10 Rules to Buying -- and Growing -- Your Competition Now

Have you been thinking about buying your competitor? Maybe you have your eye on a company that would be a perfect fit for your company's growth.

Funny thing about a recession -- it can create both despair, and opportunity. You might see a lot of low-hanging fruit all around you just ready for easy picking. But as all good farmers know, timing is everything -- you have to get out in the field and touch, smell, and peel away some layers. If you don't, you might discover rotten fruit after it's too late.

Doing a merger, acquisition, or turnaround is risky, with many things that can go wrong. You think you've nailed down the financial tangibles, and have a good handle on the human assets and social issues -- when in fact, those can be the most challenging, as they often deny rational analysis! But, there is huge opportunity as well.

Here are 10 rules I've learned during my career, enhanced by contributions from numerous merger and acquisition (M&A) experts. They can save you a lot of heartache -- and money. It's not meant to be an inclusive list - you will have to develop some of your own rules through trial and hard knocks along the way.

10 Rules to Buying - and Growing - Your Competition Now