June '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 0 P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 9 BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Your Personal Business Trainer V i n c e D i C e c c o THINGS YOU OUGHT TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A BUSINESS Growth Through Acquisition foregoing the development of such a plan. The appearance of not having a transition plan sends the absolute wrong message to your new employees. And, they may not be as committed to working through the dif- ferences as a newlywed couple. Remember, it's a job seekers' market out there. At best, you have 60–90 days to success- fully communicate your vision for the new organization. The leadership you exhibit when addressing such issues as managing change, personnel as- signments, and business strategies could make or break the success of the acquisition. Let's look at each of these in more detail. PREPARING FOR CHANGE Most people don't want to admit this, but we are creatures of habit. Change disrupts our comfort zone and recreates uncertainty. Yet, at no time in history has change ever been more a way of life than today. In the late 1990s, Dr. Spencer Johnson had the best-selling book titled Who Moved My Cheese? It was a simple parable about two pairs of mice that are faced with unexpect- ed change. In the story, the mice can read 'the handwriting on the wall' that change is upon them. But it is each pair's reaction that makes the difference in their handling of the change. Set aside the short time it takes to read this book. In fact, it may not be a bad idea to purchase a copy for each of your employ- ees. It will help everyone involved to antici- pate, monitor, and adapt to change quickly. For some employees, the acquisition could represent a chance to wipe the slate clean N owadays, the 'Dollars and Sense' portion of the evening news is incomplete without a story about some company putting in a bid to purchase another. Mergers and acquisi- tions are as prevalent today as new business startups, it seems. While there are distinct advantages to growth through acquisition, challenging and trying moments abound at every stage of the transition. Before you abandon this topic because you are not presently in the position to buy another company, consider what you and your business may have to endure should your organization be the one being purchased. Whether you are doing the acquiring, or you are the one being bought, the transition plan for the creation of this new union should be sound, practical, and realistic. Of course, the transaction itself needs to be sound, practical, and realistic. After the deal is done and you take ownership, what do you do with the employees of the acquired company and the way they conduct daily business? Oh, you didn't think that far ahead? Here are some things to consider when developing a plan to make the transition smooth and, hopefully, seamless. TIMING IS EVERYTHING Let's use the analogy of an engaged- to-be-wed couple. During their courtship, both are cordial, courte- ous, and sensitive to the needs of the other. Most of their discussions revolve around their wedding day. The planning, paperwork, and the details consume their every thought and deed leading up to that special day. Not too different than the due diligence and negotiation meetings held between two companies that eventually culminates in the signing of the agreement and the financial exchange. After several stress-filled months, the newlywed couple joyfully journeys to their honey- moon destination to unwind and begin their blissful lives together. Almost immediately, the couple learns things about each other that they didn't anticipate, expect, or plan for. For example, things as trivial as what part of the toothpaste tube is to be squeezed or who gets to claim the hot water in the shower first. Usually, during the honeymoon, small transgressions are overlooked or quickly forgiven. How much smoother would the first few months of married life be if there had been a tran- sition plan prior to the wedding? When you acquire a company, you don't have the luxury of

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