You're purchasing a business. Congratulations! No matter how much experience you have and what talents you bring to the table, chances are, you have a steep learning curve ahead of you. Your new business may have its own unique processes and systems. That's just part of the reason why obtaining support and training from a previous business owner can be very valuable.
Experience and Wisdom
If you had access to the counsel and advice of a subject matter expert in your new business’ field, you'd be foolish not to take advantage of tapping into that kind of intelligence. Presumably, the previous owner has been running the business for some time, making him or her the expert you need.
You may have some great ideas and plans for the future of the company. Perhaps you have a vision for improving its operations and the way things are done. By carving out a period of time where the previous owner continues managing the business, as usual, you can observe how things have been done previously. This may provide added insight as to the reasons why they follow the processes they do.
During the transition period, when you have access to the previous owner, you may want to discuss your plans and ideas for the business. They may be things that have been tried in the past or the previous owner may be able to identify possible obstacles or issues that you had not considered.
Managing Customer and Vendor Relationships
Over the course of running the business, the owner has probably developed some close relationships with key customers that are critical to the business' ongoing success. If a customer has a new contact person to deal all of a sudden, it could potentially jeopardize their loyalty to your brand. To mitigate that risk, involve the previous owner in facilitating the change.
A face-to-face or telephone meeting may be in order, wherein you and the previous owner discuss with your customer the way in which the responsibility managing their account will transition. It's an opportunity for you to reassure them that they will receive the same service they've come to expect and that they remain valued by the company.
A similar special relationship may also exist with the company’s vendors. Your company may have enjoyed better discounts or preferential terms thanks to the bond the owner has formed with suppliers. Again, including the owner in a conversation with suppliers is a great way to get support and training from a previous business owner and ensure you maintain a strong relationship with the supplier so they continue to be an important partner in your company's success.
Helping Employees Through the Transition
When a company is sold, it's natural for employees to be a bit nervous. The unknown is always a source of anxiety and fear. Keeping morale up is going to be critical for maintaining the normal operation of the business. When they see you working with the former owner, it will help to reassure them that, despite the change in ownership, there will be some continuity between what they have become familiar with and what lies ahead.
The transition period after purchasing the business is a time that can be fraught with hazards that could significantly set back its operations. By making the most of the support and training from the previous owner, you'll be going a long way toward making sure that doesn't happen.To check out a comprehensive list of Minnesota companies currently for sale, visit Transworld's businesses to buy webpage.