In This Episode

One of the great things about buying vs. starting a company is that when you buy a business you have some history and some things established.  Things like customers, vendors, and employees.  When starting out you have to build everything from scratch.  As you might imagine, when you’re building something from scratch it’s easy to put your stamp on the company.  But how do you do that with a company you just bought?  What if it’s one your family started?  How do you honor what they’ve built but still put your own stamp on the company?

This is something we have a lot of experience with both personally as well as with coaching our clients.  Depending on the situation, you might need to put your stamp on the company faster.  For instance, if the company you’ve purchased is more of a turnaround scenario where the business has been struggling to make money or has been losing money, you’ll want to make changes quicker.  But if the company is running well and profitable, you’ll likely want to move more slowly to make changes as you won’t want to upset the current flow of business.

During the show today we shared several ideas for things to do and consider when looking to put your stamp on the company:

  • People: one of the first things you’ll want to assess is your people.  Who is going to be key for helping you run and grow this business and who might get in the way.   Also, are there any voids in the business that need to be filled?  If so, are those things you’re going to do or do you want to bring in someone new or offer those duties to one of your current people?  A great way to start putting your stamp on something is how you work with and through your team.
  • Routines: what systems are currently in place to run the business you just bought?  Some of these systems or routines might be documented while likely many others are just happening because people have been there for a while.  One of the things you can do early on is start to change some of the routines.  It could be the frequency of regular meetings or it could be a change in the work schedule (e.g. going to 4 days per week vs. 5 days).  Look around at things that can be improved from a systems standpoint.
  • Presenting: this is one that is often overlooked.  How often does your team get together so they can stay informed about the most important things going on in your business?  We suggest doing this at least monthly because a lot can change and time goes by quickly.  Just you Presenting what’s going on in the business will help to quell any fears the employees have about a new owner.  It will also give you the chance to see how your team performs and interacts.  Early on you’ll want to talk to your team about the Vision you have for the business and why you purchased it.  Give them a chance to get excited with you!
  • 1-on-1s: set up time to meet 1-on-1 with everyone on your team.  Ask them questions about their past and what they’re hoping to do in the future.  Get to know them.  Share some of your story with them too so they can understand you and why you bought this business.  People will also talk differently 1-on-1 vs. in the group where others are watching.
  • Fire Someone: this could be a customer, vendor, or employee.  Chances are there are some bad customers, vendors, or employees.  The quicker you can figure out who those bad ones are and purge your organization of them the better off you’re going to be.  How you define “bad” is a matter of opinion but think about folks who are abusive to your staff which maybe the prior owner put up with in the name of doing business with those folks.  What a bunch of nonsense.  You’ll gain your team’s loyalty quickly if you help purge their days of people who don’t appreciate them.

There are lots of other things we discussed during the show today and if you’re in the situation of having recently purchased your business we think you’ll find the show very helpful and inspiring.  Enjoy!

People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show