M&A Advisor Directory: The Deal Guy’s View From a Acquire Insider

Earlier this month, our founder, Andrew Gazdecki, announced the launch of our M&A Advisor Directory. Part announcement, part testimony, Andrew touched on his experience as a seller and his gratitude for the advisors who helped his startup get Acquired in a life-changing deal. Now, we want to connect sellers with advisors who can help their startups get Acquired too. 

You’ve probably never heard of me, but Andrew recruited me to help build the M&A Advisor Directory. I’ve lived in San Francisco for the last three-plus decades and seen lots of amazing companies rise around me. But I’ve never worked in tech. My focus (before Acquire) was on main street brokerage and M&A, which was a decade of seeing lots and lots of deals. 

I even cofounded a boutique lower-middle-market M&A firm called Synesis Advisors. We served the niche businesses flying just under the radar of typical PEs or investment banks ($5MM to $25MM). Just a bit out of network for the Main Street players. Seven years later, I joined the A-Team at Acquire, and I feel I’m part of something truly special here. 

I’d always maintained a client-centric attitude while acting as an advisor or intermediary, and that’s what this team is all about. #Winning. It has been an incredible ride thus far. The Advisor Directory in the Acquire Marketplace is the first of its kind and a genuine movement. We’re going to help 1000s of founders sell their startups. 

The Right People for the Job

As an advisor, my priorities were to create a market for my client’s business, get them maximum value at exit, educate them on various deal points, and prepare them for what lay ahead. Equally as important was ensuring that along that journey clients could get help from other professionals: attorneys, CPAs, wealth managers, tax accountants, and so on.

For example, I might say to a client, “Wow. Looks like you’re going to have a tax situation here,” and it’s in these critical moments an advisor helps most. I’ve always had a bench behind me of people I knew and trusted, who I could recommend to a client knowing they’d be in great hands. I always viewed these “stakeholders” in transactions as my partners.

This is precisely what we’ve tried to create with the advisor directory. A virtual rendition of the top-tier referral “bench”. I’ve had the painstaking pleasure of spending the last four-plus months talking to 100s of advisors crossing the span of transactional needs. We’ve onboarded over 50 advisor “Partners” that are equally excited to be a part of what is being jointly created here.

It Takes a Village

You’ve likely heard the African proverb “It takes a village” – usually when someone describes a task that requires a team to do successfully.

The proverb is attributed to child-rearing, meaning it takes a community of people to interact with and nurture children so they grow in a safe and healthy environment. But it also expresses a broader truth that applies to the process of having your business Acquired. 

Just as every village has its elders, sheriffs, builders, and a formalized hierarchy, you also need specialists to help you reach your goals and achieve the best overall outcome in your transaction.

Each person has specific desires when selling. For some, it might be reinvesting in a new startup, while others might fund their retirement. Identical businesses transacting under these scenarios could have different deal structures while still delivering the sellers’ best outcome.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

If you’re unsure how to sell your business, you have a simple, fast route to clarity. Reach out to someone in the directory. View their profiles, filter according to your needs, find the right advisor, and then message them on the platform. 

There are many steps and nuances in an acquisition. An advisor can guide you through the process, help you avoid common pitfalls, ask the right questions, and accomplish a winning deal.

An M&A advisor uses their knowledge of the market to help determine the value of your business (or the value of one you’d like to Acquire), and they may offer scenarios on how that valuation might change or evolve. They can also advise and help navigate other variables that might impact the transition.

For nearly any significant financial transaction, you need an attorney for legal counsel. Like the village sheriff who enforces law and order, your attorney will evaluate all the due diligence information while ensuring the deal and agreements are structured and legally bound. 

I can’t overstate how important legal counsel is: I’ve seen one word change the legal meaning of a term in a contract. Luckily, that was caught. When folks learn what they “don’t know”, it’s either through expert advice in advance of a transaction or discovering it the hard way, post-sale. 

If you need professional guidance, just login to your seller account dashboard and request expert help (Click “Hire expert help”). Our in-house counsel, James Graves, will then match you with the right expertise within 72 hours. You have the flexibility of finding by-the-hour consultation or someone to manage parts of or the entire acquisition, whichever is best in your case. Go and check it out. We’d love to see you there.

For the love of startups!

The content on this site is not intended to provide legal, financial or M&A advice. It is for information purposes only, and any links provided are for your convenience. Please seek the services of an M&A professional before any M&A transaction. It is not Acquire’s intention to solicit or interfere with any established relationship you may have with any M&A professional. 

Get content like this, and more, sent directly to your inbox twice a month.