8. Transition Time
A few months ago, you decided to buy a business. You found the perfect opportunity, reached an agreement with the seller and closed the deal with a successful transaction. However, the business transfer itself is not complete yet - the real challenge is just beginning.
Most sellers will help you during the transition time, when they will train you how to operate the business. This period may range from a few weeks to a few months. After the training period, many sellers will extend their availability for remote consultancy needs. In order to avoid any misunderstandings, make sure that all terms regarding the transition period stipulated in the final contract with the seller.
A new ownership is a big change, especially for small businesses’ employees. To ensure a smooth transition, start the adjustment process before the sale ends. Make sure the owner is comfortable with what will happen with the business after you come aboard. Spend some time talking to key employees, clients, and suppliers before taking over the company. Tell them about your plans and ideas for the business’ future. Keeping the key people on your side makes your new business much easier to manage.
Many new business owners have unrealistic expectations and hope they can immediately increase the profitability of their newly acquired business. Of course, a positive mindset is crucial for leading a successful company, but a superior attitude will soon generate a wave of resentment from your employees.
Instead, consider your employees valuable assets. Initially, they will be much more familiar with the business than you. Use this knowledge to familiarize yourself with the business, and treat your new colleagues with respect and appreciation.
When a new owner is taking over, employees will inevitably be worried about their job security. Uncertainty levels will only grow if you will not employ a transparent management style. Many new managers are so eager to start being the „conductor” of the new business, that they make radical changes without communicating their decisions to employees. To avoid creating unnecessary tensions, be communicative, transparent and involve your staff in planning the company’s future, so they know what’s going on at any time.
Taking over an existing business is not always easy, but with a bit of patience, honesty, and hard work, you will soon lead it as a professional.