Throughout my blog I’ve stressed the importance of carefully planning your business strategy. While planning is important, your plan to buy, no matter how well crafted, is only as good as the people who execute it. Acquisition is a team sport for two reasons. Practically speaking, buying a company involves multiple skills—more than any single individual could possess. Just as important, successful growth requires multiple perspectives. You need to see the opportunities and risks of a potential purchase from many points of view.
An acquisition team is unlike any other team that you have operating in your company. The responsibilities placed on its members are likely to be larger and more demanding than any they have assumed in the past. Buying another company is a massive undertaking, with complex ramifications for the future of the enterprise.
For a successful outcome, your “A-Team” must observe certain ground rules. When a decision is needed, it is important to arrive at a genuine agreement among the team members, like a jury acting in a legal trial. That means that once a decision is arrived at, everyone is fully committed to it. Unity of agreement gives the team authority throughout the rest of the company, and some hard battles may need to be fought along the way to a purchase. While the acquisition team is by no means a democracy, there is a requirement for every member to clearly voice decisive opinions. When the crunch comes, no one can sit on the fence. No one can hide.
*This post was adapted from David Braun’s Successful Acquisitions, available at Amazon.com