Last year around this time, we profiled one of our clients, Julie Murphy of Designer Draperies of Boston, who shared her story of acquiring a new business to grow her company. If you’re considering acquisitions, we hope you’ll take the time to read her story.
We recently caught up with Julie to get an update on her business. She’s doing wonderfully and she gave us some excellent advice to share with our clients. Read on for her words of wisdom about business.
First we asked Julie about what she learned in the years immediately following her acquisition of an existing business to grow her portfolio. “One of the big things I learned was that cash flow is crucial. That piece is huge,” she told us. (We agree! If you would like to get a handle on your cash flow, check out our article on the subject or contact us to set up a cash flow analysis.)
Julie advises anyone who’s looking at acquiring a business to be aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses. “I’m a creative mind, so I hire professionals who handle the rest,” she told us. “Surround yourself with professionals who know what they are doing: an HR Consultant, an invested CPA, a bookkeeper. When you’re taking a step like this in your business, it’s imperative to have a team who knows the answers to the questions that you don’t.”
Change can be overwhelming for people, so if you’re taking on new staff along with your acquisition, try to take it one step at a time. When a business transitions, staffing issues can be challenging. To head them off, Julie cautions, “Listen to your staff, especially if you’ve purchased a business that has been up and running for some time. If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it. Avoid putting in new systems just to ‘put your stamp’ on it. Instead, learn about the existing business and seek out the most effective solution; it may be something that’s already in place.”
Despite the challenges of acquiring a company, Julie still looks forward to going to work every day. “I love it. It is hard work, long days, and sometimes physically and mentally exhausting. But I can’t imagine NOT doing it.” With another year under her belt, Julie’s company is doing better than ever, and it’s clear that acquiring a company was the right move for her business. “Our sales are up since the acquisition. Staffing is solid, and cash flow is great. Buying Designer Draperies was the best thing I ever did.”