The Importance of Being Prepared For Any Opportunity That Arises
- Be prepared for any type of opportunity that may come about;
- Run a process and identify all the potential interested parties;
- The need for a really good team of advisors around you.
Shannon Walker, who was involved in the sale of two companies about three years ago, has some simple advice for business owners.
You just never know when someone comes calling and wants to buy your business.
“When you’re in the midst of running a family business, you’re running your business and you’re not thinking outside of that, it’s just the day to day,” says Walker, who is Founder & President of WhistleBlower Security Inc.
“I think this transaction made me more aware how important it is to be prepared for any type of opportunity that may come about. Even though it may not be part of your short-term plan or maybe even your longer-term plan, I think it behooves any owner to just be prepared.”
WGI Manufacturing and W3 Solutions, which were in business for about 40 years, were sold at the end of 2019.
Walker is one of the guest speakers at the Business Transitions Forum November 23 in Vancouver.
She’s part of the closing keynote: Transition Stories: The Good, The Bad & The Different. A panel of business owners will talk about having gone through transition with their business with the opportunity to reflect on the process from the rear-view mirror. They will share insights on what they wish they had known at the beginning of their transition journey and their key learnings for their next ventures. What would they change, if anything, if they were to do it all again? How much growth did their business experience prior to selling?
The panel includes Gary Powers, President of Promac Group and Bill Tucker, CEO & President of Omicron and it will be moderated by Andrew Kemper, Partner, Capital West Partners.
Walker frequently speaks on whistleblowing, ethics, corporate culture and diversity. WhistleBlower Security is Women Business Enterprise Canada certified, making it the only woman-owned and managed certified ethics reporting business in North America. It is also a B-corp. A former elected City Official, Shannon has also sat on a number of non-profit boards and is currently Chair of the Ambleside Dundarave Business Improvement Association. She has a BA from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, and a M.A. from Pepperdine University in California.
She says it wasn’t really on the radar to exit WGI Manufacturing and W3 Solutions, so management was entirely unprepared for the level of diligence required when first approached.
“We were approached to sell and thank goodness, we decided to engage with Cap West (CapitalWest Partners) to help us through the process. Selling wasn’t on our radar. It wasn’t part of our plan. It was a long-term family company. We were continuing to work and develop new opportunities,” explains Walker.
“When we were approached with the idea of being acquired, we decided that we needed to explore all the opportunities and the potential buyers that were out there. So CapWest helped us run a process and identify all the potential interested parties and then really get us into more of a competitive environment. Ultimately, we realized the true value of the company.”
She says the process went very well as the companies got a better outcome and ensured they received the best value.
“Because we hadn’t anticipated selling, we weren’t really prepared. The amount of diligence and the amount of work that our team had to do internally to get prepared was complicated and it was intense. For our team, it was a lot of work and it was done in an incredibly short amount of time,” adds Walker.
“If a company is setting itself up to be acquired, they’re probably doing everything they should be doing so that all the financials, the contracts, the policies, etc etc are ready. It wasn’t on our radar so we really had to work very, very quickly to pull everything together.
“We would never go through this process alone. I think you need a really good team of advisors around you. I know sometimes that other entrepreneurs may think that it’s an expense that’s maybe not worth incurring, but I think when you’re immersed in running your business while you’re going through the diligence process, it would be very difficult and probably to your detriment if you tried to run a process on your own or negotiate on your own. I think it’s essential to have a secondary support system of a team of advisors who can help in the negotiation process, run the diligence process, and ensure you get the very best valuation you can.”