How can I ensure a smooth transition after buying a business?

Posted on 8 March 2016

Things that will ensure a smooth transition into your new business acquisition

There are many things to consider when you buy a business and a smooth transition should be one of your top priorities. The last thing you want to happen is for existing customers and staff to start looking for alternatives to your business. This will in turn impact your future maintainable earnings. So how do you avoid this and ensure a smooth transition? Read on to find out.

  • Request that the previous owner stay on after the sale. By doing this, the seller can advise you on the day-to-day operational needs for a predetermined period of time. This can provide stability which is crucial during the transitional period.
  • Keep things consistent. Customers have become accustomed to how your business operates and change may not be received with open arms. If you need to make changes, ensure they are minor to begin with. Based on customer feedback, you can then look to implement larger changes down the track.
  • Get to know your staff. Staff are your number one asset so take the time to sit down with the people who work for the company. This will ensure staff morale is maintained at a high level. When a new owner comes in, it’s inevitable that staff will begin to worry about job security. Reassure them they are very much a part of your business moving forward.
  • Take notes and ask questions. The previous owner and the staff know how to run the company so let them teach you how to do it. Learn how things are currently done because only then can you make informed decisions on changing business procedures.
  • Maintain current procedures. It’s important to maintain procedures that currently ensure the business runs smoothly. Ensure that you are on top of employee records, policies, invoices, payroll, taxes, and all other paperwork.
  • Understand what the business stands for. Each company operates under a set of values or guidelines. Existing customers and staff understand these and you need to as well if you want your new investment to flourish and succeed.
  • Familiarise  yourself with your new technology. The people that run the company are important but equally as important is the technology that supports the business. You need to get up to speed with all software programs and the capabilities of each. Understanding how the technology works will help when things inevitably go wrong from time to time.
  • Create goodwill amongst your customers. Once you are comfortable running the business, it is a good idea to offer some type of special or promotional giveaway. This will help create goodwill with your customer base and keep them loyal.

Integral to a smooth transition is minimal disruption to how things currently operate. You need to minimise any disruption for staff, suppliers and clients. People like what they are familiar with so try not to come in and make huge changes to begin with. Offer job security to employees and consistent service to customers and you’ll be on track to succeed in your new business.