So you've done your research, found a business you want to acquire and the process of acquiring it is underway. But is your company prepared for an acquisition? Setting clear aims and goals about the acquisition process is vital, as is communicating the plan to all interested parties. Retaining staff and handling that aspect of the acquisition is perhaps the most important aspect and the most challenging. With change comes uncertainty, perhaps fears about job losses or relocations. All the issues need to be handled openly.
If you are a business planning to embark on a number of acquisitions, it's important to keep an eye on the impact the new business/es have on your company's brand. Is it still clear what the business does and is? Are current clients and/or customers being kept abreast of the changes and will the acquisitions impact on those relationships? For all these matters, having the right people in charge is important. The trick is to integrate the right people from the acquired business into your own management structure. It could be an opportunity to move people around the organisation.
An acquisition is a great opportunity to improve your firm's economies of scale. Whether that's in terms of office buildings and computer hardware or getting better deals from suppliers.
Putting together two corporate cultures may be the biggest challenge in any integration. Every organisation will have its own distinct culture, in terms of work ethic, the way people are managed and the type of hierarchy in place. Acquiring a business will have a big impact on employees and all their fears and needs must be considered and handled. That doesn't only mean the people on the shop floor. Often the senior figures will also have issues and diplomacy in the name of the game.
Though more a merger than an acquisition, the Ricky Gervais comedy sitcom The Office portrays a classic example of two cultures colliding when two branches of the same company were merged into one location. The "Swindon Lot" were well managed, well motivated, bright and hard working, whereas the Slough office, managed by the Gervais character David Brent was a shambles, all inappropriate and schoolboy humour. If you haven't seen it, rent or buy it. It's a lesson in what not to do. And it's funny.
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