Buy, Grow, Exit: This Lawyer Shares Her Expert Advice

by Vanessa Lovie 13th of October, 2022
Buy, Grow, Exit: This Lawyer Shares Her Expert Advice
Buy, Grow, Exit: This Lawyer Shares Her Expert Advice

When Joanna Oakey founded Aspect Legal over a decade ago she wanted to shape the way business owners were assisted. Passionate about knowledge and education, Joanna has launched a number of projects including two podcasts; Talking Law (providing smart legal tips for business), and The Deal Room (Australia’s first mergers and acquisitions podcast).

When I first met Joanna, I could tell one thing - she was passionate. Joanna has an energy many entrepreneurs and business owners can relate to. It’s that drive to always be striving, always thinking of something new and ways to assist your clients. 

“I spend my spare time dreaming about ways to create the perfect business, one that breaks the traditional lawyer mould, delivers deep value to its clients, and has a positive impact on the community and the world” Joanna Oakey

As a long-standing partner of the AIBB, Joanna is well respected by business brokers and allied professionals. 

“Joanna is a live wire. Extremely active and passionate about what she does. Her loyalty shows immediately and she works hard to ensure she gives the right product and ensures her clients are well looked after. “ Tony Latessa, Business Broker. 

Specialising in mergers and acquisitions, contracts, corporate, commercial, IP and dispute resolution, Joanna has worked with hundreds of business owners on many sides of the table. With a career spanning over two decades Joanna has shared her knowledge in her new book: Buy, Grow Exit. 

When I first discussed this book with Joanna, she shared her struggles in coming up with the perfect title. 

“When I started writing everything just flowed. I had so much information accumulated over the years and covid lockdowns made it the perfect setting to write this book. When I was deciding on a title or which sections to include, it occurred to me that are all interrelated and information all business owners need to know about” Joanna Oakey

Waking up at 4 am most days, Joanna set herself a target of writing 1000 words a day. Every day, until the book was done. Covid lockdowns sparked this drive to find the time and Joanna set about writing a book that would assist business owners and come from a position of extensive knowledge and expertise. 



Part one is all about buying, and Joanna has encapsulated so many years of experience into this section.

On Bsale we have seen an increase in owners buying additional businesses to grow their marketshare or expand into new sectors. As always, there are people who have sold a business and are looking to buy and grow another opportunity and first-time business owners. Whether it’s a merger or acquisition, buying a business requires expert knowledge to ensure you are making good decisions. 

Joanna discusses the reasons businesses are bought, why an acquisition may fail, the 5 essential drivers of a successful purchase, preparing for an acquisition, ensuring transfer of key value, identifying and controlling risk, making the deal happen, making the transfer work and what happens once you’ve successfully purchased. 

An important part of buying a business is the process of due diligence (this is vital for both the buyer and seller, hence the 3 parts). A specialist lawyer, like Joanna, has walked through this process with many buyers and sellers over the years. There are a number of elements when conducting due diligence, from a legal position and it's all about minimizing risk. When discussing with vendors Joanna advises:

“Preparation for legal due diligence means ensuring the business is legally compliant; value has been captured and can transfer; risks have been minimised; documents can be found easily; critical contracts are properly signed, current (not expired) and complete; and the business looks well run and ‘clean’.

As a buyer, engaging a lawyer who has been on both sides of the table is advantageous. 




As a business owner, you know how precious your business is to you. It’s important to ensure that all the legal frameworks are in place to protect your business (hello copyrights, employment contracts and the list goes on!).


Joanna goes through strategies to assist you in legally protecting your business, finding and securing your business value, anticipating issues before they arise, identifying core systems and processes, and understanding where you want the business to go. 


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Now, this is the section business brokers really enjoy. Meeting business owners, understanding their reason for selling, and building strategies for them to exit is exciting! 

Joanna’s passion to ensure business owners are well prepared and have all the legal documents in order is evident throughout this section. It starts off with one great chapter about ‘exiting in style’ - now if I was ever going to sell my business, that's exactly how I would want it done, with a bit of class and flawless execution. 

This section goes on to outline the five drivers of a successful sale, preparation, understanding the deal structure, maximizing what buyers want, minimizing risk, and seeing the deal through. 

Business owners need to be prepared to sell their business, whether they are 3 years in or own a multi-generational 100-year-old business. As Joanna explains:

“Having a business in a sale-ready state is ultimately the best way to run the business even if you never intend to exit. The goal of all business owners should be to run their business perpetually in a sale-ready state. All areas of preparation discussed to this point including locking in the elements of value in your business, minimising the risk and being aware of what creates value in the mind of a buyer are all fundamental drivers for running a good business.”

Too often we see businesses forget about this stage of the business life cycle. Often owners are so focused on running a business, they forget a business needs to operate without them. Most of the time a business is listed for sale based on personal circumstances such as relocation, partnership issues, illness or burn-out. So it is important a business is ready when the time comes. Even better if the owner has it well prepared and knows what it is worth and can easily transition to new ownership. 

“Proper preparation is the most critical component in maximising value at exit. Businesses that are properly prepared from a legal and accounting perspective will generally have a larger pool of buyers, a higher sale price and will experience a quicker sale. However, many businesses come undone by gaps in their legal protections and financial preparation.”

With over 300 pages of in-depth information spanning a career of over 2 decades, Joanna has gone above and beyond to provide business owners with insights into the three phases of buying, growing and exiting a business. 

Buy Grow Exit can now be ordered online via

Tags: acquisition expand exit strategy coaching

About the author

Vanessa Lovie

CEO Bsale Australia

Vanessa is the current manager and CEO of Bsale Australia. Over the past 11 years as a business owner, she understands what it takes to grow a ...

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