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Advice for Entrepreneurs, Pre-sale Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions

The value of a phone call

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I was recently at a panel presentation hosted by a local technology firm.  One of the panelists recounted his recent success landing a multi-million dollar order with a big box retailer. It was a complex story and situation.  The product has to be on the shelves for the holidays, and so had to ship in 12 weeks, and the supplier had to figure it all out pretty quickly.  The first hurdle – securing the rights to the product from the inventor.  Turns out, the inventor was not that easy to find.

The panelist told the audience the story of how his company delivered on time, responding to restocking orders in a way a Chinese competitor could not manage, and how the product was a hit on the shelves.  And then he said it all started with his adviser finding the inventor’s phone number.  Had he missed a week trying to track the inventor down, he wouldn’t have made his 12-week delivery window.

The panelist’s comment resonated with me. In M&A, so much can come from one call or one meeting.  We manage multiple concurrent conversations and negotiations for our clients.  Some buyers outbid others by millions of dollars. What if that initial call to the winning bidder had never been made?   The return-on-investment from that one phone call? Enormous.


Alan Fullerton is a partner with Mirus Capital Advisors. He works with owners of middle-market businesses and can be reached at fullerton@merger.com.