Initially I will arrange to call you to start to gain an understanding of your business, your people, and the challenges and opportunities facing your business. We will also find out more about each other and whether we feel comfortable dealing with each other. This is very important as we must all feel happy with the prospect of working with each other at such an important point in our lives, if not then we should recognise that at an early stage and move on.
If both parties feel comfortable with the initial conversation then I will send over a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) – also known as a Confidentiality Agreement – so that anything we discuss is bound by law as being confidential between us.
When you return the signed NDA I ask that you also send me your last few years of company accounts and any recent management accounts, high level information about your employees and their employment costs (anonymised to preserve their privacy) plus any other information that you think will be helpful.
I can then review the information, ask further questions, and take any professional advice that seems appropriate so that an offer can be drawn up. I may decide that it is appropriate to bring in other investors or people with relevant skills as well.
We can then talk through the offer and how it is structured and whether it is workable for both parties.
It may make sense to meet face to face during this process to see the business and progress discussions but nowadays many transactions are being done remotely via the phone and webcams, so it is not always necessary.
If we do visit the business then rest assured that we will be mindful of confidentiality and the possible impact on your staff of a sale so we will talk about how to deal with this in advance with you. Usually it is not a problem since you can introduce me as a potential investor at that stage rather than a buyer.
Assuming that the offer is acceptable we would then formalise the offer and any required legal paperwork and due diligence required to complete the sale.
The objective is to move quickly through the process so that it does not drag on for weeks and months.