Concentration in the acquisition world is a bad word. Businesses with high supplier concentration attract fewer buyers and this lowers the price. What’s too high? Having a supplier with 40% of your business is too high. Diversify if at all possible.


When buyers look at a company for sale, they look at risk. Supplier concentration is one of the top risk factors that are examined.  Why? Because if customers push the throttle, the suppliers furnish the gas.


A company cannot sell its products to customers if it cannot secure what it needs from suppliers. Any adverse change in a company’s relationships with its key suppliers, or loss of the supply of one of the company’s key products, could have an adverse effect on the business. Therefore, the nature and stability of suppliers is an important consideration in identifying a company’s risk.


There’s a tendency for small business owners to find a good supplier to rely on for the bulk of their material or product needs. If you find someone reliable, why not make your life easier and stick with a trusted entity, right? Not so much when you’re trying to sell your business. Buyers buy to grow the business, not to keep the status quo. So, as a business grows, the importance of the supplier factor becomes even more critical. Growth can be significantly hindered or halted altogether for lack of available resources.


So, what would you do if your main supplier went out of business or had some kind of disaster that strangled output? What if the supplier requests a large cost increase that you cannot mitigate? What if they sold to one of your competitors? How fast could you get new products and materials? And, at what cost? These are questions buyers would ask. So, if you are considering the sale of your business, you can either develop additional supplier relationships in preparation of selling your business later, or sell now and accept a lower price.


Be sure to read Master Ten Value Drivers To Sell Your Business At The Highest Price, that itemized the other factors that increase the value of your business.