It is generally assumed when selling a business that the buyer executes a post acquisition integration strategy that will – cut staff, bring their own people in and run the business a different way with their culture. Now of course depending on the relevant size of seller and buyer some of those assumptions may apply however in my experience buyers need great people to stay. They don’t have a warehouse full of staff ready to manage their acquisitions. They are buying people. Acquirers need talented people to stay and build the business to the next level.
Google recently reported that over its 12.5 year history more than two thirds of the founders acquired by Google are still with the company.
Therefore it is vital to build a business with the best staff you can get your hands on. And best means fit and relevance to the task required. They say that Jack Welch spent a third of his time nurturing talent. For private companies, SMBs, it’s the secret weapon to allow the creation of a remarkable business.
Previous blog posts have covered recruitment techniques, training systems, skill sets we need to acquire, organizational structures we should consider.
One tactic under your control to improve your success at attracting talent is clearly the financial package including the option pools. But it’s not the key asset, it’s your story. The beauty of nailing your positioning, of getting your story clear, is that it evangelizes staff and attracts great people to your cause. Defining who you are leads to a passionate belief system in your company which is infectious to prospective candidates. You will attract a better quality candidate for new positions with an inspiring story compared with a commodity offering that sounds like everyone else. People want to do great work that makes a difference. Of course you want the best people but compromising to fill the gap with mediocrity is expensive and painful.
And the benefits of being patient – special people will:
- Build a robust platform for growth
- Give the owner insightful and honest feedback
- Provide a critical link to clients
- Allow senior management to shine
Remember as stated in previous blogs, 26.7m of the 27.3m US enterprises employ less than 20 people. We need to find more talent, build stronger businesses, deliver more predictable results and potentially create a business that is attractive to buyers. A lack of talent is the resource holding back the execution of a compelling story not money.