Business takeovers that provide you with an established company and an existing clientele can be a great way to establish yourself in any field. Unfortunately, with most businesses only seeking takeover when they’re in dire financial straits, taking this step can also see you jumping on board something of a sinking business ship. In fact, 70-80% of business mergers and acquisitions (M&As) fail.
One mistake that can be seen across a lot of M&As is a new boss who changes everything but the bare bones of a business. This can make it difficult to hold onto any existing employees and customers.The issues that have come before can also make new audiences tough to attract.
This leads to an inevitably problematic downward spiral, and it begs the crucial question – how much should you take over during a business takeover?
In reality, the answer might be, less than you think. Luckily, there are ways to make your presence known more subtly while picking a business back up off the ground, and we’re going to consider a few of them here.
Step 1: Familiarise yourself with company values
There will undeniably be things that aren’t working with your new company, but keeping hold of existing customers and even employees means realising that there are probably a few things that work, too. If you barge in and change this company’s values too severely, you’ll inevitably lose those loyalties.
Instead, take the time to understand what those people like about this business, be that its eco-conscious values, its customer-first priorities, or its sourcing ethics. Even something as simple as understanding the treatment that employees have enjoyed until now, and making sure to implement that despite other changes, can make a huge difference to takeover success. Luckily, you have great resources to help you zone in on these priorities, and you can either set up a social media poll to ask what customers like best about the business or send out questionnaires among staff members.
Step 2: Identify what doesn’t work
Once you know the things that your company has been doing well, it’s time to identify the problems that have resulted in this merger, because they inevitably exist. Again, you may find it useful to do some kind of survey here, but the best thing you can do is take a deep dive into your company’s history, especially regarding profit metrics. Then, consider things like marketing drives or spending during down periods, as well as sales at different times of day/year, etc.
Once you’ve identified these problem areas, you can start to implement improvements, such as discounts during quiet times, increased marketing during promotional periods, and so on. In the same way that you want to identify business values like strong eco-conscious ethics, it’s also worth considering where your company falls down in this sense, either by sourcing from the wrong people or failing to recycle. In the modern age, you should find that addressing these issues and putting that effort at the forefront of your advertising, could lead to a whole new audience if it’s not been taken care of already.
Step 3: Announce your presence without annoying the clientele
Nobody likes the idea of a big new business owner coming in and changing everything from the logo to the products of a company that they love. Equally, if you slip silently into a new business, you may fail to make enough of an impact to save it.
As such, your takeover is dependent on your ability to announce your presence without annoying the clientele. It may sound difficult, but there are plenty of options that can give you a good start. For example, you may find that something as simple as a ‘new owner sale’ or discount period is all it takes to get people on board and looking at any improvements that you’ve introduced. Equally, hosting an open day, evening event, or even a sit-down meal depending on the business, can all help you to introduce a little about who you are and what you intend to do. Then, make sure these events impress by carefully planning your speech and ensuring all the equipment you need with the help of a hire company like Yes Hire. That way, even if old customers or employees want to dislike you, they’ll struggle to pick holes in a great event that was tastefully and respectfully organised.
Step 4: Always involve your people
We’ve spoken a little about the value of things like questionnaires and surveys, but they deserve a section of their own, too. After all, takeovers are a pretty unique business setup given that, in the majority of cases, your customers and employees are going to know more about your new business than you do. That’s a pretty bizarre situation for any business owner to find themselves in, and it also means that those individuals may automatically feel indignant if you barge in and start making orders.
Instead, it’s important to recognise that, in this instance, you’re not the most experienced party, particularly where your employees are concerned. Of course, you do need to find a way to balance this with still taking a ‘boss’ role, but something as simple as asking your most established employees to show you the ropes can go a long way in winning their respect and helping you to find your feet in the company.
Equally, involving your existing customers in fun social media polls about things like decorating ideas, new products that you’d like to develop, and so on can all help them to feel invested, and onboard with any changes that you do ultimately intend to make. This can make for a far more seamless switchover, without the losses that may come if you didn’t give your people any say at all.
Business takeovers bring the benefits of a business that’s already established, but remember, that won’t help you much if you take over every element of your company without considering the people who love it as it is. So, avoid that mistake with these handy tips!