Capstone Vice President Matt Craft presented at the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program orientation in Richmond on January 19.

For 14 years, Capstone has helped Virginia companies grow through our participation in the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s VALET program. Matt talked about how leaders can identify the best markets for growth their companies and objectively make decisions using data and tools.

Capstone Vice President Matt Craft presents to VALET companies in Richmond, Virginia.

Capstone Vice President Matt Craft presents to VALET companies in Richmond, Virginia.

As the members enter the program, we wish them the best of luck and urge them to take advantage of the resources and opportunities available for helping their company grow.

For more than 10 years, Capstone has served as a Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program Partner. The program, run by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, helps businesses expand internationally.

We are excited to continue offering our expertise in strategic planning and external growth to assist companies in realizing their international growth goals. Helping VALET members to execute strategic mergers and acquisitions is one of the key ways we implement our mission.

We also provide complimentary education on international expansion and strategic growth for VALET Program companies. For example, we presented “How to Pick Top-Notch Markets”  at the VALET Spring Meeting in 2015.

Learn more about the VALET Program from the press release.

Selecting the right market is critical to successful growth. The market should have healthy, stable demand for your products or services and be aligned with your overall growth strategy. We strongly recommend selecting a market prior to identifying acquisition targets or potential partners. Without understanding market dynamics, you may be tempted to pursue what looks like a promising opportunity, only to find that the market is in a serious decline.

So how do you go about researching, identifying, evaluating and prioritizing markets? Managing Director John Dearing and Project Manager Matt Craft share the secrets to success in “Picking Top-Notch Markets” presented at for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Program (VEDP)’s VALET spring meeting. Watch the video presentation below:

“How often do you get involved in a situation where a company is pursuing a ‘usual suspect’? And how do you handle it?”

This question was asked after Capstone’s presentation on “How to Pick Top-Notch Markets” by Project Manager Matt Craft and Managing Director John Dearing at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s VALET spring meeting.

This is an excellent question because the situation is extremely common. A “usual suspect” is a company that easily comes to mind because you already have an existing relationship. It may be a supplier, competitor or industry partner or it may be a company owned by your CFO’s sister. Naturally, because “usual suspects” are the easiest prospects to find, many companies begin their M&A search with them.

There’s nothing wrong with looking at them, but because of your pre-existing relationship it may be difficult to remain objective. In addition, we find that many times clients are only considering one familiar company and no other options.

When studying a usual suspect, we recommend taking a step back to remain strategic and objective throughout the M&A process. Use strategic criteria to objectively assess the company. How does the company align with your strategy? Is it really a good fit? Or have you been blinded by love?

We also recommend considering at least two other companies so you have three options for the sake of comparison. Without a comparison, by default the usual suspect will be the best and only prospect. If it’s truly the best prospect, it will withstand the scrutiny of criteria and comparison to other companies. You may even find that one of the other options is actually a better fit for your company

We know it’s difficult to say “no” to the usual suspect, especially if you have your heart set on it, but remember, acquisition is a huge undertaking. You cannot afford to make a decision based on emotion or incomplete information. Consider multiple options and use strategic criteria to make the best decision about your acquisition prospects.

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Learn more by attending our webinar “How to Pick Top-Notch Markets.”  Click here to register.

How do you find the best market for your product or service?

Capstone Project Manager Matt Craft answered this important question on the Market Selection Panel at the Virginia Conference on World Trade in Richmond, Virginia on October 30.

Hosted by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), this is the state’s largest international trade conference and is focused on expanding international business with participating representatives from the Middle East, Australia, Canada, Brazil and Mexico. The 250 businessmen and women who attended and heard Matt came from various industries that included engineering, manufacturing, professional services and IT.

Matt discussed how to go about selecting the right market and the importance of using tools for prioritization and good decision-making. As a critical step in following future demand, selecting the right market begins with thinking about which customers you want to reach and what markets they will be in.

Market selection isn’t always about geography, Matt explained, but could also mean deciding between vertical markets such as healthcare, retail, or industrial products. The idea is to select a market where you see a growing demand for your business’s services or products. By entering a growing market you can position your company for long-term growth.

In more than ten years as a Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program Partner, Capstone has advised many companies on the market selection process.

Learn more! Free special report:  “Markets First – M&A the New Way.”

Capstone again participated in the VALET Program Partner Roundtable, a program that helps companies throughout Virginia expand their international business. We have been selected as a partner for this award-winning program for more than 10 years.

VALET offers a powerful combination of capital resources provided by the state along with professional services from expert, private-sector partners.

Our efforts at VALET are spearheaded by Managing Director, John Dearing. As a program partner, Capstone offers pro-bono consulting services and free educational webinars to active VALET participants.

Capstone worked with three of the 11 participants from VALET’s most recent graduating class, reflecting our knowledge and expertise in corporate growth strategies in a wide range of manufacturing and service industries.

Mike Melo, CEO of ITA International and a VALET graduate, acknowledged Capstone’s help in defining strategy and direction for his global support services company. The strong relationship between Capstone and ITA developing in the VALET program will continue; we are actively working on projects together.

Because our mission at Capstone is helping our clients achieve their dreams, it is particularly rewarding to see the continual growth of the companies we’ve served. Even as some of our clients graduate out of the VALET program, we’re excited to continue our relationship beyond VALET.  We also look forward to working with and supporting the incoming VALET class.