Due Diligence Helps your Success Rate

Due Diligence Mergers & Acquisitions 

In the due diligence process, we keep a spreadsheet of the items needed and completion dates to keep our client and the buyer group on task.   For our lower-middle market businesses and private equity groups, there are pages of items needed for a comprehensive due diligence process which is needed for a successful deal.

Last year Terence T. Burton posted an article on LinkedIn on a due diligence and in the article he stated the purpose of a deeper, more thorough Operations Due Diligence.  It was a lengthy article giving reasons for it and examples of what happened when a deep, thorough Operations due diligence is not done.

Below are the key four points he put in his article on the why you want a comprehensive Operations Due Diligence.

  1.  To find hidden, unknown and undiscovered problems that will have a severe impact on operating and financial performance of the acquisition.  A few examples he gave are:
    • Obsolete inventory and equipment;
    • Inventory performance and variances off the books;
    • A warehouse full of new products that will never work in the field;
    • Employee morale and attitudes, and broader cultural readiness to adapt and execute the necessary changes that are required to grow into a compatible and highet performing part of the larger entity.
  2. Identify, prioritize, and deploy the right corrective improvement efforts to create maximum operational value quickly – like in the first 60-90 days of new ownership. These represent the tactical “quick strike-high impact” opportunities for improvement. These opportunities are the known low hanging fruit to the seasoned improvement practitioner’s eye that produce rapid improvements in business and operational performance. It is important to validate these opportunities with the internal managers to gain acceptance and begin building change ownership. Many acquisitions get to this step where a 50,000 foot boilerplate plan is produced – One that looks nice but is totally exclusionary, dillusionary, and non-actionable at a tactical level.
  3. Develop an aligned, organization-wide improvement strategy and vision, deployment plan, and practical implementation approach.
    • This effort represents the unlimited unknown opportunities for improvement that must be continuously mined, prioritized, and scoped relative to alignment with the company’s business plan;
    • The other purpose is to identify innovative breakthrough improvements that competitively position the new organization way out in front of the industry norms.

    The big differentiator in great acquisitions is their ability to discover, harvest, and implement the real operating breakthroughs in their industry.

  4. Implement the required changes thoroughly and successfully during the acquisition integration process. Execution is the key to success and this is where the majority of acquisitions fall apart. The major root cause is management’s underestimation and oversimplification of execution. This leads to the failure to take on and implement major transformation initiatives successfully, while dealing with day-to-day business. In the face of crisis, improvement is always the first casualty.

This is a small portion of his article… you can find the full Linkedin article on this page or the link above.

Business Sales Awards

Mergers & Acquisitions Selling a Business 

2017 marks Lakes Business Group;s 10th year assisting privately held companies execute their exit strategy in the lower-middle market.   Our team has had the privilege of working with outstanding clients over the years.   We take pride in designing and implementing our clients’ goals, while leveraging value up and getting maximum dollar for the sale of their businesses.

Throughout the past 10 years, our office has grown to become the #1 top producing M&A advisory firm in the Midwest.   We have been providing Merger & Acquisition services in a wide range of industries.   Below is a picture of our ‘trophy wall’ in our office.   These awards are from 2008 to the present.

awards and plaques on office wall - M&A firm awards

These award plaques and trophies include:
2017: Acquisition International’s Leading Mergers and Acquisition Adviser of the Year
#1 Internationally Ranked VR Office – 1st Quarter 2017
#1 Internationally Ranked VR Office – 2nd Quarter 2017

2016: #1 Internationally Ranked VR Office!
#1 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Mark Smith
#2 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Joe Braier
#5 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Nicole White
#6 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Andrew Falci
#9 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Michael Szmanda
#10 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Larry Heck

2015: #1 Internationally Ranked VR Office!
#1 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Michael Szmanda
#3 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Mark Smith
#7 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Tom Alberts
#8 Internationally Ranked VR Sales Agent – Larry Heck

2014: #1 Internationally Ranked VR Office!
#1 Internationally Ranked VR Owner – Tim Bullard
#1 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Mark Smith
#3 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Andy Schmelzer
#4 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Michael Szmanda
#7 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Joe Braier
#8 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Larry Heck

2013: Most Valuable Intermediary – Tim Bullard – President/CEO
#2 Internationally Ranked VR Office!
#3 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Joe Braier
#9 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Michael Szmanda

2012: #1 Internationally Ranked VR Office!
#2 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Mark Smith
#3 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary – Joe Braier

2011: #1 Internationally Ranked VR Owner – Tim Bullard- President/CEO
#2 Internationally Ranked VR Office
#7 Internationally Ranked VR Intermediary Joe Braier

If you are considering selling your business  call our office at 262-347-2083

Business Information Needed when Ready to Execute your Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy - Selling a Business Mergers & Acquisitions Selling a Business 

You’ve built your business and now ready to execute your exit plan.    When contacting your business consultant, they will ask for the following information to complete an offering memorandum outlining the details of the business.


  • Notes/Liens/Liabilities
  • AR Aging Report
  • AP Report


  • Number of Customers in Database/Number of Active Customers/Customer Concentration
  • Number of Suppliers of Vendors/Supplier/Vendor Concentration


  • Vending Contracts
  • Maintenance Contracts
  • Lease/Purchase Agreements


  • Corporate Employee Chart
  • Employee Benefits Summary


  • Corporate Documentation
  • Corporate Insurance Policy
  • Any Shareholders agreements


  • Floor Plans
  • Survey


  • Partnership/Consent of Spouse or Corporate/Partnership Resolution
  • Licenses & Permit Documents & Process to Obtain Licenses and Permits
  • Copies of Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Etc.
  • Description/Documentation of Technology being used
  • List of products and services sold  Top 5 Income Producing Items
  • Any outstanding legal issues

Now’s the Best Time to Sell a Business

Mergers & Acquisitions 

Now’s the time to sell a business and retire, but many baby boomers are waiting. Find out why in the article below featuring Lakes Business Group’s Joe Braier where he explains that “The first step in exit planning is to find an advisor who is highly experienced in working with business owners. Do your due diligence and find a reputable mergers and acquisitions advisor who understands business valuation, deal structure, and the overall process of bringing a business to the open market.  The right advisor will be willing to meet with you face-to-face, review your business, and discuss your vision for the company’s future and goals for the sale.”

Now’s the Best Time to Sell a Business

AI Magazine’s Leading M&A Advisers of the Year

Mergers & Acquisitions 

We are excited to announce that we have been chosen as the 2017 winner of Acquisition International Magazine’s “Leading Mergers & Acquisitions Adviser of the Year- USA.”

Please read the article below to discover the difference between listing and selling your business.

AI Magazine’s “Leading Mergers & Acquisitions Adviser of the Year” 

M&A Expectation in the New Year

Mergers & Acquisitions 

Now that the year is coming to a close, what can we expect and hope for in 2017? Will a new administration help mergers and acquisitions in the business world? Some of the post-election chatter is projecting this will be good for domestic M&A. Right after the election, in early November, Bloomberg .com posted that Trump’s win is a positive for M&A overall. A Financial Times article quoted Eric Siegel, a corporate lawyer at Dechert, “Trump is a life-long dealmaker. Combined with the Republican Party platform, that bodes well for the deal environment generally.

In early December, Fortune posted an article about the telecommunications industry having a sense of excitement as they expect the incoming Trump administration will likely be more agreeable to mergers and acquisitions.

Two of the main reasons that the environment has the potential to be more favorable for consolidation: First is the lower corporate taxes that President-elect Trump has promised will free up capital that companies can spend on acquisitions. And second, is the scaled-back regulatory environment would help M&A deals that may have otherwise been obstructed.

In the next thirty days we’ll see how this all plays out, but hoping to a prosperous New Year for all!