How Can You Tell an M&A Expert from a Business Predator?

How Can You Tell an M&A Expert from a Business Predator?

When looking for the right experts to teach you how to fulfil your dream of buying and selling businesses, you need to look harder.

These days the internet has no shortage of adverts for mentoring and coaching programs for how to do M&A deals. Most of these are terrible; it’s the blind leading the blind.

These experts offering the buying and selling seminars have a lot of experience in digital marketing and selling what training they think people need. They saw an opportunity for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and a demand for people wanting to learn about them.

The Strategy of the Unqualified Guru

These unqualified “M&A experts” are like predators who have carefully studied their prey. You can spot their kind easily because they have a funnel that follows the same pattern.

To start, they have a low-priced or free product. After they catch you in their funnel, they follow up with multiple upsells, one level after the next until you reach a super-duper mastermind, platinum diamond group.

This type of sales process has something for everyone, regardless of how much or how little money you have. They have different price points, cheap offers for some and expensive offers for those who can afford anything.

It’s a typical sales model used by internet marketing guys to keep you buying from them. They are seminar experts who got their knowledge and experience from taking courses and maybe doing a couple deals.

Before working with one of these M&A gurus, do your own background check, starting with their social media. Do they actually have the experience of buying and selling companies, or do they just talk a good game?

Google them on their social media. Can you find anything about their experience with buying and selling businesses that’s more than 5 to 10 years old? Have they done deals with small, medium, or large sized businesses? Do your due diligence.

If they’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, find evidence, something that proves what they say they do. With most of these people, you’ll find coaching programs, but not a lot about buying and selling companies.

These seminar sellers have read a lot of information online and created a program without considering the ramifications of training that isn’t based on real world experience.

What a True Expert Provides

A true M&A expert gives you advice that protects you from dangerous situations. I’ve seen some terrible advice out there that could find you held personally liable… even prosecuted… for huge amounts of money.

One example of what these people advise about is fraudulent conveyancing, or a fraudulent transfer. It occurs when a person transfers money to another person or company to avoid having a debt. Another example is people recommending that you borrow and give money to the previous owner to buy their business.

A lot can go wrong in these situations. You don’t want to become disqualified from being a director of a company, or worse yet, prosecuted for being fed bad information that you thought sounded like common sense. You also don’t want to get in trouble if a business can’t repay a debt and a bankruptcy lawyer investigates you for misconduct.

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For more information on selling your business, order a copy of my book, Go Do Deals, here.

A real M&A veteran has learned from personal experience, not from reading blogs or taking courses. The problem is that courses focus on the traditional M&A world, which does not include, for example, digital assets and technology.

The courses also don’t cover buying small to medium sized businesses. M&A veterans understand the difference between structuring deals for small to medium sized businesses and a normal corporate acquisition. With small businesses, you’ll be dealing with the owner who is also managing and running the business. With a corporation, you may be dealing with shareholders, stockholders, a board of directors, and company executives.

If you Google these M&A experts, you may dig up something about a mistake they made on a deal that didn’t work. It’s proof that their expertise is from actual experience they have with deals. No one is perfect. You’ll have the benefit of learning from their painful mistakes.

While looking into their past, you may also find bad reviews about them online. What are their critics saying about them? Are the reviews about seminars that they have given, or are the reviews about mergers and acquisitions they have completed? What reputation do they have?

I gained a reputation for buying companies without borrowing or using my own money. Several of these businesses were from multiple industries. I systematized the deal making process and people started chasing me to help them acquire companies.

It’s clear that a market exists for learning about buying and selling businesses. For example, entrepreneurs in the pursuit of financial freedom want to master deal-making and acquisitions to grow their wealth.

Business predators have zeroed in on this need for seminars and programs to teach people about M&A.

M&A gurus are abundant; the real experts are harder to find. Be careful who you work with and do your research into their background. Work with the experts who aren’t just seminar gurus. Learn from the experts who have years of experience with buying and selling businesses.

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About Jeremy Harbour

In the late 1990’s, Jeremy Harbour acquired a competitor of the telecommunications he owned – without cash or involving a bank. Proving that necessity truly is the mother of invention, he figured out a deal structure that worked for the company he wanted to buy. In a single afternoon, he grew by a year’s worth of sales – and that solidified it – he became a deal junkie. A globally renowned expert in Mergers & Acquisitions in the field of small-to medium-sized enterprises (SME), Jeremy speaks all over the world – even having been invited to Buckingham Palace and The British Houses of Parliament to advise on matters of business and enterprise. His commentary has been featured in the Sunday Times, Financial Times, and numerous other publications, as well as appearing on The Money Channel. As the founder of Unity Group, a firm specializing in attracting investments and creating opportunities for SMEs to scale, he has advised on more than 300 acquisitions of both distressed and solvent businesses. If it's a good deal, he pursues it, acquiring businesses in telecommunications, health clubs, spas, a music school, IT support, training, business process outsourcing, cleaning, air conditioning, and a cooking school, to name a few. With investments in 12 countries, you can say Jeremy’s business sector agnostic. Jeremy’s passion for changing the mindset of wealth creation fueled the birth of Harbour Club where he teaches real tactics for buying, fixing, and selling businesses with no experience and no cash up front. With new members every month it has become a change engine for good – helping entrepreneurs excel at wealth creation so they can be problem solvers in their local communities. Here are just a few highlights of what Jeremy has worked on in the last decade: • 1000 Active Delegates in Harbour Club • 200+ Deals done through Harbour Club • 100 Deals Done through Unity-Group • 30 Reverse Mergers • 12 Countries with His Personal Investments • 2 IPO’s

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