September 12, 2014

What to do during and after an acquisition

If you're acquiring a business for the first time, heed these tips from Barbara Haislip, contributor to The Wall Street Journal.

Put a penalty on backing out.

Make sure there is a fee specified for backing out of the deal before it has been closed, or else risk losing tens of thousands of dollars in legal paperwork that will go unsigned.

Don't forget about the company's online presence.

Access to social media accounts and control over web domains are essential in order to ensure a smooth transition. After a deal has been made, the previous owner should transfer all customer communications to the acquirer, as well as inform customers that future communications will come from the new owner. "If not, any email you send to your customers may show up as spam," writes Haislip.

Think your budget through.

Accounting for the cost of training new employees, replacing furniture and upgrading or replacing technology ahead of time will ensure you make the most responsible and efficient decisions possible.

Communicate office culture with new employees.

Failing to do so could lead to transitioning employees sticking with old habits, "which leads to at best a slowdown of the integration and at worst outright conflict between the two organizations," Robb Lippitt, CEO of Revolution Dancewear, told Haislip.

Reduce redundancy right away.

Don't let short-term growing pains become a long-term problem. Remember, time is money.

Don't erase the old company's history.

This is especially applicable advice if the company you have acquired has built a strong reputation. "It can even help to keep the sellers around," writes Haislip. Seeing that a relationship between the two businesses has been maintained might make customers more likely to trust the new company.

If you're considering acquiring another company, be sure to reach out to a business acquisition firm for advice that fits your needs.