Let’s say you run a small, non-retail business in a legacy industry (one that hasn’t changed too much in the last 25, or more years). Revenue is several million dollars and things have been flat or modestly up and/or down the last few years. You’ve seen weaker companies fall by the wayside, a couple grow or become acquired; otherwise the nature of your business has not resulted in much change between you and your brother competitors.
Inside your company there has been little effort to stimulate innovation and limited attempts by yourself to sell or put someone in the field with any talent. You preside over a stable industry. Do you sense a little complacent behavior; do you know a company like this? The internal systems in the company that deliver your product or service were probably created years ago. Your people have been performing the same repetitive functions your father or grandfather taught them, and so have you, until your wake-up call comes.
How would an aggressive competitor innovate your industry?
I just bought the company across town that does what you and several others around the state have been doing for many years. Through my due diligence I uncovered a ton of inefficiencies and see new opportunities. Here is what I plan to do after introducing myself and communicating my objectives to the team:
- Work through process management and implementation of replicate-able, systems
- Define work roles vs. the “many-hats” way that seems to be the current culture
- Create a “cash gap,” receivables program
- Meet with vendors, re-establish relationships and communicate objectives
- Make and monitor forecasts and budgeting on a monthly basis, and KPI’s on a weekly basis
- Reach out to all old customers
- Reach out to all current customers
- Create lists and pursue prospects through contemporary and established methods
What if you do it first?
Pretend you just bought your company, you are eager to grow the business and pay back your investors quickly. You need to do this, and if you can’t, find a partner that can. Change is a force that can happen with, or to you!
Since 1999, Lauterback Consulting has stimulated more than 120 companies by leading growth, turnaround and start-up initiatives. Steve Lauterback works with owners of privately-held companies to build robust business development platforms, optimize operational systems and improve the culture. My acquisition option may be the right answer for a chronically underperforming company.