Some people just like to have meetings. We get that, and it’s a request we get a lot. In a few cases meeting face-to-face with the business seller so you can watch their mannerisms and facial expressions might help you learn a lot about how that person conducts themselves.
However, in today’s small business marketplace it’s much more likely that you will do the majority of your meetings via conference call.
Business transactions require a lot of moving parts. The schedules of the sellers, the buyers, the brokers involved and the attorneys involved all need to be considered when trying to figure out when a meeting could take place. If this meeting is to take place at the business that is for sale, it will also have to be scheduled when employees are not present for confidentiality reasons.
If you’ve every tried to get 6 or 7 people together for anything at the same time you can imagine how tough that can be. As such, if you are serious about buying a business you are going to have to concede that the majority of initial meetings are going to have to be held over the phone.
Conference calls can be taken in a car in the parking lot while the seller is away from their staff. They can happen while the seller is at home. They can happen over lunch breaks or even behind a closed office door.
Asking for physical meetings may seem important – but in business transactions they really don’t matter. When you are buying a business you aren’t buying a physical space. You are buying cash flow, so the aesthetics of said space are far less important than the numbers the business generates. Those numbers can be communicated to you via email or share files online and then discussed via conference call, so there is no need to spread paper out on a table and stare at each other in the face.
Heading into the business buying process with the understanding that most of your communication with brokers and sellers will be through conference calls will help you to navigate the process more successfully.
Wait, does this mean we never meet face-to-face?
Absolutely not. Face-to-face meetings are an important part of the business buying process – they are just far more useful much further along in the transaction process. Any initial questions can be answered over the phone and don’t require the scheduling nightmare that meetings sometimes are.
Another note – demanding everyone constantly travel to meetings will probably only aggravate the seller and other professionals involved to the point where they might refuse to work with you in the future. If you do make appointments for meetings, do not cancel unless absolutely necessary. Making everyone bend and adjust their schedule and then casually canceling last minute for something other than a dire emergency only shows your lack of respect for others in the transaction and your lack of commitment to seeing the sale through.
The point here is you need to be sensible and realistic when asking for meetings versus conference calls. Listen to the advice of your business broker when they tell you one would be better over the other in your current situation. Most things can be accomplished in a phone call that doesn’t require schedule juggling and travel time for everyone involved.
Are you thinking about buying a business and would rather have face-to-face meetings? Would you like to know more about how most things can be accomplished via conference call? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here.
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907