Good preparation is half the sales

Who is Paul Overwater?
I have been a consultant for over twenty years, specializing in company acquisitions and I am part of MKB Advies Partners. We advise on business relationships, company acquisitions, financing and operations management. We see ourselves as a business partner.

What is your experience with company acquisitions or sales in the transportation sector?
I have extensive experience with business acquisitions. We do not exclusively but regularly have entrepreneurs from the industry and members of TLN with whom we trade. I am currently advising three carriers in acquisition processes. One now sees that a consolidation process is underway, people want to work more efficiently. Growing your business provides opportunities to work more efficiently. We also have a lot to do with entrepreneurs who call us because they have been contacted by other companies or investors. They want to test their image of their business with a specialist. Entrepreneurs often do not know how to assess the value of their business. If a party presents itself, it’s nice, but one has to be able to make a well-considered choice. A business acquisition is not only a matter of the acquisition cost, but also of all sorts of other factors that may be at least as important.

How important is experience in the transportation sector for a purchasing advisor?
This is important. We have that knowledge and expertise in the transport sector. You should be familiar with the terminologies. If you do not know the difference between container transport and 24-hour distribution, you will not gain confidence. If you are awarded the contract and you are allowed to start the process with that entrepreneur, you need to know what you are talking about and what the current events and developments in the sector are.

Are purchasing companies primarily something for medium and large companies?
No, you also have small entrepreneurs who take over companies. Niche players, for example, are by definition not the largest, but they also take over companies on an ongoing basis to strengthen their position in that niche market. One sees that buying parties buy more of the same or want to create more differentiation.

Good preparation pays for itself, you say on your website. What is good preparation?
You start preparing for an external sale or a takeover in the family, ideally a number of years in advance. It is desirable to structure everything correctly: material, economic, fiscal, legal. There is a lot to consider. Such extensive and thorough preparation is always an ideal image, but in practice this is often not the case. Then there is a knock on the door and you have to change immediately.

What is the biggest pitfall when buying or selling?
Think it’s going to be fine. Under the guise of a good deal between buyer and seller, it is said, “we will find out”. Then I say: no, in good times you have to fix everything you need in bad times. That way, you’re at the forefront of discussions, disagreements, and conflicts. If it goes wrong all at once and a previous owner has left money in the business, for example, then it becomes a very legal battle. That’s what you want to be. You want to know in advance where you stand. We always try to achieve this for the customer.

What can members expect in an exploratory meeting with you?
A good introduction where you make clear what the demand is and what conditions and wishes there are for the entrepreneur. The purchase price is a result of the negotiations. You agree or disagree. Conditions are often just as important. Does the entrepreneur still want to play a certain role after the transfer or not? Or does the entrepreneur want a staged sale? Is there a family in the company and should this be ensured as much as possible? That admission interview is very important. With my knowledge, skills and experience, I can advise various constructions that are feasible. As I said, it’s about good preparation – however short it may be – to make a sale or purchase a success.

TLN would like to support members who are in the process of buying or selling, with professional advice. To emphasize our objectivity, we offer several professional partners. Are you interested in a conversation with one of the advisors? Contact TLN, Sjors Jepkema, telephone 06 – 22 22 97 32 email: gjepkema@tln.nl

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