The pathway to a business purchase, sale or a merger can be a minefield for the uninitiated, with legal, financial, branding and transformation elements all vying for your attention. Missing any of these critical elements can not only derail the transaction – but it can also quickly erode business value.
In this dinner in the Knowledge Sharing Dinner series a business planning expert who is also a licensed business broker, a commercial lawyer, an online brand reputation specialist and a technology specialist share their knowledge, experience and insights on the steps you can take to prepare for a successful sale, purchase, merger or acquisition.

Meet the panel

Stewart Clark: SCS Performance

Business consultant

Interesting facts from Stewart’s perspective

* According to the ABS – there was 2.3 million actively trading business in Australia as at 2018, with this increasing year on year. It is estimated that more than 2.1 million of these employ less than 20 people.
* Whilst business numbers are growing, there is a consistent exit rate of around 12% of business from the market each year.
* Small business employs around 4.8million people in Australia.
* International studies suggest that circa 80% of business owners have no succession or exit plan.
* A recent US study also showed that 29% of business owners expected to exit within 5 years – with 37% intending to transfer the business to a family member, 25% to sell to partner or key employee and a further 25% to sell to a third party. Around 10% expect to close the business.

What Stewart’s clients say about him

Stewart has helped improve the efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism of my commercial plumbing business. The strength of Stewarts service is his vastness of knowledge and the diversity of his skills. He is a great sounding board and would be an asset to any business owner.  Tim Backholer, Blue Ribbon Plumbing

Strong Planning is important, but its only action that drives progress

Stewart Clark

Founder, SCS Performance

Greg Clarkson: Network Overdrive

Business Technology Specialist

Interesting facts from Greg’s perspective

The challenge of IT post merger or acquisition is often overlooked in the initial valuation and negotiation period.  
IBM research reveals that only 23% recover their costs of a merger and 50% of mergers actually destroy shareholder value!

What Greg’s clients say 

The [Profit Stacks Framework] provided a different insight to the way in which IT touches the various aspects of our business. Being able to identify and rate the current level of service provided by various existing systems was very valuable [and highlighted] the priorities for our future investment in IT to maximise benefits to the bottom line.  Warwick Bishop, Water Technology

In most cases, a purchase or a sale in the SME space is about realising people’s dreams. The pathway post-transaction must be exciting for all parties for a good deal to happen.

Greg Clarkson

, Network Overdrive

Ian Hopkinson: Mad Scientist Digital

SEO and online reputation management

Interesting facts from Ian’s perspective

– Many small to medium businesses in Australia still value their product or service over building a great brand.
– Your online presence is just as important as your offline presence with over 80% of people researching a company online before they interact with you face to face.
– During a Sale, Acquisition, or Merger most legal, business, and finance people forget to properly value a brands online presence
– After a sale, acquisition, or merger most businesses forget about a proper strategy to consolidate the online assets

What Ian’s clients say 

Innovative, professional & results driven. The company displays true understanding of the SEO environment & as a result can tweek the online presence that little bit more than others to make it to page one of Google. Phil Richards (Google online review)

The best way to finish anything is to launch it!

Ian Hopkinson

Founder and head of results, Mad Scientist Digital

Harvey Bowlt: Bowlt Commercial Lawyers

Commercial Law

Interesting facts from Harvey’s perspective

There are more than 2 million small businesses (defined as having a turnover of less than $2 million) in Australia, accounting for 96% of all businesses in the country, $330 billion of economic output and employing over 4.5 million people, which represents more than half of Australia’s workforce.
Approximately 50% of all new businesses fail in the first 5 years, so it’s crucial they manage risk properly and plan strategically to ensure the ongoing viability of the business and prepare adequately for a sale or acquisition.

What Harvey’s clients say 

Harvey was incredibly thorough throughout the acquisition process, performing extensive contract analysis and extensive multilevel negotiations. His dealings with myself and the acquiring business representatives was always incredibly professional. He was able to explain things clearly and offered fair and sensible advice. I would certainly recommend any business to call on Harvey for their future potential business acquisitions.
Dr Zoran Milasinovich- Fountain Gate Veterinary Clinic Pty Ltd

It’s said that a lawyer who handles his own case has a fool for a client. The same applies to anyone who tries to handle their own sale of business or acquisition. There are too many traps for the uninitiated to take a chance.

Harvey Bowlt

, Bowlt Commercial Lawyers

Meet the host

Brenda Thomson

Brenda Thomson

CEO and Founder, Synergy48 Group

Brenda has an honours degree in organizational psychology and a Graduate Certificate in training and development and she is an experienced trainer, facilitator and counsellor. She is a firm believer in mutual collaboration combined with a practical, hands on tools, strategies and systems as the most effective way to achieve real results in business. 

Brenda has over 20 years of experience training in communication, team work, time management, productivity, organisation and strategic planning in large organisations. She is also the developer of the Business Benchmarking Toolkit used by Synergy48 Group members and clients to identify areas for improvement in their business processes.

Brenda is a sought after mentor, speaker and trainer in the areas of strategic partnerships and networking with a difference.  She is passionate about actively giving back to the community. In addition to donating her speaking fees and a proportion of every Synergy48 Group membership to provide microfinance to help women in Malawi to start their own businesses, Brenda has climbed the Himalayas to raise money for Kids Help Line and helped lay a pipeline to supply water to a remote village in Tanzania.

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