October 28, 2015
By Robert Koenig
When I started Woodbridge International in April of 1993, I had just completed the sale of my family business, Koenig Art Emporiums, an art supply and franchise business. It was a time of economic uncertainty, and I knew a number of displaced executives that were searching for businesses to buy. Having been a business owner that had gone through a sale process, and sensing a strong market opportunity, I initiated a buy-side oriented practice.
That was more than twenty-two years ago. Since that time, Woodbridge International has become the gold standard for global mid-market mergers and acquisitions. There is no other firm I know with our process, global reach and technology—not to mention our talented team.
Last week, that whole team came from around the world for our biennial meeting in New York. As I looked around the room and thought about where it all started, you would think I felt satisfaction. Instead, I felt a great sense of urgency. Urgency to complete deals for the clients we represent today–a record forty deals. Urgency to continue refining our process—that indeed, ironically, itself is built upon the necessity of urgency.
Here is why clients recommend us:
Our process begins with the client and ends with the client.
Everything we do is for the client. We're honest about what we can and can't do. We build a deep understanding of our client and their unique situation. We work transparently with the client's best interests at heart. That’s how we become a trusted advisor—because our clients know we understand them and that we advocate for them.
We are fanatical in our drive to get the best buyers for our client.
While our dealmakers have closed hundreds of deals, we do not let that previous success limit our thinking or our marketing. We market differently because we are different. Our team-based approach, with senior people throughout the entire process, combined with a relentless focus on broad, multi-channel marketing nets more buyers for our clients. We're not just a little bit biased here; we are indeed fanatical in search of the best buyers.
The process has real deadlines.
We’re not just fanatical about finding buyers; our scheduled process keeps them moving toward a close by driving them with strict deadlines. We have buyers submit questions by a certain date. We have a deadline to show an indication of interest with a value and deal structure by a certain date. We have management meetings tightly scheduled and ask for LOI’s by a deadline. This prepares the ultimate buyer for the final deadline: the closing date deadline. We know time kills all deals. With a deadline to close, buyers are induced to act swiftly during diligence to meet that deadline; there are always other buyers waiting in the wings.
Clients buy-in to co-ownership of deadlines.
This final point is not a subtle one. Because everything begins and ends with the client, and we not only say that but live it, our clients buy-in to their role to make things happen quickly. Once we understand a potential client and why they are selling, the education begins on the importance of deadlines on the outcome they are seeking. Clients get that. Plain and simple.
Truthfully, I am proud of what Woodbridge has become. Meeting with the team last week was energizing and exciting because I do believe we are differentiated and different. Though it's difficult to be satisfied when there is the raw fuel of client urgency already ignited for the future, I find satisfaction in knowing that our process, our urg'ncy will close deals and provide our clients with the best possible outcome. And providing outcomes is what Woodbridge does and will always do.