Posted by: Robin Gronsky | July 30, 2012

What’s the First Thing I Should Do After I’ve Bought a Business?

You’ve spend weeks, maybe months, investigating the business you want to buy.  Now you have closed on that business and it’s yours.  What do you do now that you are the owner?

You need to learn how to run this business you’ve purchased.  You want a smooth transition so you need to have a plan in place. 

Most businesses that are bought have customers/clients, employees, suppliers and a company culture.  You want to learn everything you can about these people and how they interact with your business.  While you are in your learning phase, you should not be implementing huge changes.  It scares everyone and makes them less likely to continue what they had been doing to make the business successful.

If the seller is available, pick his brains and get information that you didn’t know was needed during the due diligence period.  Try to maintain a relationship with the seller, you never know when you may need his help.  However, understand in advance that he wants to keep things as he ran them and his employees will be initially loyal to him and not you.  But any information that he gives you may help you to keep the business on an even keel during the transition period.

You will want to speak to the employees, especially any key personnel.  At first, you want to reassure them that nothing is changing (yet), that they have a role to play in the business’ future, and that you are counting on their support.  Ask them what they know about the customers and their wants.  They may be full of suggestions on how to make things better.

Finally, you should speak to the customers.  Ask them what they like about doing business with your company and what they think could improve their interactions with the business.  See if the customer responses and the employee answers about the customers and their wants match up.  If they do not, you need to rely on the customers’ information.  A business does not exist if the customers are not satisfied with the company’s products or services.

Only when you have watched the business operate for a few months and have gathered all the information from the people who work with the business and buy from it can you start to make the changes that you want to grow the business.

 

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