In our recent articles, we have talked about seeking out the right acquisition targets for your business and how to execute an effective buy and build strategy. But once you’ve found the right target to acquire and the deal is complete, how do you go about realising the value you set out to achieve?
One word: integration.
Integration is how you bring your existing business and the acquired business together. There is no ‘rule of thumb’ to a successful integration but instead it encompasses a series of choices for your business - from deciding which parts you want to integrate, to when you want to implement that integration.
Integration differs from other change programmes you might have undertaken - this is event driven. The deal has been announced, your employees, customers and stakeholders of both the existing business and the acquired business know the deal has taken place and are anticipating change. Saying nothing and doing nothing in the first 100 days post deal creates uncertainty which often leads to disruption. From day one there will an expectation of action, which will grow into pressure if not delivered robustly.
So, why can integrations become difficult? Because they involve people who are second-guessing your next steps. Getting the people strategy right is at the heart of any integration. Actively engaging with employees early on addresses the uncertainty. Seek to understand the cultural differences between your two businesses and consider how you want to address those differences throughout the integration.
Our top 5 tips for thinking about your integration are as follows:
- 1. It is never too soon to start thinking about synergies and integration. Ideally, start pre-signing.
- 2. Use the period between deal sign and deal close (if you have that luxury) to start your integration planning.
- 3. Plan for Day One - don’t just think about what you need to do to take control but put real thought and effort into what you intend to say and to who. Identify your key stakeholders and where they sit across both businesses. How will you welcome the new business into your own? First impressions count.
- 4. Mobilise an integration team to prioritise and focus on the project – this is not a ‘business as usual’ activity.
- 5. Monitor your progress. How can you ensure the integration is delivering the strategic aims and objectives of the deal if you don’t measure your progress? If you uncover objectives which aren’t being fully met, then realign and refocus your efforts and try again.
Cortus Advisory Group’s senior team is highly experienced in supporting businesses to successfully buy businesses – from identifying strategic buyside opportunities, guiding them through the acquisition process (including due diligence) right through to identifying synergies and executing an integration. To find out more about how we can support you, please contact Lizzie Meadowcroft at firstname.lastname@example.org