The Missing Link in Most Merger and Acquisition Due Diligence

To be effective an M&A due diligence requires assessments of the legal, financial, and operations facets of a business. The financial assessment relies heavily on a past performance analysis of the business while the legal assessment looks at the current structure and outstanding liabilities of the business. Neither of these, however, looks in any detail at the future sustainability of the business. Determining the longterm sustainability of a business is the role of Operations Due Diligence (ODD) which requires an assessment of the infrastructure that supports the sustaining operations of the business. Unfortunately ODD is often the weak link in the M&A process and one of the leading causes of M&A failure.

Given the high rate of M&A failures, it’s hard to understand why any investor would consider putting millions of dollars into a business based solely on performing the financial and legal assessments without also performing an enterprise wide operations assessment to identify any latent risks that could impact the long-term sustainability of the business. An effective ODD must be performed as an enterprise wide assessment to discover any risks that could impact the future success of the business within any of its operations infrastructure areas. By not performing an operations assessment the investor could be entering into a deal with tremendous potential risks… and taking a great leap of faith that the business has the infrastructure in place to support its current operations as well as those needed to support its Proforma.

The problem occurs because most investors have a CPA and attorney to help them perform their M&A due diligence but, unlike the financial and legal assessments which are founded on the well established principles of law and accounting, there are no similar principles to guide an operations assessment. Nor are there board certified professionals who perform these tasks resulting in many investors choosing to “go it alone”. These investors approach ODD by taking a high level view of the business and tend to skip the details in many areas. They may deep dive into one or two areas (typically areas where they have been burned before) while ignoring or failing to take an enterprise wide view that includes the entire operations infrastructure. Unfortunately, most investors aren’t even able to define what constitutes an effective operations due diligence and are ill prepared to perform a true enterprise wide operations risk assessment so this is understandably where they make their greatest mistakes… making the lack of effective operations due diligence one of the leading causes of M&A failure.

Collection Agency Business: How To Get Started

A collection agency is a company that goes after debts owed by businesses or private individuals. Business owners and even private individuals turn to collection agencies if they are having a trouble collecting payments from customers, especially when their accounts receivable are past due.

Debt collection is a profitable business: in the United States alone, the debt collection industry earned over $12 billion dollars in 2012.The average salary of a debt collector is $28,500.The value of the collection agency business can’t be overstated, and enterprising individuals may find it suits them on many levels.

However, the collection agency business is considered one of the least consumer-friendly industries in America due to the aggressive methods that such companies often use to collect debts. If you plan to start your own collection agency business, you can avoid that stigma by following these guidelines:

1. Learn all state and federal laws concerning debt collection. Familiarize yourself with the law before you start your own collection agency business. Different states have different laws and policies regarding how you can legally deal with people who owe money.

2. Register your business. Before you can establish your company, consult with an accountant, business advisor, or an attorney to help you process all the requirements. After that, register your business with the IRS.

3. Formulate your collection approach.Your company’s collection process is an important consideration. Determine what fees you will impose on different kinds of debts and what methods you will use to contact debtors. Be sure to create your letter templates and call scripts in advance.

4. Setup your office and equipment. You can start small by renting an office space. If you’re a small business owner, you can work from a home office. Get an Internet connection if you don’t have one already, and buy necessary equipment such as computers, desks, chairs, and file cabinets. Make sure that your phone service can handle multiple incoming and outgoing calls simultaneously.

5. Strategize your marketing. An effective marketing strategy makes it easier for potential clients to learn about your company’s services. You need business cards, flyers, and brochures to help you advertise your company. Take advantage of modern technology with social media or your own website.

6. Get started. Once all the preparations are taken care of, you can begin running your collection agency business. Start off by contacting potential clients: once you’ve made an agreement with a client, you will be sent a list of debtors to contact.

Remember to be careful when dealing with debtors so that you don’t harm your client’s relationship with its customers. Remember, debt collection firms have a bad reputation among consumers – consider it your duty to break the stereotype.

Pitch Deck Design That Wins

Solid pitch deck design is essential to getting funding for a startup. A successful pitch to investors must provide the information needed without overloading the investor with data. It must tell a striking story without leaving the investor feeling emotionally manipulated. And finally, it must communicate the value of an enterprise without producing confusion. A well designed pitch deck can go a long way toward helping an entrepreneur navigate these issues.

A winning pitch tells the story of your company. A well crafted, well told narrative makes your pitch memorable, creates an emotional impact, and communicates the value you offer in a way that data and statistics alone simply cannot. This story must be coherent, succinct and linear. It is the story of identifying a problem, conceiving of a solution, and with enough funding, making that solution a reality. It is a story of forward motion and progress. This story is not just told in words; it must be told through the pitch deck. The order of the slides establishes a seamless flow, and the flow should follow the story.

While organization and flow is very important, a winning pitch deck design also takes each individual slide into account. Each slide plays a role in the larger story, but it also must also stand on its own. A good slide will communicate some indispensable piece of information in such a way that it can be understood by looking at that slide in isolation. Each slide encompasses one important point. Forcing an audience to think back to earlier slides or anticipate future slides can be distracting, and loading too much information in a single slide can be even more distracting. Keep each slide focused on one important point in order to keep and direct the attention of the audience.

It can be tempting to fill an investor pitch deck with every number, statistic and piece of data you have. After all, it is your extensive research that has convinced you that your idea can and should become a reality. The more data you collect, the more you realized how tenable your business can be, which fuels your passion. But loading a pitch deck with numbers will not fuel that same passion in potential investors, at least not right away. Remember that before all the research came the spark, the one idea that became lodged in your imagination. The purpose of a pitch deck is to ignite that spark in investors. Pouring over the numbers will come later.