Finding the Right Buyer for Your Business

Business Insights

Kay Binns has nine years’ experience in the M&A industry, following more than twenty years’ experience working at executive level in mid-market technology, manufacturing and engineering companies.


Her extensive research and analysis skills play a key part in her role within EvolutionCBS, particularly when researching potential buyers of sellers for clients’ businesses.  She also prepares the marketing documents, such as Information Memoranda and Pitch decks.


There’s a great deal of research that goes into finding the right buyer for a business.  If you’re planning on selling yours, the price it fetches may not be the most important factor for you to consider. 


Handing a business on to someone else involves many dynamics:  there’s the welfare of your team to consider, your customers and perhaps even your family.  You may feel deeply emotionally bound to the business that you’ve nurtured from a mere project plan to a real enterprise – and quite rightly. 


If you’re looking for the right owner to take over from you, there’s only one way it’ll happen: legwork, legwork and more legwork. 


In my experience, the more in-depth knowledge we have of you and your business, the more accurate we will be in our search for the right buyer.  There are plenty of tools on the market that can do a generic search for related industries that may have ‘ready to invest’ buyers.  A generic search, though, can waste more time than you can afford.  These tools are just a part of a wider toolkit; on their own, they cannot get the results that proper, investigative research can.  What’s more, their use doesn’t foster the deep trust that research time does.



We hold a series of initial, in-depth meetings with the client where the whole team is introduced.  It’s a very effective way of getting to know each other and actively tuning into a client’s non-verbal communication as well as the verbal kind. 


If you have found a team that you trust, it’s up to you to try to open up to them.  Remember, you have a right to their confidentiality and can make use of non-disclosure agreements if you wish.  The most important thing is, though, that you disclose everything that you can about your business early – warts and all. 


There are bound to be some features of your business that are less attractive than others – and that’s nothing that some tactful copywriting can’t cope with.  If a sale goes through and the warts are discovered only afterwards, the business could end up losing staff or clients.  That can be worse than not selling at all.



Stay open-minded to your team’s suggestions.  If they’ve done their research properly, they will not put invalid prospects in front of you. 


The more time they spend on finding out all about your business the better.  One of the reasons for our success rate is our focus on finding a singular, unique aspect of a business that might attract a buyer.  It might be something surprising … something that could be overlooked without in-depth research in the early stages.  This is the way to gain the closeness with your team that allows them to take you by the hand and guide you safely through the whole process.


You might be surprised at who your experts find to be a decent prospect for your business.  Just because it may have been your competition, you’ve shared an account before or because the owner plays a lousy round of golf doesn’t mean it’s wrong for your business’s future. 


Trust your team.  Allow them to explain their reasoning. They might know your prospects’ reasons to buy – some which you might never have guessed.  


Here are some of the more common reasons buyers are in the market:

  • Changes in technology as the business evolves
  • A need to gain strength rapidly by synergising with a complementary company
  • A challenge to gain access to a select market sector or even a specific client, in which case the acquisition of your business overcomes a ‘barrier to entry’. This is particularly true in highly regulated industries.
  • A need to diversify quickly in response to sudden market growth in a new sector
  • Personal things – a sudden bereavement, illness or a new marriage.


Try to resist the urge to rule anyone out that your team suggests.  Our clients are often very surprised to find out who they’re selling to … perhaps you already know the person who’s going to take your business on its next adventure!


Kay Binns, Research Director