Priscilla’s Top-Ten Transition Tips
1) Do as much in advance as you can of the things that must be done in the first 2 months of ownership.
- Set up bank accounts
- Establish merchant services
- Buy the software you know you will need that does not come with the business, i.e. accounting, design, inventory control, etc.
- Establish professional relationships…accountant, lawyer, banker, bookkeeper
- Find the place to live and the things to live with
- Have your business ownership form and d/b/a established and registered with the state (sales tax, employment rights, locally (if applicable usually a license to operate), federal (employment rights, tax id)
2) Consider carefully business management software. Usually it is best to have integrated systems managing orders, sales (and sales person performance record keeping), invoicing, inventory control, receipts and reporting. Make this decision in advance, if the business situation requires a transition, starting out fresh and does not require larger than a box system solution. Import critical client and staff information upon taking ownership. Most often this recommendation applies to asset sales where the new owner is starting record keeping anew on their own books rather than a sale of the entire entity where it is ongoing business.
3) Don’t change much about the business for quite a long time, until you really understand it. This includes vendors, employees, contractors, clients, routines.
4) While the seller may not become your best friend, you want to make every effort to have them enjoy working with you. In some respects they can make or break your orientation and initial success in the business.
5) Take care of other unfinished business with an expectation that time will not permit once you and closed and taken control of the business.
6) Apologize in advance to friends and family that you will be focused on just the business for at least two months.
7) Keep track of what you are told during the training period with an expectation of making your own standard operating procedures and your own directory of individuals and companies that are resources, vendors, staff, and clients. Listen well but write it down. There is a lot to learn.
8) Accept that staff know things and include them in discussion about operations. Sometimes the prior owner did not and the staff may have much to learn about improvements, keeping them with you, and outside relations.
9) Know, after buying the business for sale, you are likely going to be sweeping the floor.