Few sporting events generate as much buzz as the NCAA basketball tournament, also known as March Madness. As billions of factors culminate to create a most unique and unpredictable outcome, the tournament fills spectators with suspense and surprise. Although you’d like to think that your business transaction would be a little less suspenseful and a lot more predictable, the similarities between the due diligence process and March Madness are simply undeniable.
1. Teamwork Prevails
In the NCAA tournament, it’s not always about the team with the biggest superstar or even the best starting 5. The teams that have the most success are the ones that play the best together. Teamwork is just as important during the due diligence process as it is in any basketball game. Just like a basketball team, a due diligence team is made up of people who each have a specific role in this very important transaction. Whether it’s gathering information, analyzing information or corresponding with the other party, each “position” is just as important as the next.
2. It’s a Game of Numbers
There’s no shortage of stats to look at when analyzing teams and making your bracket picks for March Madness. Even though each team is assigned a ranking, sometimes you have to drill down into the other stats to really get a good idea of how the two teams are going to match up. When conducting accounting and financial due diligence, you can’t look at enough stats in order to make the best decisions. It’s important to look beyond a static snapshot of the company, and look at the overall financial and operating trends of the company.
3. Make the Minutes Count
In a college basketball game, each team has 40 minutes to outscore their opponent. So many games come down to the final seconds, which just goes to show you how precious time is for each team. Even though your business transaction might not have as hard of a deadline as a basketball game, time is of the essence. There are so many moving parts involved in business acquisitions that if the timing isn’t right the whole deal could fall through. Not to mention the value of everyone’s time. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of the time available. Financial and accounting due diligence teams have to jump in headfirst and start acquiring an in depth knowledge of the many factors related to the transaction and address all of the key aspects of the deal.
4. Solid Coaching Can be the Deciding Factor
There’s no denying the importance of a good coach in basketball. The coach has to be able to see things that others don’t, and make critical decisions based on this information. It’s the coach’s job to find weaknesses in their opponent and draw upon the strengths of their own team. Much like a basketball coach leads a team to victory, your due diligence team should have a leader who knows the game, or in this case the deal inside and out.
5. Keep a Cool Head
The teams that make it the farthest in the tournament are the ones that can perform under pressure. When the stakes are high the team needs to stay focussed in order to come out on top. Likewise, due diligence requires a similar calmness at a time when it would be easy to let emotions get in the way of your better judgement. It’s important to stay pragmatic and let the numbers do the talking, not your emotions.
As you fill out your due diligence bracket and put together your starting lineup, think about The Big Dance and factor these similarities into your decisions.