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There are 3 main things you need to do after you have decided you really want to buy them (I’m assuming you have carefully thought this issue through):

1. Investigate the business properly (AKA due diligence – lots of accountants, lawyers and subject matter experts can help you out here)
2. Do the contract documentation properly (lawyers can help you out there).
3. Win the ‘hearts and minds’ of any staff and customers that come with the business.

Let me tell you where people usually fall down in successfull acquisitions:

– People often don’t do their DD properly – no proper checklist or real focus on the most valuable things or at least things that can go wrong.
– Documentation. This is often done well but make sure your lawyers really understand the key risks and reasons for purchase.
– Post acquisition hearts and minds programs. Virtually every failed acquisition can be traced back to this issue. You really need a well thought out program of activities to make sure your key staff / customers / others stay with you and are nurtured in the six months following acquisition.

Good luck!

Regards, Neill