The Business Owner’s Due Diligence Manual


Imagine buying a house only to discover a major structural issue after closing. M&A deals can be similar. Due diligence acts as a comprehensive inspection, uncovering hidden problems like outstanding debts, potential lawsuits, or other surprise reductions in value. By meticulously examining financial records, contracts, and operational processes, among many other things, you can identify quality businesses for purchase, spot red flags that could derail the deal or significantly impact its value. This knowledge empowers you to walk away from troubled businesses, negotiate a lower price, or plan for known improvements – all crucial steps to avoid financial pitfalls and protect your investment.



This is an instruction manual intended for business owners who would like to learn more about the topic of due diligence. It is written for those who are intending to purchase an entire company. This is because the purchase of an entire company holds higher risk and therefore, carries deeper and more careful due diligence. This manual assumes you have at least a minimum understanding of business and financial information.

Further assumptions include the assumption that the company purchase is structured as a stock sale and as such, you are buying the company, its assets, liabilities and all other company resources to continue the operations into the future under your new ownership. This may or may not be your actual intention. If your intention is something else, please be assured that this is a complete due diligence training manual. Should you have intentions of buying some, but not all of another company, you can reduce or eliminate many of the tasks listed here as this is a complete list which may be edited for your best use.


  • Learn to better judge the quality of the company you evaluate
  • Learn how to better judge the business viability
  • Learn how to reduce your risk of loss through due diligence
  • Learn how to increase your chances of creating value
  • Learn the many due diligence tasks you need to perform
  • Receive a checklist of tasks to complete
  • Gain a deep understanding of due diligence activities which can benefit you


  • Educate you, the business owner
  • Understand where your due diligence time is best spent
  • Use due diligence to reduce your risk of loss
  • Use due diligence to create value in a company buy/sell situation


  • Online Document with 17 pages instructing you on the specific tasks of due diligence
  • A separate document – a due diligence checklist for your use
  • These documents are provided to you in .pdf format
  • These are documents only. There is no consulting included. Consulting may be purchased separately.


Prize Performance LLC is a boutique consultancy dedicated to helping you, the business owner, advance your business position in harmony with your own unique reasons why. We do this by investing the time to get to know your business.  With this knowledge, we provide customized services that meet your specific needs, goals, objectives.  Working closely and collaboratively with you, we provide the fact-based insight and proven actionable solutions you need.

With a full complement of hands-on experience in business performance management, finance, accounting, technology and software, operations, business growth strategies, and business management—Prize Performance is uniquely qualified to provide the insight, knowledge, and success strategies you need for:

  • Business Growth
  • Business Valuation
  • Business Education
  • We help you minimize risk and maximize opportunity.
  • Being nimble in today’s marketplace is essential to your success. Through our vast insight, expertise, and tools, we help you Strategize—Plan—Monitor—Act—Adjust.  We empower you to be responsive to changes in the marketplace and new opportunities as they arise.
  • Prize Performance uses proven techniques that deliver results so you can depend on our recommendations and enjoy peace of mind with the informed decisions that you make.
  • We know what works and why. When you work with Prize Performance—you do too.  We make the complex simple to understand and are dedicated to educating you from our first conversation through the conclusion of your project.


  • BA Accounting, BA Business Management NCSU
  • Certified Public Accountant CPA
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant CGMA
  • Graduate of the AICPA Business Valuation School
  • 12 yrs. experience managing finance departments
    • St Anthony Publishing, Reuters America
    • Publishing, printing, consulting, telecommunications, media industries
    • Prepared & analyzed financial statements to drive performance
    • Advised management on past and future performance
    • Managed staff and all business systems
  • 12 yrs. experience business performance improvement software industry
    • EdgeMark Systems, Cognos Corporation (Now IBM TM1), Oracle Corporation
    • Showed hundreds of companies how to use business performance improvement software to their best advantage
    • Connected information systems to creatively drive operational and financial performance
    • Formal training, practice and teaching of business performance improvement techniques
  • 11 yrs. experience business valuation and business growth work at Prize Performance LLC
    • Applied all past experience to drive performance for clients
    • Conducted both business growth and business valuation engagements
    • Advise clients on managing their business to their best abilities
  • 16 yrs. experience in a 19.5-acre, high-profile, high value, high complexity, mixed use real estate redevelopment project with a seedling spin-off consultancy
    • Leader to 364 property owners who twice in the last 6 years formally voted to support this project with a vote of greater than 80% support
    • Representing property owners in dealing with developers, county staff and elected officials
    • Considerable contributions to properly structuring the many contracts which make up the entire redevelopment project


A Home Services Client

  • 387% organic sales growth
  • >387% cash flow growth in 3 years


A Services Industry Client

  • 200% sales growth
  • >300% cash flow growth, overnight, with an acquisition


Modeled ‘00s of business models in a wide variety of industries

  • Detailed forward driving projections based on business behavior from past performance
  • Projected to overlapping levels such as revenue models, cost models, product/service mixes, acquisitions, more
  • Used models to drive growth and valuations for each client


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