"A major competitor made an unsolicited offer to acquire my small business. The amount seems significant, what should my next step be?"

While the offer may sound great, the real question is whether or not it is an offer that truly reflects the value of the business you have built.

So, in order to make an informed decision, the first step is to seek an independent valuation from a firm who knows the marketplace.

Secondly, you need to educate yourself about what drives value and what motivates buyers.

The fact is that competitors usually pay the least for a business. There are other types of buyers that would probably pay more.

Each category of buyer has distinctive characteristics and motives for making an acquisition. The price each is willing to pay is directly proportional to their motive.

Should a valuation determine that your competitor's offer is less than it should be, then you should let the marketplace compete for your business in order to achieve the best possible deal.