After years of operating your dealership, you feel ready to either acquire or merge with another dealership. Because this represents your first such business deal, do you know how to transition successfully?
Forbes offers tips for maximizing the success of a merger or acquisition. Understand how to make the most of the hard work you invested in advancing your auto business.
Talk to customers
While getting to know everyone at the other dealership, take time to familiarize yourself with the customers, too. Learn what they like about the other dealership, how they feel about the acquisition or merger, and if they plan to remain as customers after the shift. Consider reading online reviews to gather more insights.
Investigate your partners
Go beyond meeting your partners and understand their professional backgrounds. Run background checks, see how employees feel about the company’s leaders and ask for references. To help eliminate doubt and hesitation, do your due diligence before signing contracts or making promises.
Check the books
While looking into your partners’ backgrounds, ask for access to their books and finances. Look back at the last five years (at least) to understand where the money comes in and how it goes out. Does the other dealership have money saved up? Do they have debts? Do you spot any inconsistencies?
Look into operational procedures
Get an idea of how the other dealership operates. Specifically, review employee files, ask about business procedures, determine if the employees know and follow company policy, and how well the other dealership enforces its rules and regulations.
Merging businesses represents a marriage of companies. Checking in with your instincts could help you make the right decision before you agree to the commercial union.