Acquisition Priority One: Build Trust
Our company recently closed on our
- 5th Location
- 6th Foundry
- 7th Business
Everyone asks, what does the next, month look like for you?
Are you going to move them to your ERP?
Make operational adjustments?
Invest in machines or equipment?
The answer to all of these is 'No'.
My priorities are always first to build trust. That is the bedrock for anything we do in the future. I need to build trust with the previous owner, with managers, with each employee, with customers and vendors, and any other stakeholders out there.
We start with giving talks to the team. My main points in this talk are centered around stability, openness, and a reminder that my job is not to tell them how to do theirs, but to enable them to do it with less friction. This will enable them to leave on time, with energy left over to spend on hobbies and family.
We then move to customers, starting with the largest. We share how proud we are of the current company, and what the previous owner has built, and why we bought it. We share where we want to take it, and the other resources we have in our CaneKast network. We talk about key changes that will be needed and allow an open forum of questions.
After this is usually time with the owner. They will have 100s of things running through their mind. Everything from what do I do with credit cards, to explaining side deals like an employee who cuts the grass or cleans the bathrooms.
The day is filled with emotion for everyone. Some feel anxious, others excited. The previous owner will go through periods of relief, joy, feeling lost, sad, and nostalgia.
The one goal is to calm the negative emotions of all parties, build trust, and set a foundation for working together in the future.
This is done more with stories and antidotes that bring you up alongside workers, managers, owners and customers - than about sharing facts. I am lucky to have been purchased, as well as done the purchasing before. I have many stories that I can share that make workers laugh, the owner feel proud, and customers excited for the future. The key is to share them with the underlying message: “I hear you, I understand you, I am you”.