saying, “Please, please, please let me buy you.” (Well, not exactly in those words, but with enough of an eye twinkle to let you know that the interest is definitely genuine.)

If you’re a manufacturing business with a unique product in a niche market, then you may be a large target in the sights of a foreign firm.

If the niche product that you produce can be easily added to the product line of another company and pushed through the distribution network for lower marketing costs than you are expending, then you might as well be wearing a bull’s-eye. In this case, THEY want YOU.

The key thing is niche. If you make a product that fits a niche, you may want to be prepared to be sold rather than to be swallowed whole by a “bigger fish” without warning and at a lower price than you might otherwise command.

Copyright © MMIX by ERV Productions Inc. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a data base or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher.


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