The Details of Buying a Business

The Details of Buying a Business

In terms of detail orientation, which buyers tend to thrive? 

People tend to have their own natural level of affection and need for detail.  Some people are referred to as “detail-oriented” while others are considered to be “big-picture thinkers.”  Being that it is a new year, we have been reflecting on our past deals and trying to look for common threads of success.  In general, accounting seems to reward people who can be thorough and can handle detail for sure, but to own and manage a practice, one has to be able to see the details in the context of the whole.  In other words, you cannot get carried away with details to the point where you cannot tell the important from the unimportant.  Accountants that thrive have the ability to prioritize and focus on the details that matter.  In other words…you need BOTH!

The pitfalls of too much detail too soon.

In terms of buying a business, the layers of the onion must be peeled in due course.  The biggest mistake buyers make is diving into the details too soon in the process.  This may seem self-evident, but I’ve seen very smart buyers fall into this trap.  If you quickly learn 1000 things about an accounting practice it becomes difficult (if not impossible) to sort through all of the information to understand what’s truly important in making the decision to buy or to pass on an opportunity.  Knowing too much too soon often negatively impacts the decision process and almost always stifles decision making.  Buyers who have a natural tendency toward detail often skip the important thinking required to prioritize the information.  The key is identifying the big questions first to help you determine whether or not you should dig deeper or not.  Start with 3 questions…then identify 3 more…and so on.

Happy deal hunting in 2014!

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