Just bought a business - now what?
Content provided by a guest contributor.
While looking for a solid business to buy, you will no doubt spend many hours deliberating over whether the business itself is the right one for you and ensuring, as far as possible, that the past financial performance of the operation is a fair indication of what to expect in the future.
Once you've acquired a business, probably the most important focus area will be sustainability. There are of course a myriad of different factors that could affect the fortunes of a business both internal and external. Also, if there is a owner/manager scenario, staff, clients and suppliers will be wondering how you will affect their lives directly and indirectly.
As the new owner, you will have to decide upfront what the most important facets of the business are that require immediate and ongoing attention to ensure sustainability. These could include the following:
Business plan: set aside sufficient time to compile one bearing in mind that its main purpose will be to plot a course for the business over the next 1-2 years. Once complete, diarise regular (say every 3 months) monitoring sessions to see whether you are on track and what needs ‘tweaking’ .
Even if the previous owner provides you with a business plan, rather do your own – your thoughts and ideas will probably differ from his and it will force you to address each area of the business.
Financial performance: if you did not inherit the most user friendly and pertinent systems to monitor the business’s monthly performance, put them in place as soon as possible. These could include cash flow projections, management accounts, budgets and the various reports that support them.
Staff: morale is key during the early stages of a change in ownership and understandably, staff will need to know how they fit into your plans. Good staff are paramount to the future success of a business so retention and regular communication is vital
Clients: the lifeblood of your business, you will need to ‘go the extra mile’ during the transition so that clients feel even better under your ownership. Remember how hard it is to replace a lost client
Suppliers: depending on the nature and size of your business, suppliers play a vital part in the ongoing viability of your operation. Familiarise yourself with all agreements and if necessary, negotiate a better deal. Meet with them and share your future plans for the business
Mentors / advisors: none of us can do or know everything, so make sure you have access to those people you can trust to give impartial and honest input
If you have recently acquired a business, the hard work has probably just begun. However, it is a great opportunity and challenge to fulfil a dream, make a difference and hopefully build your wealth.
Barry Wiseman is a director of the IQUAD Finance Solutions (Pty) Ltd who provide business development services, assist business owners raise funding & secure equity capital. See www.iquad.co.za and www.bwifs.blogspot.com