In my prior posts about buying a business I went over the major steps leading up to closing a deal. There is a lot of hard work and many moving parts to manage in the buying process. You may encounter unexpected hurdles, last-minute surprises, and possibly a couple of sleepless nights while you approach the official closing date. This is absolutely normal. There are too many pieces to this complicated puzzle for it not to cause you to scratch your head a few times or ask “Did I forget to do this?” My best advice is to go into this expecting there are going to be some rough spots, but remember that your ultimate goal is to buy a business that is going to make you incredibly happy. Let’s assume the big day has arrived, you’ve signed all the paperwork, and you now have the keys to your new kingdom. What’s next?
Bust A Move!
You just accomplished something that only a small percentage of the population has done. All the hard work during your search and closing has culminated in this amazing opportunity that you created for yourself. This is a huge deal and you should celebrate! During your lifetime you will have a handful of milestones that you will remember. I guarantee that this will be one of them. Celebrate with your loved ones, friends, and anyone else you want. Toast your hard work and your future successes. If you have a personal happy dance, this is a great time to do it! It’s probably a good time to thank all your trusted partners who helped you get to this point. Relish in this moment and remember it. You will have opportunities in the future to look back and use this memory to help you out. Now it’s time to get to work!
Make A Plan
This is probably a little misleading when I state at this point to make a plan. Actually, prior to your closing date, you should have sat down a created a plan on how you are going to approach this business as a new owner. You should definitely have a detailed plan on what you are going to accomplish your first day, week, and month. These will definitely be fluid plans, but they need to be in place to ensure you start off on the right foot and keep your positive momentum. Some of the key things you could consider doing the first day or week are:
- spend quality time with each employee – learn what they do, get to know them, and let them get to know you
- begin learning all aspects of the business – roll your sleeves up and get to it
- communicate your short-term plans to the organization – this will reduce anxiety surrounding a new owner
- reach out to all your key customers and vendors to introduce yourself – let them know it’s business as usual or what is going to be different
- work on your cash flow and expenses – making that first payroll cycle can be a little stressful
Having a plan before you walk in the door the first day will help alleviate all of your stress and convey to your team that you are on top of things. Of course, there will be many issues that come up during the first days or weeks that you did not consider. Take them on one at a time and know that you will get through them in short order and a routine will emerge.
Why Did I Do This?
When things get a little hectic, you may let a little negative thinking sneak in. A little buyer’s remorse is perfectly normal and probably expected. What you just spent, both in time and money, was very significant. When those doubts creep in I want you to think about how you felt during your celebration. Maybe picture your happy dance, especially if it looked ridiculous. Owning a business is an incredible experience and it is also a lot of responsibility. Unlike being an employee for someone else, at the end of the day you are still the person in charge and accountable. The fulfillment you will receive when your business succeeds is incredible and worth all the hard work and sacrifice.
Finding, buying and owning a business can be one of the most incredible experiences you may encounter, but it can also be a little overwhelming. If you are thinking of taking the plunge, but are unsure of how to start or if it is the right move for you, I would be happy to share my experiences with you. I’m here to help you.