Buying and selling businesses, is also business (Part 3)

__Key question #1: What is your motive?
Nic Rudnick, the CEO of Liquid Telecom, has been with Econet Group for nearly 20 years. Before becoming CEO of a group company, he worked in many different roles. He is a seasoned and highly skilled businessman who knows what it takes to build a successful business.

During one of our strategic reviews, he explained: “Our business in South Africa, Liquid Telecom South Africa, is not big enough to compete effectively. South Africa is a key market for our business, and we are just not competitive enough.”
“Our business in that market has been built from scratch, but our key competitors are bigger than we are. We need an acquisition to accelerate our growth,” he said.
This was the beginning of a conversation that he would then support with studies and proposals. And it would not be a one-day affair, but a process.
“Oh, right, if you get an acquisition opportunity, let’s look at it. Let’s have a comprehensive assessment of each and every option in the market. Then put the word out that we are buyers in that market.”
Months would follow. Our intelligence had led us in different directions, sometimes to dead ends. Then one day the phone call came through from one of our sources:
“The deal between Vodacom SA and Tata Communications over Neotel has fallen through. It could be coming back to market.”
“Okay, what do we have on Neotel?” I asked Nic.
“We know everything about them. I can have a report on your table within a week.”
What followed was a rigorous evaluation of the opportunity, using each of the six key questions I gave you before. Do you remember them?
1. What is the motive behind your decision to buy a business?
2. What will you do with it, to grow and expand it, once you’ve acquired it?
3. Do you have the capacity to run and develop the business that you’re planning to buy?
4. What will you to pay for it, and how did you reach that price?
5. How are you going to pay for it?
6. What are the challenges and risks you will face that are outside your control?
We had every box ticked, but before we could make a move, I wanted to do one more thing. Do you remember the post on the “Buffalo Hunter”? ( I actually wrote it, as I was working on our bid for Neotel. We can discuss it again in the next post.
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations,” said the American pastor and author, Chuck Swindoll.
“Impossible” is one word that can really imprison your hopes and dreams and entrepreneurial planning. Is that word in your vocabulary?
Continued. . .