Be honest and upfront about your firm’s weaknesses, then find a partner who can help “fill in the gaps.”
Do extensive due diligence on the company you’re selling to, merging with, or acquiring.
Find a complementary partner or business. Consider, for example, potential M&A targets that operate outside of your main line of business.
Pay close attention to the growth potential of the newly formed entity and don’t let it get out of hand without first creating a strong infrastructure to support it.
Look at the newly formed relationship as a marriage, not just a business partnership.
Learn the ropes. You can start by reading The Art of M&A: A Merger Acquisition Buyout Guide (McGraw-Hill Trade; $125) or Due Diligence for Global Deal Making: The Definitive Guide to Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Financings, and Strategic Alliances (Bloomberg Pr; $75).