Don’t forget the most important ingredient.
Is your law firm considering acquisition as part of a growth strategy and have you prepared your firm and your resources for the challenge of an acquisition and the post-acquisition implementation?
Have you planned your acquisition strategy and have you looked inwardly at your own firm to establish that you are ready to acquire?
There can be no doubt that an acquisition will assist your firm in growth plans, should that be the reason for making an acquisition. It is often a way of accelerating growth plans when organic growth is simply not happening fast enough.
Whatever your reason for seeking expansion it is imperative that you and your firm are ready and you have identified the steps you need to take to prepare for the acquisition.
Looking inwardly is often overlooked but is an essential step in the acquisition process. A firm that makes an acquisition when it is not ready itself is heading for a potential disaster as issues or problems in your own business will be amplified by an acquisition.
Before taking the step to make an acquisition it is essential to: -
Why acquire – What are the primary reasons for making the acquisition and when established you can confirm what you expect to achieve from the acquisition and protect your goals to ensure they are realised.
Profile of a Partner – Depending on the deal you negotiate, you may be inviting others into your firm and sometimes in senior posts. You need to ensure that people entering with responsibility will fit with your firm. An important step in the acquisition process is to set out what you expect from anyone entering the firm. What profile do they need to fit within the firm and what experience must they possess? Importantly ensure you meet them quickly and do so with key decision makers in your business.
Review your systems and processes – Take a hard look at your own systems and processes. An acquisition will be strain on these and they need to be healthy. You will also learn from the acquired firm and they may have systems and processes that are an improvement on what you do. Understand what you are doing and approach the acquisition with an open mind. There is always room to learn and improve.
Review your plans and targets – Review what your targets and plans are and how the acquisition will impact on these. Ensure you appreciate the impact of an acquisition on your plans and strategy and adapt them as need so you can keep track of success.
Contemplate the outcome of the acquisition – What is the expected outcome of the acquisition. Much of this will depend on the reason you sought the acquisition in the first place but being very clear about what you expect the outcome will be enables you to take action to ensure you get there and importantly direct the necessary time, resource and finance to ensure the acquisition is successful. You will also need to identify change in your own firm and plan for how that will be handled.
Consider the impact – Look at the overall impact on your firm. Where will your firm be affected and where will the acquired business be affected. You need to protect your investment and that is not just the incoming firm, you have invested in your own firm and you need to make sure both come out as strong as they can be and in a time scale that works. Impact may be across a number of areas of your business and you need to ensure that you appreciate what these are and prepare for them and prepare your people!
Look at your People – An acquisition brings change and change brings uncertainty. People in both firms are going to be affected by the acquisition and you need to ensure you are ready to communicate when you need to and answer the important questions to keep the people you need to onside. It is often the case that roles will change and in some cases positions will be removed and it is important to address such elements properly. Also consider who from your company will be involved in the acquisition process and the time they will take to do so and how their current role may be affected by the additional work they will now undertake.
Consider your technology – Consider the technology you have and the technology of the incoming firm. You need best of breed and there may be technology in the market place that you ca make use of, your acquired business may have technology you need or your business may have technology to deploy unto the acquired company. Make sure you are up to date on what is available to you and what is being acquired and plan for effective deployment. Running with two case management or accounts packages for too long will be damaging and will delay the integration of the firms.
Timing and Resource – Consider the time that you are prepared to allow for the acquisition to take and the resource needed from your current firm to achieve that. Once the acquisition has occurred, the hard work starts. The integration! In most scenarios there will be an integration project and experience shows that the quicker this is completed the more successful the acquisition is likely to be. Set out an implementation schedule and ensure those involved are aware of expectation and the project time lines and monitor performance against these.
Making sure ‘your own house is in order’ will help you secure a successful acquisition and will certainly make your stronger.
It may assist gaining the support and guidance of an independent expert. At The Strategic Partner we work with firms preparing them for acquisition and assist them through the acquisition process from identifying and approaching targets through to due diligence, negotiation and implementation.
To find out how we can help you are your business contact us on 0203 911 9710, you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org or you can complete and online enquiry by visiting out website https://www.thestrategicpartner.co.uk/Contact-Us