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An Interview with M&A Source Member, Dida Goudreau

Tell us about your pre-M&A career and how it led you to doing this work?

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and have had a couple of businesses over the years that were successful. Additionally, for a little over a decade, I was an outside bookkeeper and accounting consultant and worked closely with business owners. This provided a full understanding of their business from the ups and downs of cash flow to California Employment Law, and all the business filings in between. Integrity and transparency were the foundation of my success in building and maintaining trust with my clients. As a business owner’s confidant, I often heard of their dream to sell the company and would work to maximize their exit, all while brainstorming all the future possibilities of the business in my free time. M&A Advising has been a natural transition for me.

What personal characteristics and strengths have supported your success in this industry?

I am both empathetic and protective of business owners that I work with, and I have a clear respect for confidentiality and boundaries which lends well to mitigating the legal risks that M&A presents.

Analyzing financial statements and reviewing a business’s expense accounts comes naturally.

I love processes and efficiency and am hyper-focused right now on the seller’s experience with my services. Working to create the smoothest, most informed process, for sellers and to build a concierge experience for those going through what is often one of the biggest events in their lives.

What is your greatest M&A accomplishment? 

The most exciting accomplishment so far is selling a company that had the following risks to a buyer:

– It only had 5 months of financial history. The company had a long history as a private company then a department within a larger corporation, then a divestiture. A ransomware attack at the time of divestiture caused the department/company to lose all historic data.

– The company had to move locations within 5 months. Because of the ransomware attack, the current seller’s acquisition was delayed, and he lost the facility he had planned to use. He was currently housed inside of a friend’s building temporarily with a deadline to move approaching.

– The seller wanted to exit after only 5 months of ownership. He had originally taken on the opportunity, in part, to keep the team of employees together as they had almost all been working together through a few iterations of the company. The seller had been part of the private equity group that had originally acquired the company several years earlier which they later sold. He now needed to exit to tend to family business.

We were able to find a good individual buyer from out of state that was willing to take on the risks for a reduced price.

With regard to the majority of your engagements, do you work as a team, or do you handle things on your own?

I work closely with my mentor, John Mittelstet, who is very experienced and spends time considering all the aspects of the deals we work on. I am so grateful that he agreed to mentor me. As far as the workload, right now, I am doing a lot of the work myself to put in the reps and build up my style and preferences for the process. Thankfully, we can lean on a support team that is provided by our broker and my team of colleagues are ready to find buyers, almost before I can get them all the details.

Do you just do M&A or do you provide other services – valuations, consulting, etc.?

I am working on becoming certified valuation analyst but right now I am mostly fully focused on M&A.

What is the biggest mistake you have made when working on a deal?

For my first engagement, I made the mistake of agreeing to take on an overpriced referral that had already been marketed for a while. Whenever I need to negotiate with a seller on a starting price range, I remember my conversations with potential buyers trying to explain the inflated price, and work with sellers to get to a more reasonable starting point.

What are the three most important qualities that you think a good M&A advisor needs to have?

Experience is so important because it brings with it knowledge and intuition. Having an eye for anything out of place or potentially risky. Experience eases the seller’s stresses and allows them to be advised and lead fully.

Strong leadership is required to bring the deal to close. To guide the buyer and seller and their teams of advisors toward a shared goal. Maintaining clear communication and a sense of direction for the transaction team.

Tenacity in an M&A Advisor will ensure they clear any hurdles and withstand the long timelines. Tenacity to work with a client for years to get the deal across the finish line to close. Tenacity in finding qualified sellers to work with. Tenacity in continuously learning and challenging yourself to be the best M&A Advisor one can be.

What is your most interesting deal that you are working on today?

I am selling a 72-year-old family run business in Northern California that specializes in generators. They sell and install, service and repair as well as rent generators, which creates steady income for the company. As the economy is stimulated, they sell and install generators to new construction, as the economy downturns, they rent and repair more generators, keeping the flow of revenue steady. Please contact me for more details, [email protected].

How long have you been an M&A Source member and what do you get out of your membership?

I just joined M&A Source last quarter and do not regret it. The fall conference and classes were very informative and the amount of knowledge and experience in the room was staggering. I am working towards the M&AMI designation and participating in an M&A Source committee to get to know more people and contribute to the group.

As a seasoned M&A advisor, what changes and trends do you see on the horizon that will impact on M&A?

Personally, not having experienced this before through the lens of M&A, I am most anticipating an economic downturn and preparing myself to ride it out. I plan to be tenacious and scrappy, take smaller listings as needed, and make it happen for myself, our sellers and our team.

On a positive note, I am excited about what feels like the infinite possibilities that new technologies provide. AI, machine learning and data management are fueling advancements in all sectors, including bio-manufacturing and materials technology. Bioplastics are fascinating and I am hoping there will be new businesses that emerge in biomaterials.

What advice would you give to new people entering the profession?

Join M&A Source and IBBA as well as your state’s association of intermediaries. I am so thankful I joined and have found many seasoned advisors happy to share their experience and knowledge. The rookies you meet there will grow into your friends and referral network.

Please tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with your M&A career?
I am also an artist. In my 20s I built a business designing and selling costume jewelry. We would put on fashion shows and build out cooperative boutiques. I later applied my aesthetic and style to lighting design.

selfie of Dida Goudreau and her family

Dida Goudreau is an M&A Associate with M&A Business Advisors in San Jose. She represents sellers of Manufacturing, Service and Technology companies throughout California. With over 18 years of diverse business experience, Dida leans on her analysis of industry knowledge and high emotional intelligence to optimize your experience and final agreement. She values strategy, efficiency and informed decision making.

Dida was drawn to M&A after spending several years working closely and confidentially with business owners, always considering opportunities to increase the business’ value and optimize their exit, whenever that time came. She understands that it takes time to prepare for an exit while also understanding the pace needed once a listing is in motion.

Dida is licensed by the California DRE and is an active member of the M&A Source, California Association of Business Brokers, as well as the International Business Brokers Association. Please contact her for a complimentary consultation. She can be reached at (415) 318-6618 or [email protected].

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