When buying a business that is already established, the first thing you will likely do before signing any contracts or letting any money change hands is to discover why the current owner is selling in the first place. It could just be a matter of wanting to retire or that everything has gone stale and is no longer exciting.
However, there could be problems that need to be corrected and all of this will impact your decision as to whether to buy or not. If you do go ahead with the transaction, there are steps to take after buying a business and these will be the most important things to do in the days immediately following the takeover.
Get to Know the Staff
According to leading research firms that specialize in employee satisfaction and engagement like Insightlink Communications, the only real way to know about a business you are taking over is to get to know its employees. When taking over a business you need to know that the previous owners may not have had the same goals and principles that you, yourself, have. As a result, there may be some major issues to deal with from the onset.
The best way to know exactly what the previous owner did (and did not) do is to poll the employees who worked there for a decent length of time. Those employees know what they saw and many may have concrete ideas on how to make things better. After all, who knows a business better than the people who make it happen?
Weigh Your Goals against Those of the Previous Owner
Once you have a certain amount of insight into exactly how the business was run, it’s time to take a look at what you hope to accomplish and if there is any way to accomplish this based on past performance. It could be that a few minor tweaks will get the business headed in a better direction and it could also be that a whole new business plan and roadmap to the future will need to be developed.
Again, it is vital to talk to those who know what the previous owners did so that you can discover if it was effective. Just because the owner sold out doesn’t mean that you didn’t buy into an extremely lucrative venture! It simply means that this particular owner wanted out for reasons only known to him or his/her board of directors. Maybe it was just time to call it a day.
Once you have better insight into exactly how the business operated and what you feel could have been done differently, if not better, it’s time to take action. Look at what those employees told you, learn from their experience and then put it all together into a new package that you can live with.
Those employees who had the most insight might be valuable team leaders during the transition so listen carefully to what they are telling you. You may be bringing your own management team along with you, but those employees who know the inner workings and the outer clientele will be one of your biggest assets. Use them wisely.