On Sunday 31 December 2017, the firm that I started from my dining room table in 1995 merged with Raffingers. It seems to me the lessons learned from this experience should form the basis of my first blog - Top 10 Tips for Successfully Managing a Merger.
There are many lessons I learnt from the merger and many things were confirmed, not all of which I will cover here. I guess, the main thing I would pass on is that when you are proposing a deal that will change a major part of your life, you must be clear about why you are doing it and accept that you will never get everything you want. That might sound like 'stating the bleedin’ obvious', but if there is not an imperative reason driving you to do it, strongly consider whether it is the right thing to do; you don't want to end up regretting it.
Also, ensure that you know why the other party is interested in doing the deal and be confident that they mean it. Confidence comes over time but integrity is self-evident at day one, and if that is not there then “caveat emptor”. Make sure, as well that contracts are in place and remember, once the deal is signed, it is signed and you are tied to the agreement.
“I bet there's rich folks eatin'
In a fancy dining car
They're probably drinkin' coffee
And smokin' big cigars
Well I know I had it comin'
I know I can't be free”
(Folsom Prison blues – Johnny Cash)
So, if you are thinking of doing a business deal that involves major changes to your business, here are my Top 10 Tips for Successfully Managing a Merger:
- Understand why you want to do the deal
- Identify what the end result will look like
- Do your due diligence on any future partners as people
- Ensure that future partners expectations align with yours
- Identify the red lines in the requirements of the deal
- Identify a timescale and ensure you can commit the time
- Discuss with your professional advisers
- Make sure your two cultures mesh
- All parties must be prepared to invest both time and money in making a deal happen
- Don’t lose focus on the day-to-day requirements of the business
Should you consider a merger?
There are a number of reasons to enter into a merger, such as: small, struggling companies may be bought by a large business two large businesses may merge to become stronger. Only you can decide if a merger is right for your business.
Mergers and acquisitions are expensive, time consuming, and loaded with potential problems if not done correctly. But, they can create economies of scale, help you better meet your client's needs or even enter a new market.
If you are considering selling, merging or acquiring a business and would like to discuss whether the move is right for you, contact me at email@example.com.