On paper, a merger is a foolproof formula for growing a company. How can you go wrong by combining the skill sets of two experienced owners and management teams, while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing market penetration?
In practice, however, mergers come with risk. Every business has its own unique philosophies and management styles. Attempting to merge these cultures without proper planning and forethought can be a recipe for disaster.
1. Seek Compatible Companies
By the time office culture clash is evident, it may be too late. An estimated 60 percent of mergers fail, according to Inc. Often times, it’s because owners focus on the strategic gains of a deal without taking the time to consider the transition. It may make sense to merge two limo businesses on paper, but if the employees of one company are encouraged to sport Hawaiian shirts while the staff of the other business must wear mandatory dress shirts and ties, the partnership may be doomed from the start. In many ways, a good merger is like a good marriage. Viewpoints and skills may be different, but they should ultimately complement each other. The most successful partnerships are based on mutual trust and a sharing of goals.
2. Make Changes Carefully
After buying a limo company, most new owners are itching to get down to the business of making efficiency-improving changes. However, this is exactly when you should be treading lightly. Moving too swiftly after a merger can shake the trust of an already stressed-out staff and drive away customers who don’t want to contend with the instability of a growing company. It’s fine to make changes, but make sure the first ones you enact are careful and calculated. If you’re merging with another limo business for sale, it’s probably because they’ve been at least somewhat successful. It’s important that, during the transition, you don’t lose what attracted customers, vendors, and employees to the company in the first place.
3. Create a Team-Friendly Environment
A business merger is ultimately a merger of people. Transitions that acknowledge the differences between company cultures, rather than flat-out ignore them, often enjoy higher rates of success. If the employees of each limousine business are going to be working together at one location, owners should consider integrating management teams. You don’t want to create an “us” and “them” mentality. It may take time, but through employee training, team-building efforts, and new incentives, it’s possible for like-minded companies to grow together. With careful planning, a good chauffeur business merger has the power to make the best of each company’s strengths while bolstering their weaknesses.