Learn about M&A from the experts

Dealmakers who have experience with mergers and acquisitions typically enjoy the challenge. They’ve learned how to navigate the negotiating table, deal terms, integration and more, and are always looking for their next big deal.

Business owners and entrepreneurs, however, may only go through this process once or twice throughout their entire career.

That’s why it’s so interesting to peel back the curtain of M&A, with insights from those who know it best. The cover story in this issue does just that with an array of perspectives from Pittsburgh investors, business executives and dealmakers.

The elements of a successful business deal seem to be similar to what makes a strong business — knowledgeable, enthusiastic, hard-working people; a culture where everyone is going in the same direction; a well-thought out and clear strategic business plan; and innovation and creativity to inspire new directions for the company.

In addition, if the cultures don’t align, too much energy can be expended debating and resolving conflict. That’s energy that’s better spent executing the strategic plan and providing the products and services that are central to the business.

I learned a lot about what makes a deal successful, what missteps to keep an eye out for and the key ingredients to try to replicate — and I hope you do, too.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our daylong ASPIRE conference on March 8 will include even more experts, and the attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. So, even if you’re not attending this year, please watch the magazine for future opportunities to learn from the best.

One of the highlights of ASPIRE 2018 will be a lunchtime panel discussion on the state of Pittsburgh’s technology sector. That’s why I asked three experts to name their top five hottest startups in the region as part of this month’s Uniquely. Imagine my surprise when I received 15 different answers, with no repeats.

It goes to show that the technology and startup scene is booming, and there will be a lot to talk about at lunch on March 8. I hope to see you there!