You have found the perfect business, spent your time negotiating and finally bought it. Now, as the new owner, the hard work really begins.
You will need to keep moving forward and throw yourself immediately into your new venture. As long as you do this, you should be able to hit the ground running and move the business in the direction that you had envisioned when you first set your sights on it.
Once you have purchased your new business, you will need to spend time getting to know the employees. They will be sceptical of the new boss and will be nervous of the kinds of changes that you might be thinking of bringing in.
Make a point of establishing a relationship with them and reassuring them about the direction in which you, as the new owner, will be taking the business.
For instance, if you have bought a hotel, your hospitality must be present with not only the guests, but also your staff and suppliers – your welcoming and encouraging demeanour will shine through in your employees own attitude towards their job.
You should also get to know and establish your own relationship with the suppliers. Part of the reason that many businesses flourish is because they have developed good relationships with suppliers whom they rely on. Make connections with them so that you can continue the same service with the same reliability.
You will need to focus on your customers, too. A large portion of the value of the business is the goodwill that the business has built over the years. Get to know your customers and gain their trust. This might mean keeping the visible changes to a minimum at first so that you don’t scare them off.
Keep everybody reassured by making changes at a pace that they will be able to get used to as they happen.
Just because you have bought an existing business rather than starting one from scratch does not mean that you will not have written a thorough, detailed and well researched business plan.
This is the time to put that plan into action.
Keep focused on what it was that drew you to the business and keep developing that concept.
No matter how good your due diligence was, though, you will still need to become familiar with the business and the day to day running of it. Despite your experience as an entrepreneur, you will need to get to know the business better before you make any changes.
Part of this will be getting to grips with the company culture and using this as a starting point for the next phase of the business.
As part of the sale, there will often be a handover period negotiated. During this time, it can be difficult for the previous owner to relinquish control. You will need to be firm in the face of reluctance and take control even if this is the case.
Establishing relationships with the staff can be difficult while their old boss is still around. Sit down with each staff member and reassure them that you have their development and future in mind and establish yourself as a trusted employer.
Dropping into an enterprise that is already running and trying to keep up with that pace is a challenging task. You will be trying to get used to the way things have been, attempting to implement your changes and establishing relationships with employees, customers and suppliers.
This can all be, understandingly, overwhelming but keep acting the part until you settle in. If you keep acting the part, your team will continue to trust and assist you and it won’t be long before you will have your hands firmly on the reigns and you will no longer have to act.
By Anthea Taylor, Assistant Editor at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.