In buying/selling a business how important is face-to-face?

January 19, 2010

We spend so much time these days in some sort of remote communication, and the same is true of buying and selling businesses.  Is this a good thing?  Does it matter?

Communication styles are unique to each individual.  This holds true in business transactions. Some people are more secure in a face–to–face communication and others in remote. Some like to actually speak rather than email.  Taking care in how one communicates within the method is also important.  It is so important in communications to understand one’s own style and the style of others, trying to adjust to help make certain the person on the other end hears and understands you. You might visit this site to learn more about yourself:

http://interactive.leadingresources.com/account/general_info/straight_talk_description

It is highly valuable for a prospective buyer and seller to talk to each other.  A buyer often will only be comfortable with making an offer if they have actually heard from the owner what the components, struggles and opportunities are for the company.  The seller wants to be comfortable that the prospective buyer is qualified and worthy of her possible financing.  Of course this does not reduce the need for due diligence.

Often however, a buyer is remote to the location of the business for sale.  Making the trip to actually, physically see the business is difficult or not reasonable in the early stages.

My recommendation to buyers and sellers is that they cooperate as much as possible with their broker(s) to facilitate an actual communication, a talk supported by various written communications in the early stages and a meeting at some point if required.

So much of due diligence can be done by sending documentation, e-mail or snail mail.  Physical inspections are not necessary in many businesses.  In today’s e-world, some businesses are merely found online.  The more furniture, fixtures, and especially equipment may require personal or hired–specialist inspection, the more necessary it MIGHT be to make the trip in mid-due-diligence.  Often however, this visit can be delayed until just before closing, with contingencies structured that physical inspection must be approved to close.

Buying or selling a business?  Relax, participate, be flexible, listen, and communicate well.

Report in if you wish on your communication style.  (I am a counselor.)

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