You’ve spent months searching for a business to buy, pouring through financials, negotiating offers, and navigating financing. Now you’ve closed on the deal, and a new series of challenges begins. You’re the new owner of the business, and your strategies, actions, and decisions will be the determining factors in your business’s long-term success.
What’s critical: communication
One of the best ways to ensure your success as the new owner of a business is to open the lines of communication with the key players in your business—a process that you may have begun before you closed the deal. If the seller has agreed to consult or be available for your questions post-sale, talk with them frequently. Discuss your plans for the business, ask for feedback, and provide assurance that you’re committed to helping the business to succeed. These discussions will reassure the seller and build confidence that deciding to sell—and to sell to you, specifically—was a good decision.
Speak with your new business’s employees, customers, and vendors often, too. Share your goals for the business and your ideas for its future. Invite them, as experts of the business or industry, to take part in shaping your plans.
Members of all three of these groups will appreciate being included in the dialogue. However, your employees will likely want something more: assurance of their future with the business. With this in mind, make it a regular practice to tell your employees how valuable they are to your business and affirm the roles that they’ll play in its continued success.
|You can win over your employees by being transparent, realistic, and sensitive to their concerns throughout the transition process.|
During your due diligence process, you learned a great deal about the tangibles of your new business. But after the transition occurs, you’ll be spending more time learning about the intangible factors that help or hurt your business. By talking to your new customers, suppliers, competitors, and other members of your industry, you’ll uncover those factors and learn about areas of opportunity that can help you guide the business to success.
Put your plans into motion
Use what you’ve learned from your new employees, customers, vendors, and others to determine what you want to change right away—and what you plan to keep the same.
Here's what you can start doing today. Make a detailed list of your ideas. Then, determine the cost and timeframe you’ll need to implement them. Prioritize those that can have an immediate impact on the profitability of the business and the productivity and satisfaction of your employees. Then, set 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals that’ll help you boost the overall performance of your business.
|Remember to ask for feedback from your employees, and listen to their ideas for improvement. Your employees know a great deal about your business. They’ll have important insights that you can tap into as you consider changes and implement new strategies.|
Keep connecting with your customers
Your customers will notice the changes you make, and they’ll—almost certainly—have opinions about them.
Here's what you should keep in mind. You can establish a great, lasting rapport with them by asking for their feedback, listening closely to their concerns, and communicating how important their experience is to you and the future of your business. The loyalty you build with your customers is key for retaining their business. It'll also help you earn the favorable reviews and referrals you need to keep your business strong.
Other moves can help you to build loyalty with your customers, too. Start by:
Helping your customers get to know you.
Update your website’s About Us information. Then, share new photos on social media to help your customers understand the new iteration of your business.
Improving your brand experience.
Spend time assessing what matters most to your customers. Then, make sure you do a better job offering that to them than any of your competitors.
Committing to better service.
Look into customer relationship management (CRM) software, service tools, and social media management technologies that can help you stay connected to your customers and offer them the support they desire.
Take advantage of seller training
In many business acquisition deals, sellers offer to train buyers and consult the business for a specified period of time. Take your business’s previous owner up on that offer. Ask for feedback, support, and advice, and listen earnestly to what they have to say.
Log into your owner’s portal for tools and advice that’ll help you grow your business, boost its efficiency, and navigate the everyday challenges you’ll face as a small business owner.