Negotiating a business purchase is no piece of cake. But sometimes buyers become so focused on the dynamics of making a deal happen that they forget to plan for the post-sale transition. This is a mistake. The way the hand-off is handled can have an enormous impact on the future success of a trucking business. Without a plan, operations can be interrupted, employees can be discouraged, and customers can be lost. Proper transition planning creates a smoother process for all parties involved in the ownership change of a trucking company for sale.
Learn from the Pros
No one understands a business better than its owner. Agreeing to keep the seller on for a period of time as an adviser or consultant can provide numerous advantages. Most notably, you’ll have somebody to show you the ropes, from walking you through policies and procedures to explaining technology systems. However, owner training also benefits the seller and employees. By valuing the seller’s opinion, you create a friendlier atmosphere. Happy sellers are more likely to be forthcoming and helpful. When the original owner is on the premises, it tends to put employees at ease during an especially stressful time. Seeing their former boss support your leadership can reassure employees that company operations, and their jobs, are still on track.
Take It Slowly
You may have big plans for increasing efficiency and cutting costs. But if you make sweeping changes right off the bat, customers are going to get scared. If you’re considering buying a trucking company for sale, obviously you’re attracted to some qualities of the business. Don’t forget that the company’s customers are attracted to those qualities, too. Take some time to settle in and see how the business operates before implementing your big ideas. You’ll have a better understanding of what needs to be changed and what may be perfect just the way it is.
Just like customers, management and drivers can feel blindsided by rapid changes. If employees are left out of the planning loop, they may begin to question their job security and their future with the business. Trucking business owners who make an effort to keep employees happy will earn the respect needed to keep the company operating seamlessly. Once you take the helm, consider meeting with employees individually and seeking their knowledge and input when applicable. You’ll learn from their experiences while validating their importance to the company, a surefire morale booster.
Just because a business comes with a client list doesn’t mean those clients are going to stick around when things change. It’s not enough simply to maintain current customer service. As the new guy, you’re going to have to work harder for the same results. Once the transition is underway, business buyers may want to contact important customers. This provides the opportunity to find out what customers like and don’t like about doing business with your company. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss any new benefits you can provide for them. Offering special deals or promotions won’t hurt, either.
It’s easy to assume that a business brand will buoy you to success, but a company is often more defined by its leadership than its name. Buyers of successful trucking companies often have big shoes to fill. Transition planning can make filling those shoes easier. From orchestrating negotiations with a seller to maintaining a stable environment during the sale, truck business brokers can help the transition go smoothly.